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Monday, December 14, 2015

GEMINID METEOR SHOWER 2015

Location:  Front of Big Shed Little Lepreau, NB, Canada

Date Time:  December 13, 2014  2100-2200hrs

Weather:  Mostly clear with some passing clouds.  Clouded over completely after about 2210hrs.  No wind 0C with a reported windchill of -4C.

Attendance:  Ed O., David M.

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

Objective:  To view and image as many shooting stars as possible.  This night was reported to be the peak of the 2015 Geminid Meteor Shower.

Highlights:

  • My wife Carla and I both seen a shooting star on our drive home, about 30 minutes before observing time.
  • Ed set his lawn chair so that he could watch to the North in the direction of the Big Dipper, Cepheus and Cassiopeia.  I set my lawn chair up and the camera so that Orion and Taurus area was covered.
  • Over the hour, Ed and I counted 22 Geminids and 2 Sparadics.  We agreed that the Geminids were slow moving but disagreed on the color.  Ed thought they looked greenish where I thought they looked more dark orange/yellowish.  They were notably slow moving with at least a couple looking like they changed direction.
  • Ed noticed that most of the ones he seen went in a sort of lane-way between Cepheus and Cassiopeia.
  • Most of the Geminds I seen were to the lower left and lower right of Orion, with one pass right through the bottom part of the great hunter.  Of course, they all came from the direction of Gemini.
  • I witnessed two sparadics which came from high over head to the East straight down almost at Gemini.  Both were much faster shooting stars and one was a very bright blue.
  • Over the course of the observing hour, imaged the whole hour in 25 second images.  Stitched the images together in PIPP program to make this 1 minuite video of the hour.  Only one Geminid was captured by video and it was faint.
  • One Satellite was captured in the images.


Images:



video




Sunday, December 6, 2015

COMET CATALINA C/2013 US10

Location:  Front Porch Little Lepreau, NB

Date Time:  December 6, 2015 0500-0700hrs AT

Weather:  Frosty -5C, clear with no wind.

Equipment:  Tripod mounted 20x80 binoculars, Canadian Telescopes 80 ed/apo with Rigel red circle finder and 2" 32mm eyepiece, a DSLR camera adapter all mounted on a Vixen Alt Az Mount.  Canon Rebel Xsi DSLR camera.

Attendance:  Myself

Objective:  To locate and image Comet Catalina which was suppose to be located in Virgo, next to Venus on this morning, before first light.

Highlights:

  • Found the comet after a brief search very close to where it was reported to be on heaven-above.com
  • Comet showed up as a faint gray fuzzball with a hint of tail in binos and in eyepiece of telescope.
  • Lots to look at: Venus, the Moon, Mars and Spica were close together, low in the East.  Jupiter was high overhead to the SE.
  • The Moon viewed very nicely in telescope with Earthshine illuminating Mare Chrism on the darken part of the Moon!  Many craters seen near terminator.   Atmosphere appeared very still in eyepiece when observing Moon.
  • Three of Jupiter's moons could be seen in eyepiece, but after processing image, it could be seen that two of the moons were very close to one another.
  • Mars disk is getting larger now that the Earth is catching it as we circle the Sun.  We will be much closer to Mars next spring.
  • Orion was observed low in the West during observing time.
  • No Satellites or shooting stars were seen.


Images:







Tuesday, November 17, 2015

OBSERVING REPORT FOR NOVEMBER 16, 2015

Location:  Side yard in Little Lepreau, NB

Date Time: November 16, 2015  1730-2200hrs

Weather:  Mostly cloudy early to mostly clear by 1900hrs, a very cold 2C with a windchill -4C,, some light breeze to no wind.  Looked like rain was possible early on.  Snowed earlier on through the day a little.

Attendance:  Brandon H, David M.

Equipment:  Canadian Telescopes 80ED/APO on Vixen Alt Az mount with 2" 32mm eyepiece.  Samsung Nexus  4 cellphone camera with Ioptron cellphone adapter with 15mm eyepiece and a Canon Rebel Xsi DSLR camera with adapter to connect to telescope.

