Astro 102 Observing Report

Big Dipper over the observatory dome. 30 sec exposure.
Waxing crescent moon, overexposed to show earthshine.

Astro 102 lab, Thursday section, enjoyed a decent night at the Gettysburg College Observatory, Thursday, February 14. Skies were a little hazy, but remained clear for the duration of our sessions. Mercury was still visible above the hill in the west as I arrived about 6:30 PM, but it had set by the time students arrived. Our sessions consisted of a visual sky tour and celestial sphere orientation. Then we looked at the crescent moon and Jupiter through one of the 8″ scopes. Seeing was fantastic. As an experienced observer, I found four cloud belts easily visible. All four Galilean moons were gathered on the same side of the planet. We then looked at the Great Orion Nebula, a starforming cloud over 1,000 light years away. We then had telescopic views of Rigel (B8) and Betelgeuse (M2) to see a contrasting pair of spectral types. We concluded each of the two sessions with a brief tour of the inside of the observatory.