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Monday, October 7, 2019

OBSERVING REPORT FOR OCTOBER 5, 2019

Location:  Front Porch, Little Lepreau, NB, Canada

Date Time:  October 5, 2019 2100-0130hrs

Weather:  Clear, no wind, very cool, -1C, 72% humidity.

Equipment:  Canadian Telescopes 80 ED/APO f/6.25 telescope on tracking mount, 32mm eyepiece.  Canon Rebel T3 with 18-55mm lens, 75-300mm lens and attached to telescope at prime focus.  Images stacked with DeepSkyStacker and processed on PhotoShop.

Attendance:  David McCashion

Objective:  To locate, view and image two comets high in the southern sky, after the first quarter moon drops out of sight over the horizon, after 2300hrs.

Report:
  • Nice Conjunction of the first quarter Moon and Saturn tonight.  Very close together.  By 2330hrs, the conjunction was very low and Moon was turning red.




Single shot, 1/40 second, ISO 200.  Camera using telescope at prime focus.



  • Moon didnt get low enough to start searching for comets till after 2330hrs.  At this point I started with imaging M2 in Aquarius.  A very bright globular cluster in the same constellation as one of my target comets, Africano.

    8-45 second images stacked.  ISO 6400
  • At around midnight, started searching for Comet Africano, which was supposed to be in Aquarius.  This constellation is a faint one, and even with very dark skies, it was challenging matching heavens above star chart with what's visible in the sky.  After imaging all over the patch of sky where comet was reported to be, could not locate Comet.  One image had what could be a comet, but was so faint as to not be confirmable.  Comet may have faded drastically, or I simply was misreading the heavens-above star chart.


     
  • At approximately 0130hrs, decided to try to image the western Veil Nebula or NGC 6960, in Cygnus.  Could see the long, stringy nebula though camera viewfinder.  Very long, but faint, cloud like.  Found processing this image to be very difficult.  Nebula just didn't seem to want to pop out.


17-45second images stacked.  ISO 6400



  •  Seen multiple shooting stars with one leaving a smoke trail.  No satellites observed

Monday, September 30, 2019

COMET IN PISCES

Location:  Back yard and Front deck, Little Lepreau, NB, Canada

Date Time:  September 30, 2019 from 2015-2330hrs

Weather:  Clear, cool, no wind to slight breeze, 9c down to 1C, frost warning, 70% humidity.

Attendance:  David McCashion

Equipment:  Canadian Telescopes 80mm ED/APO with 32mm and 19mm eyepieces, 20x80 binoculars, Canon Rebel T3 with 18-55mm lens and using telescope at prime focus.  Processed images with DeepSkyStacker and Photoshop.

Objective:  To view and image Comet C/2018 W2 Africano, which was reported to be in Pisces by Heavens-above.com.

Report:
  • Thanks to a message from fellow amateur astronomer, Ed O'Reilly, in Saint John, I was alerted to an International Space Station flyover at 2015hrs.  Went outside at this time, in the backyard,as the station was flying out of Ursa Major, heading east.  Very bright, Jupiter brightness, flying low for several minutes across the northern sky.  Most of the bright stars were out by now.  Impressive flyover, which Ed observed also from Saint John.  Ed though the station looked jewel-like.
  • Comet was supposed to be in Pisces, and the constellation wasn't high enough to view and image until after 2100hrs.  By then it was nicely placed in an easy viewing area of the eastern sky, slightly to the south.
  •  Set up scope on the front deck, around 2130hrs, and aligned it on Jupiter, Saturn, Altair and Iota Piscium
  • Viewed Jupiter, Saturn, M11 and M15 with scope and 32mm eyepiece.  
  • M11 or The Wild Duck Cluster was a very bright cloud in the eyepiece.  Couldn't  resolve any stars in it, and thought it looked more like a galaxy, or nebula.
  • M15 was a much fainter cluster which also looked more like a galaxy, at this low power.
  • Located the comet almost exactly where heaven-above.com predicted it to be.  Took 30 images of 30 second exposures.  The stacked image shows a 20 minute path of the comet.  Once again this Comet is moving quickly across the sky.  Took one two minute exposure to reveal more of the coma.  Seems to have a big, wide tail.  Looked for comet, visually, with 32mm eyepiece and couldn't see it.  Tried higher magnification with a much better quality eyepiece in the 19mm.  Confirmed a sighting of the faint comet.  It was a dark patch that really stood out better with averted vision.  Dark, brightening towards the center, large by not huge.
Thirty 30 second images stacked.  ISO 6400, camera using telescope at prime focus.  Streak is showing a 20 minute path of the comet.

