Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Location: Maces Bay, NB

Date Time: May 27, 2013 2100-2200hrs

Weather: At 2000hrs clouds were starting to clear, temps 18 degrees Celsius, by 2100hrs it was mostly clear and the sun had set, with a light breeze. By 2200hrs, it was clear, no wind, temperature went down to 7 degrees Celsius, with the weather stations calling for frost over night.

Equipment: Canon DSLR camera and 75-300mm lens, tripod.
Objective: To Image Jupiter-Venus-Mercury conjunction.

Report: The cloudy weather started to break up in the afternoon to give a nice evening for observing the western sky.  After arriving around 2100 on a beach near Maces Bay, no stars were seen, as it was still too bright out...the sun had just set.  Watched the sky until 2122hrs, that was when Venus seemed to pop out.  Jupiter came into view shortly after this, then at 2132 hrs, a very dim mercury came into view.  At last, the elusive trio were finally viewed by this observer!

Jupiter-Bottom Left...Venus Bottom Right...Mercury on Top.  2150hrs

Monday, May 27, 2013


Location: Maces Bay, NB

Date Time: May 26, 2013 2100-2200hrs

Weather: 8 degrees Celsius, no wind, humid, mainly cloudy except for narrow breaks in rain clouds. Clouds did not seem to move.

Equipment: Canon DSLR camera, 18-55mm and 75-300mm lenses, tripod, images processed on

Objective: To image the Jupiter-Venus-Mercury conjunction.

 Report: It rained for the last 5 days straight with absolutely no breaks in the clouds, however, the clouds started to breakup on Monday May 26. Went down to the beach and there were very narrow bands of slightly clear skies. After about 10 minutes of seeing no planets or stars, a bright 'star' shone through between the clouds. After a few minutes another, dimmer planet appeared slightly to the left of where the first planet was seen. By this time, the first planet went behind the clouds.

A few images were taken at this time, until the slow moving clouds covered this planet. Was not sure at this time which planet it was, but after looking on the star-dome, it was determined that that the planet to the left was Jupiter and to the right and lower in the sky was Venus. Mercury was not seen, according to the star-dome, it should have been above Venus.
Interesting cloud formation
Cloudy skies make it hard to see conjunctions
Two of the three conjunction planets showed up in this image


Location: Little Lepreau, NB

Date Time: May 27, 2013 Times vary

Equipment: Canon DSLR camera, 75-300mm lens, images processed on

Blue Jay
Blue Jay
Jem and two Blue Jays
Blue Jays

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Location: Maces Bay, NB

Date Time:  May 21, 2013 2149hrs

Weather:  14 degrees Celsius partly cloudy, almost no wind, lots of moisture in air.  Clouds moving slowly from SW to N.

Attendance:  Myself

Equipment:  Canon DSLR camera, 75-300mm lens, image processed at

Objective:  To capture an image of and view the Jupiter-Venus-Mercury conjunction

Report: The stated objective was not met, because Mercury was not visible, either by the naked eye, or after processing the images.  Jupiter and Mercury did peak out momentarily from behind the dark, wispy clouds that hung low in the west at sundown.  The rest of the sky was relatively clear, but there seemed to be a lot of moisture in the air.  Viewing was not ideal.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Location:  Morning-Little Lepreau, NB.  Evening-Dartmouth,  NS

Date Time:  May 13, 2013 1000-1130hrs and 2015-2030hrs Atlantic Standard Time

Weather:  Morning in Little Lepreau- started off cool, 11degrees Celsius, slightly hazy to clear, very light breeze then around 1030 wind picked up to a gusty state.  By 1130 there were solid 30mph southerly winds.  By 1300 winds may have passed 50mph.
Evening in Dartmouth-warm, approximately 20 degrees Celsius, intermittent rain clouds coming from south to north partially blocked view of western sky.  No wind, kind of humid.

Attendance:  Myself

Equipment:  Canon DSLR camera with tripod, 75-300mm lens, 8 inch Meade LX 200 telescope.

Objectives:  To capture images of sunspots with DSLR camera and the new planetary imager.  To capture the conjunction between the crescent Moon and Jupiter.

