Monday, November 15, 2010

Observing Pics

Location: Hartland, NB

Date: Nov13/10 0530hrs

Weather: -2 degrees Celsius, no wind, clear.

Top Picture: Looking east Venus, Spica, and Saturn.

Middle: Looking south east - Leo.

Bottom: Looking south west - Orion.

Hartland Covered Bridge

Location: Hartland, NB

Date: Nov 12/10 at 2230hrs

Notes: Half Moon is over the bridge in the top picture and Jupiter is the bright star above the bridge in the second picture.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Observing Report

Location: Saints Rest Beach, NB

Date Time: October 19, 2010 2300-0200hrs

Weather: -1 degree Celsius, very light breeze, high level wispy clouds.

Celestial Objects Observed: Moon(91% full), Jupiter and 4 Moons, Orion The Hunter, Cassiopeia, Taurus The Bull, Perseus, The Big Dipper, M45, M42, Capella, and Betelgeuse.

Report: The weather was cool and mostly clear so the observing conditions were favourable. The high level wispy clouds were not much of a factor, as when they covered the Jupiter-Moon conjunction, Perseus(location of Comet 103P/Hartley) was clear and vise versa.

Before the observing session, a sky chart was consulted for the whereabouts of Comet Hartley. According to the chart it was just east of the star Capella, which was halfway up in the sky at observing time. Did a protracted search for the comet with 20x80 binoculars. Observed some stars that could be a comet, but nothing that stood out enough for a confirmed sighting. Same could also be said of my next search for the comet with my 150 mm reflector with a 32mm eyepiece.

To have a successful sighting of a comet like this one, which is closest to earth today, and doesn't stand out amongst the background stars(with smaller scopes) one has to locate the area it is in and chart the background stars over a several day period. The star that moves is your comet.

Orion came up over the eastern horizon after midnight. It was very impressive as it hovered over Saint John, NB. Betelgeuse (Orion's left shoulder) was also observed. It showed up as a reddish disk.

Taurus was very prominent in the East as I started at 2300hrs. M45 also stood out very nicely, in the east.

Jupiter's weather belt showed up clearly as a faint red line that was in line with its 4 Moons.

The Moon was very bright and many of its craters and features showed up very well with the 16mm eyepiece.

Overall, this was an excellent session. Even though I didn't find Comet 103P/Hartley, the search did allow for a more thorough familiarization of the stars around Capella.

There were many very interesting things to observe on this night and some very nice pictures were taken. To see these pictures look to the preceding post.

Observing Pics for Oct 20/10 0100hrs Saints Rest Beach, NB

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pics From the Road

Date Time: October 12, 2010 0030hrs

Location: Prescott, ON

Weather: 2 degrees Celsius, no wind clear

Equipment: 20x80 Binos, Kodak EasyShare Digital Camera, Mount

Report: No Moon was up, so sky was quite dark. Orion showed up nicely in the SE, Cassiopeia was straight up and Jupiter's 4 moons showed up very nice with the binos. M42 resolved well in the binos as a bluish cloud with 4 stars in it of diminishing sizes. I'm pretty sure that Uranus is just above Jupiter and it shows up in one of the pictures. Observed the fairly large red disk of Betelgeuse.

Made an effort to find Comet Hartley, to no avail. It was just north west of Cassiopeia, last night, which put it almost straight overhead. This makes it very difficult to find with the binos. Hopefully, time and the weather will allow for a more thorough search with my 150mm reflector. With its Equatorial mount, it is designed to look straight up.

Picture Descriptions: From top to bottom. First two are of Jupiter. Last three are of Orion with the last one a close up of M42, The Great Orion Nebula.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

103P/Hartley 2

The weather has been not conducive for observing, to put it mildly. Constant rain and cloudy weather has made it a rare treat to actually get a glimpse of a star.

Besides the great show that Jupiter is putting on in the evening and most of the night, there is a newcomer comet 103P/Hartley 2 which is moving through Cassiopeia heading towards Perseus. It will be closest to Earth on 20 October and is not quite naked eye, but binos or a small telescope should pick it up. For more info and better directions to find this comet, look to these websites:

The next comet that I observe will be my first, so hopefully 103P/Hartley 2 will be the one. All that is needed is clear skies...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Beaker Wins Big

Observing Report for September 20/10


Date: September 20, 2010 2230-0055hrs

Location: Prince of Wales, NB

Weather: 10 degrees Celsius, clear, gusting winds

Attendance: Anthony M, David M

Equipment: 150 mm reflector on EQ3 mount, 32mm and 16mm eyepieces, mounted C190 Kodak digital camera, mounted 20x80 binoculars.

