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Tuesday, February 18, 2020

MOON/MARS OCCULTATION

Location:  Backyard, Little Lepreau, NB, Canada

Date Time:  February 18, 2020 0730-1030

Weather:  Mostly clear at 0730, thin clouds moved in around 0745, completely clouded over by 0810hrs.  Very cold, -10C, approaching snow storm later in the day, with 10cm of snow predicted.

Attendance:  David

Equipment:  LX 200 Meade and 0.6x focal reducer with Canon T3 attached at prime focus.  Image processed with Photoshop.

Objective:  To view and image the Moon/Mars occultation which was due to occur between 0857-1016 on this morning.

Report:
  • Set up scope at around 0730, shortly after thin clouds started moving in from the west.  
  • Moon was low in the southern sky, below the treeline from the front deck, so went to the backyard to get a better angle.  
  • Moon was about 35 degrees above horizon and was in the Waning Crescent phase.
  • Took several images, but only one faintly shows Mars.  Clouds soon thickened enough that moon couldn't be seen.  It didn't reappear for rest of day.
1/125 second, ISO 100.

Monday, February 17, 2020

ZODIACAL LIGHT

Location:  McPherson Beach, NB, Canada

Date Time:  February 17, 2020 1830-1930hrs

Weather:  Windy, cold, mostly clear, -2C.

Equipment:  Canon Rebel T3 with 18-55 lens.  Processed with Photoshop.

Attendance:  Danielle, David

Objective:  To view and image the zodiacal light which was supposed to be in the western sky at first dark, after sundown.

Report:
  • Went down to a local beach in order to see the western sky at first dark.  Evening twilight took about 40 minutes.  Once it got dark enough, the zodiacal light was obvious in the western sky.  Danielle thought it looked like an aura.
Venus upper left.  Facing west at 1928 hrs.  Single shot 13 second, ISO 6400 f/5.6.

Facing west at 1922 hrs.  Single shot 10 second, ISO 6400.
  • While waiting for twilight to fade away, we watched the how dark it got around the northern sky and The Big Dipper.  Ursa Major is standing on end this time of year, in the evening.


Image taken at 712pm.  10 second, ISO 6400.

  • Also, while waiting for twilight to fade away, we observed Orion with it's presently fading Betelgeuse.  The giant star is currently fading in brightness due to its variability.  This has caused great interest by professional and amateur astronomers alike. 


Image taken at 724pm.  10 second, ISO 6400.

  • No shooting stars or satellites were seen.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

SPACESTATION FLYOVER

Location:  Back porch, Little Lepreau, NB, Canada

Date Time:  February 5, 2020  1810-1825hrs

Weather:  Mostly clear, hazy 0 C with significant windchill.  Light breeze.

Equipment:  Canon Rebel T3 with 18-55mm lens.  Images processed with Photoshop.

Attendance:  David McCashion

Objective:  To view and image the international space station flyover that was supposed occur from 1813-1820hrs according to heavens-above.com.

Report:
  • Space station arrived on time, in the NW, flew high over-head, reaching Venus brightness of mag -3.6.  Flew through Gemini and Canis Minor, passing just to the north of a bright gibbous moon.
  • Days getting longer.  Twilight till 1830hrs.

2 second, ISO 200, f/5.6, focal length 20mm.



3.2 second, ISO 200, f/5.6, focal length 20mm.





3.2 second, ISO 200, f/5.6, focal length 20mm.




3.2 second, ISO 200, f/5.6, focal length 20mm.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

COMET C/2020 A2 IWAMOTO

Location:  Front deck, Little Lepreau, NB, Canada

Date Time:  January 27, 2020    0300-0630hrs

Weather:  No wind to slight breeze, some passing clouds, humidity 91%, 0C, lots of dew.  Owls hooting whole time.

Attendance:  David McCashion.

Equipment:   Canon Rebel T3 attached to Canadian Telescopes 80 mm telescope at prime focus.  Images stacked with DeepSky Stacker and processed on Photoshop.

Objective:  To image newly discovered, faint mag 12 Comet A2 Iwamoto which was supposed to be in Hercules, which is halfway up in the morning sky.

Report:

  • Not many alignment stars easy to see in the west from the deck.  
  • Imaged the huge Globular Custer, M31 in Hercules.  
Great Hercules Cluster or M13.  Single shot, 30 second, ISO 1600, cropped.

  •  Comet A2 Iwamoto is in a part of the sky, to the south east of the brighter stars of Hercules.  It's brightness is a very faint mag 12, and according to heavens-above.com, is fairly close to Earth right now, at about 1.2 AU away.  Showing greenish, with no visible tail.  This is the faintest comet I've been able to image so far.
Image is 7x2min stacked, ISO 1600, uncropped.
Single Shot, ISO 6400, uncropped.  Image over-exposed to better show comet.

  •  With Constellation Lyra nearby and first light happening later in the morning this time of year, had lots of time to get 15x45 second images of Planetary Nebula M57, otherwise known as The Ring Nebula.
15x45 second stacked, ISO 800, cropped.
  • By 0630, summer constellation Scorpius was rising in the south east.
  • Owls were hooting, intermittently through the whole observing session, which is a first for me.  I've heard owls hoot before, but not more than one at a time and not for that long.
  • Seen many satellites and two meteors.  Falling stars were very fast, faint, short period, seen in the eastern sky, coming from the south west.
