Single, 2 minute image which shows the coma better and shows a big tail moving up and to the left, away form the comet nucleus.
  •  After viewing and imaging Comet Africano, I tried looking for comet with 20x80 binoculars, mounted on a tripod, but couldn't find it.  Did locate it visually in telescope with 19mm eyepiece.
  • Tried imaging the area of sky around the comet, to show where it was in the sky, with a larger field of view, but found that that area of sky so full of stars, was hard to tell one from the other.  I find Cassiopeia hard to image for this reason as well.  The tell-tale asterism stars blend in with all the background stars, which seem to be of almost equal brightness.
  • Located and viewed M31, M110 and M32, which were high overhead at approximately 2315hrs.  The massive, bright Andromeda Galaxy was huge in the 19mm eyepiece, with it's lesser companions crowding the field of view.  Very impressive sight at low power.
  •  Located and viewed M34, in Perseus.  A bright, open cluster of random shape.  My first time observing this Messier object.
  • Viewed two shooting stars directly, and many others out of the corner of my eye.  Extremely fast and faint.  Didn't see many satellites, but some did show up in images.














Friday, September 20, 2019

COMET AFRICANO

Location:  Front deck, Little Lepreau, NB, Canada

Date Time:  September 19, 2019 2130-2315 hrs

Weather:  Cool, mostly clear to partly cloudy, no wind to slight breeze, no bugs, no dew, 6C, and 75% humidity.  One of the nicest nights of the year, temperature wise, for observing.

Equipment: Canadian Telescopes 80 ED/APO on motorized, tracking mount, 19mm eyepiece, Canon Rebel T3 with 18-55mm lens and attached to telescope at prime focus, 8" Meade telescope with 19mm and 32 mm eyepieces.  Images stacked with DeepSkyStacker and processed with Photoshop.

Attendance:  David McCashion

Objective:  To view and image Comet C/2018 W2 Africano, which was reported to be just above, and to the right of Mirach, in Andromeda.

Report:
  • Set up scopes on deck, around 2145hrs, and aligned small scope on Jupiter, Saturn, in the South west, and on Mirach, high in the East.
  • Was able to find Comet Africano by imaging the area around Mirach.  Took 13 minutes worth of images of the comet, and the comet moved during those 13 mins, which showed up in the images.  the comet moved in relation to the background stars, as the telescope tracked the stars, not the comet.

Single, 10 second image.  6400 ISO, focal length 40mm, f/5.6

Single, 2 minute exposure, ISO 6400.  Heavily processed to bring out more comet detail.

14 images stacked, 45 Second, ISO 6400.  Shows 13 minute path of comet.
  • Searched for the comet with the bigger 8" telescope with the 19mm and 32mm eyepieces, but couldn't confirm a sighting.  Moonlight and haze were factors.
  • After 2230hrs, the moon started to rise, and some hazy conditions started, including some clouds.  

Single, 4 second image, 6400 ISO, f/5.6, focal length 40mm.  Showing brightness of the waning gibbous moon.

  • No shooting stars and a few satellites were seen.
  • By 2300hrs, Moon, which was in the waning gibbous phase, was so bright, it washed out any chance of observing the very faint, diffuse comet.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

PERSEID METEOR SHOWER 2019

Location:  Front yard, Little Lepreau, NB, Canada

Date Time:  August 11, 2019 0300-0500hrs

Weather:  No breeze, to slight breeze, partly cloudy, hazy, cool 8C 91% humidity.  Lots of dew, no bugs.

Attendance:  David McCashion

Equipment:  Reclining lawn chair, Canon Rebel T3 with 18-55mm on tripod.

Objective:  To view and image the 2019 Perseid meteor shower, which has been mostly washed out by the moon phase this year.  Moon was down by 3am, which is why this time was selected.

Report:
  • Faced mostly towards the Summer triangle, which was very high to the west and also observed to the south.
  • From 0306-0406 viewed 17 Perseids, mostly yellowish, about Aldebaran bright.  Fast moving, many were very faint.  Also viewed 5 faint sporadics and one very bright Bolide coming straight down to the west.
  • Clouds moved in from the North around 0330 and covered the northern half of the sky for 20 mins.
  • Imaged from 0415-0500hrs.  Observed 4 more Perseids while imaging, but they flew everywhere but through the camera field of view.  Had much trouble with lens fogging up.
  • Orion rising at 4am.

Twelve second image of Orion rising just before 1st light.  Facing East.

  • First light just before 5am.
  • Seen many satellites with one doing an iridium flare.

Monday, August 5, 2019

OBSERVING REPORT FOR AUGUST 4, 2019 (Updated)

Location:  Front yard and front deck, Little Lepreau, NB, Canada

Date Time:  August 4, 2019 2245-0300hrs

Weather:  No wind, clear, 11C/79% humidity @ 2300hrs, 7C/82% humidity @ 0300hrs.  Needed sweater, jacket and hat.  Some moths at first, then no bugs.

