Sunday, March 11, 2018


Location:  McPherson Beach, NB, Canada

Date Time:  March 11, 2018 2000-2020hrs

Weather:  Partly cloudy, icy outside due to recent snow squall, light to no breeze, 0 degrees Celsius.

Equipment:  Canon Rebel Xsi with 77-300mm lens on tripod.

Attendance:  David McCashion

Objective:  To view and image Venus and Mercury, which were supposed to be in the western sky, just after dark.


  • Venus was very bright, just over the horizon, with Mercury higher and to the North of Venus by about 5 degrees.  Venus was much brighter.
  • For most of the time, Venus was visible with Mercury behind the clouds which were moving south.  The two planets were only visible together, at the same time, for a few seconds.

Clouds were moving slowly to the left.

Sunday, February 25, 2018


Location:  Little Lepreau, NB, Canada

Date Time:  February 25, 2018 0430-0630 hrs

Weather:  Slight breeze, mostly clear with high hazy clouds fouling seeing conditions, -6C with windchill increasing with the dawn.

Attendance:  David McCashion

Equipment:  8" Meade LX 200 with 32mm and 19mm eyepieces.  Canon Rebel Xsi with 18-55mm lens on tripod.  Images processed on

Objective:  To view and image the planetary lineup of (from the East) Saturn, Mars and Jupiter.


  • Very nice line up of Planets in the morning, across the southern sky.

  • Jupiter was huge and bright at 0430 hrs and the skies were very clear.  Four of its Moons were on one side of the gas giant, evenly spaced out.  Its storm bands were easy to see in the 19mm eyepiece.  

  • Shortly after 0500 hrs a high hazy cloud covered the sky, fouling the seeing conditions.  They were see-through, though.
  • Mars was low, in the south, behind a big tree.  Its disk is almost big enough to see detail across its face, in better viewing conditions.  Also, it was behind the big tree, out front, and was difficult to view.  With approaching Opposition on July 27, 2018, the Martian disk will make a great target for observing and imaging.  When we get this close, every two years, the disk is big enough to see detail across its face, in backyard telescopes.  Also, this year, its disk will appear much larger to us than in 2016.
  • Saturn was very low, in hazy skies, behind trees when I tried to observe it with 19 mm eyepiece.  Could easily make out its rings, which were very much tilted.  
  • This was my first time observing these three planets in 2018!
  • No satellites or shooting stars were seen.  First light was at 0613 hrs.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018


Location:  Kissimmee, FL

Date Time:  Feb 6, 2018 @ 1545hrs EST

Weather:  Mostly to partly clear, humid and a little hazy on horizon, sunny, no wind, 27C.

Equipment:  Canon Rebel Xsi with 18-55 and 75-300mm lenses, on tripod and without tripod.

Attendance:  Madison, McKenzie, Carla, Becky and Myself.

Objective:  To image and view SpaceX Falcon Heavy Rocket Launch, which was scheduled launch on this day at 1330hrs from the Kennedy Space Station on Cape Canaveral, FL.


  • We traveled from our Resort in Kissimme to watch the launch from Cocoa Beach, FL for the 1330hrs scheduled launch.  Many hundreds of people were parked on the side of Hwy 528 leading into Cocoa Beach because it offered an excellent view of the launchpad.  Unfortunately for us, the launch was delayed at the last minute and rescheduled for a 1545hrs launch.  Due to circumstances, we couldn't wait in Cocoa Beach and needed to head back to Kissimmee.
  • We arrived back at our Kissimmee Resort at approx 1500hrs.
  • At 1540hrs, I started watching the televised launch on NASA TV on our TV.  At 1545hrs the rocket launched on schedule.  I ran outside, with my camera and tripod, and there were many people in the yard looking for the rocket.  I seen it right away, in the North East direction, low heading up, like a candle flame that was rising.  It was only visible for about a minute, before it disappeared from view in some hazy clouds, looking like it was heading off to the East.  This created quite a buzz around the resort.  People were very excited about this launch.

Friday, January 26, 2018


Location:  Front Deck, Little Lepreau, NB, Canada

Date Time:  January 26, 2018 1900-2030hrs

Weather:  Clear, very light wind, bitterly cold -11C showing on thermometer with reported windchill of -16C.