Report: There was a very bright waxing gibbous moon high in the south. Jupiter was about the same elevation but to the East.

This was the night of opposition for Jupiter and also a conjunction of Jupiter and Uranus(nice pic of Jupiter, 4 of its moons and a faint green Uranus is below). The Earth will not be this close to Jupiter again until 2022, and it was very easy to tell that we were close, as three of Jupiter's moons showed up with binoculars( normally only get two).

Jupiter was huge when viewed and its moons were brighter than I have ever seen them. The moons were nicely spread apart with two on each side. With the 16mm eyepiece, a faint reddish line could be seen across Jupiter, although this did not show up in the pictures.

Anthony was very impressed with how nicely Jupiter showed up in the binoculars. He was also impressed with M45 thru the binos. I also observed M45 which was in the east, and looked for the Andromeda Galaxy M31 to no avail. M31 was almost straight up around midnight, which makes finding it hard with the binos. The bright moon did not help either and normally I can pick it out with my naked eye but could not on this night.

Obtained many nice pictures of the moon. It was so bright that it would actually sting your eye to look at it. This is where the camera comes in handy, as it absorbs the glare so you can just stand back and observe in comfort. Nice views of Tyco, and Mare Crissum. Looked for 'The Lady On The Moon', found it, but it did not come into focus well.

I am finding that this camera is not focusing well on a lot of shots. The end picture ends up being out of focus, even though it looks in focus when you take it. Overall, I am not happy with the Kodak digital camera. I find it overly complicated compared to the Olympus and its pictures are routinely out of focus.

We also observed the Big Dipper, Cassiopeia and Pegasus.

Pictures for this night are in the next post.

Observing 20 Sept/10 POW

Night of Opposition for Jupiter. Uranus is at conjuntion with Jupiter(second picture down).

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Pics From The Road

Date and Time: Sept 18/10 0130 hrs

Location: Drummondville, QC

Notes: Two pictures of the moon and one of Jupiter and two of its moons.

We are getting very close to Jupiter right now. In fact, on Sept 21/10 is the nearest we will get. The next time we get this close to Jupiter is 2022, because of how the earths orbit is compared to Jupiters. Our orbits are not perfectly circular or flat, so that accounts for the difference in distance that occurs when we lap Jupiter every 13 months.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Phases of Venus

Picture from

Scientific Method

These are the steps to follow for the Scientific Method(from

1. Ask a Question
2. Do Background Research
3. Construct a Hypothesis
4. Test Your Hypothesis by Doing an Experiment
5. Analyze Your Data and Draw a Conclusion
6. Communicate Your Results

You don't have to be a Professional Scientist to observe what you see around you from day to day. In fact, that is what pure science is, in my opinion, observing your surroundings and questioning what you don't understand and then attempting to find the answer.

It is very easy, and, in fact, tempting to observe something in nature (bending trees, strange weather, celestial activity, etc, etc...) and jump to a grandiose conclusion. This is what sets a good scientist apart. He or she will question and record the observation, then perform the Scientific Method.

Many times in my own observations, I want to jump to a conclusion, just to solve the puzzle fast. It takes a concerted effort to not accept the fast conclusion and to do research into the issue at hand to be more sure of a correct answer.

This is the nice thing about being a Citizen Scientist, there are Professional Scientists and many years of research available on the Internet, the library or in the case of a scientist, a phone call to your local university.

This can be an inexpensive, educating and fun way to pass your extra time.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

September 11, 2010 Moon Venus

Crescent Moon and Venus on 9/11, 2010 1930hrs at St. Anne De Sault, QC. Was lucky to get these pics as there were some high level clouds that threatened to block the view of this conjunction before Venus became visible.

There have been a lot of cloudy days lately, so it really was lucky to get a glimpse of this and with much talk of this conjunction in the media it makes it even more special.

Venus is very low in the west as the sun goes down now so there isn't much time to get a good shot of it, especially if there are any clouds in the western sky. Also, there was a lot of moisture in the air, which also affects image quality.

If you view Venus through binoculars or a small telescope, you will see that it is the same shape as a Waning Gibbous Moon. Mercury and Venus go through the same phases as the Moon(although much slower) because they are inside the Orbit of the Earth.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Pics From The Road

Observing Notes:
Only used the mounted digital camera for these pictures.

Orion is now coming over the eastern horizon at around 2-3AM. First noticed it coming over the horizon about 3 weeks ago early in the morning, just before sun-up.

