Sunday, November 24, 2013


Location:  Little Lepreau, New Brunswick, Canada

Date Time:  November 23, 2013 1730-2000 hrs

Weather:  Windy, 0 degrees Celsius, clear

Attendance:  Becky L, Jessica K, Carla M and Myself

Equipment:  Meade LX 200 8"  Telescope, 2x Barlow, 32 mm eyepiece, CT 3000 Planetary Imager, Canon Rebel DSLR camera with 18-55 mm and 75-300 mm lenses.

Objective:  To view and image Venus and to show Becky and Jessica that Venus appears in phases like the Moon.

Report:  Started out in the twilight, just after sundown.  Venus shown brightly in the SW.  Set the scope up and with the 2" 32 mm eyepiece in the 2x Barlow, easily found and viewed Venus.  Venus was shaped like a crescent and shimmered like it was on fire.  Both Becky and Jessica were very impressed at seeing our sister planet in its crescent phase.

At this point it was time to start imaging.  First hooked up the planetary imager to the laptop and located Venus in the view screen.  As Carla has a stigmatism, she can not look through the eyepiece, but she was able to view Venus on the laptop view screen.

At around 1900 hrs, to the east Taurus was starting to rise with M 45 above it.  Imaged M 45 in a closeup with the camera and 300 mm lens.  Then took a larger field of view image with the 18-55 mm lens, showing all of Taurus and M 45.

After this, the telescope was pointed west, towards Delphinus and Altair.  This direction is interesting, because there was a super nova in Delphinus earlier this year, in the summer time.

One faint shooting star was seen in the SW high.  No Satellites were seen.

Delphinus and Altair

Venus image taken with planetary imager attached to eyepiece of telescope

Venus image taken with DSLR camera attached to eyepiece of telescope

M45 image taken with DSLR and 300mm lens attached to telescope

M45 and Taurus

Sunday, November 17, 2013


Location:  Little Lepreau, New Brunswick, Canada

Date Time:  November 17, 2013 2020 hrs Atlantic Standard Time

Weather:  4 degrees Celsius, no wind, slight breeze on the ground, windy higher up in the sky, very cloudy to partly cloudy.  Big wind and rain storm is in forecast for tomorrow morning.  Possibly 90 kph winds

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


Location:  Little Lepreau, NB, Canada

Date Time:  Nov 13/13 0400-0530 hrs

Weather:  -5 degrees Celsius, clear, light breeze

Attendance:  Myself

Equipment:  20x80 Binoculars, tripod

Objective:  To locate and view comet ISON.

Report:  It has been reported on and in the last couple of days that comet ISON has now approached magnitude 8.  This should make ISON visible with theory. As the weather was calling for clear skies this morning(its been cloudy and rainy here for at least a week), it was decided to get up for an early morning observing session to try to locate and view ISON.

After getting up at 0400, went out for quick look to see what the sky and weather were doing.  It was cold, but clear, with almost no wind at the time.  Stars were shining brightly.  Easily picked out Leo, part way up in the sky in the east.  Looked for Leo because Regulus and Mars are in Leo and are a great jumping off pair to find ISON.  Could not find ISON at this time with naked eye.  Went in to access an on-line star chart to get a better idea of where ISON was located in the sky, exactly.  A couple of weeks ago, it was right next to Mars, which was close to Regulus, a bright star in Leo.  At this time ISON is moving very quickly almost straight at the Sun, so not surprisingly, it is moving from constellation Leo to the one that is below it in the morning.

After setting up the computer, and trying to log on to my star chart, for some reason the star chart would not load, although everything else loaded, all be it extremely slowly.  So, in effect, there was no star chart to help tell what was where.

Went out with the tripod mounted 20x80 binoculars at 0500 hrs and searched the eastern sky for ISON. Easily located Leo, then found Mars.  The comet was suppose to be almost on a straight line from Regulus to Mars to ISON.  ISON being equidistant to the distance from Mars to Regulus, approximately.  There was no confirmed sighting of ISON by this observer on this morning, although there were bright stars in the area where ISON was suppose to be, no tail or anything that would be set one star out from the other could be seen.