Attendance:  Madison, McKenzie, and David McCashion.

Equipment:  Meade LX 200 8" telescope with x0.6 focal reducer and without.  One 32mm eyepiece.  Canon Rebel Xsi using telescope at prime focus.

Objective:  To view and image a Gibbous Moon, which was in Taurus on this evening, between Aldebaran and M45.

  • Before observing time, at 1830hrs, was in the backyard and noticed the International Space Station fly across the low southern sky, from west to east.  Confirmed this on  It also flew over at 2006hrs, but I didn't see notice.
  • Madison and McKenzie were amazed at the small 'circles'(craters) and large 'grey areas' (Mare, or Seas) on the brightwaxing gibbous moon.  Copernicus crater stood out nice, close to the terminator.  Many small craters stood out noticeably in the big gray seas.
  • The girls asked to look at a star, and asked why is that star blinking?  It was Sirius, which was twinkling as it was rising from low in the SE sky.
  • We looked at the double star Alnitak in Orion.  They were impressed by all the stars they could see in the field of view.
  • Attempted to view Sirius, but it was partially blocked by a tree.
  • Viewed Betelgeuse and Pleiades.  Explained to Madison that this is called the Seven Sisters because, at one time many hundreds of years ago, people could see seven stars there.  Now we can only see six that form a dipper like asterism to the unaided eye.  Through the eyepiece, Madison counted twenty-five stars.
  • No shooting stars, and only one satellite was seen which was the ISS.

Without focal reducer, ISO 100, 1:400th Second.

With focal reducer, ISO 200, 1:250 second.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018


Location:  Side yard, on driveway behind house, Little Lepreau, NB

Date Time:  January 16, 2018 1900-2200hrs

Weather:  No wind, bitterly cold, mostly clear, lots of frost on telescope, -11C showing on thermometer with no reported windchill.  Winter storm forecast for tomorrow.  Predicting 15 cm of snow. (Update:  I measured 17 cm of snow, in the backyard, whereas Ed, from Saint John, NB, took eight measurements and found an average of 18.5 cm of snow had fallen in Saint John.)

Attendance:  Myself.

Equipment:  Canadian Telescopes 80 ED/APO on Vixen mount with 19mm eyepiece.  Canon Rebel Xsi attached at prime focus with adapter.  Images processed on ArcsoftMediaimpressions.

Objective:  To view and image the south-eastern sky from Canis Major to Taurus.  Also, to continue looking for Comet C/2016 R2 Panstarrs, which is suppose to be NW of the head of Taurus.


  • Objects imaged:  Rigel, Alnitak, Mintaka, M78, Aldebaran, Several images of sky NW of Taurus head, Sirius, M50, M47, M46 and M48.
  • Ghostly, half-circles showed up in many images on this night, and in some of the images from two nights ago.  These may be a camera issue which produces image artifacts.
  • Confirmed the Comet image from Jan 14.  The blueish smudge moved significantly since two nights ago.
  • Always interesting to see how much reddish gas there is around Orion's Belt.  It seems to be just outside of our ability to see with unaided eye.  It doesn't take much of a time elapse image to draw this gas out in images.
  • No shooting stars or satellites were seen.
Note: On this evening, at approximately 1910 hrs Atlantic Time, hundreds of people reported seeing a very bright meteor streak across the sky, above the Detroit, MI, USA area.  I was outside at the time, but looking South East.  Didn't noticed anything from the western direction.  At that time, though, my view of the Western Horizon was somewhat blocked.


Ghostly circles possibly do to camera artifacts.

Sunday, January 14, 2018


Location:  Driveway behind house, Little Lepreau, NB, Canada

Date Time:  January 14, 2018 2100-2230hrs

Weather:  Partly cloudy to mostly clear, bitterly cold, some breezyness to no wind, -12C with reported windchill of -20C.

Equipment:  Canadian Telescopes 80 ED/APO on Vixen mount, Canon Rebel Xsi attached to telescope at prime focus.

Attendance:  Myself.

Objective:  To image Comet C/2016 R2 Panstarrs which was reported to be NW of Taurus on this evening.


