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Thursday, December 14, 2017

GEMINIDS 2017

Location:  Backyard Little Lepreau, NB, Canada

Date Time:  December 14, 2017 0310-0356hrs

Weather:  Partly to mostly cloudy, gusting winds moving to just north of east, -10C.

Attendance:  Myself.

Equipment:  Canon Rebel DSLR with 18-55mm lens on tripod.

Objective:  To observe as many Geminid meteors as possible during peak hour for this shower, which was reported to be between 0300-0400hrs on this morning.

Report:  Very dark skies with no Moon showing at this time.  Clouds were a factor, covering one part of the sky then another, but moved on quickly, and they were partially see-through.  No dew issue with camera, took many pictures.  Only captured one geminid in an image.

Geminids came in bursts of two or three at a time and at one time the sky seemed to full of them, around 0340hrs.  Counted 32 Geminids with only 1 Sporadic.  Geminids were mostly quite bright, blue/white moving medium speed and medium brightness.  A few fainter ones, and two very bright ones.  One very very long and bright and left a smoke trail, to the right of Polaris.  Most observed were in the northern sky, between Ursa Major and Cassiopeia.

Seemed, on average, there was about 1 Geminid/minuite


Geminid streaking past Polaris.

Monday, June 26, 2017

OBSERVING REPORT FOR JUNE 26, 2017

Location:  Front Yard, Little Lepreau, NB, Canada

Date Time:  June 26, 2017 2250-2450 hrs

Weather:  Mostly clear, cool, 7C, no wind to slight breeze, dewy, a few bugs.

Attendance:  Myself.

Equipment:  Canadian Telescopes 80 ED/APO on vixen motorized mount, 19mm eyepiece.  Cellphone camera attached to eyepiece.  Canon Rebel Xsi attached to telescope at prime focus.

Objective:  To learn how to operate a new to me motorized mount for telescope.  To search for Comet Johnson which was suppose to be around mag 8 and in between constellations Libra and Virgo.

Report:

  • After practicing inside for a while, set up in front yard once it got dark enough.  After one failed attempt at aligning scope, tried again then got it.  Mount worked fantastic at finding and then tracking objects, although I mainly stayed in SW sky whole time.
  • GoTo easily found M3 and M5.  Both globular clusters showed up brightly in 19 mm eyepiece, with M5 very close to a bright star.
  • Searched for Comet Johnson around a bright star, in-between Virgo and Libra but couldn't find it.  Telescope may have been too small.  Comet was nicely placed though, high enough in the SW sky to make it easy to train scope on.
  • Located Jupiter, then imaged and videoed the gas giant.  Could only see two moons, one on either side.
  • Located and then imaged M5 with Canon Rebel.  Many imaged were taken in hopes of being able to stack them.

  • No shooting stars and a few satellites were seen.
Images to follow...

Sunday, June 11, 2017

ASTRONOMY BY THE BAY

Location:  Saints Rest Beach, Saint John, NB, Canada

Date Time:  June 10, 2017 2130-0117

Weather:  Mostly clear, some hazy and foggy periods giving away to mostly clear, breezy, cool, 9C.

Attendance:  Chris Curwin, David McCashion and 9 others.

Equipment:  Chris's 10" Dob with 13mm eyepiece, giving a magnification of 100x, Cellphone with Ioptron cellphone adapter, live streamed video of Moon on Chris's Astronomy By The Bay Facebook page.  Chris also has a twitter page for Astronomy By The Bay.  My Canadian Telescopes 80 ED/APO on Vixen Alt/Az mount with 19mm and 12mm eyepieces.  Cellphone attached to 19mm eyepiece with cellphone adapter.  Canon Rebel Xsi with telescope attachment.

Objective:  Public outreach with fellow SJAC member Chris Curwin.

