Tuesday, June 29, 2010

HAYABUSA Update...

They started to open the space probe capsule on Thursday 24 June/10. According to their website, it will take a week to properly open it so that no contamination occurs. Very exciting stuff...

Things to Look For...

If we can get some clear skies then look for the ISS(International Space Station). It is making multiple passes over the course of the night for the next little while.

If you have never seen it, there are multiple web sites that will tell you when and where to look for satellites, that are extremely accurate. When it goes over-head you cannot miss it, if you are looking up, as it is the brightest thing in the sky next to the Moon.

Here is an excellent site that clearly shows timings for satellite transits. All you have to do is input your postal code.

Pics and Video From The Road

The Top picture was taken on 26 June/10 at 1400 hrs from NB Hwy 2 northbound near Florenceville, NB. The windmills are located in Mars Hill, ME. The next two are of Venus taken on 25 June/10 at 2140 hrs from ON Hwy 17 near the ON/QC border. The bottom one is of a Full Moon taken at the same time and place as the above Venus. It was low in the eastern sky.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Interesting Space Pics

Here are some recently taken space pictures that I found interesting.

The top pic was taken on the ISS and is an aurora over the Indian Ocean.

The bottom pic is the far side of the Moon. This side we never see from earth. It was taken by NASAs' LRO which has been orbiting the Moon since last summer.

Japanese Space Probe (Hayabusa) Update

This is the probe that landed on an asteroid and hopefully took samples, then returned to earth. The whole process took years to complete and experienced many difficulties along the way.

When last reported, they obtained a video of the probe re-entering our atmosphere like a shooting star. They found it and I have not been able to ascertain if they have actually opened it yet. For pictures of it laying in the desert in Australia go to this site...

Moon Pics June 19/10@2300

These pictures were taken at Summerstown, ON

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Observing Report for 15-16 June/10

Location: Irving Nature Park, Saint John, NB

Date/Time: 15 June/10 0330-0445 hrs
16 June/10 0330-0500 hrs

Conditions: 15 June/10 12 degrees Celsius, clear, very strong winds
16 June/10 13 degrees Celsius, clear, light breeze

Equipment: 150 mm reflector on EQ3 mount, 20x80 Binos with tripod, and Kodak C190 digital camera mounted to reflector and alone on tripod.

Report: The main goal for these two observing sessions was to get a picture of Comet R1 McNaught which has been reported to be in Perseus which comes up in the NE at about 0200 hrs. On the morning of the 15th, the wind was too strong for the reflectors' mount to keep it still, so the binos were used. They would not stay still either, but tried with them anyway. Seen a greenish blob by the brightest star in Perseus on the 15th, but after observing on the 16th, it was determined that it was only a star. Never seen anything with the scope or binos that stood out as a comet. There was a star field around that bright star, but I could not say for sure that one was a comet. As it turned out, the Comet moved out of Perseus to the North much farther in one day than I would have thought. Lesson: don't assume comets are going to stay in the same place from one night to the next...

Jupiter and Uranus are very close together in the East in the morning. I did get a picture of Jupiter, its moons and what I think is Uranus right where it is suppose to be according to star map. I find Uranus and Neptune or really anything magnitude 5 or 6 to be hard to differentiate from a star.

Both mornings around 0430 hrs a very bright satellite went over-head from the west right over the Big Dipper to the NE. Stayed very bright most of the way across the sky, then turned orange as it was in the east.

At 0415 hrs on the 15th a very slow moving, faint shooting star came low out of the SW to the NW and flared, then changed directions and it simply dropped out of the sky and then got blown backwards by the very strong winds. First time that I have observed a shooting star do this. I think it either landed in the Bay or in the woods in the park.

Irving Nature Park Observing Pics for 15-16 June/10

Monday, June 14, 2010

Awsome Images of Historic Japenese Space Probe Re-Entry

This space probe landed on an asteroid, collected samples (we hope) then lifted off the asteroid and made it back to Earth, landing sometime last night. This is the first manned object to land on another heavenly body other than the Moon, then return home.

It landed somewhere in Australia with samples from the Asteroid, hopefully. If and when it is found, it will be brought to Japan for opening by their scientists to see if it actually collected samples.

Japan is clearly becoming one of the top space exploring countries, given their multiple successful missions.

Here is site with a good description of the mission:

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Comet C/2009 R1 (McNaught) In Early Dawn Skies

This green comet is going to be an excellent backyard telescope target until July 2/10 when it gets too close to the sun. It is a very early riser, though.

It rises after 2AM in the NE. At the same time a crescent Moon is in the east and Jupiter and Uranus are very close together in the SE. I am going to try to get some pictures, if the weather co-operates.

Picture taken from

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Asteroid Flies By Earth

Check this out... An asteroid flew by earth, missing us by 400 000 km, about the distance the Moon is from earth. I believe this happened last Thursday.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Observing On The Road

The top pic is of the moon over a truck taken at Grand Falls, NB 31May/10 at 0500hrs

The next one is a pic of the sun through forrest fire smoke at Quebec City 30 May/10 at 1930hrs.

The next pic is of the Moon at 2330hrs 29 May/10 at the Irving Truck stop Exit 145 Rt. 20 50km east of Montreal

The pic of the Moon between two power lines was taken from Ottawa 27 May/10 at 2350hrs.

The two big trucks are my work trucks.

26 May Observing Pics

These pics were taken with an Olympus FE-180 digital camera, attached to a 150mm reflector. The white moon was taken with a 32mm eyepiece w/o filter, whereas, the green moon was taken with a 25mm eyepiece with a filter.

Can you see the buny rabbit across the face of the Moon? Once you pic it out, you will wonder how you never seen it before.

Observing Report for 26 May/10

Location: Irving Nature Park

Time: 2145hrs-2330hrs

Conditions: 16 degrees Celsius, small breeze, partly cloudy

Attendance: Carla H., Mike P., David M.

Moon: 98% Full, 45 deg declination in the SE

Planets: Venus was very bright, near full in phase to the west. Mars was west of Saturn just below Leo, all in the SW.

Observations: Moon was too bright for deep sky object observing. Even the normally bright stars were dim as were Mars and Saturn. I wanted to look for asteroid Vesta 4 in Leo(mag 6), but ran out of time. There was just too many things to look at and so much to talk about!

By the time I got set up a huge black cloud covered Venus, which I wanted to look at first, as it is the first thing to go down in the west. When it wasn't covered, Venus showed like a huge light.

Obtained many pictures of the Moon. Once again, special thanks to Mike P. of the Saint John Astronomy Club for letting me use his camera adapter. The adapter made taking pictures much easier and allowed me to focus in on specific features of the Moon. The hand mounted method for taking pictures works, but requires a very steady hand and a certain amount of luck.

Was able to get some pics of the whole Moon, close-ups of Tycho the 85 mile wide crater which is in the South part of the Moon, and some mountain ranges at the terminus.

There was so much to look at, I could have stayed much longer.


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