  • Took many images of sky to the NW of Taurus.  After reviewing over-exposed images of this area, may have found the comet...but its very faint.  It does look blue to me though.
  • Imaged Betelgeus.
  • Imaged M45.
  • Imaged M1.
  • One shooting star was seen, possibly an Ursid.  No satellites were seen.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018


Location:  Side yard between sheds, Little Lepreau, NB, Canada

Date Time:  January 10, 2018 0600-0640hrs

Weather:  Mostly clear to partly cloudy with cloud bank moving in from the SW, very small to no breeze, -10C showing on outside thermometer with reported windchill of -16C.

Attendance:  Myself.

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

Objective:  To view and image a very nice conjunction which was in the SE sky on this morning.


  • Forecast was for snow overnight, so was surprised to see it clear on this morning.
  • Noticed two oddly short, very fast shooting stars in the NE sky at around 0620hrs.  They were about 10 mins apart.  One was out of the corner of my eye, the other, seen it directly.
  • Could see that Mars and Jupiter are separating further apart, compared to a few days ago.
  • Moon was much closer to the conjunction and in its waning crescent phase.
  • One satellite was seen, in the western sky, moving south, past Regulus, through Leo.

Monday, January 8, 2018


Location:  Side yard by large shed, Little Lepreau, NB, Canada

Date Time:  January 7, 2018 1834-1840hrs

Weather:  Clear, some breeze, -14C with reported windchil of -23C.

Equipment:  Canon Rebel Xsi with 75-300mm lenses.  Tripod.  Images processed on arcsoftmediaIpressions.

Attendance:  Myself.

Objective:  To capture an image of the faint Comet PanSTARRS C/2016 R2 which was reported to be in Taurus during observing time.


  • Comet was not visible through viewscreen of camera, or obviously appear in images.  It must be very diffuse and faint, or, might not have been in the location where it was reported to be.  
  • Comet is still far away but getting closer, for closest approach to Earth in May, so it will probably brighten significantly.  Will be watching this comet closely right up to the summer.
  • No shooting stars or satellites were seen.

Comet was reported to be above Lambda Tauri.
Note:  An interesting aspect of this particular comet is that it appears blue, which, according to the article is because its rich in ionized carbon monoxide(CO).  This is rare, as most comets are rich in cyanogen (CN) and diatomic carbon (C2) which makes the vast majority of comets appear green in images.  Visually, in the eyepiece, or in binoculars, I find most comets appear as gray fuzzballs, with the brighter ones appearing slightly greenish.  I've never seen a blue comet before.

Sunday, January 7, 2018


Location:  Side yard by the shed, Little Lepreau, NB, Canada

Date Time:  January 7, 2018 0630-0735 hrs

Weather:  Clear, breezy at first, increasingly windy from the NE, -20C showing on outside thermometer with reported windchill of -32C.  Some hazy clouds around the waning gibbous Moon at 0630 hrs.  No clouds shortly after that.  Its was so cold, the trees were cracking in the wind, loudly as the breeze picked up.

Equipment:  Canon Rebel Xsi with 18-55mm and 75-300mm lenses.  Tripod.  Images processed with ArcsoftmediaImpressions.

Attendance:  Myself.

Objective:  To view and image a close pairing of Jupiter and Mars which was suppose to be in the SE dawn sky, in Libra, near the magnitude 2.75 Alpha Libra star named Zubenelgenubi (Arabic for Southern Claw).


  • The conjunction stood out in the SE sky, and formed up nicely with Zubenelgenubi to make a triangle.  Jupiter was very obliviously brightest of the three, but when zoomed in on, in the view screen, it's disk looked huge compared to Mars. 
  • In one zoomed in image, Zubenelgenubi showed up as a double star.  Binoculars shows the second star, while observing.
  • The waning gibbous Moon was very bright and leaving shadows on the ground, at 0630hrs.  It stood high in the SW sky.
  • Below and to the East of the Moon, low in the SSW sky was the constellation Corvus the Crow.
  • Mercury and Saturn were suppose to be low in the Eastern sky at dawn, but I couldn't see them.  Only looked with unaided eye.
  • No satellites or shooting stars were seen.


In this image, you can see Zubenelgenubi is a double star.


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