Observed Ursa Major(The Big Dipper) standing on end in the NE, Cassiopeia in the NW, Jupiter almost straight up to the SW, M45 low in the west and Orion in the SW.

No shooting stars or satellites were observed on this morning and did not confirm Mercury which was suppose to rise at around 0530 hrs.

Saturday, November 9, 2013


Was talking on the phone about 5pm on Nov 7 when I noticed this bird walking on our front lawn.  Wasn't sure what the official name of this kind of bird was, but did recognize it from my trips to Florida.  I've never seen this bird north of Florida, but after doing some Google research, found out that its called a Snowy Egret and its range is from Florida to Virginia.

There were strong southerly winds for about 3 days which probably explains its presence.  It sometimes happens that southern birds and sea creatures will venture north when warm winds and ocean currents blow north.

Just as a point of interest...While driving home from St George on Nov4 at around 4pm at around Penfield, NB, three of us witnessed an genuine 'Black Cat' eastern cougar on the road in front of us.  It ran down the road about 100 yards ahead of us for about a solid minute before hoping into a thicket.  Sadly I didn't get a picture, because I thought it was a dog until I seen it hop sideways into the woods.

Sunday, November 3, 2013


Location:  Little Lepreau, NB, Canada

Date Time:  November 3, 2013 0500-0830 hrs

Weather:  Light to heavy snow, thick clouds started to break up at 0730 hrs.  Gusty, light to moderate winds blowing to the west.  Temperature stayed about the same at a little above 0 degrees Celsius.

Equipment:  None

Attendance:  Myself

Objective:  To view and image the partial solar eclipse through the 8" Meade LX 200 solar filtered telescope.

Report:  After hearing Curt's talk last night at the monthly Saint John Astronomy Clubs monthly meeting, detailing the sun rise to 0814 hrs partial solar eclipse, this observer got up at approximately 0500 hrs to get ready for this phenomenon. As the Comet ISON and 3 other comets rise in the east with Mars in Leo, just before sunrise, it was going to be an excellent morning for observing.

As it were, at 0500 hrs it was lightly snowing with solid clouds covering the stars.  Between 5 and 6 the snow got heavier, then suddenly stopped.  The website Intellicast was utilized to view the satellite images of the cloud situation for our area.  It showed a solid line of clouds moving across the whole east coast, moving from SW to NE with the closest clear skies in Northern NB somewhere south of Edmonston stretching up to the St Lawrence Seaway.

At this time it was decided to not make a relocating attempt to achieve the objective.  Simply too far, in fact it was impossible to drive that far before sun rise which was about 0700.

Just after sunrise, the clouds started to break up, ever so slightly.  By 0750 there was a thin patch of blue sky showing to the NE.  The Sun actually peaked from behind the clouds at 0822 hrs.  By 0900 it was a beautiful, almost clear morning with a very slight breeze.

This partial solar eclipse could not be observed from this location.  Maybe next time

Notes:  No shooting stars or satellite or stars were observed during this session.  Daylight Savings Time ended at 0200 hrs.  The extra hour in the morning was very nice to have for a change.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Location:  Little Lepreau, New Brunswick

Date Time:  October 29, 2013 1930-2000 hrs/ October 30, 2013 0600 hrs

Weather:  -2 degrees Celsius, clear, no wind and frosty in the evening.  -5 degrees Celsius, clear, no wind and very frosty in the morning.

Equipment:  Canon DSLR camera and tripod

Attendance:  Myself

Evening Report:  While out in the front yard on the evening of  the 29th, checked on the sky situation and noticed almost perfect conditions.  Venus stood out brilliantly  in the SW sky right next to Sagittarius and the Milky way.

