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Friday, November 12, 2021

COMET C/2021 A1 LEONARD NEAR PHECDA

Location:  Prince of Wales, NB, Canada

Date Time:  November 11, 2021 0245-0434hrs

Weather:  Steady north west wind in Saint John, but it was just the slightest of air movement in POW.  Very dark, clear, a very cold 0C with 60% humidity and windchill.  One bird chirped about halfway through observing, which is the first time I've heard any sign of life there in a long time.

Attendance:  David McCashion

Equipment:  Canon Rebel t3, 80 ed/apo, and images processed with PhotoShop.

Objective:  To image Magnitude 10.5 Comet 2021 A1 Leonard, which was reported to be in Ursa Major, about seven degrees to the west of Alula Borealis, in the early morning hours.  Many amateur astronomers are expecting this comet to brighten significantly in December of this year.  Perihelion is supposed to be on January 3rd 2022, where it will be 0.615 AU from the Sun.

Report:

  • On my way to locating the faint comet, star hopped from Megrez and Phecda, main asterism stars of Ursa Major, to the comet.  Comet was around 20 degrees south east of Phecda, towards Denebola, so it's not in this approximately 2 degree image of  the area surrounding Phecda.  I found this area interesting because of it's abundance of galaxies.  From Richard Hinckley Allen's, Star Names Their Lore and Meaning, Phecda, spelled "Phacd, Phachd, Phad, Phaed, Phecda, Phekda, and Phegda are from Al Falidh, the Thigh, where this star is located in the figure."

Comet is not in this image.  Single shot, 30 second, ISO 3200.

  •  From the observing site in Prince of Wales, there is always a degree of light pollution in the north eastern sky, so it was important to wait until the comet rose above it, which by 0330hrs, it did.  I was surprised with how bright the comet was, as it immediately popped out, in my first overexposed 30 second image.  Showing a tail, and a bright central region, but was not exactly where the sky chart showed where it was suppose to be.

 

Single shot, 30 second, ISO 3200.  Image cropped and enhanced.

A negative of the above image.

  • I was going to try for the three other comets, comets 67P, 29P, and comet c/2019 L3 Atlas, which were up at this time and were within my brightness range, but they were straight overhead by 0400hrs.  This makes imaging practically impossible for my equipment.
  • No satellites were seen, and a faint, fast meteor was seen, straight over-head, heading east.
 

 

 


Sunday, November 7, 2021

COMET 6P, and TWO NEBULAS

 Location:  Prince of Wales, NB, Canada

Date Time:  November 5, 2021 2000-2130hrs

Weather:  No clouds, no wind, very cool, 0c with 60% humidity.

Attendance:  David McCashion

Equipment:  Canadian Telescopes 80ED/APO with Canon Rebel t3 attached at prime focus.  Images processed with PhotoShop.

Objective:  To image magnitude 10.1 Comet 6P d'Arrest, which was reported to be below Jupiter and Saturn, in Microscopium, in the south western sky during observing time.

Report:

  • A nearly perfectly still, quite, moonless, dark night.  Less then a tenth of the airplane traffic as before the pandemic started.
  • Jupiter and Saturn shining brightly in the south west, the summer triangle hanging high overhead, to the west.
  • Made first attempt for 6P right away.  Found that it didn't pop out in images, although I thought I could make out a fuzz ball.  The comet was less then 10 degrees above the south west horizon, just above the tree line, which is very low, and not good for observing or imaging comets.  Decided to slew to Vega to adjust focus.
  • After adjusting focus on Vega, decided to image the nearby Ring Nebula M57, in Lyra the Harp.  The image appeared as a stunningly colorful ball of teal green light appeared in view screen.  Shocking that such a thing can be imaged thus.  Visually it appears as a magnitude 8.8, grayish smoke ring, which is in itself amazing to see...in images, it looks absolutely stunning, nothing like visually imo.  The Nebula is shown next to the variable star Sheliak, which ranges in brightness from 3.4 to 4.5.  According to Richard Hinckley Allen's "Star Names Their Lore and Meaning," Sheliak is an Arabian name for Lyra.  Hinckly also suggests that the proper name of Vega is Wega.  "Wega, less correctly Vega, originated in the Alfonsine Tables from the Waki of the Arabs, Bayer,having both titles; Scaliger, Waghi,..."

