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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

OBSERVING REPORT FOR MARCH 20, 2017

Location:  Front yard and front porch, Little Lepreau, NB, Canada

Date Time:  March 20, 2017 2000-2215 hrs

Weather:  Breezy, mostly clear to clear, -2C with windchill -9C.

Attendance:  Carla M and David M

Equipment:  Canon Rebel Xsi with 75-300mm lens, 20x80 binoculars, tripod.

Objective:  To view and image Mercury/Venus Conjunction during sunset and to search for Comet 41P T-G-K which is approaching Merak in Ursa Major.

Report:

  • As Sun set around 2000hrs, went out with camera to capture Mercury/Venus conjunction.  Could not find Venus, as it was too low on the horizon, but did find Mercury between some trees, low on the horizon.  Looked like a bright star.
Canon Rebel Xsi with 75-300mm lens, ISO 1600, 1/40 second, f/11 and focal length of 300mm
  • Did another comet 41P T-G-K search.  Took images of sky to the lower right of Ursa Major star Merak and did capture a fuzzy patch that might have been the comet or might have been M 108 or M 97.  Think it might be M97.  Also searched area visually with tripod mounted 20x80 binoculars.  Huge fuzzy patch to the lower right of Merak stood out easily in the field of view, but again, not sure if it was one of the Messier objects or the Comet.  Can see how Charles Messier himself thought the objects he cataloged in the mid to late 1700's were comets.
Image from skyandtelescope.com

Image from theskylive.com/41p-info

Just under the bowl of the Big Dipper.  Camera set to 8 second, ISO 1600, f/5, and focal length of 75mm
Zoomed in area to the lower right of Merak.  Camera set to 8 second, ISO 1600, f/5, and focal length of 160mm

  • Seen several satellites including the one imaged above.  Two satellites were travelling one leading the other close together as I was searching for the comet visually with binoculars.  One of the Satellites went through my field of view.  No shooting stars were seen.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

OBSERVING REPORT FOR MARCH 18, 2017

Location:  Front yard and porch, Little Lepreau, NB, Canada

Date Time:  March 18, 2017 1945-0010hrs

Weather:  No wind, clear, -9C, very dark skies.

Equipment:  8" Meade LX200 with 32mm, 13.8mm and 12mm eyepieces.  Canon Rebel with 18-55mm, 75-300mm and telescope attachment.  Galaxy S5 Neo cellphone camera with cellphone adapter.

Attendance:  Myself.

Objective:  To image Venus, which is approaching Inferior Conjunction on March 25.  To search for Comet 41P T-G-K, which is approaching Ursa Major.  To view M108 and M97, near the star Merak in Ursa Major for first time.

Report:

  • There was still lots of twilight at 1950 hrs, when I first went out looking for Venus.  It was low, in the West, just above the treeline, so there was only time to setup quickly and take a few images before it sank behind the trees.
Single shot with Canon using telescope at prime focus, ISO 200, 1/60 second.
  • Had to wait till past 2030hrs for sky to darken enough to look for Comet 41P T-G-K.  Could not locate it in time elapse images.  Must still be very faint.  People are saying that it may brighten significantly in April.



In the North Eastern sky at 2043hrs, zoomed out processed image of area to the south of Ursa Major where Comet 41P was suppose to be.  Must be faint.

In the North Eastern sky at 2050hrs, zoomed in processed image of area to the south of Ursa Major where Comet 41P was suppose to be.  Must be faint.

  • Around 2330 hrs, searched for M108 and M97, which are near the star Merak in Ursa Major, with telescope and 32mm eyepiece.  With the aid of a finder chart named "Finder Charts of The Messier Objects Volume 2 - M56 through M110" was able to locate both, fairly easily, although they were both faint.  M108, a Mag 10 Galaxy, was found first, as it was closer to Merak.  It appeared as a faint, grayish, oval shaped smudge in the eyepiece.  M97, "The Owl Nebula", even at Mag 11 was also easy to find and also appeared in the eyepiece as grayish oval smudge, larger and fatter than M108, but not my much.  In fact, they didn't look much different in the eyepiece.  This was my first time locating and viewing these Messier objects.  Using the finder chart helped immensely.
  • By midnight, Jupiter was part way up in the south Eastern sky, to the East of Corvus.  Through the eyepiece the storm clouds could easily be seen but only three of its moons were visible.
Single shot with Cellphone camera attached to 12.5mm eyepiece, through telescope.

