It was a quick couple of days off from work, but I managed to squeeze in something I always wanted to do. I finally got to do some astronomy from Mt Washington, in New Hampshire.
It was two years ago when I had chance to spend four days and three nights at the Mt. Washington Observatory as part of several multimedia packages I was doing for work. At the time I was loaded down with all kinds of video and still camera equipment and I just could not fit any astronomy gear in my vehicle. Well, this is my chance. It might not be the night time astronomy session that I really wanted to do from 6822′, but I was happy to see if I could do some Solar Astronomy.
After negotiating the Mt. Washington Autoroad for about 20 minutes I arrived at the top. The temperature was 52 degrees, about 15 degrees cooler that the base of the mountain, with the wind blowing at 21 MPH. Pretty tame from the previous times I have been up on top.
After a quick tour around the buildings, enjoying the summertime view, and taking some pictures like the one above of the seemingly tiny Cog Railway Train making it’s way to the summit, I knew that I would not be doing any observing from “up top”. The clouds were very thick and enveloping the peak every few minutes. I had to get away from the top of the mountain if I was to have any luck seeing the sun for some observing.
I drove down about a mile and a half, and dropped in elevation about 1000 feet before I started seeing a marked difference in the sky conditions. I stopped at a pullover area and set up my scope with a SolarMax 60mm filter. Within minutes a large sucker hole appeared and I managed to do some quality observing time of the sun.
Here I am at about 5300 feet looking for the holes in the clouds, and the picture below is of “The Rockpile” which is just above me, where the Mt. Washington Observatory is based. Even though the sun was not active at all, it was a pleasure to view it at all from this altitude.
All in all, a very enjoyable trip up the mountain. If you ever do get a chance to get to Mt. Washington it is certainly worth it. Now, I want to get up to the top during winter and experience “some of the worst weather in the world”! Winter astronomy anyone?