David GRAY #212

Letters to the Editor

from David GRAY in CMO #212

@. . . . . Thank you for your letter of 8 February. Also my appreciation for your kind compliments on my contributions.
  Please find enclosed the latest observations; again rather few, hopefully of some interest. Sorry I misjudged the timing somewhat with the last batch. You have usefully pointed out how long things take to reach you from here. So will use this as a yardstick for future contributions, hopefully this has reached you in good time.
  Yes, I take your point about the 40 minute interval between drawings, A practice I would ideally like to adhere to. However, you may notice that the second drawing on most of the sheets is actually with a Wr58 (green) filter. The intention being to demonstrate differences - subtle or otherwise - with the first one (usually Wr15, Wr25 and Int). For instance, with the enclosed 8 February sheet note the brightness of the morning cloud with Wr58. An effect I found increasingly striking, and irresistible to draw! I have no doubt that had the conditions been less variable a great number of drawings would have been executed on those other dates. This is partly due to the rather low latitude of the planet these past months. All one can do is stick it out and grab the moments when they arrive and often do! I can remember earlier in the apparition when the sky would cloud with maddening regularity about half an hour before sunrise - often just as the seeing was getting better! It is fine by me if you wish to count a pair of drawings less than 40 minutes apart as one. Although they are very unlikely to have been with the same filter.
  Yes I would be happy to send you some photographs of the telescope, observatory, and myself. But please bear with me till I can find something suitable or take some fresh ones.
  I cannot close without expressing my gratitude for the praise that Alan Heath made with regard to my observations. It is very much due to Alan's kind encouragement and guidance as BAA Saturn Section Director, back in 1968, that I gained the confidence to go on and submit material to other Sections. His opinions were, and still are, much valued. Actually I have a number of photos with Alan, David Graham, and myself during a visit 16 September 1995. Will try to get copies made. We had a rather brief (clouded out) but very memorable sessions observing Saturn with the Dall-Kirkham!
  The weather has suddenly turned more pleasant these past few days with several birds going into their spring song. Though quite cloudy. But see 7 February sheet for reference to the weather just previously. The bitterly cold night of 8 February brought possibly my best ever view of Saturn (x415 Wr15); considerable detail inside and around the SPC!
(14 Feb 1999)

David GRAY ( Durham, UK )