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Saturday, December 31, 2016

COMET NEOWISE SEARCH

Location:  Front Porch, Little Lepreau, NB, Canada

Date Time:  December 31, 2016  0645-0715 hrs

Weather:  No wind to windy, mostly clear, very cold -8C windchill -14C.

Equipment:  Canon Rebel Xsi with 18-55 mm lens, 20x80 Binoculars and a tripod.

Attendance:  Myself.

Objective:  To view and image Comet C/2016 U1 Neowise which was reported to be low in the eastern sky at dawn in Ophichus at a magnitude of 8.5 according to Heavens-above.com.

Report:

  • Could not see the Comet in images or through binos.  Have sent image to local observer who has located it to confirm that this is the right area of sky.
  • Jupiter was high in the southern sky at this time next to Spica.  Through binos could see three of its moons on the upper right side of the gas giant.
  • Ursa Major was nearly straight up, to the North.
  • Leo was half way up in the western sky.
  • No shooting stars or satellites were seen.
Note:  On the morning of December 30 at approx. 0640 hrs, while looking to see if sky was going to clear, clearly seen ISS go from SSW across the southern sky to the SE.  Very bright, could even see it through the passing clouds.  A major wind storm with winds exceeding 70 kph was underway but a clear patch opened up across much of the southern sky momentarily.

Images:




Thursday, December 15, 2016

FULL COLD MOON

Location:  Front Porch, Little Lepreau, NB

Date Time:  December 13, 2016 @ 1900-2000 hrs

Weather:  Increasing clouds, slight breeze, -9 C with windchill of -16 C.

Equipment:  Canon Rebel Xsi and Nexus 4 cellphone camera attached to a Canadian Telescopes 80ED/APO f/6.25 with 12 mm eyepiece.

Attendance:  Myself.

Objective:  To view and image the Full Cold Moon which was suppose to rise on this evening.

Report:

  • Shortly after dark a thin layer of clouds covered the sky, but were see-through as far as the very bright full Moon went.  Cloud cover increased as evening went on.
  • Used a moon filter when visually observing.  Helped a great deal in cutting down glare which was relief to the eyeball.
  • Many bright, small impact zones were visible across the face of the Moon.
  • No shooting stars or satellites were seen.
Images:

Taken with Canon Rebel attached to telescope at prime focus.

Taken with cellphone camera attached to telescope 12mm eyepiece.

Friday, December 9, 2016

SOLAR OBSERVING DECEMBER 2016 (Updated)

Location:  Inside kitchen looking through sliding door windows, Little Lepreau, NB, Canada

Date Time:  December 9, 2016 1030-1330 hrs

Weather:
December 9 - Windy, mostly sunny to mostly cloudy to completely cloudy, -2 C with windchill of -8 C.

December 16 - Strong gusty winds from the west, mostly Sunny all day, -18 C with windchill of -29 C.  Coldest day of this winter season.

December 19 - Light breeze, partly cloudy, -11C with windchill of -18C.

December 21 - Light breeze, Mostly sunny, warm thawing 1C.

December 27 - Strong wind to breezy, raining with sunshine breaks, 8C ground thawed after many days of freezing weather.

Attendance:  Myself.

Equipment:  Club 40 mm PST with 12.5 mm eyepiece and 2x Barlow.  New cellphone adapter

Objective:  To view and image Sun with clubs PST and to try a new cellphone adapter.

Report:

  • Sunspot group 2615 was very close to the outer limb in about the 7:30 o'clock position.  The rest of the face of Sun was blank.   Several prominence were surrounding this group.  One big one from the other day had changed shape from an arch to kind of a tree shape.
  • Noticed how low Sun was in the sky around noon.  Imaged it when clouds were moving in later on around 1330 hrs.
  • December 16 had no visible Sunspots, although Sunspot group 2617 has rotated onto our side of the Sun, it was too faint to see in PST.  Prominence activity had also slowed down considerably, with the large one around the lower left seemingly disappearing from view.  Took an image of PST at 1155 hrs to show elevation of Sun at Noon.
  • December 19 had no sunspots, no prominences, and no filaments that I could see.
  • December 21 had two forming sunspots and several prominences with no visible filaments.  Some growing activity.
  • December 27 two sunspot groups and filaments visible across face.  Several prominences on left side and upper left side.
  • New cellphone adapter works great and allows for use of different eyepieces.
Images:  

Prominence just above the 9 o'clock position just barely visible in eyepiece.

