2019-06-11 Astronomy Observations
Outdoor temperature: ~21C
Relative Humidity: ~65%
Sky cover: Mostly clear with a few high clouds starting to build towards the west.
Observatory: Beach at Willows Colony
Harlan and I went out to test a new-to-us telescope in a spot I had previously thought would be good for nighttime observations but had never really tried. The spot, a neighborhood park next to the Chesapeake Bay, was fairly dark with no street lights nearby and had a great, nearly unobstructed, view towards the east. A cool breeze mostly kept the biting insects away, as well.
On advice received from members of the Astronomy Club of Southern Maryland, our first target of the night was Jupiter. Jupiter wasn’t too low in the sky and with the wider lens was easily discerned against the backdrop of stars and other objects. Using the 9mm lens, the stripes of Jupiter’s atmosphere and its various orange coloration were able to be seen. I believe I also saw three of Jupiter’s moons; all objects seemed to be of similar brightness but none were on same plane.
While tracking around the sky, I saw what appeared to be a high-speed object reflecting the suns light for a split second before continuing it’s travels. The object was traveling in an ascending direction and appeared metallic. I’m not sure if this was an Iridium flare or not.
UPDATE (2019-06-12): This was not an Iridium flare. All Iridium satellites were in a descending orbit in that part of the sky at that time. The mystery continues.
More research will be needed to answer the questions I have for both my Jupiter and object flare observations.