Thursday, March 26, 2015


Location:  Little Lepreau, NB, Canada

Date Time:  March 25, 2015 1930-2300hrs

Weather:  Slight wind, some light to moderate clouding, hazy, 0C with windchill -8C.

Equipment:  8" Meade LX200 with focal reducer, Canadian Telescopes 80 APO/ED with Vixen Mount, Nexus 4 cellphone camera, 9mm, 12mm, 19mm and 32mm eyepieces, No. 12 yellow filter, Canon Rebel Xsi with 18-55mm and 75-300mm lenses.

Attendance:  Jessica K and Myself.

Objective:  To try out a new Meade Focal reducer made for Meade LX 200 telescopes.

Highlights:  Viewed and imaged a Crescent Moon as the Sun was setting.  Imaged Moon with Cellphone camera.

Viewed and imaged Venus with cellphone camera.  The gibbous phase could be easily seen.

Viewed and imaged Comet Lovejoy C/2014 Q2, which as moved to the right of the big W Cassiopeia.  Viewed it in the 80 ED/APO and it was found to be a grayish fuzzball.  Images taken with Canon DSLR brought out a green fuzzball with a very large, faint tail.  Images with camera attached to telescope in prime focus, could not reach focus.

Comet Lovejoy is dimming and moving away from Cassiopeia.

Viewed Jupiter with both telescopes.  Tried a No.12 yellow filter on the 9mm eyepiece on the LX 200.  It really brought out the storm belts very well on Jupiter.  Three of its moons were on one side, with one on the other.  Jupiter is simply huge in the eyepiece.

Did a search for some galaxies in Leo, but clouds moved in around 2300hrs and ended the observing for the evening.

No shooting stars and two satellites were seen.


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Nova Sagittarii 2015 No. 2

Location:  Dipper Harbour, NB, Canada

Date Time:  March 24, 2015 0500-0530hrs AST

Weather:  Cold, clear, no wind, no clouds, -15C with windchill of -20C.

Equipment:  Canon Rebel Xsi with 18-55mm lens and tripod.

Attendance:  Myself.

Objective:  To view and capture an image of the super nova which was discovered by John Seach of Chatsworth Island, NSW, Australia on March 15, 2015.

Report:  Found a place where the car could safely be parked on the side of the road near Dipper Harbour and where south eastern horizon could be seen.  Quite hard to do.

Found Sagittarius low, just above the horizon.  Viewing was not great, as the main stars of the constellation were just barely visible.  For 15 minutes, took long exposure images of Sagittarius and surrounding areas.  Found it hard to obtain focus, because there was not an extremely bright object in sky to focus on.

Could not see the Nova naked eye, it popped out when processing the images.

One shooting star crossed just over Sagittarius, seconds before an image was taken.  No satellites were seen.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


Location:  Little Lepreau, NB, Canada-Backyard

Date Time:  March 16, 2015 1940-2300hrs

Weather:  No wind, clear with slightly hazy skies, -4C @ 1940hrs, -14C @ 2300hrs.

Attendance:  Myself.

Equipment:  Canadian Telescopes 80ED/APO on Vixen Mount, 8" Meade LX200 telescope with 19mm and 12mm eyepieces, Canon Rebel DSLR with 18-55mm and 75-300mm lenses.

Objective:  To view an image Comet Lovejoy which was in Cassiopeia.

Report:  Viewed Venus, Jupiter and split Mintaka with 80ED/APO.  Venus showed as a very bright gibbous disk.  Jupiter showed as a huge disk with bright storm cloud bands and the four Moons separated evenly with two on one side and two on the other.  Mintaka split nicely into its double star system, with the smaller star being a brilliant light blue.

With 8" Meade viewed Comet Lovejoy which was in Cassiopeia just to the right of Ruchbah.  It showed as a grayish fuzzball.

With Canon DSLR took long exposure images of Comet Lovejoy, Orion's Belt, and M42.  In the image of Orion's Belt a Nebula popped out above just above Alnitak.  After researching nebula in Orion, it turns out it was The Flame Nebula NGC 2024.