Single shot with Canon Rebel and 75-300mm lens
  • A few satellites were seen but no shooting stars.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

MOON OCCULTING BRIGHT STARS

Location:  Front Deck, Little Lepreau, NB, Canada

Date Time:  March 3 & 4, 2017 @ 2047 hrs and 1948 hrs.

Weather:  N/A

Equipment:  For March 3 - Meade 8" LX200 with .6x focal reducer, 32mm eyepiece and image taken with handheld Galaxy s5 Neo cellphone.
For March 4 - Canon Rebel with 75-300 mm lens on tripod.

Attendance:  For March 3  Becky and Myself.

Images:

Moon about to occult the star on the right side of the Moon.

Moon near Aldebaran very close to two stars of Taurus.


OBSERVING REPORT FOR MARCH 13, 2017 (Updated)

Location:  Front yard, Little Lepreau, NB, Canada

Date Time:  March 13, 2017 1850-2320hrs

Weather:  Windy at first then winds died down considerably after dark, which it didn't get dark till 2030 hrs.  Cool -8C, partly cloudy to mostly cloudy and at times clear.

Equipment:  Meade 8" LX200, .6x focal reducer with 19 mm and 32 mm eyepieces and Canon Rebel with telescope attachment and 18-55 mm and 75-300 mm lenses.

Attendance:  Myself.

Objective:  To view and image a crescent Venus, locate Comet 41P T-G-K and image a Moon which was one day past full.

Report:

  • Daylight savings started early the previous day, so daylight was still present much later in the evening.  It didn't get dark till well after 2030 hrs.
  • By 1950hrs there was still lots of light left in sky but Venus was easily visible low in the west.  It was much lower than it was early last week.  In the 19 mm eyepiece, Venus was brownish white and a very thin crescent shape.


  • Had to wait till 2040hrs for the skies to darken enough to look for Comet 41P T-G-K.  It was in Leo Minor, between Ursa Major and Leo, near a bright star according to heavens-above.com.  Could not confirm a sighting of the comet either visually through the telescope or with the aid of time elapse imaging.  It could have been higher in the sky, as a sky chart by astrobob.areavoices.com had it higher in the sky than the heavens above.
Image from Heaven-above.com


Sky chart from SkyandTelescope.com
Unprocessed image.  Two bright stars in center of image are in region around Leo Minor and Lynx..

Zoomed out view of the image above.  Area of sky between the pointer stars of the Big Dipper and the 'hook' of Leo.

Processed image of above showing shooting star or satellite.

Processed zoomed in image from above.
  • Moon which was one day past full did not come up high enough above the trees till after 2300hrs.  Imaged with camera attached to telescope at prime focus.


  • No shooting stars and many satellites were seen.  One shooting star may have been imaged.
Note:  Searching for comets frequently takes the observer into lesser known constellations, which are lesser known because they are so dim.  This is a great way to become more familiar with the constellations and expand the observers knowledge of the sky in general.   You may not find what you started your search for, but, you might observe other things, in that area of the sky that you were not aware of and would not have thought to look for.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

OBSERVING REPORT FOR 26 FEBRUARY 2017

Location:  Front Deck, Little Lepreau, NB, Canada

Date Time:  February 26, 2017 1800-2155hrs

Weather:  Cool, windy, mostly clear with cloudy periods, 0C to -4C with windchill of -9C.  Dark skies as tonight is the night of New Moon.

Equipment:  Meade 8" LX 200 with 19mm and 32mm eyepieces, 2x Barlow Canon, o2 filter, moon filter,  Rebel Xsi with 18-55mm and 75-300mm lenses, Samsung S5 Neo cellphone camera with attachment.

Attendance:  Becky L. and David McCashion

Objective:  To observe Messier Objects.