Friday, January 24, 2020

COMET NEAR DOUBLE CLUSTER

Location:  Front deck, Little Lepreau, NB, Canada

Date Time:  January 23, 2020 1730-2200.

Weather:  Unseasonably warm at beginning to bitter cold towards the end.  Mostly clear, some breeze to no breeze, 2C at 1730hrs, -2C at 2200hrs, 80% humidity.  New Moon tomorrow, so very dark skies.  Bay of Fundy roaring, waves crashing all evening.  Days are getting longer, didn't get completely dark till after 1815hrs.

Equipment:  Canon Rebel T3 attached to 80 mm ED/APO at prime focus.  Images processed with DeepSkyStacker and PhotoShop.

Attendance:  David McCashion.

Objective:  To capture an image of celestial objects on one of the few clear nights we have had in many weeks.

Report:
  • Set up around sun-down, well before dark, as the days are getting longer.  Venus was very high and bright, in the evening twilight.  Set up and was able to align the scope on Deneb, one of the great square of Pegasus stars and Venus.  Took many images of Venus and a video in order to produce a good image of our sister planet.
  • Viewed and imaged Betelgeuse in the south east.  It is still noticeably dimmer than it used to be.
  • Made an attempt to image Comet C/2017 T2 Panstarrs, which is halfway from the brighter stars in Perseus, and the W of Cassiopeia, next to the Perseus Double Cluster.  At this point, around 1830, comet was in a position, that the telescope could not locate it, because of how high it was in the sky.  Needed to wait till the comet moved out of that area of the sky, westward.
  • Looked for some other objects to image, including the Rosette Nebula and the Witch's Head Nebula, around the Orion area of sky, but instead, chose to look for and image the huge galaxy, M31, which was not far from the comet.
Messier objects 31 and 110.  Single shot, 30 second, ISO 1600.
  • Was surprised to see that, by 2045 hrs, comet had moved to a location that the telescope could reach.  Took twenty images for 16 minutes of exposure time and stacked them.
Single shot image, 45 second, ISO 6400.  Overexposed to better show the comet.
Image is 20x45 second images, ISO 1600 stacked for 16 minutes of exposure.
  •  Some notes on Comet T2 Panstarrs:  It's now approaching Earth, and is still outside of Mars orbit.  The comet will be closest to the Sun (Perihelion) on May 4th, 2020, which will place it halfway between Earths' and Venuses orbit.  At Aphelion (farthest from Sun) the comet will be 9,786 astronomical units (AU) from the Sun.  This makes its orbital period of 342,399 years, meaning it won't be close to Earth again for 342, 399 years.  Info from heavens-above.com.
  • One very bright falling star was seen at 2050hrs.  It burned up, shining brightly for an instant leaving a smoke trail.  Came almost straight down, high in the north western sky.  Looked like it might have hit the ground nearby.











Saturday, January 4, 2020

FIRST METEOR SHOWER OF 2020

Location:  Backyard, Little Lepreau, NB, Canada

Date Time:  January 4, 2020 0610-0650

Weather:  No wind, mostly clear, a few clouds along the SE horizon, -0.8 C, 94% humidity.

Attendance:  David McCashion

Equipment:  None.

Objective:  To view Quandrantid Meteor shower which was supposed to peak at 3am our time January 4th.

Report:
  • After hearing a report of many meteors being seen, and clear skies in our area, went out to mostly clear skies at 0610am.  It was very cloudy at around 930pm, so was surprised to see that it had cleared off. 
  • In 40 minutes, seen 9 meteors, mostly above and below Corona Borealis coming from an area between the big dipper and Polaris, much closer to the handle of the big dipper.  They were all short burst of approx. 1st mag peak brightness.  Seemed to be a hint of a smoke trail from each.  Seen several more out of the corner of my eye that appeared to be short bursts, as well.
  •  Mostly watched the high, eastern sky, occasionally scanning around to the south and to the north.  Seen one meteor while briefly watching the western sky.  It was the same kind of short duration meteor with similar brightness, coming from the handle of the big dipper.
  • First light started after 640am, but still seen several falling stars after that. 
  • Overall, the best meteor shower I've seen in a long time.  Internet reporting of events like this, in real time, are very helpful.
  • The Quandrantid Meteor shower is named after a constellation that doesn't exist anymore.  Quadrans Muralis ceased to exist after a gathering of astronomers, in 1922, came up with our modern day, existing 88 constellations.  It's an area of the sky that goes from the handle of the big dipper to Arcturus, approximately.
  • Several satellites were seen, all heading south in the eastern sky.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

MOON VENUS CONJUNCTION

Location:  Front yard, Little Lepreau, NB, Canada

Date Time:  December 28, 2019 1900-1910hrs

Weather:  Clear, cool -2C, no wind, partly cloudy.

Equipment:  Canon Rebel T3 with 75-300mm lens, tripod.  Images processed with PhotoShop.

Attendance:  David McCashion

Objective:  To view and image a close conjunction of a thin, young crescent Moon and Venus, after getting a call from someone who said the Moon was looking amazing.

Report:
  • Heard from someone that there was an amazing Moon in the sky and that I should take a look.  Went out in the front yard and a very thin, red, crescent Moon was low in the west with a very bright Venus over it.

2.5 second, ISO 6400, f/5.4, focal length 220mm.  Image taken at 1907hrs ADT.





2.5 second, ISO 6400, f/5.4, focal length 220mm.  Image taken at 1908hrs ADT.

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