Date Time: April 28, 2013 2100-2330hrs
Weather: At sundown temp was 15 degrees Celsius, at 2330hrs temp was 2 degrees Celsius, clear, no wind, excellent viewing. There was frost on the vehicles the next morning.
Equipment: Canon Rebel DSLR with 18-55mm and 75-300mm lenses, 20x80 binoculars, 8" Meade LX200 telescope with 32mm eyepiece, tripods for telescope and binos.
Objectives: To capture Comet PanStarrs in an image through telescope. Capture images of M52, M103, M76, and M34 which, along with PanStarrs are all in or around Cassiopeia which was in NNW sky at sundown.
Report: None of the objectives were met. Did get an image of PanStarrs (image can be seen below report)with camera and 75-300mm lens attached piggyback to the scope, but it did not turn out well because of poor focus. Could not find the comet through the scope, although many attempts were made.
Viewed Jupiter, which was low in the western sky at sundown, first through telescope. All 4 of its visible moons were on the left side of the big planet, with two of them very close. After the search for PanStarrs, images were taken of Jupiter.
It must be noted that there was trouble with the GoTo function on the telescope. After aligning the scope on Betelgeuse, the keypad said that Jupiter was below the horizon. Tried aligning on Polaris with the same result. At this point, the telescope was then pointed manually, with the keypad, so that the tracking could be used. This was the first time that Jupiter could not be found with the GoTo. Tracking did allow for images of the stars, even long exposure shots through telescope, although there were star trails in the images.
It also must be noted that there was something walking through the woods, behind the old house. Might have been a deer or moose...
This site was chosen because of its decent view of the western sky and its dark skies, but it has many down sides. There is usually a strong wind coming off the water, frequently cars will drive up and turn around with high beams gleaming. Even though this is a dead end road, there is frequent car traffic. Finding a good observing site, where there is little or no car traffic, dark skies, and a good view of the whole sky seems to be a challenge in itself.
Getting back to observing; The tripod mounted binoculars were used in an attempt to find the objective Messier objects. Did view a cluster of stars to the west of where I thought M103 should be. Could not confirm it was the open star cluster M103. None of the M objects could be confirmed. Jupiter and four of its moons were viewed.
|Observing site at sundown. April 28, 2013 2121hrs|
|Jupiter and four of its moons. April 28, 2013 2305hrs|
|Comet PanStarrs( low near center left of image) April 28, 2013 2137hrs|