Large prominence changed from Arch to this shape from Dec 6 to Dec 9.

Clouds moved in around noon then broke up around 1330 hrs.  Note how low sun is at 1330 hrs.



Elevation of the Sun at 1155 hrs December 16, 2016.














Images taken with my new Samsung Nexus 5 and processed with a photo editor.  December 27, 2016 at around 1250 hrs.



Tuesday, December 6, 2016

MOON OCCULTS NEPTUNE

Location:  Front Porch, Little Lepreau, NB, Canada

Date Time:  December 6, 2016 1230 hrs, 1555 hrs and 1730-2000 hrs.

Weather:  Through the day it warmed up to -2 C, Sunny, a few passing clouds low on the SW horizon heading south, very cold, next to no wind.  Cooled down to -9 C on thermometer with no wind and clear with some hazy light clouds passing occasionally.

Attendance:  David McCashion from Little Lepreau, Ed and Bobby from Saint John West, and Curt from North Saint John.

Equipment:  Borrowed Saint John Astronomy Club 40 mm PST, Canadian Telescopes 80 ED/APO with 12 mm eyepiece and a Vixen Alt/AZ mount, Ioptron cellphone adapter with a 15 mm eyepiece, Canon Rebel Xsi with 18-55 mm lens on tripod and adapter for telescope.

Objective:  To view the Sun with borrowed club PST and to view Neptune being occulted by a crescent Moon from 1730-1847 hrs.

Report:

  • After almost three straight weeks of cloudy, snowy, rainy weather, we had a rare nice, albeit very cold day with rarer still, next to no wind.
  • First thing noticed was how low the Sun was at Noon.  Very low in the south, just over the trees.
  • Observed Sunspot group 2615 with clubs PST and my 12.5 mm eyepiece.  While adjusting the Tuner, two large, faint filaments appeared under the Sunspots.  A couple faint prominence's showed up at Noon.
  • By 1555 hrs, the faint prominence's multiplied and one turned into a huge arch!  Amazing to witness over such a short period of time!  Also many more prominence's appeared in different locations around the Solar limb.
  • Could not visually confirm Neptune.  
  • Sighted Lunar X.  
  • Imaged crescent Moon which was one day before first Quarter with Cellphone camera(15 mm eyepiece) and with DSLR (Prime Focus).  
  • Neptune came out in DSLR images and the Lunar X came was visible in both cameras images.  
  • Lunar X does not stand out well in smaller scope at this magnification.
  • Attempted to video Moon with cellphone camera, but battery died, ruining the video.
  • Ed thought he could make out Neptune in eyepiece but wasn't sure.  He may have picked up the bright bluish star that was nearby.  Curt said if the Occultation had occurred 30 minutes earlier, he may not have seen it either.  Neptune was not an easy capture.
  • Imaged and viewed north-eastern sky as soon as it was dark enough to check brightness of Algol.  Algols' brightness was almost equal to nearby Mirfak.  Noted for future reference.
  • No shooting stars and one Satellite was seen moving high in the North, Northward.
Note:

  • Frost was a major factor on equipment.
  • Confirmed Neptune sighting with fellow SJAC member Curt the next day.  


Images:
Solar Prominence turned into an Arch from Noon to about 1400 hrs

Prominence Arch in about the 1:30 o'clock position.  Sunspot group didn't show up very well in images.


Venus in gibbous phase on this evening.
Note how variable star Algol is similar in magnitude as Mirfak.








Sunday, November 13, 2016

BEAVER MOON 2016

Location:  Front Deck, Little Lepreau, NB, Canada

Date Time:  November 13, 2016 1700-2200 hrs

Weather:  Windy at first, died down to no wind after 2000 hrs.  Cool, 7C and clear.  Surprisingly a few bugs were flying around.

Attendance:  Myself.

Equipment:  Canadian Telescopes 80 ED/APO on a Vixen Alt/Az mount with a 12 mm eyepiece.  Canon Rebel Xsi with 18-55mm and 75-300mm lenses on tripod.  Samsung Nexus 4 attached to telescope with an Ioptron cellphone adapter with a 15mm built in eyepiece.