Report:

  • Set up on beach around 2200 just as Moon appeared in the east, just over the bay.  Amazing sight!  Took a reddish, small flat shape that was no where near the normal size and shape of Moon.  Everyone commented on its amazing appearance and how fast it rose.
Image taken with DSLR camera attached to telescope.
  • Jupiter was bright in the south south west throughout the evening.  It seemed like two or three of its moons were either behind the gas giant or in front of it.  For a while, two moons could be seen, for a while only one moon could be seen.
Jupiter with 2 moons showing.
  • According to Heavens-above.com, the International Space Station (ISS) was suppose to appear in the wsw @ 2251 hrs and disappear in the ssw @ 2254 hrs.  At 2252 hrs, ISS came into view in the wsw, moving slowly, low in the sky.  Appearing not as bright as Jupiter, I tracked the station with rigel red circle finder on scope while Diane of the SJAC looked through the eyepiece.  She couldn't see much detail, other than it wasn't perfectly round.  Station went out of sight directly south, far before it was suppose to, possibly because of clouds on the horizon.  
  • After this with my scope with 19mm eyepiece, searched the area of Bootes where Comet Johnson was suppose to be.  After an extensive search of the area, could not confirm a sighting.  This could have been due to brightness of Moons which was leaving deep shadows on the ground.
  • Around 2300 hrs Chris ran a cellphone video-cast via his Facebook live feed.  Lots of people commented online.  Chris asked me to give a Comet Johnson update.  We then talked about the Moon.
  • Objects observed with members of public:  ISS flyover, Albireo in the East, Moon in the East, Saturn in South East, Jupiter in the South west and managed to split Polaris the North Star.  Talked about, double stars, constellations the Milky-way and satellites.
Image taken with cellphone camera.



  • No shooting Stars were seen and many satellites were seen.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

MOON NEAR JUPITER

Location:  Front Deck, Little Lepreau, NB, Canada

Date Time:  June 3, 2017 2230-2430hrs

Weather:  Mostly clear to partly cloudy, breezy, a cool 5C, lots of dew, no bugs.

Equipment:  Canadian Telescopes 80ED/APO on Vixen Alt/Az mount, 19mm eyepiece, camera adapter.  Canon Rebel Xsi with 18-55mm lens, and tripod.  Images processed with ArcsoftMediaImpressions.

Attendance:  David McCashion.

Objective:  To view and image a close pairing of the Moon and Jupiter, and to view a double shadow transit of Jupiter.

Report:

  • Moon was waxing gibbous, very bright and about two degree above Jupiter.  Nice detail could be seen along terminator with one very well defined crater that stood out in the eyepiece.
  • While Imaging Moon, noticed that Jupiter was close enough to be in the same field of view!
  • Only one of Jupiter's Moons could be seen, very close to the gas giant.  Looked very closely across face of Jupiter, but could not locate a shadow that was suppose to be on the Planet from one of its Moons.  Io and Ganymede were suppose to be casting shadows from 2131-2421hrs according to SJAC What's Up calander.


Friday, June 2, 2017

SUNSPOT GROUP 2661

Location:  Front Porch, Little Lepreau, New Brunswick, Canada

Date Time: June 2nd, 2017 1330- 1515 hrs

Weather:  Mostly Sunny with lots of Thunderheads on the northern and southern horizons, windy and a cool 17 C.  Ed O'Reilly reported fog out over the Bay of Fundy and warned of possible thunder showers.

Attendance:  Becky L, and David McCashion in Little Lepreau and Ed O'Reilly reporting from West Saint John, NB

Equipment:  Canadian Telescopes 80 ED/APO with 19mm eyepiece, solar filter, cellphone adapter, Galaxy s5 cellphone camera, arcsoftmediaimpressions processing software.

Objective:  To view and image the Sun on a relatively rare clear day.  Almost two straight weeks of cloudy, rainy weather.

Report:

  • Found Sunspot Group 2661 very easily in the upper right section of the Sun, in the eyepiece field of view.  It is a big area of disturbance on the Sun and was reported to be a threat for cme activity by spaceweather.com.  It looked much clearer in the eyepiece than in image, with lighter colored markings around the darker sunspots.  Sun was much higher in sky than at other times of the year.  Very noticeably so...almost straight up.


Thursday, May 25, 2017

COMET C/2015 V2 JOHNSON

Location:  Front Deck, Little Lepreau, NB, Canada

Date Time:  May 24, 2017 2215-2400hrs.