Viewing Sagittarius is kind of special, because it is primarily a summer constellation that goes down quickly in the fall evenings and is not view-able for most of the winter.   It is also a noteworthy constellation because of it is located in the same direction as the center of our galaxy, the Milky Way.  This is an interesting area of our sky, because there is so much going on in this direction.  The center of our galaxy is thought to contain a massive black hole that causes all the stars and interstellar gases and matter to circle it because of its enormous mass.  Like water circling a drain, the closer you get to the center of the whirlpool, the faster things are happening and, in the case of a galaxy, the more stars, globular clusters, gas and materials that exist in a relatively small area of the sky.  This makes it so that there is more for the amateur astronomer to see.

While imaging Sagittarius, the lens and camera fogged up, do to either frost or dew.  This happened very fast.  After only two images the lens was completely fogged over, which perhaps accounts for the less than perfect focus in the image.

In the image, the Lagoon Nebula, also known as M8 was clearly visible to the west of Sagittarius and to the SE of Venus.

Delphinus and Sagitta were observed with naked eye, high over-head to the SSE.  The super nova star, which flared up in the middle of the summer, in the constellation Delphinus with Sagitta the arrow pointing straight at it, was not visible.  Note:  Delphinus is yet another constellation of stars which loosely resembles a dipper.

Cassiopeia was observed high in the NE.

Morning Report:  In the morning, a quick observation, looking for comet ISON was done.  A crescent Moon was low in the East right next to Mars.  Of course, the comet was not visible to this observer, as it is still too faint see naked eye.  Its important to keep viewing this comet, because it could flair up at any time and become a naked-eye comet.  It would be amazing to be among the first to see it, naked eye.

As usual, my favorite constellation, Orion was observed midway up in the sky in the SW.

The Big Dipper was also observed, standing on end, high in the NE.

No satelites or shooting stars were observed, neither in the evening or in the morning.
Sagittarius and Venus low in SW at 1950 hrs.  Canon DSLR and 18-55mm lens 30 second shutter speed, 1600 ISO

Monday, October 21, 2013


Location:  Little Lepreau, NB, Canada

Date Time:  October 21, 2013 0500-0600 hrs and 1130-1240 hrs

Weather:  Clear, cool 5 degrees Celsius, no wind to light breeze at 0600 hrs. Warm, breezy, 15 degrees Celsius, 15 mph winds, high wispy clouds, mostly sunny at 1200 hrs

Equipment:  8" Meade LX200, Canon DSLR solar filter attached to telescope for solar imaging and observing.

Attendance:  Myself

Objective:  To observe and image Comet ISON which is in Leo, near Mars.

Report:  The main focus on this morning was to view and image Comet ISON.  After observing with the telescope and a 32 mm eyepiece, and taking many time exposure images of the area around Mars, a confirmed sighting could not be made.  It was surprising that the comet didn't stand out in the images, because there have been many reported sightings and many images posted on the internet.  Sites like and are posting lots of images of comet ISON by amateur astronomers as well as many confirmed sightings through binoculars and telescopes.

This comet is suppose to go very close to the sun around the end of November, so it will brighten in the near future.  This observer will be watching, hopefully the weather will cooperate!

Jupiter was viewed through the telescope.  Only 3 moons were observed and there were stars visible in the background, which is rare in this observers experience.

Two shooting stars in the SE were observed.  One coming straight down, the other coming from the direction of Orion. Both were very fast with the Orionid quite bright.

Around noon, the solar filter was attached and the Sun was observed.  Many sunspots were seen including the Sunspot groups 1877 and 1875 and sunspot 1872.  For a neat video of the Sun at this time go to this webpage.

Sunspot group 1875 looked like a small dipper which was very interesting.  Its amazing how many star formations look like a dipper.  Examples are the Big Dipper (Ursa Major), Small dipper (Ursa Minor), M45 and M42 all have formations that look like a dipper.  Seeings how sunspots could be affected somehow by gravity, there could be some general gravitational affect that causes bodies to form like this.  It could also be a coincidence.

It must be noted how we are getting lots of nice observing weather, which has been exceedingly rare for this area over the last year at least.

M45 image taken on October 14, 2013 with just camera and 300 mm lens

Mars looking for Comet ISON time elapse 6 second


Jupiter 1/8 second elapsed time image.  This is done to bring out the cloud lines.

