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RAC Main Forum => General Discussion => Topic started by: macastronomer on February 29, 2008, 10:32:00 AM

Title: Observing tonight?
Post by: macastronomer on February 29, 2008, 10:32:00 AM
Not an official event or anything... but Dean and I are planning on heading to Eagle Bluff tonight. Of course everybody is welcome...the more the merrier.

I called Eagle Bluff. There is a small group there staying overnight and I offered that they can come peek through our scopes if they want.

The clear sky clock is looking very good for tonight and the Moon doesn't come up until after 3:00am. Clear Sailing!

If anybody is interested in carpooling in the van, please let me know ahead of time, otherwise I'll take my car.

Duane
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on March 01, 2008, 01:49:12 PM
Duane and Dean, how did it go last night?  Reports, reports.  inquiring minds want to know.   :)
I didn't go out and observe, but I see it was clear last evening.

Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: macastronomer on March 01, 2008, 04:30:00 PM
It ranged from good to not so good throughout the night ( Maybe 6-4 on a scale of 10 ). I have to note the adjustment that a 4 at Eagle bluff would be like a 6 in my back yard and a 6 at Eagle bluff is like an 8 in my back yard—still a pretty good night.

Kirk carpooled with me in the Van and we met Dean there.

It was cold, but not too bad. Not as cold as the lunar eclipse night. For most of the night the seeing made it worth while. Saturn was very nice with the Moons all pulled close in (even Titan). We spent a bit of time observing M35 and a little open cluster hugging up next to it but much farther away. NGC4565, an edge on galaxy that I can't resist looking at every time it's available. I used that to compare two eyepieces that I picked up this winter. One is an Orion edge-on 27mm and another Orion eyepiece (made by Vixen) a 22mm lanthanum. I do like the lanthanum very much and the edge on still has a place next to it, as it gives a slightly larger field of view but has a little too much edge glow for my liking. I also compared them on M104, the Sombrero galaxy. The Vixen did a nicer job here as well, then I put in my 12mm Nagler T4 and I realize how much and why I really love that eyepiece. The Sombrero showed it's dust lanes all the way across and the glow from the core was visible on both sides, I think more so than usual.

I quick tabbed M3 and M13 through the Lanthanum as well.

A thin, localized cloud cover passed over us giving us the opportunity to hop in Dean's van and warm up while he journalized and we put a Planetary Radio podcast on. It didn't take long and the cloud cover passed. From this point on we had varying degrees of clarity.

I continued to compare these eyepieces on galaxies M81 and 82 and the Leo Triplet. M82 was particularly nice as the mottled appearance of the dust was prominent. M51, the whirlpool was nice but definitely not the best I've seen it at Eagle bluff. I could make out some structure in the disk but it just didn't stand out. This was probably due to the sky clarity getting worse. We ended the visual part with a very nice look at the Owl nebula and M108.

Throughout the night we spotted some meteors, Dean being the only one to catch a very nice, long and bright one.

We then got in the big van and warmed up as we discussed the night and some other RAC topics and perused Starry Night software to check a dark spot we thought we saw on Saturn (no idea what it was or if it was). We also used Starry Night to look up some upcoming events like the Moon occulting Venus and on another date the Beehive.

It was a very worth while trip although I was surprised how bad some areas on HWY52 and CR8 were. Most of it was bone dry but it makes for dangerous driving when patches of the road are covered with snow and ice. We drove slow.

I was starving for some deep sky sights, so I'm glad I got them in even though sky-wise it ranked in the bottom third of my Eagle Bluff visits. We'll see what next week brings. Hopefully it has really clear skies, safe roads and brilliant meteors in store for us!

Duane
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 02, 2008, 11:16:56 AM
That was a great report by Duane. I really don't have much to add except that it was very fun to be out with other members of the RAC and catching up on everything that's happening with the club. Hopefully next Fri (or Sat) night will be very good to us with even clearer skies and warmer temps.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on March 02, 2008, 03:22:32 PM
Sounds like you guys had a great time and you got some practice in for the marathon, an excellent report Duane.

Early forecast has 19 for a high on Friday, partly cloudy. May be a bit cooler than this past Friday.

Was a little worried about you all.  News on Friday was talking about a few accidents because of the snow blowing across the roads.  Wasn't planning on heading down there, but that definitely turned against any possibility of heading that way.

Jeff

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 02, 2008, 09:35:26 PM
Having that nice big van and a chance to get in, warm up and listen to a cool astronomy podcast was a real blessing to take the edge off the cold. I don't know if the club or Duane or whoever gets that van, but it's a great "warming shack" for a winter star party.

Let's hope for a great Friday night!  ;D
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 04, 2008, 01:00:50 AM
I took advantage of another cold clear night. I bagged NGC's 2281 in Auriga and 2343 in Monoceros for Binocular Deep Sky Objects and did the same two plus NGC's 2335 and 2253 in Monoceros for my Herschel list. I have three more BDSO's in Puppis to get, then I'll have to either wait for a few months, or try the remaining 15 objects I need before dawn sometime.

I tried to find Comet 46P Wirtanen, but I think I got out there too late (8:30 p.m.) Betty taught a class tonight, so I had the kids until then. I think I've got the field down, but I've definately got to get out there earlier. Has anyone spotted Wirtanen yet?

Those of you who have binoculars, you HAVE to keep track of Mars, because it's starting to make a run at M35, that fabulous open cluster in Gemini. I could just barely fit Mars and M35 together when Duane, Kirk and I were down at Eagle Bluff on Friday night, but tonight they both easily fit in the FOV.

Saturn was great as always, and the seeing and transparency were getting even better when I packed up at midnight. But I've gotta get some sleep. We finish the eighty acre job in Iowa tomorrow.

Keep your fingers crossed for Friday night! Get Duane and the RAC warming shack/van down to Eagle Bluff! I'll bring two thermos of coffee and some S.G. pop for those of you that care to indulge. Clear skies!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on March 04, 2008, 12:52:28 PM
I was out for a little over an hour last night and it was one of those "deceptive" nights - looking up with the naked eye, it looked like a good night.  Looking through the telescope was a bit different...

Saturn was nice, when it was sharp (which was very infrequent.)  At 200X, I could just make out Cassini and a hint of the shadow of Saturn on the rings.  Because of the ring tilt angle, it looked like the rings went all the way around - they ended right where the major band began.  Kind of a neat effect.

Mars showed just the faintest hint of detail.  Just a little dark ragged line on the southern half.

It was when I went galaxy hunting that things really went downhill.  After 20 minutes of fruitless searching in Ursa Major for a couple of galaxies (M81 and M82 were easy to spot, as always) that are on the H400 list and finding nothing but mirages (at low power, the objects looked like galaxies, but with some magnification became obviously stellar) I started hunting the sickle of Leo with similar results.  I noticed Cor Caroli peeking up behind my Willow tree and took a gander at it.  Nice to see some color in my urban skies for a change.  I found M94 fairly easily, but couldn't find M63.  Obviously, no other galaxies were showing their faces in Canes Ventari.

All in all, a very frustrating night for me and I'm finding myself frustrated even today.  I'm seeing problems with all my eyepieces (except maybe the 6mm Orthoscopic) that make me wonder if I have an optical problem in the scope, my collimation or my eyepieces.  Except for something in the dead center of the eyepiece, every star looks like a galaxy to me - a bright core with a scattered halo around it.  Some eyepieces seem to show it worse, but I don't know if that's because they're better or worse eyepieces.  I've seen some incredible views when seeing and transparency are good, but hunting these faint fuzzies down in the city where things aren't so obvious gets tricky.  Advice/Opinions/Offers of Help appreciated at this point.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: macastronomer on March 04, 2008, 02:46:02 PM
I looked up for a while when I took the dog out and I was almost ready to grab a scope. There was a bit of twinkling on the bright stars which looked pretty normal for an average sky but when I watched dimmer stars I saw they were completely disappearing—so I went back inside.

I'm glad you guys got out though. I should'a went out anyway. I hope Friday brings good skies.

It sounds to me like you had a very slight case of condensation. You might not see it on the mirror (most likely the secondary) but if you can hit it with a blow dryer for half a minute you might see an immediate improvement.

That would be my first guess. Let us know if all returns to normal when you get out again.

Duane
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 11, 2008, 12:33:35 AM
Hello astronomy fans! I got out there tonight from 7:30 to midnight. I finally made some progress on my Lunar 100 program. I got the craters Endymion and Macrobius for the binocular part and then got the craters Picard, Proclus, Funerius, Messier/Messier A and the Petavius Wall. The wall was really cool. It was so straight and dark that at first I thought it was a scratch on my scope. (Thank the Good Lord it wasn't!)

I bagged the 3 Binocular Deep Sky Objects in Puppis that have been threatening to ease into the twilight, so now I'm down to getting my last dozen which will have to happen later this year.

I tried to find Comet Wirtanen back, but that faint elusive comet was not to be seen tonight and I searched for a good half hour. Mars and M35 provided an easy, pleasing view. Too bad Mars won't cruise right through the cluster. That would be an outstanding imaging opportunity.

I finished with Saturn, and during the moments of good seeing, (it was a little breezy out there) it showed great detail, along with Titan and two smaller moons.

By the way, it's still COLD out there! See you all tomorrow night!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on March 11, 2008, 06:07:14 AM
I went out around 9 for a half hour.  In spite of the 20+ degree temps, the humidity made it feel pretty cold.  My fingers froze pretty quickly.  Jumping jacks helped some (pumps blood to extremities) but I bagged it after about a half hour.

Transparency was poor.  Seeing seemed okay, but I only really pushed magnification on Saturn. At 120x, it was very stable, but at 200x, it started to shimmer in and out a little.  I agree with Dean - when it was stable, it was very, very nice.

Did something completely different last night and hunted variable stars for a change.  The AAVSO has a list of easy ones for beginners (and charts), and I worked off of that.  R Leo, Z Ursa Major, and R Ursa Major were the three I picked.  The last one was quite challenging to see in my urban skies.  I estimated it as mag 12.5.  I could not see the 13.1 magnitude comparison star.  So as close as I was to the zenith, the limiting magnitude for the night was around 12.75.  (I could see the 12.5 star with direct vision, but not the 13.1 even with averted.)  That's in a 10" scope.  R Leo was very pretty in its own right, with an orange/red color to it.  It was fun for a change to observe without cursing my optics, the light pollution, or the neighbors who turned on their floodlights for a minute to put the dog out.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: macastronomer on March 11, 2008, 12:48:19 PM
The straight wall is a neat feature on the Moon, and I know what you mean about it being a stark feature, but it can also totally disappear. I was trying to find it when doing my lunar search, within the time-frame they give, and couldn't spot it for nothing. I went back towards the end of their range and it couldn't be missed. Like you said, it looks like hair on the optics.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 15, 2008, 03:54:44 AM
Hello astronomy fans! ;D I made it out again on a 1st quarter moonlit night, but that's OK because the Moon was what I was after. I have to say that I have a ton of respect for anyone going after the Lunar 100 program. I've found the Moon is a lot tougher object to observe than what I thought it was going to be. With the features changing daily (sometimes hourly) from the shadows, and having to check and recheck my lunar atlases because of shadows and reverse image from my star diagnol, it really takes some time to know you're getting it right.

I was out for six and a half hours and bagged 13 Lunar 100's. (I'd take them anyday over Marlboro 100's). I've got 58 so far.

The Moon was very close to Mars tonight. I could see them both together easily in binoculars and even got them in the same field in my telescope at closest approach with a 50mm ocular. (The extreme south polar lunar region and Mars just above the other edge in my FOV)

After I ran out of Lunar 100's (they only give you so many to light up each night), I checked out Saturn and saw that the air was very stable. Cassini's Division crisp, four moons, atmosphere banding and even a little planet shadow on the rings. Pretty nice.

I finished by trying some close double stars and was amazed at how easily Epsilon Lyra, Epsilon Bootes and 38 Lynxcis split. I should have tried Gamma Virginis, but didn't think of it till I got home. Oh well, can't think of everything.  :-[

I saw one nice meteor shoot across the back of Leo's hindquarters about 2:15 a.m. Direction ENE to WSW, color white with a hint of yellow-green, duration a half second and mag. about 2-2.5.

It was a glorious night for astronomy!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: macastronomer on March 15, 2008, 11:17:38 AM
I second what Dean said. The Lunar 100 is tougher than you'd think. Not only do you have the difficulty of finding the object due to shadows (or lack of), you also only have a certain span of time during the Moon's cycle to nab that object. The time frame they give you isn't exact because libration causes the angle of the terminator to shift. If it happens to be cloudy during a specific phase, you have to wait another month to try again. Some targets took me over a year to finally get.

The Petavius Wall Dean mentioned earlier is a pretty cool feature.

The toughest objects are the highlands near Tyco and that whole south side where very shallow craters are spattered all over the place. You need an extremely good Moon atlas (or two). It helps to have some of the Clementine photographs at your disposal too.

If you've got a laptop computer (PC or a Mac that can run Windows... I keep bugging some Mac programmers I know to port this to OS X), Download virtual Moon Atlas Pro. It doesn't make this easy, but it does make it easier. The software allows you to view both Clementine Aerograph and Clementine Photographic, and allows you to zoom in. The software puts the terminator where it should be, so you don't spend a lot of time looking for something that's not visible.

This is one of the few certificates you can get with the aid of your computer, as the Moon is so darn bright, the computer screen doesn't really hinder you.

It would be fun to do some lunar observing as a group sometime. Something we could advertise and see how many people show up. It's also something we could do from just about anywhere.

A good feature for tonight is the Straight Wall (If you look at the wrong time, it's invisible. At the right time, it's so stark you'll mistake it for something on your glass.)

Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rupes_Recta

Location of it tonight (image from Starry Night)
(http://homepage.mac.com/deal/forum/Straight_Wall.jpg)

Image from www.3towers.com
(http://www.3towers.com/3towersMoon&Planets/3towersWebCamMoon/Lumenera/015_Straight_Wall(8_61days).jpg)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 28, 2008, 08:13:02 AM
Hello astronomy fans! I got out last night (this morning?) from 1 to 5 a.m. It was a beautiful naked eye sky, but the seeing and transparency weren't so good through the telescope.

I caught Mars near Epsilon Gemini, (sadly far removed from M35), Saturn at 400X, Jupiter, M13, the Moon (three more Lunar 100's down,) and the best was

Gamma Virginis (Porrima). It is noticably elongated even at low power. At 200X it really looks like a "dog bone", but at 400X I could split it, but not so I could see dark space between the two components. I could see the separate stars, but there was still too much glare for a clean split.

Still, very cool!  8)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on April 02, 2008, 01:33:58 AM
I got out for a few hours tonight. The seeing and transparency were only average towards the horizon, but Saturn was tremendously beautiful tonight. Cassini's Division crisp, atmosphere bands plainly visible, Titan looking very orange and three other moons surrounded Saturn. The northern portion of the planet almost had a bluish tint to it. I hadn't seen that before.

I bagged NGC 2419, the "Intergalactic Wanderer" tonight. I had searched a few times for it before and never located it. Tonight I was patient and knew it was near one of two optical doubles near a bright field star. I got it on the second suspect.

I also got a planetary (NGC's 2371 & 2372) in Gemini. The Herschel 400 book describes this object as "bright". If that sucker's bright, then Obama's a Reagan Democrat. I had to crack it up to 200X to make sure it was a planetary and not just a faint double star.

I bet it looks great in the Hubble, though, or in Jeff's 48 inch scope that's getting made in Texas! (Somebody better let him know there might be portability issues with that thing....)

See you Friday night!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on April 02, 2008, 05:53:39 AM
I'd found NGC 2371/2 a few months back on a pretty good night.  With a filter, they were moderately bright even in the city.  The dimmer half took averted vision to be sure of.

The trick with planetaries is to crank up the power because otherwise, they do look like stars unless there's a tell-tale color difference.  I could check my logs, but I probably used 200X as well.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on April 21, 2008, 12:35:18 AM
Hello astronomy fans! I got out tonight for three hours and bagged eight more Lunar 100's  to push my total to 82. I had a very nice look at Saturn and saw that Mars has passed south and east of Pollux in Gemini.

It was wonderful to be back at my favorite spot after a tremendous NCRAL weekend.

It was a glorious weekend for astronomy!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on April 23, 2008, 12:57:39 AM
Hello once again, astronomy fans! I put in another 3 hours tonight, got observations on Saturn and Mars, 2 Herschel 400 objects, and another Lunar 100 item. I also saw a 2d mag. meteor dive NE to SW above Castor, Pollux and Mars at 11:03:00 It lasted a half second, white light, no tail or sound, but still VERY noticable and very cool.

I have an awesome star hop from one cool object to another cool object with two cool objects to check out in the process.

But I'm not going to tell you what it is until you either come on down for the Recon Mission or go to the May Star Party at Eagle Bluff.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: rabomgaars on April 23, 2008, 01:03:46 AM
Hey Dean, Isn't recon this Friday?  I'm going to need that map real soon!!  B
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on April 23, 2008, 06:50:35 AM
Getting a little tough on me to not be out there.  I'm not cut out for being an armchair astronomer.  Had the scope out and cooled down last night, but by the time the kids were all asleep, I was too tired to do anything.  So I wheeled it back into the garage and sighed.

Things will get better.  I've already gotten in more time than I expected (20 minutes) since becoming a dad for the second time.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on April 23, 2008, 03:11:31 PM
Scott, I know how tough have real little ones can be. I'm thankful that my kids are old enough to where they need very little maintenence, and also that my family doesn't mind me going stargazing. Good for you for taking care of them and still keeping your interest in the hobby alive. Family comes first.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: macastronomer on April 23, 2008, 09:40:43 PM
Hang in there Scott. Pretty soon you'll have a couple extra astronomers out there with you :)

Rebecca, Dean's is really easy to find. We'll probably meet there (?)

South on 52, 52 turns into 44. Follow 44 until in Spring Grove. Drive nearly straight through until 2nd St SE, take a right. 4th house on the right.

To get to the farm, take 16 south. Right after crossing the Iowa border, take another right into the driveway of the farm. Dean will have to give us a landmark to know for sure which driveway.

Duane
Title: My First Observation Post
Post by: Nicole on April 27, 2008, 02:23:31 AM
My first forum post for observations!!  Duane & I went over some constellations & bright stars @ his observatory, and also "bagged":

M3; M13; M57; two of the Leo Triplet; Albireo; Titan, Rhea, Dione, Mimas & Enceladus (right, Duane?); and three meteors!

Dean, four words: the race is on!  

Anything I missed, Duane?  :D

 
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on April 27, 2008, 03:08:50 AM
Good for you Nicole! I hope you journaled your observations. That would come in handy if you ever want to go after an observing certificate and pin.

You have a start on the Messier Objects, the Planetary Observer certificate and the Meteor Observer award.

If you want to "race", let's go for it.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: macastronomer on April 27, 2008, 04:29:58 PM
Tethys instead of Mimas... Great job!

That girl has a memory like a steel trap... she'll best ya Dean :)

DD
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on April 27, 2008, 07:28:17 PM
Four words; It;s a long race.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on April 28, 2008, 05:56:58 AM
I've spotted some pretty faint galaxies in Leo from within Rochester, but never the third of the Leo Triplet.  It is rather easy once I get out of town, though (no trip to the Bluff required... Randy's should be more than far enough.)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on April 28, 2008, 05:59:31 AM
Four words; It;s a long race.

Six Words: Dean has a big head start.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on April 28, 2008, 11:28:47 PM
Scott, if you can spot M65,M66 from Rochester, you are doing pretty darn good. Perhaps Monseiur Messier had too much light pollution from Hotel de Cluny in Paris to spot NGC 3628?

He also didn't have nearly as good a scope. As far as eyesight goes, we'll have to check that one out when we get to astronomy heaven.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: macastronomer on April 29, 2008, 12:17:37 AM
We could see all three in the C11, just not in the same field of view, and the third was pretty dim. I'm now technically in Rochester... although my skies don't always pass for urban, they sure have lately.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on April 29, 2008, 04:03:41 PM
M65 and 66 are what I'd call "moderately challenging" in my 10".  They usually require averted vision to locate, but then take direct vision well.  I don't believe I've seen them in my 4.5", though I could double-check my logs if anyone really wanted to know.

On a really good night, I've spotted some 12th magnitude galaxies in Leo that aren't on the H400 list.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on April 29, 2008, 04:29:58 PM
Scott, can you pick up the Virgo cluster's M84/86 and the faint NGC 4388 galaxy that accompanies them from in town?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on April 29, 2008, 08:58:54 PM
On 4/14/07 I logged M84 and M86 at 9:07 and 9:11 respectively using my 10" @120X.  M86 was only faintly visible with averted vision.  I have no record of the dimmer galaxy, but if it was much fainter, that night the answer would have been no.  I rated transparency as below average that night.  Only twice have I delved into the Virgo cluster, and the other time was at Eagle Bluff.

I have no record of M65/66 using my 4.5".

It was my opinion upon completing the urban list (which has both M84 and M86) that 84/86 were the toughest targets on the list and would probably have been impossible using my 4.5".  Most everything else was easier in the 10" but not impossible for the 4.5".  Perhaps on an exceptional night.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on May 16, 2008, 07:26:15 AM
Hello astronomy fans! I'm sorry that I haven't stayed in better contact since the Astronomy Day outreach, but I've been real busy planting trees.

I have made it out twice since then. On May 12th, I got a few hours sleep and then went out and got in what I call a "1st Quarter morning". I started observing at midnight and then when the Moon sets, the sky gets nice and dark. That morning I got Crater Piccolomini for my Lunar 100, observations on Saturn, Mars and Jupiter and bagged open star clusters IC 4756, NGC 6709, NGC 6819 and NGC 6823. Check out IC 4756 in Ophiuchus, it's very pretty.

Last night on my deck in town I hammered away on the Lunar 100. I observed craters Longomontanus, Bullialdus, Promontoriums Laplace and Heraclides, crater Pitatus, Fra Mauro, Hippalus, Gassendi and the Clavius craterlets. I also did an extra credit observation of tracking the movement of the Moon thru the stars of Virgo.

I have seven objects to go for the Lunar 100. The same number for the Binocular Deep Sky. I'm getting close.

Thank God for the Lunar 100 for keeping me in the field and teaching me about the Moon. It is a very interesting object. It's helped me up my total to 101 hours for this observing year.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on May 20, 2008, 11:08:21 PM
Mars is closing in on the Beehive, be there in a couple of days.  Looking at it tonight and just off the edge of the Hive.  It's going to  to look pretty neat when it gets there.  The moon rose around 9:45 tonight and rising later each night, so you should be able to get a good look at that event as well as look at other things without the moon being up.  Oh...  I guess provided it isn't too cloudy.  :)

Out there about an hour tonight, Saturn, Mars, Beehive and then trying to find things I have found in the past and a few new ones.
Former finds:  M65, M66, M81, M82, M13, M44 (Beehive), M104
New for me:  M51, M92, M57

Jeff

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on May 21, 2008, 05:55:48 AM
You found M51, eh?  Any sign of NGC5195?  I've spotted both from my backyard, but they're little more than fuzzy cotton balls from the city.  At the Bluff, I've spotted (and Dean confirmed) the sprial arm connecting the two.

What detail can you spot on Saturn?  Those rings are getting tight, so even spotting Cassini's Division is going to get tough.  Try your highest powers.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on May 21, 2008, 04:12:57 PM
That's about what I saw, some fuzzy cotton.  They were in the area where M51 is supposed to be, so I believe I saw it.  Also, think I did pick up NGC5195.  Sort of a couple of brighter fuzzies close together with other other light fuzziness around them.  Can't remember now if was using 13mm Hyperion or 20mm plossl when I was looking at it.  I'll be trying for that again some time.  Have stay up later some night and see how things are or get out to Eagle Bluff. 
Looked at Saturn first thing and not a lot of detail for me. 

Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: macastronomer on May 21, 2008, 08:40:25 PM
At the RAC lunch today, Kirk mentioned a brightening comet, C/2007 W1 Boattini. It will be worth trying to make an observation of it tonight.

He later sent a link from Astronomy magazine:

http://www.astronomy.com/asy/default.aspx?c=a&id=6952

Thanks Kirk! Let's see if we can get some observations of this think posted!

Duane
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: macastronomer on May 21, 2008, 10:09:17 PM
My horizon is blocking the view... :(
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on May 22, 2008, 05:19:15 PM
By Gosh, it's nice to see some astronomy fans are active out there. I wanted to get a look at Mars and the Beehive last night, but a former Post Cmdr. passed away and I had to organize military funeral rites for Sat. morning.

Hopefully I can see it tonight. The CSC does not look real good, but I might get a peek. Tomorrow night looks better, but by then Mars should be exiting M44. Good for you guys to get a great look at a rare event.

I'd sure like a look at that comet. Keep me posted on what you see, because my schedule is limiting my opportunity for star gazing right now.

Like Jack Horkheimer says, "Keep Looking Up!" ;D
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on May 23, 2008, 06:29:44 AM
I got out Wednesday night for about 30 minutes with my trusty 4.5".  Conditions were poor (still dusk when I started.)  Seeing was pretty bad.  I thought I could make out one band on Saturn, but no Cassini.  Mars was little more than a red "star" near the Beehive.  If anyone needs M44, it's visible even in binoculars and bright Mars points the way right now.  I tried for M51 and M65/66, but conditions were too poor for either in my modest-sized scope in the city.   M3 was a nice fuzzball, though.  No real hint of resolution.  Tell me again why I still have this scope...?  Next time I get out, it's the 10" or bust.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: macastronomer on May 23, 2008, 10:03:19 PM
I sure like that little scope. It's the little scope that could!

Duane
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on May 24, 2008, 03:37:23 AM
I agree. My little 4.5" Newtonian won't get the "OOHs and the AAHs" that bigger scopes can, but it sure has a wonderfully wide angle field of view. I think that only people that do a LOT of observing can appreciate the potiential of what a scope like that can do. Imagine if Monsieur Messier had a scope of that quality? He had a crappy little 3" refractor! He would have kicked butt from the Hotel de Cluny in gay Paris! The Messier Catalog would probably been closer to 200 objects.

I got out tonight for four hours. I saw Mars on the edge of the Beehive making its exit. It was spectacular. I wish I could have seen it all three nights, but at least I saw it tonight. What a beautiful sight! I looked at it and sketched it for a full hour in both the binoculars and telescope.

Saturn wasn't real great. Seeing and transparency tonight wasn't the best. I did catch NGC 5824, a spiral galaxy in Bootes for the Herschel 400 quest before the Moon came up. That is a very nice galaxy and I thought I could see hints of structure in it. I'd like to see it in a bigger scope.

I nailed Crater Billy and Gamma Reiner for the Lunar 100 tonight. 95 down, 5 to go. I couldn't see Vallis Schoteri because the sun angle was too high. Duane is right. The Lunar 100 is a lot harder than people think. It sure has my respect. If you don't catch the features you are going after at the right time, it's an automatic two weeks (at best) to a month before you can get them again. The Lunar 100 is a VERY challenging  observing program.

I finshed up with Jupiter. The two inner moons, (Io and Euopa) were right above and below each other. COOL!! All four moons were east of Jupiter. What an awesome sight, plus the Moon and Jupiter rose in tandem to the southeast.

It was a glorious night for astronomy!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: macastronomer on May 25, 2008, 08:35:05 PM
Kirk and I went south of town and checked out a park in a neighborhood, with a little Jason refractor donated to the club and a pair of binos. It had a good southern view but that stinkin' comet was hiding well below the horizon.

We did have fun spotting constellations in a less that adequate sky and spotted three or four satellites. It's rather humorous when you are directing attention via a star only to find that the star you are using as a guide is sliding across the sky! :)

I saw a couple of tiny meteors as well. Had the sky been better, they might not have been so tiny.

We looked at Mars near the hive as well. The beehive wasn't that impressive in the small refractor either under those skies either, but a sight non-the-less.

We also watched clouds on the horizon actively display great electrical powers?pretty cool.

Kirk, what else did we look at?

We then proceeded to WistleBinkie's for more astronomy discussion...

Duane
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on May 26, 2008, 11:25:35 PM
Well, tonight was just one of those nights. I got out there and set up at sunset, the sky was a little hazy, but it had been a beautiful day. Then twilight comes on and I get a beautiful look at Saturn. Wow. Titan, three "amateur" moons, Cassini's Division visible despite the low ring tilt angle, southern hemisphere atmosphere banding and even a little planet shadow on the rings.

After that I'm getting all lined up for some deep sky hunting in Bootes and then BOOM!! The wind picks up like crazy and clouds roll in from the NW. I'm thinking about trying to hang in there until my magnifying glass blows off the table. Maybe not tonight.

Oh well, I got in an hour and Tomorrow! Tomorrow! There's always tomorrow! Tomorrow's a day (night) away! ;D
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on May 29, 2008, 12:17:47 AM
What a nice night tonight, absolutely still out there. Got 4 Herschel's: never officially added 65/66 companion NGC 3628 and also added 3489, 3521, 3626. I was putzin' with equipment tonight and mended my Howie Glatter laser holder for the telrad mount on my Celestron GT 80. Then I punched in some NGCs and followed the laser beam up to the faint fuzzies! I was able to grab these over the sky glow of Rochester without having to star hop, which would have been impossible otherwise. (http://)

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Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on May 29, 2008, 01:22:56 AM
Cool! I'd like to see that setup in action some time.

I got out there for two and a half hours tonight. I got in observations on Mars, Saturn and Jupiter. I think this will be the last night to see Mars and the Beehive together in binoculars, at least mine anyway. I nabbed four Herschels -- NGC 5273 in Canes Venatici (extremely forgettable), 5322 in Ursa Major (a nice elliptical), and a "2 for 1" in Virgo, NGC 5363 (Elliptical) and NGC 5364 (Spiral). Those two sit in a nice star field and look very good. The elliptical stands out and then you can see the dimmer, but larger spiral below it.

I'd have stayed out there longer, but I planted trees all day and I'm desparately tired. A short but glorious night for astronomy! ;D
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on June 02, 2008, 02:35:54 AM
Hello astronomy fans! I got out tonight for four and a half hours. I had hoped for the sky to really give me a chance to make some major progress, but two things happened. One really good and one not so good.

The first good thing that happened was that the two folks that I knew that lived further back on the road stopped by and they had a good long look through the telescope and binoculars at what I call "the obvious stuff". We looked at Saturn, Mars, M44 (the Beehive Cluster), Gamma Leonis, Polaris, M13 the great globular in Hercules, and the galaxies M81/M82. Bruce and Betty Bergsgaard really liked everything they saw. They have a little telescope, but I think there's a chance that they might get more interested now. They have an invite to the Star B-Q.

After they left, I started to make some progress. I bagged NGC 5466, a globular in Bootes (way cool, but faint. It's BIG! a spooky looking object in my 8" SCT). I also bagged NGC's 5373 & 5374 in Ursa Major. These are outlying companion galaxies to M101. All are Herschel 400 objects.

Then the clouds started to roll in on me. High thin ones that robbed me of magnitudes, layer by layer. I had one hole of clear sky that I went to to nab NGC 7160, an open cluster in Cepheus for my Binocular Deep Sky list. Then that was about it.

I wanted to stay at it until the Moon rose at 3:30 a.m, but not even Jupiter or Antares was showing on the southern horizon, and only Arcturus, and the Summer Triangle could be seen near the zenith. I don't think I'll be able to finish my Lunar 100 until July now.

Oh well. Astronomy teaches us to be patient. It was still a glorious night for astronomy.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: dabailey on June 05, 2008, 01:53:40 PM
Dean,
I think you did more observing this week than I have done this entire calendar year.  We have been cloudy since Sunday.
I did get out this past Saturday for about an hour, but it was at home, so very light polluted.  I snagged M81/M82, M13, M3, M51, M97 and some nice views of Saturn.
Hopefully it will stop storming here soon.
Dave
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on June 05, 2008, 10:41:11 PM
It is really great to hear from you Dave. A lot of us miss your input at the monthly astronomy meetings and at the Eagle Bluff Star Parties. I hope that Iowa is treating you well. If you could make it to the Star B-Q (weather permitting) it would be really fun to hook up with you again. If not, a road trip to the Iowa Star Party in September would be a great thing to look forward to.

I have gotten out every chance I have had, but with the weather, it seems like the elements are working against us. I have 108 hours in so far this year, but a lot of that I have to credit my Lunar 100 observing program. The Moon is a very interesting object, and once I'm done with the Lunar 100, I'm going for Lunar II. Duane got me interested in the Moon and for that I am very greatful. It is a wonderful way to pass the time at your telescope, and you can do it from the comfort of your own home.

The BIG thing is that you finally learn how to understand such a cool object, so close at hand and so often overlooked and sometimes denigrated.

I look forward to seeing you again! :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on June 12, 2008, 05:38:18 PM
Hello astronomy fans! :) The Clear Sky Chart says tonight might be OK for some observing, but tomorrow night going into tomorrow morning is looking pretty darn good.

I got rained out today, so I used some of my unexpected free time making copies of my journals when I FINALLY finish the Lunar 100 and Binocular Deep Sky. I'm jonesing for some telescope time, so tonight I think I'll start on Lunar II, make some planetary observations (Mars' position, now closing on Saturn, Saturn and Jupiter) and start charting the Ursa Major Moving group as listed in Burnham's Celetial Handbook. It would make for some interesting conversation at a star party to be able to point out the two dozen or stars that he lists as belonging to that group.

If you can stay up late, take advantage of the dark sky after Moonset. You'll have three hours of darkness tonight and two plus on Sat. morning.

Clear skies! ;D
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on June 14, 2008, 06:42:57 AM
I had another long day of tree planting and didn't get out there as early as I hoped. It was partly cloudy when I got home, so I watched the Twins crush the Brewers. Yay!

Then I got a few hours sleep, woke up at 2 a.m. and looked out. The stars of the Big Dipper were bright and clear. They seemed to be saying, "Come out and play!"

So I loaded up and went out to the Flatin Farm. Jupiter was spectacular. The two innermost moons were just emerging from behind the planet. I found NGC 7006, a small, tight globular cluster in Delphinus for the 130th object of my Herschel 400 quest, had an unsuccessfull search for NGC 7086 in Cygnus as the sky brightened in the NE, then did binocular viewing of Capella, Fomalhaut and the star fields of Sagittarius and finished the morning by watching the two inner moons of Jupiter pull away from the planet.

As I was writing down my last notes, a phesant stepped out on to the road about 15 yards away from me and went "Er, Er!!" He was fun to watch. I didn't move and he just stood there. I think he liked the music from MPR. :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: macastronomer on June 15, 2008, 07:58:31 PM
In case you didn't Journal it, the moons were Callisto, Ganymede, Io and Europa from left to right (or probably the other way as you saw them in your scope) with Io and Europa just popping out from behind Jupiter (Io farther, Europa closer).

I've been jonesing to shoot Jupiter but it needs to get up there a bit higher and we need to pull a little closer. Tonight there is a Callisto shadow transit as Jupiter rises, so if anybody wants to spot that, check it as early as you can.

I've observed the Moon some lately, but haven't had a good night out in a while. Can't wait. C'mon StarBQ!

Duane
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on June 16, 2008, 02:03:13 AM
Thanks for the heads up about the Callisto shadow transit. I went out there tonight thinking it might be AGNFA, but I didn't realize just how good it was going to be.

I got set up at 8:30 and could start observing right away with the Moon prominent to the SE. Sure enough, there was the Aristarchus plateau with my last Lunar 100 telescopic object, Vallis Schroteri. That wonderful little lava flow valley stood out like a sore thumb. Just three more naked eye observations on slender cresent waning and waxing Moons and the Lunar 100 can go to the Astronomical League. I also got Mons Agricola, my first target journaled for the Lunar II.

Saturn was next and the atmosphere was rock steady. Titan and two "amateur moons" close in on the same side as Titan. Was that Iapetus above Titan or just a field star?

Mars is closing in on Regulus and Saturn and there will be a conjunction of those object about July 5th or so.

Jupiter came up at 10:20 p.m., but I didn't get a good look at it until 10:50. Then I could see Callisto's shadow and the two other moons on the other side. I started in on the Ursa Major Moving Group, but as I knocked them down one by one, I always checked out Jupiter between each star.

Wow! What a cool shadow transit event. Another moon came out on Callisto's side and the four moons were as tight into Jupiter as I've ever seen them. I did all the stars in the Big Dipper asterism while this was going on. Epsilon, Beta, Zeta A and B, Gamma and Delta Ursa Majoris, so I've got a good start on the UMMG.

But the best was yet to come. At 11:54:55, a big BRILLIANT meteor appeared! It went from above Yed Prior in Ophiuchus to just below 32/36 Serpens Caput and petered out halfway to Zubeneschamali in Libra. Holy Smokes! The trajectory was short, but it lasted for a second and a half, was brighter than Jupiter and while the head was blue white, it dropped off three fragments that were golden in color. It looked like a piece off a firework from the 4th of July! :o

I got my money's worth tonight. The Flatin Farm hayfield is getting cut tomorrow, so the field will be nice and short for us on the 27th. I also took my daughters digital camera with and took some pics. She'll post them to the forum tomorrow. She's more computer literate than I am.

I am so happy I got out tonight. It was wonderful. Most definately, AGNFA.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on June 23, 2008, 03:15:44 AM
Hello astronomy fans! I've had a lot of fun the last two nights.

Saturday night was a local outreach night. I got my neighbor Mike and Diane Schmidt to bring their daughter Elizabeth and her four kids out to the Flatin Farm. I showed them "the obvious stuff". Saturn? "That doesn't look real!" "It looks like a decal!" (I hadn't heard that one before  ???) I showed them Polaris, (it's suprising how many people don't know that the North Star is a double star.), M13 the great globular in Hercules, M57 the Ring Nebula, Jupiter and Alberio (Beta Cygni). The two older kids(Savannah and Beaumont, the mom names her kids after places where she travels) were Super Interested in astronomy. They live out east and had never seen so many stars and had never looked through a telescope. The Mom wondered why she couldn't see the constellation Gemini during her birthday month, and I tried to explain that one until she tried to grasp that the Sun was in that constellation during that particular month. "Where is it during the other months?" "How come we can't see Orion right now?" Fortunately the older kids were a bit quicker on the uptake. They are very intelligent and could become avid astronomers.

Tonight, was just incredible. I saw the double shadow transit of Jupiters moons (Europa and Ganymede). Saturn was awesome. Titan and three of the "amateur moons" made a graceful arc east of the planet. I continued to watch Mars close with Saturn and Regulus. This will be a great thing to point out to the folks come 4th of July. I did binocular observing of the Milky Way in Cygnus and couldn't believe how the North American Nebula stood out. I even could make out the Pelican Nebula right next to it. The dark nebulas in Cygnus were super apparent tonight.    I nailed NGC 7008, a planetary nebula in Cygnus that has been eluding me for some time. I actually found it while the Moon was rising over the horizon. Then as I watched the shadow transits of Jupiter's moons so our Lunar Moon could rise, I saw Lacus Autumni and Lacus Veris on the outer reaches of Mare Oriental. Awesome!

It was a Glorious Night for Astronomy! I hope some others got out there and enjoyed the sights. It wasn't a night geared toward making progress in observing goals, it was just plain a pleasure to get out there and enjoy the night sky and look at stars. It was incredibly beautiful.

Come on down to the Flatin Farm for the Star B Q if the weather looks good. I hope it is a night just like this one. :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Rick Murray on June 24, 2008, 02:56:01 PM
I have been getting out a little to. Seems I have to re-learn some trails to find objects. Have had a good time trying !!
I plan on attending the "Star-B-Q on Friday night with my 12" Dob. Can we meet in Spring Grove  .. Kwik Trip some time after 6:PM ? I don't plan to drive into Iowa without a very good map ( I do not have GPS ). What do I need to bring for food?
On Saturday night I will be setting up for a camp ground star part south of Winona at the Pla-Mor Camp Ground. I will be in the play ground area on the river side of the road. 

Rick
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: macastronomer on June 25, 2008, 04:29:55 PM
It's really easy to find. One you head south on 16, you barley cross the border and then take a right. You really can't miss it.

If Dean is serious about a two night star party, I might just stay down there. It's going to even more than a glorious night for astronomy! :)

Duane
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on July 01, 2008, 07:25:06 PM
Sunday night should have been the Star B-Q. It had a beautiful clear sky, just a hint of a breeze from the north, temp's in the low 60's and dry air.

Jupiter was very interesting and became more so over the course of the night. It started out with 2 moons at 11:10, and by 12:12 a third moon appeared to the east of the planet and was followed by a shadow transit. By 1:12, the three moons made an equilateral triangle with a 6th mag. Sagittarius star that looked like an out of place Galillean moon. By 2:55 a.m. the 4th moon appeared to the west of the planet, but the innermost moon on the eastern side had disappered into Jupiter's shadow! And the shadow transit is still going on! Wild!

I had a bright 2d mag. meteor zip through under the Big Dipper at 11:17:05, color white, 1 second duration. I had a couple of really "fast movers" zip overhead later while I was going after some Herschel objects, but was so busy I didn't journal them.

I managed to find open clusters NGC 7044 and 7086 in Cygnus to add to my Herschel 400 count, NGC 7044 looks like a dwarf galaxy because the cluster stars are so faint. 7086 was VERY hard to find. I tried for NGC 7296, but there are SO many stars in Cygnus that I couldn't know if I had it or not. I'll have to bring Steven O'Meara's book with from now on. It's got pics of all 400 objects, but I'll star hop to them on my own before I compare star fields.

I did have some high clouds overhead for a while, so I spent some time looking at old favorites like M6, M7, M22 and M24 the Small Sagittarius Star Cloud. I did notice for the first time the dark nebulas B92 and B93. Very interesting.

What capped off the whole night though, was when the Moon rose. I got The New Moon In The Old Moons Arms, my 98th Lunar 100 observation (Naked Eye). When I checked it out with binoculars, I was stunned. There to the right and upper right of the waning cresent Moon awash in Earthshine was the Pleadies star cluster.  8)  I had read earlier that it was going to accompany the rising Moon, but had forgotten about it until I saw it. Wow. It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen in astronomy. AGNFA.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on July 04, 2008, 01:48:02 AM
Hello astronomy fans! I got out there and started observing the minute the Sun dropped below the horizon (8:45). I was hoping to catch the 'Cresent Moon, Waxing' for my last observation needed for the Lunar 100.

At 9:12 p.m. I found it!! It was a very thin cresent Moon, one of the thinnest I've ever seen. There even looked to be a "break" in the cresent at the midway point, but I think it was one of the minor Mare's on the limb. I am very happy to have completed the Lunar 100, but a little ticked at myself for so badly underestimating how challenging it could be. It is a very tough observing program, but by doing it, I got a lot more respect and enjoyment out of observing the Moon.

Saturn, Mars and Regulus keep up their fascinating western waltz. Mars has now moved between Regulus and Saturn and will pass from one to the other for a conjunction on July 10th. On July 4/5 they will almost be in a straight line. It would be a good binocular demonstration for an outreach event.

Jupiter showed all 4 moons, 2 on each side with a nice spread. I got globular cluster NGC 6287 in Ophiuchus for my Herschel 400 search, and was all ready to kick some astronomical butt on more Herschel objects when, lo and behold, some high thin clouds moved in! I checked out the beautiful M5 globular in Serpens, but the sky kept getting worse. Oh well, I had accomplished my main goal for the night.

It was very fun to come home, find my family sleeping peacefully, and then check out all the chatter on the forum! Man, there is a lot of stuff going on!

The RAC ROCKS!! 8)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on July 04, 2008, 12:59:58 PM
Dean, can't wait to show you and others the LX200 the club now has. I went out last Monday and ripped off all 10 Herschel objects in Cygnus and the 3 in Delphinis. It was spot on finding all of them. Of course I'm a star hopper with my Dob, so this really felt like cheating with such a large aperture go-to.
I described 7086 as "boring". It was very hard to see. Will be bringing the scope to show at the next meeting!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on July 04, 2008, 02:26:51 PM
Last I checked, using Go-To or DSCs is against the rules for completing the Hershel 400.  They are permitted for HII, though.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on July 05, 2008, 08:13:36 AM
At last, the drought ended.  Officially, I hadn't observed since 5/21, and that was a brief half-hour.  Last night, I got up as the finale concluded for the fireworks and went out for 1.75 hours.  I'd like to say that conditions were great, that finding things was easy, and that it was altogether AGNFA, but that would miss the mark.  Haze really impacted the view (and no, it wasn't leftovers from the fireworks.)  M9 was nearly invisible - it took 120X just to tease it out of the skyglow to my south.  I pulled out the Cat's Eye Nebula without any trouble - very bright even from the city.  It looked more "ghostly" without a filter, but there was no hint of the central star with or without the filter.  After an hour of hunting with some new charts, I decided to give the computer a go and it led me to M10, M12, M71, M13 and 92.  M13 showed the famous "arms" quite well - it was very near the zenith.

I turned in just before the clouds made a serious dent in the sky.  Jupiter hadn't quite cleared the Elm tree that effectively blocks my southern skies, so I missed a chance to catch "The King."  Perhaps another night.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on July 05, 2008, 11:24:13 AM
Good for you for getting out, Scott. I have to agree, the sky wasn't all that great last night, not like the CSC had it cracked up to be.

I fought a stiff southerly breeze and high thin clouds for three hours. I still managed to get in 9 Herschel 400 objects. I found NGC's 5557, 5676 and 5689, the first elliptical and the other two spiral galaxies in Bootes. 5676 & 5689 can be seen in the same FOV, so that was the best look there. I found NGC 5631, a spiral galaxy in Ursa Major. This one is extremely faint and I'd have never spotted it without The List.

I got those two pesky open clusters, NGC 7128 in Cygnus and 7296 in Lacerta, that had been eluding me. I had to confirm that they were indeed the targets by using Steve O'Meara's Guide to the Herschel 400 book. They are both pretty but little groups of stars.

I caught two more spiral galaxies, one in Pegasus NGC 7448 and one in Aquarius NGC 7606. 7448 was a tough starhop (I went at it from Beta Pegasi) and 7606 was a dim object, but both were fun to look at.

I finished my Herschel hunt with the beautiful star cluster NGC 129 in Casseopia. It was a nice big object compared to the other eight.

Jupiter was cool as always, but not a real "standout" night. Three moons to the west and one to the east. The two closest moons to the west got very close to the planet before I packed up.

Was there an ISS pass last night at 4 a.m.?!!? I saw a brilliant object in a SW to NE orbit that passed overhead. It was as bright as Venus, but had no blinking lights, mainly white with just a hint of yellow.

I got in 5 and a half hours. I felt good about fighting through the clouds and the breeze. By 2 a.m. the sky was getting real nice. For me it was AGNFA :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: macastronomer on July 05, 2008, 12:47:12 PM
Observation down at Dean's tonight site tonight. It's a Flatten Field Recon and according to clear sky clock, this one will fly.

Dean saw a very nice crossing of the ISS last night and we should get another one at 3:22 tonight (It'll pass under Jupiter heading northward, slice Capricornus, Aquarius, Pices and drop to the horizon between Aries and Cetus).

Also, starting just before 2:00AM, Io's shadow will cross the limb of Jupiter, with Io shaking it's hand. Io continues to trail it's shadow all the way across the face of Jupiter, with the GRS appearing between 3:00 and 3:30. The twin transit (Io and its shadow) ends around 4:20.

As that transit ends, watch for the ISS to reappear from Ophuchus. It will cut high, just missing Vega, through Cepheus and plunging to the NE horizon, just east of Capella.

Catching Saturn and Mars will be an early task, neither of which will be spectacular but worth spotting with their proximity to one another. Neptune and Uranus will be targets tonight. Neptune is leading Aquarius and Uranus is trailing. It will be a five planet night! We should even make an attempt to spot the Dwarf not-a-planet at the crick in Serpens Cauda. I can't guarantee we'll be able to spot or recognize it, but I do guarantee it's up there.

If anybody wants to join us, please do. I might be able to fit another person in my car if anybody is interested.

That's only part of the plan for tonight... there will be plenty to look at. I think we'll be posting about AGNFA!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on July 05, 2008, 03:53:27 PM
Last I checked, using Go-To or DSCs is against the rules for completing the Hershel 400.  They are permitted for HII, though.

Have company this weekend so won't be able to FF Recon tonight but I will be out on my driveway delving into some new places. It's good to have a pictorial atlas for some of the Herschel lists because there isn't a whole lot to some of the tiny open clusters. I don't have one except for the ones listed in my SkyMap program. However, being at home allows internet access and I can download background images from the Sloan Digital Sky Survery which drops images down onto my maps if I still not sure.
Just for the record Scott - the observing club rules are posted on the Astronomy League website. Goto or DSCs are allowed in all clubs except the obvious ones (e.g. Lunar) and Messier and Caldwell. No restrictions in the others.
Clear skies tonight you guys!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on July 06, 2008, 07:26:27 AM
Wow.  Either I wasn't paying attention, or they've changed the rules in the last couple of years.  I could get through the list a lot faster (though maybe with a significantly reduced sense of satisfaction) that way...

Tried to spot the Moon/Saturn/Mars conjunction last night, but the western sky was pretty cloudy at sunset.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on July 06, 2008, 04:53:14 PM
Hello astronomy fans! Duane and I did indeed get out to the Flatin Farm for a "Recon Mission". We were set up by 8:30 p.m. and the cresent Moon was about a third up in the western sky.
I got Mare Marginis and Mare Smythii for the Lunar II program, and Jupiter was rising as we spotted Saturn, Mars and Regulus all in a nearly straight line to the west.

We had an unexpected Outreach Night as the annual 4th of July weekend party was happening further down the road at the Bergsgaard farm. They had an impressive display of fireworks and since the partygoers had to pass by us going to and from the party, lots of them stopped and checked out the stars. It was a good mix of adults and kids and they really liked what they saw. Duane and I showed them the Moon, Saturn, Jupiter, M3, M13, M57, M27, Albireo, the Lagoon, M51, M7 and other objects. They kept us busy for about 3 hours.

After the party winded down, Duane got several Herschel 400 objects as he started that observing program last night. NGC 5907, the "Splinter Galaxy" in Draco was really cool looking in his 12" Lightbridge.

I added two more Herschel 400's NGC 225 and 136, open star clusters in Casseopia to up my total to 150. NGC 136 took over an hour to pin down. It is a very poor, horrible little star cluster in my opinion. It wasn't even listed in my StarAtlas 2000 Delux Edition. It was easily the most grueling hunt of the 400 list I've done so far. If Duane hadn't been there to help, I doubt I'd have found it.

After that, we relaxed, talked astronomy, enjoyed the Io transit, (the beginning was REALLY cool!) and looked for meteors, satellites and the ISS. Two of the meteors were bright enough to journal and the ISS passed overhead at 4:20 a.m.

We had to fight some high thin clouds, but it was indeed, AGNFA! ;D






 
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: macastronomer on July 08, 2008, 01:58:13 AM
It was a great night, even if we fought some clouds early on. Dean hosts a dark sky, we could even see that star in Ursa Minor that we couldn't see from Gamehaven. Here's a pic of what it looked like before the Sun went down:   Tell your browser to view this full size, and then scroll left and right. The Sun was setting in the west, which you'll see at the far left and far right; so it's a full 360.

http://homepage.mac.com/deal/share/flatin-hayfield-4web.jpg (http://homepage.mac.com/deal/share/flatin-hayfield-4web.jpg)

Now imagine a line of cars parked there, most with telescopes linear to ours, picture Dean standing by a grill and people eating and talking... until the Sun goes down, and the stars materialize, and the Milky Way lights up the sky...

It WILL be a glorious night for astronomy!      so don't miss it
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on July 10, 2008, 05:11:57 AM
I was out looking at the 1Q Moon last night for 35 minutes.  I'm a little embarrassed to say that my interest in the Lunar 100 has waxed and waned; my observations date back more than a year.  One nice thing about Lunar observing is that I've made many checkmarks in broad daylight.  Last night, I was finished at 9:15 - I have no more objects left that were visible.  My count is around 75.  Mare Marginis was very visible, so I guess I know which way the Moon was turned.

Last night was also my first time using S&T Field Map of the Moon.  I had been using a book called "Discover the Moon" which had some gaps in it - probably 10-15 objects on the Lunar 100 aren't in it.  The Map made life so much easier.  I heartily recommend this $9 map to anyone interested in learning the Moon.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on July 10, 2008, 06:56:20 AM
No need to feel embarrassed, Scott, my earliest observations on my Lunar 100 hunt go back to 2006! :-[ It is so easy to let time slip by. One of the things you're going to notice when closing in on the last 25 is when an object comes up that you can get, and then get clouded out for a few days, you'll have to wait for the next Lunar cylce to have another chance at it.

I'm really glad I did the Lunar 100. I get a lot more enjoyment looking at the Moon now.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on July 11, 2008, 06:18:48 AM
NGC 136 took over an hour to pin down. It is a very poor, horrible little star cluster in my opinion.

I suspect you didn't have enough aperture to really appreciate it.  According to the NSOG:

8/10" - This cluster is a small patch of stardust...
12/14" - This tiny, round group looks like a faint globular cluster.  Ten 13th-14th mag stars can be seen against a background glow.
16/18" - ...with careful inspection, a dozen threshold stars may be resolved in the nebulous background haze.

Luginbuhl & Skiff say: "In 25cm this cluster appears as a hazy patch at 50x.  At 200x a half dozen mag 13 stars are visible with some haziness.  30cm ... cluster is hazy with ten very faint stars resolved."

My Webb Society guide to Open Clusters makes no mention of 136.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on July 11, 2008, 06:25:07 PM
Thanks for the info, Scott. There has been a few open star clusters in the Cephus-Cygnus area that my SkyAtlas Delux 2000 doesn't even have the locations for. Talk about frustrating!

NGC 136 was really tough. Maybe we can get Randy to point his Obsession at it some night. I would like a closer look at it.

Good for you to start getting some telescope time in again. I got Sinus Lunicus last night for the Lunar II search, but then it clouded up on me. Not every night can be AGNFA.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: macastronomer on July 14, 2008, 10:52:31 AM
I think what made it tough is that it doesn't look like any open cluster I've seen before (except maybe, kind of similar to that open cluster contained within M24, the star cloud).

It looks like a smudge of light. In the 12" with a lot of power, stars could be resolved. Resolving those stars is what made me thing that we'd pegged it (that and the stars in the area that we hopped from).

It is appreciable, but it was also very much like the feeling you get after figuring out the trick question on a test.

Duane
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on July 14, 2008, 11:52:41 AM
There has been a few open star clusters in the Cephus-Cygnus area that my SkyAtlas Delux 2000 doesn't even have the locations for. Talk about frustrating!

I'd recommend trying Taki's free 8.5 Mag atlas here: http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/~zs3t-tk/atlas_85/atlas_85.htm  Probably has what you need for those few clusters.

I went out last night, even though I'm on the tail end of a nasty cold, and put some glass on the Moon.  Rather low in the south now that it's nearly full.  I logged 16 new objects, leaving my count at 90.  2 naked-eye (both just after New Moon).  2 Binocular (both on the far western edge.)  6 telescopic (all on the western edge.)  Note: the western edge of the Moon is the edge closest to the east horizon - confusing but true!  I took another look at the Straight Wall after seeing it highlighted in a magazine lately.  There's another Rille just opposite the crater Birt that was a bit tricky in my 10", but I could see it.  I also re-observed an object that I'd failed to spot in my handheld 7x50 binoculars last year - piece of cake with my tripod-mounted 11x56s.  As it got darker, there was a star just to the west of the Moon that had no doubt been occulted for those further east.  I seem to recall reading something about that in the RASC handbook.  AGNFA, and I was still in bed by 10.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: macastronomer on July 14, 2008, 03:14:53 PM
Nicely done. The toughest part of the lunar for me was a particular phase when it ended up being cloudy, every month! That was a pain and it took a while to get those final things logged.

I tried Taki's and then I tried the Tri-Atlas too (A and B. I don't have a C printed out). Neither one did it for me but I think that's because I'm just not used to them?they just plain look different. I ended up using the couple stars that are in my S&T Pocket Atlas and found a simple way to put that object in the field. It worked well once we realized what the heck we were looking for.

I got out last night and shot Jupiter for the first time this year. Io was behind Jupiter, the GRS front and center, Europa closest, Ganymede farther out and Callisto is not in the frame (way off screen to the left). I should have flipped this vertical, but that's how it looks through the scope. 2000 frames taken, stacked about 120.

(http://homepage.mac.com/deal/share/n702287551_581671_1242.jpg)

Duane
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on July 14, 2008, 06:02:25 PM
Very nice considering how poor it looks in our evening hours!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on July 14, 2008, 08:18:51 PM
I ended up using the couple stars that are in my S&T Pocket Atlas and found a simple way to put that object in the field. It worked well once we realized what the heck we were looking for.

The Pocket Atlas has all the H400 objects.  I was suggesting free alternatives for catching those few that aren't on Sky Atlas 2000.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: macastronomer on July 14, 2008, 09:09:16 PM
Gotcha. I need to use it a bit and see if I can get used to it. It has a different look and feel. I think they'll be good after I've used them a bit. I also want to print out part of set C and check it out. The Taki's doesn't have asterism lines, that's annoying.

I have a Uranometria set, which I need to get used to as well. I like it, but it also doesn't have asterism lines.

I really like the pocket atlas. It is a great value. I haven't used it much for H400 yet though.

Duane

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on July 16, 2008, 09:42:22 PM
I agree with Randy. That is a good pic of Jupiter considering how "thick" the atmosphere has been lately. I really like how the diameters of the Galilean moons are apparent in the picture.

I am going to have to get the Sky&Telescope atlas. There are two more star clusters in Casseopia (NGC 136 and 481) that aren't listed. If it comes up with more non-listings, I'm going to write them and suggest they take the "Delux" off the title! ;)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on July 16, 2008, 10:13:41 PM
Dean was that 481 or 381 in Cassiopeia?  NGC 481 appears to be a galaxy in Cetus.  NGC 381 is a cluster in Cas and on H400 list. 
And, 381 and 136 are both in the Sky and Telescope's Pocket Sky Atlas in chart 1.  Yep, you're going to have to get it.   :)

And, ditto, great pic Duane!

Jeff

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on July 16, 2008, 10:18:47 PM
Dean,  In case you don't have it and don't already have enough bookmarks... 
here is a link for H400:  http://www.ngcic.org/DSS/dss_H400.asp (http://www.ngcic.org/DSS/dss_H400.asp)

It's part of the NGC/IC project:  http://www.ngcic.org/ (http://www.ngcic.org/)

A lot of stuff there related to NGC/IC objects.

Jeff

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on July 17, 2008, 10:41:30 AM
Thanks Jeff. Yep you're right, it was NGC 381. I'm going after the rest of the Fall Group and some globulars in Ophiuchus during the next dark sky period. If I get what I'm going after, that would put me up around 175 for the Herschel 400.

Thanks for the links, too!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on July 23, 2008, 12:30:55 AM
Hello astronomy fans! I made it out to my favorite spot after an eight night hiatus. I got my last observation of Saturn in until it passes superior conjuntion. It is simply too low and murky to get anything but a look at the rings and Titan. The rings appear to be getting quite flat.

Jupiter, on the other hand was very special. Three Galileans, all west of the planet looked great and it appeared that the inner one was closing. No shadow transit or GRS, but as the night wore on, the starfield in Sagittarius that Jupiter sits in became very apparent. Absolutely beautiful! 8)

I nailed three globulars in Ophiuchus for my Herschel hunt before the Moon came up. The best one was NGC 6293. That one has some resolution of the stars and sits in a pretty starfield.

When the Moon came up, I viewed it in binoculars and noted its position relative to where I was at. I have to do that again in a month during the same phase and see how much it changes position on the horizom for the Lunar II program. Should be fun! :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on July 23, 2008, 05:48:34 AM
I was out this morning for about a half hour getting a few of those pesky western objects off my list.  Now at 98, and have to wait for new Moon to catch the remaining two (40 hrs and 72 hrs old).  The frustrating thing is that I've seen them at least twice since I started the list, but failed to note the date and time each time!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on July 23, 2008, 07:32:39 PM
Scott, you are very close!

You are going to like Steve Nathan, the Lunar 100 program chair. I sent him my observations, and he got my certificate and pin back IN A WEEK!

It will be pretty cool to see you get your Lunar 100 certificate. Very  8)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on July 26, 2008, 10:37:08 AM
Hello astronomy fans! I got out there last night for five hours. It was a beautiful night, warm, not too buggy, a little breeze, and an absolutely clear sky all the way down to the southern horizon. If the Star B-Q can happen, I hope the sky will be like last nights.

Jupiter showed all four moons in a pretty eastern Sagittarius starfield, but no shadow transit action.

I used Epsilon Lyra to test the seeing and transparency and I could split them at 80X easy. You know its going to be a good night when that happens.

I found NGC 6826 "the Blinking Planetary" in Cygnus. I had been after this one for a long time and finally bagged it. It was a tough star hop, but well worth it. It has a pretty blue color like Uranus and actually does "blink" when you look at it using direct and averted vision. It's a pretty little thing.

I also picked up globulars NGC 6342 and 6355 in Ophiuchus. 6355 is a GHOST! Only the ability to star hop to exactly the right spot helped me find this one. It's the first Herschel object I've found where it is necessary to move the scope a little bit to pick up the photons in your eye. A very challenging object.

I observed and drew the Montes Jura feature for the Lunar II program. Those mountains overlooking the Bay of Rainbows are one of my favorite lunar features.

I also got nice looks at M57, M24, M6, M7, M8, M20, M31 and the Perseus Double Cluster. AGNFA! :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: macastronomer on July 26, 2008, 02:31:33 PM
Jeff and I (and for some time, a bunch of scouts) hit a few objects too.

I also went for a few Herschel objects?two clusters and the planetary nebula in Altair. Then I went for 7006 in Delphinus and couldn't find it. I'll have to try for it again.

Jupiter was nice. Black spots in the northern belts and a nice division in the southern belt making it look darker on the edges and lighter in the middle (horizontal). The moons were (from the most distant first) Callisto, Europa and Io on one side and Ganymede on the other. All of them spread out away from the planet. Nice splay for the scouts to see.

They also looked at Albireo, M31 and 32, and M13. Later when we were down to three of us, we also looked at M3, M5, M17, M22 M27 and M57. I'm sure I'm forgetting some stuff...

When the Moon started coming up, we took a peek at that too.

It was AGNFA :)

Duane
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on July 26, 2008, 08:06:31 PM
Yes, Gamehaven was very nice last night.  Milky Way was evident.  After the scouts, was looking a bit in Scorpius and Sagittarius. 
Picked up some new ones for me, M80, M19, M6, M7, M28, M22, M8.  Saw Andromeda, M31, for the first time in my scope.

The Rochester light dome was quite evident, was sort of like the Sun was never setting, but didn't really bother too much, plenty of other places to look.  Also, there was the light dome from the airport, then a little farther south, has to be Stewartville.  Again, not the biggest bother.  Moon appeared a bit before 12:30 and then we had light to the NE and getting surrounded.   :)

Jeff

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on July 27, 2008, 03:13:15 AM
Jeff and Duane:

Very good to hear of your observations. I have also tried to find NGC 7006 and have been stifled.Like the Rolling Stones say, "You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you get what you need!"

Keep looking up!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: macastronomer on July 27, 2008, 05:34:30 PM
Well, I'm looking forward to a star filled BBQ evening... and NGC 7006 is going down!  >:(
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on July 27, 2008, 09:45:25 PM
Duane, NGC7006 doesn't appear to be the easiest to find, but sure you'll nab it at a dark site.
Couple of links:
http://www.skyhound.com/sh/archive/aug1/NGC_7006.html (http://www.skyhound.com/sh/archive/aug1/NGC_7006.html)
http://seds.org/~spider/ngc/ngc.cgi?N7006 (http://seds.org/~spider/ngc/ngc.cgi?N7006)

Jeff



Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on July 27, 2008, 10:35:15 PM
Duane and Jeff: I have a great idea. Let's get NGC 7006 next weekend at the Star B-Q!

The long term forecast looks favorable. It is going to be hot and muggy for a couple of days, then, it is supposed to get pretty nice. I pray that it happens.

I can see a big hayfield, crowded with LOTS of telescopes and astronomy fans, clear skies ALL the way down to the horizon. "Oohs!" and "Ahhs" and "WOW's" all the way thru the night.

And just maybe.... a fireball, northern lights and/or a supernova lighting up the scene! :)

We'll try a decent night first! ;D

As for NGC 7006, That Sucker's Going DOWN!!!! 8)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Captain Kirk on July 30, 2008, 09:22:24 AM
I saw a heck of a fireball last night at Gamehaven.  It flared up two or three times ad is fell from just south of the bowl of the Big Dipper to the southeast.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on July 30, 2008, 07:00:37 PM
Captain Kirk!

Go to the American Meteor Society webpage and report your fireball sigting. They are very eager for stuff like this and if you saw something like that from Rochester, there is a good possibility that other people have as well and have reported it.

There are two meteor streams, one from Aquarius and one from Capricorn that are interacting with the Earth right now. The Universe Today website mentions that the Capricorn stream has been noted for producing fireballs.

If you go to the AMS website, there is a page there that will take you through your observation step by step.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: macastronomer on July 30, 2008, 11:26:31 PM
Last night was fun. The kids were interested and after they packed up, we stayed and observed some more. Rebecca got M57, M13 and M22... and I think M28 too.

I couldn't wait, I bagged NGC7006. That is a fairly tough one. I also got 6934. I'm ready to roll over these Herschel objects now!

Duane
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Nicole on August 02, 2008, 07:57:52 PM
I got out last night @ the StarBQ!  Therefore, it's time to post my first observing note.  :D

I bagged M31, M32 & M110 for my first three of the Messier list.  Randy, Kirk, Dean & Duane helped me see many others, including M81 & 82, M6, M7, M8, M24 w/B92 & B93, M27, NGC 6720, NGC 6514, NGC 6705, NGC 6618, NGC 5194 w/NGC 5195, Jupiter with Callisto, Ganymede, Io & Europa, Albireo, an iridium flare, the ISS AND a meteor at approximate -7 magnitude in Draco with a 2:30s duration!!

Whew.  And I think I'm allowed to finally say it, it was AGNFA! :D
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on August 02, 2008, 08:29:22 PM
Nicole, that's a mouthful of good deep sky eating for you at the StarBQ! Might want to wipe a little Io off the side of your chin! Back at home, my wife happened to see the same hanging meteor trail that we witnessed. We indeed had a potpourri of astro goodies, compliments of our host Dean and the wonderful Flatin Farm skies. Thanks Dean!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on August 03, 2008, 02:48:26 AM
Thanks to all the wonderful people of the RAC that came down and made this such a great event. I'm very happy that you all got to see the Flatin Farm at its very best.

We had another great night of observing tonight, starting at 9 p.m and lasting until 1:30 a.m. Then the wind picked up as lightning started lighting up the sky to the southwest, so we packed up. Elvis left the field at 2 p.m. along with the other die hard astronomers that stayed for the second night, Duane, Dewey, Jerome, Joshua, Jillissa, Brandon, Captain Kirk and yours truly.

We had an unexpected treat when my sister Audreyjean came out at midnight and stayed for an hour to watch stars and visit with us. She thought that the hayfield might be planted into peas next year and not corn. If that happens, we could do this all again next year. She told us that she hopes we have a Star B-Q every year.

Godspeed and God Bless to you all.

It may have been the two most glorious nights for astronomy I've ever had. :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: macastronomer on August 03, 2008, 04:06:34 PM
I think they said it all. It was a glorious weekend for astronomy! I'd say more but I've already started to write it in the next newsletter and all you who didn't attend will just have to wait  ;)

Duane
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on August 04, 2008, 12:57:26 PM
Here's the rundown on my notes for the second night at the Star BQ:

Jupiter showed all four moons to the east in two pairs whose alignment mimiced each other. The Great Red Spot was plainly visible and I agree with Jerome that it really looked like "The Great White Spot".

I used Epsilon Lyra for a check on the transparency and seeing. (Good, but not as great as Friday night).

We had an ISS pass overhead from SW to NE at 10:24 p.m.

I viewed M8, M22 and M13 with Kirk through "Elvis" and Brandon and I checked out the Veil Nebula in Cygnus using my Celestron G8 with the Ultra High Contrast filter. (Very good results)

Collectively we saw 14 meteors bright enough to journal and several other faint ones. The early ones were Delta Aquarids or Capricornids, but the later ones seemed to have a radiant that would have been consistant with being Perseid meterors. Could they have been early Perseids?

We also had my sister AJ stop out for about an hour and both that night and at breakfast at her house the next morning, she told me that she hopes we do this every year. :)

It was AGNFA. What a weekend!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: macastronomer on August 06, 2008, 02:41:39 AM
Yep, Perseids can start pretty early. I saw two Perseids tonight, clearly radiating from Perseus.

Duane
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on August 06, 2008, 10:12:24 PM
After my outreach (see separate topic), I did go out and observe for a little while.  I was going to skip that and I put the scope in the house.  I brought out the garbage a little later and it just seemed like the stars where really popping out, more than usual.  I could see the teapot right after leaving the house.  A lot of times, I can't do that.   I decided to head to the backyard for a bit and just looked around at a few things I've already seen. Getting them set in my mind.   :)
I did find a couple new Messiers for me.  Should have picked them up at Flatin on Friday, but didn't do that.  Anyway, pulled in M11, Wild Duck cluster, and it's neighbor, another open cluster, M26.  Both in Scutum.

Jeff

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on August 06, 2008, 11:51:01 PM
Jeff, you are the MAN!

After your post about the ISS in the forum, I had to get out there. We had a small rain squall go thru Spring Grove about 7 p.m. and I wondered if it was worth going out there. By 8 p.m., it was getting pretty clear, so my wonderful helpful son Matthew helped me load up. (I wish he'd observe as much as he helps me pack up!) I got out there and had everything set and had the Celestron G8 tracking Jupiter. I kept looking for the ISS when lo and behold, it was already past the zenith and heading right for Jupiter! I tried getting my binocs on it, and then realized that "hey, just look thru the scope". I did and waited about ten seconds to see the ISS pass just northeast of the planet in the same FOV! It was not as big as the angular diameter of Jupiter, but the ISS was big enough that I could see the solar panels!!

WAY COOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 8)

After that, I observed and drew the Mare Humboltianum basin for my Lunar II program, and turned back to Jupiter to see Io start to pass in front of the planet. Io was passing in front of Jupiter's disc right where the N. equatorial belt is, so I could see the "white wart" effect that Duane and I saw about a month ago. As I watched it, Io kept going across on the same latitude and I could actually see the moon against the planet's disc, something I had never seen before.

I started having dew problems then, and put the OTA in the van with the heater on while I used the binoculars to look at Antares and M4. But then clouds were interfering, the binocs were dewing up and I packed up.

As I packed up, I could hear "meowing" to the west of me. Could it have been Herschel the Cat? I don't know for sure because I never got a visual. I do know that if Herschel would have rubbed up against me in the dark, I'd have $%^&^ a brick! :o

Off and on thru the brief two hours that I was there, I thought about all the wonderful people and scopes that made the Flatin Farm hayfield such a happening place last weekend. If any of you need to come on down to a great southern sky exposure to get some hard to find objects, you are always welcome.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on August 07, 2008, 11:40:27 AM
Good job Dean.  We got some rain about 6:00, a good little shower, downpour.  We were out walking at the time and got soaked.  Who knew, it rains in Southern Minnesota!   :o
Pretty sure it was the solar panels I was seeing when I was following it.  It turned out to be somewhat easier to follow than I expected, so I did that instead of waiting for it.  Figured if it got real close to Jupiter, I would see it, but never did.

I did see there were two moons on each side and one was very close, Io I guess.  I was looking at it and then figured it would probably go behind.  I didn't bother to look things up, but now after reading your post, I realize I was looking at it upside down.   If I would have thought of that last night, I might have left the scope out to see if I could pick it up when it crossed. 

Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on August 08, 2008, 02:00:45 AM
Hello astronomy fans! I got out to the Flatin Farm hayfield again tonight and had a sky just like the StarBQ's. Jupiter showed Jerome and my "Great White Spot" clear as a bell. When I first looked at it at 9:45 I could see one moon to the east, then 15 minutes later another one showed. It must have just come out of eclipse.

I observed and drew the Serpentine Ridge for the Lunar II program before the Moon set. (Dorsae Lister and Smirnov)

After that I nailed NGC 6356, a glob in Ophiuchus, one of the brighter Herschel 400 objects (it's near M9). Then I caught NGC 6369 a planetary nebula in the same constellation. It is faint, and sits in front of a dark nebula. At 200X it looks like a fainter M57. Then I found NGC 6401, a faint globular in Ophiuchus that sits in a faint but pretty field of stars. I followed that up by getting NGC 6426, the challenge object of the night. 6426 is a globular in Ophiuchus that is another "ghost" object. Very challenging. The last Herschel object I caught was NGC 6520 a pretty open cluster in Sagittarius. It is a gorgeous little thing. That pushes my Herschel 400 total to 161 and my observing hours for this year to 187 and a half.

I knew I had to get out there tonight to stay ahead of Nicole! ;D

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: macastronomer on August 08, 2008, 02:13:26 AM
I was out the last couple nights too. It's been fun. I shot Jupiter as you guys were watching and Io did indeed pass in front of Jupiter, shadow and all (with the GRS trailing too). Here's the shot I took:

(http://homepage.mac.com/deal/share/Jupiter-Io-shadow-GRS.jpg)

Tonight was even better. I took a lot of shots but I haven't processed any except for this one:

(http://homepage.mac.com/deal/share/Drops-of-Jupiter.jpg)

The shadow transit tonight was from Europa. I lost Europa itself before this shot, but for a while I was tracking it in front of Jupiter and could see it quite clearly. The moon on the left is Io and the moon on the right is Ganymede. The atmoshere was more stable and I collimated my scope through the camera, which I think helped.

I also saw nine meteors, two of the Perseids. Both Perseids were better than the others, but the second Perseid I saw was a very nice, long, but fast one with a lingering trail. They seems to be radiating from closer to Cassiopeia than what Starry Night says they do.

Well, time to hit the sack. It was AGNFA!

Duane
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: macastronomer on August 08, 2008, 06:16:02 PM
Anybody interested in going to Eagle Bluff Tonight?

The Moon sets before 12:00 and it doesn't look too bad for sky conditions.

Duane
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: macastronomer on August 08, 2008, 11:19:02 PM
OK, lots of clouds, but tomorrow looks better...
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: macastronomer on August 09, 2008, 12:29:17 PM
Dean and I are contemplating Eagle Bluff tonight. We'll keep a watch on the sky...

Duane
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on August 09, 2008, 06:54:11 PM
Hello astronomy fans! Tonight is looking very good for stargazing!

Duane and I are heading down to Eagle Bluff and plan on being there at 8:30 p.m. We are going to observe and pursue the Lunar II program and see what Jupiter is up to until the Moon sets around midnight. Then dark skies and Perseid meteors will take over after that!

If any of you are up for some astronomical camraderie, COME ON DOWN! The clear sky chart shows above average seeing and transparency, especially after midnight.

We hope to see you there!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on August 10, 2008, 10:57:04 AM
Hello astronomy fans! Duane and I got out there for 7 and a half hours last night. While we were setting up and listening to the Twins beat the Royals, we were treated to a loooonnnnggg meteor that started above the eastern horizon in Pegasus, traveled thru Cygnus, Lyra and finished in Hercules. WOW!! It was as bright or a little brighter than Vega and lasted at least 3 seconds. That one is getting posted to the American Meteor Society It happened at 9:14:10 p.m.

Jupiter showed three moons to begin with and must have had one in shadow behind the planet. It reappeared by 10p.m. a ways out from the planet. I'd like to watch one of those happen in front of my eyes one of these nights.

I did Sinus Lunicus, Crater Cassini and Valles Alpes for the Lunar II program.

We had a long search for the starfield of SS Cygni, made more challenging by some partly cloudy skies. After an hour and a half we pinned down where this interesting cataclysmic variable star resides. We intend to keep an eye on this to witness its next eruption. There is an interesting article on it in this months ASTRONOMY magazine.