Objective:  To view and image the Full Beaver Moon which was suppose to become completely full early morning of November 14, 2016.

Highlights:

  • According to many reports, this cycles Full Moon, which occurs at 0952 hrs AST November 14, 2016 will appear as a full Moon to local observers the day before and a day after this time.  For more details and dispel myth's about the so called super moon check out his website at Space.com.  Look for higher tides than normal for the next few days.
  • Was surprised to see the Moon, just above the trees in the east at 1711 hrs.  Still lots of light out and it appeared red, low on the horizon.  It didn't appear to be any different than other full moons till later on in the evening.  By 2300 hrs it was 100% Illuminated and was noticeably brighter than normal.  Looked to be the same size as normal though, to the unaided eye.
  • At the same time the moon was rising above the horizon at 1710 hrs, a very bright Venus was very high up in the Southwest.  It was to the right of Sagittarius which was partly dipping below the horizon.  Through the telescope Venus appeared in a fat gibbous phase.  Many colors could be seen surrounding it.
  • Later on, around 2030 hrs, Mars could be seen in the SW in Capricornus.
  • Searched the NE sky for Perseus and the variable star Algol.  Imaged it and then checked for its minimum.  According to Sky and Telescope magazine the Algol minimum will be at 1457 AST November 14, 2016.  Will attempt to image this star at its maximum to show the difference through images.  Its maximum occurs 2 days and 20 hours after maximum.
  • At 2047 hrs imaged the Summer Triangle as it lowered in the NW.  A sure sign that winter is on its way.  When the moon cycle moves closer to the new phase and view gets better, this is a great area to search for deep sky objects and double stars.  Now that this area of the sky has moved down from its zenith position, it will be easier to view through a telescope and image.
  • Did a quick look out, through the window at approx 2330 hrs and the Moon was shining like I've never seen before.  Put deep shadows on the ground, shining a brilliant bluish white but still looked the same size as all the other full moons.
  • No Shooting stars or satellites were seen.  Been quite a while since I've seen a shooting star.


Images:







Tuesday, November 8, 2016

CONSTELLATION AURIGA

Location:  Front Porch, Little Lepreau, NB

Date Time:  November 7, 2016 2200-2345hrs

Weather:  Cool, Clear, No wind, -1C, no bugs.  Seeing was not great with only 5 stars in Pegasus visible.

Attendance:  Myself

Equipment:  Canadian Telescopes 80 ED/APO on Vixen Alt Az Mount with 2" 32 mm eyepiece.  Canon Rebel Xsi with 18-55 mm and 75-300 mm lenses, Barn Door Tracker and Tripod.

Objective:  To view and image the Algol minimum which was suppose to take place between 2030 and 2230pm.  To view and image star clusters in Auriga.

Report:

  • By the time it was possible to set up and image, Algol had climbed too high and out of reach of the viewing capability of the camera/tracker/tripod setup.  Witnessed a very dim Algol though.  It was markedly dimmer than the last time I seen it on Oct 30.
  • A very bright First Quarter Moon was lowering in the West during observing time.
  • Searched for and easily found star clusters M37, M36 and M38 in telescope.  Understandable how Charles Messier would mistake M37 for a Comet.  The other two looked more like open cluster of stars of lesser brightness.
  • No shooting stars or satellites were seen which was odd in itself for the amount of time observing.
Note:  Fox was spotted running through neighbors yard at around 2330 hrs.


Images:







Monday, October 31, 2016

BARN DOOR TRACKER

Location:  Side yard next to driveway, Little Lepreau, NB

Date Time:  October 30, 2016 2200-2215 hrs

Weather:  No wind, mostly clear @ 2200 hrs by 2210 hrs cloud covered most of southern sky, moving north, by 2215 hrs entire sky clouded over.   Cool 6C with a windchill and lots of dew.  Lots of mayfly looking bugs on the side of house.

Attendance:  Myself.

Equipment:  Canon Rebel Xsi with 18-55 mm, Barn door tracker, all mounted on a tripod.

