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Sunday, May 21, 2017

ASTRONOMY BY THE BAY

Location:  Saints Rest Beach, Saint John, NB, Canada

Date Time:  May 20, 2017 2130-2343 hrs

Weather:  Windy, mostly clear to clear, 9C, threat of frost over night, no bugs.

Equipment:  Chris's 10" Dob with 13 mm eyepiece, my 80 ED/APO with 19 mm eyepiece and camera attachments.  Canon Rebel Xsi with 18-55 mm lens.

Attendance:  Chris Curwin, Carla McCashion, David McCashion, and approx 7 others from the public.

Objective:  To observe with Chis down at the public beach so that passerby's and others can join in observing the night sky.

Report:

  • Took a long time for it to darken enough to see most of the stars.  Didn't get truly dark till 2230 hrs.
  • Chris showed many from the public Jupiter and four of its Moons.

  • Once it got dark enough Chris showed members of the public M13 and M57.  He also discussed the nature of the Massive Globular Cluster and Planetary Nebula which resembles a ghostly smoke ring.  A truly remarkable sight in a good telescope.
  • Shortly after this, I found Comet C/2015 V2 Johnson in eyepiece of my telescope.  Chris came and viewed it also, and we both agreed that we could see a faint tail.  Comet was fairly easy to find, above and to the right of Delta Bootes.  Brightish towards the center, medium sized with a little green showing.  Great telescope Comet that hopefully will brighten as it gets closer to Earth.  Closest approach is June 4.

  • Found M4 easily, next to Antares.  Its rising in the SE with Antares and Saturn.  M4 was faintish but very seeable in this small scope.  Saturn was very low in the SE and didnt appear till after 2315hrs.  Could just barely make out the rings in the eyepiece.


  • I seen one shooting star.  We searched for an International Space Station pass-over(tracked by Chris with his cellphone app) at 2201 hrs but none of us could see it.  We all agreed that there might have been too much light out to see it.
  • There were many satellites observed, including one spectacular multiple Iridium flaring one that passed through the northern sky from west to east.  As one observer named Matt said,  "It looked like a flaming torch."  It would brighten dramatically, then fade, then brighten dramatically again, over and over.  Incredible sight!
Note:
  • A special thanks to Chris Curwin for inviting the public to come share the night sky with his impressive selection of telescopes.  He does this frequently from Saints Rest Beach and even allows the public to image things, with their cellphone cameras, like the Moon through his telescope with special adapters and also just by hand held method.  He also is very knowledgeable about the night sky and its many wonders.  Thanks again Chris!  
  • Here is a link to his Facebook Page Astronomy By The Bay where he will let you know when he is going to be set up down at the beach.

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