Jupiter at 4 second exposure

M42 at 4 second time exposure

M42 at 30 second time exposure

Sirius, Orion, and Taurus in the SW at dawn.

Jupiter, almost straight up to the SE at dawn.

Mars in Leo, looking east at dawn.

Sun 1/8 second time exposure 12

Sunspot groups 1877 and 1875 and sunspot 1872

Sunday, October 13, 2013


Location:  Little Lepreau, NB, Canada

Date Time:  October 12, 2013 2110-2130 hrs

Weather:  0 degrees Celsius, frost warning on for this evening, no wind, some light, high level wispy clouds.

Attendance:  Rebecca L, Brad H, myself

Equipment:  8" Meade LX200 telescope, 32 mm 2" eyepiece with 2X Barlow, cellphone camera, planetary imager

Objective:  To view and image the Lunar Straight Wall for the first time.

Report:  Thanks to some fabulous weather, was able to get the telescope out two nights in a row!

After listening to Curt N talk about the Lunar Straight Wall during his 'Whats up' talk during the October 5 Saint John Astronomy Club meeting, it was decided to make an effort to observe this phenomenon on the evening of Oct 12, 2013.  Actually, the Lunar Straight Wall has been on my must see list for years.  What makes it so tricky to see is that its only visible around the time of an 8 day old Moon, which is kind of a narrow window, when you consider all factors like weather, work schedule and other activities have to line up for the once a month chance to see it.

After setting up the scope, the Straight Wall was observed for my first time, then confirmed by googling Straight Wall.  This showed lots of images taken by other amateur astronomers.  With distinctive craters on either side of the 120 km long, 250-450 m high embankment, it was easy to confirm that this was indeed a confirmed sighting of Rupes Recta aka The Straight Wall!

Bradly enjoyed seeing all the details in the craters and Becky actually said she seen the Straight Wall.

After this images and a video were taken with the cellphone camera, in which the Wall could clearly be seen. Then the planetary imager was employed, which again showed the Wall clearly.  The images below are from the planetary imager.

No Shooting stars or satellites were seen on this evening.

Saturday, October 12, 2013


Location:  Irving Nature Park, Saint John, New Brunswick

Date Time:  October 11, 2013  1830-2130 hrs

Weather:  18-12 degrees Celsius from sunset to sundown.  Partly cloudy, high wispy clouds, lots of moisture and disturbance in the air.  No wind at first, some light wind near the end.  Some dew.

Attendance:  From the Saint John Astronomy Club:  Peter J., June M, Bob H., Stephen T., Ed, Adrian B, Curt N, Chris C, and at least two others whose names I do not know, and myself.  Overall there were nine telescopes set up by members of SJAC for the purpose of public observing.  From the public:  150 Attendees.

Equipment:  8" Meade LX200 telescope, 2" 32 mm eyepiece with 2X Barlow.

Objective:  To spark an interest in astronomy among the general public.

Report:  The two big things to remember on this evening were the very, unseasonably warm temps, which brought out the vile mosquitoes and the International Space Station (ISS) pass-over at around 1900 hrs.

It was t-shirt weather when I first arrived at the park to set up and the mosquitoes were out in force.  It did not cool down much throughout the evening until after 2100 hrs.

Sometime around 1900, after my scope was set up, someone spotted a very bright satellite going past the Moon from South West to East, high in the sky at around the level of the Moon.  I managed to manually track the satellite using the telerad guiding device and had Ed look through the eyepiece at the same time.  Ed was able to confirm it was the ISS, because he witnessed the distinctive solar panel 'wings'.

Curt gave a talk at the pavilion, which ended around 1930 hrs.  After that the 150 or so public attendees came up to where we had the telescopes set up.  At this time Venus was showing up nicely in the west just above some clouds. This was my first target of the night with the telescope.

Venus was 60% illuminated, which made it look like a gibbous moon.  Because of the atmospheric distortion it was shimmering with different colors (mostly reddish colors) through the scope.  Many observers commented that it looked like Venus was on fire.  At least 20 or 30 people observed Venus through my scope.  An attempt was made to image Venus with the Canon DSLR camera attached to the eyepiece holder to no avail.  Could not get Venus to show up in the view screen for some unknown reason.  Time was working against me as the planet was going out of sight behind some trees and far off clouds on the horizon.