Objective:  To try out a new to me Barn Door Tracker which was acquired recently from a fellow member of the local astronomy club.  A great place to purchase astronomy related things.

Report:

  • After several weeks of almost continuous cloudy, rainy weather, it cleared just long enough for a nice viewing of Venus from Saint John, NB west at around 1900 hrs.  Its very bright and quite high up before dark.  Saturn was reported to be next to Venus at this time but a sighting of the ringed planet was not confirmed...not surprising as it was very much still light out.
  • Sky only cleared for a short time at around sundown, then clouded over again till around 2130 hrs.  By the time camera was set up, it was mostly clear with some clouds in the East and around the Southern Horizon.
  • First time using Barn Door Tracker.  It worked for short duration images but the longer ones showed movement in the stars, possibly from moving the camera when turning the screw.  A barn door tracker is an inexpensive, home-made tracking device that allows for longer duration images with less star trails.  An excellent option as electronic tracking device systems are very expensive.
  • Took a two minute image of the area of sky around Cassiopeia.  There were so many stars that come out in the image the actual main 'W' asterism stars of the constellation that are so bright and obvious when viewing naked eye are difficult to pick out in the image.  This is due to the fact that Cassiopeia lies in the narrow strip of Milky Way that stretches across the sky.
  • Ursa Major is down completely out of sight, behind some trees due North at this time.  This is important because there is a Comet C/2015 V2 Johnson which is under the Handle of the Big Dipper.  This area of the sky is best seen after 0300 hrs when it will be high in the north eastern sky and easier to view and image from the yard.  They are saying that this Comet will brighten significantly from its current extreme dimness.  
  • No satellites or shooting stars were seen.  

Note:  The Orionid Meteor shower has been happening over the last couple of weeks.  At the same time there has been significant solar activity on the Sun which has included a massive amount of Solar Wind which has caused a prolonged period of Auroral activity, of which I haven't witnessed any except for images on Spaceweather.com
Mostly due to clouds, no shooting stars have been seen for quite a while and there hasn't been any reports of a massive amount of meteors from the Orionid Meteor shower.


Images:


Light clouds lit up by light pollution from the East.  Lots of Messier objects and other interesting things in this region of sky.  Algol brightens and dims on an approx three day cycle.  At its brightest, its three times more bright than its faintest.


High up in the NE Cassiopeia is surrounded by so many stars its difficult to make out the 'W' asterism that stands out so easily to the naked eye.


Clouds moving in.  Moments later entire sky was clouded.



Tuesday, October 11, 2016

OBSERVING REPORT FOR OCTOBER 11, 2016

Location:  Side yard by the trailer, Little Lepreau, NB

Date Time:  October 11, 2016 0630-0715hrs

Weather:  Clear, cool, frost, no wind 2C.

Attendance:  Myself.

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

Objective:  To view and image a close pairing of Jupiter and Mercury which were suppose to be rising in the East before sunup and around 1 degree apart.

Report:

  • At 0630 hrs there was no sign of the Mercury/Jupiter conjunction.  By 0715 hrs there was much light and still no sign of the conjunction.  Might have been behind the many trees and structures in the way on the Eastern horizon.
  • Orion was high in the SSE over the big tree in the front yard.
  • Leo was rising in the East.
  • Ursa Major was high in the NE standing on its handle.
  • No shooting stars or Satellites were seen.
Images:




Sunday, October 9, 2016

FIRST SUNDOG

Location:  Parking Lot of Lancaster Mall, Saint John, NB

Date Time:  October 7, 2016 @ 1739 hrs

Weather:  Mostly cloudy, major change in weather uderway.  Over the last number of days has gone from sunny and warm with very few clouds to clouds and rain, 24C breeze.

Attendance:  Ed O'Reilly, David McCashion

Equipment:  Samsung Nexus 4 cellphone camera, arcsoft mediaimpressions image processor.

Report:

  • Ed spotted a Sundog and pointed it out.  Looked like a bright piece of a Rainbow to the left of the Sun.  Could see the small rainbow 'fragment' clearly but the 22 degree halo didn't pop out visually.
  • Halo appeared in image.
  • It has been said that Sundogs indicate a change in weather.  This was definitely the case here.
  • Was my first Sundog observed.
Image:





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