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Tuesday, December 28, 2021

TWO MORE COMETS FOR 2021(Updated)

Location:  Prince of Wales, NB, Canada

Date Time:  December 27, 2021 1800-1930

Weather:  No wind except for a slight breeze for a few minutes, mostly clear, -2C, 73% humidity.  Excellent viewing conditions!

Equipment:  Canon Rebel T3 attached to an 80 ed/apo at prime focus and with an 18-55mm lens.  Images processed with PhotoShop.

Attendance:  David McCashion.

Objective:  To image comets 19P Borrelly(mag10) and 104P Kowal(mag 11), which were in the southern sky in the early evening.

Report:

  • The comets were close together in the southern sky.  Images seemed to show 19P to be smaller of the two, but with a much brighter central region.  This comet may brighten as it approaches Earth.  Comet 104P appeared larger of the two, with a more diffuse central region, and with possibly a curved tail.  It will get very close to Earth, according to its reported path.  Their paths are noteworthy, in my opinion, seemingly coming up from behind the Earth and passing it in its orbit.  Comet images were all cropped approximately the same and had the same settings to make comparison more possible. 

Comet 19P Borrelly, single shot, 61 sec, ISO 1600, cropped and processed.

Comet 19P Borrelly, single shot, 61 sec, ISO 6400, cropped and processed.

Comet 19P Borrelly, Inverted image.

Comet 104P Kowal, 61 second, ISO 6400, cropped and processed.

Same image as above inverted.

  • The comets were to the left of Jupiter, which was in the south western sky.  Took a wide angle image of the whole southern sky and a close-up of Jupiter.

Facing south, 25 sec, f/3.5, ISO 3200, focal length 18mm.

Jupiter through telescope, 1/8 second, ISO 1600.

  •  In the middle of the Summer Triangle, which was lowering in the western sky during observing, there's an amazing double star named Albireo.  An excellent small telescope target.  Note the color difference between the two stars.

Facing west, summer triangle, 25 sec, f/3.5, ISO 3200, focal length 18mm

Albireo through telescope, 5 second, ISO 800.

  • The viewing conditions were so good for the entire sky, in every direction, I decided to image the northern and south eastern sky as well, to show which constellations were showing.

Facing north, Big Dipper behind the treeline,25 sec, f/3.5, ISO 3200, focal length 18mm

Facing south east, Orion, 15 sec, f/3.5, ISO 3200, focal length 18mm.

  • Many satellites were seen, with a few going through images.  One long exposure image of the comets had two satellites in it.  No shooting stars were seen.

 

 

 

 

 


Wednesday, December 22, 2021

COMET SEARCH NEAR CONJUNCTION

Location:  Lower west-side Saint John, NB, Canada

Date Time:  December 21, 2021 1730-1810hrs

Weather:  Breezy, mostly clear, 0.0C, humidity 64%.

Equipment:  Canon Rebel t3 with 18-55 and 75-300mm lenses.  Binoculars.  Images processed with PhotoShop.

Attendance:  David McCashion

Objective:  To view and image Comet C/2021 A1 Leonard with was reported to be in the area of sky, to the left of Venus and Saturn.  The comet forming an equilateral triangle with the three planets.

Report:

  • Searched the area of sky with binos and took many images.  Could not see comet in binos or find it in images.

ISO 100, FL 75mm, 13sec, f/6.3

 

  • There was a nice lineup of planets with Jupiter, Saturn and Venus in the western sky.  This made up for the very disappointing comet.

 

ISO 800, FL 28mm, 10 sec, f/6.3.

  •  No shooting stars or satellites seen.

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

CHRISTMAS COMET SEARCH 2021

Location:  Lower west-side Saint John, NB, Canada

Date Time:  December 20, 2021 1730-1800

Weather:  Bitter cold, mostly clear, hazy, steady breeze, -6.9C, 72% humidity.

Equipment:  Canon Rebel t3 with 18-55mm lens and binoculars.

Attendance:  David McCashion

Objective:  To view and image Comet C/2021 A1 Leonard, the brightest comet of 2021, with a reported magnitude of approx 3.  The comet has recently passed closed to Venus and is heading out of the Northern hemisphere sky, into the southern.

Report:

  • Scanned the area of sky to the left of Venus, where comet was reported to be, at first with unaided eye and then with binos.  Some long thin clouds and haziness were a factor, moving slowly through the area.  No luck in seeing the comet visually.  Imaged the area of sky for about a half hour, but still couldn't seem to get comet to pop out in image viewer for a pin point location in the sky.  After star hoping from processed images, and comparing to star charts, comet still didn't appear in images.
  • One day past full moon.  No shooting stars or satellites were seen.