After this, the First Quarter Moon was targeted with the telescope.  Peter observed an X on the terminator through his telescope, which was a 12" Dobsonion Light Bridge.  After observing for a bit, it stood out for me as well in my scope.  After a while, when the observer traffic slowed down I attempted to image this X with my cell phone camera.  The results are below.  It does show up in the image. After doing some research, it was confirmed that this was indeed the Lunar X that is only visible for 4 hours during the first Quarter Moon.

At least 30 or more people observed the Moon through my scope.  Stephen had a line-up of over 20 people at one time to view the Moon through his 25" Dobsonion, known as 'Big Ass'.  This is the largest telescope in New Brunswick, I've heard.  Its so big they use a ladder to climb up to view through it.  Very impressive!

It was very encouraging to have so many people take their time to attend and show an interest in astronomy. They were very thankful to use our telescopes and had some very good questions that, were lots of fun to answer.  A very enjoyable evening.

One shooting star and one satellite was observed by myself on this evening.  I did hear others say they seen three satellites.

Image of the Lunar X taken with my Nexus 4 cellphone camera.

Monday, September 30, 2013


Delphinius, Sagitta, and Altair, Canon Rebel Xsi with 18-55mm lense, 25 second exposure, ISO 1600
Sagittarius and M8 Canon Rebel Xsi with 18-55mm lens, 25 second exposure, ISO 1600

Date Time:  September 27, 2013 2030-2100hrs

Location:  Little Lepreau Basin, Little Lepreau, NB

Weather:  8 degrees Celsius, clear no wind

Equipment:  Canon Rebel DSLR camera with 18-55mm lens, 20x80 binoculars, and tripod.

Attendance:  Myself

Objective:  To locate, view and image M8 The Lagoon Nebula.

Report:  The weather and viewing conditions on this evening were almost perfect.  No flies, no wind and it was almost as comfortable as sitting in the living room, although were was some dew on everything when the equipment was brought in.

Sagittarius was the prime target area on this evening because it will not be up in the evening much longer.  With the prevailing weather and bug situation being what it has been, this constelation is a rare treat to view, as it lies in the direction of the center of our Galaxy.  This is important because that is where a lot of nice deep sky obects lie.  Objects like M8, M20 and M17.

The camera was set up first for a long exposure image of Sagittarius, which was low in the SSW at around 2030hrs.  It after the first 25 second exposure image was taken then observed in the digital view finder of the camera, when M8 was first observed.  After viewing the image, a mental note of where M8 was located was made so that further observing with the binoculars later. 

After imaging Sagittarius, the camera was pointed in the direction of Dephinius, Sagita and the bright star Altair.  This area was important, because there was a bright super nova in this region about a month ago.  A 25 second exposure was taken of this area.

At this point the 20x80 binoculars where set on the tripod.  M8 was located and observed, to the west of Sagittarius.  It showed up nicely in the binos as a bluish, reddish cloud that looked like a smaller M42.  After scanning this area, it was impressive how many stars show up in the milky way cloud.

After viewing Sagittaruius in the binos, Cassiopeia and M31 were the next target areas.  The viewing was so good that M31 could easily be seen with the naked eye.  With averted vision the whole galaxy showed up, which was shocking to see how big it really is.  It is easily bigger than the full Moon, although really dim, it is a sight that will not be soon forgotten, for it is rare for the conditions to be good enough to find this deep sky object with the naked eye.  Actually, this is how this observer determines how good the viewing conditions are...If you can find M31 with the naked eye, you have an excellent night for observing.

While scanning M31 with the binos, two satelites went right through the viewer.  They could not be seen with the naked eye, but would only show up in the binos.

A rather dim shooting star was observed, going from west to south east high over head.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Location:  Little Lepreau, NB

Date Time:  July 15, 2013 2120-2330hrs

Weather:  No Wind, mostly clear except for some high level haze, humid, 18 degrees Celsius.  Lots of mosquitos.