Objective:  To image and view the Crescent Moon.

Highlights:

  • Brandon and I had a nice view of a Crescent Moon which was fairly high up, inbetween clouds early in the evening.  Many craters could be seen as well as Earthshine.  Brandon noted that stars could be seen next to the Moon in the eyepiece field of view.  Many images of Moon were taken with cellphone camera and DSLR camera.
  • We also had a very nice view of M45.  Brandon noted the shape of this star cluster and the tightness of the grouping.  A couple of images were taken with cellphone camera.
  • Searched for M13, but it was too low, behind some trees in the NW.
  • Searched around for M15 but couldn't find it.
  • As we were playing 21 basketball game, Brandon seen two shooting stars.  Might have seen one out of the corner of my eye.
  • No satellites were seen.


Images:

M45 with cellphone camera attached to telescope.




video

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

TAURID METEOR SHOWER

Location:  Stevens' House, Lepreau, NB, Canada

Date Time:  November 9, 2015  2100-0000hrs

Weather:  Cool 8C feels like 6C, dew point 2C no dew, no wind, clear very dark skies.

Equipment:  Stevens' 20' Dobsonion with 22mm 2" eyepiece and a stepladder to reach eyepiece!  My Canon Rebel XSi with 18-55mm and 75-300mm lenses and Samsung Nexus 4 cellphone camera.

Attendance:  Matthew W., Steven T, Ed O, and David M.

Objective:  To view Comet Panstarrs C/2013 X1 which was said to be in Perseus with Stevens huge telescope.

Highlights:

  • This might have been the last time we have access to Stevens big telescope due to circumstances, so we tried to see as many celestial objects as we could with limited time.
  • With Eds help, we found 17 Messier objects including 57, 13, 92, 27, 31, 45, 71, 15, 74, 1, 42, 43, 78, 33, 32, 110, and 77.
  • M15 was a first time for me.  Curt talked about it at the last Saint John Astronomy Club meeting and it was goal of mine.  According to William Henry Smyth in his 'Cycle of Celestial Objects', "Although this noble cluster is rated globular, it is not exactly round and under the best circumstances is seen as in the diagram, with stragglers branching from a Central blaze."  We all noted how bright the center of the globular appeared.
  • M78 was also a first for me.  Two close stars in a faint cloud.
  • My first view of M1.  A very ghostly, small cloud that seemed to have dimension to it.
  • M33 we all viewed faint spiral arms.
  • M42 and M43 were simply spectacular!  Two huge 'arms' of clouds with definite dimension and depth and a well defined head (M43)!  Ed and I agreed that this was the best we have ever seen this Nebula.  I have never seen it like this before!
  • Ed and I did an extensive search for Comet C/2013 X1, in Perseus to no avail.  We later found out that we were looking too far to the East.
  • Comet C/2014 S2 Panstarrs, in Ursa Minor was below the tree line during observing time.
  • The tail end of Pegasus star named Enif was used to find M15.  We all observed this star in Stephens' 20" Dobsonion and all agreed on how brilliantly yellow it was.
  • Rigel was split...barely.  The fainter companion was very close to main star in the 910 o'clock position.  A first time for me splitting this difficult double star.
  • The Taurid Meteor Shower was underway and put on a great show!  Matthew seen 6 Taurids and 2 others.  Ed and Steven seen several and I seen 10 Taurids, 3 others including 1 huge fireball that left a smoke trail.  Most that I seen were either in NW or almost straight up to the south.  The ones high up were faint and rather short while the ones to the NW were longer and brighter.  One Satellite was seen.


Images:
Orion over Stevens house with Canon and 18-55mm lens.
Area Comet Panstars was supose to be in Perseus with Canon and 75-300mm lens.


M42 with cellphone camera.  

Rigel with Cellphone camera

The next morning, Ed went out to check out the Conjunction and spotted this thin Crescent Moon!  I went out with the Canon and imaged it.


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

COMET PANSTARRS C/2014 S2

Location:  Little Lepreau, NB, Canada

Date Time:  November 2, 2015 2115-2145hrs

Weather:  Clouds along the horizon to the North and East, no wind, and a cool 5C.

