On the weekend of July 7th, I traveled with my friend Mike to his cottage in Haliburton. We were both looking forward to some observing under dark northern skies and for that purpose we packed up his SUV with two big telescopes, heavy duty mounts and other related equipment. Under dark skies, this bevvy of astronomy hardware would surely show off the evening’s stellar wonders with shock and awe.
I honestly wish I could say that packing up all that gear and setting it up was going to reward us with a fine evening of astronomy. Ha! No chance! We waited for the sun to set and dark skies to emerge. By the time darkness fell, the humidity was incredibly thick, so the telescopes and mounts were literally dripping wet. This level of humidity means mediocre viewing at best. Adding to this frustration was a jihadist army of mosquitoes seemingly immune to insect repellant and cigars. My blind faith in Muskol has been destroyed. I did my best to calibrate the equatorial telescope mount, but to no avail. The necessary guide stars to calibrate the mount and autoguider were either behind the treeline or difficult to find in the soupy night sky.
The clouds eventually rolled in and terminated an all too brief observing session. Good thing we had lots of alcohol and food on hand. I managed to take a few long exposure shots with my camera. So, a few pretty stars are offered up here. If there had been less humidity, fog and clouds, these photos would have looked like diamonds on a black velvet surface. My faith in Muskol may have also remained intact.