Equipment:  Meade LX200 8 inch telescope with 2 inch 32mm eyepiece.  CT3000 Planetary Imager, Canon Rebel DSLR camera with 18-55mm and 75-300mm lenses, laptop.

Objective:  To try out 'new to me' planetary imager for first time.

Report:  Venus was observed low in the NW just after sundown.  It was behind some trees, so it took some moving around to finnally see it.  Venus was too far north of the Moon-Spica-Saturn conjunction and hidden by trees to get a good image of it with the conjunction.

Viewing the Quarter Moon through the telescope and 32 mm eyepiece, many craters and features could be clearly seen.  The scope was then manually pointed at Saturn.  Two of Saturns moons were observed and the degree of seperation of the rings were very impressive.  Goto was not used on this night.

The Big Dipper was observed high in the NNW just over the peak of the house, from the front yard, and an image was taken.  Leo, was observed almost due south and imaged.  Cassiopea was observed in the NE but not imaged.

The Quarter Moon-Spica-Saturn conjunction was the highlight of the night.  Many images were taken.  The new to me CT3000 Planetary Imager was used for the first time.  After much tinkering to get it to work with the laptop(on a previous occassion) the imager worked excellent.  It hooked up easily and was simple to work with, providing many excellent images.  CCD cameras are very expensive, so this relatively inexpensive planetary imager is a very good alternative for astro imagers on a budget, in my opinion.

No shooting stars or satelights were observed on this evening.  Probably one of the warmest nights of the year for observing.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Location: Maces Bay, NB

Date Time: May 27, 2013 2100-2200hrs

Weather: At 2000hrs clouds were starting to clear, temps 18 degrees Celsius, by 2100hrs it was mostly clear and the sun had set, with a light breeze. By 2200hrs, it was clear, no wind, temperature went down to 7 degrees Celsius, with the weather stations calling for frost over night.

Equipment: Canon DSLR camera and 75-300mm lens, tripod.
Objective: To Image Jupiter-Venus-Mercury conjunction.

Report: The cloudy weather started to break up in the afternoon to give a nice evening for observing the western sky.  After arriving around 2100 on a beach near Maces Bay, no stars were seen, as it was still too bright out...the sun had just set.  Watched the sky until 2122hrs, that was when Venus seemed to pop out.  Jupiter came into view shortly after this, then at 2132 hrs, a very dim mercury came into view.  At last, the elusive trio were finally viewed by this observer!

Jupiter-Bottom Left...Venus Bottom Right...Mercury on Top.  2150hrs

Monday, May 27, 2013


Location: Maces Bay, NB

Date Time: May 26, 2013 2100-2200hrs

Weather: 8 degrees Celsius, no wind, humid, mainly cloudy except for narrow breaks in rain clouds. Clouds did not seem to move.

Equipment: Canon DSLR camera, 18-55mm and 75-300mm lenses, tripod, images processed on

Objective: To image the Jupiter-Venus-Mercury conjunction.

 Report: It rained for the last 5 days straight with absolutely no breaks in the clouds, however, the clouds started to breakup on Monday May 26. Went down to the beach and there were very narrow bands of slightly clear skies. After about 10 minutes of seeing no planets or stars, a bright 'star' shone through between the clouds. After a few minutes another, dimmer planet appeared slightly to the left of where the first planet was seen. By this time, the first planet went behind the clouds.

A few images were taken at this time, until the slow moving clouds covered this planet. Was not sure at this time which planet it was, but after looking on the star-dome, it was determined that that the planet to the left was Jupiter and to the right and lower in the sky was Venus. Mercury was not seen, according to the star-dome, it should have been above Venus.
Interesting cloud formation
Cloudy skies make it hard to see conjunctions
Two of the three conjunction planets showed up in this image


Location: Little Lepreau, NB

Date Time: May 27, 2013 Times vary

Equipment: Canon DSLR camera, 75-300mm lens, images processed on

Blue Jay
Blue Jay
Jem and two Blue Jays
Blue Jays


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