No shooting stars and several satellites were seen.

Friday, March 13, 2015


Location:  McPherson Beach, NB, Canada

Date Time:  March 12, 2015 2100-2145hrs

Weather:  No clouds, gusty winds, -11C with a reported winchill of -19C.

Attendance:  Myself.

Equipment:  Canon Rebel DSLR camera with 18-55mm and 75-300mm lenses, 20x80 binoculars, tripod.

Objective:  To locate, view and image Uranus which was reportedly near Mars and easily visible after sun-down.  Finding Uranus would be a 'first for me' event.

Report:  As soon as I set the binoculars on Mars and scanned just below the Red Planet, the bluish green Uranus stood out instantly, just above the treetops, in the western sky.  The first time locating it on my own!  It is a very faint planet that resembles just another background star...the distinctive color sets it apart.

Gusty winds made imaging very difficult.  Made keeping the camera still for the time exposure images very difficult.

Tried to find Comet Lovejoy in Cassiopeia with naked-eye and averted vision, but it didn't pop out.  Was in a much darker area, with no streetlights nearby and my vision did adjust for the dark.  This comet is not a naked-eye comet, in my opinion.

Did not use the binoculars to view the comet on this night.  With the gusting wind and freezing temperatures I decided to focus on imaging the comet instead.

After comparing images taken earlier in Dec and Jan, it can easily be seen that the comet has dimmed dramatically, but the tail has brightened and enlarged.

One Satellite was seen going from the SE to the NE, almost through the Big Dipper.  One shooting star was seen going coming almost straight down, through Cassiopeia, just before I imaged that area.

Thursday, March 12, 2015


Location:  Saint John to Little Lepreau, NB, Canada

Date Time:  March 11, 2015 2020-2300hrs

Weather:  No wind, no clouds zero degrees C.

Attendance:  Carla M, Jessica K, Becky L  Ed O in SJ via email and Myself.

Equipment:  Canon Rebel DSLR with 75-300mm lens, 20x80 binoculars, and tripod.

Objective:   To image and view Venus, Mars and Uranus which were in the Western sky at sundown.  To locate and image Comet Lovejoy C/2014 Q2 which was in Cassiopeia as per star chart sent to me via email by Ed O of the Saint John Astronomy Club.

Report:  Left the pool at Howard Johnson's in Saint John and watched the western sky on the drive home.  Venus and Mars were high up with the extremely bright Venus far above the faint Mars.  According to reports, Uranus was close to Mars.  Carla asked if we could see Uranus...we looked and could not see it.  Later in the evening Ed O reported seening Uranus below Mars.

By the time we got home around 2100 , Venus was just above the treetops with Mars far images were taken.

After a very long, cold, stormy winter, the weather finally improved to where the equipment was safe to take out.

At approximately 2200hrs went out by myself with camera and binos to try to find Lovejoy.  Cassiopeia was just above the treetops to the north-west.  The first 30 second image showed the fuzzy green ball of Lovejoy right in the middle of the great W of Cassiopeia, exactly where Eds' star chart said it would be!

Took about 6 or 7 long exposure images of the comet, then set the binos up on the tripod to try to spot it.  It was not a visible to the naked eye.  It must be noted that my eyes never adjusted to the dark, because of a spotlight in the backyard.  Once the binos were directed towards the middle of the W just above the treetop, it stood out as a grayish fuzzball.  It seemed to have a very thick, very faint tail going straight up covering a nearby star.  The comet was huge and kind of faint in the binos, but unmistakenly there and easy to find.

After viewing the comet, a search for the nearby Perseus Double Cluster was done.  It was easily located, above and to the west of the big W.  Dozens of stars could be seen and impressed my how bright it was, but could not locate it naked eye.  The double cluster resembled a double birdshot shotgun blast on target paper.  This cluster was huge and bright in the binos...very easy to find, if you know where to look.

No shooting stars or Satelites were seen.  Many aircraft were flying through and near Cassiopeia from 2200-2300hrs

The red line is an airplane trail.


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