Equipment:  20x80 binoculars, Canon Rebel Xsi with 18-55mm and 75-300mm lenses, both mounted on tripod.

Attendance:  David M

Objectives:  To view and image Comet PanStarrs C/2014 S2, which was near one of the Little Dippers(Ursa Minors') asterism stars.  Also, to watch for Auroras where were predicted to appear by spaceweather.com and to keep an eye out for Taurid Meteors, as the Taurid Meteor shower is still underway.

Highlights:

  • After an extensive search with binoculars, could not confirm a sighting of the faint magnitude 10 Comet.  Comet was suppose to be just West of Anwar during this time, according to this star chart at Heavensabove.com
  • Took images of Ursa Minor with both lenses, 15 second exposure images with 300mm lens, and 20 second exposure images with the smaller lens.  Didn't find the comet until the images were downloaded onto my computer, then processed with ArcsoftMediaImressions.
  • Two Taurids sighted.
  • One bright, medium speed, yellowish shooting star on a straight line from Pleiades starting in the NNE going NW.  Pleiades was fairly low in the East during observing time.
  • Second shooting star was same color and speed as the first, but came straight down from high over-head almost straight through the Little Dipper, as I was imaging it.  Didn't capture it in the image though.
  • No Auroras or satellites were observed.
Images:



Thursday, October 29, 2015

OBSERVING REPORT FOR OCTOBER 28, 2015

Location:  Front yard at Little Lepreau, NB

Date Time:  October 28, 2015 0600-0630hrs

Weather:  Mostly clear with some high, thin, hazy clouds, no wind and a very cool -4C.

Attendance:  David M.

Equipment:  Canon Rebel Xsi Camera on tripod with 18-55mm and 75-300mm lenses.

Objective:  To view and image Mars Venus Jupiter Conjunction which was suppose to be in the East on this morning.

Highlights:

  • Very cool out, lots of frost on everything.
  • A very bright Moon that was one day past full washed out most stars, but Leo in the East, Ursa Major in the North East and Orion in the South West stood out nicely, but much fainter than normal.
  • Sirius, the brightest star that can be seen from New Brunswick was observed in the South.
  • Conjunction formed a tight group just below Leo.
  • Vindemiatrix (Epsilon Virginis) was spotted rising just before first light.  This is interesting because in between this star and Denebola (Beta Leo) is the Virgo Cluster of Galaxies...which is a Spring time target for Amateur Astronomers. 
  • Towards the end of the observing session, a Lunar Corona formed around the Moon.
  • No Shooting stars and no satellites were seen.

Images: 







Close-up of Jupiter(upper right), Venus (center right), Mars(very bottom left)




Lunar Corona formed at around 0620hrs.



Monday, October 19, 2015

MARS JUPITER HALF DEGREE APART

Location:  Little Lepreau, NB

Date Time:  October 17, 2015  0615-0645hrs

Weather:  Frost, no wind, clear to partly cloudy, and -2C.

Attendance:  David M.

Equipment:  Canon Rebel Xsi with 18-55mm and 75-300mm lenses on tripod.

Objective:  To view and image the Mars and Jupiter which were reported to be a half degree apart on this morning.

Highlights:

  • Very nice bright conjunction of Venus Mars and Jupiter.  Mars and Jupiter were about a half finger width apart in the sky, as measured by holding by arm outstretched.
  • No Aurora activity.
  • No shootings stars seen, but many satellites were seen.
Images:





Thursday, October 15, 2015

MERCURY IN THE MORNING!

Location:  Upper driveway, near boat and then near shed, Little Lepreau, NB

Date Time:  October 9, 2015 0520-0725hrs AST

Weather:  Frost, -1C, no wind and some clouds.

Attendance:  Ed O and David M.

Equipment:  Canon Rebel Xsi and 18-55mm lens on Tripod.

Objective:  To view and image morning conjunction of Venus, Moon, Mars, Jupiter and Mercury that was suppose to be in the Eastern sky before sun-up.

