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Saturday, December 8, 2018

COMET & CONJUNCTION (Updated)

Location:  Front deck, Little Lepreau, NB, Canada

Date Time:  December 8, 2018 1830-0005hrs

Weather:  Went from -12C to -13C with a reported windchill of -20C.  Wind picked up till about 2100hrs, then died off. Mostly clear to clear.

Equipment:  Canadian Telescopes 80 ED/APO on motorized tracking mount, 32mm eyepiece, 20x80 binoculars on tripod, Canon Rebel with 18-55mm lens and attached to telescope at prime focus.  Images processed on PhotoShop.

Attendance:  David McCashion

Objective:  To view and image a Mars/Neptune conjunction and the Comet 46P Wirtanen.

Report:

  • Viewed and imaged the Mars/Neptune conjunction.  Mars was easy enough to find, but Neptune was not picked out amongst the back ground stars, even in the images.
  • Comet 46P was very easy to find in the binoculars.  It was huge, greenish and diffuse with a brighter central region.  It moved eastward towards Taurus, approximately 5 degrees from where it was two nights ago.
  • Was able to see the comet with averted vision, for the first time.  Its huge and reminds me of M31 when viewed with unaided eye under dark skies.
  • Nearest bright star to Comet 46P is the 4.5 magnitude star Menkar in the Constellation Cetus.  According to Richard Hinkley Allens' "Star Names Their Lore and Meanings", Menkar is Arabic for"Nose of Cetus".
Comet in the SW sky just after midnight.  Camera with 18-55mm lens, 30 second exposure.

Facing South, Camera with 18-55mm lens, 25 second exposure.

Camera attached to telescope at prime focus, 2 minute exposure.
  • Five shooting stars were seen directly with three more out of the corner of my eye.

Friday, December 7, 2018

COMET WIRTANEN 46P

Location:  Front deck, Little Lepreau, NB, Canada

Date Time:  December 6, 2018 1730-2200 hrs

Weather:  Mostly clear, no wind, temps dropped from -5C to -10C during observing time.

Attendance:  David McCashion

Equipment:  Canadian Telescopes 80 ED/APO with 32mm eyepiece, motorized mount, 20x80 binoculars, Canon Rebel Xsi with 18-55mm lens and attached to telescope at prime focus.  Images processed with PhotoShop.

Objective:  To view and image Comet Wirtanen 46P which has been reported to be in the faint constellation Eridanus.

Report:

  • Clouds threatened all day, right up to about a half hour after dark.  Finally, the clouds cleared, and the Moonless evening was very dark and clear.  Today is New Moon.
  • Searched for a long time with telescope and binoculars to the east of where the comet was located.  Comet was in an area of sky where there aren't many bright stars, which makes the non naked eye comets harder to find.
Image taken with Camera and 18-55mm lens, 20 second, ISO 1600
  • Found the Comet to be huge in the eyepiece, very diffuse and greenish with no tail.
Next to a bright star in the faint constellation Eridanus.  Image taken with camera attached to telescope at prime focus, 2 minute exposure, ISO 1600
  • Comet was most impressive in the binoculars.  Absolutely massive.  Full Moon size.  
  • Could not see Comet with unaided eye, even with averted vision.  It was next to an unnamed, faint(barely visible with unaided eye) star in the large, faint constellation Eridanus.
  • Three shooting stars were seen, in quick succession, during beginning of observing session.  No satellites were seen.

Monday, November 12, 2018

COMET C/2018 V1 (Machholz-Fujikawa-Iwamoto)

Location:  Front deck, Little Lepreau, NB, Canada

Date Time:  November 12, 2018 0515-0630 hrs

Weather:  Clear, cold -5C with reported windchill of -11C, breezy to light breeze.

Equipment:  Canadian Telescopes 80 ED/APO with 2" 32mm eyepiece, Canon Rebel attached to telescope at prime focus, motorized tracking mount.  Images processed with Photoshop.

