Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Beaker Wins Big

Observing Report for September 20/10


Date: September 20, 2010 2230-0055hrs

Location: Prince of Wales, NB

Weather: 10 degrees Celsius, clear, gusting winds

Attendance: Anthony M, David M

Equipment: 150 mm reflector on EQ3 mount, 32mm and 16mm eyepieces, mounted C190 Kodak digital camera, mounted 20x80 binoculars.

Report: There was a very bright waxing gibbous moon high in the south. Jupiter was about the same elevation but to the East.

This was the night of opposition for Jupiter and also a conjunction of Jupiter and Uranus(nice pic of Jupiter, 4 of its moons and a faint green Uranus is below). The Earth will not be this close to Jupiter again until 2022, and it was very easy to tell that we were close, as three of Jupiter's moons showed up with binoculars( normally only get two).

Jupiter was huge when viewed and its moons were brighter than I have ever seen them. The moons were nicely spread apart with two on each side. With the 16mm eyepiece, a faint reddish line could be seen across Jupiter, although this did not show up in the pictures.

Anthony was very impressed with how nicely Jupiter showed up in the binoculars. He was also impressed with M45 thru the binos. I also observed M45 which was in the east, and looked for the Andromeda Galaxy M31 to no avail. M31 was almost straight up around midnight, which makes finding it hard with the binos. The bright moon did not help either and normally I can pick it out with my naked eye but could not on this night.

Obtained many nice pictures of the moon. It was so bright that it would actually sting your eye to look at it. This is where the camera comes in handy, as it absorbs the glare so you can just stand back and observe in comfort. Nice views of Tyco, and Mare Crissum. Looked for 'The Lady On The Moon', found it, but it did not come into focus well.

I am finding that this camera is not focusing well on a lot of shots. The end picture ends up being out of focus, even though it looks in focus when you take it. Overall, I am not happy with the Kodak digital camera. I find it overly complicated compared to the Olympus and its pictures are routinely out of focus.

We also observed the Big Dipper, Cassiopeia and Pegasus.

Pictures for this night are in the next post.

Observing 20 Sept/10 POW

Night of Opposition for Jupiter. Uranus is at conjuntion with Jupiter(second picture down).

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Pics From The Road

Date and Time: Sept 18/10 0130 hrs

Location: Drummondville, QC

Notes: Two pictures of the moon and one of Jupiter and two of its moons.

We are getting very close to Jupiter right now. In fact, on Sept 21/10 is the nearest we will get. The next time we get this close to Jupiter is 2022, because of how the earths orbit is compared to Jupiters. Our orbits are not perfectly circular or flat, so that accounts for the difference in distance that occurs when we lap Jupiter every 13 months.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Phases of Venus

Picture from

Scientific Method

These are the steps to follow for the Scientific Method(from

1. Ask a Question
2. Do Background Research
3. Construct a Hypothesis
4. Test Your Hypothesis by Doing an Experiment
5. Analyze Your Data and Draw a Conclusion
6. Communicate Your Results

You don't have to be a Professional Scientist to observe what you see around you from day to day. In fact, that is what pure science is, in my opinion, observing your surroundings and questioning what you don't understand and then attempting to find the answer.

It is very easy, and, in fact, tempting to observe something in nature (bending trees, strange weather, celestial activity, etc, etc...) and jump to a grandiose conclusion. This is what sets a good scientist apart. He or she will question and record the observation, then perform the Scientific Method.

Many times in my own observations, I want to jump to a conclusion, just to solve the puzzle fast. It takes a concerted effort to not accept the fast conclusion and to do research into the issue at hand to be more sure of a correct answer.

This is the nice thing about being a Citizen Scientist, there are Professional Scientists and many years of research available on the Internet, the library or in the case of a scientist, a phone call to your local university.

This can be an inexpensive, educating and fun way to pass your extra time.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

September 11, 2010 Moon Venus

Crescent Moon and Venus on 9/11, 2010 1930hrs at St. Anne De Sault, QC. Was lucky to get these pics as there were some high level clouds that threatened to block the view of this conjunction before Venus became visible.

There have been a lot of cloudy days lately, so it really was lucky to get a glimpse of this and with much talk of this conjunction in the media it makes it even more special.

Venus is very low in the west as the sun goes down now so there isn't much time to get a good shot of it, especially if there are any clouds in the western sky. Also, there was a lot of moisture in the air, which also affects image quality.

If you view Venus through binoculars or a small telescope, you will see that it is the same shape as a Waning Gibbous Moon. Mercury and Venus go through the same phases as the Moon(although much slower) because they are inside the Orbit of the Earth.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Pics From The Road

Observing Notes:
Only used the mounted digital camera for these pictures.

Orion is now coming over the eastern horizon at around 2-3AM. First noticed it coming over the horizon about 3 weeks ago early in the morning, just before sun-up.

Was able to get two of Jupiters moons without the aid of a telescope. That shows the differance between a dark sky, away from all the street lights and a non dark sky in the city.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

27 Aug/10 Observing at Hartland, NB Moon and Jupiter

Videos From The Road

The top video was taken at St. Leonard, NB 27Aug/10 at 0130. It shows the Moon and Jupiter behind fast moving clouds.

The bottom video was taken at Hartland, NB 27 Aug/10 at 2230. It also shows the Moon and Jupiter. You will notice that the glare from the Moon is cut down from time to time during this video, that is because I placed a sunglass lense in front of the camera. It worked good for the moon but it competely blotted out Jupiter.


More Pics of Summertime Bending Trees

These pictures were taken on 26 Aug/10 near Ottawa, ON. There are stands of Poplar and White Birch that are bending over here and there along the highway and in the woods.

It is an interesting phenomena that is still a mystery to me. Wind, excess ice and snow are not factors.


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