Report:  The morning session was greatly affected by high gusty winds, which picked up from next to nothing to over 50mph sustained winds, from the south by noon.  The very solid tripod for the telescope greatly helped, although many images were blurred due to the shaking.  

It was known that there were going to be winds, but the forecast also called for mainly clouds, so was pleasantly surprised to see it nice and clear and sunny at 0930 although it was cool.  Definitely jacket and hat weather.  It was decided at this time to try to get some images of the Sun.  Shortly after the scope was set up, the winds picked up speed to a steady 20mph, with telescope stuff blowing everywhere.

While setting up, remembered that last time, the scope could not locate Jupiter.  At the May meeting of the Saint John Astronomy club, Mike P. thought that maybe the time setting on the scope was off.  Sure enough, went into the Date Time settings and the scope was set for the completely wrong date and time.  Thanks again to Mike P.!!!  Just goes to show how important it is to talk to other people who share the same interest.  Telescopes, and their accessories can be very complicated devices, and it cannot be said enough how important it is to talk to others in the know.  It can be challenging, but that's what make it such a rewarding hobby.

After set up, decided to try using the tracking system, so that constant adjusting wouldn't have to be done.  Since there were no stars in the sky to align the scope on, a compass was used to point the scope straight north, then inclined the scope so that it was pointing to where Polaris might be.  Then picked Mercury in the GoTo mode, but the scope said, "Too Close To Sun".  With the solar filter firmly attached, the scope was then manually, with the keypad, pointed at the Sun, which was getting high in the SE direction.  With a little doing, the Sun was found, but the tracking did not work perfectly.  It did need to be adjusted rather frequently.

Once scope was set up, and the Sun was located in the filtered scope, the 2" 30mm eyepiece was used to for viewing.  At this time it was seen that the 2" right angle attachement piece that attaches connects the eyepieces to the telescope, the mirror has much dust on it, which affects the view.  Despite this, many Sunspots were easily visible, with many more that were sort of tickling the eye.  It may be time to do an all around cleaning of the all the mirrors, eyepieces and accessories.  This can ruin an observing session, if it is not done right, so some thought has to go into it.  This observer has never even attempted to clean a eyepieces or primary mirrors up to this point in time.

As the wind started to pick up, it was then decided to try to get some images, before it got too windy.  Many images were obtained with the DSLR camera, but due to the wind and my schedule for that day, it was determined not to try out the Planetary Imager on this day.

The evening session was done in Dartmouth, NS.  Looked for Venus and Jupiter, which were suppose to be low in the Western sky at sunset, but they were not seen as it was very cloudy.  It was much warmer in Dartmouth, with very little wind.  Thin crescent Moon could be seen through breaks in large, heavy, dark rain clouds there were moving slowly across the evening sky.

No satellites or shooting stars were observed during this session.
Sunspots 1742, 1743, 1744, 1747, 1746, 1747 according to

May 13, 2013 1025hrs AST

Crescent Moon from Dartmouth, NS May13, 2013 2020hrs
Crescent Moon from Dartmouth, NS May13, 2013 2020hrs

Saturday, May 11, 2013


Always find it fascinating how much detail comes out in closeup images of insects. This approximately 2.5 inch long moth is no exception. The otherwise common creature appears almost mammal like, with all of its fur. These images were taken as the moth was perched on the side of the house, May 11, 2013 at 1204hrs. Notice how its legs seem to stick into the wood to hold it there.

Friday, May 10, 2013


Summer is coming up and so is the time for star parties.  If you don't have a telescope, but are interested in astronomy, attending a star party will give you access to amature astronomers who love to share their knowledge of the night sky.  Its also a great place to see many different kinds of telescopes and help you decide which kind of observing device is right for you.  Its also a great place to talk about all things astronomy with people who share the interest.

Here is a link to an annual star party in Nova Scotia, called Nova East.  There are several around New Brunswick this summer; one at Mount Carlton provincial park, one at Mactaquac provincial park, and the  Kouchibouguac Stargaze.  Those are just the ones I'm aware of, there might also be one at Fundy National Park.  For more info on star parties, go to the Saint John Astronomy Club website.

Found this image at this website


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