Attendance:  David McCashion

Equipment:  Canadian Telescopes 80 ED/APO with 19 mm eyepiece.  Canon Rebel T3 with 18-55mm eyepiece and using telescope at prime focus.   Images processed with DeepSkyStacker and Photoshop.

Objective:  To view and image deep sky objects along the Milkyway.

Report:

Viewed and imaged Jupiter, Saturn, M22, M16, The Coathanger, M71, M31 and the Perseus Double Cluster.  Also did a quick search for faint Comet C/2018 W2 Africano which is in Camelopardalis.  After reviewing processed image of that area of sky, could not confirm a sighting.

Twelve images stacked, 40 second, ISO 6400.


Ten images stacked, 40 second, ISO 6400.

Single shot, 20 second, ISO 6400


Observed many satellites, six Perseids and 3 sporadic, with two Perseids being very bright, one leaving a smoke trail.  Most meteors were seen coming straight down from high over-head, to the south, and were fast movers. Some were very faint.  A few more fast moving very faint meteors were not confirm-able.

Looked for Auroras, which were reported to be possible on this night, but didn't observe any.

Taurus rising in the early morning.

A space station flyover image from Aug 2, 2019

Single shot, 8 second, ISO 400.
 

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

GLOBULAR CLUSTERS IN SOUTHERN SKY (Updated)

Location:  Front yard, Little Lepreau, NB, Canada

Date Time:  July 7, 2019 2330-0220hrs

Weather:  Clear, No wind, very cool 11C @ 2330hrs and 8C at 0200hrs.  Only a few bugs.

Attendance:  David McCashion

Equipment:  Canadian Telescopes 80 ED/APO on motorized mount, 19mm eyepiece.  Canon Rebel T3 with 18-55mm lens and attached to telescope at prime focus.  Images stacked with Deepsky Stacker and processed on Photoshop.

Objective:  To view and image the Southwestern sky, Jupiter and Saturn and as many messier objects in that area as possible.

Report:

  • Set up late, when Jupiter moved far enough to the west to see it past the tree in my front yard.  Aligned scope on Arcturus, Alkaid(Ursa Major) and Jupiter.
  • Viewed M5.  Bright globular near a bright star..
  • Viewed and imaged Jupiter.


  • Imaged faint, small globulars M19 and M9.  M9 sits very close to a fairly bright star.




  • Imaged nebulae M8, M20 & M21.  Very bright nebulae showing color in the eyepiece...blues and greens.
  • Imaged the huge, bright globular M4, next to the brightest star in Scorpius, Antares.
Ten images stacked, 10 second, 6400 ISO, camera attached to telescope at prime focus.

  •  Viewed M22.  A huge, bright globular.  Also viewed M28, a very small, faint globular.
  • Viewed and imaged Saturn.



  • No shooting stars or satellites were seen.
















Friday, July 5, 2019

YOUNG MOON

Location:  Front yard, Little Lepreau, NB, Canada

Date Time:  July 4, 2019  2130-2430

Weather:  High hazy, thin clouds early on, giving way to mostly clear, dark skies.  Light breeze to no wind, 72% humidity, and 16C at Sundown, 12C at 2430hrs.  Many mosquitoes all throughout.

Attendance:  David McCashion

Equipment:  Meade LX200 with 15mm eyepiece.  Canon Rebel T3 with 75-300mm lens and attached to telescope at prime focus.  Images processed with Photoshop.

Objective:  To view and image a conjunction of Mars-Mercury-Moon which was due to happen around sunset.  Also, to view and image Io's shadow, which was supposed to cross the face of Jupiter from approximately 2330hrs-0230hrs.

Report:
  • Went out about a half hour before dark to see the conjunction, but hazy clouds covered most of the sky, including the western sky.  Shortly later the clouds broke up revealing the very thin, young moon.  Could not confirm a sighting of the two planets.  They were lower in the sky than the Moon and may have been below the tree line.

  • Once Jupiter moved into the south-western part of the sky, around 2330hrs, went back out and viewed and imaged it.  Three of it moons were visible with Io in the midst of a transit.  Thought I could see a shadow on the lower right face of Jupiter, but it didnt show up in the 15mm eyepiece, but just slightly in the image. Belts showed up nicely.

  •  Jupiter was just East, and higher up than Antares.  M4 is located 2 degrees to the west of Antares, so I used the telescope to locate and view it.  A faint globular cluster, with more stars to one side.
  • Many satellites were seen going in all directions and very many planes were flying East and West.  No shooting stars were seen.

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