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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

MOON OCCULTS NEPTUNE

Location:  Front Porch, Little Lepreau, NB, Canada

Date Time:  December 6, 2016 1230 hrs, 1555 hrs and 1730-2000 hrs.

Weather:  Through the day it warmed up to -2 C, Sunny, a few passing clouds low on the SW horizon heading south, very cold, next to no wind.  Cooled down to -9 C on thermometer with no wind and clear with some hazy light clouds passing occasionally.

Attendance:  David McCashion from Little Lepreau, Ed and Bobby from Saint John West, and Curt from North Saint John.

Equipment:  Borrowed Saint John Astronomy Club 40 mm PST, Canadian Telescopes 80 ED/APO with 12 mm eyepiece and a Vixen Alt/AZ mount, Ioptron cellphone adapter with a 15 mm eyepiece, Canon Rebel Xsi with 18-55 mm lens on tripod and adapter for telescope.

Objective:  To view the Sun with borrowed club PST and to view Neptune being occulted by a crescent Moon from 1730-1847 hrs.

Report:

  • After almost three straight weeks of cloudy, snowy, rainy weather, we had a rare nice, albeit very cold day with rarer still, next to no wind.
  • First thing noticed was how low the Sun was at Noon.  Very low in the south, just over the trees.
  • Observed Sunspot group 2615 with clubs PST and my 12.5 mm eyepiece.  While adjusting the Tuner, two large, faint filaments appeared under the Sunspots.  A couple faint prominence's showed up at Noon.
  • By 1555 hrs, the faint prominence's multiplied and one turned into a huge arch!  Amazing to witness over such a short period of time!  Also many more prominence's appeared in different locations around the Solar limb.
  • Could not visually confirm Neptune.  
  • Sighted Lunar X.  
  • Imaged crescent Moon which was one day before first Quarter with Cellphone camera(15 mm eyepiece) and with DSLR (Prime Focus).  
  • Neptune came out in DSLR images and the Lunar X came was visible in both cameras images.  
  • Lunar X does not stand out well in smaller scope at this magnification.
  • Attempted to video Moon with cellphone camera, but battery died, ruining the video.
  • Ed thought he could make out Neptune in eyepiece but wasn't sure.  He may have picked up the bright bluish star that was nearby.  Curt said if the Occultation had occurred 30 minutes earlier, he may not have seen it either.  Neptune was not an easy capture.
  • Imaged and viewed north-eastern sky as soon as it was dark enough to check brightness of Algol.  Algols' brightness was almost equal to nearby Mirfak.  Noted for future reference.
  • No shooting stars and one Satellite was seen moving high in the North, Northward.
Note:

  • Frost was a major factor on equipment.
  • Confirmed Neptune sighting with fellow SJAC member Curt the next day.  


Images:
Solar Prominence turned into an Arch from Noon to about 1400 hrs

Prominence Arch in about the 1:30 o'clock position.  Sunspot group didn't show up very well in images.


Venus in gibbous phase on this evening.
Note how variable star Algol is similar in magnitude as Mirfak.








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