For every few successful observations, there have to be some failures right? I got up at 3:30 AM to set things up and then watch for any evidence of the LCROSS impact in Cabeus Crater at the lunar south pole (scheduled for 4:31 AM Arizona time). I set the 8 inch Dob outside to cool down, got my sketching materials ready and checked out some NASA TV while putting on the jackets, gloves and my balaclava. Cabeus doesn’t exactly stand out in a crowd, but with the help of some good finder images it wasn’t too hard to find. I had to wince a little when I saw how ridiculously thin the visible shadow of the crater was. And to help things out, a steady breeze was rippling the air like some cheesy intro to a flashback sequence.
Once I saw what I was up against, my confidence dropped pretty low. Still, I sketched the profile of the crater and lunar limb, and watched to see what would happen. Which is to say, pretty much nothing. Sure, rippling lunar features, disintegrating and coalescing before your eyes under Antoniadi III/IV skies can make you imagine something just might be emerging…but nothing ever did. So, here’s hoping the mission data and professional observatories picked up some useful info. And hopefully, amateur observers with better conditions & equipment were able to see or image something.
OK, time for just a little more sleep before the real Friday begins.