Single shot, 45 second, ISO 1600, cropped and enhanced.
 

  • On my way back to the comet, decided to try imaging the magnitude 7.5 Dumbbell Nebula M27.  Only imaged once.  Spectacular, bright green nebula.

Single shot, 50 second, ISO 1600, cropped and enhanced.

 

  • Took many images of comet, and used heavens above star chart to confirm the very big, very diffuse object, with no brighter central region was indeed Comet 6P d'Arrest.  It's low position in the sky made imaging difficult.  The location of the comet in the sky is kind of odd as well, compared to where the other comets are located in the sky.  The comets magnitude 10.1 brightness must be attributed to its size, which was approximately full Moon size.

Single shot, 120sec, ISO 3200, cropped and enhanced.

A negative of the image above to better show the very diffuse comet.

 

  •  Two very fast, faint shooting stars were seen.  Both coming from the summer triangle.

Friday, October 8, 2021

A FOUR COMET NIGHT

Location:  Prince of Wales, NB, Canada

Date Time:  October 8, 2021 0230-0455hrs

Weather:  Clear, slight breeze from the north west, 11.6C/82% humidity in Saint John at 0150hrs, 6C at 0345hrs in POW.

Equipment:  Telescope 80ed/apo with Canon Rebel t3 attached at prime focus.  Images processed with Photo Shop Elements.

Attendance:  David McCashion

Objective:  To image as many of the five comets in the eastern sky during this time as possible.  Also, to watch for Zodiacal light.

Report:  

  • Set up scope and aligned on Vega, which was very close to NW horizon at 2am and Deneb.
  • Pegasus was high in the western sky.  Could make out 5 stars in the big square, which makes seeing a not so great 5 limiting magnitude.  Conditions seemed to change dramatically over the observing time, although no clouds were seen.  
  • The surrounding woods was uncharacteristically quiet.  Totally silent during entire observing time.  Something dead nearby giving off quite a stink.
  • Looked for Zodiacal light in the west, not realizing it was an eastern phenomenon in the morning.  There is light pollution in that general direction normally, but not that far north.  Zodiacal light really lit up the NE sky, just under Ursa Major.  This washed out my last comet image attempt.
  • No satellites were seen, which isn't surprising for that time of night.  They are normally seen just after dark and just before first light.
  • Three confirmed shooting stars seen, including one while imaging, plus another seen as driving home.  A number more, unconfirmed, seen out of the corner of my eye.


In Auriga, near one of the main asterism stars, seen in the upper left.  Distance from Earth 5.39AU.  60s, ISO 3200.  Un-cropped, enhanced.

In Taurus, near M1.  62s, ISO 6400.   Distance from Earth 0.47AU.  Reported mag 11.0.  Un-cropped, enhanced.


In Orion, well above the main asterism stars. Distance from Earth 1.126AU.  Reported mag 11.1. 61s, ISO 6400.



Seen the shooting star as imaging.  In Lynx, partially washed out by zodiacal light. Distance from Earth 3.582AU.  Reported mag 10.1. 30s, ISO 6400.


Area of sky below the main asterism stars of Ursa Major.  Comet may show near center of image, but washed out due to intense zodiacal light in that area of sky.  Distance from Earth 2.259AU.  Reported mag 11.5  25s, ISO 3200.



Sunday, September 12, 2021

TWO COMETS, TWO NEBULAS AND ORION

Location:  Prince of Wales, NB, Canada

Date Time:  Sept 12, 2021  0400-0600hrs

Weather:  No wind, cool, humid, mostly clear to partly cloudy towards 530am, 11C and 89% humidity.  Lots of dew and some mosquitos.

Equipment:  Canadian Telescopes 80 ed/apo with Canon Rebel t3 with 18-55mm lens.  Images processed with PhotoShop.