Attendance:  David McCashion

Objective:  To capture an image of a newly discovered Comet.  Comet COMET C/2018 V1 (Machholz-Fujikawa-Iwamoto) which is reported to be in Virgo, one degree below and to the left of Porrima, near a triangle of stars.  This according to a local, fellow Amateur Astronomer, Curt, who was observing the comet with his 8" dob and 15 & 19mm eyepieces at 0520 hrs from Saint John, NB.

Report:

  • Set scope up, around 0550hrs and aligned it on Betelgeuse and Sirius, which were halfway up in the sky, in the SW.
  • Viewed and imaged Venus with 32 mm eyepiece, at around 0607 hrs.  It was rising in the low SE and was the shape of a very small, thin crescent moon in the eyepiece.  Wonderful thing to see!
Imaged with camera attached to telescope at prime focus.  1600 ISO, 1/320 second exposure time

  • Attached camera to telescope and used Venus to focus.  Then centered Porrima in view finder.  Unfortunately, by this time, around 0615 hrs, first light had already started, threatening my ability to image the comet.  Looked quickly for the comet in the camera viewfinder, but it didn't stand out, so, took one 16 second image of that area of sky, thinking that it was too late, that it was too light out to capture a faint comet.  Not until about an hour later, after putting everything inside to dry out, when viewing the image in the camera view screen, did I clearly see a green fuzzball, right where Curt said it was, "to the lower left of Porrima, next to the triangle of stars."  Comet captured!
Single shot, ISO 1600, 16 second exposure.
  • According to Richard Hinckley Allen in his book, "Star Names Their Lore and Meaning", Porrima is a Latin name of an ancient goddess of prophecy.
  • Seen two shooting stars, in the east, one much brighter and higher in the sky than the other.  Both came from the same direction, Leo.  No satellites were seen.













Sunday, November 11, 2018

THE MORNING STAR

Location:  Front Deck, Little Lepreau, NB, Canada

Date Time:  November 11, 2018 0620-0630 hrs

Weather:  Mostly clear, very windy from the SW, very cold -4C with reported windchil of -8C.  No frost, no bugs.

Equipment:  Canon Rebel Xsi with 75-300 mm lens.  Umbrella to block the wind while imaging.  Image processed on with Photoshop.

Attendance:  David McCashion

Report:
  • A very cold and windy morning for observing.  Strong gusty winds made imaging difficult.
  • Venus, aka 'The Morning Star', was very bright and near the .98 magnitude star Spica, low in the SE just after first light and about a half hour before Sunup. 

  • According to Richard Hinckley Allen, in his "Star Names Their Lore and Meanings," the name Spica refers to and marks, "...the Ear of  Wheat shown in the Virgin's left hand."
  • Orion was huge, bright and low in the West.
  • No shooting stars or satellites were seen.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

FEATURES VISIBLE ON MARS (Updated)

Location:  Front porch, Little Lepreau, NB, Canada

Date Time:  October 18, 2018 1900-0038 hrs

Weather:  Clear, gusty winds, up to 65 kph through day, dying off to 27 kph through evening, 3C with windchill of -2C.  Heavy frost present next morning.  No bugs, no dew.

Equipment:  Meade LX 200 8" telescope with camera adapter, 19 mm eyepiece, Canon Rebel Xsi with 18-55 mm lens.  Images processed on Photobucket.com

Attendance:  Myself.

Report:

  • Gibbous Moon was in conjunction with Mars in the South East as it was starting to get dark at 1900 hrs.  The two objects were approximately 5 degrees apart.  High winds made imaging impossible until later in the night when they died off some.

  • Mars was bright, reddish with polar cap and features visible in the center of disk, in the 19 mm eyepiece.  Due to a subsiding dust storm on Mars, there is more to see across it's disk now, than when it was closer to Earth in July.

  • Saturn was huge and spectacular in 19 mm eyepiece with rings steeply inclined.  Heavy winds were high while it was still above horizon, preventing good images.  Saturn is very interestingly placed just above the Teapot of Sagittarius.  At first glance, Saturn looks like a part of the Teapot asterism.
  • Winds died down around midnight allowing for imaging.  First, imaged the gibbous moon with camera attached to telescope at prime focus.  Then imaged moon with focal reducer attached.
  • Viewed and imaged the impressive double star Albireo which was just above the NW tree line.  The contrast between the close reddish star and bluish star is remarkable.  This double star is a great high magnitude object.  Imaged with camera attached to telescope with focal reducer.