Saturday, December 4, 2021

MORNING BINOCULAR COMET

Location:  Saint John, NB, Canada

Date Time:  December 4th, 2021 0450-0530

Weather:  Very cold, blustery, swirling winds about 20km/hr, -7.4C, 62% humidity, mostly clear, to partly cloudy.

Equipment:  Canon Rebel t3 with 18-55mm lens and 15x70 binoculars.  Images processed with Photoshop.

Attendance:  David McCashion

Objective:  To view and image Comet C/2021 A1 Leonard, which was reported to be near a 5th mag star, about 5 degrees above Arcturus in the morning, Eastern sky. 

Report:

  • First attempt at 0450hrs, searched area above Arcturus with binos.  There was some passing clouds present, didn't see the comet in binos, and it was too windy to take images.  Went inside to warm up.
  • Went back out at approximately 0525hrs and wind was about the same.  Decided to try imaging anyway.  Images were greatly affected by wind, but the comet does show up, right where it was reported to be.  

25 sec, f/6.3, focal length 46mm, ISO 3200

25 sec, f/6.3, focal length 32mm, ISO 3200

  •  After imaging, searched the area above Arcturus again with binos and found the fuzzy, grayish, greenish patch, with a brighter central region below and to the right of the approx. 5th magnitude star.  This is exactly where Comet C/2021 A1 Leonard was reported to be.  We now have a bino comet in the morning!
  • Seen one shooting star, almost straight overhead, to the east.  Faint, very fast, heading from west to east.

Friday, November 12, 2021

COMET C/2021 A1 LEONARD NEAR PHECDA

Location:  Prince of Wales, NB, Canada

Date Time:  November 11, 2021 0245-0434hrs

Weather:  Steady north west wind in Saint John, but it was just the slightest of air movement in POW.  Very dark, clear, a very cold 0C with 60% humidity and windchill.  One bird chirped about halfway through observing, which is the first time I've heard any sign of life there in a long time.

Attendance:  David McCashion

Equipment:  Canon Rebel t3, 80 ed/apo, and images processed with PhotoShop.

Objective:  To image Magnitude 10.5 Comet 2021 A1 Leonard, which was reported to be in Ursa Major, about seven degrees to the west of Alula Borealis, in the early morning sky.  Many amateur astronomers are expecting this comet to brighten significantly in December of this year.  Perihelion is supposed to be on January 3rd 2022, where it will be 0.615 AU from the Sun.

Report:

  • Star hopped from Megrez and Phecda, main asterism stars of Ursa Major, to the comet.  Comet was around 20 degrees south east of Phecda, towards Denebola, so it's not in this image of  the area surrounding Phecda.  I found this area interesting because of it's abundance of galaxies.  From Richard Hinckley Allen's, Star Names Their Lore and Meaning, Phecda, spelled "Phacd, Phachd, Phad, Phaed, Phecda, Phekda, and Phegda are from Al Falidh, the Thigh, where this star is located in the figure."

Comet is not in this image.  Single shot, 30 second, ISO 3200.

  • From the observing site in Prince of Wales, there is always a degree of light pollution in the north eastern sky, so it was important to wait until the comet rose above it, which by 0330hrs, it did.  I was surprised with how bright the comet was, as it immediately popped out, in my first overexposed 30 second image.  Showing a tail, and a bright central region, but was not exactly where the sky chart showed it was suppose to be.

Single shot, 30 second, ISO 3200.  Image cropped and enhanced.

Inverted image.

  • I was going to try for the three other comets, comets 67P, 29P, and comet c/2019 L3 Atlas, which were up at this time and were within my brightness range, but they were straight overhead by 0400hrs.  This makes imaging practically impossible for my equipment.
  • No satellites were seen, but a faint, fast meteor was seen, straight over-head, heading east.
 

 

 


Sunday, November 7, 2021

COMET 6P, and TWO NEBULAS

 Location:  Prince of Wales, NB, Canada

Date Time:  November 5, 2021 2000-2130hrs

Weather:  No clouds, no wind, very cool, 0c with 60% humidity.

Attendance:  David McCashion

Equipment:  Canadian Telescopes 80ED/APO with Canon Rebel t3 attached at prime focus.  Images processed with PhotoShop.

Objective:  To image magnitude 10.1 Comet 6P d'Arrest, which was reported to be below Jupiter and Saturn, in Microscopium, in the south western sky during observing time.