Attendance:  David McCashion

Objective:  To view and image three comets in the morning, eastern sky.  Comet 4P Faye, at 11.9 magnitude in Taurus, and C/2019 L3 Atlas in Lynx, in between Gemini and Auriga.  Also, the brightest comet in our sky now, Comet 8P Tuttle (mag 8.9) in Hydra, very low on the horizon, just before first light.

Report:

  • Setup and aligned scope on the summer triangle stars, still visible along the western horizon.  Jupiter was low in the south west and very bright, like an oncoming plane.
  • Tried viewing and imaging the bright Orion's Nebula.  Viewed with binoculars.  Spectacular!  Much to see and huge in binos.  Colors.  Orion the Hunter is rising quite high in the morning sky now.  A sign that fall isn't far away.



  •  Imaged M1 The Crab Nebula, before looking for my first comet of the night.  It's a faint 8.4 magnitude nebula not far from where the much fainter, magnitude 11.9 comet 4P Faye is located on this early morning. Both objects located in Taurus, near the end of one of the bulls horns.

M1 The Crab Nebula 30s, ISO 6400

 
Comet 4P Faye 30s, ISO 6400.  Image not enhanced or cropped.

Comet 4P Faye enhanced and cropped to better show the very faint comet.











  • Comet C/2019 L3 Atlas was located fairly high in the north eastern sky, above Gemini and below the bright stat Capella.  A very faint comet, without a tail, that I could discern, I was able to confirm it by comparing to star charts and matching the bright stars in the images to the charts.  

Comet C/2019 L3 Atlas, cropped and enhanced.


  •  After imaging Comet L3 Atlas, it was time to try for Comet 8P Tuttle, but clouds moved into that area of the sky.  Also, the comet just barely came over the horizon by first light, and was still too low because of the treeline.  Even if it was clear, I don't think it would have been possible to get the fairly faint comet through the increasing light.  It's just too close to the Sun, in my opinion.

Comet 8P Tuttle was supposed to be located to the right of the reddish light.  Not an easy location to capture a fairly faint comet, even if it's clear.


  •  No satellites seen, with one picked up in images.  One shooting star was seen, going straight down, between Taurus and Orion.  Short, fast and faint.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 







Saturday, September 11, 2021

MOON NEAR VENUS

Location:  Lower Westside park, Saint John, NB, Canada

Date Time:  Sept 10, 2021 from 2015 hrs to 2050hrs

Weather:  Partly cloudy to mostly cloudy, to clouded out with rain.  Breezy, 18C, humidity 82%.

Attendance:  Benson, Braydon, Jaxon and David McCashion

Equipment:  Canon Rebel t3 with 55mm and 300mm lenses.

Objective:  To view and image the western sky in the eveing twilight.

Report:  

  • Went out to park at approx 815pm to see where the Moon was located and noticed Venus through some thick clouds.  Forecast was for clearing, but the clouds shortly took over the sky and it started to rain.





 

 


Saturday, August 14, 2021

PERSEID'S 2021

Location: Prince of Wales, NB, Canada 

Date Time: Friday, August 13, 2021 from 2150-0041hrs 

Weather: Very warm(almost too warm for a jacket), mostly clear, with some haziness, lots of dew, lots of bugs, no wind, fog horn blowing from nearby Bay of Fundy during whole observing session, 21c, and 90% humidity. On the drive home to Saint John afterwards, ground fog to the highway, then it was foggy most of the way to SJ, with ocean fog totally engulfing SJ. 

Attendance: Edward O'Reilly, and David McCashion. 

Equipment: Canon Rebel t3 with 18-55mm and 75-300mm lenses.  Images processed with Photoshop. Reclining lawn-chairs. 

Objective: To view and image as many shooting stars as possible. 

Report: 

  •  There was a crescent Moon in Virgo, low in the west at 2150hrs that was quickly sinking towards the horizon, with bright Venus close to the western horizon, popping in and out from behind hazy cloudiness.