Then we went "Herschel hunting". I got NGC 278 (elliptical galaxy in Casseopia, very nice), NGC 381 (open cluster in Casseopia, a delicate little group of stars with a "lollipop handle"), NGC 436 (open cluster in Casseopia, a pretty little knot of stars), NGC 524 (elliptical galaxy in Pisces, a tough star hop), NGC 559 (open cluster in Casseopia, a beautiful bright grouping of stars), NGC 598, also known a M33 in Triangulum, (easily found, but nebulous, only the core showed well), NGC 637 (open cluster in Casseopia, a small knot of stars near Epsilon Cass), NGC 651 (planetary nebula in Perseus, also known as M76) and NGC 654 (open cluster in Casseopia, a nice little cluster with a bright star on one edge.)

Duane got a bunch of objects and I can't remember them all, but I do remember looking at Gamma Delphinus (bright double star with an Otto Struve double nearby in the same FOV), NGC 891 Caroline Herschel's galaxy in Andromeda, M74 in Pisces, M34 open cluster in Perseus, Gamma Andromeda (bright double star), and the Andromeda Galaxy with its attendant satellite galaxies, M32 and M110. These were simply awesome in Duane's 12" Lightbridge telescope.

We saw LOTS of meteors last night, but none were able to beat the first one. It was a glorious night for astronomy! :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: macastronomer on August 10, 2008, 07:43:15 PM
That was a great night, and starting it with that spectacular meteor was perfect. I can't believe how long that thing burned for as it stretched across the sky. That one is etched in my memory with three other meteors (a bolide from Eagle Bluff about 3 years ago, a fantastic fireball from RCTC that I saw with Brandon, and the bolide we saw at the StarBQ). It was a glorious night for astronomy, and it wasn't even dark yet!

Here's a few items I journalized:

NGC 891
NGC 752
NGC 772
NGC 7789
NGC 457
NGC 654
NGC 129
NGC 663
NGC 136
NGC 225
NGC 436
NGC 381
NGC 156
NGC 651

Fourteen Herschel objects. I used the C set of the free Tri-Atlas to find all of these. It works pretty well.

I also looked at an S shape (it's actually called the backwards 5) asterism in Hercules. Jupiter was very clear/stable. I'd say the seeing was 7.5 of 10?even 8 at times. Very nice. Other than the thin clouds we battled early on, the transparency was pretty good too. Transparency was anywere from 0 (when the clouds passed over) to 8.5 out of 10 (and I'm considering 10 unattainable in MN).

A G. N. F. A.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: macastronomer on August 12, 2008, 09:23:29 AM
Kirk came over last night and we worked very hard on the Perseids. Working hard counting Perseids involves laying on one's back, drinking a tasty port and watching the skies... oh yea...

OK, there were some clouds involved, but we had enough holes in the canopy to tally up about 28 by 1:00AM.

OK, here's where the die hards are separated from the enthusiasts (OK, maybe that actually happened earlier when we went out in spite of the clouds, but I digress). We stayed out there...

Around 3:00AM the sky really opened up, however, the Perseids didn't. There were some long periods of no activity, interupted briefly by a batch of three meteors (one after the other, not simultaneous, mind you). OK, Kirk snored a few times  8) (zzzzz), but all told we tallied 54 by 4:00AM. The activity wasn't as shower-like as I had hoped. At that point, it wasn't the sky conditions keeping the numbers down. In fact, the clouds were gone and the sky was soooo stable, I could see a plethora of Pleiades (I could count TEN Pleiades! I could see more, but the little buggers disappear when you look at them directly). The sky was great!

Almost all of the meteors were Perseids. There were some that seemed like anti-perseids. They were shooting upwards, from approximately the pleiades (maybe a tad south of there) and straight up to Perseus (right between the legs  :o ). I literally saw two Perseids take that path down and two anti-perseids take the opposite route.

Sometime after 4:00 the clouds moved back over again and so did my eyelids. We had rolled out a couple carpets and each bundled up in our own weather-proof cocoons. I highly recommend a sleeping bag for this task. I stayed pretty warm, maybe it was the port (ya gotta try Dustin's port--it is absolutely the best!). In any case, there's no substitute for the fresh air you get sleeping under the sky. I'm sure we were both keeping the owls awake at that time zzzzzzzz.

Oh yea, I have to mention two satellites I saw (I saw more than two, but these two were notable). One I thought for sure was the ISS. At about 3:45, it cut the southern sky, from the south-west, over the southern horizon, over/through Cetus, and set in the south-east. Smooth, consistent and bright. Another, almost as bright satellite came from the south and headed north, under Cassiopeia and over Auriga. It seemed very much like an Iridium satellite but without the flare. It brightened and dimmed some but it was fairly consistent. I tried to look them up on Starry Night and couldn't peg either one.

I hope the Perseids are better tonight. The forcast has completely reversed itself. Yesterday it said it would be clear until midnight and then cloud up, now it says it will be cloudy until after midnight and then clear up. I kind of like that forecast better--if I can trust it.

Meteor watchers, prepare!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: macastronomer on August 13, 2008, 12:08:42 PM
Meteors were quieter last night. It didn't help that we fell asleep... not sure at what time. Sometime around 2:00AM I think. I woke up around 4:00AM and started watching again. Only counted 32. One early on was particularly significant. It was profoundly yellow/orange. Very cool, not a Perseid.

Lots of not Perseids last night.

It was pretty cool to wake up and see Cassiopiea directly overhead. The sky looked so different. I saw a very bright satellite pass overhead and cut diagonally through the great square of pegasus. I just look it up and it was COSMOS 1220 at magnitude -0.4. It started to get foggy by 5:00.

Kirk said, there's a lot of mornings I wake up in a fog, but this morning I really did wake up in a fog :)

(http://homepage.mac.com/deal/share/Kirk-Morning-Fog.jpg)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: rabomgaars on August 13, 2008, 07:27:41 PM
Well, Seems we were all up about the same time.  I woke up at 3:30 am and was surprised to see a beautifully clear sky.  Saw two
from the backyard then went to the front yard  and saw two more. (neighbor has a yard light - annoying at 4:00 in the morning).  I got the binocs out to look at the smudge in the sky and my field of vision was FULL of the Pleiades.  Lovely.  Worth getting up early.  B
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on August 14, 2008, 06:52:40 PM
Good job, "Starbie"!

You have the makings of a great observational astronomer! :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on August 16, 2008, 10:15:02 PM
Well, I finally got around to making copies of my Binocular Deep Sky List. Besides doing the 60 objects listed I submitted 4 others for extra credit: 61 Cygni (the very near double star that was the first object whose distance was measured by trianglar parallax), NGC 2362 (the Tau Canis Majoris cluster), NGC 7293 the Helix Nebula (a big favorite of mine) and NGC 7000 the North American Nebula.

I probably spent about five or six hours going through my journals, copying them and double checking to make sure I had every observation down. I found that I had made two observations of only one object, the open cluster NGC 1342. Not bad.

Here's hoping the observations "fly" and that my old buddy Mike Benson (the double star guy that took six months to review my double star observations) is a little quicker this time around. (He was very good with my Binocular Messier list).

Clear skies! ;D
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: rabomgaars on August 17, 2008, 04:52:57 AM
Dean, from the sublime to the ridiculous...............Have been printing Lunar 100 information.  I am confused.  Lunar 100 and Astroleague
Lunar Club.  Not the same.  I was just looking at the lovely full moon (binocs) and am surprised by how quickly "it" moves across the sky.
Great view then 20 minutes later the trees are in the way.  Had to stand on a stool on the deck to continue looking.  Didn't know moon had man, woman, rabbit, cow.  This is kindergarten...............B
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on August 17, 2008, 10:54:06 PM
Hi "Starbie"! Welcome to the wonderful world of observational astronomy. Yes, the Moon does move very quickly across the sky. But not as fast as the stars. If you pay attention (and from your post, you certainly are), you will find that the Moon "drops back" one angular diameter of itself an hour. If you go out on your deck some night and watch the Moon near a first magnitude or some other visible star, you will see this.

Enjoy the Moon! And clear skies always to you, my friend. :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on August 25, 2008, 01:28:25 AM
Hello astronomy fans!  ;D I got out for four and a half hours tonight, and got my first look at Venus for this observing cycle! It has very near the western horizon, but I got my scope on it and followed it down. It's nearly full, but waning gibbous. The low angle made the atmosphere glow red on the lower side and green on the upper. At times it must have streched 10' or more. Weird, but cool.

Jupiter showed all 4 Galilean moons and the Great Red Spot was easily visible.

I got 4 Herschel objects, NGC's 659 and 663 in Casseopia (open clusters, 663 is the better of the two) open cluster 7142 in Cepheus (very dim, and a real challenge to find. I thank Steve O'Meara's book on the Herschel 400 list for pinning this one down.) and NGC 772 the spiral galaxy in Aries that Duane bagged at our last Eagle Bluff outing.

I also got observations on both Uranus and Neptune. I am going to follow those two planets throughout the fall season and track their progress thru Aquarius and Capricorn, respectively. Then I'm going to send in my observations on the planets and see if I qualify for the Planetary Observers certificate.

I finished with binocular looks at the Andromeda Galaxy with M32, the Perseus Double Cluster and Stock 2, the Alpha Perseus Association, the Pleadies, and telescopic looks at NGC 7293 (the Helix Nebula) and the Moon. (Too tired to get a Lunar II observation in).

What AGNFA! :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on August 28, 2008, 02:52:23 PM
Hello astronomy fans! I got out for another four and a half hours on Aug. 26/27 and had a very productive night.

Jupiter was its brilliant self with all four Galilean Moons to the west and the Great Red Spot was plainly visible.

While looking for the planetary nebula NGC 6818 "The Little Gem" I got my first look at Barnard's (or the Sagittarius) Dwarf Galaxy. It is a very faint diffuse glow of light that is surrounded by a field of dim stars. It is easiest to spot if you look to the edges where you can see the open, very black space interact with the brighter glow of the object . It is big, I would guess that is is a half degree or more in angular diameter.
  The Little Gem was a treat and not hard to find. I had seen it before at star parties, but this was the first time I had found it for myself. On to NGC 6802 a dim open cluster in Vulpecula that looks more like a "faint fuzzy" galaxy than an open cluster. It is beautiful. I caught NGC 6781 the planetary nebula in Aquila that Randy and I looked at during the Star BQ. Then it was on to NGC's 6823 and 6830 two nice little star clusters in Vulpecula that required careful starhopping.

Then the wind picked up and I settled in with an adult beverage and my binoculars. I looked at the Pleadies, the Hyades, Algol, M34, the Andromeda Galaxy and company, the Perseus Double Cluster and Stock 2 (looks like a stick man) and then found Kembles Cascade in Camelopardalis. I needed on more Herschel Object to hit 180 and accomplished that by finding NGC 1502 a planetary nebula near the bottom of the Cascade. Very pretty and very satisfying to hit 180.  :)

I had quite a few faint to medium bright meterors through the night. Almost all of them went from SW to NE. The last one I saw while packing up was a 1st mag. meteor that dove down to the Big Dipper low above the northern horizon going from SE to NW. It had a nice green trail.

This weekend looks to be very good for astronomy. I'm going out tonight and hope to see some of you at Eagle Bluff Fri and Sat nights. Io reappears from Jupiters shadow at 10:13 CDT on Sat. nite. I''d like to watch the whole thing unfold, and should be able to knowing the timing beforehand.  See you there!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on August 29, 2008, 12:48:05 AM
Hello astronomy fans! I got out there tonight for 3 and a half hours. The sky was beautiful, but the dewpoints weren't. I got NGC 6905 in Delphinus (planetary nebula), it is very tiny, but very cool at 200X. NGC 1027  in Casseopia is a wonderful open star cluster. It has a 7th mag. star surrounded by other stars in an oval. NGC 6217 a spiral galaxy in Ursa Minor made my Herschel 400 list too. It's a nice object.

Then the dew settled in. The Twins battled the Oakland Athletics, but like my telescope, they succumbed to the adverse conditions. I used my van heater to clear my Celestron G8 and then scored my second observations on the positions of Neptune and Uranus.

It was a short, but AGNFA!

I
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on September 01, 2008, 11:39:03 PM
Hello astronomy fans! I got out on the night of Aug. 30/31 for five and a half hours. Venus was visible in the west and when I looked at it, I could see a fainter "star" to the SW.
I looked at it in my scope and it showed a disc. Since it neither showed rings or a red color, I think I was looking at Mercury. Correct?

Jupiter showed three moons, one to the west and two to the east. At 10 p.m. I focused back on Jupiter and stared at it because I knew that Io was to re-emerge from Jupiter's shadow. At 10:09:30 by my watch, a tiny glimmer of light appeared! It took about 20 to 30 seconds to match the brilliance of the other moons. IT WAS SO COOL! I can't believe how neat a phenomena it was. If you've never seen this happen before, you should. Few things happen in astronomy right in front of your eyes and this is one. I highly recommend it. 8)

I picked up two open clusters in Cygnus (NGC's 6866 and 6834, both very nice), two open clusters in Aquila (NGC's 6755 and 6756 both in the same FOV), two clusters in Scutum (NGC 6712 globular, and NGC 6664 open) and NGC 6633 an open cluster in Ophiuchus, to up my Herschel 400 total to 189.

AGNFA!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on September 18, 2008, 01:13:09 AM
Hello astronomy fans! I made it out there for 3 hours tonight. I would have gotten more, but our church needed workers so I did the last shift and was able to scramble to the Flatin Farm hayfield by 8 p.m. The Moon had already risen, but I got nice observations on Jupiter, Neptune, Uranus and the Moon.

My planetary observations will go toward the Planetary Observer's certificate, and my Lunar II observation was on the crater Hercules, Hercules G and Hercules E. It was a very informative look into one of the Moon's more notable craters. 8)

Neptune was easy to find, but Uranus was a lot more difficult, due the the Moon's proximity.

Jupiter (as always) was awesome. Three moons, one to the west and two to the east. The Great Red Spot was center on at first, then moved to the west. The fourth moon never did show.

AGNFA!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on September 19, 2008, 09:27:59 AM
 ;D Hello again, astronomy fans! Last night I got down to the Flatin Farm and was set up by 7:30. Venus was my first target, and while it is still too low for really good observing, it sure is noticable after sunset. Jupiter had a nice spread of all four moons, two to each side, I caught NGC 6638 the globular cluster near Lambda Sagittarius (they can both be seen in the same FOV) for my Herschel 400 quest before the Moon came up. I now have 190 of the 400.

After the Moon rose, I got in looks at Uranus and Neptune, and then journaled Sinus Asperitatus for the Lunar II list. It's the area between the Sea of Tranquillity and the Sea of Nectar.

What really made the night special was a VERY bright circumpolar satellite that cruised through Cygnus, Cepheus and crossed right over Polaris at 8:06 p.m. (It started to fade by then). I wonder what it was?

Oh, and listening to the Twins beat the Rays was pretty neat, too! They're not done yet! :D

AGNFA!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Nicole on September 19, 2008, 10:06:38 AM
My first observing session @ WSU - they have a brand new 12". I saw M13 (Hercules Cluster), Jupiter w/four moons, the double star in Ursa Major & also the moon up close (in an 8" scope).  For the first time I also saw Uranus!  I'm going back tonight since it's homecoming, to help out.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on September 19, 2008, 01:11:59 PM
Good for you, Nicole!

I hope that everyone is aware that when the Moon rises tonight at 8:58 p.m that the Pleadies star cluster will be right beside it. The folks in the eastern U.S. and Canada will see the Pleadies occulted by the Moon, but that will be over when it rises here.

Still, the view will be much like it was on the morning of June 30th when the same thing happened. The only difference this time will be that the Moon will be waning gibbous instead of waning cresent.

Those two together in the same FOV are quite lovely. Binoculars or a wide angle scope will give you the best view.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Rick Murray on September 19, 2008, 05:01:37 PM
     I have had the chance to get my 12" Dob out under the moon a few times this week. Jupiter has been quite interesting to watch. One night I saw Io come out from the planets shadow on the west side and the next night see it transit and come out into space on the east side with good viewing of the Big Red Spot. I have also been tracking Neptune and Uranus. I nailed down two more 'Ms"  - M30 & M75. That brings my total to 89.
     Two nights ago I decided to try and find the Helix Nebula. I spent an hour searching with no results before giving up. I decided last night to try again. After much searching I was Nebuless. Noticing that two very small faint stars looked a bit fishy I decided to put on my OIII filter and try again...Bingo !!! There it was...exactly where I had been searching and it was quite large and quite faint. I was begining to doubt my star hopping ability. It's been a good week.

Happy Trails to you !!

Rick
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on September 20, 2008, 12:37:04 AM
Awesome, Rick! Good for you!

The Helix Nebula, (NGC 7293) is one of my favorite objects. It is so close to our solar system (670 light years away) and is the biggest planetary nebula in the sky. (Half the size of the full Moon.) But since its surface brightness is so low, it really is a tough object to spot.

I made it out there tonight and got observations on Venus, Jupiter, two NGC objects in Sagittarius for my Herschel 400 search, Uranus and the Moon. I am doing the Lunar II observation of seeing it rise from the same spot, and following that up from the same place the next lunar cycle. I also got Crater Arago, and Arago alpha and beta. Alpha and Beta are two domes that could possibly be volcanic features on the Moon.

I don't have the NGC #'s because I left everthing but the OTA out in the van. Tomorrow night looks good for observing so it is just easier to have everything in place.

I'll be really happy to have my roof re-shingled so I can get some decent sleep at night. Roofing at 53 is a lot different than doing that at 23.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on September 20, 2008, 04:43:53 PM
Attention Astronomy Fans! OBSERVING ALERT!

The Clear Sky Chart is looking exceptional for sky conditions. I hope that as many of you that can, can get out.

I am heading for the Flatin Farm hayfield, because my son-in-law is coming down to stargaze and help me finish roofing my house tomorrow.

It's really looking like it could be AGNFA! :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on September 21, 2008, 08:18:35 AM
Good news and bad news. The good part is that the seeing was terrific last night, but that the transparency was pretty poor. The sky was murky, especially at the horizons.

I got NGC 6540 in Sagittarius, a globular that can be seen in the same FOV as open cluster 6520. 6540 is very faint. Then the poor transparency and the big boxelder on the fenceline got in the way and I couldn't get any more Herschel's till 10 p.m., so I looked at "the obvious stuff" near the zenith. The Veil Nebula, M57 and M27 I checked out using my Ultra High Contrast and Narrowband filters, and then the Andromeda Galaxy got a long look.

The Moon rose at 10:05 p.m., but struggled mightily to get out of the murk. When it got up high enough, I captured Rima Hadley for my Lunar II quest.

It was a pretty good night for astronomy.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Rick Murray on September 22, 2008, 08:13:40 PM
Yes .. The southern horizon was murky. I had hoped to nail a few more 'M's in Ohpichius and Scorpio but all I managed was M9-GC. So, I too visited the usual targets. I did add the Snowball Nebula to that list...That was fun.  My Miesser count is up to 94 now.
The night before I walked out on my deck at 9:01 to see Something very bright crossing the sky from the SW. Checking the chart I see it was the ISS. That was fun too.

Happy Trails

Rick
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on October 04, 2008, 06:49:57 AM
After a looooong drought, last night was my first GNFA in months.  All I can say is if all night were like last night, urban observing wouldn't have such a bad name.  I observed from 8-9:35, and transparency was great.  Seeing was at least average, if not a little better than average.

I started out with Jupiter, but due to tube currents, it wasn't much to see.  At 120X, it was barely stable.  I was able to see 4 belts, and there was a black spot on the NEB.  Then it was on to some Messier objects.  I logged M25 and then suddenly realized... Sagittarius?!?  In October?  Who knew?  But sure enough, it was an easy spot, in spite of being well past the meridian.  So I started hunting and quickly realized that I should be using my binoculars.  I've been at 45 Binocular Messiers for practically a year, with the "easy" group missing a bunch in Sagittarius.  I took a few minutes to locate M24, and then it was off to the races!  M18, M17 and M16 all fit within my binocular FOV.  M18 and M17 were small and diffuse, but M16 was very large and bright.  I also logged M23, just to be sure (which makes my count 51 out of the required 50 for the patch!) 

At this point, I knew it was a rare night, so I decided to check some old favorites. M2 was spectacular, and I took a few minutes to enjoy it.  It is so dense, there's no hope of resolving to the core with my 10".  I also checked on M15, which wasn't nearly as great, but even it was a showpiece at 200X.  More stars resolved, but it also was too dense to get to the core with.  Encouraged by those, I checked my H400 list.  I hunted NGC6939, a nice open cluster in Cygnus.  I also looked for NGC6946, but came up empty on that one.  None of my charts provided enough guide stars to find the proper starfield (and there were so many stars around Cygnus that it was quite easy to become lost...)  I finished the evening with NGC7006, a "faint fuzzy" in Delphinus. 

In short, AGNFA.   
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on October 05, 2008, 05:58:11 AM
Keep good records people.  My checklist in my observing folder was out of date.  I had already logged all six of the binocular Messiers that, for some reason, weren't checked off.  So a premature celebration here on the binocular Messier club.  :(

Last night was incredible, though.  I was only out for about an hour, but conditions were some of the best I've ever seen in Rochester.  I was able to detect M110 for the first time through the urban glow.  It took averted vision to really be sure, but it was visible.  All previous attempts to see it here have failed miserably.  At one point, I thought high clouds had rolled in because there was a distinct glow in a line overhead... but no, it was only the... COULD IT BE???!!!???  MILKY WAY!  From deep in the heart of Rochester!  And it took direct vision well, stretching for a long, wide line.

Looks like rain for the next week, but at least I logged more time than I had all summer in just two nights, and two incredible nights they were.  Clear skies (when they return!)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on October 07, 2008, 07:47:14 PM
Hearing of Scott seeing the Milky Way from Rochester is very excellent news. It is also great to hear of more RAC members journaling their observations and going for observing certificates. I think that it makes observing more rewarding as it adds to an amateur's understanding of the night sky.

I got out for 3 and al half hours last Friday night and bagged six Herschel 400 objects, pushing me to the halfway mark of 200. I observed NGC 6624 (globular cluster in Sagittarius), a nice object that stands out well. NGC 6629 (planetary nebular in Sagittarius) a very challenging object that requires starhopping and increased magnification to pin down. NGC 5982 (ellipitcal galaxy in Draco) appears in the same FOV with NGC 5985, a spiral galaxy which is not a Herschel 400 object. I thought that they were both very cool to look at. NGC 720 (elliptical galaxy in Cetus) is another faint fuzzy in an obscure starfield, but still pleasing to the eye. NGC 613 in Sculptor was the toughest find of the night. This barred spiral galaxy had me starhopping from NGC 253 to 288 and then east to a group of eight stars where I had to search north of. Very faint and challenging. I finished the night with NGC 908, a spiral galaxy in Cetus that looks like a big faint streak and took some starhopping.

I got observations on Jupiter (which started out with 3 moons and finished with four) but it got so cold, I didn't get observations on Neptune and Uranus. I definitely could have used gloves and chemical hand warmers. I was very tired, I've had lots to do lately. But all in all, AGNFA! :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on October 19, 2008, 01:35:17 AM
Hello astronomy fans! I had a very good night tonight. I got a nice observation of Venus in, and then took in a long observation of Jupiter.

Jupiter had all four of the Galliean moons to the west of the planet, (the inner two very close and no moon was more than 3 Jupiter planet widths away). It was amazing!

I had an unsuccessfull search for NGC 6118, the "Blinking Galaxy" in Serpens Caput, and NGC 6959, a globular cluster in Sagittarius, (Both were too low to bag).

I did nail NGC 1513, an open star cluster in Perserus for the Herschel 400 quest. It is an obscure little star cluster, and took some careful starhopping to get to. It looks like a little circle of stars that has about 10 or 11 members at 80X. If you crank it up, you can get more, but it still remainds a very challenging object.

The Moon rose at that time, and while the coyotes were howling to beat hell, I got my second observation on the Moon risisng on consecutive months (while the Moon was 4 days past full - 1st observation on Sept. 19th and the second on Oct. 18th).  The Moon must be in a stable part of its orbit this time of year because it rose nearly over the same spot of the only cluster of trees to the NE horizon.

I finished the night with a Lunar II observation of Promontarium Archerusiusm. It is the prominent range of mountains that borders the Sea of Serenity on its southern edge.
It is a very cool feature of the Moon.

It got to be cold, but all in all, it was a glorious night for astronomy!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on October 29, 2008, 02:27:53 AM
Hello astronomy fans!  ;D  I got out there for four and a half hours tonight, and it was pretty special.

I started out the night with a Jupiter observation and could see Io just clearing Jupiter to the west. I could see the Great Red Spot, but the wind kept shaking the scope and could not tell for sure if Io had a shadow transit or not. (I  think it did).

After that I caught NGC 1528, an open star cluster in Perseus, one of the better objects for the Herschel 400. It really is a beautiful, rich group of stars. Highly recommended.

After that I did my observations on Uranus and Neptune. They are well worth going after and it is really fun to be able to pick them out of the sky easily. These observations will only help when I send in my stuff for the Planetary Observers award.

I did binocular observations on Aldebaran and the Hyades, open star clusters M38, M36 and M37 in Auriga, looked at the Alpha Persei association, and checked out Algol, (was it at minima tonight? It looked dimmer that usual) and Epsilon Auriga. I hope that everyone remembers that this star will be undergoing its eclipse by whatever binary companion that causes it to dim for months.

I journaled galaxies NGC's 1052, 1055, 1022 and 936 in Cetus. NGC 1055 is a ghost! 1052 and 1055 are really tough star hops. These objects of the Herschel 400 almost amounted to work.

I finished the night with binocular views of Orions Belt and telescopic views of the Great Orion Nebula. What fun! I also caught three nice meteors tonight. 2 in Perseus (1st one at 8:18:58 p.m., 2d mag, short streak, white in color, fast mover, half second duration zipping straight down to the left of Mirfak, Delta and the Alpha Persei association.) The 2d was 3rd/4th mag., white in color, another fast mover diving into the same spot as the first meteor at 8:23:18 p,m.

The 3rd meteor of the night came at 10:32;15. That one was sensational!

It is time to go to bed, but I will sleep in peace. It was A Glorious Night For Astronomy!!!!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on November 26, 2008, 03:03:05 AM
Hello astronomy fans! Duane and I got out for three and a half hours tonight at Eagle Bluff and WOW! the sky was spectacular.

I put in a half an hour with my 15X70 binoculars when I got there just to check out the sky. Orions Belt, Orions Sword, M35 in Gemini, Aldebaran and the Hyades, M38,37, 36 in Auriga, Rigel, Sigma Orionis, and even M81, M82 in Ursa Major were all plainly visible.

Duane showed up and we put in a hard search for the Horsehead Nebula, but could not quite pull it in. The Flame Nebula was very clear. Then we caught M1 the Crab Nebula, I tried the Witch Head Nebula near Rigel, but while I could see the nebulosity, I couldn't make out the features.

Duane nabbed the Owl Nebula, and M81 in Ursa Major, while I got NGC 1545 (open cluster in Perseus) and NGC 1664 in Auriga for my Herschel search. We both saw two faint meteors apiece and just had a great time checking out the starry fields of the winter night sky.

AGNFA! ;D
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: macastronomer on November 26, 2008, 01:48:22 PM
It had been a while since I had been out observing, so I just wondered around the sky lackadaisically, didn't even open my atlas. It was a back to the basics observing session for me.

I have to concur that the sky was clear and stable. The Trapezium in the GON was made of of perfect little dots, with the E star easily visible. As always, M42 was a sight to behold.

We had looked at M81-82 in Dean's binos earlier (an excellent way to view them) but I had to put it in my lower power 40mm superwide. When I moved to the spot, I centered NGC 2976 and thought, "OK there's M81, where's M82?" I quickly realized I had happened upon one of the little NGCs nearby and was amazed I could mistake a galaxy nearly 8 x dimmer. That just goes to show how contrasty it was. I thought for sure we'd pull in the horse head, but we couldn't. I'm pretty sure we were looking right at it. I could sort of make out the long patch of light with a nearby a very nebulous star, but just couldn't see any detail of the molecular cloud.

M1 had some nice shape to it. I don't think I've seen it this well. I couldn't make out filaments but I could see patches of dark in it, hints of structure no a macro level. Most of the time it looks like a tiny little football, tonight it appeared large with faint patchiness.

The Pleiades were nearly straight up when I aimed at them. Obviously using my lowest power to coral all these stars in a field of view, they lit up the scope like a Fleet Farm parking lot. What I was happy to see was Merope, not just the star ,but the nebulosity. I could see hints of nebulosity around Alcyone and Maia. I can only imagine what this would have looked like in Randy's scope.

The Double Cluster was awesome. I only used my lowest mag on this, so I was looking at both in the field of view, and could see the tiniest points of stars scattered amongst the bright jewels. I observed this for quite some time, examining the details of these clusters. A less stable sky would have washed away these miniscule points, but tonight I was able to enjoy the detail of a high mag view from a wide angle perspective. It wouldn't be often that I'd exclaim this, but the double cluster was probably my favorite target last night. I couldn't rip myself away from it.

Tonight was the first time I've looked upon Sigma Ori, which is named as a single star (spectral type B2Vp, massive star) but is also the Sigma Orionis star cluster. Sigma Ori itself is a five star system. Several stars have the same proper motion (hence the star cluster) with a nice double in the group, but the real eye-popper is the stars sharing the Sigma Ori system. Looking at this system is like looking at Jupiter and its moons! Seeing this obvious orbital relationship in a star system is fantastic. Here is a photo I found online, which doesn't do the view any bit of justice, but gives some sort of idea what I'm talking about:

(http://homepage.univie.ac.at/peter.wienerroither/pwafods/20060109-810.jpg)

A,B is the bright one (Sigma Ori) and optically inseparable, at least in my scope. If I understand correctly: C, D, and E all orbit these two (A,B). This is a sight you have to see, and according to Dean, part of the Astronomical League's double star list.

I also pulled in M108, the Beehive... hmmm, can't remember what else. I did a lot of star swimming through the Milky Way, especially the area around Auriga, and between/above the bulls horns.

I had to tell Dean how much Taurus, to me, looks like Dog-Cow. Dog-Cow is an old Mac term from the early GUI (graphical user interface) OS days. It was a simple little graphic that was created to represent which direction/orientation your graphic will produce. Graphics and computer memory were pretty limited in those days and although I think it was meant to be a dog, it came out looking rather cow like. If I were to continue the story myself, I would say that Zeus didn't want to give Aphrodite a regular dog as a god would likely hurt a regular puppy, being a god and all. So, he crossed the little mammal with a larger one--one with similar colors and spots. He then placed it amongst the stars and so became the very unknown legend of Dog-Cow (watch for the series coming to cable TV, someday). Here's a pic of DogCow:

(http://ozymandias.com/ftpimages/Moof_8083/clarus_thumb4.jpg)

From Taurus to you, "Moof, Moof!"

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Duane
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on January 03, 2009, 03:19:02 PM
Hooray! I actually got back into the forum -- AND DID IT ALL BY MYSELF ON THE COMPUTER!!!!!!! Please pause while I stagger around, clutch my chest and holler "Hold on Elizabeth, this be the BIG one!" ::)

Our computer caught a virus and has been down for a good two weeks. It is a pleasure to report my progress on observing this winter. I have gotten out seven times since October 29th (the start of my new observing year) logged 26.5 hours, and have upped my Herschel 400 total to 225, and Lunar II target list to 20 of the 100 needed.

My latest Herschel 400 objects were NGC's 2232 and 2242, both open clusters in Monoceros, both bright and showy objects. Sinus Amoris (the Bay of Love) was the last Lunar II target aquired. :-*

Venus, Uranus, Neptune and Saturn have made their way into my journaling, but I have not seen Mercury yet. Every time I've gone out I've had persistant low lying clouds to the southwest. Venus has reached its' quarter phase and will become more interestin week by week. I'd love to either get or look through a UV filter at it because I've heard that with that, an observer can actually see cloud stucture on Venus. :o

Note to Scott - I'd be honored to review your Lunar 100 observations. If they look like they'll pass muster (and I'm sure they will), all you have to do is send them on to Steve Nathan (a Massachuesetts native) and he'll process your certificate very quickly. I got mine in a week! He's a super nice guy. 8)

My $80 winter Air Force parka is making winter observing a very comfortable experience. Warm boots, long johns, insulated coveralls and chemical heat packs for my gloves don't hurt either. I'm going to be out there every chance I get. Even zero degrees isn't a problem now. ;D

Hope to stay in touch and see you all soon. Here's to the January meeting and hopefully a third weekend in January star party at Eagle Bluff. May we all have AGNFA! :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on January 13, 2009, 12:19:37 PM
Question: Astronomy magazine's '100 Most Spectacular Sky Wonders and how to see them' claims that the Pencil Nebula of the Vela Supernova Remnant is visible from latitude 44 degrees and south. That would put it in range of the Flatin Farm hayfield. ???

Is this true? How good would my chances be of actually seeing this? If you look on a star atlas, it would be several degrees SW of NGC 3242 (the Ghost of Jupiter) planetary nebula in Hydra. Could some of you Starry Night Pro's check this out for me?

Thanks! :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Nicole on January 13, 2009, 12:55:38 PM
Dean,

From my location in Winona it's a few degrees below the horizon even @ the "best" viewing time on Starry Night.  I'm not sure how much of a difference it would make if I changed the location to Flatin Farm...but what is the exact lat & long?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on January 13, 2009, 02:42:24 PM
Hi Nicole. Here's the Flatin Farm Lat. & Lon. -- Lattitude 43, 29' 52". Longituded 91, 36', 47"

Thanks!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Nicole on January 13, 2009, 06:43:03 PM
Dean, I'm pretty sure it's still below the horizon.  Here's a photo, if that helps.

[attachment deleted by admin]
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on January 13, 2009, 10:50:09 PM
Thanks, Nicole. Maybe the folks that put together the article were counting on gravitational lensing. ::)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on January 14, 2009, 04:29:53 AM
According to Stellarium, it would get about 1/3 degree above the horizon at approximately 1:30AM today from Flatin Farm.  Atmospheric extinction, anyone?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on January 14, 2009, 11:01:02 AM
Thanks, Scott. I kind of thought that magazine article was packing a little nebula up my you know where. ;D

How far south would an observer have to travel to get a decent look at it?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on January 14, 2009, 07:57:26 PM
Generally speaking, anything in the first 5 degrees is complete garbage.  Even 10 degrees above the horizon requires a pretty good night as far as seeing goes.  You can check any globe for the latitude that would give it the elevation above the horizon you'd need for what you'd consider a "good" look.  Maybe you should plan a visit to the Texas Star Party?  I'm sure it would be plenty high there...
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on February 16, 2009, 01:19:22 AM
Hello astronomy fans! I got out there for six glorious hours tonight. I started with a Venus observation, and then worked my way through five of the Herschel 400 objects, the toughest one being the diffuse nebula in Monoceros (NGC 2158?) I don't have my notes with me, the family is sleeping and I left my stuff locked in the van. At any rate, I spent an hour on that one.

The rest were pretty easy and really nice to look at, including the open clusters for the Christmas Tree cluster and the Rosette Nebula. Wow! The Rosette with an Ultrablock filter is really fun.   :)

About 10:30 I had a skunk try come in on me, twice. I could smell the little Pepe LePue and whipped out my laser pointer twice to sweep the hayfield. Pepe didn't like that and cleared out of the area before he cleaned out my sinuses.   :P Thank you for the laser pointer Duane! I nearly packed up at that point, but stuck it out to get my sixth Herschel object and then got awesome observations on Saturn and Comet Lulin.

I'm glad I did. Saturn is incredible! I haven't seen the rings that flat since I was a teenager. Titan to the west and two of the amateur moons close by to the east. Does anyone know if there were one or two smaller moons above the planet? Especially in the 1 o'clock position? Major atmosphere banding made tonight very special. I can't wait for a Titan shadow transit. 8)

Comet Lulin was the icing on the cake. When Spica got up about 5 to 7 degrees, I took a peek through my binoculars. Sure enough, it was there and plainly visible above and to the left of Spica, comfortably in the same FOV. I waited for it to rise to 15 degrees before I got my telescopic observation in. No distinct tail, but Scott Regener is right when he mentioned movement is visible within 20 minutes. Just think, this baby will travel from Spica to Saturn in just eight or nine days!

We've got to pray for clear skies and an awesome Eagle Bluff event for next weekend. There's a lot to see out there.

It was a glorious night for astronomy!  ;D
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on February 16, 2009, 11:15:36 PM
The object in question was the reflection nebula 2185. I would rate it in the bottom 3 percent of the Herschel 400 objects.

NGC 2185 is only for someone going after something like the Herschel 400. If you showed it to people at a star party, you'd be guaranteed of solitude for the rest of the night.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on February 25, 2009, 11:33:12 PM
Hello astronomy fans! I got out tonight for a couple of hours after Lenten service got done. I was set up by 8:30 and by that time Venus was being shrouded in clouds. However, the south, east and northeast were O.K., meaning clear sky with below average seeing and transparency. But I wasn't going after Herschel 400 objects anyway, I wanted to see what Comet Lulin was up to. With the help of Sky&Telescopes chart, I found it pretty quickly, tonight it was two thirds of the way to Regulus from Saturn. (Binoculars)

As I was setting up my scope, I looked up and saw that I could see it naked eye! 8) I would estimate it about 4.5 to magnitude 5. In the Celestron the nucleus was very obvious and I could see a broad tail extending toward the NE. I wrote down the naked eye, binocular and telescopic observations and turned my attention to the starfield of 54 Leonis.

54 Leonis is on the Double Star List and its beautiful, but I was after Dwarf Planet Ceres and after checking out the starfield with the S&T chart and binoculars, had it narrowed down to two candidates that aren't shown on my Sky Atlas Delux 2000. The first one I didn't like because through my telescope  it showed a strong blue-white color, too much like a star. The second one had this nice dirty yellow color that asteroids seem to favor. I'll know for sure the next time out because one of them will move and I bet its the "extra" star sitting near 70 Leonis. ;)

Saturn was beautiful at 200X. Titan to the west and one of the "amateur" moons to the east. Very elegant thin ring plane, atmosphere banding and tiny gaps between the rings and the planet. Just beautiful.

Another look at Comet Lulin and it had moved half the diameter of the Moon in about 90 minutes! That baby is hauling ass! :o Then about 10:30 clouds rolled in and made it a short, but Glorious Night for Astronomy!
Title: Eagle Bluff Feb. 28
Post by: Dean Johnson on February 28, 2009, 11:13:21 AM
Hello astronomy fans! Is anybody up for an Eagle Bluff session tonight? The CSC doesn't look too bad, I think we could make a go of it.

I could leave Spring Grove about 7 p.m., and be there a little before 8.

Any takers?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on February 28, 2009, 11:51:55 AM
Hello again. A bit of a problem at Eagle Bluff. The parking lot won't be dark until 9:30 p.m. due to a dinner there, so it would be a bit of a late start.

Local observing only may be a better option, although I'd go if others would like to try it.

If I don't get any hits on this in the forum, I'll head out to the Flatin Farm hayfield.

Clear skies, Dean.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on February 28, 2009, 01:02:46 PM
Not sure if I wanted to head to Eagle Bluff or not tonight, somewhat cool.  If anyone wants to head out, but not go to Eagle Bluff, is anyone interested in heading out to Keller WMA tonight?
Jeff

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on February 28, 2009, 01:41:45 PM
One thought I just had, there has been 7+ inches of snow since the last time I was at Keller.  Hopefully they are still clearing the parking lot there.  If I get time today, I may drive down there and have a look at it.  Otherwise, if anyone else has a chance?....   If anyone wants to go there, it may be a good thing to check it out.  Sometimes not that easy to find. 
Jeff

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on February 28, 2009, 01:42:34 PM
Well I could go for either. If a group of people are going to Eagle bluff, I'd come. Otherwise Keller would be fine too. A late start works better for me either way(9:30 to 10ish).  The cold is a factor though.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on February 28, 2009, 03:54:04 PM
I checked out Keller, there is about an inch of snow there, so not too bad. 
No late nights for me.  I'll be heading out to Keller tonight, probably be there for a few hours and head for home about 10:00 or so.   Head on out if you want, I'll be there for awhile.
Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on February 28, 2009, 03:57:24 PM
Directions, copied from other threads, in case anyone wants to head out:

Here are directions that Scott provided in another thread:
I drove into the parking lot at Keller today.  I prefer to drive to unfamiliar locations in daylight before I try it at night.  Turned out to be a good choice as one alternate route I tried turned out to be packed ice.  It took me 18 minutes door-to-door; about 12 minutes from US 52.  I took County 22 from Highway 52 to Salem Road (County 25) to County 15 south.  They say 4 miles each leg, but I found the County 25 part to be closer to 3.5 miles.  Both 22 and 15 supported speeds of 55-60 mph.  The parking lot is the third turn on the left after the intersection of County 125; it is at the top of the first hill after that intersection.  The horizons look fairly blocked by 8-10' tall pine trees that surround the lot.  Those could be problematic in years future...

To add to that, you do travel about 3.5 miles on County 25 (Salem Road) to County 15 (Garten Marketplatz sign) and turn left/south onto County 15.  You then travel about 4.1 miles on County 15 to get to Keller WMA and it is on the left as Scott describes.  There are no lights or signs, so you have to watch for it.  There is a farm/house across the road with a yard light that is just past Keller.

Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on February 28, 2009, 03:58:41 PM
Thanks, Jeff.  I'm leaning towards heading out Keller way myself, provided the kids go down nice and orderly tonight.  I wouldn't arrive before 8 and would be gone by 10 at the latest.  I'm hoping to track down Comet 144P/Kushida.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on February 28, 2009, 04:59:34 PM
Unless something dramatically changes, I guess I'll be at Keller then. I'll try to get there as early as I can, but it might be 9 or so.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on February 28, 2009, 05:13:24 PM
Luka, there is the possibility that if you or others wanted to head out Eagle Bluff instead, that Dean and/or others would be amenable to that.   But, no one else is talking about coming out.    :(
Also, looking at the CSC and Weather.com, they are both predicting some clouds starting to come in sometime after 10 and if that is the case, probably don't really want to go all the way out to Eagle Bluff at 9:30.   :(
Jeff

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Captain Kirk on February 28, 2009, 05:29:25 PM
It sound like Eagle Bluff is out.  I'm going down to Dean's turf tonight.

Kirk
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on February 28, 2009, 05:30:14 PM
Hi Rebecca and Captain Kirk, I see you out there.   ;D
Head on over to Keller tonight and have a look.

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on February 28, 2009, 05:31:49 PM
What time were you heading down there Kirk?  If you could get a hold of Luka, perhaps you could get together and go down there?

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: rabomgaars on February 28, 2009, 05:42:57 PM
Just got an invite from friend on a farm in Pine Island with good viewing.  It will not work out for her tonight so I might consider
Keller - just have my binocs.  Maybe around 8:30/9:00.  B
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Captain Kirk on February 28, 2009, 05:48:15 PM
Leaving shortly.  It sounded like Luka needed a late start.  Kirk
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: rabomgaars on February 28, 2009, 10:51:06 PM
I hate to have one of those evenings where it took me as long to get dressed warmly as I spent outside.  I lasted about an hour
but it was worth the trip for the lovely clear sky. Saw M44, Beehive in Cancer, Comet Lulin, M 36, 37, 38 in Auriga, and M42.
Got a wonderful look at Saturn in Jeff's scope.  The rings are still beautiful straight on.  That said, this is as close to cyrogenics as I want to get.....!    B
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: bwyman on March 01, 2009, 12:47:05 AM
I was taking peaks outside here and there tonight. I was not feeling the greatest, so did not feel like making a trip out in the cold.

I THINK I saw Comet Lulin, in my 10x50 binoculars. Earlier I was trying with 8x25 (?) which did not work. I also got a look at Orion's sword and belt (nebula in the sword), M41, and M44. I was out again a few minutes ago, but I could no longer find what I thought was the comet, it must have moved into the bad glow over the city. It also looks a little more hazy now. I need to check if Mars is up, I thought I saw another planet.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: bwyman on March 01, 2009, 12:54:20 AM
Nope, not Mars, my bad. That would have been Arcturus. Wouldn't be the first time I made that blunder. :-/
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 01, 2009, 01:18:16 AM
I dressed as warm as I possibly could and I'm glad I did. The temps wouldn't have been so bad if it wasn't for that darn persistant wind! >:(

However, Captain Kirk and his dog Lucky beamed on down to the Flatin Farm frozen tundra and we had a great night.  Kirk is the first RAC member to make it to the Flatin Farm in the winter, but he is only the second to make two trips down here. That distinction belongs to Duane Deal.

Venus started the show, then a good look at a beautiful Moon. Kirk let me use a wide angle 2' Meade 32mm ocular which I was very impressed with. We looked at the Great Orion Nebula, then got talking about double stars, so I showed him 54 Leonis. He liked that and told me about his trip to Arizona which was very interesting.

 I showed Kirk the starfield of 54 Leonis in my binoculars and noticed right away that it didn't look like it did on Wednesday night. A quick check of my observing journal showed me which 'star' was the dwarf planet Ceres, both on Wednesday night and tonight. It wasn't either of the two I thought it would be! :o It's nice to know now though, and I'll be following that object at least through the end of April. If you want to see it for yourself, 54 Leonis is bracketed by a pair of stars to the upper left and a pair of stars directly below. Ceres will be the one crowding 54 Leonis in the middle.

We were treated to a BRILLIANT meteor at 9:27:25. It started above Coma Berenices, split Canes Venatici and ended just short of the last two stars in the handle of the Big Dipper. Kirk spotted it, called out "Wow, what's that!" and I caught the last second or so. It was easily as bright as Venus, mag. -4 8). I was very suprised to see something like that at that time of night. It will make the AMS fireball page.

Saturn got our attention next. Titan well to the west with another moon about halfway in and two other "amateur moons" just off the ring to the east. Absolutely wonderful.

Kirk pulled in M44 and he showed me how to work his scope. That was fun, then we jumped in his rig to warm up before we pulled a long observation on Comet Lulin after the Moon set.

I could just barely see it, and that suprised me after how easily it showed Wednesdy night under worse sky conditions. Captain Kirk said he could see it if he used "averted imagination" ;D. I'll have to remember that one. Through the telescope and binoculars the tail was more noticable than ever. Quite the sight.

We finished the night with looks at M41, the Coma Berenices star cluster and the Sombrero Galaxy in Virgo. By midnight, the breeze was still getting at us, even though we parked our rigs at right angles to help block the wind. Still four hours wasn't a bad effort and it was AGNFA!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: rabomgaars on March 01, 2009, 04:23:34 AM
Dean, How interesting as all three of us at Keller were looking at the same area of the sky when the meteor started.  Usually someone lets out an Ahhhhhhhhhh and others turn and say "Oh I missed that!"  But Jeff, Bill Fischer and I all saw the brilliant
and long arc of the meteor.  So five club members were all looking at the sky at the same time in two locations.  How often does that happen?  B
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on March 01, 2009, 04:47:58 AM
I lasted 50 minutes on the back deck last night.  Just too tired to face even an 18 minute drive.  The wind was pretty well blocked by the house, which no doubt made my session more pleasant.  I struck out on an open cluster in Gemini (2266) and Comet Kushida.  At that point, I'd spent 30 minutes to see... nothing.  I decided to do a scan for Lulin, and I'm afraid I don't understand the difficulty.  With my 11x56 binoculars, it was easy to pick up about 10 degrees to the west of Regulus as a very diffuse patch.  With my 17mm Hyperion, I could clearly see the core, and could just make out the broad tail.  This was about 8:40PM, so it wasn't very high up in the sky yet.  I then turned to Saturn, and it made my night.  In spite of being so low, seeing was incredible and I could make out two bands - one above and one below the rings.  I could see the rings across the planet and the shadow of the rings was a thin black line just below the rings (north).  I pushed my scope up to 240x, a power I rarely can use, and was rewarded with a grand view of Saturn.  I saw the four moons Dean cited, as well as one more on the west side of the planet, almost in the glare of the rings themselves.  Very faint in my 10".  Titan might have presented a disc.

The good news is that my finder is now focused.  I can actually see through it!

I have a Crayford focuser on the way via Astromart, so that may make for an interesting daylight project.  It's a replacement from a stock Orion tube, so there should be no "customizing" necessary.  At least I hope not!  So long Rack & Pinion!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on March 01, 2009, 10:24:34 AM
It wasn't too bad out there, wind stayed down until the end, maybe when Luka got there!  He must have brought it.   :)
I had been out there for over and hour and was almost thinking I would leave soon, but then Rebecca showed up.
Prior to Rebecca, the first thing I looked for was Comet Lulin.  It was pretty easy to find with the binocs and then looked at it through the scope.   It looks a lot like a galaxy through the scope.   Putting in the 8mm and you could get down and see something of a nucleus.  Venus was still nice a bright.  I think Venus and the Moon were very close to the crescent phase, looking almost identical.  Besides what Rebecca mentioned, also showed her open clusters M41 (Canis Major) and M35 in Gemini, but did not actually show her M38, got somewhat distracted or something and didn't quite get to that one.   :)
Also, brought up Pleiades, Venus and Double Cluster in the scope for her as well. 
Not sure quite what time it was, but Bill Fisher from Chatfield showed up at perhaps 9:00?  He is interested in Comets and was trying to get a photo of it.  We showed him the comet.  He did set up his camera and we'll have to see if he gets anything or not.  Now that he knows more about where it is, he'll probably look for it again from his place.  He thought he saw it the other night with his binoculars.  Can't remember what all else showed him, seems like Beehive, M42, Saturn for sure.  Oh, also showed him M81 and M82.  Luka showed up sometime between 9:30 and 10.  Rebecca left soon after that.  As she stated, she didn't feel like being cryogenically preserved for science, not yet.   ;D
She did provide hand warmers for Bill, they come in quite 'hand'y.  Bill left a little after 10?  We may see him again, either viewing or at the meetings.  Eagle Bluff would be nice and close for him.  I mentioned the Messier Marathon there for March.
Luka had some other eyepieces he picked up and was checking out.  He showed me M53.  And he found M65 and M66 again.  I then found them, M65 and M66, too.  We both split Algieba.  I left about 10:45 or so, there for about 3 and a half hours.  Luka was still there when I left.  He was going to hunt down the Virgo cluster.
Yes, quite amazing, the 5 of us apparently seeing the same meteor in two different places.  We all thought it was a plane and then it disappeared and we realized that was no plane, but a meteor.  It was in the direction of the airport.  I also saw a meteor earlier in the south, but Rebecca missed it.  Early in the evening, I followed a satellite from the Pleiades, through Orion over to Sirius. 
Reading your post Dean, you mentioned 54 Leonis and I said, hey, Ceres is over there.  Right after that, you then mentioned Ceres.  I was going to take a look for it, but then never did take the time.
Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 01, 2009, 10:54:57 AM
If you look at the starfield of 54 Leonis over a period of a few nights, or even back to back (if you can get them!) Ceres instantly calls your attention to where it is. Ceres is at about mag. 7, so while not naked eye it is an obvious, easy sight in binoculars.

When I mentioned that Comet Lulin was hard to see, I meant naked eye visibility-wise. In binoculars and thru the telescope, it was very special to view. What a treat, and one that can keep an astronomer out there on a bitterly cold night.

I was wondering about you folks out at Keller when Captain Kirk and I saw the meteor. That is so cool that you saw it as well! 8) From what I understand, Keller is west of the airport, so if you were looking east, you definately saw it. Wonderful. That will also go into the report to the AMS.

From what I gather, it was a glorious night for astronomy for the RAC. We all looked at very much the same things, even though we were in three different locations. How cool is that? ;D
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Captain Kirk on March 01, 2009, 12:35:17 PM
What a great night under the stars!  With some better boots and I could have stayed out until dawn.

I'm glad to hear others saw that meteor.  (Would it be best to have the Keller folks report it as they saw it and let AMS figure out the corroborating reports?)

Lulin was quite a treat!  And Saturn and Ceres.  Dean's meticulous observation notes came in quite handy.

AGNFA

Kirk


P.S. Dean,my apologies for not getting that picture you wanted.



Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 01, 2009, 06:51:10 PM
You are absolutely correct than someone from the Keller group report that sighting. I'm sure Starbie or Jeff could get that done. ;D

Captain Kirk: You may get another chance if we have to try a Messier Marathon from the Flatin Farm location. ;)

I'm looking forward to the March meeting, the observing notes should be pretty interesting!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on March 01, 2009, 11:39:33 PM
That wind was really cold. I wish I can come out earlier to see that meteor.  I looked at several things I'd found before, as Jeff mentioned. Including M70, M65, M66, amd M53.  Near M53 is NGC 5053, but I coudn't find it.  I also couldn't find the other two galaxies near M65 and M66. I did however find M51. and maybe NGC5195, which if that was it, was immediately next to M51.  I didn't find M94 and M63. I think I'll print out some small charts for those next time.

I was eager to try out my new Orion ED-2 12.3mm ocular. It has a very comfortable 20mm eye relief, and a 55? AFOV. It is pretty good. Considering the deal I got it for used, I'm quite pleased.

I also took a look at some doubles. Cor Caroli, Algieba, Almaak, Mizar, and Nu Draconis. I think Almaak was my favorite of those.

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on March 02, 2009, 04:40:28 AM
With some better boots and I could have stayed out until dawn.

I bought a pair of Ranger boots with Thinsulate inserts at Fleet Farm for about $60 last fall.  With wool socks over cotton socks, I haven't felt a lick of cold in my feet, even with my face and hands freezing in the cold.  It's worth noting that the warming packs do not work in these boots - they are too air-tight to permit in enough oxygen to allow the reaction to work, at least with the extra-thick wool socks I use.  With my old Columbia Bugaboo boots, I could feel the cold creeping in when it got cold, and heat packs were required.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: rabomgaars on March 02, 2009, 11:49:59 AM
Dean, Jeff, All - I am in the dark (ha ha) about the meteor reporting.  Who what when where.  Gee, I wish I had paid better
attention that night - did not even have a watch to look at.  Suggestions?  B
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 03, 2009, 07:55:41 AM
My report on the meteor should be on the AMS Fireball Page. From what Kirk and I saw, I reported it at 9:27:25 p.m. 40 to 45 degrees off the horizon (azimuth when it first appeared is 90 degrees). The meteor was mag. -5, not a bolide and no trail. Color white, duration 3 seconds. Still 40 to 45 degrees off the horizon at aimuth 45 when it disappeared. The meteor first appeared a degree or two above (west) of Coma Berenices, traveled south to north, split Alpha and Beta Canes Venaticorum and ended just short of Eta and Zeta Ursa Majoris.

If you folks took notes or could compare verbally what you saw, you might be able to hammer out a report to the AMS.

I got out last night for four hours. The first two were spent with Mrs. Wedmann's eight grade science class for an outreach event at the Flatin Farm hayfield. They got to see Venus, the Moon, the Great Orion Nebula, Saturn, 54 Leonis and dwarf planet Ceres (both in the same telescopic FOV last night), Comet Lulin and M44. Of course the kids didn't dress warm enough, but despite that, they were a very attentive and for the most part, well behaved group. It was a good outreach.

I stayed for a couple more hours getting a Lunar II observation (Crater Lamont on the Sea of Tranquillity. Found out that is wasn't named for Lamont Sanford :'() I also got Saturn and Ceres for my Solar System/Planetary observers certificate and Comet Lulin. That comet is just amazing! It should be very close to M44 on March 4th, I think.

Anyway, AGNFA!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on March 03, 2009, 08:36:50 AM
I was out last night too. With a pair of friends on one of their farms.  We looked at the Orion Nebula, Saturn, the moon, the double cluster, M46, M35, M65 or M66, not sure which, but only one. And then M79, as well as several other easy to find open clusters. Then I tried to find Comet Lulin again. I think I did in my binoculars. However when I tried to find it again with my scope, I hit M67. I actually used Messier's list for its intended purpose, of avoiding non-comets. Before I could find it, my friends got cold, and we went in. It was a  pretty good night, but I didn't realize how much the moon can grow in brightness in only two nights.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 03, 2009, 08:48:04 PM
You're getting around the sky pretty good, Luka. For you to find M79 on a moonlit night like last night shows some real observing skill.

I had a moderately difficult time finding Comet Lulin, but just kept trying the region between Regulus and M44, and once I stuck closer to M44, it was fairly easy to find. It also got more noticable the closer to the zenith it got.

I liked your comment on NGC 5053 near M53. That is indeed a tough globular cluster to spot because of a very low surface brightness. I never was able to see it in my Celestron G8 until I switched to a 2" eyepiece and star diagnol setup. Then I found that I could see it, but it is very ghostly. I showed it to Rick Murray one night at Eagle Bluff and he said, "THAT's it?" It is an observing challenge to be sure.

I might try a 'First Quarter morning' this weekend if the weather permits. That's where I pack up my stuff and lock the van, go to bed early and get up and go out at around 2 a.m. or so after the Moon sets. It is really the last chance at getting some dark sky until the passing of the Full Moon. Friday would be better than Saturday, but after Sat-Sun night, the window of observing time gets pretty slim.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on March 04, 2009, 01:52:22 PM
Thanks Dean. I think I am getting a bit better. At first it is just a matter of even knowing what your target looks like. And what you can't possibly see from the city. Or from the "darker-but-still-not-dark-enough" skies at Keller WMA.  I guess I'll put 5053 of things to look for at Eagle Bluff or darker spots.

Are the other two galaxies right next to M65/M66 in the same category of really low surface brightness?
And speaking of faint things, what is a good first planetary nebula to find? 

The first quarter morning sounds neat ,and ambitious. I have a hard time getting up early. I imagine that "first quarter morning" works much better in the winter with long nights, than the summer with very short ones. Actually that's not something I'm thrilled about. While it will be more comfortable in temperature, the nights are so much shorter.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 04, 2009, 08:09:41 PM
I'm with you on the wanting longer nights than warmer weather. Summertime is wonderful but the nights are way too short. It sucks having to wait until 10 p.m. for complete darkness in late June. :(

As far as planetary nebula go, right now I'd be trying the Eskimo Nebula NGC 2392 in Gemini. It's small, but immeadiately available. NGC 3242 the "Ghost of Jupiter" is a nice showy planetary in Hydra, so if you're up around midnight to 3 a.m. that one is a dandy, but there's some starhopping involved. The Little Dumbell in Perseus M76 is still available to the northwest, but for all year round planetary fun NGC 6545 the "Cat's Eye" nebula in Draco is almost always there. (P.S. You've GOT to see that one in Randy's scope - awesome!)

For the summertime, it's the Ring Nebula, M57 in Lyra and the Dumbell Nebula, M27 in Cygnus. Both are easy to find, pleasing to the eye and showy. :)

My all time favorite is still the Helix Nebua NGC 7293 in Aquarius. It has a low surface brightness, but on a very good night it is huge in a telescope and wonderful to view, especially with an OIII or Ultra High Contrast filter. 8)

When we finally hook up for a session at Eagle Bluff we'll make a stab at NGC 5053. Until then...clear skies! ;D

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on March 05, 2009, 04:16:52 AM
Are the other two galaxies right next to M65/M66 in the same category of really low surface brightness?
And speaking of faint things, what is a good first planetary nebula to find?

The third galaxy of the Leo Triplet isn't terribly low in surface brightness, but I've never seen it from my backyard.  From Eagle Bluff, it was obvious.  I'd guess it's not terribly hard from Keller once it gets up high enough in the sky.  The ideal place for viewing any DSO is culmination - when it crosses the line from Polaris to the south pole.  There is a minimum of atmosphere to look through.

For your first planetary nebula, I'd recommend NGC2438, superimposed on open cluster M46.  Since you already know how to find M46, all you need to do is crank up the power.  Look for the "star" that won't focus as tight as the others.  That's your nebula.  There are some beautiful ones out there, M57 and M27 being worth the price of admission.  But some are fairly plain and pedestrian-looking.  Saturn Nebula and the Ghost of Jupiter are both very interesting.  One of the best things about planetary nebula is that most don't require dark skies to see - I've seen a bunch of them from the city, though the view is often enhanced with a Narrowband filter.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 07, 2009, 01:15:10 AM
Well, no first quarter morning for me. After watching the weather and checking the CSC, I knew that earlier tonight was the time to go. Too much moonlight for deep sky stuff, so the Solar System got all the scrutiny tonight.

Saturn, Ceres, Comet Lulin and Lunar II targets were on the celestial menu and I nailed 3 out of 4.

Saturn was pretty cool, with Titan and three of the "amateur Moons" all to the east side. I thought I could see hints of a moon off the western edge, but couldn't quite pin it down.

Ceres continues to move, now past 54 Leonis. It now makes an arc with the two brightest stars above and to the left of 54 Leonis. Tonight was my fourth observation of Ceres.

Comet Lulin was too close to the Moon. I spent about a half hour looking for it, but the Moon is VERY bright.

I did the Hortensius dome field west of the crater Copernicus for the Lunar II list. This area has many lava domes and was a possible landing site for one of the three Apollo missions that got cancelled.

Then the dew started messing with my scope big time as clouds threatened from the west. But at least I got out there for two hours and enjoyed a fairly warm beautiful evening.
It was fun. :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on March 11, 2009, 05:47:23 PM
It won't be tonight, but I'm thinking of heading out to Keller WMA on one (or more) of the next few nights after today.  Sunset is about 7:15 or so and moonrise is:  Thursday (12th) - 9:30PM, Friday (13th) - 10:42PM, Saturday (14th) - 11:50PM.
Even on Thursday, would have a couple of hours before the moon gets up too high.  Forecasts for the next 3 days are saying partly cloudy or mostly sunny.  So, looks like a good chance to go out for awhile.  I'll post here if/when I go out.  Might wait till Friday as high on Thurs is only 20 and think I may want something a tad warmer.   ;D  But, if really clear tomorrow, may think of doing it anyway.  If anyone else decides to go and I haven't said anything, if you want company, post here and I may go.  Right now, thinking Friday or/and Saturday.
Jeff

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on March 12, 2009, 12:44:39 PM
The early CSC for Friday and also the weather forecast for Friday show it as looking quite nice tomorrow evening.  It definitely looks like a GO for me tomorrow/Friday night.  Tonight is not looking good on the CSC.  Wild, wild horses won't keep me away tomorrow.   ;D

Jeff

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: rabomgaars on March 12, 2009, 05:50:24 PM
Jeff. I will try to make Keller tomorrow night.  May try the new scope.  It gets dark later now, ugh.  B
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on March 12, 2009, 10:12:41 PM
Ok, B.  Yep, sunset about 7:20 or so.  Be dark after 8:00.  You get there early, you can still see your scope.  Right now, the CSC for tomorrow has great seeing starting at 9:00.  I'm sure it won't stay that way though.   :)
I probably would only stay until 10:30-11:00 at the latest, unless really nice out and dew and fog stay away.
Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on March 13, 2009, 04:05:36 AM
I'm a tentative "go" for tonight, after I get the kids down.  I probably won't know for sure until about 7:30 whether I'll be awake enough.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on March 13, 2009, 08:27:37 AM
I'm planning on going out to Keller tonight as well.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on March 13, 2009, 01:10:21 PM
CSC has been updated.  They are showing pretty good for the next 48 hours.  I'll be there tonight and I may head out on Saturday night as well.   See you all there tonight.
Jeff

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 13, 2009, 05:05:49 PM
I'm heading down to the Flatin Farm. Keep your eyes peeled, maybe we'll have a double confirmation on a fireball sighting again! ;)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on March 13, 2009, 05:11:33 PM
Will do Dean.  What we need is for you to see one to the NW and we see one to the SE at the same.  Now that would be coool.   8)
We'd just have to find the fragments.   :)

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on March 13, 2009, 06:46:04 PM
I'm too tired to justify driving out there for what look like poor transparency conditions.  I may observe from the backyard.  Good luck to all!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on March 13, 2009, 07:05:38 PM
I'll be heading out there shortly.   

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: bwyman on March 13, 2009, 09:20:44 PM
Hrm...something tells me I should have tried to find Keller in the day light. :-/

I was just out on the back porch, trying to find Ceres. I think maybe I see it, but looking at the XEphem sky view, I seem to be missing a star in the application. I see an extra point of light between what I think is Ceres and what should be the three Leo stars (Leo 48, Leo 50, Leo 54).

My viewpoint looks something like the attached PDF.


[attachment deleted by admin]
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 14, 2009, 01:43:05 AM
Hello astronomy fans! I got out there tonight for four and a half hours. I'd have gotten an extra hour after sunset, but had a cloud bank roll thru. I used the time to wash my dirty van. :D

Venus is really cool. The cresent is so thin it reminds me of a total solar eclipse.

Comet Lulin is in Gemini near Kappa and Mu Geminorum. It is getting a little dimmer, but is still a very good object.

Saturn had Titan and 2 other Moons off on the west side tonight.

Ceres has moved well northwest of 54 Leonis, but with the help of my previous observations, its color and a good star chart, I found it no problem.

I got two Herschel 400 objects, NGC 2266 and NGC 2286, both are open clusters, but 2266 in Gemini is a beautiful little gem.  8) 2286 is wide and scattered.

Lunar II wrapped things up, I nailed the crater Rabbi Levi.

Kind of a persistant breeze, but the temps weren't bad. It was great to see all that stuff and finally get back on the Herschel search again. AGNFA!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: rabomgaars on March 14, 2009, 07:38:21 AM
Keller - I got there last night at 7:00 in case I had trouble setting up the new scope.  No problem.  It took 30 seconds...........Then had to  be patient for the sun to set.  Jeff Newland came around 7:30 and helped me with lenses.  We looked at Venus numerous times before it set.  We waited as the stars and finally the constellation appeared one by one in the sky and made initial sightings of Saturn in the west, one moon and then two moons later. We saw a satellite go over fast and bright, overhead at 8:06 west to east (see Dean - I did check the time). Mostly I was getting used to the scope (isn't this a good time to be short!!). Tried various lenses and practiced moving the scope in up (down), left (right), right (left) - something I will have to practice.  Good news about the scope as it works well and apparently doesn't need to be collimated. I pretty much practiced the tried and true - am so impressed with the Great Orion Nebula.  Luka and Kevin came after 9:00 and I left about 9:30.  Thank you RAC for letting me take care of the scope.
It has solved, at least for now, my long time indecision about ever getting a scope.  B

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on March 14, 2009, 11:27:52 AM
I'm more likely to make it tonight than last night.  I fell asleep at 7.  :-\
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on March 14, 2009, 12:52:02 PM
Right now, I am leaning towards heading over there tonight, too.  Last night, Luka was thinking perhaps tonight as well. 
After Rebecca left, Brandon also showed up.  I left soon after he came as my finder was frosted up.

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on March 14, 2009, 04:37:32 PM
I'm leaning towards going tonight. Might be around 9ish.

Last night was good. I brought my friend Kevin.  He enjoyed it, but we'll see if he gets hooked. Some of the night was showing him some of my favorite targets. Saturn is great, of course. As is the Orion nebula, the Double Cluster and Pleiades. I went back to things I'd seen once or twice before, M65/M66, M51, M53, M64. I did finally spot the Eskimo Nebula, but I didn't see the eskimo in it. I managed to find M94 in CVn, which reminded me of M32. I also looked for NGC 129 in Cassiopeia, but I'm not sure if I saw it or not. I found a poor grouping of just over half a dozen stars, but that didn't like like any open cluster to me.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on March 14, 2009, 04:58:17 PM
I guess I will be out at Keller tonight as my scope is sitting outside cooling off.   :)
Of course, I suppose I could stay at home and observe.

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on March 14, 2009, 05:00:34 PM
Given that I "slept in" until after 4, got a brief nap this afternoon, and the skies are looking good, I rate the likelihood I'll be there at dark at 85%.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on March 14, 2009, 08:36:53 PM
I am going right now. Will probably be out for several hours. Given that its warm, the moon won't rise till late, and I have time to sleep in tomorrow.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on March 15, 2009, 05:02:26 AM
It was a pretty good night at Keller.  I found 6 Herschel 400 objects in about 90 minutes.  I didn't find one - a galaxy in Lepus listed as "fairly bright."  But I did manage to get several nebulae in Orion and a smattering of Open Clusters in Canis Major that had eluded me from home.  Luka, Jeff, and Brandon showed up at various points (okay, so Jeff beat me out there) and it was pleasantly warm.  Luka is rapidly advancing from a beginning observer to an experienced one.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on March 15, 2009, 10:34:22 AM
I got out there pretty early last night and watched the stars come out.  There was already a car there.  A couple of gentlemen, John and Chris, were out looking for woodcock.  They came back to their car.  Quite a few stars were coming out.  I showed them Venus (as noted elsewhere, a very thin crescent, very nice).  Saturn was up high enough.  I was able to bring it in between the branches of the trees.  They were quite impressed.  I pointed out some of the other stars, the Winter triangle (Sirius, Procyon, Betelgeuse), Rigel, Orion and his belt, Aldebaran.  They did have binoculars with them.  I pointed John in the direction of Pleiades (not yet visible) and he was able see it and was quite surprised to see such a nice little cluster, like a little dipper.  I told him that later when it gets darker, he'll be able to see it naked eye, it'll first appear as a fuzziness.  By the time they left, it was dark enough and they were able to see it.  All in all, they were quite pleased and impressed with what they saw.  I directed them to our website.  It is possible they may show up some time at a meeting or an outreach event. 
Scott came before they left.  Scott said that the likelihood he would come out to Keller was now 100%...  not 85%.   :)
As noted, Scott had a productive night.  Luka and Brandon were still there after I left. 

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on March 15, 2009, 02:29:18 PM
I got there about 9. I also had a fairly productive evening.  I started with an open cluster in Cassiopeia. Probably NGC 663. Then I found M103.  Next I printed off a finder chart for M106. I used CVn 3 and 5 to hop to M106. It was right in a scope, very easy. It was quite bright and fuzzy. Next I hopped to M63. That was fainter, harder to find, and didn't reveal any structure. Feeling good, I made and attempt at M109. Since UMa is higher in the sky at this point, I was able to find it. It was quite faint though. Next I looked for M108, which I had failed to find last month. I found that too, it was quite long. And a nearby I saw the Owl Nebula. It was very round, but I couldn't see the eyes. Next I tried to find M3. I just couldn't find it. It is quite a ways from any bright star. I gave up after 15 or 20 minutes. I had just barely seen M66/M65 earlier, but I returned to it, and it was very bright as it rose higher in the sky. This time I was able to see their companion, NGC 3628. I'm quite sure I found NGC 3593, but that was really faint. I continued the search to M96 and M95. These were harder because there were fainter stars in the region, and no super-clear guide-stars. I did find M95 and M96, and I think I saw 1 or 2 other galaxies in the region, but I'm not sure if that was M105 or one of the other 5 galaxies around there.  Pressing my luck I tried for M101 which has repeatedly eluded me. After a few minutes I did see a very faint glow right were it was supposed to be. I couldn't resolve anything.  With Brandon's suggestion, I tried t find M66/M65 in my binoculars, and sure enough, since they were higher in the sky, I could see them. They were very faint in my 15x70's, but definitely there. I think I saw one in Brandon's 10x50's.  My last targets were in the Virgo galactic cluster.  I found Rho Virginis, and hopped up towards zenith and found M58. I also went down and to the left from there, and found what I think is M60, but it might've been M59. 

I did make a small improvement to my scope. I fashioned a light shield for the front. Its a fairly thin aluminum sheet in a loop, 12" long, with a black velvet attached  to the inside. That did seem to help increase some contrast when looking at the light polluted areas. It's not super easy to get on or take off, so I didn't do too much of a thorough test. I think this will help even more for our sidewalk event.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on March 15, 2009, 02:49:44 PM
M3 is a pretty easy hop for me, after I found the path.  Basically, you look for the Orion-shaped structure and follow it straight to M3.  Easy in binoculars under city skies, I'm certain you'll find it easily at Keller...

http://www.geocities.com/Figbert/m3.jpg
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 15, 2009, 05:09:28 PM
I can't see the "eyes" in M97, the Owl Nebula either. However, it is a nice little planetary.

M105 is a fairly "stand out" galaxy, but it sits higher above M95 and M96 than what I initailly believed it would. Once you see it, you can see why it made the Messier list, even though Charles Messier didn't include it himself.

I had to tend bar last night, but this incredible string of clear weather leads me to believe that I can get out to the Flatin Farm hayfield tonight. It is great to see so many posts to the forum by our cadre of very active observers. Kudos to Jeff to show the birdwatchers some basic astronomy and get their interest piqued in our beloved hobby. I bet they show up to a meeting.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 15, 2009, 11:16:50 PM
Well, I got out for two and a half hours. I had to fight the partly cloudy skies the whole time, but I did get another couple Herschel 400 objects.

NGC 2301 in Monoceros is a beautiful star cluster, a wavy line of stars centered around a lovely double star whose primary is a nice bright yellow. Really cool looking. 8)
NGC 2304 in Gemini. What can a guy say about this open cluster except they must have been ******* DESPARATE to include this puny little group in the Herschel 400 list. You can see it with averted vision (or Captain Kirk's turn of phrase "averted imagination"). Seriously, averted vision works best, it is there, but a star cluster whose brightest members start at 11th magnitude probably looks real good in one of the Keck telescopes in Hawaii. ::)

I got observations in on Venus, Comet Lulin, Saturn and the Dwarf Planet Ceres. When I wasn't dodging clouds, I used my binoculars to look at the obvious stuff in Orion and Canis Major, the least affected part of the sky.

Better luck tomorrow night, at least I passed the 50 hour mark for this observing year. I'm ahead of last years pace, anyway. :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 17, 2009, 01:54:58 AM
A much better night tonight. I got the word we weren't working tomorrow due to the sap rise about 8 p.m., so I packed up and was out there observing by 8:30.

Dwarf Planet Ceres was first (now close to 40 Leo Minoris), followed by another great apparition of zodical light (much better than last night's). Saturn had a vast array of moons in attendance, and then I turned my attention to Comet Lulin.

Wow! It was indeed close to Delta Geminorum (thank you Jeff!), so much so that the comet and Delta Gem. comfortably shared the same FOV at 80X. I should have tried for Comet Kushida, but forgot about that when mesmerized by Lulin. 8)

At 10:22 the Herschel hunt was on and I journaled NGC's 2311, 2324, 2395, 2355 and 2420. The first two are in Monoceros, and the last 3 in Gemini. NGC's 2324, 2355 and 2420 are pretty "diamond dust" clusters and are the best to look at, although 2355 is a real tough star hop. My Herschel count is now 240.

I finished the night with some old favorites, such as M3, M53 (also nabbed NGC 5053 nearby. It's still faint ::) ). M13, M51 and the Leo Triplet.
It was a glorious night for astronomy! :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on March 17, 2009, 08:29:13 AM
I got out myself last night. I got there about 10 and stayed till 12. The seeing was decent but not as good as Saturday. I looked at M103 and NGC 663 in Cassiopeia first. Then I started looking for M3. I just scanned from Arcturus to Cor Caroli in my binoculars(8x40), and sure enough it was obvious when I saw it (Thanks Scott!). I looked at it in my scope with more magnification, but couldn't resolve anything. Then I started on the Virgo Galactic Cluster. M58 was pretty easy to hop to, but not very bright. Then I found both M59 and M60. Those were brighter. Next M87 stuck out pretty well. Then I hopped over to M90 and M89. M90 was more prominent. Then I followed their line to an easy to spot almost-"V" shaped asterism, which guided me to M91. It took me a little bit to see that, and it was probably the toughest of the bunch I saw. Next was M88 which was easy compared to 91. Last I went over to M84/M86. I could only see M84. It seems that M86 is larger and has a lower surface brightness.

