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 below...no 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.|