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.

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