I also did see 1 meteor. From approximately Theta Persei to Chi Andromidae. I didn't check the time, but it was probably 11:15 or so. It was mag 1.5 to 2, I would estimate. There was also one Sheriff's Deputy that stopped by at about 10:30 or so. After seeing my telescope he was satisfied that I wasn't doing anything bad or illegal.
I heard coyotes, dogs, 1 or 2 owls, some other high-pitched bird, and a ground noise that scared me. It seemed large and close. I realized it was a horse a few second later, and that it was at the farm across the street. I could also hear the river flowing nearby. It didn't top Saturday, but it was a nice night for astronomy.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on March 17, 2009, 05:17:00 PM
Luka, I hope you showed the deputy something in your scope.  Saturn would probably have been good or perhaps Orion Nebula.  Saturn for sure.   ;D
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Adertons on March 19, 2009, 02:40:55 PM
Hello all,
Newbie to the forum and to night sky observation here. Am going to try to convince my wife we should go to Chester Woods tonight (3/19/09) to observe - since it appears it will be a good night for viewing. We tried in town on Tuesday but had bad viewing conditions. Please send me an email (I'm on the members list of the forum) if anyone is interested.

John Aderton
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on March 19, 2009, 04:28:11 PM
Welcome aboard John!  Hopefully your astronomy journey will be a wonderful experience.
Doesn't it cost money to get into Chester Woods?  Will they let you in at night?  I think parks in general have hours on when you can be there.  And, I think Chester Woods is the one county park that charges to get into it.

Jeff 
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on March 19, 2009, 05:01:08 PM
Welcome!
It looks like Chester woods costs $5 per vehicle, or $25 per year. I would gladly pay that for a good site, however I'm concerned that it closes at 10pm. Since it doesn't get dark until after 8, that puts a time limit on it.  Also I wonder if there are any parking lots without any lights?  There would probably be many fewer cars passing by the inner areas.

I was just thinking of going to Keller WMA this evening, but Chester woods might be interesting too. Not sure yet.

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on March 19, 2009, 05:55:19 PM
Looking at the latest forecasts, it looks like it will be cloudy for awhile after today.   Because of that, I do plan to head out to Keller WMA tonight.

John, you can come on out there if you want.   There are some directions in an earlier post.  It is SW of Rochester. 

Jeff

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 19, 2009, 06:27:57 PM
I'm heading out to the Flatin Farm hayfield, boys. If the forecast is accurate, this could be the last good night for quite a few.
John, if you're thinking about going out to Keller, you'd be in great company with Jeff and Luka. ;D

I've got nine targets left on my Herschel 400 winter group. Eight are in Puppis, wish me luck.

I'm hoping to see an ISS pass tonight, too. I'll be checking Jeff's post after this.

Clear skies everybody! :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on March 19, 2009, 07:36:48 PM
Chester Woods has a parking lot by the horse area that is before the pay area.  I was informed that if you notify them you are coming, there is no issue staying past the 10PM official close in that area.  However, if you go past the pay gate, you'll be stuck until morning.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 20, 2009, 01:51:06 AM
Wow, what a night! I did see the ISS pass overhead at 7:34 by my watch. I caught it at the zenith and then followed it from the 45 degree angle down with my binoculars. It didn't disappear into Earth's shadow until I could see the horizon in my binoculars. 8)

Venus, the Great Orion Nebula and M41 occupied my time while I waited for enough darkness to go Herschel hunting. I did my homework before I left the house and got all nine objects to complete my Winter Group. All but two were open clusters, the two in question were planetaries. I had seen NGC 2438 in M46 before, but hadn't seen NGC 2440 a few degrees south of there. They're both nice and all the open clusters were fairly easy to find and for the most part, pleasing to look at. :)

Comet Lulin is cruising through some gorgeous stars in Gemini. It was about halfway between Delta and Zeta Geminorum tonight. It really looked special, but then the sky was FABULOUS tonight.

How fabulous, I really found out when I viewed Saturn. OMG! FIVE moons easily seen, atmosphere banding on the planet, the gaps between the ring system and the planet, and Cassini's Division was even visible at this narrow angle! Tonight might just be the best I've ever seen it in my Celestron G8. :)

I finished with another observation of Ceres, now cruising past 40 Leo Minoris. I also got binocular views of M46-M47,
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 20, 2009, 01:56:57 AM
Sorry, I must have hit a wrong button.

the Perseus Double Cluster, Aldebaran and the Hyades, M41, and the Coma Berenices star cluster during coffee breaks. I could have stayed out there lots longer, but I have to go to the woods tomorrow.

I hope the Quarry Hill event turns out all right, we need to bottle nights like tonight to show the folks what astronomy is all about.

It was indeed AGNFA! ;D
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on March 20, 2009, 10:02:03 AM
I got out there early enough to catch the first ISS showing, but then...  I was looking at the clouds, no Venus in sight, it was behind the clouds.  There was a nice pretty sunset with the clouds and had me worried.  Listening to the birds.  Looking around some for any other stars.  I happened to see Sirius, and looked at my watch and saw it was 7:40 and ahhh, too late for the ISS.  I just wasn't looking at the right spot when it came out as I should have been able to see it.  There was a thin film of clouds, so things were not popping out.  I was looking around with the binocs.  As it darkened, you could see there were clouds reflecting the light in Byron and Rochester.  Venus did make an appearance between the clouds and took a look at that and Saturn thru the trees.  Venus still a nice thin crescent, very pretty.  Saturn was still too low, saw one moon, but didn't take too much of a look.  I had thought of going for M76, but with the clouds, didn't think that would show up.  Started looking for Messier open clusters over by Sirius, but not having much luck.  Looking at Orion Nebula and did not really see it with the clouds.  Trapezium stood out quite clearly, even in my wide angle.
Luka showed up before 9, not quite sure when, 8:30ish?  Still some clouds, Luka was looking for M76 and even with the clouds, he did pick it up.  I took a look and sure looked like what I thought M76 should look like.  Around that time, I happened to glance at my watch and noticed 9:06, ISS coming at 9:08.  Started to watch for that and it popped out in the WNW, maybe WWNW.  We both followed that in our scopes for awhile.  Not picking up much of any detail.  It disappeared under the Little Dipper. 
And as if by magic,  :o  or maybe the ISS pulled the clouds with it,  ;D  all of a sudden, things were really starting to pop out.  It cleared up quite a bit.  We both took some more looks at M76 and verified that is what we were seeing.  Looking at it in various eyepieces to compare things.  Luka was looking at many different Messiers and I'm sure he will probably say something later.  The open clusters in Auriga (M36, 37, 38) were now popping out in my binoculars.  I started looking for the ones I had tried earlier and I was finding them in the binocs and the finder now.  Found M46, M47, M48, M50, M93, M41, M67.  Went to Leo and did M65 and M66.  There was talk on one of the other nights about M3, so took a look at that.  Went to 150X on that and did start to see some grains in there, not quite starriness. 
Saturn was now much higher and I was able to see banding, I think I was seeing about 4 moons, perhaps 5 if that one way to the left in the eyepiece was one.  Thought there were like 3 on the right side close to the rings.   That is the best I have seen Saturn.  My scope will be coming up on 1 year old here shortly.  I'll have to bake it a cake to celebrate.   :)
I was thinking of packing up and Luka asked if that star over there was Spica.  Looking around, yep, it is.  And then that over there must be Corvus then?  You bet, yes it is.  Ah, I know where you're going, you're going to look for the Sombrero.   Yes indeed, that is where Luka was going.  Corvus wasn't too far above the trees.  We both took a look.  I searched my memory and there it was, the path to M104 (Sombrero Galaxy).  Just like riding a bike.  :)
Finished off with M104 and we both packed up.  It was about 11:00.  For me, time for bed.   Luka had to head home as he had a brother coming in from Cinci(?).  If not for that, I think he would have stayed out for another hour or two as things were looking good.  One last observation, at the end, the 'V' of the Hyades was really showing up naked eye, more than other times I have looked at it.  Yes, you guess it, AGNFA!
Jeff



Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Adertons on March 20, 2009, 02:26:55 PM
All,
Ahhhh well, looks like we missed a great evening of viewing.    :(

I had checked with Chester Woods and they had no problem with us staying past 10, and they do not padlock the gates, just close them, so getting out was not a problem. The advantage of the space behind the gates is the parking lot to the right is on a slight knoll of sorts, so makes for easy viewing and no tree line. Chester Woods also does not turn on the lights in the parking lot until later in the year, so that is not a problem. I realize there is a cost but at 25$ for a year pass, we can take in the lake during the summer month and view the skies at other times of the year. Best for us as we live on the NE side of town and the park is less than 10 minutes from our house. 

I will continue to watch the forum when the weather is better, which will probably not be until next Friday or Saturday and will look for a chance to come out to Keller WMA.

Later,
John

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on March 20, 2009, 04:29:51 PM
John, nice to have the additional information on Chester Woods.  Did you head out there last night and have you been out there observing?  It is good to have something on the east side of Rochester.  It should have a better eastern horizon than Keller.  If I were you, I would be heading to Chester Woods or finding another spot on the east side of Rochester somewhere.  The main reason I go to Keller is because I am on the SW side of Rochester where Keller is, 8 miles from my house about 15 minutes.    :) 
If you want to head to Chester Woods in future, please post here and hopefully someone else may want to head over.  I know  that Luka was interested in going out there and trying it out.  It probably won't be me unless I hitch a ride with someone else.  I won't be heading out to Chester Woods in the summer and I'm cheap. :o   :)
And, keep an eye on forum and head on out to Keller when we go out there.  Always welcome.  Come and listen to the owls and turkeys with us.   :)

Jeff
 
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on March 21, 2009, 04:20:01 AM
Depending on where you are in NE, Keller still may not be a bad option.  I'm in NW and it takes me 15 minutes from the 19th Street NW/Elton Hills exit on 52.  Not trying to steer you away from Chester Woods.  Based on my light pollution maps, Keller and Chester Woods should be about equal in dark skies.

For those of you who find the 40th Street Exit of US63 more convenient, you can take that west (becomes route 117, I believe) until it intersects with 15.  It's only about a mile south from there to Keller.  You are "going against the grain" for N-S roads, so you have a few stop signs, but sight lines are pretty good.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on March 21, 2009, 08:37:05 AM
Keller is 2.1 miles south of the County 117 and County 15 intersection.  That is the way I go.  I go down Bamber Valley Road, County 8, down to 40th St SW (County 117)  and go right/west on it.  Just stay on County 117 until it gets to County 15.  It is not a straight shot to County 15, but it is all 117.  There is a stop sign, turn south, curves back to the west and hit 15.

So there are two places to hit 40th St, either at the exit on US 63, or else you can go down Bamber Valley Road (County 8) and then turn on 40th St.

 
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 21, 2009, 11:24:27 AM
Hello astronomy fans. Tonight looks like a good night according to the CSC. :)

However, I am scheduled to tend bar. (Yes, yet again another clear evening when I am scheduled to work.) :-[

To me, it looks like a great opportunity to make a first try at a Messier Marathon. Eagle Bluff is available and while they have a group there, no one is scheduled to come in after sunset, and Kathy has assured me that if the RAC wants the parking lot, the lights can be shut off just by asking. The Moon is three days past last quarter phase so it shouldn't be too bad for brightness.

I hope you folks can take advantage of tonight. If not Eagle Bluff, then local observing should be pretty good.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Captain Kirk on March 21, 2009, 12:11:08 PM
How far are people willing to go tonight?

Kirk


Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on March 21, 2009, 12:18:15 PM
I would go to Eagle bluff, I think, if a group is going. Though I wouldn't stay all night. It seems like there might be clouds at 2 am or so.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: bwyman on March 21, 2009, 02:51:48 PM
I was thinking of going to Eagle Bluff tonight. I was just hopping on the forum here this afternoon, to see if the skies would be clear, lights off, etc. If others are going, I will make a trip out there.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Captain Kirk on March 21, 2009, 03:52:10 PM
That's three, so let's plan on it!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on March 21, 2009, 04:17:15 PM
It sounds like I'll have to show up later, 10 to 11. Those brothers of mine from Cinci are still here.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on March 21, 2009, 05:00:52 PM
Might be 4.   Still deciding on whether to go.  My wife not quite sure if she wants to go and doesn't like me out driving in the country alone at night.   ;D

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on March 23, 2009, 01:46:58 PM
Well Saturday night at Eagle Bluff was good. When I got there at almost 11, Jeff and his wife were there, as were Kirk and Brandon.  Not too long afterwards, everyone but Kirk and I had left, however that was already quite late.  I did find some interesting targets.  The Cat's Eye nebula was one. Another was M57 and then M56. I was able to resolve some stars in M13. I also found M92, and M12 and M10. None were too exciting compared to M13. I also took a look at the Virgo cluster, and noticed that the galaxies showed a lot more extension. Especially M91, which I could barely see from Keller. To round out the Virgo galaxies, I found M61. I was also able to find both M51 and M101 in my binoculars, and both looked much better than in my 8inch scope at Keller. I did spend some time looking at the Ring and Cat's eye nebulae. I thought I could see a little dimmer spot in the middle of the Ring, but the Cat's eye didn't look like much.  I'm sure a narrowband filter would help, and maybe more magnification. The last thing we looked at was Albireo, which had risen just over the haze before we left.  We definitely heard some coyotes and various other creatures. I also saw 3 meteors.  The first I only caught a piece of in my binoculars, the second went through Draco's head at 12:36(right as Kirk and I were looking up there), the third near Arcturus at maybe 2:15.



Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 23, 2009, 08:47:52 PM
Good! Well done, Luka. I was wondering how you folks were doing at Eagle Bluff on Saturday night. I'm sorry I couldn't be there, even more so now due to the weather forecasts. It sounds like you liked the dark skies a lot and got to see some favorites "in a whole new dark". :D

If you don't have an OIII filter yet, I'd get one. They bring out a lot of detail on some objects that you ordinarily don't see. If you can get to a convention or event where they have vendors selling mass quantities, you can save 40% or more on stuff like that. 8)

Don't worry about not resolving globular clusters in an 8" scope. That's what they make bigger ones for. Globulars really start looking cool in scopes like Duane's 12" Lightbridge, and seeing M3 in Randy's 18" will REALLY blow you away. I bet Randy will quit "sandbagging" when the weather gets warmer and then we'll really have some fun at Eagle Bluff. ;)
Until then we have to do what we can with the equiptment we have, and it sounds like you are getting the most out of yours.

Good for you guys for getting out there Saturday night.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Nicole on March 23, 2009, 09:08:13 PM
I'd like to join you guys on the next astronomy outing - all your talk on the forum has made me jealous enough to take a break from my studies!  :D  So, let me know - Eagle Bluff isn't that far from Winona.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 27, 2009, 08:07:48 AM
What's this clear blue stuff overhead? Could it be that we'd really have a shot at a Messier Marathon at Eagle Bluff tonight?

The CSC doesn't look too bad, clear skies with average transparency to below average seeing. I'll take it, I've seen worse.

I'll post here again after I get back from the woods, but if it is clear tonight, I'm going and I hope I'd have some company. :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on March 27, 2009, 09:46:36 AM
If the CSC is more accurate than yesterday (what was up with that, just crazy wrong) , I hope to go too. I may do a half-marathon rather than a full one though.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Captain Kirk on March 27, 2009, 10:24:42 AM
I will attend if the sky cooperates.

Kirk
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 27, 2009, 04:08:20 PM
Hello again. I was blessed with a short day at work, we still have clear skies and a fair forecast, so I will be heading to Eagle Bluff shortly after 6 p.m.

Meet me at our usual spot (last lightpole in the parking lot to the east), and remember that since we're going after the Messier Objects, most of them are fairly bright. After all, Monsieur Messier was able to get them with a 3 inch refractor from the middle of Paris. If the Sky Gods permit, we should be able to bag 50, maybe more! ;D
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 27, 2009, 05:39:42 PM
I'm running ahead of schedule and am heading for Eagle Bluff. Let's go kick some Messier butt! :D
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 28, 2009, 03:36:50 AM
We did all right. We got 73 by two thirty a.m., then Luka and I had to head home. Captain Kirk was still there when we left. AGNFA. Too tired to post more. More tomorrow.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Captain Kirk on March 28, 2009, 06:23:34 AM
I stayed a bit longer, but didn't find much else at the Bluff.  I rounded out my night with some 8x42 binocular observations from Gamehaven around 4:45 a.m: M8, M20, M21, M22, M28, M24, M7 and perhaps others (M18,M23,M25).  I also made unsuccessful attempts at M54, M70, and M69 which were well clear of the horizon but low enough to be obscured by atmosphere and sky glow.

Just now I went looking for a few more Messiers in Cygnus and Sagitta from my backyard, only to find them washed out in the light of day.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on March 28, 2009, 07:52:28 AM
We did all right. We got 73 by two thirty a.m., then Luka and I had to head home. Captain Kirk was still there when we left. AGNFA. Too tired to post more. More tomorrow.

Wow! Good job guys!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Rick Murray on March 28, 2009, 04:48:45 PM
I was unable to get away to Eagle Buff, but I did get out for a short time last night. In recent weeks I have been visiting the available early evening Ms, so I saught out some nebula I've ignored most of the winter. The Eskimo nebula in Gemini was my favorite. Skies were relatively good last night. I also visited the Rosette, Crab, Owl, M42-43-78 in Orion, M76 in Persius, and finaly Saturn. By then I was cold.
I'm sad  :( I couldn't be there last night. I was going to go tonight, but it looks like the cloud cover will not clear down at Eagle Bluff until very late. So, I'll just have to settle for my deck again.

Happy Hunting

Rick
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 28, 2009, 08:54:44 PM
Hello astronomy fans! I was hopeful that we'd get in a good night at Eagle Bluff, and suprisingly with all the rotten weather lately, last night turned out pretty good.

Mike Rowlands from the LCAAS was the first one there, followed closely by Jeff Newland. We set up and spotted a cresent Moon in the twilight, but what we were really looking for at that time was the ISS/shuttle due to come over at 7:58. We spotted it low to the North at about 8:04. 8)

Luka and Captain Kirk got there shortly thereafter and we started in on the Messier Objects at 8:35 p.m. Luka, Jeff, Kirk and I all had 8" aperature scopes and Mike was the Aperture King with his 12" Dob. ;)

The Messier Objects we got were: M31, M32, M103, M81-M82, M79, M65-M66-NGC 3628, M76, M33, M93, M52, M34, M1, M45, NGC 7789 (just because), M37, M36, M78, M36, M46-M47, M35, M50, M97, M108, M48, M106, M53, M42-M43 (Mike nailed the E-star in the Trapezium), M64, M94, M63, M104, M3, M101, M51, M58-M59-M60, M89-M90-M91-M88, M95-M96-M105, M86-M84, M44, M67, M98, Saturn break, M98, M100, M13, M49, M61, M92, M68, M109, M5. (We started at 8:35 p.m. and these objects were one right after another in a steady progression until 12:05 a.m. At this point we were running out of readily available targets and our pace slowed. It took us from 12:15 a.m. to 2:15 a.m. to get:) M102 NGC 5866, M40, M57, M83, M12, M10, M56, M80, M107, M4, and M27.

During the course of the night, we looked at a few other objects and the ones I remember were NGC 5053 by M53, splitting Gamma Virginis, Luka having fun with the Rosette Nebula (love those filters!) and others, but I can't remember them all.  ???

The action was hot and heavy and we were all busy scurrying from one scope to another in the dark parking lot. There was only one family at Eagle Bluff and they never did come and look, which is good because we were VERY busy. When I do this again, I think I'll set my scope up, but just use it for emergency and use a more mobile clip board with list to record all the action and just go around to everyone else's scope to verify targets and just gawk. :D

It was enormous fun. All those guys have a lot of astronomical skill, and I was really pleasantly suprised at how adept Luka is at finding targets with how new he is to the hobby of astronomy. Mike has setting circles on his scope that he can find targets with, I had never seen that before. Jeff has this wonderful eyepiece he uses on his scope that is almost 3D, it's very cool. and what can you say about Ironman Capt. Kirk who stayed around for 10 more Messiers? He holds the RAC record for the most Messiers on a single night. ;D

I was really tired on the drive home, so much so that on certain stretches, I didn't recognize where I was unless I thought hard about it. :P I was glad to get home, but very, very glad that we had such AGNFA! :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on March 29, 2009, 07:47:36 PM
I'm heading out to Keller right now, since it looks like a great evening.

Dean, you missed M87 on that list. I vividly remember seeing it. I also found NGC 2438 in M46. It stood out even better with my Lumicon filter.  We also found NGC 2158 next to M35. We found M14 towards the end there as well.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on March 29, 2009, 10:52:10 PM
I thought about Keller, but decided to try the backyard.  I haven't been out there since October(?), November(?), earlier? 
Anyway, the backyard isn't too bad.   I'm in SW Roch on the edge, so nothing much south and west of me.
I was not out there too long.  Clouds were coming in, so came back inside.   They came earlier than I expected. 
I looked at the moon for awhile waiting for it to get darker.   Started looking at Saturn, I could pick out 3 moons and some banding.  Trying to get familiar with the backyard again,  :)   Pulled in M65 and M66 in Leo and M81 and M82 in UrsaMa.  Not quite as nice as what I have been seeing in Keller and Eagle Bluff recently, but still found them.  Keeping an eye on the time as the ISS was due at 8:53 or so with a magnitude of -2.4.  It would go right overhead and should be good show.  I saw it was 8:51 and started watching.  And, yep it was a good show.  Came out below Andromeda and climbed.  Went past Capella and Gemini.  I had my 13mm in the scope.  I did get ahead of it and waiting.  As it went through, I was able to see some definition, definitely some panels visible.  I did latch onto for a bit and followed it with that eyepiece.  The ISS went across the sky, almost hit Regulus, and then it was gone.   :)
I decided to see what I could see from home.  I first tried M76, Little Dumbbell.  I pointed right at it and I could see it.  Yahoo!  Not much of anything other than a little blob.  Moving my scope around and it moved with it.  Yep, M76.   I then did find M1, Crab Nebula.  Again, a definite patch of fuzz.  :)  On the 21st when we were at Eagle Bluff, I did find NGC 2392, Eskimo Nebula, for the first time.  I finally got it nailed down where it was.  Wasn't too hard to actually see, I just had to figure out what it looked like and read directions better.    ::)  Anyway, time for a test to see if I could find it again and also find it at home.  And there it was.  Out at Eagle Bluff, found out it was more stellar than I expected, but there it was, again...   A cloud went through, pulled in some of the open clusters M37, M36, M38, M35, M41.  More looks at Saturn and the Orion Nebula, then noticed quite a few more clouds were there and decided to call it a night. 

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 30, 2009, 09:02:32 AM
Thanks Luka. I do remember seeing M87 and M14. With all that was going on, it's not suprising that I didn't write them down.

I put them in my journal. Clear skies!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Nicole on April 01, 2009, 12:14:09 PM
I went out last night for a bit, and around 2:00am saw a near Earth asteroid fly-by...it was amazing - must have landed somewhere near Dean's house.  Definitely AGNFA!  :D
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on April 01, 2009, 10:17:37 PM
You must have gotten ahold of some "advanced astronomical vision fluid"! ;D
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on April 03, 2009, 09:25:35 AM
I got out last night for a while. One of my interested but not quite committed friends joined me. I looked at the Trapezium, and the Double Cluster, which was a bit washed out by the moonlight. We did look at a few craters though, and I'm slowly beginning to get some lunar orientation. We observed Herschel, Ptolemaeus  and Alphonsus craters, and found a few others, but they were too far from the terminator to be seen very well. 
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on April 03, 2009, 10:44:31 AM
I was up early this morning, so I dragged the scope from the garage and went after some mid-summer targets.  I had tried for M101 on a previous night and failed, because transparency was pretty bad that night.  Last night seemed pretty good so I gave it another go.  At 70X, with averted vision, I could just make out a fuzzy patch.  Occasionally, I thought I caught glimpses of the core.  I'm sure it would look much better where the skies aren't lit up.  I tried bumping the power up to 120X to boost contrast, but it dimmed the galaxy too much to spot, even with averted vision.  Bolstered by my success, I went after another Messier still on my list... M102.  Now I'm not sure why the AL requires observing "all 110" Messiers, as there is quite a bit of debate about which galaxy Messier meant when he logged M102, but I chased down the one that was listed on the seds database, NGC5866.  This was a nice change - a bright galaxy!  I had no trouble using 120X on it, but I couldn't make out much detail.  Reminded me a little of M82 in shape.  Two new-to-me Messiers in one night.  Not bad at all.  Only 9 to go now, mostly in Sagittarius, which has been a problem for me until the discovery of Keller.  I just need to get down there at the right time.

From M102, I went after some Bootes doubles that I had logged early on in my efforts.  Sadly, at that time, I used printouts of the constellations and made my notes on them.  Somewhere along the way, that paper got lost and my observations were gone.  The good news is that the stars that were impossibly difficult for me to find then are a cinch now.  I had no trouble chasing down Pi and Epsilon.  Pi was a close fit at 70X, and I noticed some clouds starting to hang around the skies.  Epsilon was an "imagination" split.  I recalled having to make multiple observations with the 4.5" before I found a night steady enough to split that close pair.  At 120X, I recorded what I saw when what looked like one star split into two attached members, noting position angle, and then went to check the list.  Sure enough, my imagination was working just fine.

I finished up my session with a check of old favorites M4 and M80 in Scorpius.  Both were easy to spot, though M4 didn't show much resolution for me.  By then, clouds were messing up the views all over the place, and I think the instability in the air combined with the low altitude rendered high magnification useless.  I stumbled upon Rho Scorpius, a very pretty triple in my finder.  I'm certain I've seen it before, but I hadn't remembered it.  Those kinds of surprises are always fun, especially as I'm finding a new interest in doubles thanks to just finishing reading James Mullaney's book on them.

It was, to sum up, AGMFA (A Great Morning For Astronomy)!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on April 09, 2009, 04:29:16 PM
I just may head out to Keller this weekend.  Have to see how the weather holds.
Times:
Fri:  Sunset:  7:48  Moonrise: 9:33
Sat:  Sunset:  7:49  Moonrise:  10:41
Sun:  Sunset:  7:51  Moonrise:  11:46

If the weather is good, I think Saturday for sure.  Also thinking Friday.  There won't be too much time between sunset and moonrise.  I astronomical twilight starts about the same time moonrise, so will never get too dark.  But, thinking I may go anyway. 
If I do head out, I'll post here.   If anyone else heads out, let us know.

Jeff

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on April 10, 2009, 05:33:10 PM
Trying to decide if I want to go out to Keller tonight or not.  Some high clouds out there and may be moving this way, but may also dissipate somewhat in the evening as they are wont to do sometimes. 

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on April 11, 2009, 02:33:35 PM
I will be heading out to Keller tonight.   Come on out if you want.  Moonrise 10:41,  I'll probably only be there until  11:00 a the latest.  Watch the moonrise.   :)
Jeff

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on April 13, 2009, 08:31:27 AM
Wish I could've joined you. Lots of other things going on this weekend. I did sneak a peek at Saturn from my backyard though. And I managed to show my visiting friends, who were thoroughly impressed.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on April 13, 2009, 09:24:55 PM
Tomorrow's CSC looks pretty good for observing.

Would any of you rabid RAC observers show me your favorite local spot at Keller after the meeting? ???
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on April 13, 2009, 10:17:30 PM
Dean, that's an idea.  I was watching the weather and they were saying it will be clear tomorrow and I was thinking, maybe should head out and do some observing and then remembered the the meeting, so I would be heading to the meeting first and then perhaps out to Keller.  So we can probably do that.
Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on April 13, 2009, 10:25:21 PM
I didn't stay out there very long Luka.  Clouds were coming in.  Probably should have stayed and looked around the Big Dipper as that was somewhat clear.  I mainly looked at Saturn.  A couple came out of the WMA and they had a look at Saturn before they left.  Orion never came out because of the cloudiness and even Sirius was seriously cover up.   :P
I did find M81 and M82, but not that clear and couldn't see M65 and M66 even though I was there.  Tried to find the new comet, but I don't know if I may have seen it or not.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on April 13, 2009, 11:19:15 PM
If you guys (forgive my lack of PC) are willing to go to Keller WMA, I would love to go with you.

It would give me a perspectivive on other RAC's die hard observers (and I truly admire their dedication!) so I could experiencence what they go though.

You RAC hard core's go through lots more difficulties than I go thtough. I sincerly appreciate that.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on April 14, 2009, 05:13:01 AM
I won't be at Keller anytime soon.  The nights are just getting too late for me.  I'm also in the process of planning an observatory for the backyard, and that will chew up time both during and after construction.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on April 14, 2009, 07:43:50 AM
Dean, bring your scope and we can head out there.  I'm sure we can find some other that may want to come along.  Luka?  Anyone else reading this, we can head out to Keller after tonight's meeting.
Jeff

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on April 14, 2009, 08:07:06 AM
I will join you guys at Keller.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on April 14, 2009, 09:34:39 AM
Just out of interest...I think the meeting won't go too long tonight -  would any of you be interested in setting up after the meeting at Gamehaven? Ranger Steve can let us in to set up near our Astronomy Day site and we can also take a look at the other two sites available for our potential observatory. I'm going to bring Elvis along.



Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on April 14, 2009, 10:30:38 AM
Gamehaven or Keller, either would work for me.
Jeff

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on April 14, 2009, 12:26:37 PM
Awesome. Me and my trusty G8 and binocs will be there. :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on April 14, 2009, 04:07:37 PM
Great! There will be an ac hoc extension to the meeting tonight as we reconvene at Gamehaven shortly thereafter for anyone interested. Bring an extra coat!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on April 15, 2009, 02:51:51 AM
The fireball we saw at 9:04:48 p.m. was witnessed in Spring Grove. The gentleman in question is not an astronomer, but knows me and when he realized it wasn't someone setting off a bottle rocket, he told me about it.

I asked him a few questions and it was definately a confirmation of what we saw. Time, direction, description all matched. The guys name is Mark Fink (a real nice guy) and he was really excited about it. He told me it was the second brightest meteor that he had ever seen and he is not much younger than me.

I've got a feeling that more than one posting to the AMS Fireball Page will be made.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on April 16, 2009, 01:32:06 AM
Hello astronomy fans. I got out tonight for 3 and a half hours. I had to catch NGC's 2567, 2613 and 2627 in Puppis and Pyxis because if I didn't get them this dark sky period, I would stand a good chance of not getting them for several months from now.  2567 is an open cluster in Puppis and it was a little challenging because of the starhop to get to it. It also had the most southerly declination. 2613 is a VERY faint galaxy and anyone going after it should practice Red's advice on using averted vision for it. (I didn't have an eyepiece that could have cracked the magnification up to 2500X, dammit!) 2627 is not too difficult as it lies near Zeta Pyxis, but it too is a dim, scattered cluster.

I also have GOOD news and BAD news! I caught Comet Cardinal near M36 in Auriga tonight. I do have to make sure the "fuzzy star" I saw is it, but I'm 95% sure it is. Comet Yi-SWAN was covered by the only boxelder tree that is on the border of the Flatin Farm CORNFIELD. Yep. Ed and my favorite nephew Matthew plowed it up and I only have the strip by the fence on the south side and Dean's Boxelder Bistro and Bar on the north. It will probably be two years before it gets rotated back into hay. But thanks for the "head's up", Jeff! I'm going to try for Comet Yi-SWAN again tomorrow night without having to be pressured by southerly declined targets.

I finished my night by doing a Saturn observation (only two moons, but what a clear view of the Cassini's Division at this tight an angle to the rings!), and the star field of Dwarf Planet Ceres. I am certain I can pin it down tomorrow night and am very sure I know which was it was tonight. But it took a lot of doing. If any of you gets into tracking asteroids, don't let too many nights go by.

I also treated myself to the Leo Triplet, the star clusters of Auriga and globular cluster M5 along with Italian opera, Hyden's quiet sonata to the Queen and other selections from NPR. It was indeed a glorious night for astronomy. 8)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on April 16, 2009, 08:30:48 AM
I went out last night as well. I was at Keller at about 9:30. I also tried to find Comets Cardinal and Yi-SWAN. I didn't find either. I did however find a fuzzy patch near M38, but after adding more magnification, it turned out to be a cluster. I drew the field to identify it later. It turned out to be NGC 1907. Then I remembered reading about a supernova in galaxy NGC 4088. I pointed my scope in the general direction, and quicly came up on a galaxy. It did seem bright, but adding more power didn't seem to help. Since there were several galaxies in that direction, and I didn't have anything more detailed than the PSA, I decided to draw that starfield too. That definitely did turn out to be NGC 4088. I can't say I positively saw the supernova, though. I will come back to it, now that I know. Next I  took a stab at M101, which I had trouble with at Keller in the past. It was fairly high up in the sky, and what do you know, I found it! It was still very faint, with just the core, but it was there. Later I looked at the Virgo cluster. I found the face that begin's Markarian's chain, and was able to follow that chain. Since the galaxies were showing some extension, and not just a core, I took a stab at them with my Oberwork 15x70's. I'm glad I did. It wasn't nearly as easy as with my scope, but I did find M59, M60, M87, M84 and M86. Much harder than in the scope, but all right there.  Then I looked at M3, which showed some resolution, near the edges at 120x even, and at 240x, quite a bit more. At that point it was getting very late, and a bit cold, especially compared to the day, so I headed home.
A great night for astronomy!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Rick Murray on April 16, 2009, 12:36:35 PM
     Last night was a good steady atmosphere for around here. I, too, went to the Virgo cluster bringing in M98, 99, 100, 85, & 104. With the addition of M85 that brings my Messier object count to 104. Six to go and all in the Virgo galaxy cluster.
     Then I tuned my sights to Leo finding the Tri - M95, 96 & 105, then the Duo M65, & 66. Then on to Ursa Major finding M81, & 82. The Cigar Galaxy was especially bright last night. I could make out much more features than at any time before. Then over to M108 & M97-PN, then to M51 the Whirlpool.
     By that time my favorite Globular Cluster was available - M13. I love it when the Globulars are back in season. One last look at Saturn and I carted my 12" Dob back into the garage. All this from my driveway - with street lights across the road. The sky was very steady last night! Wanted to stay out longer, but need sleep for work. It was AGNFA.

Rick
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on April 16, 2009, 08:32:01 PM
Good job, both Rick and Luka. I think that Comet Cardinal is close to M36. I need to check it out again.

Keep track of your observations by journaling if you can. The Messier List is pretty easy to get if you even journal your observations without sketching them.

We have several astute observers in the RAC, and for that I am truly thankful. It helps to spread the enthusiasm for our hobby to so many people.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Captain Kirk on April 17, 2009, 04:49:00 PM
Anybody going to Keller or Gamehaven tonight?

Kirk
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Captain Kirk on April 17, 2009, 07:55:49 PM
Duane and I should be headed there around 10:00.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on April 18, 2009, 10:19:38 AM
Where did you and Duane go Kirk?  You said you were heading there, but was wondering which place it was.  Gamehaven or Keller?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Captain Kirk on April 18, 2009, 08:18:14 PM
We settled on Keller because neither of us had been there.  We got there closer to midnight, did some 1x and binocular observing and headed home.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on April 19, 2009, 09:25:55 AM
What did you guys think of Keller?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Captain Kirk on April 19, 2009, 05:00:46 PM
Keller seems to have good skies for its proximity to Rochester.  The parking lot is a bit farther from the highway than I had envisioned.  Although, that farm light across the way is pretty irritating; Time to build some kind of a screen. 

Kirk
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on April 19, 2009, 06:08:56 PM
The SE corner of the lot is fairly well screened by pine trees.  The rest of the lot is exposed.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on April 21, 2009, 12:39:05 PM
Jeff and I made the mistake of setting up in the north side the first time. The trees are sometimes a pretty good screen.

Anyway, is anyone going out to see any of the Lyrids tonight? Any good ideas about where to see them? Keller is probably the exactly wrong place based on where Lyra rises.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on April 21, 2009, 07:54:02 PM
After midnight, you could probably be most anywhere.  The Lyrids would be pretty much overhead at that time.

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on April 22, 2009, 05:01:56 AM
It's almost 5 a.m. and it is as clear as a bell. The Moon occults Venus at 6:40 a.m. and reappearance is at 7:30 a.m.

If you've never seen a planetary occultation by the Moon, do so. They are awesome. This will be my third.

Let's go get 'em! ;D
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on April 22, 2009, 10:10:44 AM
I went out into the backyard for about an hour 3:30 to 4:30 looking for Lyrids.  I counted 7 meteors.  Hiding in the backyard gets out of the streetlights and Lyra/Vega was almost overhead.  Keller probably wouldn't have been too bad at that time.  Most of the ones I saw were to the south.
I was trying to motivate, took a look out the window and saw all of the stars and took a bit, but finally got up and went out.  Just like a summer evening.   Scorpius to the south and the teapot.  Summer triangle up.  At least the sky was like a summer evening.  Just a tad cool out.   :)

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on April 22, 2009, 11:55:51 PM
Hello astronomy fans! I saw the Moon/Venus occultation this morning, but have to apologize that the times I quoted were Eastern Daylight time.

It was an awesome show, but once the Sun came up, it took diligent work to keep the event in the binocs and telescope. I didn't get my Celestron quite polar aligned well enough to track  for more than 15 minutes.

The Venus cresent was visible in my binoculars and the telescopic view was incredible. I watched Venus disappear behind the Moon's fading disc, Venus was so cool to see in the daylight! Not a problem at all.

It was a glorious morning for astronomy!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on April 23, 2009, 09:22:05 PM
I'm going to keller since it looks like such a nice night.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on May 11, 2009, 07:00:48 PM
Starting to clear up some more.  I think I'll head out to Keller for a bit tonight.  Probably won't be there any later than 11:00.  Sunset is 8:25 and moonrise is 11:25.   ISS will pass over starting at 9:20.  Listed as a mag -2.0, so should be pretty bright.  Coming from the SW and pass south of Leo and disappear into the ENE.


Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on May 18, 2009, 07:39:00 PM
I think I will head out to Keller tonight.  Cleared up quite a bit.  ISS comes over at 9:12 and 10:48. 

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on May 19, 2009, 07:38:04 PM
I might head out to Keller tonight or perhaps the backyard. 

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Rick Murray on May 19, 2009, 08:56:56 PM
With any luck I'll finish my Messier Objects list...I have 8 left...all in the Virgo Cluster. I was out last night for about 1 1/2 hours and visited some of them, but need to verify for myself that I've found the right ones. Should be good tonight. Hopefully the wind will subside.

Have fun!!

Rick

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on May 19, 2009, 09:12:47 PM
I intend to go to Keller real soon here.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on May 22, 2009, 09:11:11 PM
Hello astronomy fans! 

Tonight doesn't look good for Eagle Bluff. I will not be there and am calling a NO-GO.

I would recommend local observing only.

I need to pick up a bartending shift on Saturday night, and will not be able to attend on that night, although the CSC looks better for Saturday night.

Sunday night I would be available, but I can't access the CSC that far in advance. But if Sunday night is good, I'm there.

Stay in touch and clear skies to all.
Title: Re: Observing Sunday Night May 24
Post by: Jerome Taubel on May 23, 2009, 09:48:22 PM
To those who may be interested Dean, Luka, Jerome and Jillissa plan to be at Eagle Bluff on Sunday night.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: rabomgaars on May 24, 2009, 02:09:09 AM
Count me in.  B
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on May 24, 2009, 01:19:41 PM
It looks to be AGNFA! :)  I'm going to try be there right at sunset.

I'm not getting any answer from Eagle Bluff. I'm taking that to mean that the office is closed and nothing is going on there.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Rick Murray on May 29, 2009, 10:16:30 AM
Well, I missed one. I still have one Messier object left on the list. I found M83-Galaxy in Hydra last night to get me to 109 objects observed. I'll have to wait until late fall to finish the list...bummer.

Rick
 
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on May 29, 2009, 04:44:57 PM
What's your last Messier? Did you see any detail in M83?

I think I've broken the 80 mark with all the summer stuff I've seen lately.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: darkskyjim on May 30, 2009, 10:27:07 AM
How long has it taken you to get 80 Luka?  I have my Binocular Messier, but soon as I get
my scope finished I'll start on the telescope one.  (Btw, found a tube and it was shipped today
so it won't be long ;-)
Jim
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on May 30, 2009, 06:16:49 PM
It took me a year and a half to get all my Messiers done. Once I had that finished, it only took three months to get the fifty binocular Messiers.

I too, missed one (M28 in Sagittarius and had to wait a good while to finish the list. I didn't tackle the Virgo group of galaxies until nearly the end al well. I person should really go through those objects at least once a year.

I'm going out locally tonight, but later untill the Moon is setting. Good luck to anyone heading out tonight.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on June 02, 2009, 01:45:51 PM
Well with the new count, after the spring grove and Eagle bluff events, I'm at 97 Messiers with my telescope.  I haven't spent much time on summer ones yet. I'll need to spend a few more hours with them. I started in January with the telescope.

Looking at the messier club rules, it seems that there is no problem in getting the regular messier certificate with binoculars. You just have to record what optics you used.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Rick Murray on June 02, 2009, 04:53:38 PM
It's been two years since I started a serious Messier log. My last one is in Lepus.
I have the patients to wait. I can start on the Cadwell list.

Rick
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Rick Murray on June 03, 2009, 04:53:28 PM
Got the scope out for a short time last night. Most of the observing was on the moon. It was showing the most intersting shadow I've see in a while. Even my son, Collin, was impressed. The sky wasn't the best last night. Saturn was a tough target to focus. I want to find a couple more galaxies in Corvus tonight, if it's clear enough. The moon might not let me.

Happy Hunting

Rick
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on June 04, 2009, 08:44:49 AM
I was out in the back yard on Monday and Tuesday nights. Event though it was a bit cloudy, the moon shines though the faint wispy clouds pretty well, and its actually interesting to observe the changes. There was some great shadows. I also noticed that Tycho is much harder to identify with the terminoator right on it than any day later.

I also found M92 with binoculars.

I've heard that some people on the internet think that the RASC finest NGC's and a few other lists are more compelling than the Caldwell. And some things on the Caldwell list are there for scientific interest, and not visual ones. But I'll probably work in it too, fairly soon. The tough thing about finishing the Caldwell will be the southern objects that you can't see from Minnesota.

Rick, do you know where approximately the shadows were?

Clear Skies.

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Rick Murray on June 04, 2009, 05:00:34 PM
I don't know the Moon that well yet, but it was 2/3 the way up on the eastern edge. I would have to draw it for you. Quite fun. NGC is a huge list...I have some targets aquired, but haven't recorded them all. I'll have to go back through my notes and start a list.

Happy hunting.

Rick
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on June 04, 2009, 09:48:12 PM
Hello Rick (and everyone). If you download the Lunar 100 list and follow through on that, it is a great way to learn the Moon.

I once was one of  those astronomers that was disappointed on seeing the Moon dominate the skies, but by doing the Double Star search of the Astronomical League's observing programs and also completeing the Lunar 100 list, I have come to have a better understanding our our closest celestial neighbor and now know how to make better use of moonlit skies.

I would urge anyone to go after the Lunar 100 and the Double Star Club. They will give you opportunities to get in a lot more telescope time and to expand your knowlege of observational astronomy.

Clear skies to all! :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on June 06, 2009, 10:41:01 AM
Hello astronomy fans. The Moon is due to occult Antares tonight for much of North America.

I don't know if we'll be able to see it because of the weather, but if we do catch a lucky break, try to observe it. The only chance most of us have to observe Antares B is when the Moon occults Antares. Antares B is Antares 5th magnitude companion, but since the primary is so bright we rarely see it. It is described as a "greenish" star, but it appeared white to me when I saw it.

I caught the occultation of Antares in March of 2005 and witnessed Antares B for about 5 or 6 seconds before the primary reappeared. It's a pretty cool thing to see.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on June 17, 2009, 08:27:41 PM
Does anybody have a cloud filter? These soupy skies are really getting bothersome.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on June 18, 2009, 09:03:28 AM
I think those are just a little harder to come by than a Questar 12. 
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on June 22, 2009, 07:30:06 AM
The CSC looks pretty good for tonight. I'm thinking of going observing. I had thoughts of maybe trying Chester Woods, but not set on that.
Clear Skies,
Luka
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: rabomgaars on June 22, 2009, 08:46:39 PM
Kind of late Luka, but I might go out to Keller.  Get a preview of what we will see on Wed or Thur.  B
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on June 22, 2009, 09:41:58 PM
I am heading to Keller too, in a little while.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on June 22, 2009, 11:33:16 PM
Great transparency tonight, but a little twinkly. Was only out on my drivewary this evening, but the skies were pretty good. I am tweaking that equalilateral platform for the Dob...was able to hold M3 for 10 minutes at 170x. That will be helpful at outreaches.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: rabomgaars on June 23, 2009, 12:49:18 AM
It was a lovely evening at Keller - not too many bugs, not too humid but the trees are getting bigger.  We were waiting for the tail of
Scorpius to come up to see the Jewel Box - just barely saw it as I left at 12:30.  Also saw Jupiter as it was rising in the east.
I have taken the liberty of renaming the Lagoon Nebula - it really looks like it should be the Pea Pod Nebula.Thanks to Luka and Alan Cameron for the help and sharing this evening.  B
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on June 23, 2009, 02:19:20 PM
Yes, it certainly was a great evening. It was great to observe the "pea pod" nebula and other Sagittarius objects in much more detail than I have in the past. It was also great to finally see Jupiter in a scope. Even though it was low in the sky, I did see 2 darker bands on it, and all 4 moons. It was great to have Rebecca and Alan there to enjoy the sky with.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Nicole on July 02, 2009, 09:21:38 PM
Is anyone going out tonight?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on July 07, 2009, 08:36:53 AM
I thought I would add this here as well.  The ISS (International Space Station) is visible quite a bit right now.   It looks to be visible 4 to 6 times a day!  Evenings and mornings! Check it out.

Here is link for ISS visible passes over Rochester:
 http://www.heavens-above.com/PassSummary.aspx?satid=25544&lat=44.022&lng=-92.47&loc=Rochester&alt=0&tz=CST (http://www.heavens-above.com/PassSummary.aspx?satid=25544&lat=44.022&lng=-92.47&loc=Rochester&alt=0&tz=CST)

I caught the ISS twice last night, 9:42 and 11:16.  The 11:16 was advertised as -3.0 mag and it must have been very close to that.  It was very bright, much brighter than Arcturus.  The Big Dipper paled in comparison to it.
 
Many times to view the ISS in the next 10 days, evening and morning.

Another -3.0 mag at 10:05 PM tonight, try and catch it if it is clear and you are still up.  Other chances tonight are at  11:41, 1:17, 2:53, and 4:28.  The 4:28 is also listed as mag -3.0. 

Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on July 09, 2009, 08:27:33 PM
ISS at 9:19 tonight, another -3.0 mag.  Partly cloudy now, hopefully will still be that way in another hour.  It will start in the SW and end in the ENE.  It'll be visible another 3 times tonight.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on July 09, 2009, 09:57:25 PM
Went out to see the ISS and the clouds were already in the SW and S.  It was still pretty bright out.  The ISS popped out of the clouds a little W of S and quite high in the sky.  Very bright, brighter that the fireflies.   :) 
Now the clouds are here.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on July 13, 2009, 08:59:42 AM
Hello astronomy fans! I got out last night for two and a half hours. I started off with Antares and M4 in my binocs (for focus) and then tried to see if I could spot M80. I spied what I thought would be M80 and then checked that spot out with my Celestron G8. Sure enough, there it was - a nice compact little globular cluster. I didn't have that one on my Binocular Messier list, but I can spot it now. :)

I got 2 Herschel 400 objects before the Moon came up. NGC's 5005 and 5033, spiral galaxies in Canes Venatici. They are an easy starhop from Cor Caroli (Alpha Canum Venaticorum), both edge on and both can just barely be seen in the same starfield. 8)

Jupiter was next while the Moon was climbing in the east. All four Galilean moons spread out widely from the planet, three to the west and one to the east. The middle one of the three had a faint background star near it.

For the Moon, I observed and drew the crater Julius Caesar for my Lunar II list. Then clouds rolled back in. ???

It was wonderful to be out there again, between weather and work and family committments, I hadn't gotten out in a long time. I'm going again tonight, weather permitting. ;)
See you Tuesday!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: darkskyjim on July 15, 2009, 05:06:36 PM
http://scottysmightymini.com/PR/20090719Pretoria_pr.htm

Great opportunity this Sunday morning (~1:00 am) to see an occultation.  Lets hope its clear!
jim
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on July 19, 2009, 08:53:35 PM
I am going to head out to Keller for a little while.  Still looking ok out there.  ISS/Shuttle visible starting at 10:15 tonight.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on July 20, 2009, 01:42:27 AM
Hello astronomy fans! I hit the Flatin Farm cornfield for four and a half hours tonight. I got two Herschel 400 objects, NGC's 4800 and 4866, both spiral galaxies in Canes Venatici and Virgo respectively. Very nice objects.

I had some dew problems, so I let the van heater do its work and gave the binoculars some excersise. M6, M7, M8, M20, M22, M31, the Perseus Double Cluster, M15 and a nice long look at the Small Sagittarius Star Cloud (M24). All wonderful binocular objects.

Jupiter was grand as always with a nice spread of all four Galilean moons, and I took in 61 Cygni (one of my very favorite double stars) and Albireo until the dew and fatigue brought me home.

AGNFA!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on July 23, 2009, 02:24:29 AM
Hello astronomy fans! I got out for four hours tonight. I thought that I was going to get a lot of progress done towards observing goals, but something wonderful happened instead.

One of my best buddies in the Universe and his fifteen year old son from Michigan arrived  and I showed them, Polaris, Alcor and Mizar, M81/82, M13, Antares and M4, M6/M7,
M8, M20, M22, M24, M17, Jupiter, Neptune, M31, M57 among other things. Bascially The Obvious Stuff.

But it was great. Vance Bartell and I planted trees and shared grub during my second year of planting down south. He slept in the back of my pickup and I slept in my trailer and we shared groceries, hardship and friendship. Vance is a very talented guitar player, and after we had supper together at night,  I would read books in my trailer and he would practice his guitar in the back of my pickup only a few feet away from the trailer. That might have been the nicest winter I ever spent in Dixie. In the piney woods of the Deep South, it is one of the nicest memories I have of that time.

His boy Brody is a very nice young man, a lot like his father. He said, "I wish we had skies like this in Michigan!". I take it that they have very light polluted skies, but I gave them tips on binocular observing (they have 10X50's) and how to journal and get a simple star atlas. They are two amateur astronomy enthusiasts!

There was also a spectacular pass of the ISS and Endeavour overhead at 9:57 p.m.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on July 24, 2009, 04:39:15 PM
Awesome report Dean!

Are people going to Eagle Bluff tonight?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: bwyman on July 24, 2009, 04:43:40 PM
I was just checking to see if there were plans. Nothing mentioned when I checked, took a gander at ClearSky, not encouraging. :-(

Poor starts about 18:00, and goes until sunrise.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on July 24, 2009, 05:32:50 PM
I would go if the skies clear, but right now things don't look good.

CSC doesn't give Eagle Bluff much hope till about 11 p.m. or midnight, and yet it shows Decorah looking pretty good tonight!
That doesn't make much sense seeing as how the weather has been moving down from the northwest.

I'm going to keep checking the forum every hour from now till 10 p.m. If anyone is interested and it starts looking good, please post here.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on July 24, 2009, 07:17:43 PM
Clear here right now, see clouds to the SE (Eagle Bluff?).  I may head to Keller, not sure, but not Eagle Bluff.

Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Julie G on July 24, 2009, 08:26:47 PM
We (Chris & Julie) will be observing tonight, either keller or eagle bluff.  Curious who else is going and where. Will check back in around 9:30pm.  Really like to use our new Skyview 150 -- a Christmas present that has barely been out of the box.

Keller sounds good if nothing else because we were up late last night. We're not as young as we used to be. The all nighters are harder to take.

Looking for a good report from EB to help make up our mind.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on July 24, 2009, 08:38:05 PM
I'm going to head to Keller.  Just don't feel like driving as far as Eagle Bluff.  See some cloud tops down to the SE, but I don't know how much they are or how far away.  If anything, I expect Eagle Bluff to clear up, but don't have any idea when, maybe already is??

Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on July 24, 2009, 09:02:46 PM
I agree. Conditions around are just too iffy. I would recommend LOCAL OBSERVING only.

For those of you that go out, I hope you have AGNFA!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on July 24, 2009, 09:06:51 PM
Sorry to hear that Dean.  I'm sure it'll clear up later for you.  Right now, very clear here.  I'll be heading to Keller shortly.   See you all there.  ISS over at 9:09, a few minutes.  -3.3 mag, coming from NW straight overhead to the SE.

Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: bwyman on July 24, 2009, 09:38:40 PM
Ack! No wonder I missed it. I just finally dug out the printout I had, thought it was at 9:35, nope, 9:35 July 25th. :-/
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on July 25, 2009, 03:35:07 PM
After nearly two months of zero observing time, I finally managed to get out last night for 90 minutes in the back yard.  I had a pair of new UO HD Orthoscopics (9mm and 12mm) to test out.  I started around 10:10, before it was really dark, and checked out Alberio and Eta Lyrae.  Alberio looked marvelous.  The double double split at 133X (9mm) but not at 100X (12mm.)  I also checked out M13, M92, and another globular in Hercules that I'd seen before but was written up in the July/August SkyNews (NGC 6229).  Compared to the first two, it was a dud, but still wanted to check it out.  I also revisited NGC6210, a planetary in Hercules that I checked off my Urban list with my 4.5".  It was obviously a planetary in the 10", with a pale blue-green color, but no real detail was visible.  I spotted Jupiter low in the east and checked it out.  Three bands visible, but the planet itself was swimming from average seeing and a very low altitude.  The four moons were spread evenly, 2 on each side.  I hunted a couple of globulars in Ophiuchus, but the light pollution was poor, and they were past culmination.  I finished up the night with a pair of double stars in Aquila, 11 and 15.  15 had some very nice color contrast, the primary appearing green to me and the secondary a pale yellow.  Hopefully it will not be two months before I get to use my telescope again.  As the days get shorter, the opportunities will undoubtably increase.

The skies were clear for me, except around 10:30 when an enormous cloud rolled overhead (right after I found M92.)  It covered 60% of the sky, but passed completely in about 5 minutes.  It was truly incredible how bright the yard became with reflected light.  I could easily see colors with no additional illumination.  Some day, we'll see the end of this crazy light pollution and Rochester will go from Bortle White/Red to Yellow/Green...
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on July 25, 2009, 07:00:08 PM
We did go out to Keller last night.   It wasn't too bad out there.  We saw the ISS/shuttle at home and then left for Keller.  ISS was quite the sight.  Must have been the -3.3 mag that they advertised.  Very bright and I think you could even see some shape to it with the binoculars and even naked eye. 
We got to Keller while the moon and Saturn were still up.  Took a look at them.  Swimming quite a bit in the murk as the moon set at 10:01 and Saturn at 10:48.  A little after 10, Luka and Ann showed up.  So there was four of us out there, them, me and Gerarda.  Somewhat cool, nice little breeze, no skeeters.  Luka left after 11:00, we left at almost midnight.  Looking at Messiers mainly:  M57, M27, M4, M5, M80, M22, M28, M17, M11, M26, M71, M81, M82, M51, M63, Albireo, Cor Caroli, Jupiter, Saturn, Moon.  A definite Milky Way.
We saw the cloud that went over Scott.  It went east of us and did not really affect us.  It was very bright, big bright cloud while over Rochester.

Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Julie G on July 25, 2009, 07:49:09 PM
Anyone interested in going out to Keller tonight? We'll check back around 9:30.

Sorry we missed everyone at Keller last night. We have some navigational issues (wrong road). By the time we located Keller, it as well after 12. Stayed until about 2am. We have both agree that we want to either get a clock drive ($80) or Go-To ($500) for the telescope. Given the economy, guess which one will like win.

We really need to work with some experienced people. We were feeling really green last night.

Enjoyed the evening, none the less. Saw M20 and possible M8. Sure helps when you know what to look for.

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on July 26, 2009, 05:57:52 PM
Orion is currently offering the clock driven SkyView Pro mount that I use for $379. I really like it.

Sorry I couldn't make it last night. I tended bar instead of observing. Usually I have the dark sky weekends free, but us forestry boys didn't go to the woods last week.
We have some jobs pending, but the landowners because of the economy have been reluctant to give us the final go ahead to start work. Things are getting tough out here and picking up any work is neccesary, even if it means sacrificing telescope time.

Keep at it Astromom. You'll get better every time you go out.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on July 26, 2009, 07:49:13 PM
AstroMom, (Chris and Julie) Sorry we didn't stay long enough to meet you Keller.  We don't stay out too late, Luka usually hangs around for quite awhile, but he didn't last Friday.  Keller may not be the easiest to find (even if you're on the right road), nothing really marking it.   :)   I've been there enough times so I can find it.  Did you find any other place to observe while you were driving around?   :)
Maybe we'll meet another time.

Jeff

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on July 27, 2009, 09:12:46 AM
One way to find Keller is when you're on County 15, look for County 126. Then continue pretty much exactly 1/2 mile.

I look forward to seeing you out there sometime, and I do usually stay later, but  I had to be up and ready early-ish on Saturday.
That said, I'll be a little scarce until the StarBQ.

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on July 27, 2009, 12:16:27 PM
Hello astronomy fans. Since I don't have to work until 3 p.m. today (I picked up a couple of extra bartending shifts) I went out last night for five hours.

I got crater Cauchy and lava domes Cauchy Omega and Cauchy Tau (Sea of Tranquillity) and crater Censorinus for my Lunar II observations. Then I polar aligned the G8, and checked  the "Double double" Epsilon Lyra to test seeing. I could split it easily at 80X, so I'd rate last night as very good. I did binocular observing of Alcor and Mizar (I could split Mizar A&B in my binocs!), open cluster IC 4665 in Ophiuchus, Antares and M4, Globulars M19 and M63 in Scorpius, M8, M20, M22, M24 and M17 in Sagittarius, M5 in Serpens, and Jupiter. Then I watched the Moon set at 10:44 to 10:47. It was beautiful.

Then I nabbed four Herschel 400 objects, all galaxies. NGC 4485 and NGC 4490 in Canes Venatici are easy to see (4490 is anyway) and both in the same FOV. They are easy to find and I recommend these two highly. NGC 4449 and NGC 4258 are also in Canes Venatici and fairly easy to find. A lot of you know NGC 4258 as M106.

Then it was binocular time again, this time checking out a lot of objects in the Fall sky. Mirfak and Alpha Persei Association, the Perseus Double Cluster, Algol and nearby M34, M31 in Andromeda with M32 and M33 in Triangulum.

I turned my telescope on Jupiter and was just in time to see one of the Galilean moons come out from behind the planet. I could actually see the moon's light thru the edge of Jupiter's atmosphere. That was pretty cool.

I turned my binocs on what should be the starfield of asteroid 16 Psyche. This is a little bit west of Jupiter above Theta Capricornus. I'll have to check this again in a couple nights to see if one of those "stars" has moved. If I can find it, 16 Psyche will be a good object to follow this late summer and autumn.

I finished by looking for meteors (one faint one) and turned my binocs on the Veil Supernova remnant. I could see the left cresent of it, but not the "Witches Broom" near 52 Cygni.

Then it got real dewy about 1:30 a.m. and I called it a night. AGNFA!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: rabomgaars on July 28, 2009, 08:12:17 AM
Astromom, Julie, I have been using a monthly Messier site to help me plan evenings out.  They list Messier objects by month so it doesn't seem so overwhelming to find what to look for.  My tool bar crashed recently and I had to start over but if you google "monthly Messier" you get lots of sites. 

Give me a call (250-2947) if you have a chance to go to Keller and I will meet you there. Clear skies!  R Bomgaars
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on July 28, 2009, 10:54:14 AM
Hi AstroMom and Starbie! (Now there's two nice nicknames!) Tonight looks pretty good according to the CSC. I think there's a Galilean moon transit on Jupiter's cloudtops tonight to make things even more interesting. Good luck if you go.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: rabomgaars on July 28, 2009, 01:57:43 PM
Dean, Tonight is a scout outreach at Gamehaven - starts at 9pm.  When is transit?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on July 28, 2009, 02:33:32 PM
Yep, Gamehaven with the scouts tonight. 
AstroMom, you can head out and bring your scope out to Gamehaven and help with the outreach.    :)
It usually doesn't last too late as the scouts/kids go to bed.  We could hang around for a bit after they are done and do some observing.

Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on August 12, 2009, 05:02:44 PM
The moon rises a little before 11:00 tonight.  I am heading out to Keller with Josef.  He is going to have a look at the skyscout and probably take it along with him on a boy scout outing this weekend.   Head on out to Keller if you can.   :)

Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on August 13, 2009, 01:43:40 AM
I went out to the Flatin Farm cornfield tonight. I had an old hay baling buddy from high school that ended up doing 26 years in the Army as a Green Beret medic. Paul lives in Texas now, but he came on out there and we saw boatloads of the obvious stuff. He enjoyed three and a half hours of it until he called it quits.

I stayed for another hour and recorded Rupes Recta near lunar sunset for my Lunar II observations, but that wasn't the coolest part of the whole night.

I saw part of Mare Oriental for the very first time in my life. It was awesome! Lacus Verdi and Lacus Autumni were very obvious and I had seen them before. What I hadn't seen were the bumps of the Rook Mountains on the Moon and the dark Mare behind them -- Mare Oriental! What a thrill!

Check it out if you have the chance. A favorable libration like this doesn't come around very often.

AGNFA!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: rabomgaars on August 13, 2009, 04:53:45 AM
Dean, Thanks for the heads up.  I set up the scope on the deck and saw Mare Orientale (Eastern Sea) which I believe was found and named by Patrick Moore.  I then took a shot at Rupes Recta and found that around Purbach and also looked at Rima Birt between craters Birt E and Birt F.  Will Rupes Recta look better tomorrow night when the terminator is closer to it?  I wasn't able to see the shadow.

Saw Plato, rays of Kepler and Copernicus and Sinus Iridum - where did the other half of it go?  Whispy clouds now covering the moon. SB
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on August 13, 2009, 12:07:37 PM
Out at Keller last night with Josef checking out the club's skyscout.  Josef has the skyscout now and will take it with him on a scouting outing this weekend.  We were identifying and locating various stars. 

After that, we were checking out a few things in the scope.  We led off with Jupiter and wow, Jupiter is really looking good.  Last night had excellent seeing for Jupiter.  It was pretty good when we started looking.  When we left, about 11:00, it was very still, very sharp.  Really no boiling of any kind.  Quite sharp with many bands.  Opposition is on the 14th and Jupiter will be as large as it has been since 1999, last century!   ;)
Then we were just winging it here and there.  Albireo, M57, M27, M22, M8, M13, M51, M51, M82, M15, M31, Perseus Double Cluster.
And, it was definitely Perseid time.  We weren't really looking for meteors, but Josef estimates we saw 25-30 of them in the two hours we were out there.   Some up around Jupiter brightness. 

When I got home, I set the scope up in the front of the house and had Gerarda come out and have a look at Jupiter, also did Albireo, M57, M13 again.  While sighting the scope, we saw 3 more meteors.  After that, we moved a cot and chair to the backyard and did lay back to watch the meteor shower.  Gerarda stayed out for 20 minutes or so and I was out there for an hour.  Counting the ones from the front walk, we saw 46 meteors total.  Plus the 25-30 out at Keller.  A pretty good night for the meteor shower. 
All in all, AGNFA!    :)

Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on August 14, 2009, 03:55:25 PM
Anyone going anywhere tonight?  I'm just to lazy to drive all the way to Eagle Bluff, perhaps Keller.  Probably somewhat hazy and humid, but looking clear otherwise.

Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Rick Murray on August 14, 2009, 05:23:19 PM
My family and I laid our heads down Tuesday night to watch the meteor shower. Just a bit of a dud. :( Counted only twelve in an hour. Wednesday night was far differnt. We saw may spectacular shooters and counted 60 in about an hour. We had alot of fun doing that. ;D I also had my scope out and hit some favorite targets because of the very transparent sky. Jupiter was a very nice target. Best I've seen yet this year.

Happy Trails

Rick
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on August 14, 2009, 07:21:07 PM
We are heading out to Keller tonight.  Anyone want to join us, head on out.

Yes, Rick, there were some good meteors Wednesday.  Quite a few getting in the Jupiter range of brightness.  Speaking of Jupiter, boy, it was really nice on Wednesday night.

Jupiter hit opposition today.   It shows as large as it has been since 1999. 

Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on August 15, 2009, 01:50:04 AM
Hello astronomy fans! I hope you had a great night tonight. I had a good night.

I did an astronomy outreach event for Hidden Bluffs campground, and while I had a better place to set up, I was really bothered by light pollution from the camp's entrance and the dew from being down in a valley. I still had 20-30 folks show up and I heard lots of "oohs and ahhs, wow's and cool!", but all the good obvious stuff to the south in Sagittarius and Scorpius were either washed out by the light or too far south and hidden by the bluffs.

The northeastern sky and the zenith saved the day and I didn't get out of there until 11:30. I had several campers that had been there the year before and were very glad to see me again. That suprised me. I wish I could have shown them the Flatin Farm sky.

I know the folks really liked what they saw, but it could have been so much more!

P.S. Starbie, I am so happy you saw the Eastern Sea. There are not a lot of us amateur astronomers that have had that privilege. AGNFA!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: rabomgaars on August 17, 2009, 02:29:14 AM
Well, I finally got a good look at Jupiter - 4 moons and I could see the two bands.  Tried a lot of different lens but it got very dewy toward
the end.  I spent some time looking at the moon a few nights ago.  Saw Shiller and Bayer.  Am surprised at how fast the terminator
moves each night and what a difference it makes in seeing moon features.  Wow, SBQ coming soon.  B
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on August 18, 2009, 05:09:39 AM
I was out yesterday morning (early 8/17) around 4AM.  All I got to see was Jupiter before the fog descended.  However, I did get to see one of the Moons in contact with the edge of the planet, as well as another small shadow transit in process.  Seeing wasn't the greatest, and transparency went from pretty good to horrible (I could barely make out Cassiopeia naked eye) in a matter of minutes.  But scope time is scope time...
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Rick Murray on August 19, 2009, 10:36:55 AM
Glad to see you using the scope Rebecca. Hope to see you at the Star-B-Q.
I went out about 10:30 last night to see Io transit Jupiter. The shaddow sat at about 7 o'clock (through my Dob reflector) below the Great Red Spot almost exactly in the middle of the two inner dark bans. They moved together through the evening like the shaddow was a permanent fixture of the planet. Transparency was good, and at times it was very good. I could easily make out definition of the dark bans and the storm. Best viewing I've had yet of the giant. It was very fun.

Happy Trails
Rick
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: rabomgaars on August 24, 2009, 11:31:48 AM
Not exactly observing "tonight" but mark your calendars for the evening of Sept 2nd around 11:30 PM to watch the moons of Jupiter
disappear either in front of Jupiter (shadows of Europa and Ganymede) while Callisto and Io will either be behind Jupiter or eclipsed by Jupiter's shadow. 

I believe these are the correct times for CDT:

06:28 PM (23:28 UT)  Callisto enters occultation behind Jupiter

10:44 PM (03:44 UT)  Io enters occultation behind Jupiter

11:00 PM  Europa begins transit of Jupiter

11:46 PM  Ganymede begins transit of Jupiter

11:56 PM  Europa's shadow begins to cross Jupiter

01:32 AM  Io exits eclipse by Jupiter's shadow

01:46 AM  Ganymede's shadow begins to cross Jupiter

01:50 AM  Europa ends transit of Jupiter

02:50 AM  Europa's shadow leaves Jupiter's disk

03:24 AM  Ganymede ends trasit of Jupiter

03:44 AM  Callisto exits eclipse by Jupiter's shadow

05:24 AM  Ganymede's shadow leaves Jupiter's disk

Hope you can catch some of this. B



Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on September 02, 2009, 04:54:17 PM
Wow, Sept 2 already.   See Rebecca's previous entry, but tonight, the four moons of Jupiter will all disappear.  It looks like it may be clear enough to see, but also, the moon will be very close to Jupiter tonight as well.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on September 02, 2009, 07:54:49 PM
Hello astronomy fans! Yep, it looks like the Jupiter show will go off. Hooray!

I think that I will be up on my deck. The Moon is very bright, and Jupiter is also very bright, so no sense in going down to the Flatin Farm.

I hope you all get a great look at this rare event! :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on September 02, 2009, 09:22:15 PM
Just outside the front door and watching this.  Callisto is hidden now.  Io on one side and Ganymede and Europa are very close to each other on the other side.  Io will disappear at 10:44.

Here is a link that shows the positions:  http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/objects/javascript/jupiter (http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/objects/javascript/jupiter)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on September 02, 2009, 10:07:53 PM
Ganymede and Europa farther apart and getting closer to Jupiter.  Io also getting closer Jupiter.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on September 02, 2009, 11:08:05 PM
Io (and Callisto a long time ago) behind Jupiter, Europa transiting, only Ganymede out and about now.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on September 02, 2009, 11:55:02 PM
Moons gone, awaiting a shadow.   :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on September 03, 2009, 12:08:08 AM
Europa's shadow is now crossing.   Tonight... Cool...  8)

Dean, thanks for the heads up at the last meeting.  Rebecca, thanks for the timeline.  It's been fun!   ;D

All for me for tonight.  Check out the shadow progression and probably head to bed soon.  Bedtime now for this Bonzo.   :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on September 03, 2009, 05:39:20 PM
I had just realized this event late last night before bed and it was too late to haul out the dob, but I have my 6" Dynascope always set up. So I pulled that out back behind the house for a view. Jupiter, naked, without moons was surreal. Very cool.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on September 03, 2009, 06:49:52 PM
I stayed up until 2:30 a.m. and saw the last three moons disappear (Io, Europa and Ganymede). I also saw Europa's shadow cross most of Jupiter and witnessed Io coming out of Jupiter's shadow. Way cool. 8)

The last thing I saw was Europa reappearing while its shadow was still on Jupiter.

I couldn't wait for the Ganymede transit, I had to go to work in the woods today. But yesterday I was able to identify and dig my very first Ginseng plant AND see the Jupiter show. A great day! I had four astronomy interested locals with me up on my deck at home for that. AGNFA! :)

Today not so good. Bees got me about 5 or 6 times and chased me through the woods for 100 yards before they gave up.  Oh well. ::)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: rabomgaars on September 03, 2009, 08:45:14 PM
I'm exhausted!  Set up the scope at the end of a long grass pier that juts into Green Bay.  It was very lonely and I kept watching my back. But I was out from 10:30 until about 1:15 - going back inside the house to look at Sky & Tel website (thanks, Jeff) to confirm what I was seeing.  Ended up putting in the 32mm with the 2xBarlow and finally got a good enough view to see Jupiter's rings and the moons disappearing.  Crashed fully dressed on the couch and the dog woke me up at 3:15 so I went out again - moon (the big one) was fabulous.  Crashed second time and everyone got up at 5:30 to pack up the cars to leave Door County so I got not much sleep.  How lucky that the weather in northern Wis was fantastic - lights of nearest town did not matter much as moon was so bright.  Set up the scope other times while I was there and gave Kate and Chris and my mom a quick tour of the sky. Also attended the monthly meeting of the Door County Astronomical Society at their observatory near Sturgeon Bay.  A full week.  B

Jeff., I put in the 40mm lense - it must be mine!  b
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on September 04, 2009, 06:35:27 PM
Good for you, Stabie! You had a very interesting week. I went to the Door County NCRAL in 2005, my first, and was very impressed with the area. How lucky you are to see the Jupiter show from there. You also had AGNFA!

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: darkskyjim on September 04, 2009, 09:30:58 PM
I stayed up until 2:30 a.m. and saw the last three moons disappear (Io, Europa and Ganymede). I also saw Europa's shadow cross most of Jupiter and witnessed Io coming out of Jupiter's shadow. Way cool. 8)

The last thing I saw was Europa reappearing while its shadow was still on Jupiter.

I couldn't wait for the Ganymede transit, I had to go to work in the woods today. But yesterday I was able to identify and dig my very first Ginseng plant AND see the Jupiter show. A great day! I had four astronomy interested locals with me up on my deck at home for that. AGNFA! :)

Today not so good. Bees got me about 5 or 6 times and chased me through the woods for 100 yards before they gave up.  Oh well. ::)
Cool!  I hear its pretty tough finding Ginseng down there but my neighbor Leonard is always looking.
I got a chuckle about the bees :-)  Sounds like I missed another good observing session ;-(
Jim
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on September 07, 2009, 12:11:31 AM
Hello astronomy fans! I had a nice but short night tonight.

I went out at 7 p.m. to get my weekly  observation on the sunset for the Planetary/Solar System Observers award. The skies were completely clear, but hazy at the horizons.
I could look at the Sun directly at the horizon with no optical stress at all.

I got a very nice observation of Jupiter. All four Galilean moons showed, and Callisto was as far away from Jupiter as I have ever seen it. Very cool. 8)

The Moon came up at 8:10 p.m. I thought I'd have more dark sky time, but no big deal. I went through my Lunar II list and found that I could do the Craters Messier, Messier A and the rays that extend through Mare Fecunditatis. It was suprisingly easy to see and I was able to draw it in detail once I cracked up the magnification to 200X.

Then clouds moved across the Moon and I packed it in. More tomorrow night. See you all Tuesday!

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: rabomgaars on September 07, 2009, 10:24:23 AM
Dean, I have been looking at Palus Somni.  What is the white line that goes through Mare Serenitatis from SW (around Menelaus) to NE?
Tried to look it up in Rukl and didn't find much.  Boy, are Messier and Messier A small!  B
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on September 07, 2009, 11:24:01 AM
Hi Starbie. The best explanation that I can get on that is the white line you see in Paulus Somni is that it is a ray from the impact of the crater Proclus. (Page 93 of THE MODERN MOON by Charles Wood).

I haven't looked at it myself lately, but will try see it tonight if conditions and Moon phase permit. Proclus has to be sketched at Lunar sunrise and Lunar sunset anyway for the Lunar II program.

I hope this helps. I got both the Rukl atlas and the Charles Wood book at the same time, but hardly use the Modern Moon book anymore. It now keeps an honored place in my library. Its handy for questions like this though.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on September 15, 2009, 09:15:23 PM
Is there any interest in going to Eagle Bluff on Friday night?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?- Eagle Bluff Friday
Post by: Jerome Taubel on September 16, 2009, 09:16:29 PM
Dean - Jillissa and I were planning on Eagle Bluff this Friday night.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on September 17, 2009, 11:27:48 AM
I'd like to go, but I'm not sure yet if I can.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Mr.Gorp on September 17, 2009, 02:18:08 PM
Unless the weather turns really ugly, Julie  :-* & I will be going to Eagle Bluff. Julie is itching to learn more about how to use her Christmas present (Orion SkyView Pro 150 -- without GoTo  :( ) from some of the other club experts.

I'll try to keep from playing with the Green Laser Pointer too much.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Rick Murray on September 17, 2009, 11:03:49 PM
I'll be hosting the Oronoco Star Party Saturday night so I wont be going to Eagle Bluff. I have decided to find Pluto... and I think I've done it. I've only looked for two nights at the asterism where I think it's located, but I've already found movement on the object I thought it should be. I've sketched the surrounding stars and what appears to be it's path. I thought it was now or never. I'll keep you posted. It is quite small, but viewable.

Happy Trails

Rick
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on September 17, 2009, 11:36:51 PM
O.K. astronomy fans, let's try Eagle Bluff on Friday night! The weather is supposed to be good.

Note to Rick: If you can confirm your observations of Pluto, that would be fantastic! That is one heck of a feat of observational astronomy. Keep tracking, I would love to see your records and see it for myself.

Randy has done it, but I have never tried it with my 8" G8 Celestron SCT. I have never seen Pluto. That would be quite a thrill.

Stay dialed in for a GO or NOGO for tomorrow night. My guess is that it will be a glorious night for astronomy!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on September 18, 2009, 08:42:49 AM
I just got off the phone to Eagle Bluff. They don't have anything going on, they know we're coming and will have the lights off for us.

I hope to be there by sunset. CSC looks good.

