Monday, April 12, 2010

Observing Report for 10 April, 2010

Location: Prince of Wales, NB

Time: 2000-2340

Weather: 5 degrees Celsius, light wind, mostly clear

Attendance: Mike P, Carla H, David M


Venus and Mercury were about 2 and a half fingers apart and very visible at least 20 minutes before the sun went down. I took a couple of pictures of Venus before Mercury became visible and then the batteries died out on me. Carla brought some new ones at about 2115, but, unfortunately, Venus and Mercury were gone by then. Thanks a million Carla, as I wouldn't have got these great pics of Saturn (that are below) with out you coming through with the Duracell's.

The Moon was not due to rise until 0400 the next morning, so we had exceptionally dark skies.

Venus was very bright while Mercury was much dimmer. Mike commented how rare it is to have 4 planets visible at one time. We had Saturn(in Leo to the east), Mars(almost straight up beside M44), and Venus and Mercury(due west) were all clearly visible right after sundown. Mike said 4 planets is the most he has seen at once.

Mike took a spectacular 2 minute exposure pic of M51 Whirlpool Galaxy with his DLSR camera attached to his smaller spotting scope which was attached to his 4 in refractor(See Pic below). The picture turned out so well that we could see the spiral arms of the galaxy along with one very bright star in one of the arms. There was also a companion galaxy visible to the left of the main one. This was my first time watching a time elapsed picture being taken. Very impressive.

Mike also took pics of M81 and M82 which are galaxies that can be seen in one field of view. A pic of M1 Crab Nebula and pics of M35, M36, M37, M44, and M67(all open star clusters). All of these pictures looked like professional quality.

I took some pics of Saturn though my telescope and through Mikes. They are below. There were two moons visible around Saturn, one on the right and the other on the opposite side of the ringed planet, very close in. These moons did not show up in my pictures. The rings showed up very nice.

Orion disappeared over the western horizon around 2200. Mike and I both noticed how the constellations are moving to the west as summer approaches. M45 is almost due west at sundown and M31 was too low to see just after dark. Summer is coming!

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