Highlights:

  • Before first light, low in the East a Waning Crescent Moon was south of  Leo, amongst Venus, Mars  and Jupiter.
  • Images of the Northern sky were taken to capture Aurora activity.  No Aurora activity captured during observing period.
  • M31 observed naked eye in the North West also imaged.
  • Big Dipper was standing on its handle in the North East.
  • First light was just after 0630hrs.
  • Mercury made its first appearance around 0650hrs.  Showed up as a non twinkling star, between some clouds and amongst trees and power lines.  Was not easy to see.
  • I seen a slow moving, faint shooting star moving from the Orion(SE) direction through Leo(E).
  • Eds' observations by naked eye:  M42, Perseus Double Cluster(particularly bright!), Pleiades M45, a Draconid Meteor, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Mercury, Regulus, and a Crescent Moon with Earthshine.
  • One shooting star observed by each of us separately, several satellites observed.


Images:









Thursday, October 8, 2015

DAYTIME VENUS/MOON

Location:  Back deck Little Lepreau, NB

Date Time:  October 8, 2015 1335hrs AST

Weather:  Warm, sunny, light breeze to no breeze 13C.

Equipment: Canon Rebel Xsi with 75-300mm lens on tripod..

Images:


Unprocessed


Processed

MORNING CONJUNCTION

Location:  Driveway by the boat and front yard in Little Lepreau, NB

Date Time:  October 8, 2015 0500-0730hrs

Weather:  Very cool, frost, might have been first windchill of the fall, no wind, clear, according to intelicast.com 6C with windchill making it 4C at 0500hrs.  Cooled off considerably just before first light, around 0630hrs turned all the dew into ice(frost).

Attendance:  David M.

Equipment:  Canon Rebel Xsi with 18-55mm lens on tripod and attached to telescope at prime focus.  Telescope 8" Meade LX 200 with 2" 30mm eyepiece and Telerad.

Objective:  To view and image morning conjuction of the Moon, Venus, Regulus, Mars and Jupiter.

Highlights:

  • First thing that stood out was the very bright conjuction in the East that was completely above the horizon and rising at 0500hrs.  
  • An interesting note:  As the background stars of Leo are moving to the west as days go by... Venus and Mars appear to be moving to the East.  Planets are truly wanderers amongst the stars, as seen from Earth.
  • Jupiters bands faded in and out due to its low position in the sky.  Four of its Moons were nicely spaced apart with three on one side, and one on the other.  Jupiter was about nine degrees from Venus and about eleven degrees from the Moon.
  • Mars moving away from Regulus.
  • Aurora activity was reported around the world on Spaceweather.com  none was seen from here except for a faint glow.  Time elapse images did show a slight glow when image was processed.
  • Venus looks like a Crescent Moon in eyepiece.  Venus approximately three degrees from our Moon.
  • Windchill was a factor.  Telescope and camera attachments more difficult to work with.
  • One shooting star and no satelites were observed.
Images:
Jupiter and four of its moons.

Venus in its crescent moon phase.


Aurora glow?  You be the judge.
Orion under fairly dark sky conditions.

OSERVING REPORT FOR OCTOBER 7, 2015

Location:  Front yard at Little Lepreau, NB

Date Time: Oct 7, 2015 1400-1500hrs and 2100-2210hrs

Weather:  Afternoon-Sunny, few clouds, windy 18C and lots of hornets
Evening-Clear, few thin clouds, no wind, 10C, no bugs.

Equipment:  Afternoon- Telescope 8" Meade LX 200, with telerad and Canon Rebel Xsi with 18-55 mm and attached to scope at prime focus.

Evening- 20x80 binoculars on tripod, Sky & Telescopes Pocket Sky Atlas and Brent Watson's Finder Charts of The Messier Objects.

Attendance:  David M.

