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Friday, January 15, 2016

CATALINA NOW EVENING TARGET

Location:  Front Porch, Little Lepreau, NB, Canada

Date Time:  January 14, 2016, 2245hrs-2330hrs

Weather: Mostly clear, breezy at times, -17C with reported windchill of -23C.

Attendance:  Myself.

Equipment:  Canadian Telescopes 80 ED/APO on Vixen Alt/Az mount with 19mm eyepiece.  Canon Rebel Xsi with adapter.

Objective:  To view and image comet Catalina which was reported to be next to Alkaid in Ursa Major.

Highlights:
  • As observing time began, a crescent Moon was sinking low in the west.
  • Comet Catalina was instantly found next to Alkaid in Ursa Major and imaged.  The Big Dipper was hanging halfway up in the sky, standing on its handle.  Comet appeared in the eyepiece as a very large wispy, dark cloud with a star like center.  A faint fan like shape on one side.
  • Jupiter was located, viewed and imaged.  It was low in the East and rising during observing time.   In the eyepiece, the four big moons were all on one side during observing with one very close to the Gas Giant.  No storm cloud detail could be seen on Jupiter's disk.  Maybe because of its low position in the sky.  This doesn't help observing due to all Earths' atmosphere light has to travel though to reach your eye.
  • A quick search for M101 was done to no avail.  It has been reported that Catalina will be passing close to M101 soon.  The comet is traveling very quickly across the sky at 2 degrees per day!
  • Sirius was high in the south at 2315hrs.  It is the brightest and closest star we can see from NB with the naked eye.  In the eyepiece, it shines brilliantly white almost bluish.  It does have a companion star, but requires a much larger telescope to split.
  • M42 and M43 were very impressive in the eyepiece.  Very large, taking up most of the field of view with reds and blues showing up nicely with lots of structure and forms to marvel at!  Amazing sight to see!
  • A search for diffuse nebula M78 was done, over Alnitak in Orion the Hunter.  In the eyepiece, it appeared as an almost squarish, very bright white object.  It was easy to find in between Betelgeuse and Alnitak, closer to Alnitak.  According to William Henry Smyth in his 1881 'A Cycle of Celestial Objects', "Two stars in a "wispy" nebula, just above Orion's left hip; where a ray from B carried between the center and the last stars of the belt , and extended 2 degrees farther picks it up."
  • No shooting stars or satellites were seen.

Images:

ISO 1600, 1x8sec, processed on arcsoftmediaimpressions.

ISO 400, 1x1/8sec, processed on arcsoftmediaimpressions.

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