See you there!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on September 18, 2009, 09:40:11 AM
Sounds good Dean. I should be able to make it before dark.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jerome Taubel on September 18, 2009, 05:32:27 PM
Taubel's will be at Eagle Bluff tonight, too!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on September 18, 2009, 05:52:37 PM
Awesome. It sounds like we'll have a good group there. I'm home eating supper now. I'll probably get there about 7:30-8:00.

See you then!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on September 19, 2009, 12:51:43 PM
The RAC had a great group at Eagle Bluff last night. We had:
 
Me with my Celestron G8 and 15X70 binoculars
Jeff and Gerrada Newland with their 8" Dobsonian
Jerome and Jillissa Taubel with their 11" Celestron SCT
Luka Bajzer with his 8" Dobsonian and 22X85 binoculars
Nathan Wentland with is 6" Celestron SCT GOTO
John Preston with his Meade 10" LX200 imaging setup
Brandon Wyman with his 10X50 Bushnell binoculars and
Chris and Julie G. with their 150mm Maksutov Cassegrain

The sky conditions were pretty good. Completely clear overhead and very good seeing. The drawback was the humidity and the dew, but most stayed observing until midnight to 1 a.m. Jerome didn't completely give up until 3 a.m.

We had a fabulous time. Lots of objects to look at and there was a quilting or sewing group down at the Eagle Bluff building and at least 12 of those ladies came up to look through our scopes. Jeff and Gerrarda did a great job of entertaining them and pointing objects out in the sky. We had at least four laser pointers going and even saw the ISS make a pass at 9:12 p.m. Some of the older ladies had trouble looking thru my scope, so I just brought them over to John Preston's setup and they watched him pull images of objects up on his computer. He is very good at imaging even though he hasn't done it very long.

We had several sporadic meteors come through, and after the dew became a problem, several of us stayed up until 3 a.m. watching these. Jillissa Tauble came up with a game called "Stump the Astronomers" where she would use the 11" scopes GOTO and we would have to guess what the object was. That was fun!

Nathan Wentland has one of those nifty little orange Celestron GOTO scopes that you currently see advertised in Astronomy and Sky&Telescope magazines and I'll have to say that I was very impressed. Razor sharp optics. This was the first time I had met Nathan and John and I hope we get to see a lot more of them.

Brandon keeps plugging away on his Binocular Messier and Deep Sky lists and Luka completed his Messier telescopic list last night. Congratulations Luka!

We had a blast. It was a Glorious Night For Astronomy!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Julie G on September 19, 2009, 04:47:18 PM
Wow was observing last night great, at least until after 2:30. The humidity really started to pile in then. (This year's Christmas Wish list: dew zapper, GoTo upgrade and polar allignment scope. Or maybe a  12-16in Dob. . . . .

I didn't realize how much I like to search for twin stars.  First finding them with the binocs (good 8x42) then locate them on the scope.  I'm also adding to my list of things to bring to the next Star Party. Hot Choco anyone?

I can't wait until the next star party. Anyone up for a trip to KELLER tonight?

Thanks Dean, Luka & Jerome for pointing out so many features. I'm looking forward to seeing all of my new friends again -- please excuse me if I don't recognize you in the day.

Thank for a great time!
Chris G. . .
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on September 19, 2009, 05:21:43 PM
Chris, you can head out to Orinoco and help out at the neighborhood outreach tonight you want.  You can probably do some more observing after the neighborhood people go home.   :)

Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: John Preston on September 20, 2009, 03:49:01 PM
Attending my very first star party I only wished I was able to arrive earlier as it was already dark once I arrived but to no avail I was able to get setup and got things going in quick order. What was humorous at first was that i had a hard time finding Polaris as there was too many stars! I'm so use to minimum viewing conditions around my house here in Rochester that the whole sky became this flurry of points of light but once I got my head into the game things progressed quickly.

As Dean mentioned the temp and humidity was not good for imaging after midnight but it did allow many people to see some of the items in the sky without hesitation such as the Ring Nebula, Dumbbell Nebula and many of the star clusters like M13-15 & for me the first time seeing M02. Of all the images I was able to take the only one I could get a few good frames in black & white was a shot of part of M31 and Caldwell 14. But with very few frames and not a lot of definition and very short exposures before the humidity zapped the night.

It was a great time meeting everyone in attendance and hope to get to the next one before it gets dark so I can see everyone before spending the night starring at a computer image  screen and losing what night vision I have.


Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on October 07, 2009, 03:48:13 PM
Is anyone going to observe the Draconids tonight?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on October 07, 2009, 06:50:06 PM
I'm heading to Keller. Probably wont stay past 9, if that.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on October 09, 2009, 02:59:42 PM
Hello folks. It's Friday, Oct. 9th. Does anyone want to get together tonight?

P.S. Dark Sky Jim, if you're down in good old S.G. I could make it out to your place or go to the Flatin Farm if you like.

At any rate, I plan on observing.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on October 10, 2009, 02:56:44 AM
Well, I got out there after the Twins/Yankees game. I should have just skipped that, but I was really hoping they'd have beaten the damn Yankees.

I'd have been with Davy Crockett at the Alamo, too.

At any rate, I got out tonight for three and a half hours and that was really fun. Observations on Jupiter, Neptune, Uranus and Mars. (Neptune and Uranus were very easy to find.)
Mars didn't show much detail, maybe a hint of white at the top, but no matter, after I record its retrograde motion this winter, I'll have enough observations to apply for my Solar System/Planetary Observers certificate.

I got a polar crater for the Lunar II search. I did crater Malapert. I was going to do Cabeus, but by tonight it was in shadow. Navigating my way through the southern highland crater fields is VERY challenging. You have to use your atlas and then turn it mirror image in your mind to make sense of it all if you are using a star diagnol.

Once I recognized crater Clavius, (from the Lunar 100 search) it was no problem. Great job by Randy and Kirk for getting the RAC some TV time!

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on October 15, 2009, 04:19:58 PM
Hello astronomy fans! I have Sat. night off from bartending and it looks like Sat. night will be good for us.

I think I can get Fritz to come with. I hope we can get a lot of us from the RAC there too.

Who's in?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: John Preston on October 15, 2009, 06:02:05 PM
Based on the current weather Saturday looks like a winner for Eagle Bluff. I plan on getting out there at a decent hour and doing some imaging.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on October 17, 2009, 10:04:42 AM
I'm in.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: rabomgaars on October 17, 2009, 01:10:31 PM
What time will you be starting?  B
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: John Preston on October 17, 2009, 04:25:00 PM
I will be there around 5:30-6pm at the latest.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jerome Taubel on October 17, 2009, 05:08:44 PM
Unfortunately, Jillissa and I won't be able to make it tonight.  Clear Skies to you all!   I'll be anxiously waiting to hear whether you were able to visualize VY Canis Majoris...  visually or with John's Meade and camera rig.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on October 17, 2009, 06:16:29 PM
I just got off my bartending shift. I have to check Sky&Telescope, Heaven's Above and pack up.

I'll be there about 7:30 p.m.

Starbie, if you show up, I've still got your RV keys in my parka.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on October 17, 2009, 06:27:18 PM
Hey folks, Comet C/2008 O2 McNaught is only a few degrees from Polaris in the constellation Camelopardalis.

Magnitude 7.5!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: John Preston on October 20, 2009, 02:52:09 PM
I don't have all the attendee info from Saturday (will leave that to Dean) but my diving/photography/astronomy buddy Roger Southwick and I showed up at Eagle Bluff well before dark to take advantage of getting setup early (unlike the last time I was there). We made quick work of our setups and waited for darkness. I believe the first person after us was Allen? I'm terrible with names but later we had Luka and then Dean, and Jerome & Jillissa showed up. I know I forgot someone but was so involved on imaging etc.

Visibility was questionable early on as clouds sneaked into the skies above us but before long we had some pretty decent viewing. I only did B&W pics for the night and was trying to learn more about locations of items in the heavens but went back to some of the more familiar items I've imaged before. I was using my new Milburn wedge and it was so smooth and stable I was able to do 30 second exposures with little to no drifting, on top of that I switched capture software. I was using the Meade Envisage and recently bought the Nebulosity. I wondered if I threw too much on my plate with all the changes but the Neb software was wonderful and it didn't have all the quirks of the Envisage. The only obvious bad pictures came from the wind or if someone was walking heavy near the scope, and of course frost.

Here are a couple pictures from that night. The first is M57 at wide aspect, I've done this in color before but just wanted to practice with everything and once I got home and processed I was able to see a very faint galaxy to the right of the nebula (won't show up on the posted pics), so that was a nice surprise. Also a zoomed in picture of M57 for detail.

Also the Bowtie nebula under some harsh conditions (frost was forming on the optics) and Cleopatra's Eye, can't wait to do that in color! Also M2 star cluster and tried to capture part of M42, by this time my telescope was all frosted up and the image came out fuzzy but I can say I seen it. M42 will be one of those images that will require hours upon hours to get all the details and because of the size several mosaic pictures.

I also tried to see some of the Horsehead nebula and after 2 minutes of exposure could faintly see some nebula detail... I do mean faintly. This one will be a few hours of imaging down the road before I take this one on.

I was nearly 4:30am that Roger mentioned the time and I thought how fast the night went, we packed up and was at my house in Rochester by 6am. It was a great night under the stars.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: John Preston on October 20, 2009, 02:53:21 PM
More pics...

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on October 21, 2009, 08:14:36 AM
Very nice pics John! It looks like the new wedge is working well for you. Were these all taken at the same focal length?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on October 21, 2009, 03:01:20 PM
Hello astronomy fans! It was a good night and another nicely attended session at Eagle Bluff last Saturday. We had myself, John Preston, Roger Southwick, Luka, Alan Cameron, Jerome and Jillissa, Orrest Zasadney, and also a gal named Crystal who is a staff member for Eagle Bluff.

Like John said, transparency was so-so early on, but got better. Jerome spotted a nice fireball that ended in a bolide at 9:16 p.m., and we looked at many, many different objects.

About 1-1:30 a.m. I packed up my scope because of icing problems and was content to just watch John image. He's good! I lit out of there about 3:30 a.m. I couldn't keep my eyes open anymore.

Everyone was a lot of fun, it was AGNFA!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: John Preston on October 21, 2009, 03:44:16 PM
Very nice pics John! It looks like the new wedge is working well for you. Were these all taken at the same focal length?

Yes, all at a 6.3
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: John Preston on October 21, 2009, 03:45:53 PM
Here is another of the photo's with some magical color and adjustments. Amazing what some software can do ;)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: John Preston on October 22, 2009, 12:18:56 PM
Dean,

What was the galaxy who asked me to look at that night that we we're able to faintly see? I would like to try and image it this weekend. Was it M104?
Title: 2009-10-17 Star Party
Post by: Roger Southwick on October 22, 2009, 05:28:47 PM
Hey gang,

My first star party was an absolute blast!  Great fun and interesting conversations.  I've had a scope for only a couple weeks and finally got to see M42 which almost made me fall over.  Big thanks to Dean for sticking around so late, showing us a huge number of wonderful objects, and sharing his enthusiasm.  I'll look forward to the next new moon.

Attached is a photo of John Preston with his icy LX200, checking out M42.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on October 22, 2009, 07:01:18 PM
That is a very cool picture!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: John Preston on October 22, 2009, 08:56:42 PM
Nice picture as usual Roger!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on October 22, 2009, 09:53:22 PM
The very faint galaxy that we saw (and tried to find on both the Sept./Oct Eagle Bluff sessions) was NGC 891. It is commonly called Caroline Herschel's Galaxy, but it was actually a discovery of her more famous brother, Sir William Herschel, the discoverer of the Planet Uranus.

But no matter. Caroline Herschel was a very accomplished, famous astronomer in her own right.

I really enjoyed everyone at Eagle Bluff last Saturday night. Getting to spend the last hours with John and Roger were very special. The conversations and astronomical extpertise that everyone had was absolutely inspiring. The RAC is so lucky to have SO MANY people that are just a joy to be around.

And we're getting more all the time!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: John Preston on October 27, 2009, 11:41:53 PM
Last night (Monday) was finally able to get the telescope out and did some viewing and a little imaging but unfortunately the dew point hit right after I started but got a very rough capture of NGC891. That's right Dean, I captured this so you could see it again, but as I said dew was all over the lens so it is not by far my better or best work but wanted to share it.

This one is tough as I cannot see it live on the imager and took some time trying to locate it, a few times it was right in front but until I ran a 45 second exposure I couldn't see it. I did these at 60 seconds and tried to capture 20 images but only 6-7 was worth stacking. Future attempts will require at least 120-150 seconds of exposure. Guess I better get my autoguiding up and running.

John P.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on October 28, 2009, 07:04:27 PM
Very good, John! Even though you only stacked two images, I can still see the center dust lane and the faint extensions out to PA 350 and 170.

Very well done!

I really want to get together with you some night that would be super awesome for imaging. I want to see the objects that I can only see faint hints of clearly resolved in front of my eyes with your setup. That would be tremendous.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: John Preston on October 29, 2009, 01:40:19 AM
Of course Dean the best nights will be dead calm and cold, gotta love it! I will be working on getting the autoguiding system up and running by this weekend if weather permits.

I'm working on my portable power pack for off-site use, purchased a 105ah battery to power the telescope, both imagers, powered USB hub, autoguiding system, dew heaters, and laptop. Had way too many cords going everywhere and had to find a way to clean them up.

Come Nov. 6th I will down in Florida doing some cave diving and won't be back until the 16th. Knowing my luck it will probably be some of the better viewing nights in a long time.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on October 29, 2009, 08:03:27 AM
Thanks for the heads up John.  Glad to know we'll be getting some great weather!   ;)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on October 29, 2009, 03:40:46 PM
If I'm scheduled to tend bar Nov. 6th, it'll probably be a beautiful night.

Good luck and have fun diving in Florida, John. Jeff, you'll have to lead the charge outside if I'm at the Legion.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on November 12, 2009, 10:49:13 PM
Hello astronomy fans. Right now, Friday does not look good for Eagle Bluff.

Saturday may work. Anyone interested?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on November 14, 2009, 11:27:56 AM
Hello everybody. The CSC is looking so-so and the KTTC weather says it is SUPPOSED to clear up, but right now it is tough to say just what the heck is going to happen.

If I don't hear any interest in Eagle Bluff, I'm heading out to the Flatin Farm. I've gotta get some telescope time in.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Roger Southwick on November 14, 2009, 11:37:43 AM
Since wunderground.com (http://www.wunderground.com/cgi-bin/findweather/getForecast?query=55949&hourly=1&yday=317&weekday=Saturday) says it will be rainy & cloudy all night, and since Eagle Bluff is a 100-mile drive for me, I'll wait until a better forecast on the next dark sky night.  (It would be hard to top the last one.)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on November 14, 2009, 04:07:14 PM
Sadly, I have other commitments tonight.  But I hope everyone else has great weather and observing.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Rick Murray on November 14, 2009, 04:31:48 PM
Sadly, we have company tonight... I will do my observing from my deck.

Good luck all & Happy Trails

Rick
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Rick Murray on November 15, 2009, 05:54:41 AM
M79 - Globular Cluster in Lepus was my last Messier object to observe.  At 4:30am I found it  ;D. I woke up at 4:am and thought it's now or never. It's a very distant cluster... hard to resolve as it was low in the southern sky and frost was on my equipment. Because of the conditions I didn't stay out long. I saw that Mars was available so I turned my scope to see. And before shutting down I had to view M42 for the first time this season. I took a look at Jupiter much earlier to show one of Collin's friends. Nothing too excitng. It's good to finish the Messier list.
On to the Cadwell objects!!

Happy trails.

Rick
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on November 15, 2009, 11:00:53 PM
Yes indeed. M79 is a tough object to resolve. It is a very tight globular cluster, and one of the few to be visible in the winter constellations. It is not too hard to find if you draw a line from Beta to Gamma Lepus and follow the same distance to the south and just slighty east. I tried it for my Binocular Messier list  (using 15X70 Celestron Binoculars) and could not definitively say that I saw it.
In my Celestron G8, it is a noticalbe, but not spectacular object.

But still, Rick, YOU FOUND IT!

Congratulations on completing your Messier list. If you let me review your observing log, I'll send in a letter to get your observing certificate.

I applaud your dedication to get up so early to get your last object.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on November 16, 2009, 08:47:46 AM
Hopefully people got out Saturday night.  The transparency was incredible.  I was able to see M110 from my backyard with direct vision - something that was difficult one of my nights at Keller. 
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on November 16, 2009, 10:52:38 AM
I was going to comment on that(clarity). I did manage to get out in my backyard, later in the evening.  I got a new mount, the HEQ 5 Pro (arrived friday).
I managed to balance it and polar align it after a while, and then figured out the Synscan's 3-star align. I also figured out how to attach and focus my camera with my refractor (Celestron C80ED).

While I was taking pictures, I used my 10x50 binoculars, and after seeing a few targets, and M31, I took a long shot: M33. And what do you know, I'm quite sure I saw it. It was ridiculously faint, just barely perceptable, but I returned to it 3 times and it was there. I really wasn't expecting anything, so it's surprising.

Also I got my first look at Mars. It was through holes in the trees, but still easy even over the downtown light pollution.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on November 16, 2009, 11:04:24 AM
And here is one of my efforts.
5 shots 90 seconds each, 2 darks also 90 seconds.
At 600mm, F/7.5 with a Canon XS
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Roger Southwick on November 16, 2009, 11:26:20 AM
Nice photo, Luka!  Looks like that new mount is sturdy and tracks quite well.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on November 16, 2009, 03:32:46 PM
Thanks Roger.

Rick: congratulations! I'm glad you found M79. Isn't it wonderful to have seen all the Messier objects?  Good luck with you next goal.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on November 17, 2009, 04:38:01 AM
Fantastic shot, Luka!  I know many would be pleased with that after years of practice.  Nice, round stars.  Good detail on M31, including two dark lanes.  Consider posting that to the Cloudy Nights beginning imaging forum.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: John Preston on November 18, 2009, 07:03:48 AM
Nice job Luka. I only wish my imagers could get that wide of an angle. I may attempt a mosaic of it latter but many other objects to image in the meantime. Either way good job.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on November 20, 2009, 04:47:18 PM
Looks like a nice night. I'm heading to the Flatin Farm at 7 p.m.

Ganymede transit tonight starting shortly after 9 p.m.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on November 21, 2009, 10:34:49 AM
I got out for three and a half hours. I got in observations on Jupiter and caught the beginning of the Ganymede shadow transit. Neptune was an easy find, it is still hanging out by 42,44,45 Capricornus. Uranus was easy to find back also. The asterism below the Circlet of Pisces that pointed the way to Uranus on Oct. 9 has now been joined by Uranus.

I wanted to sketch the starfield of 2 Juno, but the southern sky was pretty filthy. Too much moisture. Fomalhaut was only dimly visible.

The zenith was pretty good, and I recorded NGC 7160, an open star cluster in Cepheus that I had overlooked for the Herschel 400. It's a pretty little thing.

I had binocular looks at Aldebaran and the Hyades, M45 the Pleadies, M36,37,38 in Auriga, M42-43 the Orion Nebula and Orion's belt. I also checked out Epsilon Auriga and see that it is now dimmer than Eta Aurigae and about the same brightness as Zeta. Those three stars make up "the Kids" of Auriga and last year Epsilon was the brightest of the three.

I drew the starfield of asteroid 19 Fortuna which lies near Zeta Taurus. With luck, I'll be able to tell which "star" Fortuna is the next time I go out. I also observed M1 the Crab Nebula, but can honestly say I've had better looks at it. Transparency was not real good last night.

My final observation was getting the position of Mars. It is now northeast of M44. It shows a disc in my scope, but not much detail. I'm glad I went out, I got some good work in. 



Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: John Preston on November 21, 2009, 03:17:16 PM
Finally got some scope time last night also, worked with my new autoguiding system and about 10pm got in dialed in pretty good so I did some test pics on NGC891 (just for you Dean) and worked up a color version of M42. Didn't get back into the house until nearly 3am. Great night of viewing.

I shot the Luminance with a nebula filter at 120 seconds, 20 frames, the R, G, & B at 60 seconds and 10 frames each. Next time out I noted I will need to nearly double the Blue channel images for my Meade imager to get better color from this channel.

NGC891 was shot at 180 seconds for each L, R, G & B., autoguiding was good but at only 10 frames each and not using every frame I will need to up the amount of frames to really get the smooth detail I want, but the dust lane came out very nicely. Pretty proud that I could get the detail of a Mag 10 object.

Additional notes from last night that my new portable battery pack worked great and the autoguiding is a life saver as no matter how good I had done polar alignment I could never go over 25-30 seconds without the stairs trailing off and getting at least 70% of the frames on a 2-3 minute exposure nice and clear was fantastic. I also found M1 which I've been trying to locate on several occasions, it was very vague much like M27, just a mist in the sky on my laptop.

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on November 22, 2009, 11:52:43 AM
Wow! That is one helluva shot of NGC 891! Well done, John.

I hope we get some of these great shots by our budding imagers into the newsletter!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Roger Southwick on November 22, 2009, 12:42:29 PM
John -- nice shots!  I love the detail of the triangulum region, and of course the dust lanes of NGC 891.

Dean -- thanks for the nice report.  Your detailed and recorded observations are a pleasure to read (and something I need to learn).

I got out for a while on Friday as well but the humidity was really high.  Lenses would fog over every minute or two, even after using a hot-air dryer to warm them up.  You could see thin fog under streetlights too, so I should have known better than to try imaging M33.  After 30 minutes of exposures (and dryer operation), the result was a disappointing orange skyglow with a slightly brighter patch at the center of M33.

Following the M33 photo fiasco, star clusters would be about the only thing worth finding in the fog.  Saw M objects 35 36 37 38 44 which looked very nice even through the haze.  Somehow managed to also see M1 M78 M77 M81-82 and of course M42-43.  After packing up and getting ready for bed, I grabbed the finder scope and from the living room floor stumbled upon M41; it was fun to "find" something new without specifically looking for it, especially while wearing pajamas and staying warm.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on November 24, 2009, 06:24:57 PM
Hey Roger, if you ever want to check my journal out to see how I record my observations, you are very welcome to do so. When you journal, you record the date, time, temp., wind, location, equiptment and what you are looking at and who you are with. It is an indelible record of what you have done and proof of what you have seen.

I know for a fact I have missed a lot of cool meteors, but on the other hand, when you journal, you can go back to any date that you have been out, check your data (especially for asteroid observations), and follow up on what you are doing.

A lot of times when it's cloudy or cold, it is just plain fun to go thru your records. Right now, mine date from Oct. 29, 2002. I journaled my observations when I was a kid, but not as carefully as I do now, but sadly, those crude notebooks have been lost over the march of time. I wish I had them, I observed the occultation of Venus by the Moon around Christmastime on the ballfield one block south of my childhood home in Spring Grove around 1970 at about 4 or 5 o'clock in the morning. My Mom thought I was crazy. It was colder than the ninth circle of Hell in Dante's Inferno. I'd love to have that one back.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on November 28, 2009, 11:01:26 AM
Hello astronomy fans! I got out last night for two and a half hours and got a Jupiter observation, (three moons visible), and I think I nailed Asteroid 19 Fortuna, but I'll need one more observation on that to be sure. I spent a good deal of time on Fortuna.

I got another position check on Mars in Cancer and had a quick look at the Orion Nebula. Then I nailed Milichius Pi, a lunar dome with a summit crater for my Lunar II observations. I was going to journal Mare Cognitum, but then I had some high thin clouds cover 90 per cent of the sky, so I packed it up.

It was great to be out!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Roger Southwick on November 29, 2009, 11:11:55 AM
Hey Roger, if you ever want to check my journal out to see how I record my observations, you are very welcome to do so.
Thanks Dean -- I'll be sure to take a look at your journal at the next star party.  It sounds like you have some wonderful memories in there!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on December 10, 2009, 06:41:38 PM
Is there any interest in observing at Eagle Bluff Friday or Saturday?

I only have the CSC for Friday and it looks clear, but iffy Transparency and Seeing.

Do any of you high tech folks have an inkling on Sat. night? I am scheduled to tend bar Friday night, but could get it switched if Fri is better. Otherwise Sat. night would work just fine for me.

Feedback, PLEASE!!!!!!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on December 10, 2009, 09:05:32 PM
We probably won't be going either day, but the forecast for Saturday is mostly cloudy.  So, Friday would look better to be the better day.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: John Preston on December 10, 2009, 10:08:59 PM
I would like to but have some plans and other items to take care of Friday and dinner plans for Saturday. If I do get to do any imaging it will have to be from my driveway :(
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on December 10, 2009, 10:26:13 PM
I'd definitely consider friday, as I have plans Saturday.  I'd go to either Eagle Bluff or just Keller WMA, but if it's really cold, I'm not sure if Eagle Bluff would be as appealing.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on December 11, 2009, 09:36:02 AM
It looks like Keller WMA, Luka. I can't get out of bartending tonight. Bummer.

I hope the best for all of you folks.

Don't forget the Geminids on Sun/Mon and Mon/Tue nights.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on December 13, 2009, 09:20:57 PM
After I got home from work Friday night, I was able to get my binocs out in my back yard and record the position of Mars for its coming retrograde motion.

I bet it would have been a beautiful night to have been out for many hours.

See you Tuesday!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: John Preston on December 14, 2009, 09:01:14 PM
I did get out Friday night and did some imaging but the skies weren't as clear as they appeared. I got a lot of star flicker late in the night trying to image M1 and the temps didn't help matters as they dipped well below zero. Went in to the house around 1am to thaw out. Didn't get any chances to see anything else as all my time was in imaging and fighting the atmospheric conditions.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on December 15, 2009, 08:50:34 AM
I did get out to Keller on Fridayl.  I just went observing, and did no imaging. I saw 5 Geminids, 2 of them first magnitude. Also at around 11, I saw the remnants of  what I think was a bolide/fireball. I saw flickering shadows from directly behind me and by the time I turned around, there seemed to be a 3-4 very small pieces right near the western horizon, greenish blue.

The skies definitely didn't seem great in either transparency or seeing. I did get a look at mars, but didn't see any detail, just an orange blob, though it was only 15 degrees up. I did spend a lot time observing M42, I keepf forgetting that it looks so much better from darker skies. I also enjoyed M81 and M82, and the 3 Auriga clusters. I also brought several binoculars, and was able to see M33 even with the small 7x35's. It didn't look impressive, but was definitely there. Also because the transparency wasn't good, the skyglow from Rochester was pretty severe. I also looked at M1, the Hyades, M78 and M41.  I was out there for 2.5 hours; while I dressed pretty warmly, and I was very warm the first hour, by the end of the second, I was getting cold in places, and neither hot tea, nor 5 minutes in the car could keep up my heat requirements.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on December 24, 2009, 04:11:32 PM
Merry Christmas to one and all in the RAC!!!

Pray for clear skies. I had to use a pole pruning saw on the birch tree in the back yard and cinch the cluster together with a cargo strap to keep it from snapping from ice buildup. If it goes it'll take out our power. My boy and I also shoveled about 3000 lbs. of snow off our deck above the big day care room. Bah, Humbug.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on January 05, 2010, 10:59:26 PM
Hello astronomy fans! I've got another observation on the retrograde motion of Mars. I had one on Jan. 1st as well, but both were from my deck. It is just too cold to go out to the Flatin Farm when it is below zero and there is wind chill.

Mars is big and bright, and indeed moving westard from Leo, back toward M44.

Is anyone interested in getting together on Friday night? It is projected to be clear, but very cold. I would make the Haj to Eagle Bluff, if anyone is interested.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on January 06, 2010, 09:58:24 AM
I am thinking about it.  We do have power in the parking lot, right?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: John Preston on January 06, 2010, 10:35:05 AM
As much as I would like to go out Friday it is way too cold for me at the moment. Bolivia spoiled me with 95 degree weather. May do some imaging Sunday from my driveway.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on January 07, 2010, 09:03:15 AM
Yep. There are electrical outlets on the lightpoles.

95 in Bolivia? That must be where all the global warming went.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on January 08, 2010, 08:42:59 AM
I just called Eagle Bluff. They have nothing going on tonight and will have the parking lot lights off for us.

Anyone interested?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on January 08, 2010, 10:01:46 AM
I have interest, but I'm just worried about the wind chill. Prediction is -14 to -19 , with temps 1 to -4. If you're up for that I would give it a try.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on January 08, 2010, 05:47:35 PM
Considering the cold, Eagle bluff is off. I may however, do a little observing or imaging at Keller. Probably around 7 PM or so, but probably a pretty short time.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on January 08, 2010, 06:58:55 PM
Hello astronomy fans. It was a long cold day in the woods. Tonights temps aren't going to be pretty. Discretion is the better part of valor.

We'll try again next week.

Good luck locally. I'm getting another position of Mars from my deck.

Semper Fi, Dean.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on January 09, 2010, 12:15:41 PM
Well, I went out for a half an hour on my deck with my binoculars and got a naked eye and binocular position of Mars. It was so cold my pen wouldn't work right and I had to put it inside my coat under my arm to get the ink flowing. I had to do that 3 times.

Mars shows a tiny disc even in binoculars and I can see it moving night by night against the background of stars. It's like following an asteroid, only LOTS easier because it is so big and bright.

I took looks at M41 and the Orion Nebula, but they were quick. Subzero temps were killing my fingers.

I eagerly look forward to warm nights of 10F or so.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: rabomgaars on January 09, 2010, 01:16:21 PM
Dean, Congratulations on not getting frost bite!  I went out early this morning to try the itty bitty Celestron first scope to look at the moon.
I actually just stood in the back doorway and held the scope in my hands - not recommended.  But it was beautiful anyway.  SB
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on January 10, 2010, 11:10:22 PM
I was out on Friday for a bit over 2 hours. It wasn't too bad. I mostly got cold in the pants, I'll need to get some good bibs. And my breath froze to anything around my face, including eyelashes.  I did get some good data though, of M42. I'll post it in the images section. I could've probably stayed out quite a bit longer as no part of me was getting numb, but the equipment wasn't liking the cold much.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on January 13, 2010, 02:20:55 PM
Somewhat hazy out there, but I think I may head to Keller tonight.  Been awhile since I have been out, so have to stop being lazy and get out there.   :)
I would hope to be there before 7 and probably be gone by 10.  Winter observing sure is nice.  You can get 3-4 hours in before bedtime.   ;D
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on January 13, 2010, 04:11:34 PM
I'll definitely be heading out to Keller tonight.   Come on out.   :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on January 13, 2010, 04:20:39 PM
It does look nice out there. Sadly I can't cancel my commitments for tonight.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: John Preston on January 13, 2010, 11:42:59 PM
Trying to image from my driveway but the winds are making it difficult.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on January 14, 2010, 09:19:03 AM
Hello astronomy fans. I got out last night for two and a half hours. It was nice at first, but then the winds really started raising problems.

I started out with Polaris for polar alignment, then Sirius for a collimation check and to see if I could spot Sirius B. (No luck. Has any RAC member ever spotted it?) Then M41 that lovely open cluster below Sirius, then the Orion Nebula to just celebrate having my scope out again.

Then I got down to more serious stuff. I checked out R Leporis, a variable star below Rigel near 31 Leporis. This is also known as "Hind's Crimson Star". It is now near maximum brightness and it has a very nice red color. It reminded me of a tiny Mars.

Then on to Mars for naked eye, binocular and telescopic observations. Right now Mars is moving away from the Sickle of Leo and is not quite halfway back to M44 in Cancer.
It is especially interesting to see it change position in binoculars because of its movement from night to night against the faint background stars. Telescopically, I could clearly see the North Polar Ice Cap, but by then it was so windy, I could not make out any definate surface features.

My final observation was of VY Canis Majoris that Dr. Roberta Humphreys gave a talk about in October. It is also a red variable star, not as bright as R Leporis, that took some careful star hopping to get to. I could see no nebula. I think that will take a bigger scope to see than my little 8 inch.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: John Preston on January 14, 2010, 04:07:07 PM
Pulled an all nighter and got to see many, many objects. Starting with M1,63,65,66,78,43,42,94,95,105,96,58,59,49,104,31,110,32 to name a few. Also did some imaging on M1, M104, and NGC2392 the Eskimo Nebula. But as usual the winds we're being difficult and didn't get any real good images but sure was fun looking at everything.

Actually nights like last night would be great if folks just wanted to stop by and see these objects on the computer screen, I do this from my driveway and we can always go inside to warm up if needed. Let me know if anyone is interested in doing this sometime and I would be more than happy to bring the rig out for some fun viewing the electronic way ;)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on January 14, 2010, 11:02:42 PM
Ya know what? I think a young talented guy with thousands of dollars of imaging equiptment just might be able to pull in an image of the nebulosity surrounding VY Canis Majoris. It would make for a fabulous follow up image to put into the next RAC newsletter!

That is, IF, we could possibly find a guy like that!  ;)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on January 15, 2010, 03:40:13 AM
I did my first official Saturn observation for ALPO yesterday morning.  Seeing wasn't the greatest.  I got to try out my new Tom Osypowski equatorial platform, and let me tell you Dob owners - if you do any observing at high powers (or, like me, tried to avoid doing so because tracking was so difficult) you have got to get one of these things!  I did the roughest of alignments - just generally pointed it north - and Saturn stayed in the eyepiece at 266X for a couple of minutes.  I could even do things like swap filters on my eyepiece and not lose my target.  With a little tweaking of settings, I was up to 5 minutes before Saturn wasn't quite centered and I wanted to nudge it - no doubt because the platform was made for 43 degrees lat instead of my 45 - and I didn't do anything to correct for it.  Maybe next time I'll do a more accurate polar alignment.  This thing will be great for sharing the views with others, too.  I'll have to pitch my canned "the earth rotates, and at these high powers, you can almost feel the earth moving under you..." speech.  Sketching was much easier, too.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: John Preston on January 15, 2010, 05:15:37 AM
Ya know what? I think a young talented guy with thousands of dollars of imaging equiptment just might be able to pull in an image of the nebulosity surrounding VY Canis Majoris. It would make for a fabulous follow up image to put into the next RAC newsletter!

That is, IF, we could possibly find a guy like that!  ;)

Now that you brought it up Dean, I really want to take my imaging to the next level and if check out the post "For Sale" you may understand what I'm willing to do to make that happen.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on January 15, 2010, 08:12:47 AM
Hello astronomy fans. The temps are good enough for a January get together at Eagle Bluff, but the cloud cover may not be what we want.

I have the weekend off from tending bar, so I'd be available both tonight and tomorrow night.

Any insights from the RAC Northern Star Party Chair?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on January 15, 2010, 08:36:54 AM
Now both the Weather Channel and CSC for Eagle Bluff are calling for decent observing conditions. A generally clear sky with average to above average transparency. Seeing is rated average to below average.

I called Eagle Bluff and they have absolutely nothing going on, so we'd have a nice dark parking lot with power outlets.

Whaddya think? I would absolutely go.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on January 15, 2010, 09:21:00 AM
I'm in.  The temperatures seem positively warm compared to last friday.

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on January 15, 2010, 10:01:14 AM
I'm not making any promises because I haven't cleared this with the CEO, but if I showed up at 1:30-2:00 in the morning, what are the odds I'd be all alone?  The way I'm sleeping these days, I'd just be starting my day...
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on January 15, 2010, 01:05:02 PM
I think I'll pass.  Maybe I'll catch something at home...
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Captain Kirk on January 15, 2010, 03:33:26 PM
When are you setting up?  I would have to leave now to get there before dark  ;)

Kirk
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on January 15, 2010, 04:01:21 PM
I'll try to leave town by 6, maybe sooner if I can.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: John Preston on January 15, 2010, 05:25:05 PM
From the current weather I'm looking at it appears that it will be cloudy all night?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on January 15, 2010, 06:37:48 PM
Yeah, Its pretty cloudy, and not clearing up like the CSC said, so I'm definitely NOT going tonight. I hope tomorrow night look better.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on January 15, 2010, 06:45:29 PM
I would have to agree. It definately looks like a NO GO.

Let's stay in tune for tomorrow night.

For tonight, LOCAL OBSERVING ONLY.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on January 16, 2010, 10:46:52 AM
I was out from about 3:20-4:40 this morning and seeing was poor.  Transparency was at least average.  I nailed 5 Messier galaxies in Coma Berenices, which - once I finish compiling my records - should finish out the whole 110 for me.  Hopefully I kept good records...  3 of them required averted vision, one of which required averted vision + motion to really detect.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on January 16, 2010, 03:07:17 PM
Right now the possibility of observing at Eagle Bluff is doable, at least until midnight. Then it looks like cloud cover moves in.

I am, however, inclined towards watching the Arizona Cardinals beat New Orleans so the Vikings can host the NFC Championship game at the Metrodome.

Is anyone out there interested in Eagle Bluff tonight?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on January 16, 2010, 03:43:29 PM
I am very much inclined to go. But I could just go to Keller if no one else is going.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on January 16, 2010, 05:09:18 PM
From the Clear Sky Clock for Eagle Bluff, the winds are estimated at 17 to 28 mph. That would be pretty breezy and EBELC has a very open parking lot.

I think that I will just get a Mars position from my deck tonight. My deck is on the north end of my house that will block the southerly wind quite nicely.

Best of luck to all who observe tonight.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on January 16, 2010, 05:20:15 PM
I am going to Eagle bluff right now. I expect to be there for quite a while. I'll do some imagining and some observing.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on January 17, 2010, 08:41:47 AM
Spent last night inputting the final calibrations on the ServoCat Drive for the Obsession. Finally took the scope out on my driveway about 11pm, and with my third try - got it to work! But it got frosty quick (not my optics -- me) and I rolled her back in the garage. Held very steady images in the eyepiece despite the wind. Will await the next clearing for more testing.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on January 17, 2010, 09:01:47 PM
A few days ago I ran across this set of logs for various lists: http://10minuteastronomy.wordpress.com/logbooks-for-al-observing-clubs/ (http://10minuteastronomy.wordpress.com/logbooks-for-al-observing-clubs/) .
So while I was at Eagle Bluff Saturday, I began the deep sky binocular list.  The sky was quite good. I got there at 6:30. I first set up my imaging gear. After that, I started in the list. I had several pairs of binoculars. It was quite interesting how much the fuzz changed into stars between 7x and 21x. Some of the clusters on that list are very small and poor, others are quite rich and large.  At around 10 PM, it got quite cloudy, and even had some flurries. I was thinking to maybe wait a little, but decided to pack it in. I keep forgetting that famous targets like M42 and the Double Cluster, while quite visible from the city, look just 10 times better from Eagle bluff.  And others like M33, are usually impossible from the city do very easily stand out from dark skies.

The chair definitely helped, but next time, I might bring a lounger or maybe build a parallelogram or something.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on January 17, 2010, 09:02:39 PM
Or I could go all out with something like this:
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on January 17, 2010, 09:11:57 PM
Ah-ooooooo-gah!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on January 18, 2010, 03:51:34 AM
And others like M33, are usually impossible from the city do very easily stand out from dark skies.

M33 isn't horribly difficult for me with my 10", but I think my skies are a little better than yours.  If your skies are dark enough, though, it's a naked-eye object.  I don't think even Eagle Bluff is that dark.  Maybe down at Flatin Farm...
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on January 18, 2010, 07:58:17 AM
I was talking small binoculars here, and I keep forgetting that not everyone that lives in Rochester deals with magnitude 3-4 skies.  And on that one really really clear night in December, I did just barely see it averted. I've tried several times since, and just couldn't do it.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on January 18, 2010, 07:44:38 PM
I have also seen M33 in Triangulum with averted vision, both at Eagle Bluff and at the Flatin Farm. Under perfect conditions, both sites are very good for those kind of visual tests.

M31 is generally listed as the deepest sky object that can be seen with the naked eye, but Burnham's suggests that M33 is farther, and perhaps takes that category.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on January 19, 2010, 10:00:22 AM
I nailed 5 Messier galaxies in Coma Berenices, which - once I finish compiling my records - should finish out the whole 110 for me.  Hopefully I kept good records...

After three days of transferring written logs into a spreadsheet, I find I'm still 3 short... 55, 83 and 100.  100 is the most frustrating to discover I'm missing because I was just in the neighborhood the other night.  I feel like I've seen 55, but it's hard to be sure.  83 Looks tough from the backyard.  I have very limited southern skies below 30 degrees.  I think I'm going to have to travel to Keller for that one...
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on January 19, 2010, 12:47:12 PM
Sorry to hear that Scott. M83 is pretty far south, I've seen it from Eagle Bluff, never tried from Keller. M55 is pretty far south as well. I found that from Keller, but only after the teapot was past the meridian(Keller has a hill to the southeast that blocks a little). M100 isn't difficult in location, just crowded. I printed out a very detailed chart for it and neighbors to be sure I had the right one.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on January 19, 2010, 09:30:54 PM
Yep. M55 is at a southerly declination. The good news is that you can get it when you come on down for the Syttende Mai Star Party or the 3rd Annual Star BQ.

M83 is also a very southerly Messier object in Hydra. But that is easily caught from Eagle Bluff. I'm pretty sure that we saw it at our last Messier Marathon. It is a very nice object in an 8" scope, I can only imagine how beautiful it would be in larger aperature or by imaging.

M100 is easily doable, BUT, you have to star hop east of Denebola in Leo to a triangle of Messier objects. M100 is the westernmost of the three, and each of them have a noticable star in the FOV.

You could get all three in February if you wanted to stay up that long.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on January 20, 2010, 04:13:52 AM
I'm not sure traveling to Eagle Bluff is in the cards right now.  And the way I'm sleeping, I'm up between 3:00-4:00 in the morning, so "staying up" looks more like "getting up."  On the plus side, if it isn't foggy, the light pollution is greatly reduced in the mornings.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Rick Murray on January 20, 2010, 10:18:14 PM
Hi all
     I've missed the last couple meetings due to a tooth extraction and a bad cold. I haven't gotten out much for observations this winter due to very cloudy and cold conditions. I am quite happy with election results. Good and capable people are in position.  Would be happy to help with any outreach program.
     I found M33 to be a quite large object, but faint even under good conditions....rather unspectaclar. M100 is an easily seen object, but I found it very helpful to have a very good star map. There are too many galaxies in that area and can get off track (under good conditions). What fun  ;D. I must admit I've been a bit lazy this winter...a needed break.

Happy trails

Rick
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on February 03, 2010, 10:41:39 PM
Hello astronomy fans! I got another position of Mars observation tonight. Mars is heading back towards Castor and Pollux in Gemini and is currently very close to M44 in Cancer. In fact both Mars and M44 were in the same FOV in my 15X70 Celestron Skymaster binoculars.

I got the observation between 8 and 8:30 p.m. By 9 p.m. the skies were completely clouded over. Good timing!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: John Preston on February 04, 2010, 01:18:38 PM
Very Nice Dean!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on February 10, 2010, 06:19:21 PM
If anyone is interested in joining him, Luka is heading out to Keller to do some observing and imaging.  He is heading out there now and is thinking he will be there for a couple of hours.  Head on out and join him.  I won't be able to head out.  I'm sure he'll enjoy some company.  Looks nice and clear.. and cold.   :) 
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on February 10, 2010, 11:39:48 PM
Thanks for posting Jeff.  While the temperature was cold, the wind was quite calm and I really did a decent job dressing to make it a non-issue. Lots and lots of layers, like an onion. Breath and frost was still a problem though.

Anyway I observed mostly with binoculars and imaged with my scope. My binocular targets were from the binocular deep sky list.  I'm mostly done with the Cassiopeia, Perseus and Orion ones. I still have a few in Puppis and Monoceros of the well placed winter ones.  I couldn't get the sculptor dwarf galaxy. I might be too late, or I just need a little better time and horizon.

It certainly felt great to get out and observe after so much snow and clouds.

Also I would report that Keller is plowed, so a pretty good spot, even in winter. And the large snow bank can be use to keep the 1 streetlight completely out of view.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on February 11, 2010, 07:53:28 PM
Good for you for getting out Luka. I was going to go out last night, but we had a brutally hard cold day in the woods. I couldn't even muster the energy to get a position of Mars observation from my deck. I spent the day on the steepest slope I've been on all winter and went to bed right after supper.

Tomorrow night, Feb. 12th, Eagle Bluff is open and will not have anything going on. I talked to Dawn from the staff this morning and we have complete reign of the place.

I don't know what the weather is going to do, but if it is clear, I'll be there. I might not make it early because I have to go to Madison WI VA hospital tomorrow for the pre-op stuff on my left eye cataract surgery on Feb. 17.

Luka, could you ramrod the mustering of the troops if Eagle Bluff is doable?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on February 11, 2010, 10:14:38 PM
Yes, sure will. 
What time do you expect to be back?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Captain Kirk on February 12, 2010, 09:25:04 AM
I'm considering the trip down.  (Hard to say that given the fog here now.)

Kirk
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on February 12, 2010, 01:23:16 PM
Things are looking good so far, is there anyone else that's interested in going tonight?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on February 12, 2010, 06:05:11 PM
Hello all! I just made it back. I'm going to eat supper and pack up to head out. It looks good until at least 1, maybe 2 according to CSC.

Luka and Kirk, please reply here if you are going. I would go to Eagle Bluff if either one of you wants to go. Hopefully others may be interested as well.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on February 12, 2010, 06:11:20 PM
Yes, I plan on going. I'll leave in a while.  Kirk seemed inclined to go last time I talked to him.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on February 12, 2010, 06:16:37 PM
Cool. See you there. I'll probably leave in an hour, so somewhere between one and a half to 2 hours from now, I'll be there.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Captain Kirk on February 12, 2010, 07:17:28 PM
It is really soupy in Rochester.  I don't trust that it will be better down there.  (I had thought the CSC looked like it would be decent in Rochester when I looked earlier today.)

Another time.

Kirk
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on February 13, 2010, 12:32:24 AM
While it was terrible around here, Eagle Bluff was very clear, for a while. We got clouded out at around 10 PM, I'd say. Still it was a good time, and we saw some nice things.  I got to test out some new equipment, in the form of  Maksutov-Cassegrain that arrived today. It delivered an amazing view of M42. It was really great to see Dean and do some observing with him again.
And I took just a few photos, but they're a good start, I'd say. See the images section.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Roger Southwick on February 13, 2010, 02:07:32 AM
It must have been "new equipment day" -- I received a new Stellarvue SVR80ED refractor this morning and was surprised to have clear skies here in Northfield at sunset (how often does a new scope arrive with clear skies?).  Got polar aligned and looked at the Pleiades for 2 minutes, then Mars for 2 minutes, and then the fog rolled in; I could barely see across the street, but the resulting frost looks nice.

Glad to hear you had at least a few hours of good conditions at Eagle Bluff.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on February 13, 2010, 02:28:45 AM
It was great while it lasted. I got a Mars position observation in on all three levels, naked eye, binocular and telescopic. I also was able to get a solid observation on asteroid 4 Vesta before Luka and I got clouded out.

I really liked checking out his new gear. WAY cool! It makes me want to get something new, but I am only six hours short of getting 1200 hours of observing with the scope I've got. What a conundrum!

At least I was able to touch base with another person from the RAC. I felt bad about missing the last meeting. The "northern" and the "southern" co-ordinators got to co-ordinate on at least a few objects tonight. It was extremely satisfying. But after we packed up after shooting the breeze for half an hour, I even saw a few snowflakes on the way out of Eagle Bluff!

Better luck next time!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: John Preston on February 17, 2010, 10:26:03 PM
Got the new Stellarvue 105 Apo out last night, unfortunately wasn't able to polar align as clouds kept me from locking this up but I just manually drove the scope around. In short time Roger Southwick stopped by with his new Stellarvue 80 and we spent a few hours taking in the sights such as Mars, the Beehive cluster, M42 & 45. The one thing I noticed with both scopes that the images we're extremely sharp and the stars perfect round points of light.

Can't wait until the skies improve as the new imager comes in Friday so I look forward to some great nights observing once the 120+ nights of lousy weather leave us.

John P.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on February 18, 2010, 07:21:18 AM
Anyone interested in going to Keller this evening (Thursday)?  I should be able to be there from about 7:30 until I freeze up.  Historically, that puts me no later than 9:30.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on February 18, 2010, 09:11:05 AM
I was thinking the same thing.  I'll try to get there earlier. I might try to get a few more of the winter objects off the binocular deep sky list, and maybe take some images of the Pleiades and the double cluster.   
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on February 18, 2010, 05:33:54 PM
My van is stuck in ice.  Won't move a lick.  Sorry, but I can't make it.  Looks like the back deck for me...
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Rick Murray on February 18, 2010, 08:38:00 PM
Got the scope out last night to get a good look at Mars. The atmosphere wasn't as steady as I thought it would be. I thought there was a 2 second window where saw some kind of definition...maybe....I'll have to try again.

Happy trails

Rick
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on February 19, 2010, 04:29:50 AM
I managed to capture 5 Herschel 400s from my deck last night, all OCs in and around Monoceros, which is a very productive night for me.  I'm guessing I would have gotten only 1 or 2 without the O'Meara guide - his descriptions and pictures helped me get positive IDs on several.  Transparency was pretty good.  Seeing was so-so.

I also observed Mars around 8:30 CST and, for the first time I can recall, saw real detail on the planet.  200X wasn't too much for the seeing; about once every 2-3 seconds, the view would be very sharp for a fraction of a second before going fuzzy again.  The tracking platform really helped me out as I wasn't nudging the scope during those fractions of a second.  The northern polar ice cap was plainly visible, and there appeared to be a much larger white area on the southern edge.  I could also make out some dark features across the face of the planet, and they really popped with a #25 filter.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on February 27, 2010, 01:03:59 AM
Hello astronomy fans! I got out tonight for four hours. I looked at Sirius for 20 minutes and I swear I think I could see hints of Sirius B. I'll have to try again on a real steady night. There was a persistant breeze tonight that shook the scope a little.

Mars got the naked eye, binocular and telescopic treatment. I could even see a thin dark band low in the southern hemisphere tonight along with a very prominent N. polar ice cap. My best look at it so far this go round.

Five Lunar II targets went down tonight, the Aristarchus Plateau, Crater Marian, crater Gruithuisen and domes Gruithuisen Gamma and Delta, the Rumker Hills (Mons Rumker) and the Tycho rays. A very good night for lunar observing.

Saturn finished off the night. Thin rings and two moons, Titan to the west and one to the east.

A glorious night for astronomy! ;D
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 02, 2010, 11:15:24 PM
Hello everyone! I had a great night tonight. I went out and set up at 6:15 p.m. because I knew that I'd be racing the two day old gibbous Moon for time.

Venus was first up. It's low, round and the colors are bad, but it was nice to see again. I looked at Sirius and since the atmosphere was a lot steadier tonight, I could definately see Sirius B. It doesn't hold direct vision, but with averted it pops in and out of view during periods of steady seeing.

I got a naked eye, binocular and telescopic observations of Mars. The Read Planet reaches its western stationary position on March 11th.

I nailed 7 Herschel 400 objects tonight! The first for me since last fall. All galaxies in Ursa Major. NGC's 3556, 3310, 3610, 3613 and 3819 (a Herschel 400 2 for 1), 3665 and 3675. 3310, 3613/3619 and 3675 were the best looking. I'm sitting at 282 for the Herschel 400.

Moonrise came at 9:03 p.m. I got an observation on R Leporis, Algol was at a minimum tonight, I recorded the position of asteroid 4 Vesta, watched the Moon thru binoculars for a while and finished with Saturn. Titan to the west and two other moons to the east.  4 hrs. tonight,  22 y.t.d. and 1202 total on my Celestron G8. AGNFA!!!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Rick Murray on March 02, 2010, 11:25:55 PM
Tried again to zero in on Mars...The atmosphere wasn't great, but still coudn't get any definition. I have tried my adjustable polarized flter, red and yellow and still not abe to get good resolution. Too cheap a lens, or too fast of a focuser.?. (I'll go with the cheap lens - I need a new one  ;D).  It's good to see some clear nights again. Very cloudy winter.

Happy Trails

Rick
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on March 03, 2010, 02:03:14 AM
Rick, what telescope and eyepiece are you using?  How confident are you that your scope was properly cooled down and collimated?  Were you aiming directly above roofs or pavement that might have been releasing heat?

Mars is a tricky one for seeing detail on, even under the best of conditions.  It takes a good long look to really spot much on most nights, on the order of 5-10 minutes.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 03, 2010, 07:42:46 AM
Telescopically, I got a great look at Mars last night. Not much surface detail, but the N. polar ice cap was as sharp as I've ever seen it. No color aberration and Mars is showing a gibbous phase now that we're pulling ahead of it. I had very steady skies.

It takes my Celestron G8 a good 10 to 15 minutes to cool down and that is after a cold five minute drive with no heat on in the van. Once it settles in, it does pretty good. No urban "heat island" effects on the Flatin Farm. :D
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on March 03, 2010, 04:50:31 PM
Any interest in going to Keller tonight? Moonrise is at 10:19 PM so we'd have several good hours of darkness.  My intention right now is to go, probably right after dark.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Rick Murray on March 03, 2010, 05:39:52 PM
I cooled down my 12" Dob for tree hours along with my lens case. I'm using a 10mm lens, so that puts me @ 150 magnification. Without some kind of flter Mars seems too bright to get any detail, similar to Venus. From what I'm hearing from the rest of you, noboby uses filters when observing Mars .?.?  No roofs....no pavemets. I did think the atmosphere was more stable last night...just couldn't focus as well as I thougt should have been able to. I'll give it another try tonigt along with a look at Saturn to compare and re-colimnate. Couldn't split Serius.
Thanks for your input.

Happy Trails

Rick
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on March 03, 2010, 07:21:10 PM
I've used a Red #25 and #23 filter to some effect on Mars, but I would describe the difference as subtle.  It would not make a difference between seeing no detail on the planet and going "WOW!"

You may need a cooling fan for that big mirror.  If the temperature is dropping more than about 1.5 degrees an hour, air cooling isn't going to keep up.  I have found that when I am doing planetary observing, having the fan on makes a huge difference in what I can see.

I'm using a single-speed Synta Crayford on my f/4.7 and while I sometimes wish for a little finer control, it works adequately.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Rick Murray on March 04, 2010, 12:05:53 AM
I was finally able to see some definition in Mars. After remembering north is south through my Dob I could see the northern ice cap. On a bright planet it was even brighter, almost like a glare. At times I thought I could see some darker shading, but then I also thought I could see three dark stripes at times. I won't claim to have seen any major definition. I did get the best look I think I ever have at Mars. I had to use my polarized filter to get that view. It was too bright without it.
It was good to see Saturn again...I've missed it. The atmosphere was more steady tonight than last night, in my opinion. I did a quick look at the Eskimo & Owl nebulas, M35, 36, 37, & 38 just for practice.

Happy Trails

Rick
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on March 04, 2010, 07:47:59 AM
Good for you, Rick!  Mars is a tough one and it takes a while to really get to see it.  The good thing with colored filters is that they both cut down on the amount of light and they also increase contrast for certain features.  On nights of poorer seeing, you may find an off-axis aperture mask makes a big difference.  Cooling may very well be your issue, too, and last night may have had more steady temperatures.  Try to track that as you go along...
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 04, 2010, 08:00:07 AM
Hello astronomy fans! I got out for another 4 hours last night and nabbed 9 Herschel 400 objects, an asteroid Vesta position sighting and Rimae Cauchy, a Lunar II target.

The Herschels were all galaxies: NGC's 3245, 3277, 3294, 3344, 3377, 3379, 3384, 3395, and 3432. The best of the bunch were 3294 and 3379/3384, a Herschel 400 "2 for 1".
You may also know 3379 as M105 in Leo. NGC 3389 can be seen with them in the same FOV, but isn't a Herschel 400 object.

Great to see that others have been getting out! I think our long cloudy winter is coming to an end.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on March 04, 2010, 08:28:56 AM
Glad to hear it Dean. I was out for 3.5 hours myself. And what do you know, I started imagining with a little of M105.  I didn't get much data, as I was futzing around with my old 1.25" focal reducer. I turns out it can't quite focus with my 2" adapter. I will need to try a "zero-profile" adapter or something. I also got out my laptop and webcam for planetary imaging, and imaged Mars a bit. I haven't looked at the data, but I'm not so hopeful. I may need to use a barlow next time.

I also observed a few open clusters in Puppis and Monoceros with binoculars for the Binocular deep sky list.  I also found "Winter Albireo"(145 CMa) with my large binoculars. It looks wonderful at 22X.  I also managed to see M97 with my large binoculars. That is a first for me. The tough parts were the Rochester light pollution, and that fact that my mount for those is a little too short, and just barely pans high enough to see it.  Another amazing sight is M42. It looked so large. Almost like a short exposure photo. The effect of seeing it with two eyes, and with enough aperture is great!  It a completely different beast than from the city.

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 05, 2010, 09:07:00 AM
I have a question...When I recorded NGC 3556  on Tuesday night (also known as M108, spiral galaxy in Ursa Major near M97 the Owl Nebula), I noticed a star superimposed on the galaxy near the nucleus.

Is this a foreground object or is there some sort of nova activity going on in M108?

If any of you active cold weather observers are out tonight, I'd appreciate anyone giving this a look.

Thanks!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on March 05, 2010, 01:02:48 PM
Dean, this is oddly coincidental, but I was also looking at M108 for a long time last night as I was working with some new equipment on my 18" Obsession. I actually took a snapshot of it and attached is the photo and also a picture from the internet side by side. It appears that it is a foreground star but neither of my planetarium programs list it, although the programs do go down to 16 and 20th mag stars. See attached.

I will try to read your mind again tonight (what would Dean look at???)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on March 05, 2010, 01:35:07 PM
Interesting. I actually took 1 photo of it as well. I will post it when I got home tonight.

Randy, was that just a camera up to the eyepiece?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 05, 2010, 03:49:40 PM
Randy, you're attached photo is exactly like what I saw. If your planetarium photos don't show that star, could it be a supernova in M108 or a faint nova from our galaxy superimposed on NGC 3556? In either case, could we be missing out on a minor astronomical discovery?

At an Eagle Bluff star party in 2006 members of the RAC spotted a nova in M51 that had been discovered by an amatuer astronomer in Germany just eight days previous.

I'll look at it again tonight, hopefully it is still there.

I need nine more Herschel 400's to pass the 300 mark. No bartending on a clear night. What a blessing!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Rick Murray on March 05, 2010, 05:59:39 PM
I also got a very short look at M108 on the 3rd. Although I did see the nucleus my main objective was to find M97. I'll take a better look tonight. Read my {horse head} mind for {nebula} tonight !!!

Happy Trails

Rick
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on March 05, 2010, 07:07:03 PM
Here's my photo. One 2 minute image.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Rick Murray on March 06, 2010, 02:25:38 AM
The sky was nicely transparent tonght. I got an even better view of Mars tonight than last. Actually could see some darker shading in parts along with the ice cap. That was fun. So I tured to Saturn...Very nice!! Saw just a little bit of banding. The nucleus of M108 twinkled for me...? A forground star? I think so. M81 & M82 looked very good...nice & bright. Then I noticed Hercules...M13 !!! Not yet high in the sky, I didn't get a very good view, but hey...it's one of my favorite targets. Good to see it again. We had company tonight so I did't get out until after the Horse Head was out of view...another time.

Happy Trails
Rick
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 06, 2010, 03:17:03 AM
Well, I screwed up. I got so busy looking at other stuff, that I forgot to check back on M108. ???

However, I did nail 12 Herscel 400's, a personal best for one night. All galaxies, NGC's 3412, 3414, 3486, 3489, 3504, 3593, 3607/3608, 3626, 3655, 3686 and 3621. 3621 was in Hydra, all the rest were in Leo and Leo Minor. The best ones were 3607/3608, a Herschel 400 "2 for 1" in a pretty starfield. Also good were 3655 and 3414. Oh yeah, I also HAD to check out M65/M66 when I was going after NGC 3593. Just beautiful. :-*

Moonrise was at 12:41 a.m. I also got another position on asteroid 4 Vesta, naked eye, binocular and telescopic observations of Mars (killer ice cap and some vauge surface markings), a Lunar II target, crater Linne' and for the grand finale...

Saturn, of course, right at the zenith. Atmosphere banding, 3 moons, clear gaps between the rings and the planet, definately the best look at the Ringed Planet so far this year.

A Glorious Night For Astronomy!!! (P.S. Thanks for all the great images of M108 from everyone) :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on March 06, 2010, 07:35:11 AM
The picture in the Night Sky Observer's Guide clearly shows the star, and in the text description it states, "An 8th magnitude star lies 8' west of the galaxy's center."
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 10, 2010, 08:08:55 AM
Hello everybody. Eagle Bluff has a small quilters group there this weekend, but the staff does not think that will interfere with stargazing.

We can have the parking lot lights off.

Weather is the main issue right now. Keep checking the forum. Maybe we'll get lucky.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Rick Murray on March 10, 2010, 10:02:17 PM
If I go it will be Friday night and I'll be out to break your Mesier record !!!

Rick
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: John Preston on March 10, 2010, 11:42:40 PM
Tested out my new SV105Apo and QHY8Pro imager last week and have a picture to share with a question. I captured M35 with only 3 frames at 60 seconds. Still trying to get a good flat field by adjusting the spacing on the field flattener and imager but thought this wasn't too bad with a little drift.

The question I have is just above M35 and slightly to the right 1 o'clock position appears to be another cluster or what?

John P.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on March 11, 2010, 05:15:48 AM
NGC2158, about 6x further away than M35 (NSOG).  Invisible to my eye with a 10" under urban skies, it simply explodes into view from darker skies.  The stars mostly are 13th magnitude and fainter.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on March 12, 2010, 07:19:50 AM
John, you should image it's twin M38/ngc1907 in Auriga with the same settings. (When the fog clears). It would be interesting seeing the images side by side.

Randy
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: John Preston on March 12, 2010, 08:20:29 AM
John, you should image it's twin M38/ngc1907 in Auriga with the same settings. (When the fog clears). It would be interesting seeing the images side by side.

Randy

I'll put that on my wish list of clear skies and not on the road for weeks at a time ;)

I do expect to setup my autoguiding on this telescope also so I may work on 3-5 minute images or longer if the telescope gods allow.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Rick Murray on March 12, 2010, 05:25:36 PM
I've found that if I can get a good focus on NGC2158 I know the atmosphere is quite steady and clear. It was fun to discover that open cluster while viewing M35. I agree that you should try M38 too.
Good luck. 

Rick
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 15, 2010, 12:27:55 PM
Hello everybody! I know this might sound like an exercise in futility, BUT...

Eagle Bluff is open for us this weekend if we get clear skies. Sheila told me they have a small group there this weekend, but they will not interfere with us having the parking lot lights off if we can observe. We'll hope for the best.

On a more positive note, I just received some literature on the Nebraska Star Party that I'll bring with to the next meeting and share. I'd like to go this year. It's never too early to start planning for the Solar Eclipse of August 2017!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 15, 2010, 11:30:41 PM
Hello folks, I got out for two hours tonight. Not the best conditions, breezy, damp, but warmer thank God.

I got naked eye, binocular and telescopic observations on Mars which now shows a gibbous phase as the Earth pulls ahead of the Red Planet. I saw the most surface markings on the planet in both the northern and southern hemispheres than at any other time this opposition.

I got an observation on Asteroid 4 Vesta, now about halfway between Gamma and Epsilon Leonis.

I even got a Herschel 400, NGC 3992 (also known as M109). That galaxy, normally very noticable, was barely visible tonight.

Better luck Wednesday. Hope for the best this weekend, but I think a Messier Marathon will probably have to wait until next year unless Rick stays up all Wednesday night to beat last years RAC record of 75!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on March 17, 2010, 06:31:12 PM
I think I'll head out to Keller for a bit tonight, check for Leprechauns.   :)
Head on out if you want. 
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 20, 2010, 12:15:15 PM
Well what do you know? There's a big bright yellow thing in the sky and the snow and clouds that were supposed to be shutting us out are not in sight.

Which brings us to the possibility of a Messier Marathon...

I had already committed to tending bar tonight because two other bartenders are sick and it was supposed to be cloudy. We have a live band tonigh and I know I'll get killer tips which would pad my cash flow for NCRAL.

Mike Rowlands of the LaCrosse group wants to know if we are going to try a Messier Marathon. They might have some participants.

How about the rest of you stalwarts of the RAC? Anyone interested? Luka?

I have to remove a stump for a friend of mine this afternoon, so I'll check back in about 3 or 4 p.m.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on March 20, 2010, 04:13:49 PM
Sorry, I won't be able to make it tonight. Not to complain because skies look clear, but does it have to be the coldest night of the past two weeks??...
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on March 20, 2010, 04:40:07 PM
Honestly, the CSC looks better for Rochester than the Bluff and even that doesn't look that great for the first couple of hours of the night.  I plan to sleep early and set the alarm to get up early (like 1AM) and try to finish off the Double Star and nab a few of the Messiers I need (specifically 100 and 83) before working on Herschel 400s from the back deck.  Who knows?  If conditions are poor, I may just see how many I can get in the second half of the night, with a rather obstructed eastern and southeastern view...
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 20, 2010, 05:16:30 PM
Yeah, I've got high thin haze right now, that stump turned out to be four feet tall, and six feet wide at the base. We had to get Dugan's skidder that he logs with to get it out of the ground.

I'm tending bar and putting up with high decibels, short attention spans and deteriorating I.Q.'s for the night. ::)

Good luck to those of you that get some telescope time in.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Rick Murray on March 20, 2010, 05:52:19 PM
I see to the west a clearing...it's been that way most of the day. It looks good in Owtonna, but not here. I'm not loading up my 12" Dob only to find hazy skies at the Bluff.

Happy Trails

Rick
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on March 20, 2010, 07:15:43 PM
The clouds are still pretty iffy. I'll try to make it out to Keller if it clears up, but Eagle bluff seems to be cloudier, and of course, much further.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on March 21, 2010, 05:38:36 AM
Well folks, I woke up without an alarm at 12:30 and after a futile wait to try to get back to sleep, I was set up out on the deck by 1:15am.  Transparency was, at best, average.  Seeing was a 7/10.  Not being much of a marathoner, I did a few things.  I first hunted N Hydrae, one of two doubles left on my list.  However, skyglow south of Spica eliminated most everything, even with 11x56 binoculars.  Corvus did make an appearance, but nothing below it.  So scratch that (and M83.)  At 1:31, I checked on M51/NGC5195 to verify my editor's note in the latest newsletter.  Both cores were easily visible at 40X, but even at 100X there was just no detail to be seen.  I hopped down to M104, which was very sharp and bright, but I could not see the fabled dark lane.  From there, I jumped to Leo and found M65/66 easily.  How could these have ever seemed difficult to me?  Both were very obvious, and the pair just fit in the FOV of my 12mm Orthoscopic.  No hint of the third galaxy in the trio, though, which I have never spotted from my house.

At that point, I decided I couldn't very well do deep sky observing all night and neglect my ALPO training, so I observed Saturn.  Rings are very thin right now, about 3 degrees.  Seeing was fantastic, about a 7/10.  I bumped magnification up to 266X and it was mostly steady.  The SEB was thin, and the NEB just a hint darker but much thicker.  I thought I could maybe tease out a bit of detail on the SEB, but not sure enough that my imagination wasn't involved.  A yellow #12 filter did not improve things much.  4 moons were easily visible.

Back to Virgo...  I found NGC 4762/4754, which made a striking pair of galaxies at 100X.  Stumbled on M60 and M59 - both were visible in my finder.  Too bad I already finished the Binocular Messier list or I could have logged them.  Moved on to NGC4660.  Then, it was time to fail.  Neither NGC 4689 nor 4654 would show up, in spite of detailed maps and careful hunting.  To get a quick success hit, I jumped to M3, which is my personal favorite.  Then I logged NGC 5557 and 5676, both of which were quite easy at the zenith.  About this time (3:55) I noticed that transparency was not as good as it had been.  Still, I managed to find NGC5689 as a nice patch of cotton.  In spite of being in the right place, I couldn't see M101.  Hit M13 at 4:27, but the core would not resolve at 200X, showing that transparency was really declining.  I could just split Epsilon Lyrae at 200X, so seeing was going downhill, too.  I found M57 and it was obviously a smoke ring at 40X.  M4 just barely showed up in the eyepiece, nearly washed out in the skyglow.  I finished up at 4:52 with M80, which was much easier to find than M4 and really punched through the glow well, but wouldn't resolve at 200X.

Chilled, I came inside to run the results...

11 Messiers, and 6 new Herschel 400s.  A glorious morning for astronomy!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 22, 2010, 01:18:04 PM
An out standing observing session, Sott! It inspired me to get out there last night for six hours.

Even though we're still two days shy of 1st Quarter, the Moon didn't set until 1:52 a.m. I did manage 3 Lunar II targets; Rima Ariadaeus, craters Ritter and Sabine, and crater Sacrobosco. Rima Ariadaeus was the coolest. It is a deep long crack in the Moon just south of Julius Caesar. I caught it right at the perfect sun angle. Ritter and Sabine are part of a nice complex of craters that lie on the SE floor of Mare Tranquilitatus just east of the Apollo 11 landing site. Sacrobosco is a distinctive crater in the lunar highlands that is identifiable by three craterlets inside its walls that make a right angle.

With the Moon not completely down yet, I got naked eye and binocular observations on Mars. Mars is heading back toward the Beehive in Cancer, but I still can't get them together in the bino FOV.

Asteroid 4 Vesta keeps moving and it is so easy to follow now that we are getting some clear nights to keep track of it. Vesta was moving toward Epsilon Leonis, but now it is just beginning to make the turn into its retrograde motion. A very fun thing to watch.

Saturn was next up and on this night of opposition it did not disappoint. Four Moons, with Titan off to the west, the rings still very flat, but the atmosphereic detail was extremely good. (Excellent seeing and transparency last night.)

Now the Moon had set and I went Herschel hunting. All galaxies this night, NGC's 2787, 3640, 3726, 3729, 3810, 3813, 3877, and 3893. NGC's3726, 3729 and 3877 were the best of the lot. AGNFA!!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: rabomgaars on March 22, 2010, 03:59:52 PM
Yes, Scott, It looks like you carried the flag for the club on Messier weekend.  I did go out last night - hadn't used the scope for awhile and spent much time getting up to speed.  Looked at Orion and could see the trapezium with 32mm lens.  Finder scope problems led me to
look  at the Moon - a wonderful terminator line for some wild looking craters.  I think I was looking at Maurolycus (a deep crater??) and Barocius with some little Mickey Mouse ears by it.  Also saw Theophilus/Cyrillus/Catharina and the Rupes Altai along side.  Wondered if I was seeing tiny Bessel in Mare Serenitatis.  It was great to do the whole evening in flip flops!  Welcome the Equinox.  SB
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on April 08, 2010, 08:10:19 PM
I'm heading on down to Keller. Join me if you can.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Mr.Gorp on April 09, 2010, 11:36:10 AM
We (Julie and I) were planning on it. Should be there some time after 10. Looks to be a decent night if the clouds hold off.

Anything that might be of particular intrest to view tonight?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on April 09, 2010, 02:29:46 PM
This was from last night, and it was a fun time. Jerome and Jillissa joined me. We looked at the Trapezium and M42, Sigma Orionis, Mars, Saturn, and a  few others. We also did some binocular observing of some of the larger clusters.

Regarding tonight, I may go again, if its clear.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on April 09, 2010, 04:01:02 PM
Luka, was that heading to Keller again or are you heading to Eagle Bluff?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on April 09, 2010, 04:11:10 PM
I was thinking of Keller at first, but I notice that it is a dark sky weekend.  Will anyone be going to Eagle Bluff? I'm not really sure then.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on April 09, 2010, 06:00:02 PM
I have my brother Larry home from Nevada. He doesn't come around very often. I'm going to the Flatin Farm.

I hope you guys get out. Venus and Mercury were spectacular last night.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on April 09, 2010, 08:11:38 PM
Well, if it clears up, I would go to Keller tonight. I've got my fingers crossed.

Enjoy hanging out with your brother Dean!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on April 11, 2010, 03:09:34 AM
Thank you Luka. I've had fun pointing out Venus and Mercury paired together in the evening sky the last few nights.

I am really looking forward to seeing all of you RAC folks at the next meeting, NCRAL, and whenever we can get a great night at Eagle Bluff!

Luka, if you don't go to NCRAL, get the troops out observing this next weekend. This is the first time in six years that the NCRAL is scheduled for a dark sky weekend. Very unusual.

See you Tuesday at Randy's!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on April 12, 2010, 12:48:56 AM
Hello everyone. I got out for four hours tonight. I checked out my new 13mm Televu Ethos. WONDERFUL! You should have seen M3, M13, M42/M43, M41, M35, M82 and Saturn through that eyepiece. I had a lot of fun checking out my old favorites of the Obvious Stuff.

I got observations of Mars and Vesta, and nailed NGC 2811 for the Herschel 400. I tried for an hour to pick out NGC 2974 in Sextans, but I just could not see it. Conditions weren't the absolute best tonight to be sure. I HAVE to nail that galaxy down, because it is one that could "slide past the meridian" if I don't get it during this dark sky period.

An old buddy of mine drove by on his four wheeler tonight and I showed him a bunch of stuff. Bill picked out a satelitte and we even briefly saw a few streaks of Northern Lights tonight. That was the first I've seen of that since Nov. 2006, I think. I'll have to check my journals. Betty and the kids are sleeping and I didn't want to wake them by bringing my stuff in.

It was a great night!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: johnattewell on April 16, 2010, 08:59:16 AM
Last night was a big step for me; I got my first Messier target on the AstroLeague Messier Club list.  It was M44.  I didn?t know my first object was going to be that easy ? or that large and that beautiful.  I was aided significantly by Mars being just a few degrees away.  The thrill of nailing a target without the help of a more experienced observer at my elbow was quite unexpected.  Also, doing the homework on my target BEFORE going out was fun too as well as essential to a successful hunt.  I was also very pleased that the new accessories, that I recently bought, proved to be very helpful; with the exception of a diagonal I just got in the mail.  I guess those kinds of diagonals just don?t work on reflectors.

I found a really nice form on the AstroLeague web site to use as an observing log.  It was very helpful for a rookie.  Dean, you are right about the Peterson Field Guide to Astronomy; it is the perfect source of information.  I moved it off my bookshelf and into my field bag.

Unfortunately, I got a little cocky and tried to nail M67 after I found M44.  I tried for an over an hour and couldn?t locate it.  After I packed up my equipment I went back to my library to see where I went wrong.  After a little more study, I realized that I got disoriented with the lens projecting the image upside down and reversed.  I?m going to have to spend some time getting that into my head.  Too bad that diagonal didn?t work.

I see that this weekend might be good for observing.  Watch out M67; I?m going to get you.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on April 16, 2010, 02:39:00 PM
Great job John! Glad you succeeded in finding M44.  Where did you observe from?


I'm going to try to get to Keller tonight for some observing and imaging. You and anyone else is welcome to join. I'll try to be there around 9, but it may be later than that.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on April 16, 2010, 06:26:16 PM
I think I'll head out to Keller, too.  If I do, I'll probably be there before 9:00.  Probably see you there then Luka.  Anyone else, head on out.  :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on April 17, 2010, 05:01:41 AM
Watch out M67; I?m going to get you.