Highlights:  

  • In the afternoon, set up scope and used it to view and image the Moon which was setting in the West.
  • After dark around 2100 set up binoculars and located and viewed following deep sky objects.
  • M8 Lagoon Nebula bright reds and blues.  Setting in the SW.
  • M20 Some nebulosity.
  • M22 bright globular cluster
  • M28 faint globular
  • M25 bright, spread out cluster.
  • M11 bright cluster with nebulosity?  My first time viewing and finding.
  • M31 Absolutely huge taking up most of field of view!  In my opinion, binoculars is best way to view this object.
  • M45 Many, many stars in field of view.  Huge takes of most of field of view.
  • Perseus Double Cluster, aka NGC 884 and NGC 869.  Huge in field of view.  Binoculars is a great way to view these side by side objects.
  • M103 Bright cluster, a first time observing this object.
  • While searching for M103, around Cassiopeia, it must be noted that there are many, many stars in in this region when scanning with binoculars.  Same can be said for area to the right of and above Sagittarius.
  • No shooting Stars or Satellites were observed.


Image:




Monday, September 28, 2015

LUNAR ECLIPSE 2015

Location:  Irving Nature Park, Saint John, NB, Canada

Date Time:  September 27, 2015 1915-0130hrs  Setup at the park was from 2115-0030hrs.  Left park at 0045hrs.

Weather:  Very windy, strong gusts reportedly 30km/hr all night, 12C all evening, very cool, some clouds, hazy, lots of dew, no bugs.

Attendance:  Mike P, Ed O, Steven T, Adrian B, Curt N, June M, Matthew W, Allan H, David M and approximately 225 from the general public for a talk put on by Curt and observing with at least a dozen telescopes set up in the upper parking lot.

Equipment:  Canadian Telescopes 80 ED/APO on a Vixen Alt Az Mount, 12mm eyepiece, Rigel Red circle finder.  8" Meade LX 200, 32mm eyepiece, Telerad and piggy back attachment for telescope.  Canon Rebel Xsi with 18-55mm and 75-300mm lenses, tripod and an attachment to connect to both telescopes.

Objective:  To view and image my first known Lunar Eclipse and to share my astronomy knowledge and telescopes with the general public.

Highlights:

  • Aligned big scope on Polaris.
  • Viewed Saturn myself.  Was really low on the horizon around 2130hrs, didn't show up well.  None of its moons were visible.  Reddish, hazy and warbled around in eyepiece, but rings were visible.  Public were attending Curts talk at this time.
  • Set big scope on Polaris to show public that this is a double star in a backyard telescope.  Pointed out to the approx. ten people who viewed it that Hubble has found a third star in this system.
  • Kept small scope on the Moon all night, available to the public.  At least 30 people viewed different phases of the eclipse through my scope.
  • By 2315hrs many stars began to pop out as the sky darkened, due to the eclipse.  M31 was visible with averted vision and at least once with direct sight.  Milky Way was not visible before the eclipse, appeared during the eclipse.
  • Through the eyepiece of small scope and in a few images, during darkest period of eclipse, stars were visible next to the Full Eclipsed Moon.
  • Through small scope during total eclipse phase, Moon appeared grayish.
  • During total eclipse,  Moon had a red 'tinge' to it when viewed naked eye.
  • Eclipse started on left side of Moon and finished on Right.  Eclipse stared at approx 2200hrs and lasted till 0130hrs.
  • 0545 hrs wake up to fog!
  • No shooting stars or satelites seen.  Many airplanes.


Images:


Canon Rebel with 18-55mm lens on tripod.

Canon Rebel with 75-300mm lens on tripod.

Canon Rebel with 75-300mm lens on tripod.

Canon Rebel with 18-55mm lens on tripod.

Canon Rebel attached to big telescope with adapter at prime focus.
Canon Rebel attached to big telescope with adapter at prime focus.


Canon Rebel attached to big telescope with adapter at prime focus.

Canon Rebel attached to big telescope with adapter at prime focus.

Canon Rebel attached to big telescope with adapter at prime focus.


Canon Rebel attached to big telescope with adapter at prime focus.

Canon Rebel with 18-55mm lens attached piggyback to big scope.
Star visible just to the lower left of the Moon.  Canon Rebel attached to small telescope at prime focus.


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