13s, ISO 800, focal length 27mm, f/5

1/40th second, ISO 100, f/5.6, focal length 300mm

  • Jupiter and Saturn were low in the south-eastern sky as the sky started to darken enough to see stars at 2150hrs.

13s, ISO 800, f/5, focal length 27mm.  Facing South East.
  • Ed seen the first Perseid at 2150 and I seen the second about 10 mins later.  In our reclining lawn-chairs, Ed watched the Southern sky, while I watched and imaged the North.  The Summer Triangle was almost straight overhead.  We seen 34 Perseid's, 10 sporadic, with 4 unconfirmed(out of the center of vision), from 2150 to 0041hrs.  We seen 8 Perseid's the first hour and 17 the next hour and 9 over the last 50 minutes.  Approximately 7 of the Perseid's were slow moving, left long smoke trails and were Jupiter bright.  Ed thought they were white, where I thought they had a yellowish ting.  Most of the shooting stars were around Vega, which was nearly overhead and around Cassiopeia, in the North.  All of the sparadics were faint, short, faster and didn't leave smoke trails.
  • Dew ruined dozens of images. 
  • A few satellites seen.  Not as many as we expected.  Many, many planes crossing the sky.

 

 Note:  Bring dew heater for imaging shooting stars, and frequently check the face of the lens for dew.  By checking the images on the camera view-screen, stars can still be seen, making it like there is no problem with the pictures...the problem won't become apparent until processing the images.  Check the face of lens.

Friday, June 18, 2021

OBSERVING REPORT FOR JUNE 18, 2021

Location:  Prince of Wales, NB, Canada

Date Time:  June 18, 2018 0310-0450hrs

Weather:  No wind, mostly clear but hazy, 8C with humidity of 72%.  Few bugs.

Attendance:  David McCashion

Equipment:  Canadian Telescopes 80 ED/APO with Canon Rebel T3 attached at prime focus.  Images processed with PhotoShop.

Objective:  To image comets C/2020 T2 Palomar (10.7) in Bootes and Comet 7P Pons-Winnecke (10.5) in Aquarius. Both comets are moving away from Earth, but seem to maintaining their brightness.

Report:      

  • Set up scope and aligned on Arcturus.  Not many bright stars in the western sky at this time.  Only 3 hours 10 minutes of dark skies beginning at 1150pm and ending at 301am, according to a weather website.  The Moon was at first quarter and was below the western horizon at observing time, giving nice, dark skies.
  • Easily found Comet T2 Palomar, low in the western sky, to the lower right of the main Bootes, kite-like asterism.  Took many images and stacked 7 of them.  The images were 15 second with set at ISO 1600.


Low in the west, 7 images stacked for 1min 46 seconds exposure, uncropped.

30 sec, ISO 6400, cropped and enhanced.
 

  • The teapot of Sagittarius is low in the south at observing time, just over the treetops.  Took an image of bright globular cluster Messier 22(mag 5.5), located just over the teapot.


Twilight was starting to become a serious factor.  Un-cropped, 20 second, ISO 3200.

 

  • According to a weather website, astronomical twilight starts at 301am.  By the time I was set up and facing the low south eastern horizon(410am), where comet 7p was located, the sky was washed out in twilight.  Even after many long exposure images and processing, I could not confirm a capture of the comet in the images.

 

  • Imaged the south-eastern sky, including Jupiter, Saturn and Fomalhaut.  Comet 7P was about 3/5 of the way to Fomalhaut, from Jupiter, making it quite low in the sky.  This comet is proving to be a difficult capture because of the timing of it's appearance(early morning) and it's location in the sky.  According to Richard Hinckley Allen, in his book Star Names Their Lore and Meaning, "Fomalhaut, from the Arabic Fum al Hut, the Fish's Mouth..."

Single shot, f/5, 6 second, ISO 1600, focal length 23mm


  •  By 0420hrs twilight was really starting to brighten up the sky and the morning song birds were singing, squawking, and chirping away.
  • Seen many satellites, with some passing through the camera view-screen as I was focusing.  A few more airplanes flying by now also, as the pandemic air traffic seems to be rebounding somewhat.  No shooting stars were seen.


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