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Observation Notes:

I just got back from an amazing trip to Maui a few days ago. Toward the end of our stay, we drove to the 10,000 ft. summit of Haleakala and watched the sun set. Toward the southwest, on the big Island, the distant, speck-like observatories atop Mauna Kea glinted in the last orange rays of the sun. As twilight deepened, the sky took on an intensely saturated blue as the stars and planets began to emerge. At the end of twilight, with the towering cone of zodiacal light hovering above, I got a sublime view of the southernmost stretches of the Milky Way scraping just above the haze on the horizon.

Crux, the Southern Cross, was a beautiful sight, and my one naked-eye sketch for the evening. The topmost bright star, Gamma Crucis piped some color into the constellation with a warm orange hue. To the east of brilliant Beta was the fainter glint of Kappa. Since it was rather low on the horizon, I was not able to perceive the hazier patch of the Jewelbox cluster to the naked eye, although it was easily seen with my 15 x 70 binoculars. Mu Crucis, a double-star visible in binoculars, can be seen to the east of Gamma Crucis. I made it the subject for one of two binocular sketches that evening.

I wish time had permitted a naked-eye sketch of the rich, starry depths of Centaurus, but a rising moon wouldn’t permit it. I’ll have to save that for my next trip to 20 degrees latitude.

Subject Crux
Classification Constellation
Date/Time June 3, 2007, 09:45 PM HADT (June 4, 2007, 07:45 UT)
Observing Loc. Haleakala Summit, Maui, HI (10,000 ft.)
Instrument Naked Eye
Conditions Clear, cool, breezy
NELM ~6.5