Report:

  • Set scope up as Sun was going down.  Venus was bright in the west.  Showed Becky Venus in the eyepiece.  She said it looked like a half moon in the eyepiece but looked like a regular round star with unaided eye.
  • Imaged Venus and Mars with cellphone camera.  Venus is getting to be a thin crescent shape and mars is a very small disk in eyepiece, even with high magnification.
  • Clouds covered most of the sky from shortly after 1900hrs to approx. 2020hrs.
  • Viewed Orion Nebula with 32mm eyepiece and 02 filter.  Seemed to darken the nebula and show dust lanes throughout.  Imaged with Canon and 75-300mm lens.
  • Around 2026hrs did a search for Comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova above Leo where is was suppose to be on this evening.  Searched  by taking long exposure images of the area and searching with telescope and 32mm eyepiece.  Could not confirm a sighting.  The Comet was reported to be 7 mag but is also very diffuse and the tail is pointed away from the earth at this time.
  • Searched for and found M41 farther below Sirius than I thought.  Very impressive star cluster that took up much of the 32mm eyepiece field of view.  Imaged with Canon and 75-300mm lens.
  • No Shooting stars or satellites were seen.
Images:



Cellphone attached to 19mm eyepiece and 2x Barlow.

Cellphone attached to 19mm eyepiece and 2x Barlow. 

video

video





Shy Chart for Comet 45P from AstroBob website, thanks to Ed O for sharing!


Area above Leo @ 2125 hrs.  Zoomed in looking for Comet 45P.






Tuesday, February 21, 2017

SUNSPOT 2638 (UPDATED)

Location:  Front Porch, Little Lepreau, NB, Canada

Date Time/Weather/Report:

February 21, 2017 1030-1055hrs-Sunny, clear, slight breeze, -1C with windchill of -5C.

  • Very nice day to observe the Sun.  Sunspot group showed up in view screen as faint dot in upper left portion of Sun, Near the limb.  Other fainter markings could be seen around the well defined, circular sunspot..


February 24, 2017 1400-1600hrs- Mostly cloudy, Sun broke through a few times, rain showers a few mins after telescope was brought inside, 10C

  • Occasional sunny breaks gave way to a steady clear patch for about 10 mins just before 1600hrs.  After that it rained.  Sunspot 2638 was only thing visible across the face.  Well defined, circular, very bright and getting close to the center as Sun Rotates it towards the Earth.
February 28, 2017 1030-1140 hrs- Mostly warm and sunny, few high, think clouds, no wind, 5C.
  • Increased Sunspot activity today.  A new chain of Sunspots appeared to the right of the bright circular Sunspot 2638.  According to Spaceweather.com its Sunspot group 2641.  Images did not turn out very well, possibly due to the high level thin clouds. 

Attendance:  Myself.

Equipment:  Solar Filter, 8" Meade LX 200, cellphone adapter connected to 32mm eyepiece, 0.6xFocal Reducer, Samsung S5 Neo cellphone camera.

Objective:  To image the Sun.

Images for Feb21:





video

Images for Feb 24:





video

Images for Feb 28


video

OBSERVING REPORT FOR FEBRUARY 20, 2017

Location:  Front Porch, Little Lepreau, NB, Canada

Date Time:  February 20, 2016 1900-2100hrs

Weather:  Mostly clear with few broken clouds at first then completely clear, slight breeze to no wind, -2C with windchill of -4C.  A very rare clear night for observing.

Equipment:  Meade 8" LX 200 with 32mm, 12.5mm and 9mm eyepieces.  Samsung S5 Neo with Cellphone adapter.

Attendance:  Myself

Objective:  To view and image Venus which is in its Crescent Phase at this time.

Highlights:

  • Venus and Mars were 1/3 of the way up in the sky in the west at 1900 hrs, which put them just above the rooftop from the porch.  Venus was a much thinner crescent in the eyepiece than it showed in images.  Disc of Mars could be seen at high magnification, which was surprising, as it is so far away at this time.  No detail could be seen across its face though.
  • Viewed and imaged M42 and M43.  M42 was huge and bright in the 32mm eyepiece.  Trapesium stars were easily split with this high magnification telescope and good quality eyepiece.  Spectacular, one of the most amazing things to see in this telescope.  Images did not turn out though
  • Viewed and imaged Sirius.  Very bright, bluish.
  • Split Double star Mintaka on Orion's Belt.
  • One Satellite Seen, no shooting stars observed.
Images:


video

Double Star Mintaka on Orion's Belt.

Sirius, brightest and closest star that can be seen from NB.

Venus in crescent phase.  Was much thinner crescent in eyepiece.
Disc of Mars.

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