M67 is a pretty tough one for me in Rochester.  I've seen it in my 4.5" on nights of good-to-excellent transparency, but it was only when I upgraded to a 10" that I was able to see it clearly and consistently.  Don't forget to check out some of the beautiful double stars in Cancer while you're in the area...
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on April 17, 2010, 05:58:09 PM
I think I'll be heading out to Keller again tonight.  Everyone welcome, come on out.   :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on April 17, 2010, 08:47:12 PM
I'm heading out to Keller again as well. Would love to have a few other people join us.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: johnattewell on April 30, 2010, 07:27:02 PM
I?m interested in going to Keller WMA but I can?t find where I can park and setup my telescope.  I see on Google Earth that there is a small area just off Hwy 15 that looks like a tiny parking lot.  Can anyone tell me where would be the best spot to setup?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on April 30, 2010, 09:19:33 PM
There is a parking lot right off of county road 15. It is, I think, about 1 mile south of the junction with County 126, on top of the hill.  Park at the south end of the lot, where the trees will block the light from the farm light.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on May 07, 2010, 03:37:02 PM
Any chance of the weather being good enough for an Eagle Bluff session tomorrow night?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: John Preston on May 07, 2010, 06:11:31 PM
Pretty questionable Dean, I believe the forecast is calling for dropping temps and partly cloudy. For casual viewing it would probably be ok but for imaging it would be a challenge.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on May 08, 2010, 08:26:02 PM
It looks cold but clear here. I may go to Keller. I would go to Eagle bluff, but it's late, and I've been driving too much today already. If others are going, let me know.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Mr.Gorp on May 18, 2010, 04:35:27 PM
Anyone up for a viewing at Kellner tonight or tomorrow night?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on May 19, 2010, 10:43:24 AM
I would love to have gone out last night, and to go out tonight, but sadly , there's some home improvements that need to get done before Saturday.  I hope someone else will join you though.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Captain Kirk on May 19, 2010, 12:58:22 PM
I'm tempted.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Captain Kirk on May 19, 2010, 09:28:22 PM
The sky is pretty sketchy.

I can't justify setting up.

Kirk
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Captain Kirk on May 21, 2010, 02:12:54 PM
The sky looks like it has a chance to clear up through the evening and overnight.  Who is interested in giving it a go at Keller tonight?

Kirk
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Captain Kirk on May 21, 2010, 11:42:00 PM
It's breaking up out there.  I'm headed to Keller.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Captain Kirk on May 22, 2010, 12:34:09 PM
The Milky Way popped out for a bit (maybe 20 Minutes?) between Moonset and when the sky went dark due to a fog rolling in.

I was rolling home by 3 a.m.

I'm headed back tonight if conditions warrant.

Kirk
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Captain Kirk on May 27, 2010, 09:48:01 AM
Luka joined me at Keller for a look at a few bright things last night.  Venus, Luna, Mars, Saturn.  Luka was also able to track down a member of the Leo Triplet, probably NGC 3628.

Kirk
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Captain Kirk on May 31, 2010, 12:06:10 PM
Moonrise is at 23:58 tonight.  It'll be a nice reminder to get some sleep before work tomorrow.

Anyone want to get out -- Keller or Eagle Bluff?

Kirk
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Nicole on May 31, 2010, 03:53:40 PM
If there's a group heading out to Eagle Bluff sometime soon, let me know - I'd love to stop out since I'm not far from there!  Also, when's the StarBQ?  =)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: rabomgaars on May 31, 2010, 05:08:08 PM
Kirk, Is it too late to chime in for Keller?  Cloud cover?  I will check back here. SB
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Captain Kirk on May 31, 2010, 06:35:33 PM
Kirk, Is it too late to chime in for Keller?  Cloud cover?  I will check back here. SB

Not at all.  CDC looked decent. I will try to be there around 8:00.

Kirk
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: rabomgaars on May 31, 2010, 06:44:36 PM
See you there.  B
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on June 04, 2010, 11:31:28 AM
I just checked the CSC for Eagle Bluff. It's not the greatest I've ever seen, but it wasn't real bad either.

I just called the Eagle Bluff staff and there is nothing going on except for a couple of people decorating for a wedding reception tomorrow.

We can have a dark parking lot for stargazing.

Anyone interested?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on June 04, 2010, 06:18:17 PM
After watching the KTTC TV weather, it looks like Eagle Bluff is out of the question. They are calling for partly to mostly cloudy skies thru the night.

If anyone does go, I would recommend LOCAL OBSERVING ONLY.

Maybe we'll have better luck next weekend.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on June 04, 2010, 06:53:48 PM
If there's a break in the clouds, I may broadcast on NightSkiesNetwork later tonight. It'll be spotty at best.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: John Preston on June 07, 2010, 02:25:26 AM
Well it's almost 2:30am Monday morning and I've been out with the telescope since 9pm. Skies cleared nicely but not perfect. Dew heaters getting a little bit of a workout. Capturing some images of M27. 57, & 13. Viewed numerous Messier objects and tons of the globular clusters.

Hope to get a few good images out of this, it's been so long since I've had an opportunity to use any of my scopes.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on June 11, 2010, 06:32:53 PM
Eagle Bluff? Hah! It looks like we're stifled again, astronomy fans. It's a NO GO tonight, and tomorrow night doesn't look much better.

We'll get our licks in one of these days.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on June 20, 2010, 11:36:44 AM
Hello astronomy fans. I did my outreach event for the Hidden Bluffs Campground again last night. I had LOTS of kids and we did the solar system scale model and played "Trigonomic Parallax". They had a blast.

Since the Moon was at 1st Quarter, observing started early, at 7:30. The Moon, Venus, Mars, Saturn, Polaris, Alberio, and M13 was all that we looked at, but people just kept coming by and nobody complained about looking at anything else. Lots of WOW! OMG! Sweet! Cool! and even a Ridicuous! was heard. And one little boy even told me he could see an astronaut walking on the Moon. Watch out Steven O'Meara, you've got some sharp eyed competition on the way. (I knew that Televu Ethos was a good investment.)

The campground turned off the one security light that had always bothered me in the past, which was great, but the valley is still a dew trap, so when I needed to dry out my scope in the van, I just whipped my laser pointer out and did the Starbie constellation thing. They all loved that and quite a few of them were very adept at spotting sattelites going by.

I ended up with at least 40 people through the course of the night, and the last of them didn't head out until 11:30. I told them about the RAC and I think we just might end up with some new faces at the meetings in the future. And lots of Dad's got asked, "Dad, can we get a telescope?" It was a glorious night for astronomy!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on June 20, 2010, 06:06:35 PM
That sounds like a great time Dean! Did you do this outreach last year too?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on June 23, 2010, 12:03:36 PM
Yep. And we are due to go out to Rushmore Shadows Campground for this same company in July. They put us up for free for 3 nights and we're only 20 minutes from Mt. Rushmore.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Rick Murray on July 01, 2010, 01:45:43 AM
Hello to all
It's been a while since I posted. It's been a very cloudy June. I have decided to try to find Pluto again. That endevour ended last summer in disapointment. I believe I have a good chance to follow it as it moves into a dark sky area for the next several days. I should find out tomorrow night. I'm also hoping to get my scope up to the lake where I have my camper this summer. No light polution at all. Dew could be an issue though. It is quite fun to have the summer sky back. In a word ... Globulars!!  ;D
I should be able to help with the Gamehaven outreach in July. I'll keep you informed.

Happy Trails
Rick
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: ellenvega on July 06, 2010, 02:31:50 PM
Hi.  Newbie to this board, just got seriously back into astronomy not too long ago after purchasing my first telescope.  Will there be folks out observing this Friday at Eagle Bluff, weather permitting?  If so, a colleague and I would like to stop by!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on July 06, 2010, 10:59:28 PM
I certainly would be, but heading out of town to Chi-town all weekend. Anyone else?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: rabomgaars on July 07, 2010, 08:46:59 AM
Welcome, Ellen!   Glad to see that you are following our club on the forum. 

I called Eagle Bluff and there is nothing going on in the parking lot that evening.  Any club members interested?  Eagle Bluff has overnighters there who may be interested in coming up to look through our scopes.  Of interest also is a "Night Camp" starting Wed to Sunday next week for 6/7/8 graders whose sole purpose is to learn about the night.  Does this sound right up our alley?

If not Eagle Bluff, then Keller??  Rebecca Bomgaars
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: alancameron on July 08, 2010, 01:12:08 PM
Thanks Rebecca
I am planning on going to Eagle Bluff this Friday July 9 if forecast OK
Alan Cameron
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: ellenvega on July 08, 2010, 02:45:22 PM
What time do you guys usually get there, to start setting up?  I won't be bringing my 'scope this time, as I don't have all the portability issues worked out yet.  Just kinda want to have a look-see at other people's set-ups.

Hope it stays clear.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: rabomgaars on July 08, 2010, 06:29:39 PM
I will try to be there by 8:30.  There is a long wait for the first stars to come out.  i.e., bring bug lotion.... and maybe a chair. 
We should have a go/no go decision by 6:00 or so??  Anyone want to volunteer to make that call? 

Invitation is open to all for a lovely evening!  I have to be in Mpls by 9:30 Sat morning so I will be on my way home by ll:30 or so.

My cell phone is 250-2947 if anyone needs information. SB
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Rick Murray on July 08, 2010, 11:29:56 PM
I haven't been to Eagle Bluff all year. If it's clear I'll be there by 9:pm.

Happy Trails

Rick
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Mr.Gorp on July 09, 2010, 10:26:28 AM
We can't make it to Eagle Bluff tonight but would anyone be able to meet at Keller after 11pm?

Unfortunately, tomorrow looks iffy for viewing (more clouds & rain chances increasing).

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Captain Kirk on July 09, 2010, 02:52:42 PM
I might stop by Keller.  I have a dinner in the cities this evening.

Kirk
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Rick Murray on July 09, 2010, 03:04:57 PM
Weather looks very good. I'll be going to Eagle Bluff... should be there by 9pm.

Happy Trails

Rick
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Rick Murray on July 09, 2010, 06:10:18 PM
I'll be leaving home about 8pm. There might be a few clouds, but nothing serious.
Should be  AGNFA.

Rick
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: rabomgaars on July 10, 2010, 06:52:40 AM
Magnificent sky.  Say it again.  Magnificent sky.  Really, how long do we wait for that opportunity?  I had a truly newbie experience - finding objects like a pro.  I spent much of the time in Scorpius and Sagittarius, those low in the sky treasures.  (I have little gravel indentations in my knees to prove it......)  My first coup was finding the Jewel Box in Scorpius - TWICE!  It is described as a bright and pretty cluster of stars and, indeed, that is what it turned out to be.  M4 by Antares, M70 in Sagitarius came easily but M69 and M54
eluded me.  On to M22 and I felt I had accomplished a lot.  I ended the evening with the double cluster NGC 869 and 884 in Peresus.
The evening was punctuated with many (Eureka.......) I found it!!

Astronomy wouldn't be astronomy without other astronomers.  My thanks to Alan Cameron and Rick Murray for sharing the enthusiasm
and being accomodating to a beginner.  Of course, I wouldn't have made these discoveries without being able to use the XT8 club scope,
so thank you for that and my little red finder scope.

On the road by 12:30, encouraged to leave  by "eau de moufette." It was AGGGNFA!   B
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on July 11, 2010, 10:58:21 PM
Very happy that you had AGGGNFA!! Sorry I could not communicate with you folks this weekend. Our main computer was down and my boy Matthew got this backup one going today. I also had to tend bar and attend a once a year memorial golf tourney for a couple of high school friends that I was extremely close to.

We head to Rushmore Shadows campground tomorrow for a week of vacation.

Best regards to all of you and I hope that Rick Murray gets his Messier award at the RAC meeting on Tuesday. I will be thinking of all of you.

Maybe next weekend, we can do an Eagle Bluff event!

Best regards to all, Dean
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: ellenvega on July 13, 2010, 08:47:11 PM
I wasn't able to make it and I am bummed!  However, I'd really like to bring my scope so maybe it was for the best.  And I need to get more familiar with the telescope so I don't make too much of a fool out of myself.  :)

Also need to find something better to transport my EP's in than a cardboard box!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jim Blackwell on July 16, 2010, 03:09:35 PM
I have recently rekindled my lifelong astronomy hobby. My sons are visiting from Ohio this week and last night, we packed up two scopes and headed for Eagle Bluff....great site! We are considering a return visit tonight if the weather cooperates. I look forward to meeting all of you soon.

Jim Blackwell  (pharmacist of the stars ;)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on July 17, 2010, 12:20:25 PM
Hello astronomy fans! We just got back from South Dakota. A campground 20 minutes from Mt. Rushmore put us up for free in return for me giving the campers astronomy presentations. All three nights were clear, it was terrific!

I had good crowds all three nights and the last night, two couples from different parts of the country had starter scopes that they didn't know how to use. It was pretty easy on setting them up and getting them started. One was a Celestron Newtonian that was a pretty decent scope, but had junky eyepieces. I had a 10mm Celestron Ultima that I let the guy use and he was floored! Those starter scopes aren't too bad if the folks use a decent eyepiece.

I clued them in on what to look for on the web and told them, "If you buy anything, just say 'Dean sent us!' I'm not sure if I'll get any gift certificates sent my way, (Ha ha) but it's worth a shot. At any rate, we have some budding amateur astronomers out there.

I'm sure the July meeting was great, and if Rick Murray got his Messier award, I'm sorry I missed it. I am very much looking forward to seeing all of you soon, but the chance to get an inexpensive vacation to South Dakota was too good to pass up. We're going back again next year. See you next month!!!!!!!!!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on July 19, 2010, 08:17:12 PM
Welcome Jim, glad to have you aboard and to hear from you.  We look forward to meeting you as well.  Hope to see you at the next meeting or else out at Eagle Bluff or perhaps Keller.  Be sure to think about the Dean's StarBQ next month.  I probably won't be able to make it, but there should be plenty of people there.

Dean, sounds like you a successful trip and a great time.  See you next month.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on July 20, 2010, 09:14:38 AM
Thanks, Jeff! I was out on Sunday night for a while. A good buddy of mine had relatives from Arizona and Oregon here and they had never looked through a telescope before. The girl from Oregon was really enthusiastic. I've got a feeling that there is going to be a new member of the Medford, Oregon Astronomy Club in the near future. Venus, Mars, Saturn, The Moon, Polaris, M13, M57, M6, M7, M8, Antares and M4 and Beta Cygnus all got attention. It was fun!

Lots of outreach this summer.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on July 27, 2010, 07:01:18 PM
How about Eagle Bluff this weekend?

It's Last Quarter Moon and if the weather is good we'd have a chance to turn around what has been a rotten summer for astronomy so far.

I'm off both Friday and Saturday nights.

Whaddya think?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: John Preston on July 27, 2010, 09:30:57 PM
Dean,

Just got back from Bolivia and north shore dive trip and need some serious sky time, if the weather holds I would be up for one or two nights.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on July 28, 2010, 08:19:25 PM
Moon rises at 10:16 on Friday and 10:38 on Saturday, still gibbous.  Seems a little too early in the evening.  Perhaps the next weekend?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on July 28, 2010, 11:09:25 PM
I'll be out of town this weekend, and the next, but not the next next.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on July 30, 2010, 02:42:52 AM
It certainly looks like Friday won't happen and Saturday looks iffy.

Next weekend for sure, if the weather co-operates!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on August 02, 2010, 02:41:17 PM
I got out for three and a half hours on Saturday night. More out of town company, old buddy of mine from Texas with 3 teenage kids. They live in San Antonio and had never looked through a telescope before.

I showed them Saturn, Venus, Mars, Polaris, M57, M13, M22, M8, M7, M6, Albireo, Antares and M4, and finished off the night with Jupiter and the Moon. The last two impressed them the most. (Saturn was low in the sky when we looked at it and didn't look the best). Jupiter showed all four of the Galilean Moons off to one side and had a background star on the other that almost looked like a fifth Galilean satellite. It was weird not seeing the south equatorial belt. It shows, but is very faint. The Moon was its usual spectacular self.

The youngest kid, a boy named Bradley, was very excited about astronomy. I wouldn't be suprised if he gets a scope some day.

BTW, nice shots of M16 John!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Captain Kirk on August 02, 2010, 07:14:26 PM
Been a bunch of cloudy nights here in AK.  Hope to get that out of my system by the STAR-BQ!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Captain Kirk on August 04, 2010, 05:42:07 PM
Clear skies and auroras last night.  Too bad I missed it.  Reports are that it could be good again tonight.

Kirk
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on August 04, 2010, 10:50:54 PM
Post if you see something!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Captain Kirk on August 05, 2010, 09:06:02 PM
Nice clear skies, but for the smoke and sparks coming from the ship's stacks.  Decent looks at Luna, Jupiter and Pleiades with Binos.  Otherwise, I got good practice blocking out ambient light with spare clothing. 

A little green and red showed on the horizon to the north around 3-4 in the morning, but I think that was night showing signs of fading into dawn.

Cloudy now, but we can always hope for better luck tonight.

Kirk
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on August 06, 2010, 01:20:12 PM
I called Eagle Bluff about a Friday night session and they don't have anything going on, so if anyone is interested, the big dark parking lot is available for tonight.

I can't make it though. My fellow bartender is taking her kids to the Milwaukee Zoo and tonight is a DJ night. (Good tips) I want to build up some extra cash for next weekend.

Right now the Flatin Farm is full of tall weedy organic oats, but Ed assured me that it will be flat for the Star B-Q. I was out there last night for two hours and caught those two big sunspots before the Sun went down. That was very neat to see. I had to pack up and leave at 10 p.m. because a skunk was closing in on me and I couldn't use my laser pointer to chase him away with all the tall vegetation. At least I didn't get sprayed.

I talked to Storlie's and have a Port-a-Potty lined up. Let's hope for some decent weather.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: darkskyjim on August 11, 2010, 05:29:00 PM
Heading to Keller tonight after 11:00.  Probably will be our best night for the Perseids.
Jim
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on August 11, 2010, 09:26:34 PM
Anyone wanting to find Keller, there is an article with a map in the newsletter for 2009 Q4 #12.
Here:  http://www.rochesterskies.org/aNew/newsletter/rac-newsletter-2009-q4.pdf (http://www.rochesterskies.org/aNew/newsletter/rac-newsletter-2009-q4.pdf)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on August 11, 2010, 09:30:47 PM
Keller can be kind of hard to find in the dark.   There are no signs. 

Jim Blackwell, I did reply to your message, hope you got it.  Or see previous post here with link to newsletter with Keller description.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on August 11, 2010, 09:56:54 PM
We're going to head out to Keller.  Probably not for too long, but will head out.  See you there.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on August 11, 2010, 10:08:32 PM
I'm heading there myself. Probably not for too long, but I'm going now.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on August 12, 2010, 12:36:37 PM
I was going to sleep out on my deck last night and saw a dozen meteors in about 40 minutes. Then the mosquitos got bad and I had to go inside. A few were pretty bright and one left a trail. They were beautiful.

Please check out my post on the Star B-Q. It is in RAC events.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on August 12, 2010, 02:56:18 PM
I was out at Keller. Jim Blackwell, and his son Kevin where there already, as were Jeff Newland and his wife. It was a fun time. James Benthall came sometime after 11. I was lucky in that mosquitoes didn't really seem to want me even without bug spray. We saw several nice meteors, perhaps 10 that were between Mag 0 and 1, and many dimmer faster ones. Also one lasted about 2 -3 seconds and covered maybe 45 degrees of sky, very nice. No color or sound though. I was very dewy and parts of my char that I wasn't keeping warm got very wet. 
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on August 12, 2010, 06:22:38 PM
Clouds are still a ways away.  Clear SKy Chart showing clear till past midnight.  Trying to decide whether to try Keller again tonight or backyard?  Just might have to check it out again.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on August 12, 2010, 08:47:53 PM
Clouds came in, pulling away again.  Anyone else thinking of going to Keller for Perseids? 
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on August 12, 2010, 09:06:35 PM
We're going to head out to Keller again in a little bit.  We hope it'll be clear for a little while.  Probably won't be there that long.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on August 12, 2010, 09:14:47 PM
Finally got a better look at the satellite.  Clouds aren't that far away.  Guess we'll head to Keller anyway, but clouds may make it shorter than we were even planning to stay.   :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: darkskyjim on August 12, 2010, 10:02:03 PM
I'm coming out for a couple of hours, hopefully!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on August 13, 2010, 12:04:23 AM
Saw 30-40 meteors in 2 hours.  Not too bad.  Some clouds rolling through.  Get pretty cloudy, then clear up quite a bit.  Mr. Benthall came out around 10:30 and was still there when we left as there were still a lot of stars to be seen through the few clouds.   I think quite a bit better than Wednesday night.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: darkskyjim on August 13, 2010, 12:55:42 PM
Jim or James please ;-)  I didn't hang around too much longer after ya'll left.
Heck, if the weather gives us a chance I may go out again tonight?  Unlike the
last two days, I actually don't have anything going on tomorrow am!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on August 14, 2010, 11:51:23 AM
Good news and bad news.

The good news is that it is going to be a GREAT night for observing according to the CSC.

The bad news is that Eagle Bluff has an herbalist symposium going on tonight and they have to leave the parking lot lights on until 11 p.m. Cheryl told me this is a huge group.

Local observing only?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: John Preston on August 14, 2010, 01:34:48 PM
Bummer, looks like the driveway again :(
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on August 14, 2010, 04:42:56 PM
CSC looking iffy now too. I suppose by huge group, they mean they'll be a lot in the parking lot, especially bad if they arrive as we are setting up. Is it officially off? Or will there still be a late "call to arms"?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Rick Murray on August 14, 2010, 05:59:30 PM
Weather looking iffy. Think I'll stay home & wait for a break.

Happy Trails
Rick
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jerome Taubel on August 14, 2010, 06:06:47 PM
Jillissa and I are still planning to go  My oldest daughter, Janell, and her significant other came up from Indianapolis for the Star BQ and are going to meet us there.

Jerome
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jerome Taubel on August 14, 2010, 06:08:01 PM
Meet us at Eagle Bluff that is.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on August 14, 2010, 06:23:48 PM
Well, the CSC looked better earler, but right now, the sky looks terrific.

I'm going to join the die hards at Eagle Bluff for a late session.

So count me in!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on August 14, 2010, 07:19:31 PM
All loaded up, but just looks too cloudy...
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on August 14, 2010, 09:23:12 PM
I just got done looking at the KTTC weather map. Not good. I'm going to pass on Eagle Bluff tonight. I can see lightning off to the NW.

It's a good thing that we postponed the Star B-Q, but I didn't expect two bad nights in a row.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Mr.Gorp on August 20, 2010, 02:14:42 PM
Anyone for Keller tonight or (more likely) tomorrow night?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on August 24, 2010, 02:04:35 AM
I got my telescope out today to show Betty's daycare kids the Sun. (14 of the cute little buggers)

Sadly, no sunpots. It was as bare as a billiard ball.

They still liked it a lot, well, most of them. One little boy said, "What, no flames?"

I think I've just gotta get a Coronado!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on August 28, 2010, 05:52:31 PM
I plan to head out to Keller tonight, take the new scope out on its first road trip.. for me anyway.   :)

Moon rises at 9:07, Jupiter at 8:49.  So, there will be quite a bit of light.
Come on out you're not busy.   :)

Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on August 29, 2010, 09:04:13 PM
Hello astronomy fans! I got out last night for four hours. A sun observation, one nice sunspot visible, Venus is now a fat waning cresent, I'm pretty sure I saw the ISS pass over at 8:22 p.m., and was looking at Epsilon Lyra when Christian Myrah and his son Noah rolled in.

They have a beautiful four inch Celestron refractor. Noah is 12 or 13 years old and is a whiz at math. He is also VERY interested in astronomy. We spent the rest of the evening training him in on how to polar align and use their scope and he recorded his first three Messier object last night. M6, M7 and M8.

Then the Moon came up and we looked at Jupiter and the Moon to finish off the evening. It was a terrific night, but seemed way too short. Noah was very reluctant to leave the Flatin Farm hayfield. You will all get to meet him at the third annual Star B-Q, and you'll find that he is a very sharp, enthusiastic young kid.

The Flatin Farm, now that it is mowed, is just simply beautiful. Ed left a few patches of goldenrod here and there and the strip along the north side of the driveway is postcard pretty perfect.
If the weather co-operates, it will be a fabulous weekend for astronomy.

Clear skies to all!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on August 31, 2010, 01:04:09 AM
Hi everybody! I got out for 3 hours tonight. It was really breezy, (REALLY breezy), but the sky was clear and I just had to go.

I got 5 Herschel 400's, finally making some more progress in that direction. All galaxies in Ursa Major, NGC's 3898, 3938, 3945, 3949 and 3953. The two most interesting were NGC's 3938 and 3945. 3938 is BIG, but it is a ghost! It is a very large, diffuse patch of faint light through an 8 inch SCT. 3945 is small and diffuse, starlike, but sits in a pretty starfield.

Jupiter was the icing on the cake tonight. Once the Moon rose at 10:16 p.m. CDT, I turned my attention to the King of planets. At first I could only see 3 moons because the breeze was making the scope shake. Then I could make out a bump on the eastern limb. Then, in moments that the scope would steady, I could see a small dark dot on the cloud tops! Cool! I think I was seeing an Io shadow transit. I followed that until 11:30 when the clouds rolled in and I had to pack up.

The Moon was pretty, too, but I have covered all the Lunar II targets at this phase and couldn't find any new ones to journal. I guess that's good, in a way.

It was A Glorious Night For Astronomy!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on September 02, 2010, 12:39:57 PM
Hello everybody! I just got through talking with Sheila at Eagle Bluff and they don't have anything going on this weekend.

The weather looks good for Saturday night. Anyone interested?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on September 04, 2010, 05:53:41 PM
Well no replies so far. I'm heading for the Flatin Farm.

Best of skies to all that go out tonight!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: John Preston on September 05, 2010, 08:36:37 AM
Dean,

Would like to go but here in Indiana visiting family.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on September 05, 2010, 10:27:23 AM
I kind of figured that people were busy with family and end of the summer stuff.

Well, I got out there for eight hours last night. It was unbelieveably good conditions. I set up and was observing by 7 p.m. and had a family of four out of the back stop and look at the Sun. The big spot is nearly behind the limb with a rash of little spots following it to the NW. Then I did something I've never done in my life. I spotted Venus during daylight with the Sun still above the horizon. I knew about where it would be and found it through binoculars. Then it took me six minutes to pick it out naked eye. The Sun touched the horizon five minutes later.
I found Epsilon Lyra to kill some time, then polar aligned my scope and started in on the Herschel 400 list. I got NGC's 6118 in Serpens (very tough galaxy to spot), 6569 - globular cluster in Sagittarius, 3982, 3998, 4036 and 4041-all galaxies in Ursa Major. 4036 and 4041 are a Herschel 400 "2 for 1". You can see them both in the same FOV.
 Then I got more company. Bruce and Betty Bergsgaard and another couple with 2 teenage daughters stopped and I showed them M22, M8, M31/32, M45, Albireo and Jupiter. They were very impressed, but not being dressed for the cold, they didn't last more than half an hour. After that I looked at the Helix and the Veil through my Ultrahigh Contrast filter (Thanks Jerome!)
 Then it was binocular time for old Dean-o. The Fall sky was coming on like gangbusters and I sat in my chair and looked at- The Alpha Persei Association, Perseus Double Cluster, Algol and M34,The Andromeda Galaxy again, M33 in Triangulum, The Helix Nebula and Jupiter. I switched back to my scope and got a long look at Jupiter. Wow! More detail in the atmosphere than I've ever seen before. I found Asteroid 6 Hebe in Cetus, did some more binocular stuff, spotted a 1st mag meteor in Orion and finished with Moonrise at 3 a.m. AGNFA!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on September 05, 2010, 04:49:47 PM
That sounds like a good time Dean! I just got back into town now, but I did get out briefly Friday night at home. The north breeze really cleared the sky with transparency at a summer time high. Tweeking the EVO with a few adjustments, and it now working quite nicely. Disappointed it looks cloudy for tonight. Hoping for a clear skies next weekend!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on September 07, 2010, 03:41:27 PM
Speaking of that, and I know it's a little early, anybody have an inkling on how Friday and Saturday are going to shape up weather-wise?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Mr.Gorp on September 09, 2010, 01:04:56 PM
Friday: :(  Rain or cloudy Saturday looks to be the much better viewing (if you can trust the weather predictions out 3 days).

Friday night 10pm-7am
Temp: 59/Dew 57
Cloud cover 92-95%
Precipation: 76%
Winds 5-8mph, SE

Saturday night (7pm+)   (1am ? 7am)
Temp: 65/Dew 54      54/52
Cloud cover 16%      6%
Precipation: 22%      6%
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on September 14, 2010, 11:54:47 PM
Thank you Chris, Julie and Joe for coming to the Star B-Q.

Thanks also to Julie for giving me the "heads up" that I-90 was clear to Rushford exit. The construction people did a great job, and it was like driving home on a magic carpet. (At least as far as the turnoff.)

One more comment on the 2" 90 degree star diagnol. Williams Optics also offers one for $109 dollars, but that one is for a refractor telescope. You need the next one up. It should fit onto a Maxsutov.

Clear skies!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on September 28, 2010, 01:16:23 PM
I'm hoping to get out there tonight to see if I can spot Comet 103P Hartley. Has anyone from the RAC spotted it yet?

If memory serves me correctly, this will be the first comet to be shown to the public at a Spring Grove star party. I hope John Preston and all the other astro-imagers get some good shots of it.

I tell you what...a six pack of Spring Grove pop to the first one to post a picture of it in the forum! ;D
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on September 28, 2010, 10:16:54 PM
This is my 1st attempt at video with a comet. I hope it opens. This is 103P/Hartley in Cassiopeia tonight.
It's 27 minutes compressed down to 16 seconds.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Rick Murray on September 28, 2010, 10:27:57 PM
WOW!!! That's impressive, Randy. You certainly are fast learner. Keep it up.
Love the pics.

Rick
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on September 29, 2010, 12:50:13 AM
WOW!!! is right! I got out there for two hours tonight, and even though the astronomy newsmags and websites say that this is "the brightest visitor of the year" and "easily seen through binoculars and will reach naked eye visibility", it took me a solid hour to pin it down.

I spent an hour with my 15X70 Celestron binoculars and could not find it. I knew it was near Lamba Casseopia, but could not definately tell where it was. I searched a wider area and still had no luck.

It was only when I switched to my Celestron G8 and tried likely looking targets around Lambda that I actually found it on my third try. What a feeling of accomplishment that was! To me, it is not a great telescopic object yet, at least, I doubt it would get many "Wow's" at a star party from the uninitiated. Visually through a telescope it looks more like an elliptical galaxy except for the greenish color. It was an extremely satisfying object to finally find. Very glad to get out there tonight.It looks like Randy will get a six pack of Spring Grove Lemon Sour!

Jupiter had a grand display of moons tonight, along with the Moon moving its libration away from Mare Oriental. Lacus Veris and Lacus Autumni are still visible. Dew was a problem tonight, but during the defogging sessions I used the binocs to view all the Fall Favorites. The Flatin Farm was quiet tonight, but I kept thinking about earlier this month. That was really fun.

God bless you all, Dean
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on September 29, 2010, 12:36:49 PM
That's very impressive Randy! Great job! How many exposures and how long was each one? Was this with your Obsession?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on September 29, 2010, 09:22:01 PM
Luka, the original file from the Mallincam was 48,000 frames over ~ 1600 seconds. So the only processing I did was compress the file 10 x 10 times (100x) to bring it down to 16 seconds. My alignment was done a bit sloppy therefore the drift. The faint flash at 4 sec was when I opened my garage door. The artifact on the left side of the screen late in the video was light leaking in from my neighbor's house lights.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on October 04, 2010, 12:22:25 AM
Did anyone get out tonight?

I had to tend bar from 6 to midnight. Once again it was an awesome sky walking home.

Thanks so much to Starbie for coming down to the Uff Da Fest Star Party. The LCAAS had 3 of their folks there. Thanks to them also. Dark Sky Jim couldn't make it because he was fighting a cold. No probllem.

Tomorrow night on the CSC looks AWESOME. Let's all get out there locally and have A Glorious Night For Astronomy!

P.S. Would John Preston please post to the forum on the heavenly bodies he imaged on Saturday night?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on October 05, 2010, 01:02:20 AM
Well, I got out for four hours tonight. I had a buddy named Danny Neuzel show up. He stayed for the whole four hours! :o

I showed him all the obvious stuff and a lot of the not so obvious. He loved every minute of it. I'm going to hire him to show up at star parties just for his vocal expressions when he sees something new. He has 10X50 Bushnell binoculars and I guided him through the best of the fall objects plus a bit of the summertime bino objects that we can see. He definately has the astronomy bug and I bet I can talk him into coming up to some of the meetings. 8)

Comet 103P Hartley in Casseopia is now a naked eye object! A week ago, I would have bet a 30 pack of Schmidt beer it wouldn't have made it. It is a little more impressive in the scope, but still does not sport a tail. However, tonight I could watch it and could see movement from the beginning of the observing session to the end. It's position in Casseopia adds an extra "star" that makes that part of Casseopia look like a short, fat, Cepheus. ::)

We finished with Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune. It was A Glorious Night For Astronomy! ;D
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on October 05, 2010, 05:16:39 AM
103P Harley is now visible with my 10x50 binoculars from within the Rochester skyglow.  I would not describe its appearance as obvious, nor horribly bright.  I looked up the position in Starry Night Pro, hunted, thought I found it, and then verified it by noting landmarks and going back to the software.  It is a faint, diffuse glow.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on October 05, 2010, 11:47:29 PM
Hello astronomy fans. I got out there again for 3 hours tonight. The transparency was great, but the seeing wasn't quite as good. I could still see the comet naked eye, but just barely, and only because I knew where it was. Binocular speaking, it's good and now only one FOV away from the Perseus Double Cluster. Tomorrow night they will be in the same FOV.

Telescopically Comet 103P Hartley is a nice object, but I've seen better comets. Still, when it comes to comets, observers can't be choosers.

Jupiter had just 3 moons tonight and I couldn't hang around to see the fourth one reappear. I also observed Uranus and the Helix Nebula. Also did a binocular tour of Ursa Minor.

I recorded NGC 188 in Cepheus tonight to start my Caldwell search. I've seen it before and it is an interesting, but somewhat obscure object. A very good astronomical history on it, however.

No observing tomorrow night. I'm going to watch the Twins kick the Yankees butts!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on October 06, 2010, 01:03:55 PM
Last weekend I shot 2 more videos of the comet Hartley. Although average in appearance, what makes this most interesting is its close path to earth, coming within .2 AU from us by late month/early November. This makes its apparent motion quite visible in the eyepiece if observed for just a few minutes. I shot 40 and 60 minute videos, in which the comet moves 3-4 arc minutes across the sky - the equivalent distance of half way across the face of the Dumbbell nebula. I'll bring those to the meeting next week...

GO TWINS!!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Captain Kirk on October 08, 2010, 11:36:20 AM
Who is headed out tonight?  I'd like to take a swing at that comet. 

The darker the better - Eagle Bluff?

Kirk
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on October 08, 2010, 12:24:22 PM
I would go to Eagle bluff if others are interested.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Mr.Gorp on October 08, 2010, 01:26:23 PM
Sounds like Eagle Bluff is open on for tonight. (See Dean's post under Star Parties). 8)  We'll see you there.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on October 09, 2010, 01:23:51 PM
C'mon folks, don't leave me in suspense! How did Eagle Bluff go last night?

Is anyone headed there tonigh? I need to get my observing program organized, I'm sure not going to watch the Twins lose to the Yankees tonight.

If I don''t hear from anyone, it will be the Flatin Farm hayfield for me.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on October 09, 2010, 03:09:38 PM
Well last night was great, and Randy mentioned he might be back. I got there right before dark. Right after setting up, I looked at Jupiter, and what do you know, Io was right on the limb. I summoned Randy to take a look, in case it disappeared. Randy pointed it that it would be a shadow transit! So we did see that. But it was tough as the atmosphere was fairly turbulent. It was very pleasant on the ground though. I didn't even need my jacket until after 10. I did some imaging and observing with my large binoculars. I was able to find he comet with them in less 30 seconds. There was a young man who used to live in Singapore who showed up named We(sp?). He was very curious about everything and looked at some our favorites with us. Also a naturalist formerly from Eagle bluff stopped by with her parents. Randy showed them Jupiter, Uranus, a couple of other favorites, and the Ring and Dumbell nebulae. Kirk was also there with his really nice Discovery truss dob. Julie and Chris showed up with Joseph and a camper. That kid has cuteness and enthusiasm in spades. Randy tried out my 38mm Titan 70 degree eyepiece in his telescope, and Kirk's 35mm Panoptic. Both did well, with the panoptic sharper at the edges. Those were some extra large exit pupils, but the secondary wasn't ever seen. There were a few meteors seen, and I missed all but one, about mag 2-3. None were very spectacular, and is was many many less than at the Star-B-Q. Randy was packing up when I left at 12:30, but with the early sunset, that was plenty of time. AGNFA.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on October 09, 2010, 03:39:26 PM
Yes, had a great time last night.. Lot's of dust in the air made the sky glow a bit but still...
Just too nice.

Dean, We'll put the Twins on the radio (and watch game 4 tomorrow). I'll be heading down tonight too!

Randy
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on October 09, 2010, 04:39:37 PM
Awesome! Eagle Bluff here I come. I should be there about 7-7:30.

Very happy you folks had a good session last night.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on October 10, 2010, 11:21:31 AM
It was a very fun and unusual night at Eagle Bluff. First off the parking lot was so full of cars that it looked like we had drove into a parking lot at a Twins game. But the lights were off , and we got in about a half an hour when Boom! the lights came on. There was a scholarship fund raising event coming to an end and it took an hour before the folks all cleared out. We used the time to do some impromtue outreach and showed the public Jupiter with  four moons close by the planet. One lady told me she had never taken much interest in "astrology" and thanked me for letting her look through my microscope. Others took a very keen interest and we may see some newcomers at a meeting soon.

Then the lights went off and we got down to business. I found 103P Hartley and just kept tracking that while I looked at other objects thru Randy's, Jeff's and Kirk's scopes. I got real good movement on the comet during the 4 hours I tracked it. I also got a good position on asteroid 6 Hebe.

Randy did a tour of planetary nebulas, (The Cat's Eye was incredible! M27 also) we tried out my 13mm Televu Ethos, and Luka's wide field 38mm eyepiece (I want one bad!) and I had 3 astronomical firsts last night. I saw NGC 604, an emission nebula in another galaxy (M33) thru Kirk's scope, quasar 3C 465 in Pegasus thru Randy's and ate freshly popped popcorn at 11 p.m. compliments of Randy and his handy trailer. That hit the spot! It was AGNFA!!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Mr.Gorp on October 11, 2010, 01:28:18 PM
Friday night was great! Pretty soon Joe will know more constellations than I do. Morning sunrise was spectacular at Eagle Bluff.

Too bad we had a other commitments for Sunday morning or we would have been back out.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on October 16, 2010, 02:42:22 AM
Hello astronomy fans! I got out for five hours tonight. I did a community education outreach for Spring Grove and five people showed up. I showed them the Moon, Polaris (all of them didn't know it was a double star, ) Epsilon Lyra, Beta Cygnus, the Alpha Persei Association, M45 the Pleadies, Jupiter, Uranus, and finally the Moon again. It was great, but they weren't dressed appropriately and left after two hours.

I stayed for three more and recorded observations on four Lunar II targets, asteroid 6 Hebe, and Comet 103P Hartley.

I also took a close look at Mira, (Omicron Ceti) and it has brightened to the point to where it is not orange red anymore, but now looks as a yellow star.

It was AGNFA!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: bwyman on October 29, 2010, 05:54:29 AM
Whoa!

I was going outside, a bit early for a change, for the usual morning routine, when BAM! I really bright meteor, streaking down the sky in the southwest, towards the south.

I would say it was magnitude -2, maybe brighter. A blueish-white, with a trail, and some chunky debris. It probably traversed about 30 degrees (3 fist widths?) in about a second or two.
05:40:19 (?) CDT

Trying to plot it out in Stellarium, I would say it started around 47 Eri, and went to the bottom corner of Lepus (epsilon Lep?).

When I came back inside, I noticed the weather was on KTTC, with the camera going in the background. Unfortunately, if it was live, it was aimed too far to the east. :-(
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Roger Southwick on November 01, 2010, 10:51:34 PM
Tonight I set up the 80mm refractor on an alt-az mount just to poke around the sky since it's been a while.  Turned on the red dot finder, lined up M33, and there it was in the eyepiece...  immediately joined by a slow meteor tumbling by, leaving a pig-tail of sparkling debris.  I've seen other meteors through the eyepiece before but they were all pretty fast.  This one took about 0.25sec to cross the 2-degree FOV.  The brightness seemed about double that of the bright stars in Triangulum -- not very bright, but very pretty.

I listened for any sounds of bottle rockets that some neighbors might have launched, but everything was quiet.  Is this type of meteor even possible?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on November 02, 2010, 12:36:24 AM
Absolutely Roger. You have to take the fact that meteors travel at different speeds depending on what meteor stream the originate from. If you research the different meteor streams, many of them have different rates of mph or kph per hour.

Also, meteors that you see early in the evening are playing "catch up" (i.e. they are coming our part ot the Earth from behind our planet in its orbit.)

Once our part of the Earth turns towards the direction that it is going into, after midnight, then the effect is like driving a car into a snowstorm. The snowflakes smack into your windshield.

Hopefully this explains a little bit.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Roger Southwick on November 02, 2010, 11:21:35 AM
Thanks for the explanation, Dean!  This meteor was moving toward the west at 22:01, so it would be on the "back side" of the earth's motion.

(At least I didn't think it was a UFO... :) )
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on November 02, 2010, 10:18:47 PM
That's a good thing, Roger!

I got a heck of a chuckle out of that one. :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on November 05, 2010, 08:41:21 AM
EAGLE BLUFF tonight anyone? The CSC looks great, and Eagle Bluff only has an in-dorm crowd there tonight so the parking lot lights will be off.

We could have A Glorious Night For Astronomy!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on November 05, 2010, 03:00:44 PM
I would likely go out tonight.  I hope a few others would come too.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Captain Kirk on November 05, 2010, 03:11:50 PM
See you there!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on November 05, 2010, 05:32:39 PM
Will be out of town this weekend. Rats. It looks like a great night. Post your findings!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on November 05, 2010, 06:42:32 PM
I'm packing up and heading out there about 7 p.m. Should be there around 8.

See you then!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on November 07, 2010, 01:56:27 AM
Hello astronomy fans!

We had Kirk, Luka and myself there at Eagle Bluff along with two female members of the staff. First, Valerie and second, Creel. (An unusual name to be sure, but both were very nice young ladies.)

We showed them most of  the obvious stuff, but also had several meteors zipping through. and one REALLY bright one at 10:49:35. That one was brilliant blue-white, mag. -6, duration 3 seconds with a N to S direction. A briliant head, long separated trail.

I found Comet Hartley 2 at the end of the night, but was very suprised to find it because now it is getting very, very faint.

Luka finished his observations on the Binocular Deep Sky list and Kirk is getting very adept at pulling in deep sky objects. It was extremely fun to be out there with them. We may see more of the two young ladies as well, because they are interested in getting an observatory going at Eagle Bluff. Since they both work there, they do have some input.

The newsletter by Scott looks awesome, and I will bring copies of the Spring Grove Herald coverage of the 3rd Annual Star-BQ to the meeting on Tuesday.


See you there!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on November 07, 2010, 04:03:28 PM
One more aside... We put Luka's 38mm wide angle eyepiece in Kirk's very fine telescope and turned it on M57, the Ring Nebula in Lyra.

WOW!!! In the FOV, you could see both Beta and Delta Lyrae with the Ring Nebula clearly defined in between! I have never seen that before and it was totally awesome. What a telescope and eyepiece combination!

I just have to get that 38mm eyepiece, and I highly encourage everyone in the RAC to get a look through it as well, along with Kirk's excellent telescope.

Clear skies, everyone!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Mr.Gorp on January 07, 2011, 12:52:24 PM
What's up with the weather?  Clear during the day and clouding up at night -- cold and windy. You would almost think it's winter outside.

Anyone else getting cabin fever, wanting to go out and try all those new Christmas presents? 

What did Santa put under your tree?   :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: John Preston on January 08, 2011, 02:50:34 AM
Well Santa assisted me in buying a new house on the NE side, relatively dark skies compared to my old townhouse that was surrounded by 4 street lights. Now I'm working on my plans for the "Spa Observatory" which will consist of a square gazebo 15x15' on slab with roll off roof and a warm room for those chilly nights next winter. This will be my summer project maybe we can do a observatory party next summer?

John P.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on January 08, 2011, 03:39:36 AM
John, I've just ordered SkyShed plans for my own observatory.  Are you sure a slab is the best choice of foundation?  That floor will transmit a lot of cold into your feet in winter.  I've read that a deck with a center hole for the pier can be more comfortable.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: John Preston on January 08, 2011, 07:22:28 AM
Not a problem when you have a warm room that is heated :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Mr.Gorp on January 21, 2011, 06:34:21 PM
Best type of foundation is some what subjective. What are your goals?  permanent? warm? easy maintenance? easy to work on? Keeps out bugs? easy access?

"Spa Observatory" Sounds to me like a much more than an observatory? Is the spa on the bottom level? Built in, or attached?

Is 15x15 big enough or are their ordances to be contended with? (When we built our screened porch, it started as a 12x12, then ended up with 14x18 and wishing we'd added 2 more feet.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: John Preston on January 22, 2011, 08:22:42 AM
Best type of foundation is some what subjective. What are your goals?  permanent? warm? easy maintenance? easy to work on? Keeps out bugs? easy access?

"Spa Observatory" Sounds to me like a much more than an observatory? Is the spa on the bottom level? Built in, or attached?

Is 15x15 big enough or are their ordances to be contended with? (When we built our screened porch, it started as a 12x12, then ended up with 14x18 and wishing we'd added 2 more feet.


Basically all of the above. This will be a permanent structure that has to blend into the neighborhood and be stylish in such a way not to harm anyone's property value. Since it is over 100sq.ft. it will require a permit and the type of rolloff roof will have to be stamped by an engineer. I want it to safely and securely hold all my equipment since it will have several telescopes as well as my imaging equipment in it. The whole design is dual-purpose as it will be wired for a hot tub but that won't be installed, easier to get passed for this use with the rolloff roof than just a observatory. The warm room will be to keep warm or if the house is sold used for changing in or to keep warm. Would love to go larger but the additional costs and steel required structure involved will get to complicated and costly.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on March 05, 2011, 03:22:13 PM
From Dean's earlier post, looks like Eagle Bluff is out for tonight.   Anyone interested in going to Keller tonight or somewhere else?  Looks like it may clear up, has cleared up quite a bit.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: darkskyjim on March 05, 2011, 05:11:30 PM
Wish I could be there, but I'm heading to the farm tonight. At least I'm
taking my scope this time ;-)  I hope the weather holds up for us!
Jim
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on March 05, 2011, 06:14:19 PM
I am.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on March 05, 2011, 06:31:30 PM
I'm going to be heading out to Keller soon.  See y'all there.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on March 07, 2011, 07:12:50 AM
Hello Astronomy Fans!

Hopefully more than Jeff, Luka and myself made it outside on Saturday night.  It was truly one for the ages!  Although I didn't travel and stayed in my backyard, it was obvious that transparency and seeing were both at the top of the scale.  I set aside my usual observing goals for a "mini-Messier Marathon."  Mini because I knew I wouldn't be out very long (100 minutes, as it turned out), my western skies below 45 degrees are completely blocked, and because I was under city glow which I suspected would keep some of the dimmer targets from being seen.

I logged, in order, M42, 43, 45, 77, 1, 36, 38, 37, 34, 103, 41, 35, 44, 67, 50, 47, 46, 48, 81, 82, 97, 108, 109, and 65.

Most were easy to spot.  M97 was invisible even at 200X, until I used my Ultrablock filter, where it became easy to spot even at 40X.  M108 and 109 required averted vision to spot.  I could not tease out 66, as Leo was not yet very high when I packed in.  Oddly, I had my best view of 65 - the dark lane was easy to spot.  I was not terribly organized, so I probably missed some easy or obvious ones.  Still, that is 24 Messiers in 100 minutes, all found via starhopping.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on March 09, 2011, 08:28:55 AM
I was as great night! I think the best since Nov 5, 2010, and maybe better than that.

I was at Keller with Jeff. We arrived 5 minutes apart, just after dark. I really wasn't intending on a mini-marathon, but I did end up seeing quite a few Messiers. It's been really long since I saw m42, and boy was is beautiful. My narrowband filter made it even better.

I did see M31, M32, M110, M3,  M33, M78, M51, and M66. I did see a lot of what Scott saw, but NOT 77, 67, 97, 109, 48, nor 50. I left soon after Saturn got over the tree line. It was nice to see with the rings open a bit. It's probably the most open that I've ever seen them. I only spotted Titan though, and not any other moons. I think it was still too low perhaps.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 10, 2011, 06:49:09 PM
I'm glad to hear you folks had a great Sat. night. As usual on a clear night, I was scheduled to tend bar.

Not tonight! I'm off to Wayne Dosch's house to break a long winter's fast on stargazing.

The Pleadies are very close to the Moon tonight.

Wish me luck. More later.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 11, 2011, 12:39:52 AM
Well, I got out for 3 hours. I went to Wayne Dosch's place NE of Houston and he got to look through a telescope. I don't think he'd done that before even though he's had a real interest in science since he was a kid. Maybe a cheap refractor if anything.

I showed him the Moon and the Pleadies star cluster just before they disappeared behind the ridge to the west of his house. They were close enough to see together in the FOV of my 15X70 binoculars. Then it was a telescopic look at the Moon. He wondered what the big circular area near the terminator towards the upper half of the Moon was and I explained that it was the Sea of Serenity. Then I showed him roughly where Apollo 11 landed in the Sea of Tranquility east of the craters Ritter and Sabine. He liked that. We also looked at the big craters of Aristotle and Eudoxus when he wondered about them.

M42-43 were up next because that darn ridge was getting ready to swallow them too. I explained that it was the nearest star forming region to our Solar System and was roughly 1500 light years away. Then it was binocular looks at Orions sword and belt. I showed him Collander 70, the many stars that surround the belt. His wife Colleen has a pair of binoculars and I think they are going to get used on the sky more. That's a good start.

Polar aligned on Polaris next the first of many double stars we looked at. Mizar A&B, Alcor and Mizar, Zeta Cancri and Gamma Leonis. We talked about the difference between binarys and optical doubles and explained common proper motion. Discussed the Ursa Major Moving Group.

We finished with a look at Arcturus, tried for M3, but by this time, the sky was gettiing murky and then vanished completely. I drove home in very thick fog.

Wayne liked it a lot. So did I. It was wonderful to be out there again.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 13, 2011, 11:20:38 PM
Hello astronomy fans! I got out for 3 and a half hours tonight and got set up by 7 p.m. I spent most of a half hour looking for Jupiter/Mercury, but I had low clouds to the west. I got my scope set up and found my first Lunar II target, but went back to the binocs for just one more sweep.

I found Jupiter! I used my scope to nail down the planet and moons, ( the SEB is back, by the way ), but no Mercury. I swung my scope back to the Moon, looked to the west, and there was Mercury below and to the right of Jupiter! Hooray! Mercury showed a disc, but not much else besides chromatic aberration. Both planets were higher in the sky than I expected them to be. After 10 minutes, the clouds covered Mercury and 10 more after that Jupiter was gone. But hey, it was pretty cool to see them. The next three nights are supposed to be even better if the weather holds up and tomorrow night looks very good indeed. 8)

Back to the Moon. I nailed craters Alpatregnus, Beer and Feuillee, and Montes Recti, Teneriffe and Spitzbergen. I'm over half done with Lunar II.

I finished with looks at Arturus and Saturn. I viewed Saturn through moderate cloud cover, but the rings are opening up nicely. We are in for a glorious season for Saturn, and I had a Glorious Night For Astronomy! :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 14, 2011, 11:49:29 PM
Well, it was another great night, in fact even better than last night. I was set up by 7 p.m. and got my journal all caught up. I made a binocular sweep at 7:30 and spotted Mercury first! Then I moved just a little bit to the left and WOW!, there was Jupiter and Mercury fitting easily in the same binocular FOV. It was so cool! It took another 10 minutes to pick them up visually, but when I did it was great. I estimate that Mercury was 10 degrees above the horizon and Jupiter 12. Telesopically, Mercury shows a slightly gibbous disc and all four of the Galilean moons were to the east of Jupiter tonight. I watched them until they faded into the lights of Spring Grove and then turned my attention to the Moon. (I hope you imaging types worked your magic tonight, those two planets were thrilling.)

Another great night for Lunar II targets. I nailed craters Bullialdus, Bullialdus A&B, Kies and Kies Pi which is a lunar lava dome. They were all bunched together and it was great fun sketching those objects. Hesodius A was next up, it is a double walled crater near Hesodius and Pitatus. Crater Wolf which sits out in the middle of Mare Nubium finished the Lunar II agenda for the night. It is a badly eroded crater that reminds me of the letter "C".

Saturn finished the night. It's still a little low for really good viewing, but I think besides Titan to the east, I could see Iapetus way off to the west. There possibly could have been two more moons very close to Saturn on Titan's side, but they were averted vision only. Boy, it is wonderful to be back out there again. 4 hours tonight.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 27, 2011, 08:52:18 AM
Well, I got out for five hours last night but it wasn't easy. I packed up and went and there wasn't much but some 1st and 2d mag. stars showing. Then it started clearing in the SW, so I spent the first hour looking at some old favorites, the Orion Nebula, M41 and used the binocs to view M45, Aldebaran, the Hyades and the Perseus Double cluster.  I spotted a satellite going through the Hyades and followed it all the way to M34 in Perseus before it faded. I took a look at Algol and think that it might be going thru a periodic dimming, then picked up another satellite with a noticable golden color and followed that from Algol all the way to the NE horizon.

I got a great observation on asteroids 3 Juno and 20 Massalia in southern Leo. I'm going out tonight to see if they move, but am 90% sure I found them both from the chart in Astronomy magazine. They both do not fit in the same binoc FOV, but the two fields overlap.

Then it was back to the Herschel 400 hunt. I nailed 5 galaxies, all in Ursa Major. NGC's 4026, 4088 & 4085, 4102 and 4051. 4088 was the most obvious w/4085 in the same FOV. I also found NGC 4100 nearby, but that is not a H400. 4102 reminds me of the Eskimo Nebula in Gemini. I had a devil of a time finding 4051. It took me from 11:36 p.m. to 12:49 a.m. to find it. I finally had to go from Cor Caroli in Canes Venatici to Beta CV to a prominent two star asterism NE of that and extend out from there towards 65 Ursa Majoris. Then I found it on my second try on that route. It's nice and I'm glad I stuck with it.

This whole time the sky kept getting better, but a persistant cold eastern breeze kept at me and it was strong enough that I couldn't journal outside except at the telescope where I had to clamp down on the pages. It was pretty darn cold last night too and I had on all my winter gear and chemical heat pads for my hands. I finished with a long look at Saturn (was that tiny moon Enceladus tucked just off and below the west side of the ring?) and M3 and M51 w/NGC5195. (Love that 13mm Televu Ethos.) A tough but Glorious Night For Astronomy!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on March 27, 2011, 11:16:52 PM
Great job Dean. I was out for 5 hours (well the scope was out, I was in) both Friday and Saturday nights. I had some overlap with Dean in Ursa Major with 4088 and its neighbors; 4088 has odd barred spiral arms. Both nights I was broadcasting video images through NightSkiesNetwork.  On Friday I walked through the Virgo cluster stopping and pausing at some dozen faint galaxies in the Markanian chain. I then took requests from the NSN audience which swung us to M99, seeing brilliant spiral arms (aka Katherine's Wheel).  Saw a little known but pretty planetary nebula NGC 1501 in Camelopardalis. Had good looks at M51/101, and then further requests from NSN took us to the Owl and nearby M108 galaxy. Looked at the structure in M63 (Sunflower) and M64 (Black Eye) galaxies.

Later in the night we looked at the galaxy cluster Hickman 68, which gave a view of 5 galaxies in one field - NGC 5350,3,4,5, and 8.
Around 3am M3 was up, and it was night to get a peak at summer's upcoming collection of globs. Ended with a shot at the Needle galaxy 4565. Had viewers from all over including Iowa, Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Romania!

I ordered a new adapter for the Mallicam on the Obsession 18 that allows more inward focus travel which lets me add the maximum adjustment of focal reducers to bring the f4.5 to an f2.5! This increases my field of view from 13 arcseconds to about 22. Very nice to get the entire M101 galaxy in the frame. Friday night was so nice here that despite the dob being out for 6 hours, there was no frost or moisture anywhere on the scope. It was tracking well and the skies were nearly as good as they get around here!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on March 28, 2011, 10:31:03 AM
Wow, great reports guys. 

Randy, is that 22 arcseconds or arcminutes? Your scope has a focal length of around 2050mm right? I'm curious as to the size of the Mallincam's chip?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Corrigan on March 28, 2011, 02:39:58 PM
According to a quick calculation based on my images of M101, and my scope/camera producing about 1 arcsecond per pixel, M101 is about 15 arcminutes across.

Mike
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on March 28, 2011, 07:57:44 PM
It was late when I posted, I got my arcminutes confused with my arcseconds. Yes, I'm speaking of arcseconds! The Obsession specs are 2060 focal length +/- 50mm so everyone's 18" scope is a little different. I also raised my primary a full inch to achieve the shortened focal length needed. I know some Obsession dob owners are struggling with their mallincam by posts on the Yahoo discussion group.  The Mallincam chip is a 1/2 inch CCD 811 x 508 pixels.

According to my SkyMap Pro, M101 is about 27 x 28 arcminutes in size, so I guess it depends on how far one goes out on those faint, faint spiral arms.

Tonight, I just pulled out the Evo 30 for the 1st time this year. The collimation is spot on, which I know it should be, but there's always those anti-collimation gremlins that hang around dob's...
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on March 28, 2011, 09:18:47 PM
ONE more time - that's arcminutes.
Must proofread more..
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 29, 2011, 01:10:58 AM
I was hoping that there would be some other astro-activity by the club. But after reading about Randy's two five hour sessions with the 30" outside and Randy inside, I think I could come down with a "John Henry" syndrome pretty quick. ;)

I'm doing my best though. I was out Sunday night which was much better than Sat. night. Clearer skies, less wind, and the temps a bit milder. I looked for Mercury, but could not see it. There was a bit of low scud along the western horizon, but I'm betting it is out of reach by now. I warmed up on M35 and NGC 2158 in Gemini, and then started in on the Herschel Hunt where I bagged six more galaxies. NGC's 2811 in Hydra (a little hard to find this small streak of light). Then 2974 in Sextans and this baby was even harder to see. If I hadn't been going after the H400 list, I'd have never seen this.

Hold on folks, it gets much worse... :P

NGC's 3900 and 3912, Spiral Galaxies in Leo. I could see 3900 clearly, but where was 3912? It was supposed to be in the same FOV. I kept going off in different directions, but couldn't see it. Back to the star chart. Try south, Dean. There nearly a full degree away, with 3900 barely in the field, I saw a phantom. I moved the scope again. Again I saw just the faintest streak of light. Stared some more. Averted vision. Now I could just barely pick it up. I'm not bad at spotting photons, but this was crazy hard. I'd like to meet the sadist that put 3912 into the Herschel 400. >:(

The next two were easy to see, Thank God. NGC 4027 in Corvus, and then I got a really fun star hop to NGC 4030. I started at Spica and that brought back old memories of standing on the sidewalk across from our house with my little Jason refractor. Just learning the constellations and looking at the 1st mag. stars. From Spica to Saturn for a quick look and then on to Gamma Virginis. It was a "dog bone" at 82X, but when I slid in the 13mm Televu Ethos, it split cleanly, both a nice yellow-green. Star hopped to Eta Virginis and then further west to a prominent two star asterism. Just north of that 4030 was bracketed by two stars. Very pretty. :)

I got a great observation of Saturn and then took the time to gaze at M13 in Hercules. Epsilon Bootes was next up and my Ethos split that cleanly. So lovely. :-*

The damn cold eastern breeze was getting stronger, and I was in the process of packing up when I remembered that I hadn't checked on asteroids 3 Juno and 20 Massalia yet. I found them easily and was correct in my estimation of the two objects that I suspected the night before. Now both had strayed from the previous nights position and I had my first "two for one" asteroid observation. I was gratified to realize that my judgement of faint magnitudes is getting pretty good. ;)

4 and a half hours, 28 and a half y.t.d., and 1361 and a half total. A Glorious Night For Astronomy!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on March 30, 2011, 05:12:37 PM
Looks iffy, but if the clouds hold out I might be broadcasting on the NightSkiesNetwork "randoeyes" by 8-9 pm. Have to sign in to the site now, due to spamming that occurred last year.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 31, 2011, 08:16:58 AM
Hello astronomy fans! I got out there for 4 and a half hours last night and made some good progress. I started off with binocular looks at the various 1st mag. stars while waiting for full darkness to come on and got the urge to see if I could spot Sirius B in the twilight, and I could! I think it is easier then, because Sirius A is not so overwhelming.

Nine Herschel 400's last night. NGC's 4111, 4143, 4147, 4150, 4151, 4179, 4203, 4214 and 4245. NGC 4150 was a son-of-a-gun to find. 4143 was a nice object, as were 4179, 4203, and 4245. The best of the nine were NGC 4214 an irregular galaxy in Canes Venatici and NGC 4147 a globular cluster in Coma Berenices. 4214 is the biggest and brightest of the galaxies of last night and was very cool to look at even though it sits in a very faint star field. The globular I liked a lot because it was a great change of pace from a steady diet of galaxies! 4147 also sits in a curious star field of three 3 star asterisms to the north that are all very similar to each other.

Another observation on the asteroids 3 Juno and 20 Massalia followed and they continue to pull farther to the west from Sigma and Tau Leonis respectively.

Saturn finished up the night and did not disappoint. 5 moons! Titan and two others to the east and two more to the west. AGNFA! :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on April 01, 2011, 02:53:46 PM
Now the CSC is showing a possibility that it could clear off tonight.

Eagle Bluff is available and the parking lot lights could be off if we wish. I switched nightsat the Legion thinking Sat. was going to be better, so I will not be available.

This one will probably have to be called at the last minute. I'll pass the observing baton to Randy, Luka, Jeff and Kirk on this one.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on April 01, 2011, 06:31:03 PM
Was anyone thinking of heading to Eagle Bluff tonight?  The sky is clearing and the CSC is definitely looking good now.  Not sure if I want to head out that far if no one else is going.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on April 01, 2011, 07:34:01 PM
We're going to head out to Keller.  Getting late now, for me, for Eagle Bluff.    ;)   If you go, have fun out at Eagle Bluff.  Or, see you at Keller.   :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Captain Kirk on April 01, 2011, 08:04:56 PM
We're going to head out to Keller.  Getting late now, for me, for Eagle Bluff.    ;)   If you go, have fun out at Eagle Bluff.  Or, see you at Keller.   :)
That suits my schedule.

Kirk
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on April 01, 2011, 08:58:41 PM
Keller was my thought too. I'm heading there soon as well.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on April 01, 2011, 09:06:27 PM
There were other cars out there, not sure where they were at or what they were doing.  It was pretty windy, so we came back home.  Good luck and have fun out there.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Captain Kirk on April 02, 2011, 02:11:19 AM
Luka and I had some nice views.  Mostly binoculars work: Orion Nebula, Pleiades, Double Cluster, Leo Triplet, Sombrero, Owl Cluster, Beehive, Crab Nebula.  In Auriga: M36, M37, M38.  Found M35 in Gemini then looked unsuccessfully for NGC 2174/2175 across the way in Orion.  M101...  What else?

Luka was busy imaging away and I can't wait to see his final version of the Great Nebula in Orion.  The single, raw frame he showed me was fantastic!

We ended the night around 12:30 with some splendid views of Saturn.

It was a great night for collecting antique photons!

Kirk
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on April 04, 2011, 11:37:22 PM
Good for you fellows to get out on Friday. Too bad I guessed wrong on which night would be clear.

I got out tonight for one hour. I waited until the Twins got beat by the Yankees (close but no cigar) and then headed out. It was still breezy, but doable. Then I kept getting these cloud banks that just kept rolling thru like freight cars. I did manage to get NGC 4346 for my Herschel 400 list, but other than that, it was binocular looks at old fav's like the Perseus Double Cluster, the Pleadies, the Orion Nebula, M35 in Gemini.

Thank God for binoculars. They are light and quick.

One really positive note: it's getting warmer!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: karsten on April 07, 2011, 02:10:00 PM
i went to the keller parking lot as suggested twice now, last night and a couple days ago.  it's a good spot.  figured out how to use the celestron 8 and got a few shots with my DSLR.  waiting on the radial guider and a barlow to complete the setup:)  saturn is tiny without the barlow but the moon was alright.  focus wasn't too good i have to set up a directory monitoring program on my laptop to help with focus.  here's what i got last night:

also question about nebulas, i pointed my scope at the sword of orion last night before it set, and did a few 5 min exposures just to see what i could pick up.  didn't seem to capture anything on the image but stars, is that because of the IR filter in the camera?  i thought i'd get a hint of something at least.  karsten
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on April 07, 2011, 07:24:50 PM
Did you check to make sure the nebula was in your field of view? The sword of Orion is a big place when you're talking about 30 arcminutes Field of View. The nebula can be faintly seen in 10 seconds for sure.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: karsten on April 08, 2011, 04:26:44 PM
Did you check to make sure the nebula was in your field of view? The sword of Orion is a big place when you're talking about 30 arcminutes Field of View. The nebula can be faintly seen in 10 seconds for sure.

yeah i wasn't too precise in aiming the scope, i guess without a go-to mount i'm a little lost trying to find something like that.  i'll use cart du ciel and really zoom in on on the location to try and get a better fix on it-  thanks:)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on April 09, 2011, 08:09:43 PM
It might be a finderscope issue. If you have a hard time getting what you see in the FOV, make sure that what you have in your cross hairs is visible in your OTA.

The finders can get out of whack pretty easy with all of the hauling around involved. Orion's sword is a big target, you shouldn't have had too hard a time picking that one up.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: karsten on April 09, 2011, 11:09:21 PM
It might be a finderscope issue. If you have a hard time getting what you see in the FOV, make sure that what you have in your cross hairs is visible in your OTA.

The finders can get out of whack pretty easy with all of the hauling around involved. Orion's sword is a big target, you shouldn't have had too hard a time picking that one up.

k i'll get out tomorrow in the day and make sure they're all lined up, i think it is a bit off yeah
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on April 11, 2011, 03:30:42 PM
Make sure you re-align it when you set up your scope for imaging as well, unless you just move it out on a dolly without taking it apart. Did you see the Orion nebula in your finderscope when you tried?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: karsten on April 12, 2011, 11:09:58 AM
Make sure you re-align it when you set up your scope for imaging as well, unless you just move it out on a dolly without taking it apart. Did you see the Orion nebula in your finderscope when you tried?

did a 30s exposure and seemed to get a cluster of something but not sure.  have a canon 40d coming so i can use live view and nebulosity to get a decent focus, that should help.  put together a 10 shot composite of the moon and a shot of saturn both from last night, the barlow helps a lot:)

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on April 12, 2011, 03:06:11 PM
What are you shooting with now?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: karsten on April 12, 2011, 04:40:05 PM
digital rebel but not having a real solid basis for focusing.  camera is too old for nebulosity and dslr focus i can't get to work heh
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on April 16, 2011, 10:46:43 AM
Not a bad picture of the Moon. Karsten didn't miss Purbach's cross by much.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: darkskyjim on May 02, 2011, 05:54:55 AM
Sure not much activity here lately.  I was at the farm Sat night and it was nice and clear.
As usual, my telescope was in Rochester [have a very hard time negotiating where myself,
my wife, my dogs, and my telescope will be] but i was touring the skies w/ my binocs. It
was cool to see Scorpio rising around midnight. Summer is nigh!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: darkskyjim on May 03, 2011, 07:33:27 PM
Nice evening and I have Wednesdays off so I'm heading to Keller in about
an hour. (After the Celtics/Heat game ;-)
jim
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on May 03, 2011, 08:10:46 PM
I too intend to go out to keller tonight.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: darkskyjim on May 05, 2011, 02:02:05 PM
Thanks to Luka and Kirk for coming out! Had a nice time looking at
numerous objects esp the faint fuzzies in Virgo ;-) Hopefully, Friday
night will be clear as well but the forecast isnt favorable...
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on May 06, 2011, 01:45:19 AM
Hello astronomy fans, I got out for four and a half hours tonight. Back on the Herschel hunt. I recorded eleven of them before MY VAN started clicking because my battery was going dead! You know me, I like to listen to classical music when I observe.

Up until then, wow!, what a night. I had my Lunar II list with me, now, then, but while I had three potential targets, they do not become illuminated until Friday night which apparently doesn't look so good.

Saturn was spectacular! Three of the "amateur moons" just above and trailing down to the side of the ring in a nice little arc, plus Titan 3 planet widths off to the east and I suspect Iapetus was two more widths beyond that. With sharp rings and a fine Cassini's Division, it is easy to keep the boys down on the farm.

I took Jay McLaren's advice on the Coma-Virgo group of galaxies and previewed my targets. I finished the two groups in Coma Berenices very easily that way and didn't waste time jumping from one constellation to another. The best I saw tonight were NGC  4414, 4448,4293 and 4394. All these are really worth a look.

I don't know what I liked better tonight, stargazing or not having to walk home. After my battery started clicking I shut everything off, packed up, jumped in, said a prayer and fired it up to go home. Thank you Lord for both!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: rabomgaars on May 06, 2011, 12:32:52 PM
What's with the rainbow ring around the sun?  12:32pm.   SB
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on May 06, 2011, 03:58:10 PM
I didn't see it, but it could be a halo, glory, a sundog(parhehia), a circumzenithal arc, or any number of other weather phenomena. Was it about 22 degrees away? Or 46 degrees maybe?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: bwyman on May 12, 2011, 11:58:25 PM
I remember those rings around the sun. I actually saw two, but I could only see the wider second one when I had my sunglasses on. :-) It was quite interesting.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on May 13, 2011, 08:14:00 AM
Your sunglasses were probably polarized, and the light might've been too. Very interesting observation Brandon!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Mr.Gorp on June 02, 2011, 10:01:54 AM
What's the prognosis for Friday or Saturday night at Eagle Bluff (or at Keller as a backup)?

From what I can tell Friday looks IFFY. Saturday night the better of the two.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on June 04, 2011, 03:13:20 PM
I'd be interested in doing some astronomy today. Whether Keller or Eagle bluff.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on June 04, 2011, 08:48:46 PM
Despite the look of the CSC, the sky is not looking so great right now for astronomy. I'm most likely not going anywhere, but will post should the situation change.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: darkskyjim on June 05, 2011, 08:49:13 AM
Ive been very busy and not thinking of observing...walking my dog last
night and looked up and it was clear!  Got home and dragged the Z12
out to surf around ursa major and try out new meade 20mm ep and...
CLOUDS STARTED ROLLING IN ;-(  Maybe next time...
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on June 08, 2011, 11:22:19 PM
I too have been very busy. My son Matthew graduated from high school. He's going to St. Mary's University in Winona this fall! Wow. I am very proud of him, but had no idea of what it means to prepare for having a child graduate. Between that and traveling deep into Iowa and back nearly every day, I haven't had much time for stargazing either.

However, I have been out on my deck tonight observing the Moon and the Saturn/Gamma Virginis conjuntion. KTTC mentioned that there may be Northern Lights tonight. Have you astronomy fans seen anything?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Nicole on June 09, 2011, 02:13:03 PM
I was out last night aurora hunting from 1-3am, but I didn't see anything.  Very cool orange moonset - even though it's from the AZ wildfires.  I took the opportunity to try star trails for the first time with my new camera!  I'm going to try to make it down to the BBQ this year with all my camping & camera gear.  Here are two of my attempts, what do you think?

(http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2454/5814586582_6d17f3cf08.jpg)
F5.6, ISO 800, 512 s exposure at 18mm
Pointed at the Big Dipper

(http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2224/5815510347_c10076b3ff.jpg)
F5.6, ISO 800, 240 s exposure at 18mm
Pointed at Scorpius



Title: Re: Observing tonight? (today?)
Post by: bwyman on June 09, 2011, 11:51:15 PM
My fancy sunglasses (polarized?) saw yet another ring around the sun today around 14:10. This one was not as cool as the earlier one I saw this year. However, the glare from all the clouds made it impossible to see without sunglasses. Interesting...
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on June 11, 2011, 02:59:11 AM
Very nice pictures of the star trails and the supernova in M51. Loved the circumpolar trails. I hope to get out there for an extended session tomorrow night. Lunar II still needs about the last third to be completed.

See you Tuesday! I bet Randy and you other imaging buffs have some really cool pictures to share!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Mr.Gorp on June 22, 2011, 10:52:26 AM
I realize that it's a little far out yet (how much do you trust the weather predictions past 3 days), but is anyone planning to go to Eagle Bluff this weekend (June 24th/25th). The newsletter mentions there is a group a students coming the 25th.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on June 22, 2011, 12:16:55 PM
Watch the thread under "RAC events" > "Star Parties" > "Eagle Bluff June 24/25" for this weekend's activities/star gazing.

Randy
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on June 23, 2011, 05:41:56 PM
Because of the weather, I did not have to travel to Iowa today.

Is there any chance of it clearing off for the Gamehaven event tonight?

Tomorrow night at Eagle Bluff looks fairly promising.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on June 25, 2011, 12:47:53 PM
Hello astronomy fans! We had a great night at Eagle Bluff last night, but dew and high thin clouds were an issue off and on.

It was Jerome, Kirk, me and a young lady named Barb that is the librarian for the Preston Public library. I had never met her before, but she has been following the forum, and showed up to observe. She is a very sharp visual observer and owns an 8" dobsonian.

There were 10 Boy Scouts and about 40 music students and counselors there last night. Jerome did a great job of teaching observational astronomy while I was setting up. When they were all there at once it reminded me a little of the Chinese Communist hordes pouring over the hills of North Korea. But it went off pretty good. One of the Boy Scouts named Issac, spotted the 10:54 pass of the ISS. (Thnak you Jeff!) That really wowed 'em.

Saturn of course blew them away. "Is that real? Do you have a picture taped to your telescope?" But we got LOTS of Thank You's  from the crowd.

 After After the Chinese Communist hordes called it a night, we had a wonderful time together. Kirk spotted a fine pair of double stars just east of the Lyra rectangle that I had never seen before. Barb plotted their position in her star atals in seconds. Very impressive on both their parts. We finished the night with the waning cresent Moon. It was A Glorious Night For Astronomy!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: ellenvega on June 25, 2011, 02:46:35 PM
I am the Barb of whom he speaks!  Despite the clouds/fog it was a nice night to do some observing, and great to meet some awesome astronomy folks!  I hope next time I can get my scope out there too, looking forward to it.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on June 26, 2011, 08:08:04 PM
Sounds like you had a great time at Eagle Bluff.  I needed a Jerome at Gamehaven.  Didn't get much of a chance of talking any astronomy.  People started showing up around 9:30, talking a little bit and then Dean's hordes hit.  We were able to see Arcturus soon after that, they wanted to see it, so put that in the scope and started to run people through.  Then, someone saw another star, jackpot, Saturn!   Moved over to Saturn, been too long, took awhile to get it in the scope.  It was like a never ending line.  Definitely there were some seconds and probably some thirds.  Same as Eagle Bluff, is that real?  Has to be a picture in there.  Many thank yous.  I don't know, seems like must have been close to 40 people all together.   Everyone had to hit the sack and gone a little after 10:00, no late nights there.  Kirk showed up right after all the kids had left. 
Turned out to be a lucky night.  Saturn was in one of the few holes in the clouds, so we were able to get a good look at it.  Great night, but don't think I'd do that again by myself.   ;D    Needed another person at least and another scope or two.  At least next, I won't be alone, I'll have my wife along.  She was busy Friday night and couldn't come along.   :)

Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jerome Taubel on June 28, 2011, 08:19:08 PM
Yes, trying to cover two outreach events was too much of a stretch with the limited number of scopes we had available.  Who's interested in this coming Friday at EB?  I posted a new thread in the Star Parties forum.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on June 29, 2011, 01:11:06 PM
Friday night should work for me. I was out on my driveway last night. I don't ever recall such a dry, clear night; so stable. I was able to track on the EVO at ~1000x with pinpoint stars. The skies were so good! Stayed at the ring nebula for about an hour. Could see the center star with direct vision and the fainter accompanying star with averted vision. Wish it was the weekend. It gets dark too late now.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Mr.Gorp on June 30, 2011, 12:36:42 PM
I know that we're planning on the trip down to Lanesboro. Hope to see others there. Weather looks good.


