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Colin Henshaw in Oman 1/8/2003

My all expenses paid lecture trip to Oman was a resounding success. I was met at Seeb International Airport by RAHAS chairman Randall Penney, and Planetarium director Marwan Schwaiki, and immediately whisked off to Jebal al Akhdar Hotel in the Hajjar Mountains. The nearby observing site is located at an altitude of about 7000 feet, and the skies were superb. I gave a sky show to a group of Omani students from Sultan Qaboos University. Then I observed a few variable stars and looked at Mars through as 16 inch Dobo. Had my first ever unambiguous view of the Martian North Polar Cap. I also saw a mag -9 fireball that was a brilliant emerald green, and which produced red sparks.On June 28th I gave my lecture on Supernovae at the planetarium. Forty people attended. By this time I was back in Muscat and accommodated at the VIP lounge at PDO, the state owned oil company. There was a recreation centre nearby for the employees, with full facilities, a swimming pool and a beach. But it was hot and steamy. Almost nothing was visible in the sky. A few days later, Randall and I went up Jebel Tanuf, again to an altitude of about 7000 feet, and we set up his 11 inch Celestron. We looked at Mars again, plus a whole range of globular clusters. It was amazing to see M3, M5, and M69 fully resolved into stars. Later we had a look for Uranus. Randall couldn't find it, so I had a go, and I came across it. A superb little disk, but it was still too small to detect any markings. I made 16 variable star observations later on. The Milky Way was superb. Got back to Saudi yesterday morning, but now I have flu. What a pain!

by Colin Henshaw

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