  • Imaged Pleiades (M45) with camera attached to telescope with focal reducer.  Also imaged this area of sky with camera and 18-55mm lens, as it rises in the East through the evening and early night.

  • Imaged the Constellations Orion which was low in the East, and Cygnus, halfway up in the NW sky, at around 0030hrs.



  • No satellites and 1 shooting star was seen, which was faint, in the Eastern sky crossing between Taurus and Orion.





Monday, September 10, 2018

COMET 21P GIACOBINI-ZINNER (Updated)

Location:  Side yard, Little Lepreau, NB, Canada

Date Time:  September 10, 2018 0400-0550hrs

Weather:  Clear, a very cool, hand numbing 10 C, no wind, no bugs, and lots of dew, which ended up freezing to the table.

Equipment:  Canadian Telescopes 80 ED/APO with 32mm eyepiece, Canon Rebel Xsi with 75-300mm lens and attached to telescope at prime focus.  20x80 binos.  Images processed on Photobucket.com

Attendance:  David McCashion from Little Lepreau and Ed from West Saint John.

Objective:  To view and image Comet 21P, after Ed confirmed and reported a sighting on the morning of Sept 9, 2018 at 0530 hrs.  He said it was near M 37 and he could see a tail in his 8" Dob.


Report:

  • First set up binoculars to scan where comet was supposed to be.  Seen a bright fuzzy patch that I initially thought was the comet, but it turned out to be M37.  After reviewing images, found the comet to be much fainter, but, thankfully near the brightest open cluster in Auriga, M37.
  • Could not confirm a visual sighting of the comet in either the binos or through the telescope.  By the time I realized, that it wasn't the comet I was looking at, first light had already started.  Tried looking for it anyways, but couldn't see it next to the bright Messier object.
  • Seen 1 satellite and 4 shooting stars, with one being very bright, in the Eastern sky, going straight north.
Images:



Camera with 75-300mm lens, zoomed out.

Camera attached to telescope at prime focus, zoomed in.  46 second time elapsed.

Longer, 90 second exposure, over-exposed to show more of the comets' coma and tail.

Notes:

  • Ed and I both searched the area of sky (from our own respective homes) south of Capella on the evening of Sept 4, looking for the faint magnitude 7 comet to no avail, where it was reported to be on Heavens-above.com.  We thought that maybe the comet had dimmed to the point where our equipment couldn't pick it up.




  • Must note that, at the time of this observing, the winter constellations, including Orion, are getting quite high in the Eastern sky.
  • Wednesday, August 15, 2018

    PERSEID METEOR SHOWER 2018

    Location:  Smileys Campground, NS and Little Lepreau, NB

    Date Time:

    Smileys - Aug 10, 2018 2220-2330 hrs
                    Aug 11, 2018 2220-2320 hrs

    Little Lepreau Aug 12, 2018 2220- 2324 hrs

    Weather:

    Aug 10 - Partly cloudy to mostly clear, very warm and humid.
    Aug 11 -  Mostly cloudy to completely socked in with clouds.
    Aug 12 - Partly clear.

    Attendance:  David McCashion

    Equipment:  A good reclining lawn chair.

    Report:  


    • Most of the time reclining, facing towards the south at the Summer Triangle.



    • Aug 10 -  Seen 8 Persieds with 5 being very long and bright, yellowish with smoke trails, over a 1 hrs period



    • Aug 11 - No shooting stars seen, over an hour long period, even though I could just make out the bright stars in the Summer Triangle.  Thought I would have been able to see some through the lighter cloud cover.  Cloud cover thickened after 2300 hrs.



    • Aug 12 - Seen 19 Perseids that were mostly bright "Smokers" (leaving smoke trails) and 1 Sporadic, over a 1 hr 4 min period.  A nice outburst of shooting stars around 2320 hrs.



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