BTW: For those who missed the posts in the RAC Main Forum > RAC Events > Start Parties about meeting at Eagle Cliff on July 1/2.

The Forum Admins closed posting to those threads. I think that is a much better place to post -- it's time specific about what's happening rather than continuing this (really) long thread. But alas, they are in control.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on June 30, 2011, 05:45:23 PM
I plan on being at Eagle Bluff Friday night. (Sunday will work too!) It is too hot to go to the woods because of the heat exhaustion/heat stroke threat, so I will be well rested. Last Friday night was pretty darn good.

I will call Eagle Bluff tomorrow to see what's going on, but I don't think that anything is happening.

Looking forward to seeing you there!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on July 01, 2011, 11:56:30 AM
I called Eagle Bluff and they do not have anything going on, plus they are leaving a note to the staff to have the parking lot lights off for us.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Captain Kirk on July 01, 2011, 02:24:55 PM
You may see me other nights, but Sunday is best for my schedule.

Kirk
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: ellenvega on July 01, 2011, 03:55:22 PM
If the skies look good I might stop by after work tonight, which would be late:  11:30ish.  The weather does look good for Sat. and Sunday nights, also. (if not better)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on July 01, 2011, 04:22:26 PM
Yes, I'm watching that big bolus of rain now in SW Minnesota sliding this way...

I guess I'll decide if I'm making the treck down to EB after supper tonight.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on July 01, 2011, 06:20:41 PM
Sunday may be a better fit. If folks are going tonight, I'm in, but the weather people are also talking about wind and high dew points until this front passes.

I'll probably make a decision around 8:30 p.m.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on July 01, 2011, 06:55:51 PM
The Eagle Bluff CSC shows bad transparency and seeing from 10pm on tonight.
May not be getting any of the rain though.

But I'm bowing out for tonight. Just not good enough.
However, I'm open to either Saturday or Sunday nights.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on July 01, 2011, 08:10:39 PM
I agree. The Twins game is in a rain delay, the skies are getting really high and hazy off to the west and even my trees in a well protected area of Spring Grove are blowing around like crazy. I am an NO-GO for tonight.

Tomorrow looks real good, but I have to tend bar at the Legion. No one else will do it and I bet it will be a very slow night.

Sunday still looks good with lower temps and better dew points. If anyone wants to go to Eagle Bluff then, I'm in. If not, I will be out at the Flatin Farm.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Mr.Gorp on July 02, 2011, 05:15:01 PM
What a bummer for yesterday  :(

Anyone up for Keller tonight (Saturday)?  We talked with Jerome and are planning to be there after 10.   It won't be a real late tonight, as we're planning on Eagle Bluff tomorrow.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: darkskyjim on July 02, 2011, 06:30:44 PM
I'm definitely thinking about it.  Just got off work and trying to muster the energy...
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on July 03, 2011, 03:39:03 PM
Likely going down to EB tonight.
Anyone else still up for going down?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Captain Kirk on July 03, 2011, 04:34:45 PM
I will be there. 

Kirk
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on July 03, 2011, 04:54:46 PM
I am definately going to Eagle Bluff. It is time to collect some photons!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on July 04, 2011, 07:20:09 PM
The participating members of the RAC had an absolutely INCREDIBLE night at Eagle Bluff July 3/4!! Randy got there first, me second, the Mr. Gorp group of Chris, Julie, sons Adam and Joe next and Capt. Kirk at 1 a.m.

The summer sky was gorgeous! Excellent seeing and transparency, a little dew, but not bad. We saw Saturn with Titan, Rhea, Enceladus, Iapetus and Hyperion. Gamma Virginis was still barely visible in a low power FOV.

Antares and M4, M80, M51 and NGC 5195, those two fine double stars in eastern Lyra that Capt. Kirk and Ellenvega nailed, (Vega and Altair in Randy's scope were both blinding and beautiful), M5, M22, M24, Collinder 399 the Coathanger, M16, M8 the Lagoon and M20 the Trifid (best look I've EVER had of that!) Zeta Aquarius, Gamma Andromeda, Beta Andromeda and NGC 404, the Andromeda Galaxy, M27, M57, NGC 7331 and the Deerlick group of galaxies, M11 the Wild Duck cluster, a dozen (at least!) satellites, including 3 in two minutes, Jupiter rises at 2:03 a.m., lots of meteors, mostly faint, but one very nice mag. 2 through Draco and Ursa Minor at 3:01 a.m. and we finished the night with the Helix Nebula (NGC7293) and (durmroll, please......)

PLUTO at 3:30 a.m.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks to Randy, another one off the astronomical bucket list!


What a night! A Glorious Night For Astronomy!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Captain Kirk on July 05, 2011, 12:21:30 PM
AGNFA indeed! 

The following night we were treated to some amazing crepuscular rays over Lake Pepin just before the fireworks display began at Lake City.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on July 06, 2011, 02:05:34 PM
I'm going out tonight.

Remember that tomorrow night we amateurs in central and western North America have a shot at seeing the Purbach's Cross feature on the Moon.
Title: Observing Tonight
Post by: Dean Johnson on July 08, 2011, 12:53:06 AM
The night of July 6 did not work out for me. I had high thin clouds here and did not observe. I did sleep out on the deck and woke up on the deck to see stars at 2 p.m.

Tonight was a different story. I got out there at 8:30 and had 9 locals to see Purbach's Cross on the Moon. We had to battle partly cloudy skies, but good Lord, what a night! It was a night of laser pointing, astronomical story telling, looking through the telescope and lots of WOW's and thank you's. Mike Schmidt's relatives from Virginia have very rarely seen skies like this and tonight wasn't all that good!

Purbach's Cross was the best I've ever seen. (Not saying much since when I saw it in Cedar Rapids, Iowa at the NCRAL 2009, I had more than a dozen astronomers crowd me out after I pointed it out to them.)

But Saturn stole the show, everybody loves Saturn, and as fleeting as Purbach's Cross is, too bad. The public liked it, but did not appreciate seeing it like I did. That just goes to show....GIVE THEM SATURN and they won't forget it.

One young lady from Virginia named Jess, was pretty sharp on astronomy. Her Dad has a decent scope and she has the potential to be a good amatuer. It was AGNFA!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on July 21, 2011, 07:33:00 PM
There is an outreach at Gamehaven scout camp tonight.  Please bring your scope and head on out. 

Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on July 21, 2011, 08:05:05 PM
I'll be at Gamehaven between 8:30 and 9:00.   I said to have everyone start showing up around 9:30.  Head on out and have some fun.

Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Captain Kirk on July 25, 2011, 02:24:36 AM
I've had nice views in Big Sky country the last few nights.

Can't wait for NSP!

Kirk
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Mr.Gorp on August 01, 2011, 11:52:14 AM
What are the dates for the next Gamehaven Scouts camp out?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on August 12, 2011, 11:12:10 AM
Hello astronomy fans! I got out for three hours last night and nailed four more Lunar II objects. Mare Austale, Craters Mersinius and Hainzel, Hainzel A&C, and Bailly.

Mare Australe and Bailly were the most interesting. Both sit on the Moons extreme southern edge. Mare Australe covers a whopping 151,000 sq. kilometers. Either I had never seen this obscure sea before, or else hadn't paid any attention to it if I did. The Moon currently has an extreme libration that favors the southern rim. Pretty cool!

My Lunar II target list is getting pretty thin!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on August 16, 2011, 04:02:07 PM
I also got out the night of the 13th to draw my map of the Full Moon. That's worth 3 points on the Lunar II list.

Down to my last 20, I should finish it within a month or two.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on August 25, 2011, 10:51:27 AM
We have a strong possibility of an Eagle Bluff session this weekend. EB has nothing going on so the parking lot lights will be dark. Right now Saturday looks to be the better of the two nights.

Jeff, Creal and others have gotten a start on the observatory. That would be fun to check out.

Note to Jerome: I have Elvis' 90 degree star diagnol, the acessory case and the instruction manual. If you are planning on Eagle Bluff this weekend, I can bring them with.

I hope some of us can get together!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: darkskyjim on August 25, 2011, 01:46:37 PM
I'm thinking of going to Keller tonight but i got up at 5:30 this am...
decided to head out.  I think it may be cloudy tomorrow night?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jerome Taubel on August 25, 2011, 09:20:41 PM
Jillissa and I could do Saturday night.  I'm still scopeless, though!  Luka was looking to get out,too. Elvis was such pain at NSP I'd rather just use binoculars. I just bought a pair of 16 x 70 Fujinons off astromart.  I might have them by Saturday.  If not, I'll just mooch off whoever shows up with viewing instruments. 
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jerome Taubel on August 25, 2011, 09:24:30 PM
That's Saturday at Eagle Bluff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on August 25, 2011, 10:50:03 PM
Elvis is in my garage currently.
Leaving tomorrow morning; will be gone through the weekend.
Btw: broadcasting on NSN tonight for a while.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: alancameron on August 26, 2011, 01:30:38 PM
I'm planning on Eagle Bluff Saturday, look forward to seeing all
Alan Cameron
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Mr.Gorp on August 26, 2011, 02:33:06 PM
If it's not TOO cloudy tonight (9-12p) would anyone be interested in going to Keller?

Definitely planning on Eagle Bluff tomorrow night!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on August 26, 2011, 06:23:07 PM
Since we have to move Matthew to St. Mary's University tomorrow, I would also like to do Eagle Bluff tomorrow night.

I would be well rested from not having to go to the woods and could do a long session which would be a real treat.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jerome Taubel on August 27, 2011, 03:47:24 PM
Are folks still planning on Eagle Bluff tonight?  Clear sky clock is not so promising with more than 30 percent cloud cover at times but if anyone is still planning to go, Jillissa and I would still be game.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on August 27, 2011, 04:30:21 PM
I'm still willing to go if it even looks halfway promising. Right now in good ol' Spring Grove, it is pretty cloudy.

I'll post again after the 6 p.m. KTTC news weather.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Mr.Gorp on August 27, 2011, 04:36:42 PM
We're still planning to go -- dependent on a check of the conditions later this evening, between 6-8pm.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: ellenvega on August 27, 2011, 06:19:10 PM
KTTC says skies clearing out...
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jerome Taubel on August 27, 2011, 06:31:07 PM
Yes, it's looking Clear to the west here in Rochester.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on August 27, 2011, 06:50:22 PM
KTTC says it will be clear tonight. I plan to head out by 7:30 p.m.

It looks to be A Glorious Night For Astronomy!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: alancameron on August 27, 2011, 06:54:15 PM
I'll come down to Eagle Bluff, lucky skies seem to be clearing just in time
Alan Cameron
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jerome Taubel on August 27, 2011, 07:16:44 PM
see you all there. Luka is coming down, too.  We'll have a good crew tonight!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on August 28, 2011, 02:43:53 PM
Wow! What a night at Eagle Bluff! The RAC had (in order of appearance, I think) Alan Cameron, myself, Ellenvega, Chris Julie and son Joe, Luka and Jerome and Jillissa.

I journaled as usual, and while I didn't get everything, this is what I have: Antares and M4, M17 the Swan Nebula, M53 globular in Canes Venatici (no NGC 5053), M22, M51 & NGC 5195, M17 again, M11 the Wild Duck, M72 & M73 (Allen needed these), Comet Garrad near Zeta Sagittae and M71 (Luka did some fabulous imaging on this, show at the next meeting PLEASE!) M57, M27, Collinder 399 the Coathanger, Andromeda galaxy M31 w/M32 and M110, the Perseus Double Cluster, the Alpha Perseus association, Alcor & Mizar A&B, Jupiter w/3 moons and the 4th, Io, appeared about one half hour later, M45 the Pleadies, a brilliant meteor that Julie spotted in southern Perseus, M76 the Little Dumbell, "Kirk's doubles" in Lyra, a lengthy discussion on Aldebaran, the Hyades and the Pleadies and how they give an excellent example of the dimension of depth in space, M37 M36 & M38/NGC 1907, M35 w/NGC 2158, Sigma Orionis, the Orion Nebula and the usual featureless look at the tiny disc of Mars.

Most of us packed up at 4 a.m. and watched meteors for another 45 minutes. Everyone but Luka stayed till 4, Joe was very proud of his Celestron starter scope, eyepieces and Moon filters, and kudos to Ellenvega. That girl can really starhop!

It was A Glorious Night For Astronomy!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on September 06, 2011, 12:06:20 AM
Hello astronomy fans. I got out for two and a half hours tonight. Lunar II stuff, mainly.

Rimae Tresnecker's area could be found, but the Sun angle was too high to see it. I did have real good luck nailing crater Thebit, Thebit A and Thebit L. They are near the craters Arzachel and Purbach and going the other direction is the Straight Wall, (Rupes Recta) which was a real standout tonight.

The bright crater Taruntius (56 km., bright rays) and Sinus Concordiae (the Lake of Concord) were also easy targets tonight. The night of Sept. 7th should be a big one for me. I think I can nab a half dozen on that night.

Finished with Jupiter. A nice array of all four Galiliean moons tonight, one to the east and three to the west with some background stars thrown in. I could do all these from my deck which was real handy.

Love this September weather!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on September 06, 2011, 06:31:26 AM
I agree, Dean, this weather has been very kind to us of late.  I don't know whether it is just a renewed spark in astronomy for me or what, but I have more scope time since August 25th as I had the whole first 8.66 months of the year.  I've captured 7 Herschel 400 objects in the 5 nights I've been out, including two this morning: NGC1502 and 1501 in the Camel...  Binoculars saved my morning because I was on the wrong string of stars that I thought were Kemble's Cascade.  Once I got on the right path, these two objects were easy to find.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on September 08, 2011, 07:42:56 AM
Right on, brother Scott. Don't forget that between Perseus and Kemble's Cascade is the open star cluster Stock II. This is on the Binocular Deep Sky List and is easy to spot because it looks like a "stick man".

I got out last night for a couple hours and racked up 3 more Lunar II's. Sinus Aestuumn, Mare Cognitum and crater Clavius and its craterlets. (This is where the Lunar 100 and Lunar II overlap. Clavius and Lacus Mortis are both on the same lists, what's up with that???) Hopefully more tonight.

Good for you for getting some Herschel 400's from the urban skies of Rochester. You may need to come on down to good ol' Spring Grove to get NGC 3912, though. That one is real tough, some cruel son of a gun included that one in the list. BTW, it wasn't William Herschel that found that one. I'm pretty sure that NGC 3912 was discovered by the Marquis de Sade. Yeah, and he asked his old buddy Bill to put it on the Herschel 400 list as a 'future observing challenge'.

The Marquis was into astronomy, wasn't he? It seems to me he was into something way back then..... ::)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Captain Kirk on September 09, 2011, 12:36:16 AM
Went looking for the supernova in M101 tonight.  I found a bright spot where pinwheel ought to be.   I guess I'm not sure if I'm lucky to have seen anything near pinwheel on account of the supernova or if I found pinwheel despite the supernova.  My vangatge point was in Roch looking over new car row on 52.

Kirk.

Anyone headed out tomorrow night?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on September 09, 2011, 04:26:09 PM
I might get out after I get done tending bar tonight. My scope is set up on the deck and I really need to check my Lunar II list, but I can't travel anywhere. Last night, I nailed down Rima Hippalus and crater Tycho near Lunar midday. Two hours, plus a great observation of Jupiter. There are quite a few background stars around the King of Planets right now.

Right now I'm reliving the agony of finishing up the Lunar 100. If you don't get a certain target on a certain night, an observer has to either try by catching it on the Lunar waning phase and that means sometimes getting up in the middle of the night to do it, or wait until the next month when the next opportunity happens, WEATHER permitting.

The Moon is so cool, but it can be real frustrating, too. I am SO CLOSE, but I am not sure if I can finish Lunar II this month or not. After September, then we have one more month. When November comes around, things usually get pretty bad.

Wish us ALL luck. Looking forward to seeing everyone on Tuesday.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on September 09, 2011, 05:03:54 PM
I was out a few nights ago looking for it. I was far northwest, but still in town. I couldn't even find M101. Too much light pollution, both artificial and moonlight.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Captain Kirk on September 09, 2011, 05:10:36 PM
Keller anyone?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on September 10, 2011, 10:18:59 AM
I did get out last night after tending bar. (Love having my scope already set up on my deck.)

Crater Wargentin went in the books last night. The ol' Lunar II list is getting pretty thin.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Mr.Gorp on September 10, 2011, 08:13:41 PM
Woke up early this morning. Went out about 5am. Very nice. Always love to see Orion, Persiads and where is that super nova?  Ah rats, or ??? -- it's just Jupiter! I've learned that it is easier to pick out constellations at pre-day break -- not as many background stars to confuse a person so the constellations are easier to pick out.

I also learned that the Night Sky Planisphere (12 in diameter) that we have is to small for me (a 16-24in dia. would be better).

Our patio is just fine for viewing -- not as good as Eagle Cliff or Keller, but I'll be out more. . .  :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on September 11, 2011, 04:24:19 AM
Early morning observing has some real benefits.  Light pollution is typically less because businesses are closed and house lights are off.  You also can observe those cold winter constellations in fall comfort.  However, dew and fog are at their worst, so be prepared to get a little wet!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on September 12, 2011, 12:06:20 PM
Crater Grimaldi and its outer basin falls to the telescope and journal. I'm going to be taking Scott's advice on early hour observing seriously if I'm going to complete the Lunar II by winter. His advice is spot on as far as light pollution, dew and soforth. There is also another benefit. Less noise pollution. People are getting their last few hours of rest and very early morning is so nice and quiet. After 5 a.m. that changes in a hurry.

Note to Mr. Gorp: Take advantage of that patio, Bud. Drag that Double Star 100 list out. With your fine Maksutov, plus that really sweet Orion SkyView Pro mount, you could have hours and hours of beautiful, fun, peaceful observing from the comforts of your own home. I would love to see you get that one done.

See you all tomorrow night! And remember, Eagle Bluff needs us Thursday night. Sheila called me and said there will be 50 7th graders and their chaperones there.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Mr.Gorp on September 16, 2011, 07:54:47 PM
Sure wish the clouds would have cleared up enough to go out to Keller. . .

    Looking at radar, it will be at least a couple more hours before it's clear enough to actually see something.

Curious why the Clear Sky Chart says that it would be Average viewing now? I see nothing but clouds.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Mr.Gorp on September 29, 2011, 12:20:16 PM
What's the prognosis for Eagle Bluff on Friday (and possibly Saturday) night?

Quick look at the forcast shows clearing skies the later it goes.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on September 29, 2011, 12:50:58 PM
Mr. Gorp, outreaches this weekend.  Dean is looking for help down in Spring Grove for Uffda days on Friday night.  It will be set up in the Flaten Farm field.  Dean added to his 4th Annual Star B-Q thread about that.
In the outreach forum, Randy has added one about the outreach for the Oronoco girl scouts at Forrestville state park.  That will be on Saturday night.  You can check there.  Randy was going to add more details to that later, such as a map.  Someone could you use at either place.  Flaten farm should be great for Friday night and Dean could use the help.  You can probably stay late there. 
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on September 29, 2011, 07:55:09 PM
Thanks for the input, Jeff.

Friday night is the ONLY night I can get out. I have Scott Bingham and myself so far.

As far as the public, it is hard to say how many will show up.

(Stand by, I just got a call about it.)

We might have quite a few people there. If I get a call out of the blue, there is interest.

At any rate, any of you are very welcome to come on down. All of you know where it is. We'll be set up closer to Co. Rd. 16 instead of Dean's Boxelder Bar & Bistro.
That way the public can see us better. The public stuff ends at 11 p.m.

Thanks! Dean
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: darkskyjim on September 30, 2011, 12:01:54 PM
i might be able to make it to the Uff da, depending on when i get to the farm.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on September 30, 2011, 01:20:11 PM
Cool! Thanks, Darksky Jim. Conditions look very favorable for tonight.

They look absolutely fabulous for tomorrow night. (Go Girl Scout outreach!)

I hope we all have AGNFA!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on October 18, 2011, 08:49:30 PM
Thought I would get the chatter going early.  Anything going on at Eagle Bluff this weekend or next?  This weekend and the next are on each side of the new moon, so they both have potential.  Anyone thinking of heading out observing somewhere this weekend?  Not sure if I'll be going out, but figured to get everyone talking.   ;D

Hey, November is next month, getting colder!  Last chance for a little warmer weather, even if today didn't seem like it!   :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on October 19, 2011, 12:24:00 AM
Hi Jeff. I got an email from Jeff Boland from Eagle Bluff and he said that both of the next two Friday nights they have something going on, but that we could have the parking lot dark from 10 p.m. on.

Jeff also said that Saturday nights of both those weekends would be good to go from sunset on. Jeff is eager to have us come on down, they are very excited to have Elvis.

I do not have to tend bar this weekend until Sunday night. I would love to get in a big session on Saturday night with all of you from the RAC. Traditionally October is the last good month of observing for the year. From November until February, things get pretty spotty.

I'm up for this weekend! If any of you would want to come all the way to the Flatin Farm hayfield, we could do a bang up Friday night as well. So far, both nights look good, forecast-wise.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on October 19, 2011, 07:44:25 PM
Hi Dean, Saturday night at Eagle Bluff sounds good.  I'd rather do a Saturday than a Friday. 
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on October 19, 2011, 09:30:23 PM
Sorry, I'm outta town the next two weekends.
Title: Observing tonight
Post by: Dean Johnson on October 19, 2011, 11:25:32 PM
Too bad on Randy, but Saturday would be really good for me, especially if we can have the parking lot lights off all night.

Let's hope for clear skies, and I will email Mike Rowland and the LCAAS crew.

It could be a memorable night, but DRESS WARM everyone!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Mr.Gorp on October 21, 2011, 01:07:21 PM
Any one interested in an early night at Keller?  7pm-11pm?

Looking at the forcast for tonight, increasing clouds the later it gets -- (but your milage may vary).

It will also be a good test to see the winter clothing works.

Tomorrow sound like fun. Too bad we have prior committments.

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on October 21, 2011, 02:23:31 PM
I was also thinking about Keller tonight.  CSC has a few clouds both tonight and tomorrow night, Rochester anyway.  I might head out to Keller. 
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jerome Taubel on October 21, 2011, 05:47:39 PM
I'll be heading to Keller about 7:30 tonight.

Jerome
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on October 21, 2011, 06:11:44 PM
I'm thinking of going to Keller as well.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on October 21, 2011, 07:38:40 PM
I hope you folks have a great night.

We stayed in the woods until nearly dark.

Hopefulley Eagle Bluff will work tomorrow.

AGNFA for all of you!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on October 22, 2011, 12:58:18 PM
Not looking to bad, may stay clear into the night.  Anyone still thinking of heading to Eagle Bluff?  It's looking good for tonight.

We got out to Keller last night, but then the clouds came in.  We were able to pick out the Summer Triangle and Jupiter, but that was about it.   :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on October 22, 2011, 04:17:13 PM
It has clouded up a bit, will it clear this evening?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on October 22, 2011, 05:04:13 PM
I don't really like the looks of things.  I don't think we'll be heading to Eagle Bluff.  Possible it might clear later, but I don't know when.  After getting clouded out early last night, don't really want to head all the way to Eagle Bluff if it isn't pretty clear.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on October 22, 2011, 05:43:13 PM
I agree with Jeff. If it clears up later, I might hit up Keller again.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on October 22, 2011, 06:15:58 PM
CSC says it is going to clear up, but right now S.G. is having high thin cloud cover.

Eagle Bluff is a long way to go. If you folks prefer Keller, then I believe I'll try out my beloved Flatin Farm hayfield.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on October 24, 2011, 11:46:05 AM
Well, I got out for four hours before the clouds started moving in. I started my Globular Cluster observing program and nailed M15, M2, M13 and M56. M2 in Aquarius was especially nice. I had seen it before, but hadn't seen it in a long while. I almost forgot how pretty it is.

Binocular observing was wonderful, too. Aldebaran and the Hyades, the Pleadies, Perseus Double Cluster, the Alpha Persei Association and Kembles Cascade were all great. That part of the fall sky was the most untroubled by clouds all night.

Jupiter was amazing! There were 3 moons to the east and they were all stacked above and below each other. A rare sight.

At any rate, it was great to be out, listening to classical music and enjoying the night sky. Hope you folks had some good luck, too.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on October 25, 2011, 01:29:57 PM
I got out for a few hours at Keller on Saturday night. I tried to get auto-guiding to work, but it wouldn't. I still got some imaging and some binocular observing. I saw the North American Nebula, but just barely. Then a bunch of messier open clusters, and M81, 82, 31, 110 and 33.

Just as I started to pack up and the clouds came in, a trio of hunters returning from the Raccoon opener stopped by in their truck. They wanted to know what I was looking at, and it was still on the Pleiades(which I tried to image), and I let them see that, and then turned it to Jupiter which was much more impressive, since I didn't have my low power eyepiece for the Pleiades. They were pretty amazed by that.  They were also wondering about the bright star in the early evening in the west, and I told them it was Arcturus. A surprising but pleasant ending to a good night of astronomy
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Rick Murray on October 25, 2011, 04:14:13 PM
I hope I wasn't the only person from the club that observed the beautiful Aurora last night. It was quite spectacular for southern Minnesota. I noticed the sky starting to light up at about 8:15 with red streams shooting from the north west and the north east moving to an area straight above me with a bright green semi halo that slowly changed to a single cloud that moved to the western horizon. Streams of light moved from between the red steams and culminated in swirls straight above. This heavy activity lasted about a half hour, then slowly dissipating until gone by 9:20. I watched all this from my deck.
I've not seen a show like that one in a very, very, very long time.

Happy Trails
Rick
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on October 25, 2011, 07:57:01 PM
Sounds great Rick!   :o   Darn, too bad we missed that.

No, I didn't go out Saturday.  After I didn't go to Eagle Bluff, I grew roots.   :(

How about this weekend?  Sounds like Friday is out for Eagle Bluff as they have something going on, or else would have to be late and after my bed time.   ;D   Saturday night at Eagle Bluff?  Perhaps try Keller on Friday?

Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on October 25, 2011, 09:12:38 PM
I had my monthly Legion meeting on Monday night. I missed the aurora.

Friday I am available, but Sat. and Sunday I am scheduled to tend bar. (Darn it!) I am hoping I can get out Fri. night and work on my observing lists.

AGNFA to all!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Mr.Gorp on October 28, 2011, 03:22:25 PM
Keller anyone?  Forcast is for cleaing skies  :)  no percepitation,  :) but that also means lower temperatures :(

Unfortunately, we have a committment for our Junior Astronimer, but are tenitively planning a trip to Keller. likely setup the telescope after dark (7pm+) pick Joe up at 8pm and go until he gets tired or cold.  Julie is itching to try out her winter duds -- new boots.

From an earlier post it sounds like Eagle Bluff has something running on Friday and Saturday. (Please correct me if I'm wrong). So a trip to Lanesboro is not going to work.

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on October 28, 2011, 06:23:58 PM
I'm heading for the good old Flatin Farm hayfield. The dew point is heading down to 22! Hooray!

It should be A Glorious Night For Astronomy!

Good luck to all!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on October 28, 2011, 06:31:57 PM
I was thinking of Keller as well.   I believe it was Eagle Bluff had something going on both Fridays, but Saturday was good to go from sunset on. 

Dean, was that right for Eagle Bluff?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on November 04, 2011, 05:03:54 PM
Fritz Deters gave me a "heads up" on the ISS crossing the face of the Sun today. It happened right here in good old S.G. I took a look at the map and saw that if I set up in Fred and Diane Kroshus' driveway, I'd see it at 12:16:44. I went out there, set up, shot the breeze with Fred for a bit and "BOOM" It went through right to the second!

We've gotta get that boy as a presenter for 2013. He is as sharp as a tack.

If any of you have a solar filter, check out the massive sunspot group on the eastern edge of the Sun. If that thing lets loose with a coronal mass ejection, we'll see Northern Lights until the cows come home!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Captain Kirk on December 10, 2011, 09:38:11 AM
I was driving home from work shortly after 7:00 a.m. today and was treated to a view of the setting moon about 30% eclipsed and looking like a fat crescent moon.  It was within a few degrees of the horizon.  I got one photo with my cell phone.  I selected a gap between a couple buildings to try and return to (with a real camera) and take better photos.  But, by the time I got home and back I couldn't find it.  By 7:30 I had driven around to several high spots in NW Rochester and was unable to relocate our satellite.
 
There was some haze developing in the West and I assumed this obscured the moon rather than it having set already.   Because Moon Phase Pro on my phone quotes a Set time of 7:35 a.m. I think that Luna was below all but the clearest horizons at reasonable approximations of my latitude and longitude by 7:30.

Kirk
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: rabomgaars on December 10, 2011, 08:06:48 PM
Kirk, I too was driviing around trying to find a high spot with no trees.  Got a call from Arnold when he was at the farm in Plainview
watching the eclipse.  I  took camera and headed NW out Valley High Drive.  Managed to see the upper left quadrant eclipsed but
couldn't find a place to park and take pictures.  Ended up in a farmer's driveway with enough time to take a few pictures.  I too couldn't believe how fast it went.  The moon did disappear into a cloud bank about 7:30. Was very disappointed when I got home to see my pictures.  Not much to look at.  But fun trying. B
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on December 13, 2011, 02:40:19 PM
I got a peek at it from my deck. I didn't take the binocs out or anything, I was pretty tired from tending bar, but I did see it changing color and going into totality.

I spent more time trying to explain what was going to happen to all the 'liquified amateur astronomers' up at the Legion. A lot of them just couldn't get the idea of the Moon going into eclipse at Moonset in the west. "What happens to the rest of it?" "The people out west and in the Pacific basin get to see that." "Really?' "Oh" "Why is that?"

I never did collect my consulting fees.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on December 17, 2011, 02:57:01 PM
Looks like it is going to clear up and stay that way?  I'm thinking I might head out to Keller tonight.  Moon won't be up until after midnight and I'll be gone long before that.   :)    Anyone else thinking of heading out?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on December 17, 2011, 06:42:57 PM
We're going to head out to Keller for awhile.  Come on out if you can.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on December 17, 2011, 06:59:31 PM
I'm planning on going, fairly soon here.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on December 18, 2011, 03:05:45 PM
It was pretty nice out there last night.  We got out there a little after 7:00.  Luka showed up later, not sure of the time, not too much later.  Luka was imaging Jupiter much of the night.  Be interesting to see what he gets, may have something for next month's meeting?  Jerome came out sometime after 9:00.  Temperature was in the mid 20's and it didn't feel too bad.  A little wind, but a warm wind.   ;D
I was trying out my new scope, a 12 inch solid tube dob, Apertura, same as the Zhumells.  Pretty much concentrating on Messiers and Jupiter.  I think I do like the scope.   :D   Quite a bit of detail on the Orion nebula.  I was able to find M32 and M110 by M31 with no problem.  Also able to pull in M33.  Messiers, M1, M35, M36, M37, M38, M45, M31, M32, M110, M33, M57, M42, M81, M82, also Jupiter and Albireo. 
We left about 11:00 and Luka was packing up when we left.   AGNFA.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on December 19, 2011, 08:58:11 PM
Good for you guys to get out there, alas, I was tending bar both Sat. and Sun. nights (and both clear!).

Tonight it is cloudy in S.G. I am watching Mon. Nite Football. They are having transformer troubles. Is there a CME going on?

Jeff, I am glad you like your scope and hope that you are keeping a journal of your Messier's. There's a certificate and pin out there for you somewhere! :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: darkskyjim on December 20, 2011, 06:58:37 AM
It was pretty nice out there last night.  We got out there a little after 7:00.  Luka showed up later, not sure of the time, not too much later.  Luka was imaging Jupiter much of the night.  Be interesting to see what he gets, may have something for next month's meeting?  Jerome came out sometime after 9:00.  Temperature was in the mid 20's and it didn't feel too bad.  A little wind, but a warm wind.   ;D
I was trying out my new scope, a 12 inch solid tube dob, Apertura, same as the Zhumells.  Pretty much concentrating on Messiers and Jupiter.  I think I do like the scope.   :D   Quite a bit of detail on the Orion nebula.  I was able to find M32 and M110 by M31 with no problem.  Also able to pull in M33.  Messiers, M1, M35, M36, M37, M38, M45, M31, M32, M110, M33, M57, M42, M81, M82, also Jupiter and Albireo. 
We left about 11:00 and Luka was packing up when we left.   AGNFA.
cool. enjoy the new scope Jeff! if this warm weather continues we may get
quite a few more observing opportunities ;-)  sorry, i missed everyone at the
holiday party...
jim
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on December 29, 2011, 07:06:31 AM
After two months of not going outside with my scope for a variety of reasons, I made no excuses this morning and dragged myself out to observe, starting at 4:30AM.

I started with Saturn, which was still fairly low in the SE.  It refused to accept magnification, blurring constantly, and could barely make out the rings against the planet at 100X.  Cassini's Division remained invisible.  3 moons, though.

Glanced up in the sky, and here come the mottled clouds, just 10 minutes into observing!  I debated packing it in, but then I thought, maybe they'll leave as quick as they came.  Do something easy to pass the time.  So over to Alcor/Mizar in Ursa Major.  Very pretty, nice split at 40X.  Wait... is that the back edge of the cloud mass in the west?  It was!

So... it's Spring in Winter, with Leo's tail due south.  From memory, I zipped over to M65/66.  Both were bright in the eyepiece, and... No, it can't be!  NGC 3628 was visible with averted vision.  Understand that I have looked at the "triplet" many times over the years, and I have never spotted so much as a hint of 3628 from my deck.  Simply too faint.  But there it was.  Jumped up to 100X, and it took direct vision, but barely.  Back at 40X, it was unmistakably a galaxy.  Ah.  Either this is that rare "perfect" night or my freshly coated mirror is gathering more photons, or both.

I pulled out my Hershel 400 list and flipped to the Leo section and starting picking off galaxies.  An hour later, I'd nabbed 8 new ones, quite a night for me.  I've gotten more, but only at Flatin Farm or the like.  Not from here.  Not from the middle of Rochester.

I had to pack up so I could help with waking kids, but it was an amazing night.  Keep looking up!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on January 05, 2012, 07:03:58 AM
Hello everybody! I got out for a few hours on my deck last night to try out my new Christmas present that finally arrived yesterday-- a brand new 2" Vixen 50mm eyepiece. It's a honey with a nice wide FOV.

I couldn't split Polaris with it, but that is understandable since I was aiming at it thru dozens of branches of my silver maple. I had better luck with the Orion Nebula and I can see two thirds of the whole complex and it resoves the Trapezium no problem. The Double Cluster in Perseus easily fits in the FOV with room to spare. Jupiter showed the N&SEB's, all the Galilean moons and plenty of surrounding territory. I could only see the nucleus of M31 dimly because of the Moon and my 3 much hated streetlights and M44 not at all...too much light pollution. The Moon sits in the FOV with lots of room to spare and the Pleadies only needs one turn of the knob to see all of it. It actually looks like the Pleadies, where before w/my 26mm Meade, it was just bright stars.

I can't wait until waning gibbous Moon phase when I'll have a bit of darkness each night. It's time to head back to the country to see what it is really capable of.

January nights are still cold, but it could be a heck of a lot worse. This has been a pretty mild winter so far. AGNFA.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on January 06, 2012, 06:00:27 PM
Hello everyone.  Bright moon and all, I'm going to head out to Keller tonight.  Just gotta get out there with weather.   :)
Head on out if you're interested.  See you there.

Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on January 07, 2012, 03:47:43 PM
Boy, it was bright out there last night.  You need sunglasses, especially looking at the moon.  Darn near burned my eyes out sighting in on it and looking through the scope.   :)

Things were quite washed out.  Caught Orion in his skivvies bathing in the moonlight.  We took a look at Orion nebula, Jupiter and Andromeda.  Not that bright.  I think I did see M32, but didn't look too hard for M110.  Nothing like the other night when they really stood out.  With all the brightness, we decided to look at double stars.  Found quite a few and it was so much fun, we're heading out to Keller again tonight.  Find what we found last night and find some more.  Come on out if you want. 

Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on January 08, 2012, 04:42:53 PM
My wife Gerarda and I were out again Saturday night at Keller.  It was a pretty good out there last night.   Colder than Friday night, but there was less wind.  Again went looking for double/multiple stars.  But, first thing we looked at last night was Venus, appears to be in a gibbous phase.  Very low in the west.  We got there too late on Friday to see it then.  We didn't spend much time looking at it as we had checked it out at home earlier before heading to Keller.

Since it was now double star time, we had to first go to Albireo.  We had to do that right away as it was very low in the west.  I could just barely see it naked eye in the soup.  We got out later on Friday night, so we didn't see Albireo on Friday.  To help us in our searches, I brought along a few books that we looked at to help find the various stars and also give ideas on what stars to find.  We had:  Starwatch (Harrington), Celestial Sampler (French), Cambridge Double Star Atlas (Mullaney, Tirion), Turn Left at Orion (Consolmagno, Davis), Double Stars for small telescopes (Haas).

Quite a variety of stars and quite the ranges in separation.  We weren't able to separate the Pup from Sirius.  For Rigel, just a little bump on the side.  On the other hand, Sigma Orionis E is split out at 42 arc seconds.  Stars we looked at over the two nights.
Albireo (Cygnus), Almach (Andromeda), Mesarthim and Lambda Arieta (Aries), Beta Monocerotis (Monoceros), Castor (Gemini), Sigma Orionis, Struve 761, Alnitak, Mintaka, Meissa,  Trapezium, Rigel, iota Orionis, Struve 745, Struve 747 (Orion),  iota-1 Cancri, Struve 1266 (Cancer), Polaris (Ursa Minor),  Mizar and Alcor (Ursa Major),  eta Cassiopeiae, iota Cassiopeiae, Struve 3053, Struve 3049 (Cassiopeia), eta Persei (Perseus), Sirius (Canis Major), gamma Leporis, h3759 (Lepus).

We finished up in Lepus.  Since we were there, took a look for M79.  I did find it.  It wasn't very clear with the moonlight, but we did find it. 

All in all, a couple of great nights of seeing double!   :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on January 08, 2012, 11:25:59 PM
Wow, that sounds like a busy night! The moon seems so brilliant out too!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on January 11, 2012, 11:15:53 PM
A very impressive observing session, Jeff. Most of the stars you mentioned are on the Astronomical League's Double Star list.

Well done!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on February 12, 2012, 01:35:23 PM
If that wind slows down a bit, I thinking of heading to Keller tonight for a couple of hours.  I was hoping to head out Saturday or Friday, but that wind was a deal breaker for me.   :)

Anyone else interested?

On another note...

Dean,  anything happening at Eagle Bluff this coming weekend?  Early forecast has it looking clear, but no telling what it will be like when Friday gets here.   :)

Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on February 12, 2012, 05:59:58 PM
We're going to head out to Keller in a little while.  See how it goes.  Still has that 10mph wind, so we'll see.  Only plan to be out there for 2-3 hours.  Have to work tomorrow.   :)

Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on February 13, 2012, 08:51:48 PM
It was really nice out there last night.  Didn't even feel like any wind when we got there last night and it stayed that way. Less wind than the last few times we've been out.  We got there about 7:00 and were driving off at 10:20.  A little longer than I planned, but the weather was nice so stayed out there.  Also, was waiting for Mars to clear the trees.   :)

I wanted to get there early as I wanted to try and find Uranus.  Uranus has been close to Venus.  On the 9th, they were probably in the same eyepiece FOV, but not last night.  They were already a little ways apart in only 3 days.  I was able to find Uranus, nice little blue ball.  It was a few degrees below and to the right of Venus.  Venus was very bright.  I was wondering if you could have even seen Uranus in the same FOV as Venus was so bright.   :)

We took a look at Jupiter, too.  It looks like one of the moons was heading behind it, at least one seemed to be disappearing.

Besides Uranus, I seemed to also just have to find the Eskimo Nebula for some reason.  I was able to find it after a few fits and starts.  Found a few other things while I figured it out.  I just seem to have trouble figuring out which star is Wasat for some strange reason.  ::)  Also, the description I was using had the Eskimo by a triangle of stars.  The triangle turned out to be bigger than I was looking for.   :)   Nice cool little nebula.   ;)

Also wanted to catch Mars and finally did in the end.  Probably the biggest I've seen it.  Should be nice watching it for the next few weeks as it gets nearer to earth.  Should be the closest on March 5th I think.

Besides those, I was hitting some Messiers, mostly open clusters, half anyway.  11 open clusters, M35, M36, M37, M38, M41, M44, M45, M46, M47, M50, M93.  7 galaxies:  M31, M32, M110, M33, M51, M81, M82.  3 nebulae:  M42, M43, M78.  And one globular cluster:  M79

Also, since I was down around Canis Major, I found the Winter Albireo, Herschel 3945.  Nice double star, very Albireo like. 

A nice night, 22 Messiers, 4 planets, Eskimo Nebula, and Winter Albireo.  I'm hoping for some more nice nights this next week and to head out again.  I'll post if I do. 

Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on February 14, 2012, 08:15:48 PM
Jeff, if you journal this stuff, even on line like you are doing, I think you could pick up a Messier Objects certificate.

Please keep us posted. Well done!

Dean
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on February 14, 2012, 09:08:52 PM
Hi Dean,  Thanks, I'll have to keep that in mind.   :)   

Do you know if they have anything going on this weekend at Eagle Bluff? 

If there are some nice nights in the next few days, I'll probably at least head out to Keller. 

Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on February 17, 2012, 08:41:41 AM
Hello astronomy fans!

There is a Girl Scout troop at Eagle Bluff tonight, but Dawn told me that we can have the parking lot lights off if we show up and she said that the Girl Scouts would love to look through our scopes.

The CSC shows a clear sky for tonight, but seeing is iffy. It looks like it might be a little breezy.

If anyone is interested, I would certainly show up. Last night was awesome! The weather is definately getting better.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on February 17, 2012, 09:33:55 AM
Tonight may be iffy for me. What is the interest for Saturday night?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on February 17, 2012, 12:23:48 PM
I would probably prefer Saturday for Eagle Bluff.  If it is somewhat clear tonight I'll probably head out to Keller. 

I should have headed out last night.   :(    Were you out last night Dean?

Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on February 17, 2012, 12:45:54 PM
If others are looking to go to Eagle Bluff tonight, definitely will think about it.   Eagle Bluff on Friday and Saturday?    :D

Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: rabomgaars on February 17, 2012, 02:35:22 PM
Scope is out on the deck - trouble.........  Need help......... Can't see.,,,,,,,. Hope it is something simple .........Please post if you are going to Keller
and can take a look.  B
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: rabomgaars on February 17, 2012, 02:41:03 PM
Or Eagle Bluff - I can do either.  B
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: ellenvega on February 17, 2012, 02:53:16 PM
Looks better on Saturday for Eagle Bluff, less windy for sure although perhaps colder.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on February 17, 2012, 03:53:22 PM
Eagle Bluff on Saturday?  Would that still work Dean?  Anything going on then, Girl Scouts still there?

Local observing tonight?  I'll probably head to Keller tonight if no Eagle Bluff.

Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on February 17, 2012, 04:05:48 PM
I'm not sure if I'll be able to go to Eagle bluff either night, but Keller might be possible tonight, I'll post again if I do go.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on February 17, 2012, 04:50:00 PM
Windier than I thought out there.  Making me favor Eagle Bluff for tomorrow.  Or course, flip side, no telling what tomorrow will bring.    :)

Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on February 17, 2012, 06:09:51 PM
Nogo for me tonight, but I'd like to see what tomorrow night brings at EB...and someone has to save Rebecca!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on February 17, 2012, 06:17:13 PM
Got cloudy here.  Doesn't look that good right now.  I guess it will clear later tonight, but don't know when.

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on February 18, 2012, 09:49:13 AM
So is it Eagle Bluff tonight?  Anything going on there Dean?  Girl Scouts still there?

It looks like the clouds started to clear up here in Rochester a little after 10:30 last night.  Didn't expect all those clouds to come in and last quite that long last night.

Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on February 18, 2012, 10:47:18 AM
Still planning on going down to EB.  Their office is closed so I left a message with Jeff B to hopefully call me back sometime soon to confirm the parking lot is available.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on February 18, 2012, 02:33:11 PM
We will be heading down to Eagle Bluff then, unless hear something in the next couple of hours.  See you all there.

Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on February 18, 2012, 04:04:27 PM
OK see you there.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on February 18, 2012, 05:31:17 PM
Have a great time everybody. I have to tend bar at the Legion.

We finally have enough work in the forestry world to where I don't have to worry about the future anymore, but I still have to play "catch-up" for the lean times we just went through.

Have Randy take a look at the Eskimo tonight (NGC 2392). I would love to see what that looks like through 'Mr. Big'.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Captain Kirk on February 19, 2012, 11:17:06 AM
From the North Woods I had nice 8x42 looks at Orion Nebula,  the double cluster in Perseus, th Pleiades,  the Behive and finished up with the Andromeda Galaxy around 11pm.  Or so I thought.  I got back out for a bit around 2:30 - 3:00am when Lyra was well over three tree line.  Dumbbell may have been below the horizon, but I searched fruitlessly for
It when I started believing I could make out one of Cygnus' wings above the trees.  I had to run up the road to try and find an advantageous tree line, which was OK because I was dressed for a quick look and it was getting chilly.  I also looked for three ring nebula but will need to check the charts because seeing was deteriorating a touch and everything was a little fuzzy.

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on February 19, 2012, 02:19:32 PM
We had Jeff and Gerarda, Barb, and myself at Eagle Bluff last night. Darn near perfect conditions most of the night. Barb was knocking off some Orion and Canus Major Messiers. Jeff had his new 'Aperture' Dob out there and it was performing well. Apparently I bumped my Evo mirror around alot on the way down so my collimation was quite good for sharp views. Of course my laser collimator runs out of battery power, so I had to accept somewhat fuzzy views. (But I emptied out Home Depot's 357 watch batteries supply this morning).

The parking lot was bare and the EB staff was kind enough to snuff the lights out for us around 7pm. About 8pm a youth minister strolled out asking if he could bring his teenagers up from the campfire for a little sky show. Twenty minutes later 26 youngins plus their parents showed up so Jeff, Barb, and I gave them a nice 1/2 hour show, touring the winter constellations and deepsky objects. As usual, most had never looked through a telescope before. M42 and Jupiter were wow'ers for them. There was a group shriek as a long bright meteor split the Orion constellation, with a long lasting 15 degree tail!

I did get the Spirograph Nebula, IC 418, in Lupus, but again my optical allignment wasn't good enough to get great detail. Near 9pm, I believe, the northern night sky began to light up and sure enough the aurora borealis was making its entrance into the night. It rose approximately 20 degrees high and probably lasted 30+ minutes before it shrunk down to the horizon again. See the 2nd photo of Travis Novitsky today on SpaceWeather.com's site which reproduces what we saw.  Jeff had Mars locked in at the end of the evening, but it just was too small, bright, and boiling to ascertain much detail.

Overall, it was a pretty sweet night for mid-February. No dust, no skeeters, just a little frost at the end. I'll take another one of these anytime.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on February 26, 2012, 12:37:09 AM
Hello astronomy fans! I got out for 3 hours tonight. I went out to Matthew Myrah's where they were having a suprise 40th birthday party for him and his 70 year old father in law from Norway. Matthew's wife Katrina had her whole family over from Norway. It was clear skies so I set up my stuff at 6 p.m. but they were so busy I was ignored for the first hour and a half.

It couldn't have been better. I was scanning the Moon for crater Baco which is in pretty confusing territory. I don't think it is visible yet. Since that part of the Moon is confusing, I went back to crater Petavius and "crater-hopped" my way towards it, and on the way ran into Valles Rheita which is on my Lunar II list and hadn't bagged it yet. I got it tonight, though. It is a pretty cool feature, 500 kilometers long and Rukl describes it as the longest valley in the southeastern part of the Moon. It was in deep shadows at Lunar sunrise, so it was very striking.

The Moon and Venus were visible in the same binocular FOV. Jupiter showed all 4 Galilean moons, two on each side of the planet. Venus is still slightly gibbous. During the last hour and a half, the folks showed up just as the clouds rolled in. I went from clear pocket to pocket and showed them the Moon, Venus and Jupiter, and some of them got to see the Orion Nebula, the Perseus Double Cluster, Mars, the Pleadies and of course had to use my laser pointer for the little kids who just loved that. It was fun listening to little Teodor look through the scope and quizzing his Dad in Norwegian. He would ask questions, Nicholas would ask me to explain something and then would translate my answers back to Teodor in Norsk. Matthew's daughter Stine is really sharp on astronomy and asked questions that would grace any star party. It was AGNFA!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: rabomgaars on February 28, 2012, 10:15:53 AM
Thank you to Rick Murray for giving me a guided tour of my telescope and the night sky on Saturday evening.  Taught me about collimation - a LaserMate Deluxe has been ordered.  From his driveway in Pine Island we saw - at first - a lot of clouds.  Could make out Venus and Jupiter
revealed if we were patient with the cloud cover.  Gibbous Venus and Jupiter with two moons on each side as well as rings with 10mm lens. 
Saw galaxies M81 and M82 in the same field, M34 and M35 in Gemini, Crab Nebula, Orion Nebula with easily seen trapezium, Beehive in Cancer, Double Cluster in Perseus, the Pleiades.  Looked for the Dumbell ??

My new finder scope is working well - wasn't much use with out the primary mirror aligned!  On to bigger (or is that smaller?) things. B
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 02, 2012, 08:12:05 PM
It sounds like Rick and Starbie made it out on the same night that I did.

It looks like the next shot at stargazing will be Mon and Tues nights. I know that it will be a waxing gibbous Moon, but Mercury is going to be well positioned to see above the western horizon. We shouldn't miss that since Mercury is so darn hard to observe in the first place. Jupiter and Venus draw ever closer and I'll be able to get some more Lunar II targets. And don't forget Mars which reaches opposition tomorrow night.

It's March! Time for some warmer temps and clear skies!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 06, 2012, 11:14:54 PM
I got out again tonight for some Lunar II targets. I nailed Craters Cruger and Grimaldi, so I think I only have 7 to go for Lunar II.

Venus and Mars are only 9 days away from the closest part of their conjunction. They are really eye catching! Mars continues to be unimpressive, at least in an 8 inch SCT. What can you say about an object just a hair over 4,000 miles in diameter "only" 63.6 million miles away? Mercury was not visible tonight, low clouds to the west.

It got cloudy here at 11 p.m., but what a night! 54 degrees! Hooray!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: rabomgaars on March 07, 2012, 12:23:28 PM
Dean, I too got out last night.  Set up my "now working" scope on Molly's deck and saw Jupiter - two moons to the right and one to the left.
Venus was visible.  Then invited the neighbor's children over to have a look and got the dad along with them.  We had a good look see and caught the moon also.  Just saw Mars popping over the roof line to the east when I was shutting down. B
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Mr.Gorp on March 10, 2012, 10:25:45 PM
Twas a wonderfully warm day, and Wow what a great night to catch the some night sky. I went out for a few minutes and stayed out for almost an hour (course it helps having my winter attire on -- almost was too warm. I didn't make it much past my patio, but I found some great spots that have all the neighbors lights blocked. I can't believe it's only 10pm.

Too bad it's the time to set the clocks ahead one hour. It'll be harder to see as much and still get a good nights sleep!

Leo almost looked like it was jumping over Mars. and how close Venus and Jupiter are. Just my eyes and binoculars. And the geese and ducks returning is surely a sign that spring is here. I saw so many crossing my field of view. When I saw the first pair go by, I thought it might be a meteor, until a few seconds later more, then the honk. A little disappointing, but then exciting as it is a sure indication that we'll be outside for more viewing with my more temperature sensitive bride. How soon till the next Star party?

A beautiful night to lay on the grass, no bugs, staring up at the heavens. A beautiful night.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 11, 2012, 09:36:35 AM
I got out last night between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. My son Matthew helped me set up my stuff on the deck so I was ready to go when I got home from tending bar. I drank two cups of coffee and went out and got a fairly good look at Mars (polar cap visible, some vague surface markings), Saturn (Titan easily visible, 3 other moons with averted vision, no Cassini's Division or planetary banding, too windy) M13 in Hercules and the Moon.

I nailed two Lunar II features last night. I finally got Crater Baco (Hooray!! "Only" my fifth try at it) and Rimae Janssen. Both are near Crater Hommel which I used as a guidepost to get my bearings in that part of the Moon. Mare Spumans and Undarum are in shadow and Crater Wargentin is in too brightly lit territory with an unfavorable libration right now, but it's nice to be heading down the 'home stretch'.

Love the temps! (Not the wind!)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 13, 2012, 04:07:21 PM
Hello astronomy fans! Sap rise went into effect today, so I have all of tonight for star gazing. I am going to load my stuff up and then after the meeting head to Eagle Bluff and stay there till about 4 a.m. (Moonrise is at 3, if any Lunar II's are available tonight, I won't get done until 4).

I know it's a reach, but is anyone interested? Are there any other dark sky options?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 14, 2012, 11:30:01 PM
Well, I went down to Eagle Bluff and I even had some company...Capt. Kirk! He followed me down to EB "just for a half an hour to an hour" and ended up staying for two hours! First time I've had somebody show up that late at night wearing a suit and tie...

We saw, the Jupiter/Venus conjunction, the Perseus Double Cluster, the Orion Nebula, the Andromeda Galaxy, M44 the Beehive Cluster, M51 and NGC 5195, M97 the Owl Nebula and M108 (spiral galaxy in Ursa Major, both seen in the same FOV with my 50 mm Vixen wide angle), a binocular look at Coma Berenices, NGC 4565, the "Needle" Galaxy, the Virgo group of galaxies (couldn't find 'the Face'), Mars, Saturn, unsuccessful search for NGC 6543 the "Cat's Eye" in Draco, M35 in Gemini along with NGC 2158.

That was it for Kirk and I left an hour after that. I tried for some Herschel 400 objects, but by then had been up for 19 hours and was getting tired. When I get tired, it is hard to find things that don't belong on the Obvious Stuff list.

Tonight I made it out again for an hour and a half, I got some globular clusters for that observing list and took a good look at the Jupiter/Venus conjunction which is starting to break up. Then high thin clouds moved in and it was AMF time. Nice to be out, though, It was t-shirt weather for the first half hour. Strange for March.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: ellenvega on March 15, 2012, 02:38:24 PM
Was unable to get to the monthly meeting, were there any plans made for a Messier marathon?  Weather looks warm, at least from this point out.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on March 15, 2012, 07:02:07 PM
I  plan to head out to Keller for a little while tonight.  Probably leave by 10 as I have to work tomorrow.  Head on out if anyone wants to get a little time in on a nice day. 

Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on March 15, 2012, 07:59:06 PM
I guess we're planning the Messier Marathon for next weekend, March 23-24, at Eagle Bluff.  I'll have to get out and practice between now and then.   :)

Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: rabomgaars on March 15, 2012, 11:18:42 PM
Thanks, Jeff.  What a good idea - the sky was sooooooo different from what I have been seeing from Molly's deck.  Saw Mars, Venus, Jupiter
(3 moons to upper left and one moon far down to the lower right.)  Beehive, Pleaides, Andromeda. 

I am always happy to get home safely - driving the "deer magnet"...........B
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Mr.Gorp on March 16, 2012, 06:23:26 PM
Anyone up for Keller up tonight?  depending on how the clouds roll in.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on March 16, 2012, 07:11:54 PM
I'm up for Keller.   I think the thick clouds will be gone, but could be some high thin clouds hanging around.

Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on March 16, 2012, 07:52:24 PM
We're going to head out to Keller.  See you there.  May not be the best night, but it's warm. 
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on March 16, 2012, 08:22:08 PM
I'm going to keller too.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on March 17, 2012, 04:18:08 PM
A couple of good nights at Keller.   Rebecca,  glad you had a good time on Thursday night. 

Friday night turned out to be a good night, too.  I think a little better seeing than on Thursday night.  We had a good time.  Gerarda and I were there.  When we headed out, I started to wonder as some clouds had moved in.  I figured/hoped they would be short lived and clear up.  In a little bit Luka showed up and chased the clouds away.  I'll have to call him St. Luka, he chased the clouds out of Keller.    ;D
Later, Chris and Julie showed up.  We had good time.   Luka was getting some good images of the Orion Nebula.  We hope he'll post them somewhere for us all to look at when he finishes with them.  The rest of us were just looking at this and that and enjoying the great weather and all the stars.   :)

We stayed long enough for Saturn to peek over the top of the trees to the east.  Been a long time since I saw Saturn.  So 4 planets, Venus, Jupiter, Mars, and Saturn.  Towards the end, took a look at M3, found the Leo Triplet, and Sombrero Galaxy (M104). 

Not quite sure about tonight, two nights in a row starting to get to me.  :)  I think it looks like it'll clear, but there could be a bit of a wind out there tonight.

Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Mr.Gorp on March 21, 2012, 10:42:21 AM
The night turned out much better than I expected. The wind wasn't an issue, the clouds disapeared or didn't obstruct where we were lookings.

I learned a good deal more about out equipment. Itching to get our Telrad mounted so it's all ready for the Messier Marathon this weekend. But even more, learned more about the eye pieces that we have.

Thanks Jeff and Luka! 

Some might call it eye peice envy (can you ever have enough). They borrowed their eye pieces and I (we) compared how it perfromed on our OTA. WoW. What a difference a good glass can make!

I've heard it said that good eye pieces can make a good scope perfrom great. I SEE what they mean.  (Those of you who have been getting the Nagler and Ethos all along, this should be a confirmation of why.)

On Sunday, Julie and I debated what kind of lenses to upgrade our scope.  How far up the scale do you go, how much to invest in 1-1/4inch eye peices -- especially since we plan on purchasing a 10-12-14 in light bucket, which will have 2 inch eye pieces. Thanks for the tip from Luka that you can get an 1-1/4 adapter to 2in, but not the other way around.

One final thought, On Sunday, Julie and I realized that there wasn't any dew when we were out. That was nice.

Looking forward to Friday Night and warm temperatures -- and praying that it clears up.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jerome Taubel on March 23, 2012, 03:12:27 PM
Looking bleak for a Messier Marathon tonight.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: ellenvega on March 23, 2012, 03:30:51 PM
Trying for Sat. night for the marathon?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on March 23, 2012, 05:44:27 PM
Judging from the radar, today we need to live about 50 miles to the west.
Tomorrow night may be the MM night, although I may not show up until late due to prior commitment.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 23, 2012, 06:24:03 PM
Yeah, tonight is definately off.

Tomorrow night looks like a 'maybe' to good night. Sally at Eagle Bluff said there's nothing going on, so we'd have the place to ourselves.
Wouldn't that be nice?

Hope for the best.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jerome Taubel on March 24, 2012, 02:39:45 PM
Clear Sky Chart saying it would be a tough night at Eagle Bluff but OK at Keller up until about midnight tonight (Saturday).  Anyone interested?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on March 24, 2012, 03:05:15 PM
I'm ready for either place.  Rochester CSC was refreshed this afternoon and EB hasn't been.  Eagle Bluff may look better if it refreshes.  It's trying to clear up out there.  I'll be going somewhere for sure.

Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on March 24, 2012, 03:12:06 PM
And just like that, the Eagle Bluff CSC has now updated and it looks a little better than Rochester now! 

Eagle Bluff instead of Keller now?  It would be nice to get us all together.   :)

Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on March 24, 2012, 05:33:05 PM
Going by the CSCs, Eagle Bluff looks just as good as Rochester.  We plan to head down to Eagle Bluff.  See you all there!   :)

Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: rabomgaars on March 24, 2012, 05:36:21 PM
Looks like I will load up the car for Eagle Bluff!!  B
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jerome Taubel on March 24, 2012, 05:54:10 PM
Eagle Bluff it is!  Jillissa and I will be there! 
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 24, 2012, 06:44:21 PM
Just got back from the woods.

I'll be on yhe road by 7:30.

C'mon skies!!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Mr.Gorp on March 24, 2012, 06:57:07 PM
Julie will be joining the crew. Unfortunately, I have to work on a software upgrade starting at about 1am.  :(  Next time.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 25, 2012, 11:43:49 AM
AGNFA!! What a night! The sky just kept getting better the closer I got to Eagle Bluff. All told, ten of us gathered for a spirited run at the Messier Marathon. Jeff and Garrarda, Starbie, Ellenvega and Mike Rowlands were already there, then me, Jerome & Jillissa Taubel arrived with Julie G, and finally Luka rolled in. Lots of good equiptment, Jeff's new Dob, Mike had his 16" Dob, the girls had their trusty 8" Dobs, Luka brought two pairs of binoculars, (the 22X85's were simply amazing!) And Jerome had his 11" Celestron back on line (until I stepped on the power cord at 11p.m.) Jerome's greatest accomplishment, however, was his wonderful COVERED, WARM, and red light LIT table that we used to battle the dew that lurked in the early evening and grew more menacing with each passing hour. It HAS to be the subject of a future RAC newsletter article.

Barb (Ellenvega) and I were the last to leave at 5:30 a.m. As bad as the dew was, she wasn't going to pull the pin until we set a new RAC record, and we did, ending up the night with 79 or 80 Messiers (I have to do a careful recount) beating the old RAC record by 4 or 5.

The sky was fabulous. If not for the dew, we'd have easily hit the 100 mark. (But that leaves plenty of room for a future Messier Marathon!)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 29, 2012, 12:50:49 AM
I got out for two and a half hours tonight. I wanted to wait for the Moon to set so I could hunt Herschels, but I would've needed a nap for the that and the house was just too busy. So Lunar II objects were the focus of the night.

I warmed up on the planets. Jupiter is getting into the murk, but still showed 3 moons. Venus is now a fat waning cresent and getting closer to the Pleadies. Not fitting into a binocular FOV with it yet, though. I had my best look at Mars this conjunction. Thank you clear sky, no wind and dry air. A southern polar cap, lots of dark markings and a curious bright spot on the western limb of the planet.

The Moon yielded three Lunar II objects, Mare Undarum, Mare Spumans (just south of Mare Crisium) and Lacus Mortis (between craters Atlas and Hercules). The Mare's are scattered patches of smooth lunar surfaces broken up by bright highland features. Lacus Mortis is a neat area boasting lots of different lunar landforms.

I got a nice look at Saturn before packing up. It was a great night, but I didn't see anything as unusual as what Randy witnessed tonight. (Check out 'Hey' elsewhere in the forums). Next time out I pass the 1500 hour mark of observing with my Celestron G8.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on April 01, 2012, 02:08:15 AM
I went out on the deck tonight for two hours and recorded 4 Lunar II targets. Tycho at Lunar sunrise, Crater Stadius and Stadius catanae, crater Mosting A and crater Davy Y. Tycho was very dramatic, its' central peak had just come into full sun, the eastern third of the crater floor was still in shadow. Stadius is a "submerged" or flooded crater between Eratothsenes and Copernicus and the catanae is a string of interesting little craters extending north from the NW corner of Stadius. Other craters have catanae and these must be a series or strings of meteors that travel along in space and when they hit a larger body they leave a long trail of hits. They are pretty cool and I really hadn't paid much attention to them until I took these Lunar observing lists on.

Mosting A and Davy Y are not real exciting. In fact Davy Y is in the Lunar 100, I think. Only four to go to wrap Lunar II up. I should get one more tomorrow night.

Very glad to get out, but it wasn't the best night. The dew was appalling. Still, it was very enjoyable and the trip home can't get any shorter!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on April 02, 2012, 06:35:12 PM
First off, I want to say "Nice images!" by Mike Corrigan. We need more of that posted to the forum.

2d, remember that tonight and tomorrow night (April 2 & 3) are the nights that Venus clips the southern edge of M45, the Pleadies. Try to get out there with binoculars if nothing else, and I sure hope someone from the RAC gets an image of it. The weather looks iffy for both nights, but I'm going to try and view it.

3rd, I got out again last night and was able to observe Rimae Hesodius in Paulus Epidemiarum (south of crater Bulliardus). That means I now have only three observations to go for Lunar II. Bygius A at Lunar sunrise and Lunar midday and Rimae Tresnicker a week from Friday during Last Quarter moon phase. If I get lucky with the weather, I'll get the 3 in two observations.

See you on the 10th at Randy's!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on April 02, 2012, 09:49:24 PM
I went out and got a nice long look. The Goddess of Love and the Seven Sisters. Beautiful :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on April 03, 2012, 09:13:02 PM
Dean,  be sure to check it out again tonight.  Sweet..   :)
If anyone checks the forum tonight, grab your binoculars and take a look.  Venus looks like an ornament hanging off the end, handle, of Pleiades. 


Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on April 03, 2012, 09:43:49 PM
Added bonus for me, finally getting a little definition on Mars.  I think with the moon dulling it down a bit, it's not so bright.  Checking Mars out from the front walkway.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Rick Murray on April 04, 2012, 10:23:08 PM
I did get the binocs out to view Venus just inside the Pleiades. That was a fun first. It Has been good fun to watch Venus and Jupiter move in the western sky the last several weeks. With the introduction of Mars, the month of March was a good month to observe the sky with the unaided eye, which included the auroras.

Happy Trails

Rick
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on April 05, 2012, 06:41:35 PM
I did check out the Venus Pleadies conjunction on the night of the 3rd, and even brought my binocs along to the Fest Bldg. when our Legion helped pack up the Bloodmobile. The Red Cross workers liked the sight, but they liked the Moon better and one lady from the RC kept asking me about the "alignment". (The Mayan Doomsday thing again.) Sheeesh!

Jeff is right about Mars being better to view. I too, have been getting better reslution on the Red Planet. For me, I think it has been due to the winds. The air seems to be more stable. Watch the movement of Mars with regards to Regulus and Gamma Leonis. The western retrograde movement of Mars is nearly done and it will soon resume its march to the east.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on April 06, 2012, 10:10:47 AM
I nailed down Byrgius A for my Lunar II observations last night. It was not hard to find at all even at 80X. I wonder why I hadn't observed this before? Byrgius A is a relatively fresh crater on the eastern edge of its larger and older namesake Byrgius. B-A has that nice splash of bright sub-surface material that was picked up from the impact.

 Last night was the 'Byrgius A at Lunar sunrise' observation, now all I need is 'Byrgius A at Lunar midday' and Rimae Tresnecker. I can get them both in one shot sometime next week. Maybe at Randy's?  8)

Mars was beautiful last night. The combination of bright moonlight to cut down Mars' glare and an absence of wind made for very steady seeing. A nice polar cap and lots of dark markings. What I wouldn't have given for double the magnification and having Mars nearly twice as close! June of 2018 will be a 'Red Planet letter' date on my calendar. Until then, we'll have to lobby for a 30" EVO peek. ;D
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on April 10, 2012, 09:26:44 AM
Hello astronomy fans! I got out for a few hours on Sunday night. While waiting for the Virgo group of galaxies to rise high enough to hunt Herschel 400's, I just took the time to look at all the Obvious Stuff and just enoy the nice night. Clear sky, no wind, decent temperatures. It was simply wonderful. Lots of binocular looks.

When the Herschel's showed, there wasn't too much time before Moonrise, but I did manage to get NGC 4666 and M104, the Sombrero Galaxy. The Sombrero most of you are familiar with, but 4666 is worth a look, too. As far as H-400's go, it is easy to see, a nice thin sliver of light in a decent starfield. 51 to go.

I finished off the night by watching Moonrise. I hadn't done that in a while, I followed it up a good long ways past the horizon before I packed up and went home.

No observing last night, too windy. I am going to find a spot tonight and go out. See you all at Randy's tomorrow night.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on April 20, 2012, 07:41:48 AM
It's starting to look good for tonight, astronomy fans.

Eagle Bluff and Lyrid meteor shower, anyone? ???
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on April 20, 2012, 11:38:33 AM
I'm sure thinking about Dean.  Forgot about the Lyrids, another reason to head on out.

Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on April 20, 2012, 11:41:02 AM
Took a look, ISS at about 8:33 and 10:10 tonight.  Towards the north.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Captain Kirk on April 20, 2012, 12:42:21 PM
I'm going to try and bring Shawna and her old man down to The Bluff.

Kirk
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on April 20, 2012, 01:40:04 PM
Is Kirk referring to himself in the 3rd person? ;)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Captain Kirk on April 20, 2012, 04:04:43 PM
He will have to show up and find out for himself.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on April 20, 2012, 05:37:04 PM
Well, he (now referring to me) will be down to Eagle Bluff tonight to find out!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on April 20, 2012, 05:51:13 PM
Hello RAC! Your ol' Dean-o is certainly going to be there.  ;D
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Mr.Gorp on April 27, 2012, 01:48:19 PM
Doesn't look so good for viewing this weekend.  :(  May be a good time to go trolling for deals and info on the forums. $$  ;D $$
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on April 27, 2012, 01:52:29 PM
Mr Gorp, you were looking for other eyepieces.  The Explore Scientific 68 degree eyepieces are now on sale until the end of May.  Don't know how good they are.  You can check out those Cloudy Nights forums and see what they say.   ;D
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on April 29, 2012, 12:12:32 PM
Hello astronomy fans! Clouds got you down? Is there a dirty mirror bugging you? Crummy eyepieces? :'(

Have no fear. The Universe is on ALL DAY LONG on the History Channel!!! Hooray!  ;D
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on May 10, 2012, 07:49:07 AM
Hello astronomy fans! I got out for 4 hours last night, and what a beautiful night it was. Clear, dry, fairly warm and no wind. Venus is really looking great with a nice slim cresent and noticably bigger in the FOV.

I started in on the Herschel 400 after that and bagged six. NGC's 4261, 4273, 4281, 4303, 4216 & 4365. The stand out objects were the first 3 which can be seen in the same FOV. There are actually 4 in that FOV, but NGC 4270 is not on the Herschel 400 list. Also NGC 4303, better known as Messier 61 is a really nice galaxy to look at and even shows hints of spiral structure. NGC 4216 looks like a smaller version of NGC 4565 in Coma Berenices, a fine little edge on spiral.

Then the Moon rose at 1217. I thought about getting one more H-400, but how many times does a person get to watch the Moon rise in their lives? I looked at it until it cleared the horizon in my binocs and then just stared at the wonderful spring sky for a while until at 12:43:30 a brilliant 1st mag. meteor tore through eastern Ophiuchus and Scorpius. White, duration 1 second, a bit of a trail. 8)

I finished with looks at the Moon in my telescope and a binocular look at the Coma Berenices star cluster. AGNFA!! (I'm going out again tonight!)  ;)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on May 11, 2012, 08:54:16 AM
I got out again, so BOTH Wednesday and Thursday were AGNFA. Setup at 8 p.m. My buddy Steve Remick came on out and I got to see his 8" Orion Dobsonian come out of the box, get put together and saw first light. Once I helped him get his finderscope aligned, we looked at Venus, Mars and Saturn. He was like a kid on Christmas morning. We also saw 2 circumpolar satellites cross at 10:14 p.m. The one heading south brightened briefly to mag. -4, then faded to 5th mag. 8) He gets up real early, though, and pulled the pin at 10:30 p.m.

Then I hopped back on the Herschel hunt and bagged 10 of them. I took Jay McLaren's advice and once I found an object, "just stay in the same area and see if there are others around it". It paid off on 3 observations with multiples. (Thank you, Jay! :) The NGC's last night were 4371, 4429, 4435, 4438, 4459, 4473, 4477 4442,4526 & 4535. The best of the bunch was the triple group of 4459, 4473 & 4477. 4442 was also very pretty, an elliptical galaxy in a FOV filled with chains of stars. The finale was 4526 along with 4535 which is big, but a GHOST! I'd like to see that one in Randy's big hitter.

The Moon rose at 1:05 a.m. I watched that for quite a while, but no Rimae Tresnecker and passed on Byrgius A at Lunar midday for now. The wind, which had been insistent all night, was getting stronger. Saturday night WILL be clear, and I'll finish off Lunar II on that night. If the Good Lord keeps giving us this nice stretch of astronomy weather, I'll finish off both Lunar II and the Herschel 400 this spring. 31 to go on the H400. What a thrill!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on May 11, 2012, 09:02:52 PM
Good job Dean, only 31 to go!  I'll have to at least get out to Keller tomorrow since it will be clear.   :)

Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on May 12, 2012, 01:33:16 PM
Starting to look pretty good out there.  I think Dean may have to take up a new career in weather forecasting.   :)

I'll be heading out to Keller tonight.  Anyone gets a chance, head on out there.

Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on May 13, 2012, 01:58:22 PM
Thanks for the kind words, Jeff. I hope you had a good night. :)

I had one too, although I had to wait until 11 p.m. to go out. My daughter, son-in-law and two granddaughters are here from Florida and I needed to wait until they went to bed to get out there. I still got in 5 hours, knocked off 9 more H400's and recorded Byrgius A at Lunar midday after the Moon came up. Rimae Triesneker is in shadow, so I still have 1 more to go on Lunar II.

The Herschel 400's were NGC's 4478, 4527, 4536, 4636, 4546, 4689, 4548, 4550 & 4570. The best of the bunch was NGC 4527 and 4536. They are both edge on spiral galaxies seen in the same FOV of bright lovely stars. One of the very best of the Herschel 400's and definately worth a look. 8)

22 to go. I hope to be a single digit midget very soon. AGNFA! ;D
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on May 14, 2012, 12:58:42 PM
Hello astronomy fans! I got out again for four and a half hours last night with my son-in-law Kermit. We looked at a lot of a lot of different objects and I even got four more Herschel 400's. We looked at Venus, Saturn and Mars to begin with. He liked the Venus cresent and really liked Saturn. Mars is becoming more ho-hum every night. Then he wanted to see what the Herschel hunt was all about and I kept him busy with the binocs while I hunted down a Herschel. I recorded NGC's 4631, 4654, 4607 & 4699. The best was 4631 which is a big edge on spiral galaxy, one of the very best of the Herschel 400 and a candidate for "why didn't this make the Messier list?" NGC 4654 is also worth a look. Ony 18 to go.

The other stuff we looked at was Cor Caroli, M57, M13, M4 & Antares, M27 (which Kermit found in the binocs by his lonesome), M52 in Casseopia, M8 the Lagoon Nebula, M20 the Trifid Nebula, M24 the Small Sagittarius Star Cloud, & Beta Cygni in Cygnus.

The Moon rose at 2:20 a.m. and we watched that to finish the night off. We had a great time. AGNFA!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Mr.Gorp on May 16, 2012, 01:04:03 PM
Wondering who is planning to head up to Cherry Grove for the MN Astronomical League RAC star party?

Since the weather looks good for Friday, does that mean there will not be a Saturday repeat (greater chance of thunderstorms).

Love to go, but I have an early commitment Saturday morning. 
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on May 17, 2012, 01:42:21 AM
Could somebody please check and see if there is something unusual going on in NGC 4900? There is either a bright foreground star or a supernova going on in that galaxy. It is 1 degree SE of Delta Virginis.

Only 11 to go. I would post more, but I'm desparately tired.

If the RAC/MAS goes off Friday night, have fun. God bless.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on May 17, 2012, 01:51:42 AM
Was out tonight with the Evo and Mallicam. Got some nice pics of M100, 64, and 87 with it's jet.
Friday night looks favorable for Cherry Grove. It is still a "go" on their website. Will post a map tomorrow if it still looks good.
I'll be going!

Randy
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on May 17, 2012, 09:20:53 PM
Last night Steve Remick and I got out. I got in 4 and a half hours. We went through the planet routine again, then I pointed out Gamma Leonis in Leo and he got his first double. He couldn't split it with his 25mm lense, but when he popped on his 2X barlow he split it easily. He was fascinated with his first double. Then I used my laser pointer to show him the area that M81/M82 reside in and he found it pretty easy. You should have heard the excitment in his voice! They both fit into the FOV better in his 8" Dob than my G8. Then I had him go after M13 in Hercules and he had a tougher time with this. He had his scope riding too high. I told him to drop a little and he got his first globular. It sure brought back memories...