Was able to get two of Jupiters moons without the aid of a telescope. That shows the differance between a dark sky, away from all the street lights and a non dark sky in the city.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

27 Aug/10 Observing at Hartland, NB Moon and Jupiter

Videos From The Road

The top video was taken at St. Leonard, NB 27Aug/10 at 0130. It shows the Moon and Jupiter behind fast moving clouds.

The bottom video was taken at Hartland, NB 27 Aug/10 at 2230. It also shows the Moon and Jupiter. You will notice that the glare from the Moon is cut down from time to time during this video, that is because I placed a sunglass lense in front of the camera. It worked good for the moon but it competely blotted out Jupiter.

More Pics of Summertime Bending Trees

These pictures were taken on 26 Aug/10 near Ottawa, ON. There are stands of Poplar and White Birch that are bending over here and there along the highway and in the woods.

It is an interesting phenomena that is still a mystery to me. Wind, excess ice and snow are not factors.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Video of Asteroid Discoveries from 1980 to Present

This was taken from a very good website for interesting space happenings which features amature photographs of celestial and other sky related pictures. It is updated frequently.

This is a truly amazing video that gives the viewer an idea on just how many asteroids that are in our neighborhood.

Hopefully governments are investing in ways that will protect us, our children, and future generations from an eventual collision. The lessons learned from such an endeavour would surely be extremely valuable in our goal to explore farther out into space. No doubt, these new lessons would also help improve our lives here on earth, when you consider all the inventions(TV and microwave just to mention two) that have come from our efforts to explore space thus far.

Videos like this show that the human race is becoming aware of its surroundings, and gives hope for a great and extended future.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Path of Celestial Objects In The Night Sky

Observations: The three pictures below were taken just after sunset from top to bottom: 12,13 and 15 Aug/10 from Dummondville, QC, Ottawa, ON and Saint John, NB respectively.

When studied, they show how fast the Moon changes phases and location in the sky night after night.

Saturn and Mars did not become visible to the naked eye in Ottawa and did not show up in some of the pictures taken in Saint John, but they were visible to the naked eye and they showed up in the pictures when zoomed in on.

After observing all of the pictures that I have taken this summer of the western sky at sunset, these are my observations again looking west just after sunset day after day moving forward in time: New Moons start out low on the horizon and move up to the left. Venus and Mars are moving down to the left at different angles. Saturn and the background stars move down to the right.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Cresent Moon-Venus-Mars-Saturn Conjunction

Location: Drummondville, QC

Date Time: 12 August, 2010 from 2035-2050 local time

Weather: 25 Degrees Celsius, partly cloudy, almost no wind, humid.

Equipment: Kodak C190 EasyShare Digital Camera with tripod.

Report: In the pictures, Venus is the bright star with Mars above to the left and Saturn above to the right.

By the time Mars and Saturn became visible, the crescent Moon had almost set behind a farm house and some trees. This left an approximately 15 minute window to get a picture of this rare conjunction. When you consider that the weather has to cooperate, this truly was a rare viewing.

During this session at about 2045 hrs a shooting star/fire ball went overhead just out of the view of this conjunction. It sparkled and a light whooshing and crackling sound could be heard. The line it made across the sky could be traced straight to the constellation Perseus which would make this a part of the Persid Meteor shower that is now taking place.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Persid Meteor Shower

The Earth entered a comet debris field on or before Aug 6 and will be travelling through it for at least another week.

I seen several shooting stars while observing on the night of Aug 6/10. One looked like a big basketball that came straight down in front of me while driving. There were others that showed that night while driving. Others were very fast moving small lines across the sky that appeared when I was taking pictures of the half moon near Aldebaran. M45 was visible above Aldebaran. That early morning also had Jupiter high in the south.

If you have a clear night keep a look out for shooting stars as we are now moving into the thickest part of the debris field. Also, look for the Venus Mars Saturn conjunction right after sunset. Venus is very bright as the sun goes down, then as it gets darker, the fainter Mars and Saturn appear above Venus. They don't stay up long, so be ready to look when the sun sets.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Solar Observing Aug 2/10 1400hrs

Lots of terrific weather has allowed for lots of observing. Sunspot 1092 is clearly visible, the brightest sunspot that I have observed.

Bug Encounter

After a session of Solar Observing, this bug was darting around on the ground. It was hard to see as it blended in so well with the surrounding rocks. It looks like a grey grasshopper without the big jumping legs. It actually seemed curious as it came right up to me and stared for a few minutes, then took off in another direction.

It is very interesting to look at bugs through high magnification zooming in digital pictures. There is so much detail that is missed by the naked eye.


Blog Archive