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Friday, January 15, 2016

CATALINA NOW EVENING TARGET

Location:  Front Porch, Little Lepreau, NB, Canada

Date Time:  January 14, 2016, 2245hrs-2330hrs

Weather: Mostly clear, breezy at times, -17C with reported windchill of -23C.

Attendance:  Myself.

Equipment:  Canadian Telescopes 80 ED/APO on Vixen Alt/Az mount with 19mm eyepiece.  Canon Rebel Xsi with adapter.

Objective:  To view and image comet Catalina which was reported to be next to Alkaid in Ursa Major.

Highlights:
  • As observing time began, a crescent Moon was sinking low in the west.
  • Comet Catalina was instantly found next to Alkaid in Ursa Major and imaged.  The Big Dipper was hanging halfway up in the sky, standing on its handle.  Comet appeared in the eyepiece as a very large wispy, dark cloud with a star like center.  A faint fan like shape on one side.
  • Jupiter was located, viewed and imaged.  It was low in the East and rising during observing time.   In the eyepiece, the four big moons were all on one side during observing with one very close to the Gas Giant.  No storm cloud detail could be seen on Jupiter's disk.  Maybe because of its low position in the sky.  This doesn't help observing due to all Earths' atmosphere light has to travel though to reach your eye.
  • A quick search for M101 was done to no avail.  It has been reported that Catalina will be passing close to M101 soon.  The comet is traveling very quickly across the sky at 2 degrees per day!
  • Sirius was high in the south at 2315hrs.  It is the brightest and closest star we can see from NB with the naked eye.  In the eyepiece, it shines brilliantly white almost bluish.  It does have a companion star, but requires a much larger telescope to split.
  • M42 and M43 were very impressive in the eyepiece.  Very large, taking up most of the field of view with reds and blues showing up nicely with lots of structure and forms to marvel at!  Amazing sight to see!
  • A search for diffuse nebula M78 was done, over Alnitak in Orion the Hunter.  In the eyepiece, it appeared as an almost squarish, very bright white object.  It was easy to find in between Betelgeuse and Alnitak, closer to Alnitak.  According to William Henry Smyth in his 1881 'A Cycle of Celestial Objects', "Two stars in a "wispy" nebula, just above Orion's left hip; where a ray from B carried between the center and the last stars of the belt , and extended 2 degrees farther picks it up."
  • No shooting stars or satellites were seen.

Images:

ISO 1600, 1x8sec, processed on arcsoftmediaimpressions.

ISO 400, 1x1/8sec, processed on arcsoftmediaimpressions.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

OBSERVING REPORT FOR JANUARY 12, 2016

Location:  Front Deck, Little Lepreau, NB, Canada

Date Time:  January, 12, 2016 0500hrs-0730hrs

Weather:  A very cool -8C with a reported windchill of -16C.  No wind at 0500hrs, strong gusts started after 0530hrs then died off after about 15 minutes .  Mostly clear.

Equipment:  Canadian Telescopes 80 ED/APO on Vixen Alt/Az mount with 19mm eyepiece.  Canon Rebel Xsi with 18-55mm and 75-300mm lens, all mounted on a tripod.

Attendance:  Myself.

Objective:  To view and image Comet Catalina which was reported to be in between Arcturus in Bootes and Alkaid in Ursa Major.

Highlights:

  • Skies were very dark with no Moon, and the windchill made it a rather cold morning to be outside.
  • The Comet was difficult to find, possibly because it was so high up in the sky.  Didn't show up right away in long exposure images, then after setting up telescope and pointing to where the Heaven-above.com star chart said it should be, still had a very hard time finding it.  After processing images, later, the Comet was in the middle of the field of view.  Not sure yet why it was so hard to locate in eyepiece field of view.  The Comet was never located in eyepiece, and was not visible to me naked eye.
  • Jupiter shone very brightly in the SW during observing time.
  • Corona Borealis and Hercules with its spectacular M13 globular cluster were low in the East during observing time.
  • Corvus the Crow was observed in the SSW during observing time.
  • Saturn and Venus could be seen through the trees on the SE horizon near the end of observing time.  Images were taken.
  • No shooting stars and one satellite was observed with another one satellite captured in an image.
  • There was much frost and dew on equipment afterwards.

Images:



Saturday, January 2, 2016

A NEWS YEARS COMET

Location:  Front Deck in Little Lepreau, NB, Canada

Date Time:  January 2, 2016 0530-0620hrs

Weather:  Mostly clear, no wind and a very cool -4C

Equipment:  Canadian Telescopes 80 ED/APO on an alt/az Vixen Mount.  Adapter for Canon Rebel Xsi.  19mm eyepiece.

Attendence:  Myself

Objective:  To view and image Comet Catalina C/2013 US10 which was reported to be above Arcturus according to Heavens-above.com

Highlights:

  • The comet was easily located above Arturus in the viewscreen of the camera as it was attached to telescope.  Showed up as a faint fuzzy patch.  Images were taken that clearly showed the Comet to have a greenish hew with a bright center.
  • At around 0600hrs, a very bright Venus popped over the trees in the SE.  Images were taken.  It was clearly in the Gibbous phase.
  • A nearly half Moon was high in the South at the time and wasnt bright enough to wash out Comet.  Images of Moon were taken.
  • After imaging, a 19mm eyepiece was inserted and the Comet was observed.  It showed up as a fuzzy slightly greenish, large fuzzball with a bright center.  With averted vision, a very faint, wide tail might have been seen going in the 3'oclock direction from the center.
  • No Shooting stars and one satelite was seen as I was viewing the comet in the eyepiece.
Image:

Unprocessed image of Comet.
Processed image shows a faint fan tail going to the right.




Image of Orion Nebula taken evening before, just before clouds moved in.

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