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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:





Thursday, October 6, 2016

SATURN NEAR MOON OCTOBER 5, 2016

Location:  Front Yard, Little Lepreau, NB, Canada

Date Time:  October 5, 2016 1945-2030 hrs

Weather:  Slight haze, clear, no wind, no bugs, 8C.

Attendance:  Carla M, David McCashion

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

Objective:  To view and image Saturn and a Crescent Moon which was reported to be near Saturn.

Report:

  • Evening twilight revealed a nice pairing of Mars in Sagittarius very close to one the constellations main stars.  
  • Saturn was close to a 21% illuminated Moon.  Earthshine could be seen across the other 79%.
  • Venus was very low in the West during observing and dropped out of sight by 2015hrs.
Images:






Wednesday, October 5, 2016

MOON/VENUS CONJUNCTION OCTOBER 3, 2016

Location:  Front Yard, Little Lepreau, NB

Date Time:  October 3, 2016 1925-1941 hrs

Weather:  Mostly clear, kind of hazy, no bugs, slight breeze, a very cool 8 C with a small windchill.

Attendance:  Myself

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

Objective:  To view and image the Moon/Venus conjunction which were said to be close just after sundown.

Report:

  • Sky was mostly clear just after sundown.  Sun went down behind the trees in the west at approximately 1925 hrs but there was still lots of light still.
  • Even with lots of light, the thin Crescent Moon and Venus stood out clearly, surprisingly high up in the west at 1925 hrs.
  • By 1940 hrs, sky had darkened enough to let the pair stand out even more, with some of the brighter stars in the rest of the sky popping out.
Images:


Moon and Venus @ 1940 hrs facing west.

@ 1936 hrs

@ 1933 hrs


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