He left at 11 p.m. and then I collared 6 more Herschel 400's. NGC's 4665, 4753, 4754, 4762, 4845 and 4900. They were all very pleasing to look at, but the best were the pair of 4754 and 4762 which reside in the same FOV. NGC 4900 finished the night, and it has a very bright star right in the little cloud of nebulousity, and I was reminded of the night at Eagle Bluff when we saw the bright star in M53 that one night a few years ago in July. I hit the 70 hour mark for the year last night.

I'm going to finish it this year! I feel like that actor on those USA prime credit commercials after he talks to the Chicago Blackhawks player Patrick Kane and then scores a goal on his little hockey game table. "Peggy, Peggy, Peggy!" Have AGNFA at Cherry Grove tomorrow, I wish I could be there, but the timing wasn't right.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on May 18, 2012, 09:23:00 AM
Looking at the pictures, there does seem to be a foreground star near NGC4900. There was a faint supernova there in 1999.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on May 21, 2012, 07:42:10 PM
Hello astronomy fans! I'm going out tonight, it looks fabulous.

By the wee hours of the morning I'll either be a single digit midget, or else finish the Herschel 400.

Either way, it's going DOWN! (I sure wish I could have been with you folks to see the Moon take a bite out of the Sun.)

Scott Bingham and I are going to do an outreach event tomorrow night for the SG Public School system. We are also going to co-operate on the June 5th Venus transit. I think I need 100 educational handouts. Possible to get them here?

Best wishes to all, I hope you get out tonight!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jerome Taubel on May 21, 2012, 07:48:07 PM
Thoughts on Eagle Bluff over the Memorial Weekend?  Friday, Saturday or Sunday night?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on May 21, 2012, 07:53:04 PM
Dean,  I think I'll give Keller a go tonight to.  Looks nice out there.  I'll probably just be out for an hour or two though, probably until 10:30-11:00, have to work tomorrow.  Anyone checking in, head on out to Keller for a little visit tonight.   :)

Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on May 22, 2012, 02:47:11 AM
Tonight was one of those nights where you wish you could never leave your observing spot. I hope you had an awesome time, Jeff.

Unfortunately for me, I went back on the Herschel hunt and saw faint fuzzies that astronomers would scare little children with. Thank God for the Messier List (a.k.a.the Obvious Stuff), otherwise we would simply drive people out of this hobby. An observer has to be really dedicated to see what I saw tonight and now I know what kind of effort William Herschel had to do to complete the first all sky telescopic survey. I tip my hat to that man.

The good news is that I am a single digit midget. 6 to go. I had to finish with a long look at 61 Cygni (my favorite double star) to recover. I also saw a very nice 4th mag.meteor cruise through Ophiuchus.

Tonight's sky was simply amazing. God bless any of our beloved RAC that made it out there. AGNFA!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on May 22, 2012, 09:46:56 PM
Dean,  yes it really got nice out there last night.  At first I was wondering if I would have to go home before it got dark enough to see things.  I got there early and checked out the planets, but it was hard to even make out stars it was so light out.  I think it was around 9:45 before I could almost make out M65 and M66 in Leo.  Still needed a few more minutes.  Things really picked up after 10 as stars really started to pop out.  I only stayed until 11:00.  Mainly I was finally trying to work through the Virgo Cluster.  Man, there are just so many galaxies up there, hard to keep track.  I think I may have had too much magnification, so I'll have to try less mag and a wider field next time.  I sure wished I didn't have to work the next day!  AGNFA for sure. 
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on May 22, 2012, 09:50:19 PM
Not sure about Eagle Bluff or not.  Moon sets at 12:12AM on Friday night and 12:42 on Saturday night.  If it is clear, I think I will try to hit at least Keller one of those nights.  Not sure if I want to get home so late if I go to Eagle Bluff.
If others decide to head down there, I'll have to think about it.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on May 23, 2012, 07:37:57 AM
Good for you for getting out there, Jeff. I know what you mean by lot of galaxies in Virgo. Before astronomers knew that they were "island universes", they referred to this part of the sky as "The Realm of the Nebula."

Last night we had an outreach event at the wayside rest just west of Spring Grove for the kids in Mrs. Kapplinger's science class. There were about 20 people out there and Steve Remick and myself were able to keep them busy with our scopes and binocs. The skies were iffy with hit and miss clouds and a high haze, but Venus, the Moon, Mars and Saturn were viewed and liked, Alcor and Mizar put in an appearance and finished with M13.

There was a lot of laser pointing going on, constellation identification, satellite watching, 1st magnitude star I.D. and just general discussion of astronomy. The folks were very interested in all of it. If it had gone off the night before we could have shown them a lot more.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: ellenvega on May 24, 2012, 05:31:16 PM
Hey Dean, do you know any details about when/where the StarBBQ might be this year?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on May 24, 2012, 05:50:33 PM
Yes. The Flatin Farm Hayfield is not totally a cornfield this year. On each side of the driveway, that will be organic corn, but below them Ed and Matthew left a nice wide haystrip we can use IF they harvest it shortly before Aug. 10/11. (I've been using it. It's great.) The Bistro Bar B-Q Boxelder  area is big enough for our group to use for the meal purposes.

Barb, if we can't use the Flatin Farm, you live on a farm, do you not? Any chance of that for a possible backup if needed?

Also I need assistance from anyone that was at the March Messier Marathon. I just finished totalling up the tally and came up with a total of 78 Messier's. But we should have seen M33 in Triangulum early on in the evening. I just don't have it in my notes. Does anyone remember looking at that?

A quick reply would be great because I'd like to write up an article on the event for the newsletter if anyone hasn't already done so. Thanks!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: ellenvega on May 24, 2012, 07:03:08 PM
I do live on a farm.  I'll have to check around the high-ground, unobstructed-view areas though.  Most of the fields are in corn this year.

78 Messiers?  I thought we'd reached 80 for sure....I'll have to check my notebook.  I didn't see M33, but I thought maybe someone mentioned seeing it, right at the beginning.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on May 24, 2012, 07:37:25 PM
I have been writing them down on a separate sheet of paper in number order. I checked again and found that I missed M22. That gives us 79. If we can get a confirm on M33, that will make 80. I hope Jerome, Jeff, Starbie, Julie and Luka check this. I'll email Mike Rowlands.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on May 24, 2012, 08:22:13 PM
Barb, did we look at M6 and M7? That would have been towards the end about 5 a.m. If we looked at objects in Sagittarius, we certainly should have check out those two open clusters. Both of those without M33 would put us at 81. I don't have them written down, though. I was pretty tired at that point.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on May 24, 2012, 08:24:14 PM
Hi Dean,  I don't remember if I saw M33 or not.  I know Andromeda was getting low, so M33 would have been pretty low as well and probably hard to pick out in the soup.    Possible Mike pulled it in with that 16 inch.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: ellenvega on May 24, 2012, 09:09:56 PM
I'm still @work (no internet at home).  Will check my list and report back tomorrow.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: ellenvega on May 25, 2012, 05:06:55 PM
I count 79 also.  I don't have M6 or M7 on my list.  Last one I had was the Lagoon Nebula. 
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on May 25, 2012, 07:40:33 PM
I have M79 on my list. I could have sworn that we looked at M6/M7, but without documentation and no one coming forth to say they saw M33, I think we are going to have to live with 79 Messiers this time around. After M8, we looked at M20 the Trifid Nebula, M21 open cluster in Sagittarius, M24 the Small Sagittarius Star Cloud and M11 the Wild Duck Cluster in Scutum. That was at 5:16 a.m.

That is still a record. 79 it is.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on May 27, 2012, 01:03:22 PM
Mike Rowlands caught M74 and M33 early in the night. I would like to claim him as an honorary RAC member, then the total for the Messier Marathon would stand at 81.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on May 28, 2012, 01:17:44 AM
Steve Remick and I got out tonight for four hours and even though CSC predicted a mediocre night, we saw some amazing stuff.

Purbach's Cross was visible on the Moon tonight! We watched it off and on for three hours. I didn't expect to see it. :o

Venus is a small cresent and dropping rapidly. The transit is now not far away. ;D

Saturn had 5 moons visible tonight, but the most amazing thing was that two satellites passed through the FOV just below the planet. They were of equal brightness (mag. eight), and moved through the sky like they were flying in tandem. I followed them from Saturn all the way into Corvus. They were no more than 1 arc minute of separation apart, and I have to say that I have absolutely never seen anything like it. ???

Then to top it off, Steve and I saw an irridium flare just off the Big Dippers' bowl at 11:29:45. Mag. -2 for sure. Amazing! AGNFA!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on May 28, 2012, 11:47:20 AM
After I read your post, I had to go back to some pictures I took last night. I was experimenting with my Celestron 80mm GoTo, and with this Orion iphone eyepiece adapter. I took some pictures of the moon with a 10mm Plossol, and a moon filter and skyglow filter (to minimize the overexposure I was getting on the iphone). I took a few shots, and then this morning after reading your post about Purbach's cross, I went back to the photos to take a look. Sure enough, there it is.

Attached are the raw, unretouched single photos of the moon taken through an iphone and small refractor.
How fortuitous!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on June 03, 2012, 09:23:42 AM
Steve Remick and I got out for three and a half hours last night. His wife Liz and later our neighbor Dale Scobie came out later. We looked at the Moon of course, (I printed off the Lunar 100 and got him started on that) and we looked at Mars and Saturn. Saturn was spectacular, 5 moons, Cassini's Division and planet shadow on the rings.

We looked at lots of double stars last night. Polaris, Gamma Leonis, Alcor and Mizar A&B, Beta Cygnus and Epsilon Lyra. M29 and M13 got a look, too. We talked a lot of astronomy.

No Venus. Just think, astronomy fans, we are only two days from the transit! COOL!! ;D
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on June 08, 2012, 11:11:00 AM
Since I don't know where people will look, I'll put this here too as it is kind of neat.   

Wow..  looks like we're in a period where the ISS is going over Rochester in the evening, even some in the morning. 

But..  wow.  Just stumbled on it.  Looking at the ISS pass as it is now listed now for today, June 8, it looks like the ISS will pass right by Saturn!  That should mean if we put a scope on Saturn, we can probably see the ISS as it passes by!  Wow!  I'll have to try and get out there and take a look.  Hopefully no clouds tonight.  The pass will start a little after 9:30 tonight. 

http://www.heavens-above.com/PassSummary.aspx?satid=25544&lat=44.022&lng=-92.47&loc=Rochester&alt=0&tz=CST (http://www.heavens-above.com/PassSummary.aspx?satid=25544&lat=44.022&lng=-92.47&loc=Rochester&alt=0&tz=CST)

the path

http://www.heavens-above.com/PassDetails.asp?lat=44.022&lng=-92.47&loc=Rochester&alt=0&tz=CST&satid=25544&date=41069.1097084375 (http://www.heavens-above.com/PassDetails.asp?lat=44.022&lng=-92.47&loc=Rochester&alt=0&tz=CST&satid=25544&date=41069.1097084375)

Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on June 08, 2012, 07:08:43 PM
I think we'll head out to Keller tonight.  It won't get really dark until 10 or later, but the moon won't rise until after midnight, about all I can handle anyway.   :)     Perhaps see you there?

Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on June 08, 2012, 08:20:27 PM
Hey Jeff, I'm heading out to the Flatin Farm hayfield. I got to see the ISS pass by  Jupiter within the same FOV on August 6th, 2008 because of a "head's up" by you.  8)

If I can catch the ISS pass by Saturn in the same way, you will achieve Demi-god status in the RAC pantheon, in my book.

Let's hope for the best! ;D
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Mr.Gorp on June 08, 2012, 08:54:58 PM
Plan on having company, at least two of us. Viewing from 10-12 should just about wear out my batteries (at least for tonight). Time to start packing. . .
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on June 09, 2012, 09:52:00 AM
I got out last night for 3 and a half hours. Steve Remick and DuWayne Oakes (Dugan) joined in to see the pass of the ISS right on schedule like Jeff posted. However, the pass was too high at the Flatin Farm hayfield to see both the space station and Saturn. Steve, with his wonderful 8" Orion Dobsonian (the best starter scope on the market) did catch Saturn in his finderscope a few times and saw it very briefly
once through the big FOV.

We went after M51 and NGC 5195. I coached him onto how to find that and he realized that some galaxies look stellar, but with a bit of nebulousity around them. Tonight he is going down to the FFH to try to pick up M97, the Owl Nebula and M108 in Ursa Major. I hope to pick up the last 6 for the Herschel 400.

I finished the night by getting my "challenge" object for the Globular Clusters program, NGC 5053. There was a lot of careful starhopping there, but I found it and had to use averted vision to really see it. I could see it intermittenly using direct vision but it would always disappear after a second or two. For any of you with an 8" scope, this is a very difficult but doable object. If it was not for M53 nearby, it would be a VERY hard object to find.


Let me know if you saw the ISS and Saturn!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on June 09, 2012, 08:39:38 PM
I think we'll be heading to Keller again tonight. 

Hi Dean, no just like you, ISS was just out of view.  I should have had a wider field eyepiece in, but decided I wanted a closer view.  Somewhat of a mistake.  I was watching and it looked like the ISS would go above Saturn, so I moved Saturn a little closer to the edge, but not close enough.  I did just see a hint of the brightness at the edge of the eyepiece when the ISS went by.  Just needed to have a little wider FOV, which I could have done.    :P

We had a good group last night.  Jerome and Jan,  Chris and Julie, Gerarda and I were there.  Rebecca dropped in for a little visit.    Chris was comparing eyepieces and checking out a few things.  I pulled in a few Messiers, Saturn, and Mars that we all took at look at.   M3, M5, M13, M27, M57, M104, M51, Albireo. 
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on June 10, 2012, 03:09:35 AM
Hey Jeff, you gave it a good try. You can't do anything more than that. :)

I gave astronomy a super good outreach event by going to my great nieces wedding tonight. I had my little Vixen out for some solar observing right at sunset. (I probably had a dozen people look at that), but when I put it on Saturn, I had over a hundred people look at that.

I was steady busy from 9:30 to 12:30. It was crazy busy. "Wow" "This is totally AWESOME" "No way, this can't be real" "Can you put your hand in front of the scope so I know that this is really Saturn and not a picture?"  ???

I didn't finish the Herschel 400 tonight, but this outreach event was pretty cool. :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on June 10, 2012, 02:58:27 PM
Sounds like you had a great time last night Dean.  Those Herschels will still be there for you to pick off on another night.   :)

It was nice out at Keller last night, nicer than Friday night, seemed a little darker.  Gerarda and I were the only ones last night. 

On the way over to Keller we were treated to a great display of crepuscular rays..  really, really nice. 

We got there by 9:30 as I wanted to see if we could see the Tiangong space station, but didn't see it.  Maybe I read it wrong, but seems like we should have seen it.  Supposed to have been about a mag 0.6 and go right by Saturn, but nope.   So we waited for the sky to get dark and for the ISS to make an appearance at 10:17.  ISS showed up and that's when Gerarda reminded me I had mentioned it looked like it would pass by Polaris.  Hmm, ok, missed with Saturn last night.  Let's try Polaris and ISS tonight.  I put in a wide field eyepiece and waited.  Looked like it would go above Polaris, so moved Polaris towards the edge.  Sure enough, I was able to see the ISS zip right on through.  Going too fast to pick up detail, but quite the large bright object zipping past Polaris.  Neat.

I had decided to concentrate on Globs last night, looking for the ones in Ophiuchus and others.  Doing Messiers, mainly globs and galaxies, a brief western campaign in Virgo and also the Leo Messiers.  Looks like 12 globs, 10 galaxies, 2 nebulae, and an open cluster.  M71, M27, M56, M57, M29, M13, M92, M4, M80, M9, M10, M12, M107, M5, M3, M104, M65, M66, M95, M96, M105, M85, M98, M99, M100.  The galaxies would pull ahead of the globs as there were 3 other NGC galaxies.  NGC3628 to complete the Leo Triplet.  M85 had companion NGC 4394 and M105 has NGC 3384.

AGNFA for sure!   :)

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on June 10, 2012, 07:14:43 PM
Jeff. as good a night I had last night You had one even better!

Keep me posted on when you need a new certificate and pin.

You rock! AGNFA

Dean
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Rick Murray on June 11, 2012, 11:23:34 PM
I, too, took a long look at Saturn last Saturday night finding 4 moons in view. The atmosphere seemed very steady. I wasn't out very long, but had to take a look at M13...my favorite (M22 a close second). Mars, of course, is still unremarkable.

Dean ... good fun with  the wedding party. (you can pull that picture of Saturn out of your scope now) !! That's a common comment about Saturn isn't it. It would be fun to see Saturn transit a globular star cluster.

Happy Trails
Rick
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on June 12, 2012, 12:51:29 AM
Very fun to read all of the postings about observations. :)

I got out tonight for two hours and had every intention of finishing the Herschel 400. However it was windy and I needed a spot other than the Flatin Farm hayfield.

Two wonderful things happened. I called up my favorite nephew Matthew and asked him if I could set up just to the south of a screen of dense arbor vidas that he has on his property. He said "Sure" and although it is right by Hwy 44 (100 yds. to the sourth?) it is very dark and the trees block the light pollution from Caledonia.

Just as I was getting ready to finish the H-400, my great niece Maria came out. She is 11 years old and is a sweetie, so I ended up giving her a two hour lesson in observational astronomy. We saw Saturn and Mars, I showed her Alcor and Mizar and explained the difference between an optical double and a binary, explained that when you look up in the sky you not only are looking up, but also back in time and that although every stars light reaches your eye at the same time, the light has different travel times for each star. Her eyes got real big and she said "That is so weird, but so cool!). She also loved "Arc to Arcturus and spike to Spica."

Then I showed her some more of the Obvious Stuff and the best part of the whole night was when she gave me a hug and said, "I love you, Uncle Dean."

I guess I wanted to finish the Herschel 400 on the Flatin Farm hayfield anyway. I reached the 100 hour mark tonight. See you soon!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on June 22, 2012, 10:18:45 AM
Clear sky chart showing clear skies until after midnight.  So is it Eagle Bluff and an Elvis dedication tonight??

Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: rabomgaars on June 22, 2012, 10:43:34 AM
I'm in. B
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on June 22, 2012, 12:21:46 PM
Well, they've refreshed the Clear Sky Chart.  Not quite as nice as it was earlier. 
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Mr.Gorp on June 22, 2012, 01:35:20 PM
What happened to elvis: will he be shaken his legs or auto spinning?

Prior commitments prevent us from making the trip to Eagle Bluff. Anyone up for Keller?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on June 22, 2012, 03:21:55 PM
I'll probably be checking later this evening to see if I go to Eagle Bluff or not.  If a little cloudy, may think Keller instead.  Or if really cloudy..  hmm.

CSC not great, not bad.  Hourly forecast says mostly clear at 11:00 and mostly cloudy at midnight.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on June 22, 2012, 04:56:50 PM
A young philosospher once said "Wise men say only fools rush in...".

Still, I can't help but go down to EB and kick-start Elvis into gear. 
I'll be there mid-evening.

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on June 22, 2012, 07:14:17 PM
The Blue Suede Shoes are on the way! ;D
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on July 01, 2012, 03:28:06 AM
Hello astronomy fans! I got there for 4 and a half hours tonight. Steve Remick joined me and we watched lunar sunrise on the Aristarchus plateau. Aristarchus and Herodotus were very different looking with a low sun angle and Vallis Schroteri (the Cobra's Head) was absolutely spectacular. It was as vivid as I've ever seen it. Steve got 9 off the Lunar 100, a good start.

Steve got M39 in Cygnus and as the Moon was setting, he nabbed M31 the great Andromeda Galaxy. We also looked at Gamma Andromeda which is a very pretty double star.

I recorded Zeta Ursa Majoris for my first observation of the Astronomical League's Binocular Double Star list.

AGNFA!!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on July 09, 2012, 02:14:48 AM
I finished the Herschel 400 tonight. It is hard to describe what I feel right now. Elation, fatigue, thankfullness that one of the last 6 objects didn't "slip the bridle" and make me pick it up in another season. I think Joy would be the best word.

It is the hardest observing program I've ever done in astronomy. I know I've been at it for at least 5 years, and I'll pin down the time and average the number of objects observed every night. I sketched every one. I know I didn't need to, but I wanted to.

After I finished the last one, I watched the Moon rise, (I tried to see if I could get Rimae Tresnecker. That would have been a finish to 2 big observing lists on one night, but no such luck.) I just sat there after checking out the Moon and simply relaxed, and listened to Vivaldi and other classical music. I finished the night with a Binocular Double Star observation of Delta Bootes.

What a way to finish ALCON. I am really, really lucky. God Bless each and every one of you. See you Tuesday.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on July 09, 2012, 08:48:39 PM
Congratulation Dean!   8)

What are you working on now?  I guess you have one of the Lunars?  Which one is that?  Did you mention globs a little while ago as well?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on July 09, 2012, 09:24:16 PM
Hi and thanks, Jeff.

1 more for Lunar II. (Rimae Tresnecker).

Currently working on Globular Clusters, Binocular Double Stars and Sunspotters award.

I rode on the bus at ALCON with Robert....hmmm. He's the Variable Star Chair, a Master Observer and one heck of a nice guy. I'm starting in on T-Draconis tonight. I've wanted to try variable stars for a long time.

Hope to see you tomorrow night!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on July 10, 2012, 01:52:52 AM
Hello astronomy fans!
 
I got out there again tonight for 3 hours. I looked at a lot of old favorites and just marveled at how the Milky Way was trying to match the Nebraska Star Party.

M92 went in the journal for the Globular Cluster award and 61 Cygni (my all time favorite double star) was recorded for the Binocular Double Star observing program.

It was really strange being out there and not having to get a Herschel 400 object. I felt out of place. Are there any support groups for this sort of thing? ???
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: darkskyjim on July 10, 2012, 07:18:22 AM
I finished the Herschel 400 tonight. It is hard to describe what I feel right now. Elation, fatigue, thankfullness that one of the last 6 objects didn't "slip the bridle" and make me pick it up in another season. I think Joy would be the best word.

It is the hardest observing program I've ever done in astronomy. I know I've been at it for at least 5 years, and I'll pin down the time and average the number of objects observed every night. I sketched every one. I know I didn't need to, but I wanted to.

After I finished the last one, I watched the Moon rise, (I tried to see if I could get Rimae Tresnecker. That would have been a finish to 2 big observing lists on one night, but no such luck.) I just sat there after checking out the Moon and simply relaxed, and listened to Vivaldi and other classical music. I finished the night with a Binocular Double Star observation of Delta Bootes.

What a way to finish ALCON. I am really, really lucky. God Bless each and every one of you. See you Tuesday.

yes, congratulations indeed! that is a heck of an accomplishment Dean!!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on July 11, 2012, 10:12:11 AM
Hello astronomy fans and thank you, Darksky Jim.

We had a great RAC meeting last night and folks were wondering about Eagle Bluff this weekend. I just talked to Sheila and she related that while they will have a group there this weekend, we can have the parking lot lights off by 9 p.m. She is also going to pass the word to Jeff Boland and hopefully he'll put on the Blue Suede Shoes and we can give Elvis another workout. 8)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on July 11, 2012, 07:44:29 PM
Well, it looks so darn good out there that I'm going to the Flatin Farm and start in on my Variable Star list. I'm going to start monitoring R and T Draconis since they are circumpolar stars.

Binocular Double Stars and Globulars are going to get a workout, too. A late rising Moon might give me the finale to Lunar II.

Lots of variety! I love it. ;D
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jerome Taubel on July 11, 2012, 08:19:10 PM
A big congratulations on the H400, Dean!   Way to go!  Count me an Jillissa in for Friday night at EB.   Can you get the door code to the facility?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on July 11, 2012, 09:00:40 PM
Thanks, Jerome. I forgot about the door code, but we have a military funeral tomorrow afternoon and that will give me plenty of time to call Eagle Bluff.

See you Friday night!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on July 12, 2012, 01:09:04 AM
What a night! I was only out there for 3 hours, but I got a great observation of Saturn. Atmosphere banding, 4 moons, Cassini's Division, planet shadow on the back eastern side, it was awesome.

A binocular double star observation of Omega Scorpii, a wonderful wide angle FOV with Beta, Delta and Nu Scorpii in the same FOV.

Globular cluster M5 (NGC 5906) was next. I took the time to draw that and had forgotten that I had left the 13mm Televu Ethos in after I looked at Saturn. Wow! M5 rocks.

I finished with an initial observation of R Draconis. I wanted to get T Draconis as well, but the Variable Star observing list does not show the RA and Declination. There are simply too many variable stars. I need to bring my Burnham's Celestial handbook out there again.

The last objects I looked at were M81 and M82. I did that with my 50 mm Vixen 2" eyepiece. I think that is the eyepiece that I will do with all of the Variable Star list. Here's hoping for a great Friday night for the RAC at Eagle Bluff. So far this summer has been simply fantastic.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on July 13, 2012, 09:28:14 AM
Hello astronomy fans! Right now the Eagle Bluff CSC is looking pretty good.

I have the access code for the restroom facilities.

Jeff emailed me and he will not be attending tonight, but that we are welcome to use Elvis.

Here's hoping for a great night!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: darkskyjim on July 13, 2012, 11:09:41 AM
I'm just hoping to get out to Keller tonight but my weather sites seem to show it wont be good ;-(
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on July 13, 2012, 01:22:48 PM
Eagle Bluff CSC sure looks better than Rochester, not sure what to think there.  If weather look good, thinking of heading to Eagle Bluff.  If not that so good, may head to Gamehaven and help out Rick if he decides to go there.

Anyone wants to help at Gamehaven outreaches, check that thread:

 http://rochesterskies.org/forums/index.php?topic=568.0 (http://rochesterskies.org/forums/index.php?topic=568.0)

Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jerome Taubel on July 13, 2012, 04:26:46 PM
I will definately be at Eagle Bluff tonight.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on July 13, 2012, 06:00:51 PM
I will be heading there no later than 7:30 which should put me there at 8:15, 8:30 max.

The sky is looking real good!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on July 13, 2012, 06:19:33 PM
Well, myself, not too sure.  Looks like storms will be here in Rochester in about an hour and a half.  Have to see how quickly that gets through. 
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on July 13, 2012, 06:43:58 PM
I'm on hold too, forecast is mentioning hail now.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on July 13, 2012, 07:57:12 PM
Shoot. I see what you are talking about on the KTTC weather radar map.

I'll hold off for a bit myself. I need to get ahold of a couple people.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on July 13, 2012, 08:52:07 PM
Jerome just called from Eagle Bluff. He and Dennis Robertson from Lake City traveled there before they got the word about the front. I tried to get ahold of Jerome, but his phone service said "unavailable".

They are heading out.

Tonight is a NO-GO.

Maybe try again tomorrow night.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on July 14, 2012, 11:47:09 AM
Hello everybody. The CSC looks real good for tonight. Most of the boxes are the darkest shades of blue. The only possible problem is that the humidity looks to be high.

I'd be up for Eagle Bluff if we have a crew, but if there is not much interest, it will be the Flatin Farm hayfield. Steve Remick has it nicely mowed in a spot for a few scopes and my SCT can handle the dew better at that high ridge location.

But if the RAC has a bunch going to Eagle Bluff, I'll come running. Steve is up for tonight wherever as well.

I tend bar today from 12 to 6 p.m. If anyone needs to get ahold of me, call the Legion at 507 498-5177.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jerome Taubel on July 14, 2012, 12:49:58 PM
I'd be up for Eagle Bluff, if anyone else can make it.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on July 14, 2012, 01:44:18 PM
I'd be up for Eagle Bluff or somewhere.  As long as it stays clear, I plan to go somewhere tonight.   :)

Jeff

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on July 14, 2012, 01:57:39 PM
I'm going. The Clear Sky Chart hooked one wide right last night.
But tonight looks more certain.
I believe Kirk is going too.
I have the key to Elvis, so we could give that a spin.
Made a couple extra copies of the key; will see if they work too.

Jerome - I'm bringing your blue tarp!!

Also - X-class solar flare hitting us now might kick up some auroral activity.

And - 5-way conjunction tomorrow morning: a star, a cluster, 2 planets, and a moon.

It'll be an all-out war against humidity tonight!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jerome Taubel on July 14, 2012, 03:41:17 PM
I'll be bringing an couple of 1500 watt heaters along and an extra extension cord to clear scopes.  Have some activities at Church tonight first so will see you all around 9:00 or so at Eagle Bluff.

Clear Skies!!!

I was wondering where that blue tarp got to.  Thanks for keeping it safe and sound for me, Randy!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on July 14, 2012, 06:39:22 PM
Eagle Bluff, here I come! It will be 9-9:30 though. Driving committments and family stuff.

I am planning for an all nighter. I want to see that marvelous conjunction! 8)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on July 15, 2012, 12:59:54 PM
Wow. Eagle Bluff was spectacular last night. I think we had eleven people show up. I'll have to check my journal. Right after Randy showed one of the most distant objects in the solar system (Pluto), we got a treat from one of the nearest phenomena in the solar system. The Aurora Borealis. They entertained us off and on all night. The Pleadies, Jupiter, the Moon, Venus and Aldebaran/Hyades conjunction was also a beautiful thing to see. :)

The humidity was a minor problem, but we had some great northern lights and a quite a few meteors. The last one was the best. At 4 a.m. the aurora was making one last curtain call. I said to Jerome and Barb, "Let's run up on the big bank" (across the road to the south). At 4:04 a.m., Jerome ducked. Ellenvega caught the first glimpse of a fantastic meteor going from east of Casseopia all the way west of Vega in Lyra. Jerome said that at first he thought it was a firefly going right over our heads. It was green, mag. -7, and left a trail one half a degree wide that lasted for a full TWO MINUTES. Jerome timed the whole thing. It was amazing! 8) One thing that I left out was that all 3 of us heard a sizziling or crackling sound as the meteor zoomed by overhead. That was astounding!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: ellenvega on July 19, 2012, 02:36:38 PM
Eagle Bluff this weekend?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Captain Kirk on July 19, 2012, 05:19:06 PM
Anyone going out tonight?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on July 19, 2012, 07:41:59 PM
Head on out to Gamehaven and help out tonight.  Sounds like only a few out there tonight according to Randy.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on July 19, 2012, 10:05:58 PM
Eagle Bluff would be doable for me on Saturday night.

I will get ahold of the staff tomorrow to see if the parking lot is user friendly.

Otherwise, it will be the Flatin Farm hayfield for me and Steve. (Good news, the Flatin Farm hayfield WILL be the location for the 5th Annual Star B-Q. I got the official word from my nephew Matthew today.)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on July 20, 2012, 09:24:28 AM
I talked to Dawn and Jeff at Eagle Bluff. They have two groups there, but nobody is coming in tonight so we can have the parking lot lights off. Jeff Boland will be there tonight and is looking forward to another session with Elvis. You can get the code for the restroom facilities from him.

I work at the Legion tonight, so I'm out.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Mr.Gorp on July 20, 2012, 10:22:04 AM
We're planning on going, if the weather holds. so far looks like 30-50% cloud cover, 10% rain. Tomorrow looks less promising (more likely rain).

We'll likely be bringing the pop-up for the early sleepers. Will check back late this afternoon.

If the weather is really spotty, we may head for Keller for an ealry night.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on July 20, 2012, 05:02:39 PM
Considerable suckiness looms in the forecast tonight. I'm going to delay my decision to go anywhere for an hour or two. Will load up equipment in the meantime...
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Mr.Gorp on July 20, 2012, 06:11:39 PM
Hummm. I don't see that term in my astronomical dictionary. But we're assembling our supplies also.  We'll likely delay our decision until after we eat. Food always helps the attitude.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on July 20, 2012, 07:39:00 PM
Well, the CSC doesn't look good enough to travel;. I think I'll set up here at home and see. Might broadcast on the Nightskiesnetwork (channel randoeyes) if it stays clear.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Mr.Gorp on July 20, 2012, 08:01:36 PM
anyone else up for a trip to Keller?  likely 10:30 to midnight?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on July 21, 2012, 10:25:45 AM
Did anyone make it out there last night? It looked pretty good when I walked home after work.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on July 21, 2012, 03:39:23 PM
Looks like it may be going to clear up soon and be clear to start the night? 
Anything tonight?  Eagle Bluff, Keller?    Anyone up to taking on 50 Cub scouts at Gamehaven?  The other day, Randy said there are supposed to be 50 Cubs on an overnight camp tonight at Gamehaven.  If a few other people are looking to head out there, I would think of going there.  I don't look to take on up to 50 by myself, I'm a wimp I guess.   :D   I did go there on Thursday.  There were 8 kids and I guess 3 adults, so it was a nice very manageable group.  The kids will probably be done before 10:30, so we can probably stay and observe after that.

Anyway...  Eagle Bluff, Keller, Gamehaven outreach?  Anyone?

Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on July 21, 2012, 04:29:58 PM
I have some people coming over tonight for a little private observing so I won't be able to travel tonight.
So much astronomy, so little time.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on July 21, 2012, 06:11:39 PM
Right now, I do plan to head out to Keller tonight.  Unless something else comes up.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on July 21, 2012, 08:52:36 PM
We're heading out to Keller.  See you there.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on July 22, 2012, 01:51:39 PM
Steve Remick and I made it out to the Flatin Farm hayfield last night. We spent a lot of time in Ursa Major and I gave him a few pointers on how to find really faint objects like M101.

We also looked at M52 in Casseopia, M109 in Ursa Major and caught a really nice meteor at 12:42. Clouds came in at 1 a.m. and we packed up.

I didn't get there till 10:45 because I took my birthday boy (Matthew turned 20) to the Batman movie. Good movie.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Mr.Gorp on July 23, 2012, 08:02:12 AM
Friday night at Keller was rather disappointing. Julie's description was murkiness. The high clouds would roll though rather often, but seemed to reflect the like from Rochester.

We were rather anxious to try out our new Radian eyepiece. What we saw wasn't much better than our stock eyepieces. The field of view was great but the views. Caulk it up to the weather.

We're pretty sure that we saw an iridium flat toward the horizon from Arcturus about 11:30. A great night for a little peace and quiet. The stars will be there another night.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on July 25, 2012, 12:42:33 AM
What a fabulous night. The Saturn-Spica-Mars conjunction was great, although the Moon was a little lower from the planets/star grouping than what I was expecting. However, Steve noticed a star near the dark side of the Moon and called my attention to it. It was a 5th mag. star and I knew right away that the Moon was on track to occult it. We both watched in our respective scopes and saw the star disappear at 9:35:45. Wow! It was one of the best occultations that I have seen in quite a few years. Low clouds and the bright Moonlight prevented us from seeing its' reappearance.

Steve took off shortly thereafter and I stayed to nab 2 Binocular Double Stars, a variable star observation and added M22 to my globular cluster tally. The binocular doubles were Mu Bootes (1&2) and 15 Aquilae. Mu Bootes was a nice easy pleasing double, but 15 Aquilae gave me a challenge. It is a very tight double NW of Gamma Aquilae and very close to M11 in Scutum. I had to let the binocs settle and look closely to split it. It sits in a beautiful FOV. All of you binocular buffs would be well pleased to pursue this observing program.

The dew was a little bit of a problem, but once I'm the first kid on my block to purchase a "Taubel Table", my worries are OVER!! It was AGNFA!!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Mr.Gorp on July 27, 2012, 01:15:06 PM
Anyone have plans for tonight?  Keller anyone?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on July 27, 2012, 02:58:04 PM
There is a pretty bright moon out there, sets at 1:12AM tomorrow morning, 65% illuminated. 
Will it clear up by then?  Is it clear now?  Haven't looked outside lately.   :)

Not sure how late I want to stay up tonight, getting old.    ;)

Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on July 27, 2012, 04:48:49 PM
I have an outreach event for Hidden Bluffs Resort (an RV camprground) tonight. If it is clear, Steve Remick and Ellenvega are going to help me out.

The CSC looks pretty good right now. If the skies stay clear, I'm heading for the Flatin Farm hayfield after we get done about 11 p.m.

I really wouldn't mind some deep sky stuff after the Moon sets.

Good luck tonight for all of us that go out.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Captain Kirk on July 27, 2012, 06:29:53 PM
I thought this was a Gamehaven night.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on July 29, 2012, 09:28:58 AM
We had a nice group at Hidden Bluffs on Friday night and showed them Mars, Saturn, some double stars and the Moon. Lots of laser pointing going on too, showing the folks constellations and had a good number of satellites going overhead, plus a few faint meteors.

Steve, Barb and I had one really unusual satellite go overhead about 10:47 p.m. That would fade into nothing and then brighten noticably. It reached mag. 1 towards the end, but most of the time peak brightness would be mag. 2. Pretty cool. The best question of the night, by far, was, "Has anyone made it out of the Galaxy?"

There are no dumb questions in astronomy, but some of them just have to make you smile.

Did anyone make it out to Gamehaven?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on August 13, 2012, 11:26:53 AM
Eagle Bluff is open this weekend. I'm not sure if Jeff Boland is available, but I left a message for him to get back to me.

The long range forecast looks favorable. More later.

6:55 p.m. I got a message from Jeff Boland. He will be there this weekend with the Blue Suede Shoes.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: ellenvega on August 14, 2012, 05:05:50 PM
Friday night looks decent so far.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: ellenvega on August 16, 2012, 07:45:33 PM
Anyone heading out to EB Friday night?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on August 16, 2012, 08:13:50 PM
I'll be there, kiddo. ;D

It also sounds like Dave Gross will be there. Steve Remick will be up north, but not sure about how many more.

Jeff Bolands is a lock.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on August 17, 2012, 08:31:32 AM
I'll actually be a few miles down the road on a hill just outside of Whalan tonight, doing a little show for a co-worker and her friends. Maybe we should try to laser point each other. As the crow files, I'll be <4 miles ESE of Eagle Bluff.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on August 17, 2012, 01:03:38 PM
ISS pass low across the north at 8:54 and also 11:30. The latter pass just nips the bottom of the big dipper and then dims under Polaris before it reaches Cassiopeia.
During the latter pass, look to the SE at a 11:30 towards the glow of Whalan. I'll step on the top of my ladder and shine a light towards you guys.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on August 17, 2012, 02:09:27 PM
11:30 it is! Good luck in Whalan.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on August 17, 2012, 06:12:34 PM
I am heading out at 7:45 p.m. The CSC is looking real good.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on August 18, 2012, 03:56:22 AM
We had a good crowd tonight. 10 of us showed up. Jeff got some great work in on Elvis and Ellenvega finished her Messier observations.
I got 3 more globular clusters and 2 more binocular double stars. Nearly everyone saw a meteor and some saw quite a few.

The dew was tough. It was getting frustrating about 2:00 a.m. The last of us pulled the pin at 3 a.m.

Capt. Kirk pulled another late night arrival. He is getting famous for that!

The ISS put in a couple of passes. The last one at 10:30 was pretty good. No sign of Randy's light from Whalan. I shined mine toward the SE, but I doubt if anyone besides us saw it.

A few new faces in the crowd tonight! That's pretty neat.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on August 19, 2012, 09:41:10 PM
Sorry, didn't get the light beacon out to you on time. It may have worked - the hill I was on is pretty high. Anyway, also had a great night, with about 6 couples, 3 kids, and 5 local college kids.  Timeline was similar - heavy dew hit at 2, left at about 3am.  Many have never looked through a telescope so they were a very interested group. They set up a comfortable viewing area with lawn chairs, table with wine, beer, cheese, and crackers!  Was a beautiful night on a high grassy hill with nearly horizon to horizon skies in all directions.  Two perfect Friday nights in a row!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on August 21, 2012, 08:00:10 AM
Boy, I sure hope that some of you got out there last night. It was one of those 3 or 4 absolutely perfect nights that we get each year here in SE MN. Steve Remick and I got out and I suggested he try out the Scorpion and he nailed Antares and M4, he found M80 all by himself, (you should have heard the excitement in his voice on that one!), then the open clusters M6 and M7. Then he packed it in at 10:30.

I recorded 10 globular clusters, mostly in Scorpio-Sagittarius, but one in Ophiuchus. Then I settled back and used my binoculars on the beautiful Fall constellations of Casseopia, Perseus, Andromeda, Triangulum, Camelopardalis, Aquarius and finally Taurus. I lingered over the Double Cluster, Stock 2, Kembles Cascade, the Andromeda Galaxy, the Pinwheel Galaxy, the Helix Nebula, and finally the Pleadies. I could see everything crystal clear.

Wow. 3 and a half hours. I didn't want to go inside. A Glorious Night For Astronomy.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on August 21, 2012, 06:55:03 PM
Yes, I rolled out the Obsession and putzed around Cygnus and Delphinius. Spent a long time on faint NGC 7006 (glob) and the Crescent Nebula. Likely may broadcast tonight on the nightskiesnetwork. The atmosphere looks like another winner tonight!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on August 25, 2012, 02:27:24 AM
Hello astronomy fans! I was on a mission tonight. Thankfully it was accomplished. I found, observed and recorded Rimae Tresneker in Sinus Medii on the Moon to finish off Lunar II. My eighth AL observing program is in the journal.

Steve Remick and I had a great time out there tonight. He observed a few things in Sagittarius and then switched to the 1st Quarter Moon, where he had fun figuring what that part of astronomy is all about.

There were several faint meteors tonight, but what I liked about this evening was that I am almost sure I caught Algol (Beta Cygnis) near or at minima.

I watched Moonset, then recorded 4 Binocular double stars and 1 globular cluster (M71 in Sagitta). AGNFA!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on September 01, 2012, 11:37:40 AM
I've gotten solar observations for 8 out of the last 10 days. It is very interesting to see how it changes day by day.  8)

Currently there is a huge sunspot complex right in the center of the solar disc. Any chance of an Aurora Alert? What is the best website to check on this? ???

Steve Remick and I are going out to watch Moonrise tonight. I hope to get some binocular double stars.

It's waning gibbous moonphase astronomy fans! ;D
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on September 02, 2012, 12:02:23 AM
We had a very pleasant time tonight. A couple of our friends that had not looked through a telescope came out and we showed them Saturn, "Cool!", Mars, Polaris A&B, and the Moon.

They loved it. They soon got bored and left because Steve and I were limited by the moonlight. After they left, I nabbed Alpha Casseopia as a binocular double star and I told Steve, "there are 3 big craters by Mare Crisium that you can get tonight." He correctly found Cleomedes, Langrenus and Petavius.

Hooray for the Moon!

It was a very nice night for astronomy.

Fall is in the air!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on September 03, 2012, 06:07:59 PM
Calsky.com give me email alerts for that, as well as ISS and other things that you can choose from a list. And yes, there is an aurora alert.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Rick Murray on September 04, 2012, 10:16:10 PM
The link I use is the one NASA has and you need only sigh up for alerts. Take a look.
http://www.spaceweather.com/

Rick
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on September 06, 2012, 07:50:53 AM
Thanks to Rick and Luka (and Starbie via email) for the info.

What a fabulous night last night! Steve and I went to the Flatin Farm and he nabbed 7 Messiers, mostly in Sagittarius, and I got M107, M10 and M12 in Ophiuchus for my globular list and Alpha Ursa Majoris and 56 Andromeda for the Binocular Double Star list.

 I also grabbed another solar observation yesterday. There is a real cool sunspot group middle bottom of the Sun. It has one big spot and about a dozen or more tiny little spots that are very spread out to the right of it. It is different than any group that I've seen in the past month.

Steve is really getting into this. He reminds me of a guy I knew about 10 years ago that got a Celestron G8.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Captain Kirk on September 07, 2012, 06:40:51 PM
It is supposed to clear off.  Anybody interested in getting out?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on September 07, 2012, 06:52:13 PM
It is looking better.  Keller?  I've been thinking about it.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on September 07, 2012, 06:58:00 PM
Ok, I'm going to head to Keller.  Got my scope out cooling off, I'll be heading over there tonight.  See you all there!   :)

Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on September 07, 2012, 07:02:53 PM
It is very windy down here in good ol' SG. (Winds 15-25) I also have the Mabel-Hesper Steam Engine Days parade tomorrow and have to organize the formation and call cadence.

Tomorrow night the winds are suppose to drop to 5 to 10. I will check on Eagle Bluff before heading to Mabel. If EB is busy, the LCAAS is having a star party like the Star BQ. (Good for them!) That might be an option.

More tomorrow.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on September 07, 2012, 08:07:29 PM
We're heading out to Keller in a few minutes.  We'll find out how windy it is.   :)

Moon rises around 11:14PM tonight.  We'll probably be heading home by then.

Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on September 08, 2012, 10:06:03 AM
I checked with Eagle Bluff. All I got was the answering machine. I don't think there is anything going on there tonight. The big question is, "Can we get the parking lot lights off?"

I'll email Jeff Boland and try the office again after I get back from the parade.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on September 08, 2012, 04:56:08 PM
It was nice out there last night.  Wind wasn't too bad, died down, picked up a bit and died down again.  A might cool.   :)
We were able to get Saturn and Mars right at the top of the trees to the SW in the beginning and then saw Jupiter right next to the moon on the way.  I was wondering what that bright star could be next the moon and then figured out it had to be Jupiter, nothing else like that over there. 
Objects were really popping out last night.  I was able to see things quite easily in the finder scope and binoculars.  Since they stood out in the finder, they were easy to find and take a look at.  It was so nice, we stayed until right before midnight, longer than I originally planned.  Kirk also showed up a little late and he was still there when we left, I think taking another crack at M33.
I started off with some globs, M13, M3, M4, M5, M22 to get things going.  I've never taken the time in the past to figure out the Messiers in Sagittarius, but did last night.  Wandered over look at M31, Andromeda Galaxy, later and all three Ms stood out just like that with no effort.  Brought the scope over to M31 and M32 and M110 showed up clearly at the edge of the field, nice.
Besides, Messiers, took a look at the Double Cluster and Albireo. 
Messiers...  M3, M4, M5, M8, M10, M12, M13, M15, M16, M17, M18, M20, M21, M22, M23, M24, M25, M26, M27, M28, M31, M32, M33, M45, M51, M56, M57, M71, M92, M103, M110.
A grand and glorious night,  AGNFA!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on September 08, 2012, 07:22:47 PM
Good for you, Jeff. You must be very close to finishing out your Messier list.

No word from Jeff Boland or Eagle Bluff. Steve Remick and I are heading for the Flatin Farm tonight.

Good luck to all if you're heading out stargazing tonight and see you Tuesday night!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on September 09, 2012, 01:09:59 AM
Well, it was windy tonight, but we hunkered down on the south side of the Flatin Farm corn strip and tucked in right up close to it. That took care of the telescope shaking too much. I knocked of 3 globular clusters in Ophiuchus and M72 in Aquarius, then recorded Zeta Piscium, and Beta and Delta Lyra for the binocular double star list.

Steve got a bunch of Messier's in Sagittarius and found M33 in Triangulum all by his lonesome. Then I showed him how a filter (my Ultrablock) can make an object like the Helix Nebula really stand out, plus we also looked at part of the Veil Nebula in Cygnus.

Binocular wise, M81 and M82 really stood out even though Ursa Major was at its lowest northern declination, and after we started getting tired, we sat back and counted how many stars we could see in the great square of Pegasus.

All through the night, the Eta Perseid meteor shower treated us to lots of quick streaks of light, we saw quite a few. Tomorrow is the peak night, I hope you can get out there to enjoy them. I have to work at the Legion. Go Vikings!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on September 09, 2012, 05:57:42 PM
Another nice night, anyone interested in Keller tonight?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on September 09, 2012, 07:38:37 PM
I'll be heading out to Keller.  See you all there.  Just too nice of a night.  I probably won't be there too long, head home by 10 or so.

Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on September 10, 2012, 08:22:16 PM
It was pretty nice out there again last night.  Less wind, but some dew starting to come in.   Jerome and van full of people showed up and Jerome was giving an astronomy class.   :)

I set up a little further north so that I could look for some of the low hanging fruit in Scorpius and Sagittarius that was in the trees on Friday.  Looking at a few more Messiers.   M80, M19, M6, M7, maybe M62, still somewhat in the trees.   Then a bunch of globs in Sagittarius, M69, M70, M54, M55, M75.  That was the low fruit, then started elsewhere.  M9, M107. and finally M14.  I've looked for that before, but just never found it.  Finally, M2, M72, and M73.   Another great night!  AGNFA!

Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on September 12, 2012, 03:23:32 PM
Hello everyone, Eagle Bluff will have a quilters group there this weekend, but they will be inside and Dawn thought that the parking lot lights could be off, no problem. They will overnight, so no impact on us except that they may take the time to come on up and look through the scopes. I remember one other year where this happened.

The staff will be inside with the quilters and the door to the restroom will be open, so we won't even need an entrance code.

Friday and Saturday both look good. I have to work (Sat. night, I think?) so I can't make both nights. I have to generate some bongo bucks to pay for the Heart of America Star Party trip! ;D
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jerome Taubel on September 13, 2012, 04:34:30 PM
Sounds great, Dean!  Jillissa and I are definately planning to be at Eagle Bluff tomorrow (Friday) night.  The quilters were a great outreach group, if I recall.  I'll also probably have a couple of the visitors along that I had out at Keller.   We can't make Saturday night, though.  Jed was considering coming up to EB from Winona on Friday, too.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Mr.Gorp on September 13, 2012, 06:55:50 PM
 Have Jed bring a few of his friends along!

We were planning to go to the Jeffers Petroglyphs' Astro Night, (near Comfrey, MN) but plans have changed.  :(

See you at Eagle Bluff.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: ellenvega on September 13, 2012, 07:44:52 PM
Friday works best for me, also.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on September 13, 2012, 08:41:38 PM
If I can make Friday, might be late...
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on September 13, 2012, 10:07:04 PM
Wow! What a response! I hope Jed shows, it would be so nice to see him again.

Steve and I will be there tomorrow night. I'm not sure if I can be there at sunset, us forestry workers will be in NE Iowa tomorrow, but I should be there by 8 p.m.

The CSC looks really good.

Let's hope for AGNFA! :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jerome Taubel on September 14, 2012, 03:47:06 PM
It's going to be a great night!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on September 14, 2012, 05:58:55 PM
I got off at a decent time. I should be there about sunset. Jeff Boland is going to have "Elllllvissss" put on a show.

The CSC looks real good. Lots of dark blue.

See you there!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on September 20, 2012, 11:17:59 PM
Saturday night possibly looks good. Is there anyone interested in a 1st quarter moonset and late night observing somewhere?

Steve and I are definately going out if conditions warrant.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: ellenvega on September 21, 2012, 02:35:48 PM
I won't be able to get out anywhere this weekend.

It's definetly going to be cold.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on September 22, 2012, 06:00:36 PM
Steve is all fired up. We'll be out at the Flatin Farm by 8 p.m.

Tonight looks a little windy, tomorrow night looks really good.

"Get your booties on campers, 'cause it's COLD outside!"  ;D (Groundhog Day movie)

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on September 25, 2012, 07:33:26 AM
Hello astronomy fans! Steve and I got out on Saturday night, and the first thing he asked was "What's that bright spot on the dark part of the Moon?" I took a look, but misunderstood him. He was looking at a mountaintop just west of the terminator that was being lit up.

I looked to the west of the lunar limb and noticed a bright star (mag. 4 or 5) with 2 8th mag. companions equidistant by about 2 arcminutes on either side. It was going to be occulted by the Moon!

I just had time to set up and caught the last five minutes of when the bright star and it's upper companion disappeared within 5 seconds of each other. The lower companion star was clipped 50 seconds after that. The time was 8:20:00 for the bright star, 8:20:05 and 8:20:50. This was the 2d occultation of the year for us and by far was the best event of that type.

We also observed Uranus and its close approach to 44 Piscium (1.4') Absolutely wonderful. Steve nailed M34, M36, M38 and M37 for his Messier tally. He now stands at 30. AGNFA!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Mr.Gorp on October 12, 2012, 04:41:00 PM
Looks like the clouds are scheduled to roll in about 10:30pm. Anyone interested in making an early run out to Keller until they do?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on October 21, 2012, 01:45:22 AM
Hello astronomy fans! We had an awesome night, although quite unexpected as to how it would turn out.

The Moon dominated the sky early in the evening, but we did not expect it to play the dominant role that it did tonight.

We saw an ISS pass about 7:20, but did not see another pass another hour and a half later on.

Ellenvega nailed NGC's 1444 and 457, but the biggest thrill of the night was seeing the Moon occult 5 stars in eastern Sagittarius. That just absolutely had our attention down tight. I personally had never seen more than two occultations previously, so this was a new record.

Steve had his new 20X80 Zhumell binoculars out, they were great! No comet 168P Hurgenrother, though. Did that object subside? I think that "Heavens Above" star maps are  very substandard.

We have two pretty darn good astronomers coming up through the ranks. AGNFA!












Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on October 22, 2012, 09:43:15 AM
Hi Dean,  did you catch any Orionids while you were out there?  Where were you at, Eagle Bluff or Flatin Farm?

Thanks for the heads up.  Looks like we are in another set of ISS evening passes.   :)

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on October 23, 2012, 12:36:28 AM
Sorry Jeff. No Orionids. The sky was great until about midnight, then clouded up.

That was the same time that the Moon set. Stuppo with his brand new 20X80 Zhumells and Ellenvega looked at Moonset thru my 15X70 Celestron Skymasters.

I had seen this quite a few times before, so I just held back and watched them. It was so fun! Neither one left the occulars of the binoculars until the very last vestiges of the Moon had disappeared below the horizon. That was pretty cool. They are both die hards.

That was when the clouds came in and covered everything completely.

Logan Deschler (the young kid who came on out and had observed with us before), came out right when the clouds covered everything. Oh well. It was still AGNFA!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on November 02, 2012, 08:29:23 AM
Hi everybody. I called Eagle Bluff and they have two groups of tenth graders there tonight and tomorrow, but we are welcome to show up and the parking lot lights can be off.

The forecast doesn't look too good, especially for tonight. If the weather co-operates Sat. nite, I'd be willing to show up and I know Steve would too.

If not, then it's the good old Flatin Farm. Did anybody catch the Moon and its close proximity to Jupiter last night? A great naked eye spectacal.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on November 08, 2012, 10:50:29 AM
Wondering if it is going to stay clear this evening?  Just might head out to Keller for a couple of hours if it stays this way.  CSC is suggesting it should stay clear into the evening.  Anybody else thinking to head out?

Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on November 08, 2012, 02:54:33 PM
I think that Steve and I are going to the Flatin Farm hayfield tonight.

I called Sally at Eagle Bluff and she said that EB would work either Fri or Sat. However, I don't think the weather is going to co-operate.
It is November, after all and from now until mid-Feb, observing is going to be tough to come by.

Good luck if you go!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on November 08, 2012, 06:59:51 PM
We're heading out to Keller for a couple of hours.   See you there?   :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on November 08, 2012, 11:04:57 PM
Sorry, I couldn't make it. Steve is deep into delivering corn from harvest, and I needed to get my lovely wife Betty home from kindergarten conferences at 8:30 p.m.

There will be another time! :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on November 09, 2012, 12:19:22 PM
Sorry you couldn't get out last night Dean.  It was a wonderful night.  We got there a little before 7:30.  Objects were popping out.  Started off sighting my finder by using Vega.  Since I was there, I moved over a little a started the night with the Ring Nebula, M57.  Really looked nice and figure then it would be a good night.  I then decided to head over to look at the Dumbbell.  While heading there, stopped off in Sagitta and hit M71, a glob, and then pointed the finder over in the Dumbbell area.  From the finder, I saw a smudge and said, no, can't be the Dumbbell, can it?  Sure enough it was. 

Besides Gerarda and myself,  Mr. jlmanatee, Jack, came out.  It was his first time to Keller, I'm sure not the last.  He has an 8 inch Celestron CPC that he recently(?) picked up and hasn't used too many times.  A nice scope and nice views, I'm sure he'll be using it a lot.

Mainly looked at a few Messiers, Double cluster, Albireo, Mesarthim and Jupiter once it got above the trees.  Jupiter had 3 moons.  Looking at the magazines to see where the other was at and determined that Io was behind Jupiter.  Looks like it might start to come out by 10PM?  We kept an eye out for it.  And that was probably the highlight of the evening.  Gerarda was the first to see it edging out the side of Jupiter a little before 9:30.  We left at 10:00 and it had gained quite a bit of separation from Jupiter by then.  Jack was still there when we left, I don't know how long he stayed.

Yes, it was AGNFA!

Jeff


Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: jlmanatee on November 09, 2012, 06:20:15 PM
  A BIG thank you to Jeff and his wife for giving me a personal mini-star-tour.  It was my first-ever view of Jupiter.  Very cool.  I didn't know those "stars" were moons till Jeff pointed them out.  What was really nice was having Jeff confirm the identity of the faint fuzzys I was seeing. "OH!  So THAT's a nebula!"   Thanks again, Jeff.
  My first scope was a 60mm Celestron Nexstar (for sale!) and was pretty useless.  My new scope, a Celestron CPC-800, is awesome and this was the very first night with a clear dark sky.
  I should have taken the opportunity to look through Jeff's 12" Dob, but was too into my new scope and all its fancy doodads and new eyepieces.  Maybe next time Jeff?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on November 09, 2012, 08:06:02 PM
Good for you three to have a really great night!

It sounds like Jeff is seriously finding his way around the sky. Great for you, buddy! It also sounds like Jack is starting to recognize "object awareness". That is a great thing for any astronomer to aquire.

Cross your fingers for next weekend. I'll keep you posted for Eagle Bluff, and sometime by God, I'll get a session in at Keller! ;D
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on November 15, 2012, 12:12:23 PM
Looks like it may be clear tonight.  Anyone else thinking of Keller?  Not sure if I will or not.  This evening, forecast has clear in the upper 30s with around a 10-13 mph wind.  So a little windy, wind chill in the upper 20s then.  Just might go out for a couple of hours.  I'll post if I do.

Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: jlmanatee on November 15, 2012, 01:34:31 PM
I think I'll try to make it tonight, if the better half doesn't have any plans for me.  ::)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on November 15, 2012, 06:55:03 PM
We'll be heading out to Keller in a few minutes.   See you all there?   :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on November 16, 2012, 09:48:01 AM
Dean's computer is down, so he called to let me know Eagle Bluff is wide open tonight. We'll have their parking lot all to ourselves.

So we're both planning on being there. I will have the EVO and a heated trailer with some hot cider.

Dress warm. Hope to see you there!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: ellenvega on November 16, 2012, 03:10:52 PM
I'm going to try and make it out for awhile, but it'll be after 11pm.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on November 18, 2012, 10:47:20 AM
It was AGNFA at Eagle Bluff on Friday night. Allen Cameron and Steve Remick beat me to the parking lot, then Dave and Aaron showed up, then Mike and Mike from the LCAAS and the not quite final show was Randy.

The sky was very good, and while we saw some meteors, they weren't as numerous as I expected. Mike Rowlands, Steve and I had "binocular wars". (We lined up all 3 sets of binoculars we had with and all looked at the same thing to compare images) That was fun. Dave and Aaron did some naked eye astronomy figuring out the lesser known stars of constellations like Taurus, I helped Allen Cameron find some targets and Randy kept everyone hugely entertained as he always does.

Ice was a problem. By 11:30 everything had a coat of ice so thick you could have used a windshield scraper. Randy and I were the last ones in the lot when lo and behold, Ellenvega pulled in with an untouched telescope. We warmed up for a bit in the trailer, then Barb set up and Randy and I threw every obscure deep sky object we could think of at her and she found them all, most of them very quickly. That was very fun! She finally iced up and we hit the road at 3 a.m. Except for the ice, it was the most beautiful sky you could want. Wonderful.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on November 22, 2012, 12:17:04 AM
Another great night. Not so much weather wise, there was wind to deal with, but outreach was super. DuWayne "Dugan" Oakes had his 60th birthday party tonight and since I work "with" Dugan, (if you EVER say "I work FOR Dugan", you will get 'The Look'). There were lots of people there and I had my binocs and scope loaded up and showed them the Moon, Jupiter and the Pleadies. Most of the people that were there had never looked at stellar objects through any kind of instrument before.

Then I went out to the Flatin Farm where I met up with my old buddy Steve and we looked at the Orion Nebula (a new object for his Messiers), M35 in Gemini along with NGC 2158, (I told him it was on the edge of the cluster, but not where and he found it all on his lonesome) and M41 in Canis Major.

He is getting much quicker at finding stuff. His "object awareness" is growing by leaps and bounds. It is very fun to see.

It was a very windy night, not so much in town, but out at the Flatin Farm, but still AGNFA!!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on November 24, 2012, 04:07:41 PM
The Decorah CSC is predicting clear skies starting at 2 a.m. If anyone is adventurous enough to come and join me and Steve on the Flatin Farm hayfield, you are certainly welcome.  :o

Moon set looks to be about 3:30 with 3 hours of darkness after that.  ;D
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on November 25, 2012, 11:30:33 AM
I couldn't fall asleep so I set up at the Flatin Farm at 1 a.m. The clouds were breaking up and things were looking real good. I did the usual routine, polar alignment, checked out Gamma Leonis which split easily, looked at Sirius and thought I could see hints of Sirius B, observed the Moon and saw that the terminator was right on the Aristarchus Plateau and was going to journal when I looked up and thought, "I better look at Jupiter."

I'm glad I did. 3 moons off the east side and one on the west, VERY close in. I kept looking at it to see if it was going to move toward or away from the planet. Something else happened. At 2:30 a.m. it started to dim! It took 11 minutes to disappear completely. Steve showed up about 15 minutes later and I used his Sky&Telescope chart to find out that I had seen Ganymede eclipsed by Jupiter's shadow. YES!! I kept on monitoring Jupiter, but Ganymede was behind the planet and did not reappear by the time we packed up at 6 a.m.

Steve got M44 (The Beehive), M3 (Globular in Canes Venatici) and M94 in Canes for his Messier List. I also had him check out Cor Caroli (Alpha Canes Venaticorum) which is a beautiful double star.

We finished by observing the close approach of Venus to Saturn. Conjunction is the next two mornings. They were about a half a binocular FOV from 5 a.m. on. AGNFA!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on November 28, 2012, 10:25:56 PM
Did anyone get out to take a look at the Jupiter/Moon conjuntion? Jupiter was only about one degree above and to the left of the Moon at 6-6:30 p.m. I got my binoculars out and it was stunning. I would have gotten my telescope out to see if I could get them in the same FOV, but did not have enough time, because I had to work bar bingo at the Legion.

In my 15X70 binoculars it was simply awesome. They both easily fit in the same FOV. I could see 2 of the Galileans to the lower left and one to the upper right. Betty came out and saw the two to the lower left. Laura came out with no coat and little shorts on, lasted for 10 seconds and saw Jupiter and the Moon, said "Thanks Dad", then bolted back to comfort inside the house.

I got a couple of my neighbors to look at it and they really liked it. What a show! I'd have blown off the bingo work if I had known how close a pass this came to be.

I hope that lots of you got to see what I did, either naked eye or through binoculars. It was a VERY brief, but AGNFA!!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on November 30, 2012, 03:36:03 PM
They were 1 degree apart when I noticed them. I only saw it naked eye, but did stop long enough to appreciate it. My binoculars are still packed away from the move sadly, as are the scopes.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on December 04, 2012, 10:52:58 PM
Hello astronomy fans! Steve, David Coset (the guy from France) and I got out there for 3 hours tonight. While we were setting up, I put David on my binocs and had him look at Albebaran, the Hyades and the Pleadies star clusters, plus Jupiter. That kept him busy until me and Steve could start rocking once we were set up.

Steve cruised through Auriga and showed David M37, M36 and M38, then dropped down to Gemini and showcased M35. We had a good disscusion on open star clusters, then turned our attention back to Jupiter. Callisto was closing with the planet and we kept a close eye on that. The Orion Nebula was also a big treat for him. I also pointed out Orion's belt and Collinder 70, the beautiful stars that surround the belt.

I also showed David M1 the Crab Nebula in Taurus and, while I had a little tussle with my star chart for Cetus, found NGC 253 the "Silver Coin Galaxy". I was suprised at how easy it was to see in my finder. We also showed David the Andromeda Galxay. (Pronounced "Andromed" in Francais).

David watched Callisto disappear behind Jupiter, and we taught him what a "Coconut Cover" is in English. (It is a stocking cap) and also loaned him a pair of gloves. He assured us that he would be "bettar preparred next tyme" and was really amazed at everything that he saw tonight. I hope all of you get to meet him sometime. He is really fun and gave me some genuine French mustard that I'm bringing to the RAC Christmas party. AGNFA!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: rabomgaars on December 14, 2012, 05:48:31 AM
I saw the most amazing meteor last evening when walking the dog about 8:15. Huge bright green with a long bluish/yellow tail.  It came from pretty much overhead, disappearing toward the north.  A fine definition of serendipity.  B
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on December 20, 2012, 05:37:08 PM
I hope Starbie made a wish on seeing her meteor. At least one of the RAC saw a Geminid.

What do you astronomy fans think of having a star party at Eagle Bluff tomorrow night? I called and they said that there is absolutely nothing going on. We can have the parking lot all to ourselves.

Since this is Christmas weekend, we could gather later than usual. Stuppo (Steve) doesn't have to work on Saturday so Friday night would work the best for him. The Moon phase is 1st quarter. We could arrive and set up, observe, and enjoy the night sky well into the morning hours and not have to worry about the next days commitments.

We'd have to dress like we were going to Antarctica. But, we would have the opportunity to see the best of the winter sky. It would be the most unusual winter star party that the RAC has ever attempted.

If there is not much interest, we'll just go out to the Flatin Farm hayfield. Merry Christmas and love to all. Dean
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: ellenvega on December 21, 2012, 02:48:46 PM
Unfortunetly I have an early morning work commitment so it's no-go for me.  Hopefully will get a decent chance in January.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on December 21, 2012, 04:25:40 PM
No problem, Ellenvega. I think it is going to be a brief sojourn at the Flatin Farm hayfield tonight, astronomy fans. I'll be looking for the missing planet Nibaru. If it wasn't so darn cold, I'd pierce my nose, get my paint and feathers on, and get naked, but I don't think that is going to happen. ;D Meeting Cedric, Rupert and Percy up at the Legion would be more likely than that.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a Good Night.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on December 21, 2012, 10:47:40 PM
Yup, had fam come in tonight. Nice to see the clear skies again, but so cold. But Dean, maybe that paint and feathers thing will go over well at the Legion tonight!
And Merry Christmas to you too!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on January 03, 2013, 06:00:15 PM
Friday night looks good, astronomy fans. What do you think about Eagle Bluff? ???

If there is not much interest, you can find me at the Flatin Farm hayfield. ;)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on January 04, 2013, 12:39:21 PM
Dean, not quite sure if I want to go all the way to Eagle Bluff, but thinking about doing Keller for sure.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on January 09, 2013, 06:15:20 PM
Ok, tonight is the night.  We'll be heading out to Keller later.   Probably won't be there too long, but things are looking pretty good now.   Clear, not that cold, wind has died down quite a bit.  Looking good.  See you out there?

Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on January 09, 2013, 07:42:41 PM
We're on our way out to Keller in a couple of minutes.  Probably be there for a couple of hours. 
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on January 16, 2013, 12:31:31 AM
Hello astronomy fans. Steve (Stuppo) and I got out for two and a half hours tonight. First off was the Moon. There was awesome Earthshine. Then we noticed that there was a fairly bright (5th mag. star) close by. I told Steve we should keep an eye on that.

Then we went after M1, the Crab Nebula. His finder is correct view and mine is upside down. After describing what it should look like, Steve still had trouble finding it. I looked along the tube and saw that he was in the wrong spot. There are times when you simply have to look along the telescope tube to get in the right place.(Especially on those beautiful, magnificent 8" Orion Dobsonians). He found it pretty quick after that.

Then it was back to the Moon. The Moon did indeed occult Omega Pisicium which we both saw in our respective scopes. We'd have called up Ellenvega and chided her on not being there, since she has seen numerous occultations with us already, but it was really getting cold by then.

We finished with the Orion Nebula, M41 in Canis Major, Jupiter (3 moons) and pulled the pin. It was AGNFA, at least, for January.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on January 16, 2013, 03:29:07 PM
I got out a bit too, last night. I tried to do some backyard imaging, and didn't succeed. When collimating my scope, one of the screws came out of it's thread.  So I had to take the tube apart to reseat the mirror cell. And by the time I did that, my mount started to make funny grinding noises. I know my mount makes all sorts of noises, but never heard those before. I wonder if some of the lubricant got too cold.

After that fiasco, I did take a look at M42 and Jupiter in my grab and go setup. That was nice. The air was very steady for a few minutes there. M42 was not as great as from a dark site with a large scope, but it was worth seeing.

Hopefully my next attempt will go more smoothly. My last attempt at AP was in March, which has been too long. I do think I have some unprocessed data hiding on my computer though, so I can play with that until the clear, dark night.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on January 21, 2013, 06:01:37 PM
There is a nice conjunction between the moon and Jupiter going on.   You should head on out and take a look... or look out a window.  :)

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: rabomgaars on January 21, 2013, 06:23:02 PM
Oh yes, the moon is kissing Jupiter.   Spectacular sight.  B
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on January 22, 2013, 11:57:33 PM
I got out last night - in my backyard - used my binoculars, not my telescope - and it was as pretty a sight as it was REALLLY COLD!!

I looked at it twice, for about 15 minutes each time. The 2d time, about 8:30 to 8:45 I think that it was going to be about as close as they could get to each other. Jupiter showed 3 moons in my 15X70's and there was a faint star about equal to the Galileans in magnitude about halfway between the planet and the Moon. The Moon was waxing gibbous, of course with crater Tycho showing its rays quite nicely, Copernicus in full sunlight and the terminator halfway through Sinus Iridum. Half the floor was lit, half in shadow, but all the Jura mountains shining in the lunar sunrise.

Too bad it was so bloody cold!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on February 04, 2013, 03:41:03 PM
Hello astronomy fans! Our next dark sky star party will be this weekend, Feb. 8/9. Dawn told me that they do have stuff going on, but will email me if we can have the parking lights off.  :-\

If that is possible, and the weather co-operates, it sounds like a super opportunity to have a star party, because there will be a boatload of kids there. If so, it will be an "Obvious Stuff" night, but wouldn't that be fun? :)

Stuppo and I have only gotten out once in January, we may get out tonight. I am Jonesing for some telescope time!

P. S. Stand By RAC. We may see a reappearance of the legendary Duane Deal sometime soon!  ;D
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on February 07, 2013, 07:17:47 PM
Hello astronomy fans! Tomorrow looks pretty good until midnite.

Does anyone want to go to Eagle Bluff? I would love to go if we've got some troops, but I REALLY want to see the Mercury/Mars conjuntion. As far as conjuntions go, it is a very rare event. Remember that Copernicus lamented on his deathbed that he had never seen the planet Mercury.

If we do go to EB, I'm going to set up shop at the last big corner turning east. After the conjunction it's the parking lot.

Any thoughts?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on February 08, 2013, 12:17:44 AM
I'm very seriously considering it.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: ellenvega on February 08, 2013, 02:19:09 PM
It looks like decent weather until close to midnight, which, unfortunetly, is about the time I get off work.  :(  So probably no for me.

What weekend is the Messier marathon?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on February 08, 2013, 05:48:43 PM
Hello astronomy fans. I can't make Eagle Bluff tonight. I got smacked in the mouth today in the woods. It wasn't a big branch, only half an inch to an inch in diameter. There was pressure on it and it snapped back at me.  It ripped the skin off my upper lip. I don't look too good right now. I look like I've got an air compressor hooked up to my lips. I am suprised I didn't loose any teeth.

Local observing only for me tonight if I go. My mouth is really sore, and I've got a bit of a headache.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on February 08, 2013, 06:12:35 PM
Steve Remick and I are heading to the Flatin Farm hayfield between 7:00 - 7:30. We should get in a couple of hours anyway. It doesn't look like we'll see the Mercury/Mars conjunction. There are thick low clouds to the west here in SG. I hope someone gets a peek. Maybe APOD will have an image.

I think our first chance at a Messier Marathon will be March 9th. There will be another opportunity at the end of the month. We've got to beat 82 before the Energizer Bunny (Ellenvega) will be satisfied.

I WILL have a cord operated hair dryer for the event. I am sick and tired of having Misty Cloud chase us out of Eagle Bluff. I like her sister Many Stars far better.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on February 08, 2013, 10:04:58 PM
Well, it didn't last long, astronomy fans. From 7 to 9 it was terrific, but at 9 p.m. (And this was something that I have very rarely seen) the clouds came in from all 4 points of the compass. Jupiter was the last hurrah. Wild.

We had the French guy, David (pronounced DA-VEED) with us again. The guy is a hoot! He loves astronomy, and is an absolute die hard. He wants to image and he apparently is a very good photographer, even to the point to where he has sold six pictures commercialy. He wants to learn astronomical imaging. I told him "Come on up to the RAC and meet all of you high tech guys". He wants to, but is a Kwik Trip employee and has a tough time getting away.

We looked at Jupiter, the Alpha Persei Association, NGC's 1674 and 1746 in Taurus, the Andromeda Galaxy along with M32 & M110, M41 in Canis Major (we had great discussions on open star clusters) and finished the night off with the Orion Nebula. David asked me "I see those 4 little stars. What are they?" I explained that they were born in the cloud of dust and gas that surrounds them. He was amazed.

I'm glad to be home. My mouth is sore and my fingers are cold. See you Tuesday.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: ellenvega on February 12, 2013, 06:59:34 PM
If we did Eagle Bluff for the MM I wonder if there's some way that the security lights won't go on right in the middle of Sagittarius @ 5am.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on February 15, 2013, 08:36:52 AM
I talked to Dawn at Eagle Bluff. Saturday night looks good weather wise and we can have the lights off if we wish to use it.

As far as the Messier Marathon goes, there will be a women's group there and Dawn doesn't know yet if the lights can be off. She will talk to them and pass the word later as to whether or not it will work.

Anyone up for Sat. night at EB?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: ellenvega on February 15, 2013, 02:18:22 PM
I can't make it.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on February 16, 2013, 04:12:03 PM
Well, it's 4:07 p.m. Not much interest yet. The forecast looks good except for the temperatures, which will be single digits. I'll check this again at 6 p.m., but right now, it looks like it is going to be LOCAL OBSERVING ONLY.

Tonight will probably be a night where if a person got in two hours, they'd be doing darn good.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on February 16, 2013, 10:05:23 PM
Steve and I went out to the Flatin Farm tonight. Io's shadow started to transit at 6:30, and I caught sight of the shadow one minute later. The shadow stayed in the SEB all the way across the planet. Io exited Jupiter at 7:31 and the transit ended at 8:11. I also watched Mercury set through my binoculars. That was pretty fun, I had never seen that before.

Steve nabbed NGC 2232 in Orion, and was trying to find the Messier objects in Monoceros. He was having a little trouble and after watching him, I said, "Just tilt your head a little bit." He did and the orientation just clicked. He found M50, M47, M46, M48 and M93. He was pumped.

I kept on watching the transit and did some binocular observing of Orion's sword and other easy Messier objects. We stayed out for 2 and a half hours, then packed up. It was really chilly by then.

What a beautiful sky. Finished with a superb look at the Moon. I believe the two big craters to the north were Altas and Eudoxus. AGNFA!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on February 19, 2013, 05:22:26 PM
If anyone is reading this, you should stop and go look to the west.

Here in Spring Grove I saw two of the most brilliant parhelia (Sun Dogs) I have ever seen in my life.

Visible in Rochester or elsewhere?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on February 19, 2013, 07:27:31 PM
Hi Dean,  yeah, I saw them on my way home tonight.  Very bright, definite rainbow up here.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on February 19, 2013, 10:26:29 PM
Good for you, Jeff. It sounds like yours were very colorful, as were mine.

I'm not sure if I've ever seen any as bright as these.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dave Gross on February 24, 2013, 05:42:58 PM
Took me a bit to realize MM meant Messier Marathon.  Since I'm just a newbie and not well versed in these things, I looked up a some info about the best order to find the Messier objects during a marathon.  Here's a site that shows a pic of each one along with a common name and what constellation to find it in.

http://messier.seds.org/xtra/marathon/marath3.html

If anyone has any other resources or advice to share on getting prepared for the marathon, I'd like to hear about it.

