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Sunday, February 10, 2019

COMET IWAMOTO

Location:  Front deck, Little Lepreau, NB, Canada

Date Time:  February 10, 2019 1945-2230 hrs

Weather:  Gusty winds at times calm, back to breezy, -10C with reported windchill of -17C.  Humidity at 50%.  Bitter cold.  Clear.  Crescent Moon bright enough to put shadows down.

Equipment:  Canadian Telescopes 80 ED/APO with 30 mm 2" eyepiece, motorized mount, Canon Rebel using telescope at prime focus.  Images processed on Photoshop.

Attendance:  David McCashion

Objective:  To observe Moon-Uranus-Mars Conjunction and attempt to view and image Comet C/2018 Y1 Iwamoto which was reported to be moving through Leo at 66 km/sec, relative to Earth.

Report:
  • M31 observed and imaged.  Very bright in the eyepiece.  Note the dust lanes in the M31 image.

  • M33 observed and imaged for the first time.  Spiral arms didnt show up in the eyepiece, but have in the image.

  • Mars and the Moon observed and imaged.  Moon was bright enough to cast shadows on the ground.  Could not find Uranus.


  • M42 observed
  • Comet didn't get high enough to view and image, in the East, till after 2200 hrs.  Found Comet Iwamoto directly below galaxy M95, in Leo, almost right on the ecliptic.  Very faint, fainter than M33. 
30 sec exposure

60 sec exposure

  • M44 observed. Very bright naked eye cluster of stars high up, to the south.
  • One shooting star was seen, and no satellites seen.


Saturday, February 9, 2019

MORNING COMET SEARCH

Location:  Front yard, Little Lepreau, NB

Date Time:  Feb 9, 2019 0500-0550hrs

Weather:  Temps dropping, gusty winds increasing.  Mostly clear, to partly cloudy, -6C with reported windchill of -14C, bitter cold.  Winds gusting from the SW approximately 60 kph, humidity at 94%.  Strong enough to blow tripod over!

Equipment:  Canon Rebel with 18-55mm lens, 20x80 binoculars.

Attendance:  Myself

Objective:  To view and image Comet Iwamoto C/2018 Y1 which was reported by Sky & Telescope magazine to be in Leo, and approaching binocular visibility.  It has been reported that this comet is a "fast mover", crossing the sky at 5 degrees/day.

Report:  

  • Leo was high in the Western sky, with the reported location of the Comet lower, less then halfway above the horizon, moving towards Regulus.
Focal Length 25mm, f/4, ISO 1600, 30 sec.
  • Jupiter rising, low in the SE.
  • Took many images to help locate comet, but high winds made long exposure imaging difficult.  Comet did not turn up in view screen, but after processing, it may have been located in more zoomed in image.
Focal length 53mm, ISO 1600, f/4, 30 sec.
  • Comet is very hard to see, in the image, but this is the general area where it should be.  Faint smudge might be the comet, which means it's about a degree east of where it's supposed to be according to the map.  Other reports indicate that the comet is a fast mover...moving about 5 degrees a day, which means that it probably wont be exactly where you look for it.
  • Scanned the area thoroughly with 20x80 binos, before and after high level thin clouds passed.  Could not locate the comet with binos.
  • No shooting stars were seen and one Iridium Flare was seen heading north, peaking in brightness straight over-head.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

MORNING CONJUNCTION

Location:  Side yard, Little Lepreau, NB, Canada

Date Time:  February 1, 2019 0720-0735 hrs

Weather:  Breezy, some passing, dark clouds moving eastward, -14C with a reported windchill of -28C.

Equipment:  Canon Rebel with 18-55 mm and 75-300 mm lenses.  Images processed on Photobucket.com

Attendance:  David McCashion

Report:

  • Over the last few days of January into early February, there has been an early morning conjunction of a waning crescent Moon, Venus and Jupiter.  It has created some interest on the internet.
  • Venus was much brighter than Jupiter, but both were clearly visible, even in the early morning light.  Was bitterly cold imaging.

Focal length 55 mm, ISO 100, 1 sec, f/13


  • Waning crescent moon was very low in the South East.

Focal length 300 mm, ISO 100, 1/2 sec, f/16

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.

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