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.