Weather:  Cool, no wind, mostly clear, 7C, lots of dew, some bugs.

Equipment:  Canadian Telescopes 80 ED/APO with 19 mm eyepiece, camera adapter, Canon Rebel Xsi with 18-55 mm and 75-300 mm lenses.

Attendance:  Ed O'Reilly in Saint John and David McCashion in Little Lepreau.

Objective:  To view and image Comet Johnson which is suppose to be in Bootes.

Report:

  • Set up telescope around 2215 hrs, before it was completely dark.  Viewed Jupiter, which was high in southern sky, above Corvus.  Cloud bands showed up clearly and it seemed like the atmosphere was very steady, for a change.  Jupiter did not swim in the eyepiece.

Jupiter showing clouds.

Jupiter and four of its Moons.
  • Waited till after 2230 hrs to look for Comet, so that the sky would completely darken.  Searched the area of sky between Izar and Delta Bootes for Comet with scope and 19 mm eyepiece.  Didn't take long to find it.  A fuzzy patch that wasn't completely circular which hints that this comet has a tail.  Comet also appeared to be dimmer than it was a few nights ago, when I last observed it.  Ed O'Reilly from Saint John, via Twitter, said he found it also, in his 8" Dob, and he thought it was fainter also.  His show, "The Sky Above" is on today at 3 pm on 107.3 FM community radio.




  • One shooting star was observed through the corner of my eye, just north of due east at approx 2330 hrs.  Appeared reddish.  Ed also seen a shooting star that appeared reddish.  No satellites were seen.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

ASTRONOMY BY THE BAY

Location:  Saints Rest Beach, Saint John, NB, Canada

Date Time:  May 20, 2017 2130-2343 hrs

Weather:  Windy, mostly clear to clear, 9C, threat of frost over night, no bugs.

Equipment:  Chris's 10" Dob with 13 mm eyepiece, my 80 ED/APO with 19 mm eyepiece and camera attachments.  Canon Rebel Xsi with 18-55 mm lens.

Attendance:  Chris Curwin, Carla McCashion, David McCashion, and approx 7 others from the public.

Objective:  To observe with Chis down at the public beach so that passerby's and others can join in observing the night sky.

Report:

  • Took a long time for it to darken enough to see most of the stars.  Didn't get truly dark till 2230 hrs.
  • Chris showed many from the public Jupiter and four of its Moons.

  • Once it got dark enough Chris showed members of the public M13 and M57.  He also discussed the nature of the Massive Globular Cluster and Planetary Nebula which resembles a ghostly smoke ring.  A truly remarkable sight in a good telescope.
  • Shortly after this, I found Comet C/2015 V2 Johnson in eyepiece of my telescope.  Chris came and viewed it also, and we both agreed that we could see a faint tail.  Comet was fairly easy to find, above and to the right of Delta Bootes.  Brightish towards the center, medium sized with a little green showing.  Great telescope Comet that hopefully will brighten as it gets closer to Earth.  Closest approach is June 4.

  • Found M4 easily, next to Antares.  Its rising in the SE with Antares and Saturn.  M4 was faintish but very seeable in this small scope.  Saturn was very low in the SE and didnt appear till after 2315hrs.  Could just barely make out the rings in the eyepiece.


  • I seen one shooting star.  We searched for an International Space Station pass-over(tracked by Chris with his cellphone app) at 2201 hrs but none of us could see it.  We all agreed that there might have been too much light out to see it.
  • There were many satellites observed, including one spectacular multiple Iridium flaring one that passed through the northern sky from west to east.  As one observer named Matt said,  "It looked like a flaming torch."  It would brighten dramatically, then fade, then brighten dramatically again, over and over.  Incredible sight!
Note:
  • A special thanks to Chris Curwin for inviting the public to come share the night sky with his impressive selection of telescopes.  He does this frequently from Saints Rest Beach and even allows the public to image things, with their cellphone cameras, like the Moon through his telescope with special adapters and also just by hand held method.  He also is very knowledgeable about the night sky and its many wonders.  Thanks again Chris!  
  • Here is a link to his Facebook Page Astronomy By The Bay where he will let you know when he is going to be set up down at the beach.

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