Wednesday, April 15, 2015


Location:  Little Lepreau, NB

Date Time:  April 12, 2015 1830-2330hrs

Weather:  Mostly clear, 3C, no wind.

Attendance:  Ed O and Myself.

Equipment:  Tripod for 20x80 Binoculars, Eds' 10x70 binoculars, 8" Meade LX 200, with focal reducer, 6mm, 12mm, 19mm, 32mm eyepieces and 2x Barlow.  Canadian Telescopes 80ED/APO on Vixen Mount. Green light laser pointer.

Objective:  To view and image the Venus/M45 conjunction, locate comets Lovejoy and Swan F3 in Cassiopeia and to find some galaxies in Leo.

Report: Long before dark we seen Venus shining high as a bright star in the west.  Set up 80ED/APO and viewed it with 19mm and 12mm eyepieces.  With the 12mm eyepiece the star turned into a gibbous phase disk.

It didn't get dark until after 2100hrs.  We both watched the International Space Station pass over, from the NW to the NE.  Very bright, slow moving star was easy to see at 2119hrs.

After it got dark, it was then that we realised that both the Venus/M45 conjunction and the Comets were too low in the sky to view and image from where the Meade LX 200 was set up.  It was decided to move the smaller 80 ed/apo and the tripod mounted 20x80 binoculars down to the driveway where both celestial bodies could be seen.

From the deck with the small telescope, Jupiter, M45 and M42 were observed.  Jupiter had only 3 moons showing, and viewed the Great Red Spot for the first time at 2124hrs.  The belts showed up great with the 6mm eyepiece.

From the driveway we observed the Venus/M45 conjunction in the west,and found Comet Lovejoy over and to the east about 4 degrees from Cassiopeia with the binoculars and the 80ED/APO. It was easy to find with binoculars, although it has dimmed from earlier this winter.  In the binoculars a very faint, but large tail that was pointing straight up, in almost a fan-like way.  The small scope did not pick up the tail.  It looked like a, kind of dim, gray fuzzball in both the binoculars and telescope.  The green light laser was used to help find the comet with the small telescope.

We did and exhaustive search for Comet Swan F3 which was suppose to be near Lovejoy, to the east of Cassiopeia.  After many attempts with the binos, small telescope and laser pointer, we could not find the faint mag9.5 comet.  Curt, from SJAC also attempted to find it from his home and could locate it either.

Jupiter was again observed from the driveway, this time it had 4 Moons, with one of them extremely close to the gas giant.  Could not see the great spot this time.  Right next to Jupiter was M44, the Beehive Cluster.  Many stars could be seen with the 12mm eyepiece.

Ed and I did a search for galaxies just below Leo which was high in the SE sky at around 2200hrs.  We found M65 and M66 close together in the same field of view with the 19mm eyepiece in the small telescope.

At least two satellites were seen and one shooting star.  No images were taken on this evening.

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