Fellow blogger and astronomer Roger in Australia treats us to some beautiful images seen in his southern skies within Cosmic Focus. Give it a look. Today, he explained how government limits on travel have made it difficult and maybe costly for him to venture out to dark viewing locations. He was confused by how we Americans seem more casual about the COVID outbreak and restrictions given we are being hit very hard. I commented how I was not happy with our ‘leadership’ from the high offices. We should do better.
In his post he spoke of astronomers and campers who gathered at a remote site in a US desert to observe Comet C/2019 Y4 (ATLAS). No such choices are available for me in the middle of the country. We’ve suffered many clouds and now late winter weather. The forecast for tonight calls for several inches of snow in a winter storm. Fortunately, I can request images from a telescope at a desert site run by the University of Iowa Astronomy and Physics dept.
C/2019 Y4 was on track to be at its brightest here in May. Recent observations show it breaking up and won’t turn out as predicted. About the time that news was unfolding, I got five images from the Iowa telescope on April 8, 11, 15, 17 and 18. Each was a 90 sec exposure with a luminance filter.