Friday, July 8, 2011


Location: Baseball Field Behind Seawood School, West Saint John, NB

Date Time: July 7, 2011 2130-2350hrs

Weather: 20 degrees Celsius, clear, no wind.

Attendance: Richard P., Edward M., Myself.

Equipment: 180mm Reflector, 12mm and 32mm eyepieces, 2x Barlow, Cannon Rebel DSLR camera, Olympus FE-47 digital camera.

Objectives: To show Richard and Edward the rings of Saturn and some of its Moons in a telescope...a first for them both. To get pictures of Saturn.

Report: First of all, my reflector did not grow. After taking it in to Focus Scientific for a pro cominating job the scope was measured and it was determined that the scope is actually 180mm and not 150mm like was advertised. It appears that the scope has been sold a little short up until now. While at Focus Scientific in Ottawa I picked up an item that would connect the DSLR to the telescope and a new 12mm eyepiece.

There has been months go by(since May) without suitable weather which has made observing next to impossible. It is truly amazing how cloudy and rainy it has been during this time frame. Last night we were in luck.

The original plan for the location of last nights observing was Saints Rest Beach. We showed up there just as the sun was going down and it was starting to get dark. We got out of the car and were inundated by mosquito's. We agreed that another location would be preferable for simple enjoyment factor, so we went to the ball diamond behind Seawood School. Thankfully, the fly situation was much more bearable there.

The Moon was 47% Full and was halfway up in the SW sky. Saturn was just above the Moon in Virgo right next to 29 Gamma Virgo. Arcturus was twice as high in the sky and straight over the Moon which made me think that was Saturn. Arcturus was much brighter than Saturn.

The half Moon was observed first with 32 mm eyepiece and then with the 12mm eyepiece. The 32mm showed the whole moon with many craters. With the 12mm the Moon filled viewing field. Approximately 1/4 of the moon filled the viewing field. Many crater could be seen.

After the Moon, I mistaked Arcturus for Saturn. Arcturus was very bright and showed up like a bright orangish red point of light with the 32mm. Saturn was then found just above the Moon right beside 29 Gama Virgo which is a corner star in the constellation Virgo. Edward M. actually commented that 29 Gama Virgo must be one of Saturn's moons.

With the 32mm eyepiece Saturn's ring could be seen along with 3 moons... one on the right(as viewed through the inverted view of the scope) and two slightly dimmer ones on the left. Unlike Jupiter, these moons do not line up.

With the 12mm eyepiece attached to the 2x Barlow that gave a magnification of 233X. At this magnification separation in the rings could be seen easily and the planet and its moons were much bigger to look at. It was commented on how fast the planet went through the viewer(due to the rotation of the earth.

Tried to take pictures with the DSLR but with no active viewer it was impossible to focus. Note: An active viewer is essential for astrophotography.

Took pictures of Saturn with F-47 rings did not resolve well.


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