Report:

  • A nearly perfectly still, quite, moonless, dark night.  Less then a tenth of the airplane traffic as before the pandemic started.
  • Jupiter and Saturn shining brightly in the south west, the summer triangle hanging high overhead, to the west.
  • Made first attempt for 6P right away.  Found that it didn't pop out in images, although I thought I could make out a fuzz ball.  The comet was less then 10 degrees above the south west horizon, just above the tree line, which is very low, and not good for observing or imaging comets.  Decided to slew to Vega to adjust focus.
  • After adjusting focus on Vega, decided to image the nearby Ring Nebula M57, in Lyra the Harp.  The image appeared as a stunningly colorful ball of teal green light appeared in view screen.  Shocking that such a thing can be imaged thus.  Visually it appears as a magnitude 8.8, grayish smoke ring, which is in itself amazing to see...in images, it looks absolutely stunning, nothing like visually imo.  The Nebula is shown next to the variable star Sheliak, which ranges in brightness from 3.4 to 4.5.  According to Richard Hinckley Allen's "Star Names Their Lore and Meaning," Sheliak is an Arabian name for Lyra.  Hinckly also suggests that the proper name of Vega is Wega.  "Wega, less correctly Vega, originated in the Alfonsine Tables from the Waki of the Arabs, Bayer,having both titles; Scaliger, Waghi,..."

Single shot, 45 second, ISO 1600, cropped and enhanced.
 

  • On my way back to the comet, decided to try imaging the magnitude 7.5 Dumbbell Nebula M27.  Only imaged once.  Spectacular, bright green nebula.

Single shot, 50 second, ISO 1600, cropped and enhanced.

 

  • Took many images of comet, and used heavens above star chart to confirm the very big, very diffuse object, with no brighter central region was indeed Comet 6P d'Arrest.  It's low position in the sky made imaging difficult.  The location of the comet in the sky is kind of odd as well, compared to where the other comets are located in the sky.  The comets magnitude 10.1 brightness must be attributed to its size, which was approximately full Moon size.

Single shot, 120sec, ISO 3200, cropped and enhanced.

A negative of the image above to better show the very diffuse comet.

 

  •  Two very fast, faint shooting stars were seen.  Both coming from the summer triangle.

Friday, October 8, 2021

A FOUR COMET NIGHT

Location:  Prince of Wales, NB, Canada

Date Time:  October 8, 2021 0230-0455hrs

Weather:  Clear, slight breeze from the north west, 11.6C/82% humidity in Saint John at 0150hrs, 6C at 0345hrs in POW.

Equipment:  Telescope 80ed/apo with Canon Rebel t3 attached at prime focus.  Images processed with Photo Shop Elements.

Attendance:  David McCashion

Objective:  To image as many of the five comets in the eastern sky during this time as possible.  Also, to watch for Zodiacal light.

Report:  

  • Set up scope and aligned on Vega, which was very close to NW horizon at 2am and Deneb.
  • Pegasus was high in the western sky.  Could make out 5 stars in the big square, which makes seeing a not so great 5 limiting magnitude.  Conditions seemed to change dramatically over the observing time, although no clouds were seen.  
  • The surrounding woods was uncharacteristically quiet.  Totally silent during entire observing time.  Something dead nearby giving off quite a stink.
  • Looked for Zodiacal light in the west, not realizing it was an eastern phenomenon in the morning.  There is light pollution in that general direction normally, but not that far north.  Zodiacal light really lit up the NE sky, just under Ursa Major.  This washed out my last comet image attempt.
  • No satellites were seen, which isn't surprising for that time of night.  They are normally seen just after dark and just before first light.
  • Three confirmed shooting stars seen, including one while imaging, plus another seen as driving home.  A number more, unconfirmed, seen out of the corner of my eye.


In Auriga, near one of the main asterism stars, seen in the upper left.  Distance from Earth 5.39AU.  60s, ISO 3200.  Un-cropped, enhanced.

In Taurus, near M1.  62s, ISO 6400.   Distance from Earth 0.47AU.  Reported mag 11.0.  Un-cropped, enhanced.


In Orion, well above the main asterism stars. Distance from Earth 1.126AU.  Reported mag 11.1. 61s, ISO 6400.



Seen the shooting star as imaging.  In Lynx, partially washed out by zodiacal light. Distance from Earth 3.582AU.  Reported mag 10.1. 30s, ISO 6400.


Area of sky below the main asterism stars of Ursa Major.  Comet may show near center of image, but washed out due to intense zodiacal light in that area of sky.  Distance from Earth 2.259AU.  Reported mag 11.5  25s, ISO 3200.



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