Thanks,
-- Dave
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on February 26, 2013, 04:30:30 PM
Hello astronomy fans! I talked to Cheryl at Eagle Bluff. They do have a group there for dinner both Fri and Sat nights. I asked about the parking lot lights and she (at first) said "I think they'll have to be on until 9 p.m." I told her that for us to do a proper Messier Marathon, it would have to be dark from sunset on. "Maybe we'll have to find a different spot."

She said "Hold on. Is sunset at 6:30 that night?" I said yes and she replied "Then we can have them off because the dinner starts at 6". 8)

I asked about the lights coming on automatically a 5 a.m. and she said that she'll check with the maintenance guy and they can squash that, too. She will email me tomorrow about all this.

Randy will have his trailer for heat, Ellenvega will print the list and call the objects, I will do the recording, and we can all have at finding the 110 Messier's. The record to beat is 82. All we need now is for the weather to co-operate. ;)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on February 26, 2013, 08:16:01 PM
Hi Dean, you're talking about a week from now, March 8th and 9th, not this weekend, correct?  Or both weekends?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on February 26, 2013, 10:08:13 PM
Not this weekend. I have in my notes from the last RAC meeting that both March 8/9 and the 15/16 would work. Looking at the calendar, March 8/9 would give us an early dark sky with only a very thin waning cresent.

March 15/16 gives us a 4 or 5 day old waning cresent, but plenty of dark on the back end. My inquiries to EB were about the 15/16. I will call again tomorrow about the 8/9 weekend.

Not sure of my schedule for that weekend, though. Anybody else's thoughts on March 8/9?

More tomorrow.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on February 27, 2013, 01:43:39 PM
I just received an email from Cheryl at Eagle Bluff. The weekend of March 8/9 is open. The quilters will be there, but they are a small group. (They've also looked through our scopes before. I think we've seen them twice.)

Anybody for a March 8/9 Messier Marathon?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on February 27, 2013, 03:43:11 PM
Hi Dean, you bet, March 8/9 sounds good.  I guess I was sort of thinking it was originally being scheduled for 8/9 with 15/16 as a backup.  Hey, I'm up for both weekends!   :)

The other thing, there is the Quarry Hill event on the 15/16 weekend, can't remember which day.  So that may also attract some of the astronomers. 
Title: Observing tonight
Post by: Dean Johnson on February 28, 2013, 01:20:13 AM
Good point, Jeff. March 8/9 would give us a darker sky, weather providing.

March 15 with the Quarry Hill get together is going to be important as well. It'll be good training for the Salem Glen Winery/Observatory session. Everyone can work on their pinky extension. You know how those high falutin' wine drinkers are.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: bernie engels on February 28, 2013, 03:48:06 PM
I may also be able to come down for part of the night (depending on if it is the 8th or 9th) as well.  I have been a bit frustrated with the weather lately, and am chomping at the bit to get out and learn the constellations(being green and all...).  Judging by the few times I have been out, it would be more enjoyable if a have some veterans nearby to guide me.
Dean, I will be lobbying hard at the dinner table tonight for the o.k to get that orion finder scope we discussed ;D
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 01, 2013, 05:29:35 PM
Somebody should get ahold of Earl Kyle if possible. Comet Siding Spring 2013 A1 will pass within 65,000 miles of Mars in October 2014 and currently has a 1 in 10,000 chance of hitting the planet.

If it does, the nucleus is estimated to be 30 to 40 miles across. That would mean a BIG hole in the Red Planet.

More info is available on the Sky&Telescope website.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on March 02, 2013, 04:00:19 PM
Wondering how long this is going to stay somewhat clear.  It looks like a few more wispy clouds coming in.  Forecast and CSC don't look that good.  I'm thinking of heading to Keller if it stays somewhat clear.  I'll keep an eye on things and see what it does.  Haven't been out in a long time.  Get some Messier practice in before next weekend.   :)    Probably should have headed out last night. 

If it is clear any night before next weekend, I think I may head out and do a little observing and get some Messier practice.   :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: bernie engels on March 02, 2013, 04:38:46 PM
Jeff:
I have obligations tonight, but I may join you at Keller this week if we get a decent evening...
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on March 02, 2013, 05:55:00 PM
Sounds good Bernie.  Hopefully we'll  have a good night in there somewhere this week.  I'll post if I plan to go.  Please post if think you might head out observing this week.   And hopefully you can show up for the Messier Marathon out at Eagle Bluff!   :)

Right now, still looks better out there than I was expecting.  Some thin clouds out there, but right now I have to say we'll be heading out to Keller tonight and see what things look like.   Some stuff moving this way.  The one channel still shows clouds a ways out, so maybe a couple of hours before it gets too cloudy.   :)

Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on March 02, 2013, 06:49:56 PM
Still seems to be clear..  for now.   :)   We're heading out to Keller in a few minutes.  See you all there.   :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on March 02, 2013, 07:44:25 PM
I'm going there too.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on March 02, 2013, 08:49:34 PM
Well so much for that.  I was hoping the clouds would hold off for an hour or so, but we saw them coming in while driving out there.  It didn't take long before the clouds took over.   Took quick looks at Jupiter and Orion nebula.  Trying to find a few things between the clouds, but getting harder as time went by.  I suppose M42, M43, M45, M31, M32, think M34.  Couldn't quite place where I was at because of the clouds, but saw at least 2 of M36, M37, and M38 in Auriga.  Hopefully we'll some clear nights this week.   :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: bernie engels on March 03, 2013, 07:46:05 AM
When I took the dog out at about 8:30, it was looking about 50-75% overcast here(ne roch).  Sounds like the next couple of nights won't be any good either.  Maybe shoot for mid week at Keller?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dave Gross on March 03, 2013, 12:14:11 PM
Got my new scope assembled and tried it out on the deck last night.  Saw Jupiter with 3 moons.  M42 in Orion and the quadruple star (only could make out 3 of the 4).  The clouds were too much, so I disassembed and brought the scope in.  Then all the clouds went away.  Think I could have got at least a little more viewing in, but was nice to see a few things even in the city.

-- Dave
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on March 03, 2013, 03:49:01 PM
Yeah Bernie, definitely be shooting for later in the week at Keller.   They didn't plow the parking lot there, but plenty of people have driven on it and packed a lot of it down.  We do have 3-5 inches(?) or so predicted for Monday, so there might be a bit of snow there.  You may want to carry a shovel to clear out a patch for the scope. 

Hey Dave, eager to see your new scope.  I know you were looking for one at the last meeting.  I guess you pulled that itchy trigger finger.   :)
Watch the forum, could head out to Keller this week.  Come on out to Keller if you get a chance.  Also, hope to see you at Eagle Bluff for the Messier Marathon.    :)

Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on March 04, 2013, 09:53:43 AM
I guess that 3-5 was an old forecast, talking about 10 inches now.  Not sure I'll being wanting to try Keller if that is the case.  With them not plowing the lot, not sure if I want to go there and chance getting stuck.    :) 
Guess we'll have to see.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: bernie engels on March 04, 2013, 11:23:19 AM
What would be the odds that someone from the club might have (or know someone who has) a blade on the front of their pickup that would like to come out to Keller to stargaze and "accidentally" leave his plow in the down position as he drove through the lot... ::)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Rick Murray on March 04, 2013, 09:49:08 PM
Saturday night, at about 9:pm, I thought maybe my time on this planet might be finished as I was looking at the evening sky just above the horizon to the south east. I was looking at the city of lights. There were streams of light extending 15 to 20 degrees above the horizon exactly above the hallow of Rochester...and only above Rochester. After observing for several minutes I was sure that it wasn't a man made apparition. As I went to the dark side of my deck I could make out just a few very faint streaks of light through very thin clouds rising about 30 degrees in the north east...........My time here is not yet over. This event lasted about a half hour.

Happy Trails
Rick
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 05, 2013, 04:59:00 PM
Wild! I wonder what it was. Very glad you're still here!

BTW, I tended bar last Fri and Sat nights. I should have posted to the forum a week ago that last weekend was guaranteed to be clear.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: bernie engels on March 06, 2013, 08:02:20 AM
I would like to head out to keller tonight after 8 to work on my constellations... not sure if the clouds will cooperate or not...
Anyone interested? 
Prelim forecast for this weekend is not encouraging at this point either >:(
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on March 06, 2013, 09:18:59 AM
I would be interested in tonight.  It would be nice if someone could swing by Keller today and see what it looks like after the snowfall.   :)

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 06, 2013, 02:09:36 PM
Stuppo and I are going out to the Flatin Farm hayfield tonight, and maybe tomorrow night weather permitting. I'm going to try and spot PANSTARRS tail against the twilight sky. LOL.

The weather does not look good for this weekend. Recommend Quarry Hill March 15th and Eagle Bluff March 16th. We may not have a chance to get all the Messiers, but we sure could break the RAC record of 82.

Feedback???
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on March 06, 2013, 05:51:42 PM
Just drove out to Keller.  I guess I'll be skipping that tonight.  It hasn't been plowed.  At least one vehicle has driven out there, but there is a small pile of snow left there when the snow plow went by on the road.  I'll wait until a few more people have driven in and out before I go. 

Some vehicles, perhaps even mine, could get in and out, but just don't want to chance it.   :)

Also, if you get in, bring a shovel to clear off a space for your scope. 

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on March 06, 2013, 05:54:57 PM
Dean, I would say if the forecast only has the 15th clear next weekend, we should also do Eagle Bluff then, too.  Double up.  :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: bernie engels on March 06, 2013, 06:54:38 PM
Jeff:
I am heading out to Keller in about 25 minutes.  I'll bring a shovel to get that front plow furrow open, and then go from there...
Anyone else crazy enough to join me, come on out!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 06, 2013, 09:38:10 PM
I like Jeff's idea on Eagle Bluff for the 15th. The QH crowd will likely get the astronomers that don't want to stay out all night. I'd really like to beat the 82 we got last year for the current Messier Marathon record.

Stuppo and I got out for 3 hours tonight. I scanned the western horizon for the first hour, but no luck on PANSTARRS tail. There was some low thin clouds in the west that hung in there like luggage.

Steve started the ball rolling by nabbing M67 in Cancer. He found that pretty easy. Then I mentioned that I wanted to get M79 in Lepus for my Globular Cluster observing program. He wanted to try that too, so I started Lepus off with Gamma Leporis, a nice wide pleasing double with a good color contrast. Then I went to R Leporis, "Hind's Crimson Star", a variable and it must have been near minimum because it is blood red right now. Steve was impressed. He had never seen a carbon star until tonight. I recorded M79 and then spent some time tracking down IC 413 the Spirograph Nebula (planetary). I have to admit, it sure looks better in Randy's scope.    We finished with observations of Jupiter which is right on the edge of the Hyades.    AGNFA!!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: bernie engels on March 07, 2013, 07:39:23 AM
Great plans of mice and men....
I was on my way to keller last night with grand intentions.  I got to within a mile or two of the wma and started feeling "funny".  Not funny ha ha, but funny strange, like hot sweats, stomach stuff... :-[
I decided to turn the car around.  Must have picked up a bug from my daughter who was home from school that day...
Feel fine this a.m., so will shoot for tonight.
I also contacted a old DNR supervisor to see about getting them to blade the parking lot out there...
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: ellenvega on March 07, 2013, 02:12:17 PM
Bummer, this weekend looks like a cloud-out.  Hopefully one day next weekend will work out.  Although, with all this snow, we'll probably be dealing with fog.  Just a few good hours would be nice!

Hope to catch a glimpse of PANSTARRS early next week, looks like there are a couple of clear sunsets after this weekend's storm.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 07, 2013, 08:13:07 PM
I got out for an hour and a half tonight. No PANSTARRS tail to the west. If it was there, too bad. The clouds were even thicker to the west than last night.

I caught up on my observing journal and got in a great Jupiter observation. An unusual array of moons tonight. One low and close in to the planet, but below the disc (just barely). Two medium range out, but not on the same plane. The last one further from these two, but lower, although still higher up than that strange lowball on the other side. The arraingment really looked out of whack.

Since I was out there by myself for a change, I had visions of a night of really obscure stuff. But then the wind came up, the high clouds drifted in and it was time to pack up and go. I finished with looks at the Orion Nebula and the Pleadies. I still hit 30 hours for the observing year.

I'll get my licks in yet.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: bernie engels on March 08, 2013, 07:36:48 AM
I made it out to Keller last night for about 90 minutes.  The parking lot was still not plowed.  I managed to drive in about 30 feet(and barely got back out, later!)
Sky looked good compared to my backyard in Rochester, but still alot of light from Roch.  Some high clouds moved through from time to time, but I was only there to work on memorizing my constellations, so not a huge deal.  Highlight was 3 meteors from 3 different areas in the sky.
I found out real quick that it is hard to manage a book in one hand, light in the other, and binoculars, all the while looking up to the heavens. 
question.... do most of you you as headlamp(as opposed to a hand held light)?
Dean... I did bite the bullet and ordered the Orion 9x50 rt angle illuminated.  It should arrive today, but, based on the forcast, I have no idea when I will get to use it. :-\
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 08, 2013, 04:13:43 PM
Bernie, my man! Good for you. You will be very happy with it. Steve Remick told me, "I'm sure glad I listened to you and got the (9X50) finder." He told me that if he had to put up with a red dot finder, I'd have been on the neighborhood 'Dreetsac' list.

(If any of you speak Norwegian, you might be able to decipher 'Dreetsac').

Let's hope for a clear night next weekend and we can all meet at Eagle Bluff.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on March 10, 2013, 06:11:42 AM
I don't use a headlamp.  I keep my charts on a small folding table.

I use a 9x50 RACI finder in combination with a Rigel unit finder, and find the pair to be absolutely perfect for starhopping.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: bernie engels on March 10, 2013, 08:32:39 AM
Thanks for the input.  Yes, a little table would make things easier.  You said you don't use a headlamp.  What is your light source for your charts?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 10, 2013, 11:24:28 AM
Bernie, just wait until we can get a big group together at Eagle Bluff or somewhere. "Here, try this OIII filter", or "Check out this adjustable chair". You'll see a wide variety of red lights, both for caps and tables, lots of different star charts, not to mention eyepieces, along with lots of different astronomical accessories my early Alzheimer's is blocking right now. ???

Bring a notebook, and a checkbook. You just might see a snake oil salesman appear out of the darkness. ;)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dave Gross on March 12, 2013, 01:35:21 PM
Anyone thinking of looking for comet Pan-STARRS tonight after the meeting?

-- Dave
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: bernie engels on March 13, 2013, 07:07:33 AM
I watched from my living room window in NE Roch from about 7 to 8 last night, hoping for a break in the clouds, but I couldn't even find the moon(trees in the back yard didn't help either...
Looks like this evening may be the best op, based on weather forecast.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 13, 2013, 10:15:06 PM
Steve and I got out for 3 hours tonight, joined by Dale & Sue Scobie, David Coset and Logan Deschler. An intense search for PANSTARRS took 40 minutes to find the small medium bright object. It was much smaller than I anticipated, but with a bright nucleus and a very broad tail. None of us could spot it naked eye, but then there were some low scattered clouds to the west.

Lepus was checked out again, Jupiter like always and Leo's Triplet was observed. Gamma Leonis and M41 in Canis Major, plus a look at the Orion Nebula. The sky wasn't as good as March 6th, but it was good to see the comet after such a long wait and much hype. I hope ISON is better. I have serious doubts as to whether PANSTARRS can be spotted naked eye.

I'd like to hear what some of the Keller gang saw.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: sregener on March 14, 2013, 06:33:27 AM
Thanks for the input.  Yes, a little table would make things easier.  You said you don't use a headlamp.  What is your light source for your charts?

I use a Rigel Starlite Mini.  And yes, it does have a few teeth marks on it from times I've needed two hands...
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: bernie engels on March 14, 2013, 07:36:26 AM
Jeff, his wife, and Luka all present as we searched through a plethora of high clouds.  A very small point of light(just discernible with 7x specs a few finger widths below the moon.  No tail.  Looked more like a star than a comet.  Beefier looking clouds then moved in to blanket the western horizon. >:(   
Spent some time going over the major constellations overhead where the cloud cover had not yet reached... 
We can still hold out hope for a clear spell on Saturday night.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 14, 2013, 04:20:31 PM
Hello astronomy fans. I'm going to take another stab at PANSTARRS if the weather stays clear. A few comments on last night:

1. The coma of PANSTARRS was well defined, and bright. Some comets have a real fuzzball leading the charge, but this one was crisp. It reminded me of Mars in size, but not in color.

2. The tail was broad and short. I know that the pictures that have been published so far show a longer, slimmer tail, but that is not evident to the eye through binoculars or a telescope.

3. The comet does not take high power well, at least not last night. The best looks that Steve and I got were 40X for me (2" 50mm Vixen on a Celestron 8' SCT - 2000mm focal length) and for Steve a 25mm inch and a quarter eyepiece on his Orion Classic 8" Dobsonian - 1200mm focal length. (48X) Please correct me if I got this wrong.

Good luck tonight, and hope for a good Sat. night at EB.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Captain Kirk on March 14, 2013, 04:54:23 PM
Anyone want to get out in organized fashion this evening?  How is the horizon from the OMC Parking lot where we did transit of Venus?

Kirk
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 15, 2013, 01:35:41 PM
It looks like Sat. nite may have some clear skies. I called Eagle Bluff and talked to Dawn. She said that there will be a group already there and that we can have a dark parking lot from sunset on.

If we can't get the whole night weather wise, I'd recommend NOT going for a Messier Marathon, but would love to have a regular star party. Bernie and Dave have new scopes and this might be a good chance to give them a workout. We'll just have to see what the forecast is, but right now, KTTC and CSC show at least half a night of clear skies.

If we can get a MM in, will Ellenvega and Randy make it? She did a good job calling the objects with her list last year, and El Presidente's warming shack would be wonderful. Low forecasted for March 16/17 is 9 degrees F.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: ellenvega on March 15, 2013, 04:27:37 PM
I won't be doing a MM, because I'm opening at the BP at 5am.  If it's clear in the evening, I *might* be able to get out for a few hours.

I looked for the comet Wed. nite in the BP parking lot, with no luck.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on March 15, 2013, 05:37:47 PM
I may be a maybe for Saturday. When I checked the storage shed for the trailer Wednesday evening, an ice dam had formed at the base of the door and I couldn't lift it. I'll have to try to chip away tomorrow and see if I can open it!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: bernie engels on March 16, 2013, 06:43:06 AM
If anyone has a direct line to God, please ask him if he could help us out a little bit with this stubborn cloud deck ;)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 16, 2013, 11:22:48 AM
No such influence here, although He has been very kind to me in the past. But like all of us that live here in SE Minnesota we have to take what we get.

CSC is showing clouds till midnight. If that doesn't change, it will not be an Eagle Bluff night for me tonight. That is simply too late to go. If so, we'll just have to save our astronomical ammunition for another time.

I'll check in again after I'm done tending bar at the Legion. I work noon till 6 today. The number is 507 498-3908 if anyone needs to communicate before then.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: bernie engels on March 16, 2013, 03:46:35 PM
I for one would like to give it a go!  My scope is gathering dust in the closet, just begging to be used...
Any other takers?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on March 16, 2013, 04:17:58 PM
I was thinking if it stays sort of like it is now, I might head to Keller and take another shot at the comet perhaps.  Having trouble right now reconciling what I see outside with the forecasts.  CSC and weather.com both have it much cloudier than it is right now.   So not sure what to think.  Sort of looks clearer to the north and clouds to the west.  If things come from the west, it will get cloudy.  If from the north, it'll be clear. 
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: bernie engels on March 16, 2013, 04:47:37 PM
 fyi...The latest NWS forcast discussion (3pm) for SE MN states that the clouds out there now are "diurnal" driven, and should disperse this evening.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 16, 2013, 06:22:14 PM
Both the CSC and KTTC weather are calling for high thin clouds for the evening. It is not what I would make a trip to Eagle Bluff for.

Local observing only.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: bernie engels on March 17, 2013, 08:19:07 AM
Okay, so those evening clouds did not "disperse" much last evening. 
Luka, Jeff and I searched (again) for the elusive comet, with no luck.  At one point I was certain that I had spotted it, tail and all, but then Jeff informed me that the tail had numbers on it, as well as a little US flag ???
That's what I get for living so close to the airport...
We did have a good discussion about eye pieces, including a fantastic look at Jupiter through Jeff's 6.7mm ES.  Despite the clouds, the atmoshere seemed settled, providing a clear look at Jupiter and its major moons. Last night also gave me a chance to try out my new 9x50 finder scope.  Dean, you were right, it makes a world of difference.  I'm already looking forward to the next night of gazing.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 17, 2013, 06:45:14 PM
Good post, Bernie.

#1, I am really glad you got out there locally.

#2, I felt very confident that you would like your 9X50 finder. Once you learn how to use it properly (you can already see the potential), i.e. look through it and use averted vision, you will learn that EVERYTHING that you see that is not stellar, is SOMETHING. That is the key to pointing your way to what you want to look at.

A 9X50 finder also gives you the ability of picking out the little asterisms that can guide you to what you want to see.

Keep stargazing with Jeff and Luka. They are great, knowledgeable observers. I'd like to make it to Keller myself, someday. That's on the Bucket List.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: darkskyjim on March 18, 2013, 06:22:17 AM
For those that have seen this elusive comet (Dean?) how many degrees above the horizon was it?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: bernie engels on March 18, 2013, 07:49:23 AM
has anyone observed aurora from the sme?  I looked out my window in NE Roch last night about 9, and couldn't make out anything to the north.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 18, 2013, 10:58:23 AM
Hey Dark Sky Jim, I'd say 25 degrees and its supposed to climb a little higher each day. This week once today's stuff moves out, go straight up from the Sun about 30 degrees or so and sweep out the sky to the right.

I don't think it will be naked eye visible. I hope I'm wrong, but we also have brighter Moonlight each night to contend with.

I am going to try spot it from the Flatin Farm Tuesday or Wednesday night.

P.S. I haven't seen any aurora lately.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: darkskyjim on March 18, 2013, 11:57:19 AM
thanks dean...me thought it was closer to the horizon :-(
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 19, 2013, 05:03:00 PM
Hello astronomy fans. If I go out to look for PANSTARRS tonight, I'm only bringing my binoculars. This wind seems to have no letup.

P.S. If you haven't signed up for NCRAL 2013 yet, you should. The door prizes are getting better. Celestron has sent us TWO 25X80 binoculars.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on March 19, 2013, 08:40:04 PM
Anyone head out to Keller tonight?  I stayed home and nice to finally have clear western skies.  I was able to find the comet from home tonight.  Looking out over the houses behind us and lucked onto it.  Maybe if there is less wind tomorrow and it stays clear, I'll head out to Keller then.

Jeff 
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on March 19, 2013, 09:31:57 PM
Looking at the comet through binoculars.  It definitely had a short tail.  Standing by our house and looking through the backyard and over the house behind us.  I could see the tops of some trees beyond that house.  The comet was about one binocular field of view about those trees.  I took some pictures with the camera.  Handholding at 1-2 second.  I guess I can't handhold that steady for a second.   :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on March 20, 2013, 09:27:35 PM
Another clear night, but cold and windy again.  When is spring coming? 

Clear western horizon and I was able to find Panstarrs again.  Set the camera on a tripod tonight.  Still not that steady with the wind.


Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on March 20, 2013, 09:35:52 PM
I did find it from home, so again, didn't go out to Keller.  I'm in southwest Rochester at the edge of town, so not much light pollution to the west, at least early in the evening.  By 8:40 PM it was just a little above the house in the back, so pretty low. 
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 21, 2013, 07:26:32 AM
Good job, Jeff! Bernie took a similar picture and sent it via email. He's not sure how to post those to the forum yet.

As for spring, I'm going to go with Bill Murray on 'Groundhog Day' and say "March 21st".
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Luka on March 21, 2013, 09:43:10 AM
I went out to Keller last night. I did finally see the comet and took a few pictures.  And right as I started my tripod broke. It wasn't so expensive, so I take that as a sign that I got my money's worth out of it, and I will get a sturdier one, maybe for my birthday coming up.

For anyone still looking for it: at Keller, if you stand at the drive entrance and look west, the comet is about 1 degree north of the blinking red lights on the horizon. I was able to find it when it was maybe 12 degrees up, with 7X binoculars. I don't think it was visible naked eye though.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: darkskyjim on March 21, 2013, 04:07:09 PM
if my car doesnt overheat before i get there, i will take shot at Keller tonight.
i owe it to the memory of a heck of a guy we nicknamed Captain Comet at
my old club, Don Pearce. he had a tremendous sense of humor...
http://www.astronomyhouston.org/sites/default/files/guidestar/2010_02_GuideStar.pdf
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: darkskyjim on March 21, 2013, 09:37:38 PM
Yes, it was real nice. Thanks for the directions Luka!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Rick Murray on March 21, 2013, 09:48:32 PM
After searching in the western sky for two nights I finally found PanStarr in the west-northwest sky at about 1-1/2 binocular FOV above horizon at about 8:25pm. It only took me 25 minutes ::). It was quite faint viewing by just standing with binoculars. Once I steadied myself I was able to make out the brighter core. It has a short, but discernible tail...worth the time to take a look while it lasts.

Happy Trails
Rick
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: bernie engels on March 22, 2013, 07:41:19 AM
Yes, I finally got a half-decent image of it last night as well.
Can anyone tell me how to attach the photos to a post?  How do I compress the photo enough to make it usable?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: ellenvega on March 22, 2013, 02:22:28 PM
Saw PANSTARRS last night, for the first time, through my old 7x35 binocs.  It was easy to find, but too darn cold to wach for very long.  Might check it out through the scope tonite if things look halfway decent.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: bernie engels on March 23, 2013, 07:33:19 AM
I tried attaching 2 images of the comet again this morning by using the "additional options" on bottom left, but when I hit post, I lose my entire post, as if I had never typed it.  Any ideas on what I'm doing wrong?  Anyone?   
Bewler?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 27, 2013, 06:59:06 PM
Hello astronomy fans, Stuppo and I are heading out tonight to catch the comet and watch Moonrise. Hopefully, I can even record a couple of carbon stars to start on that list.

Tomorrow night the Moon rises bracketed by Saturn and Spica. I hope it is clear, that would be a beautiful sight. How wonderful it would be to actually get out there and not have to use gloves and long johns. Did those nights ever happen??

I hope someone can help Bernie post his comet pics to the forum. That is beyond my humble capabilities.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: don on March 27, 2013, 09:22:08 PM
Test photo.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: don on March 27, 2013, 09:23:39 PM
Well, that worked.
Does the size of your photo exceed the allowed limits?  8192 KB / 4 attachments per post.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 27, 2013, 11:17:52 PM
Well done, Don!

Steve and I got out there for 3 hours tonight. PANSTARRS was a tough find, even with a finder chart from Sky & Telescope. It took us from 8 p.m to 8:25 for me to find it. The Moon rose at 8:15, and then I finally spotted it at 8:25. Steve found it at 8:40. Now I know why the people from the Middle Ages described comets as a "Hairy Star". That is exactly what it looked like.

In binoculars, it is faint, but does not look like a star, but it is SO CLOSE. I probably went across it 3 times before I finally nailed it. In Stuppo's excellent 20X80 Zhumell binocs, the coma is well defined. In my Celestron SCT at 50X it is diffuse and has a wide tail, but the color of it all is green. I could not pin down the star field it is in without a publication, because it is still well down in the western horizon.

A wonderful look at Moonrise. Jupiter has all 4 moons showing plus a background star looking like a "wannabe" moon. GRS visible.  Plus, it wasn't as cold! AGNFA!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: bernie engels on April 01, 2013, 08:10:20 AM
Don:
No, I am well below that file size.  Did you just make a post and then click on the Additional Options (at bottom left)?
Bernie
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: bernie engels on April 01, 2013, 08:55:34 AM
now i try to attach the comet image...
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on April 01, 2013, 08:31:27 PM
You got it that time Bernie.  Looks good!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: mbossert on April 02, 2013, 06:09:50 PM
Hi All, I'm new to the forum and from just outside of Buffalo.  I figured I'd jump in and add my attempt at shooting Pan-STARRS.  This is from back on March 17th.  I forgot my shutter release when i went out (d'oh!) so it's a little shaky.  Tried to find it on Friday with my scope, but no luck.  While I'm as it - can somebody shed some light on what/where Keller is?  I've seen the name a few times in the last couple pages of this thread and was curious.  Thanks!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: bernie engels on April 02, 2013, 07:02:33 PM
Welcome to Rochester!  Now I'm not the "newbie" anymore! ;D
If you google keller wma rochester mn, it should pull up directions.  It is south and west of town by about 10-15 minutes, perhaps.
R you new to the hobbie or have you been at it a while?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Mr.Gorp on April 03, 2013, 09:29:06 PM
Direction to Keller:  I think it's easier and quicker, if you start at RST (Rochester Airport) and go to 6650 Co Rd 15 SW:

Hwy 63 South of Rochester
Slightly more than a mile past (south) of airport is MN 30, run right (west).
Go 4.5 miles on MN 30
Turn right (North) on Co. 15
Go 2.5 miles. At 2 mi you'll come to the top of a hill, at the bottom is the bridge, then a house & garage on the left. About 500 ft past, on the right is the entrance to Keller.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on April 05, 2013, 05:16:51 PM
Hello astronomy fans. It looks like the weather Gods have conspired against us once again for an April dark sky weekend.

It looks like a definite NO GO for Eagle Bluff.

Great pics and info from the Keller crowd. I have seen PANSTARRS twice, very nice to see it, but it didn't "PAN" out like the predictions hoped. Still, really nice imiges of it from Bernie and others. Well done! I would love to get out there at Keller with Jeff, Luka and all the others who are using the Keller WMA. It is part of the RAC experience that I haven't yet seen.

If any of you are interested in the NCRAL 2013 convention, I would urge you to participate. This will be my ninth one, and they all have been very fun. You get to meet SO many people from other areas that share our interest in the nigt sky. They all (as you ALL do) have a different angle on astronomy. That is what it makes belonging to a club, and the Astronomical League so fascinating.

We'll get our telescope time in yet.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: bernie engels on April 09, 2013, 07:04:06 AM
I am equally frustrated with the weather, so I've decided to make Gin n'tonic out of lemons(or however that goes...). 
I'm in the middle of constructing a star gazing chair to allow me to spend more time learning the night sky without wrenching my neck/back.  Maybe some of you have one of these.  I got the idea from a guy on youtube clip.http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/3320449/page/0/view/collapsed/sb/5/o/all/fpart/1
I'll post a pic when i get it done...
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on April 25, 2013, 10:58:52 PM
Hello astronomy fans. Full Moon has passed. Lots of us have been Jonesing for some telescope time.

Tomorrow night (Fri. Apr. 26th) will be clear but with some breeze. Still, with about an hour of darkness, we can check out dark sky objects and then watch the Moon rise.

It will be a good way to get back into it. :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: ellenvega on April 26, 2013, 02:16:12 PM
Anyone going to Eagle Bluff tonight?  Winds are supposed to subside late afternoon.

I think I've forgotten all my stars and constellations....
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on April 26, 2013, 06:18:09 PM
I'm pretty sure I'll head out to Keller tonight.  Yeah, I hope the wind dies off a bit, does many days.   Moon rises at 9:33PM or so in Rochester tonight, a little over an hour after sunset like Dean said.   No Eagle Bluff tonight for me... tomorrow?    :)

Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on April 26, 2013, 08:00:15 PM
We're heading out to Keller in a few minutes.  See you there.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on April 27, 2013, 04:29:04 PM
Stuppo and I will head out to the Flatin Farm hayfield tonight.

The forecast looks OK to iffy, but the FFH is only 5 miles from Spring Grove.

As usual, anyone will be more than welcome. Good luck to others that try the skies tonight.

May it be a Glorious Night For Astronomy!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on April 27, 2013, 04:39:55 PM
I guess I was planning to head out to Keller again tonight.  I think I will get ready for it anyway figuring it will clear up some, a little cloudy now.

Last night wasn't as good as I thought it would be.  I was looking out the kitchen window to the west and saw clear skies.  We headed out last night and were driving down Bamber Valley road and looked east and south and what in the world are those clouds doing over there!   :D  We hoped they'd stay away and at the beginning, seemed to drift more to the east and away from us and not over us, but later one some clouds did come in from the south and clouded things up.  Sort of had a window to the west with Gemini, Auriga, and Jupiter.  But otherwise clouded over.  The moon came up and appeared to be in a clear spot, but not much else.  Stayed about an extra 20 minutes just to see if it would clear up enough to see Saturn and we got a couple of looks at it peeking out of the clouds, mostly not peeking. 
Jupiter had 3 moons out to one side.  Right before we left the other moon came up.  Not quite sure if it had disappeared in front of or behind the moon.  Looking at Sky and telescope, looks like perhaps in front of Jupiter.  Things weren't looking too good.  Also, I guess too late Orion.  Low in the SW.  I didn't see M42, or but made out the trapezium.  No nebulosity, but trapezium was there.   :)
Found a few other things, Whirlpool, M51, Leo triplet, just barely made out NGC3628, the open clusters in Auriga and by Gemini (m35, m36, m37, m37) split Cor Caroli and Castor. 
Not the greatest of nights, but great to be out and didn't get cold!   :)

Anyway, I think we'll plan for tonight at Keller, but have to see how it goes.
Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on April 27, 2013, 07:21:46 PM
Yes, good luck down there Dean!   :)

Not looking to bad out there right now.  We'll definitely be heading out to Keller tonight.  Come on out if you get time.
The moon will be up about 10:40PM tonight.   We'll probably be heading home about that time anyway.   :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on April 27, 2013, 08:00:18 PM
Doesn't look quite as nice as 30 minutes ago, but not that bad.   :) 
We're heading out in a few minutes.   See ya all there!   :)

Might be too late, but remembered.  There is a bunch of glass in the parking lot at Keller, on the west side south of the driveway.  You may want to watch out for that. 
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on April 28, 2013, 02:45:43 PM
Driving out to Keller, started to wonder if it was a good idea or not.  High up on 40th ST SW and could see quite a few clouds low in the west.  Hoping they would stay away.. and they did!   :)  It was a pretty good night.  A little cooler than Friday, a little breeze, but not too bad. 
We got there pretty early.  Got started on Jupiter, using it to sight in the scope and finder.  3 moons again last night.  One of the moons was transitting in front of Jupiter.  From what I read and calculated, looks like there was a possibility of that moon casting a shadow starting at 9:22 or so.  We would keep going back to Jupiter, but never did see any shadow.
Early on, sitting back and watching the stars come in, Sirius, Capella, Procyon, Arcturus, Betelguese, Castor and Pollux, Regulus.
Much clearer than Friday night.  The Leo triplet was better, NGC3628 was much easier to see as well as M65 and M66.  From there, went to a pair, M81 and M82 and then over to the Whirlpool, M51.  Went over and look at glob M3.  Another galaxy, went to the Sombrero, M104.  Saw the open clusters from the night before, M37, M36, M38, and M35.  I was able to pick up those Auriga clusters with the binoculars last night, not so much on Friday.  Able pick up M45, Pleiades, before it got too low.  Also, the Beehive, M44. 
Went back for another view of the triplets and then went farther down the belly of the beast and got M105 and NGC3384, they're very close together.  Looking at the description of them and it also had an NGC3389 there as well.  Very faint, but we were able to pull that one out.  From there, a very little jaunt and you have M96 and M95.  You can get M96 and M105 in the same FOV and same with M96 and M95. 
Finished off Messiers with M85, M98, M99, M100 off the tail of Leo.  Have to go for more of the Virgo-Coma cluster the next time out.
Finished off the night with Saturn.  It's looking good.  A good angle on the rings, they show up very well.  Seemed to be quite a few moons last night, 3 or 4 very dim moons there. 
We left a little after 11:00.  All in all a very good night.  AGNFA! 

Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on April 28, 2013, 08:17:31 PM
Jeff, my MAN! You have to be so close to your Messier certificate! Let me know when you complete that task. It is considered a rite of passage among amateur astronomers.

Stuppo and I got out last night and Frenchy (David Coset) joined us for Moonrise. Steve and I observed Jupiter and Saturn, (his lovely little wife Lizzy joined us for that) and then got on the hunt for Leo's triplet. Since I have seen this so often, Steve wouldn't let me help him find it, (those darn stubborn Norwegians) so I showed David some of the Obvious Stuff (M 13 and Epsilon Lyrae) and tried to pick up a few more phrases in Francois. What a hoot!

Then our lovely planetary neighbor rose dramatically from the east. The Moon was absolutely beautiful. It was like seeing Miss America walk into the room, all eyes were locked on it and all we could do was wonder at its splendor. It didn't hurt that we had the Moonlight Sonata on classical radio at the time. It was cosmic.

AGNFA!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on May 03, 2013, 12:10:07 PM
Hello astronomy fans! I am officially (from my lofty position of star party chair  ::) ) calling a NO GO for a dark sky weekend at Eagle Bluff.

I can't ever remember a more dismal spring for astronomy. I have journals going back to 2002 and April has always been one of my best months. I got out once this last April.

I called Eagle Bluff and Sally told me that next weekend, May 10/11 that nothing is going on there and we can have at it, weather permitting. She actually laughed when I asked about stargazing.

This HAS to end sometime soon. I would have been planting trees today, but there is 3 inches of snow on the ground!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: bernie engels on May 07, 2013, 04:45:01 PM
you mean there are still stars in the sky?!  I gave up looking up a few weeks ago...
I put my light bucket on the curb with a sign "free" on it.  I'm sick of hauling it out of the closet only to put it back when the clouds show up :'(
So what's on the horizon for  stargazing this coming weekend? 
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on May 07, 2013, 05:02:38 PM
I don't know about Fri-Sat yet, usually Tuesday is too early to tell.

But tonight looks great! Stuppo and I are going out and the Flatin Farm is in good shape if anyone wants to join us. If you can't make that, then by all means, get to your favorite local spot and get some telescope time in.

Fri at EB, I'm not sure. I may have to work at the Legion. Saturday is the Syttende Mai Queen's dinner where they pick the royalty and my Little Princess is a candidate. Should I not attend that, you'd be dividing up my equipment at the next meeting and making plans to scatter my ashes at Eagle Bluff and the Flatin Farm.

If Sat is good, I might make it, but it would be late.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on May 07, 2013, 05:04:10 PM
I'm going to cross my fingers, looking good right now.  I'm planning to head out to Keller tonight.  Come on out if you can make it for awhile.   :)

Hoping the clouds will hold off until after midnight or close to it.  
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on May 07, 2013, 08:07:25 PM
We'll be heading out to Keller in a few minutes.   See you all there.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on May 08, 2013, 12:00:06 AM
Stup and I had a great night. While I was set up and waiting for him to arrive, I found Venus in binoculars, the 1st appearance of the Evening Star since the transit. Steve found it first naked eye. Then we took an observation of Jupiter, all 4 Galileans and the bands visible, but it's starting to get a little shimmering around the edges. Saturn was great, but not far up enough for a decent look. I saw two moons for sure (Titan of course) and hints of others.

I was going to go back to it, but then we got into some obscure stuff. I pointed out Delta Corvi. Steve couldn't find it at first, but I showed him that and about 15 minutes later we could see the split of the double naked eye. Stuppo went after the Leo triplet and I tried Iota Cancri. We both got fooled for an hour. He was ranging too far from his target FOV and I was fooled by an 8th mag. wide double near Iota. Once I found Iota thru my telescope, I went back to the binocs and finally could split it, but it looks VERY different at 15X than 81X.

Steve found the Leo triplet and you should have heard how excited he was. That was wonderful. We both have to work in the morning, but what AGNFA! The best part was being out there in a t-shirt and not having to put on a sweatshirt or a coat all night long. Urrragh!!!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on May 09, 2013, 06:15:57 PM
Yes, it was nice out there on Tuesday night.   I didn't go the t-shirt route, but you probably could have done that.  It was warm enough, saw my first couple of mosquitoes of the year, but they weren't biting.   :)

I didn't know Venus was becoming visible.  I may have to look for that the next time out.  Looks like it might be too low for Keller, but will have to take a look for it.  It looks like at the end of the month (26 or 27) Venus, Jupiter, and Mercury will be all close together.  Something to look for then.

Tuesday, just looking at a few of the same as the last time.  The only thing new was M13 in Hercules.   It was finally above the trees on the east side of Keller.  Started out with Jupiter.  Jupiter's moon had what I sort of think of as a 'classic' look, two moons on each side and it almost a straight line.   ;)

Saturn was looking nice.  We could discern what looked like a few moons, Titan, for sure and perhaps 3 others.

Leo Triplet for sure, M81 and M82, and Whirlpool.  As Dean says, another AGNFA!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on May 10, 2013, 01:46:29 PM
Anyone looking to go out tonight?  Looks like perhaps the wind and clouds may hold off until after midnight.  I think I'll at least head to Keller unless people are looking to go to Eagle Bluff?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on May 10, 2013, 04:56:32 PM
I tell you what, astronomy fans, tonight doesn't look too bad, like Jeff said. The CSC gives us a GO, at least until midnight.

I'm pretty sure I still have to tend bar. If I go stargazing, my fellow friend and bartender Mark would have to take both Sat and Sun nite shifts.

Is anyone interested in Eagle Bluff? Or should we go with Local Observing Only?

I just got back from the woods. Jump on the forum and I'll check again after I get cleaned up.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on May 10, 2013, 05:09:58 PM
I'm could go either Keller or EB. If Dean can't get out of the Legion duties, then go Keller. I might be working with the 'most unusual telescope'  tonight.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on May 10, 2013, 06:11:34 PM
I have to regretfully say, that I can't get out tonight. If you get clouded out tonight and are up for a road trip, you can always grab "Last Call" at our beloved American Legion Post 249 in good old Spring Grove, Minnesota.

I hope you have the clearest skies possible. Please post the forum as to the results.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on May 10, 2013, 06:17:38 PM
Sounds like Keller then instead of Eagle Bluff?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on May 10, 2013, 07:06:43 PM
Jeff, give me a call twofivefour-twofivefiveseven
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on May 10, 2013, 08:06:43 PM
Hmm, not looking quite as nice as it was earlier.   :(
Hey, that's ok.  We'll be heading out to Keller anyway.   Anyone else interested, come on out.   :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on May 11, 2013, 05:16:53 PM
It turned out not to be too bad last night.  Driving over to Keller and there were clouds to the north and northwest and west, but they were all pretty low in the sky.  Looked like it could get bad, but luckily most of the clouds hung back while we were out there.   :)  We didn't stay too long.  Decided I wanted to get up earlier today, so we left at 10:30 or so.  We could have stayed longer as most of the sky was still clear.  Clouds would float through every now and then, but not that bad.

We started out with Jupiter, it had all 4 moons on the one side.  I was looking for Venus, but wasn't seeing it.  There were quite a few clouds to the NW and figured it must be over there somewhere.  Then we did see it.  It was between a couple of the cloud banks.  Quite bright, couldn't miss it.. if there were no clouds.   :)   Looking at Venus through the scope and it wasn't too clear, looked to be in a gibbous phase.  I guess the moon was right there close by, but I didn't know that until later after Venus was covered by clouds.   :(   We watched some stars coming in, Arcturus was pretty early, waiting for Saturn.  So I arced to Arcturus, I then sped on to Spica and found Spica and then down to the left, there was Saturn.  So, by 9:00, we had 3 planets, Jupiter, Venus, and Saturn.. nice.   8)

Some thin clouds to start with.  Early before I could see too much, I did pick up M13, quite faint to start with.  Concentrated on some brighter objects, had M51, and M104.  Then I remembered Iota Cancri that Dean took a look at the other day and found it.  Nice double, close to Albireo in eyes.  Also M81 and M82 and the Leo triplet again.  Besides Iota Cancri and Venus, the other new object for the evening was the Ring Nebula, M57.  So things weren't too bad if you can pull out the Ring and the Leo triplet.  Can we say AGNFA again!  :)

One thing to note about Keller, either something died out there or, it looks like perhaps someone threw out some old garbage/meat.  Something is rotten there.  Worse closer to the south end, but you can get it any place if the wind is right.. or is that if the wind is wrong?  ???   :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on May 12, 2013, 01:45:22 PM
Good for you Jeff! I didn't get out with my gear, but after the Syttende Mai Queens banquet, the sky was totally clear in SG and I saw the Moon with Venus to the lower right and Jupiter to the upper left. Very pretty.

I am happy to say that my pretty Little Princess, Laura, was chosen as the 2d attendant to the Syttende Mai Queen this year. You should have seen the look on her face! Looks like we'll be parading this summer.

Glad you liked Iota Cancri, Jeff, it's a beauty. Man, we've GOT to get together at Eagle Bluff sometime soon...
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: bernie engels on May 13, 2013, 07:37:22 AM
I too got out on Sat. night, for the first time in over a month, I think.
About midnight, from Chanhassen area.  Light pollution not too bad unlesss looking to NE(Mpls).  Saturn was very pretty.  My two friends had never seen it before.  My buddy accused me of slipping a little picture of the planet in front of the telescope when he looked through the eyepiece!  His wife just gasped when she took her turn at the eyepiece!  :o
It's so fun to see that reaction from others :D.
Viewed Saturn, Jupiter and the crescent moon last evening with my neighbor.  Sky was more turbulent, but still viewable.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on May 13, 2013, 10:01:19 PM
Good for you for getting out Bernie. Fun to hear of your reactions from your friends. That is what outreach astronomy is all about. :)

I had good news and bad news yesterday. The good news was that I took Betty shopping on Mommy's Day and picked up some more counterweights for my Celestron 11" SCT. It works perfectly, no sliding or sagging or anything. The bad news was that I had to tend bar at the Legion and missed a nearly perfect sky. >:( I was walking home and when I got into my alley, I looked up and saw the stars so clearly that I KNEW that it was a special night. ( I couldn't go out, though. I had to hit the road for Iowa early this morning.

Still, it looks great on the Orion SkyView Pro Mount. It is BIG. But it is kind of sad to see Old Reliable (my 8" Celestron SCT) sitting on the floor underneath it. :'( But that will be my quickscope/travelscope now. I have a name for my new scope. Since I got it from Duane, this scope will be "The Real Deal". ;D
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Mr.Gorp on May 24, 2013, 01:23:23 PM
Just checked clearskys and the weather forcast.  :(   
Is there any hope to view anything celestial this weekend without driving for hours?   
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on May 25, 2013, 03:00:51 AM
Hello Chris and Julie. Sorry to say that it is not going to happen.

Stuppo, Ellenvega and I were going to view the occultation by the Moon of Beta Scorpii, the triple conjunction of Jupiter, Mercury and Venus, and try and see if we could see any evidence of the very slight penumbral lunar eclipse, but sorry to say because of the weather, NO GO.

Too bad. David Coset (the French guy that works at Kwik Trip) was going to come on out with us and have some goodies. (French mustard, cheese and some wine).

Oh well. Another time.

Hang in there. We'll get AGNFA sometime! But I have to say, I have NEVER seen a stretch of bad weather like we have right now.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: bernie engels on May 29, 2013, 09:11:30 AM
any plans for viewing this Fri night?  I am taking my family to the family night at Mayo High School planetarium in the evening, but it sounds like the skies might clear by dark(cross your fingers and toes...).
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: bernie engels on May 30, 2013, 08:39:23 PM
ok, so the forcst is not so great after all...
NWS says that this month will go down as the fourth cloudiest May on record. 
I'm moving. >:(
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on May 30, 2013, 10:23:31 PM
Hang in there, Bernie.

We still love you.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on May 31, 2013, 07:37:40 AM
It looks like it might be possible to get out tonight. The cloud cover is spotty, transparency so-so and poor seeing, but a heck of a lot better than lately.

Not an Eagle Bluff night, though.

Any thoughts on Sat. night, if the forecast is better?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: ellenvega on May 31, 2013, 03:40:36 PM
Would like to get out, if possible.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on May 31, 2013, 05:23:23 PM
Might be driveway at best for me tonight.  Saturday looks iffy at best, but if it opens up, I'd be game.
Next year is looking is looking promising though...
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on May 31, 2013, 06:10:41 PM
It will be the Flatin Farm hayfield, if anything. If I don't get out tonight, I'd be shut out for the month of May for the 1st time in 11 years.

Randy, next YEAR looks good!??! If you can nail that, you'll be the next Nostradamus!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on May 31, 2013, 09:08:18 PM
Stuppo went out to the Flatin Farm hayfield. I was going to go out there with my binocs to snag some Binocular Double Stars off the list.

He just called and said, "Don't bother. It's going to be all clouds real soon."

Oh well...............
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: bernie engels on May 31, 2013, 09:40:24 PM
one heck of a lightning show going on here in NE Rochester, like I haven't seen in years!  My kids and I enjoyed it from the front porch.  My boy was so cute, with his little play station camera "mooing" every time he tripped the shutter :D
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: ellenvega on June 01, 2013, 05:08:33 PM
Sunday night looks very nice.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on June 02, 2013, 03:04:04 AM
I tell you what, astronomy fans, I am ready to get some telescope time.

It will be the Flatin Farm hayfield for me on Sunday night, unless we get an unusual response for Eagle Bluff.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on June 02, 2013, 04:31:37 PM
That sounds like an idea Dean.  I'll have to think about it.  Perhaps Keller for me?  Maybe..    Anyone else?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on June 02, 2013, 06:54:04 PM
I'm going to the Flatin Farm hayfield. I have to plant trees tomorrow.

Let's go get some stars! This will be our best chance until next weekend!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on June 02, 2013, 07:35:04 PM
Quite a few thin clouds out there, but I think they are thinning out a little more.  I'm pretty sure I'll  head out to Keller for a bit.
Anyone interested, head on out.  It will be late before much shows up, sunset is like 8:45.   See if I can catch what is left of the 3 planet conjunction.   :)

Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on June 02, 2013, 08:54:30 PM
I'm heading out to Keller.   Doesn't look too bad now.  Probably won't be there too long.   Head on out if you have time.   :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on June 04, 2013, 02:47:46 PM
Sunday night was good.  Only bad thing is sun is setting so late now.  Around 10 before things really start to show up.  View of the 3 planet conjunction is pretty much over now.  I saw Jupiter with binoculars way down towards the horizon is the clouds.  Venus showed up nice and bright and found Mercury above that.  Now is a good time to see Mercury.  It is quite high and set well after 10 on Sunday.  It was a little cool.  I headed home a little after 11:00.  Found a few Messiers and 4 planets and a couple of nice doubles, Iota Cancri and Albireo.  The Summer Triangle was well up when I left.  A great night!

I hope Friday will be clear and perhaps we can get out to Eagle Bluff? 
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on June 05, 2013, 11:15:53 AM
Stuppo, Ellenvega and I also got out Sunday night. I used my Celestron 11" for the 1st time. Wow, now I know what Jerome has been enjoying all these years. We saw the triple alignment of Mercury, Venus & Jupiter, then looked at Saturn. After that we did Leo's triplet, M13, M5, M57, M27, M81/82, Albireo, M97, the Veil Nebula, M6 & M7, M8, M22, M17, M25, M16 and made an intense search for Barnard's Star in Ophiuchus. I'm pretty sure we had the right starfield, but which star was Barnard's was uncertain. Star hopping from Beta Ophiuchus to the location was interesting because we took the time to look at the open cluster IC 4665. It's big bright & pretty.

Steve left at 10:30, but Barb and I hung out till 2 a.m. There is no quit in that girl.

Eagle Bluff has some families with kids coming in this weekend, but the parking lot lights should be off by 9:30. Dawn said that they would probably be interested in looking through the scopes if the weather co-operates. I hope it does, it's been a long time since the RAC has gotten out together.

Clear skies, Sunday night was AGNFA!!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dave Gross on June 07, 2013, 09:53:16 AM
Looks like it will be clear for a few hours tonight at Eagle Bluff.  Are people planning on going?  I may be bringing 3 college age girls (including my daughter) if the stars align.

If anyone has an Orion "Shorty" 2x barlow lens and can bring it, I'd appreciate trying it out on my scope tonight.

Thanks,
-- Dave
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dave Gross on June 07, 2013, 01:56:21 PM
Hm.  They changed the forecast.  Doesn't look good now...
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on June 07, 2013, 03:39:11 PM
Hmm, might be interesting.  Looks like it is possible quite a bit of the time from 9 to midnight might be clear.  CSC has a couple of hour from 10 - 12 at not the worst.   :)   Hourly on weather.com has it getting to mostly clear at 9 and then clear for 10 and 11 and partly cloudy by midnight.  Hmm.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dave Gross on June 07, 2013, 04:55:45 PM
You must be looking at the Rochester map, Jeff.  Check out Eagle Bluff.  Not as nice there.

-- Dave
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on June 07, 2013, 05:45:51 PM
Boy does this weather SUCK!! >:(

Tonight looks like LOCAL OBSERVING ONLY, if that, and tomorrow night looks worse. :P

I'm going to pull out the last reserve in my arsenal and tend bar at the Legion. That is the RAC's only chance of the skies miraculously clearing and having AGNFA! ???
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on June 07, 2013, 06:13:30 PM
Thanks Dean, that might be what we need.   ;)

Some of the satellite images look like there could be some holes in the clouds.  Would be nice if those clouds would just clear out this evening for a little while.   :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dave Gross on June 07, 2013, 06:14:29 PM
If Dean pulls off a last minute miracle, will anyone head to Keller?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on June 07, 2013, 06:20:21 PM
I'm up for Keller, but I'll be looking out my window and if doesn't clear up quite a bit, I probably won't be going.  Unless you say you'll head there Dave.   :)

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dave Gross on June 07, 2013, 07:04:37 PM
I agree with you.  I'll check back at 8:00 and decide then.  Go outside and blow real hard!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on June 07, 2013, 07:56:30 PM
Well Dave, it may depend on how much you want some scope time.  It looks like we should have some clear areas in the sky.   :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dave Gross on June 07, 2013, 08:06:51 PM
I'm game.  I've never been to Keller.  Is there a sign where the parking lot is?  What time will you be there?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on June 07, 2013, 08:17:32 PM
Hi Dave,  no, there isn't any sign.  I would say the best thing for people who want to go there is to go some time during the day so they can see where it is and then go at night.   :)   
It is on top of a hill.   Coming from the north, there is a driveway on the left going up the hill.   Just past it on the right is another house with a yard light that is usually on.  The parking lot is ringed with evergreen trees. 
Not sure, almost looks like more clouds coming in.   :(
I'll be there a little after 9:00.  Not sure how long it would take you to get there?  We could perhaps make one last call at around 8:45 or so in case these clouds continue to come in.   :)

Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dave Gross on June 07, 2013, 08:22:04 PM
Ok. Yeah it won't take me long to get there.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on June 07, 2013, 08:42:07 PM
What do you think Dave?  Seems to have clouded up a some more instead of clearing.   :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dave Gross on June 07, 2013, 08:45:57 PM
So what do you think?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dave Gross on June 07, 2013, 08:47:51 PM
I'm going to go and hope I can at least see something.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on June 07, 2013, 08:50:40 PM
I'll head out there then, too.   See you there.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Mr.Gorp on June 08, 2013, 12:42:03 PM
There are two basic ways to get to Keller: 6670 Co Rd 15 SW, Byron, MN 55920  (yes it's closer to Rochester, but it has a Byron address).

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=6670+Co+Rd+15+SW,+Rochester,+MN+55904&sll=44.019981,-92.460378&sspn=0.006697,0.017617&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=6670+Co+Rd+15+SW,+Byron,+Olmsted,+Minnesota+55920 (http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=6670+Co+Rd+15+SW,+Rochester,+MN+55904&sll=44.019981,-92.460378&sspn=0.006697,0.017617&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=6670+Co+Rd+15+SW,+Byron,+Olmsted,+Minnesota+55920)

Driving directions from US 63 and MN 30 (on south side of Rochester Airport). Go west on MN 30 for 4.6 mi. Then north on Co Rd 15 for 2.3 mi, when you get to the top of a hill (2mi), you'll know your almost there, over the bridge, past the house (left side) then on the right look for the clump of trees and drive way and you're there.

http://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=MN-30+W&daddr=6670+Co+Rd+15+SW,+Byron,+Olmsted,+Minnesota+55920&hl=en&sll=43.908534,-92.52834&sspn=0.094239,0.15913&geocode=FZW7nQId3MJ8-g%3BFdg_ngIde157-ikVOG63Ylr3hzE8p5gsobJfNg&t=h&mra=dme&mrsp=0&sz=13&z=13 (http://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=MN-30+W&daddr=6670+Co+Rd+15+SW,+Byron,+Olmsted,+Minnesota+55920&hl=en&sll=43.908534,-92.52834&sspn=0.094239,0.15913&geocode=FZW7nQId3MJ8-g%3BFdg_ngIde157-ikVOG63Ylr3hzE8p5gsobJfNg&t=h&mra=dme&mrsp=0&sz=13&z=13)

This way is a few minutes longer drive but is much easier to get to you there the first couple of times.

Once you've been there, you can us the more direct route, but it has a couple of turns that you need to watch for:
From Apache Mall, take Salem Glen Road (3.5 miles past the split with West Circle Drive), then south on Co Rd 15 for 4.1 miles. If you go over the bridge and up a hill, you've gone too far.

http://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=Salem+Rd+SW&daddr=6670+County+Road+15+NW,+Byron,+Olmsted,+Minnesota+55920&hl=en&sll=43.964774,-92.528915&sspn=0.09415,0.15913&geocode=FWRxnwIdb298-g%3BFdg_ngIde157-ikVOG63Ylr3hzE8p5gsobJfNg&oq=apache+&t=h&mra=dme&mrsp=0&sz=13&z=13 (http://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=Salem+Rd+SW&daddr=6670+County+Road+15+NW,+Byron,+Olmsted,+Minnesota+55920&hl=en&sll=43.964774,-92.528915&sspn=0.09415,0.15913&geocode=FWRxnwIdb298-g%3BFdg_ngIde157-ikVOG63Ylr3hzE8p5gsobJfNg&oq=apache+&t=h&mra=dme&mrsp=0&sz=13&z=13)

Both ways are asphalt :) but Keller is packed gravel.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on June 10, 2013, 12:12:30 PM
Any one want to head out to Keller tonight for a short time?   Do you want to believe the forecast that it might be somewhat clear by then?   :)

Jeff
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on June 10, 2013, 04:41:28 PM
I used to have a hobby. It was called 'Astronomy'.  ;)

I think I'll head out to the Flatin Farm hayfield tonight to see if it is still there.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dave Gross on June 10, 2013, 06:07:35 PM
I'll join you at Keller.  Hopefully we'll see more than 2 start and one planet this time.  :-)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on June 10, 2013, 06:25:22 PM
Ok Dave.  Don't forget that marvelous nebula we saw on Friday, what was it, the Rochester Nebula.   :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on June 10, 2013, 08:45:40 PM
I'll be heading out in a few minutes.  See you all out there. 
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on June 15, 2013, 02:17:12 PM
The night of June 13/14th was the astronomy outreach for the Norwegian Ridge Language Camp. This was the 2d year we have done this, and again, it was at the Flatin Farm (Cornfield this year). Scott Bingham, Steve Remick (Stuppo), Barb Hanning and myself were set up at 7 p.m. and we showed 24 kids and 6 adults the Sun, the Moon, Venus and Saturn. We were just about ready to go to the deep sky stuff, but since this group was the little kids, they took off after viewing Saturn. The older kids and adults come next week. We got rave reviews from the crowd, and I am still hearing comments how much they liked it. 8)

Stuppo had to work the next day and left soon after, but Ellenvega and I stayed and went after some of the "really obscure stuff". We went after carbon stars and Barnard's star again. The carbon stars we went after were Y Canes Venaticorum, "La Superba" (a VERY beautiful star, but not at its deepest minima, T Lyra, and R Cygni. Then on to Barnard's Star and this time, we were 99.9% certain we could identify it. :)

We also found and looked at NGC 6826 "The Blinking Nebula" in Cygnus. I actually found this before Barb did. "HOORAY!" She found everything else quicker. "I like to find stuff" was her comment. She does that and very well. We also saw an ISS pass at 10:50 and saw quite a few meteors. They were fast movers, very bright, and appeared to emanate from the area near Deneb. AGNFA! ;D
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dave Gross on June 15, 2013, 08:25:09 PM
So did you have to speak Norwegian to the kids?  Or just throw in a few "ya, sure you betcha's"?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on June 15, 2013, 08:38:25 PM
Actually, I did speak a little Norsk to the kids. After the session ended, I got a lot of "Tusen Takk's" from them.

P.S. When we were going after Barnard's Star, Ellenvega said, "If Randy were here we could tell if we've got the right one by having him push a button. But that would be cheating." ;D
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on June 18, 2013, 08:18:59 PM
Remember that the Moon occults Kappa Librae at around midnite on the night of June 20/21. It happens in Chicago at 11:56 p.m.

This is rated by Sky&Telescope (June issue, p. 53) as the best Lunar occultation of the year.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Mr.Gorp on June 18, 2013, 09:12:32 PM
Who says you can't see something in the land with a Bright Future (i.e. Stewartville)?

Saturday night, after seeing the skies clear and checking the forum, we were surprised that no one mentioned going to Keller. So what is a person to do? 

Walk around the house until you find the best (but not perfect) place to do a little back yard observation. So after adjusting the club's 8in. Skyquest Dob, we were able to get a good view of our usual favorites: Saturn, Double star Uras Major, M13 (one of Julie's favorite), and some hunting for that elusive Whirlpool galaxy (I don't know why we don't seem to ever find it). I don't remember what else we saw -- it was getting late.

After a good nap on Sunday, I scoured the web and found some additional instructions on the 8XT and a little more adjusting the Dob has a nearly effortless, smooth motion. I can't wait for another good night to put it to use.  ;D

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: bernie engels on June 18, 2013, 10:00:46 PM
Ditto on the elusive whirlpool galaxy :-\
I sure could use some pointers on finding that one myself... anyone?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on June 19, 2013, 04:34:17 PM
Hi Chris, you should have led the charge and asked about Keller, I might have taken the bait if it was offered.   :)

For you and Bernie..
For M51, here is a description from Phil Harrington's Starwatch book that I use to find it:

"Begin at Alkaid, the end star in the handle of the Big Dipper.  Hop to the star 24 Canum Venaticorum, a 4th magnitude star just over the border in the constellation Canes Venatici.  From here, visualize an isosceles triangle formed by Alkaid at the northwest corner, 24 Canum as the center point, and a third point an equal distance away from the star 24 Canum as is Alkaid.  If you aim your binoculars or telescope's finderscope in this area and look carefully, you should notice a rectangle of 4 faint stars.  M51 lies just inside the rectangle's northeast corner. "

The rectangle of 4 faint stars is not a nice rectangle, 4 sided anyway.   :)

Good luck!

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on June 20, 2013, 04:29:04 PM
Hello astronomy fans, we had another great outreach for the Norwegian Ridge Language camp last night. I think we had double the number of people of the previous week. 3 astronomers (Scott Bingham, Steve Remick and myself), 12 adults and between 20 to 30 kids. Stuppo tried to get a count, but you know kids, it is hard to get them to stay still.

We did the Sun, but not much since the clouds were thick when the public got out there. Us 3 got a great look at it prior to the public coming out, and there is an enormous amount of activity going on. We could have used Randy or Kirk with their solar scopes in H-alpha.

The Moon, Saturn, Venus, some naked eye observing, Arcturus stories and viewing, an ISS pass at 9:13 p.m., Alcor and Mizar and Polaris for double stars to finish off the evening. Lots of "Cools", "Wow's" along with "I can't see it'"s. (Some of the little kids couldn't get the correct eye relief.)

Kari Tauring was out there with her Norsk astronomy folklore and for the grand finale, Stup and I saw the next pass of the ISS at 10:51 to 10:54 p.m. It went right above the Moon and Saturn. AGNFA!!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: bernie engels on June 21, 2013, 07:40:40 AM
Thanks, Jeff for the pointers on M51(pun intended).
I think that maybe I have been looking for a galaxy that is bigger than what it really is, from our viewpoint anyway...
Hope to get out with you again soon :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: rabomgaars on June 22, 2013, 06:56:53 PM
Don't forget the "super" moon tonight.  Hope the clouds go away.......
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on June 27, 2013, 10:35:45 AM
Eagle Bluff this weekend?  Moon will be setting after midnight.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on June 27, 2013, 01:51:01 PM
Yes. Eagle Bluff is open for us this weekend and next. Friday, June 28th doesn't look so good, but maybe Saturday will favor us. Wouldn't that be a nice birthday present if it is clear that night and the RAC could get together?

July 5/6 is open too.

Stuppo and I are going to the Flatin Farm tonight, and David Coset is coming out there as well. I know it is a long way to go, but anyone and everyone is welcome to join us.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on June 27, 2013, 06:11:42 PM
Anyone thinking of going to Keller tonight?  If someone says they will, I'll probably head out there for a bit then.

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: alancameron on June 27, 2013, 08:19:57 PM
Jeff, I'll come down to Keller tonight, the sky looks so good and it's warm
Alan Cameron
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on June 27, 2013, 08:36:04 PM
Hi Alan, ok, I'll head down there too then.  See you down there.  Generally, it'll probably be pretty close to 10:00 before you can see much.  Sunset about 8:57 or so.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on June 28, 2013, 11:22:24 PM
Last night David Coset and I looked at Venus, Saturn, and M57, when my old buddy Bob Selness showed up unexpectably. Bob and I were rookie tree planters in the winter of 1983/1984, Both of us have over a million trees in the ground by hand. Bob came on out because he knew the sky was clear and that there was a good probability of me being out there! :o

After M57, we looked at Alberio, (Beta Cygnus),  M5, M3, M8, M20 and M22. David told me the correct pronunciation of the French astronomer Le Gentil. (LAY-JENTI). French is very confusing, but a beautiful language. "Tre joli" is 'beautiful' in French. It sounds like one word when it is prounounced. 8)

Moonrise was at 11:55 p.m. I showed the guys the two big craters near the terminus, Aristoteles and Eudoxus and then packed up and headed for home at 1 a.m.

AGNFA!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Mr.Gorp on July 02, 2013, 09:00:16 PM
Previously mentioned July 5/6. Is EB open? Quick glance at the forecast: Fri night looks better than Sat.

Anyone know how fireworks look at Keller on the 3rd or 4th?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: bernie engels on July 03, 2013, 08:58:46 AM
Got out last weekend (down near Marshall).   Finally got to show my 80 y.o. mom what saturn looked like through a telescope.  She was amazed, to say the least!  Also pointed out venus, alcor/mizar, and several constellations...  your never to old to star gaze :D
Saturday night, once again searching for M51, and finally found it!  My wife and two other good friends with to share in my excitement.  My wife said, "you mean those two fuzzy things?"  When I explained how far away they were in relation to our "stars", she understood my excitement at finally finding it.  Going to the north shore(Grand Marais area) for the holiday weekend, and hoping the fires in Manitoba abate to that I can take advantage of the dark skies up there.
Here's wishing you all safe weekend with clear skies wherever Independence day finds you!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on July 03, 2013, 06:57:48 PM
Reply to Mr. Gorp's inquiry. Yes Eagle Bluff is available both Fri/Sat night.

I have to tend bar Fri night, Sat I am scheduled to do a private astronomy outreach for my old tree planting buddy Vance Bartell and his family who are here from Michigan.

I sure wish I had Fri night off, but I don't think I can get out of it. Tonight, tomorrow and Sat. for me.

I hope for AGNFA for all you who get together.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on July 04, 2013, 09:39:07 AM
I will be able to make EB Sat. night after all. I did the outreach thing for my buddy last night.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dave Gross on July 04, 2013, 10:02:59 AM
I'm able to go to EB Friday or Saturday.  Let me know what the plans are.

Thanks,
-- Dave
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jerome Taubel on July 04, 2013, 08:06:11 PM
I could make Friday night but not Saturday. I think for Dean's sake aiming for Saturday would be best.  I know it is generally easier for Randy to make Saturday nights, too.  Let me know what is decided. If Friday, we'll attend.

Jerome and Jillissa
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on July 05, 2013, 03:27:47 PM
You don't have to worry about me, I hope the RAC finally takes advantage of all this nice weather. This has been the worst year for observing since 2002.

I will be there Saturday night, but if you folks want to get together without me, I'm O.K. with that, too. You all know I love you.

The RAC rocks!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Mr.Gorp on July 05, 2013, 05:05:49 PM
I've been a little disappointed with the weather lately. When I retire, it's cloudy, the when I wake up (4:30am) it's clear.  :(  I'd like to know when it clears up so I (We) can get out and see something.

Based on the weather predictions, our plans are to go out to Keller (assuming it's reasonably clear around 9-10pm) -- rather than drive down to Eagle Bluff followed by a cloudy & miserable drive back.

I also found out that our niece is really interested in astronomy. Several of us were up on the roof watching fireworks and looking for constellations last night. I think she knows more constellations than I do. Looking forward to introducing her at an upcoming outing.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: ellenvega on July 05, 2013, 05:13:31 PM
Saturday night works out better for me.  Weather-wise... they both look questionable.  It's super hazy and there's rain showers around.  If Sat. is good I'll be out there (EB).

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on July 05, 2013, 10:02:00 PM
Yes, tonight's skies are so-so. Lynne and I have spent the last several days (and tonight) painting walls inside. Love it. Can't tell you how much I enjoy getting a sore neck w/o any stars to be the cause of it. We're heading to the Chicago area first thing in the morning for a family reunion so tomorrow night is out for me too.  Hopefully many of you can get out. Agenda will be light for Tuesday's meeting, so we'll need lots of observing notes!  I'll put that out later this weekend. Have brush must travel!

Later,

Randy
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on July 06, 2013, 05:19:07 PM
Hello astronomy fans! Anybody up for Eagle Bluff tonight?

I'll go, if anyone else is interested, if not then it's the Flatin Farm for me.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on July 06, 2013, 05:57:47 PM
I was starting to think Eagle Bluff until I looked out the window and looked at the CSC.   Hmm. 
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Mr.Gorp on July 06, 2013, 06:55:42 PM
I'm confused. On the way home last night (9pm) it was cloudy. Watching the news wasn't much better. Then when I woke up (3:30am) there were no clouds, so I went out on the patio. Not bad viewing but the sun came up too early. I'm sure the slight wind helped -- and kept the mosquitoes away also!!

It's been like that the last three nights. So-so forecasts, clouds when going to sleep, and then by morning (4:30ish) it's clear.  who knows what tonight will be like.

Since AstroMom is going to see Henry V tomorrow, we won't be going to EB. Keller is more likely -- depending if the clouds and rain old off.

We'll check back closer to 9-10pm.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on July 06, 2013, 07:19:54 PM
I just finished talking with Ellenvega, and she says, yes indeed, "the radar is showing clouds out to the west, it is hard to tell what is going to happen, and maybe local observing only would be the way to go".

With so many diehard observers either out, or on the fence, let's just call tonight "LOCAL OBSERVING ONLY". Eagle Bluff is a long way to go on an iffy forecast.

Next weekend might work out, RAC brothers and sisters, a 5 day old Moon to start, an early Moonset, plus if it is clear, we'd have a longer night not bothered by 4th of July weekend plans.

I'm heading to the Flatin Farm. If any of you get out, I wish you AGNFA!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: ellenvega on July 09, 2013, 07:31:37 PM
Is Eagle Bluff open this weekend on the probably very slim chance that there might be a cloudless weekend night?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on July 09, 2013, 09:50:50 PM
Dean was going to check with Eagle Bluff about Friday.  Hopefully it will be a clear night.

For those in Rochester, if you can stay up a little late, tomorrow, Wednesday, looks like a clear night.  Right now Alan, I, and perhaps Dave are thinking of heading out to Keller.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: alancameron on July 10, 2013, 10:14:44 AM
Jeff, the forecast for tonight looks excellent.  I plan to get to Keller.
Alan
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on July 10, 2013, 01:50:07 PM
Ok Alan, I'll head out there, too.  Two for Keller tonight.  Anyone else, head on out.  We'll be there.  Bring your bug spray.   :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on July 10, 2013, 08:54:41 PM
I'm heading out to Keller, see you all there.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on July 11, 2013, 01:05:31 PM
Hello astronomy fans! I called Eagle Bluff. They do have groups in, but we should be able to use the upper parking lot and have the lights off.

The CSC for EB looks VERY favorable. I'll be there.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jerome Taubel on July 11, 2013, 08:51:42 PM
I'll be at Eagle Bluff on Friday night also.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on July 12, 2013, 07:22:02 AM
I think we'll be at Eagle Bluff tonight, too.  Forecast doesn't look too bad.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on July 12, 2013, 09:16:30 AM
I'll be at Eagle Bluff, but can't make it until 9:30-10 p.m.

If the parking lot lights are on, somebody take charge ask to have them turned off, but I have been assured that they will be off.

Dawn also said "We'll keep the door unlocked for the bathroom."

We should be set!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dave Gross on July 12, 2013, 11:05:04 AM
I'm in!  Aaron Johnson might join me and I'll see if I can round up a few teenagers also.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: ellenvega on July 12, 2013, 12:09:44 PM
I also plan to be there.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on July 12, 2013, 05:10:34 PM
Nebraska Star Party-like wind.
Mosquitos struggle to find skin.
The night should be clear
to seek stars with our peers.
I wonder if Dean will bring ... beverages.

Pop corn at midnight.
Meet me at the trailer.

Randy
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: alancameron on July 12, 2013, 05:32:01 PM
Looks great, I'll be there too
Alan Cameron
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on July 25, 2013, 04:26:50 PM
I got out July 18th, with an old classmate from New York and his family. Just showed them "the Obvious Stuff", but they loved it.

Sat. nite Steve and I got out, looked at the Lunar craters above and below the Aristarchus Plateau, saw the Rumker hills (Montes Rumker, Lunar II target). Steve is making pretty good progress on the Lunar 100.

But one of the more unusual nights I've had in astronomy was last night. I went out to observe Moonrise. A huge band of low clouds hung above my head. I had everything in the van, but just took out my lawn chair and binocs in case anything showed up. I made sure my journal was up to snuff, read a little in Burnham's about Barnard's Star, but as light faded, I could still see about 2 degrees of clear sky on the eastern horizon.

I put my journal away and stared at the horizon. I could see a little hint of brightening with averted vision in a little dip to the east. Sure enough here came the Moon, a yellowish pumkin orange. It took 2 minutes to clear the horizon, went thru a band of clouds and ever so slowly kept on rising into another clear band. The terminator was on the eastern edge of Mare Crisium with Endymion, Cleomedes and Langrenus right there as well. Finally it rose into the solid cloud cover and Tycho was the last, biggest feature to disappear. I watched it from 9:35 to 9:55 p.m. It was beautiful. I didn't see a single star, but no matter, it was still AGNFA!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Mr.Gorp on July 31, 2013, 09:11:05 AM
What's the plans for this weekend?  EB or Keller? 

Quick look at the extended weather looks like it is promising, mostly clear at night, near calm winds. Dew points may be a concern.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on August 01, 2013, 09:45:41 AM
Hello astronomy fans, Eagle Bluff is a GO for this weekend. Dawn emailed me, and there's nothing going on.

I have both Fri & Sat night open, so now it all depends on the weather.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: ellenvega on August 01, 2013, 07:50:47 PM
Saturday night looking the best...
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on August 02, 2013, 10:20:31 AM
The early part of tonight is indeed looking iffy for Eagle Bluff. 11 p.m. on looks pretty good.

Steve wants to get out both nights, but would get more telescope time in if we went to the Flatin Farm tonight.

I'm open to anything. The Oakes Forestry boys have taken yesterday and today off from the woods, so it is home repair for me today. I'm getting out one way or another for some stars.

Let's hear some ideas! ;D
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: ellenvega on August 02, 2013, 02:09:59 PM
I won't be at Eagle Bluff tonight.  Saturday night I can.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dave Gross on August 02, 2013, 02:16:53 PM
11:00 is late to start for lightweights like me.  I'd be in for Saturday night.

-- Dave
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Mr.Gorp on August 02, 2013, 03:34:58 PM
Based on feedback, EB Saturday night is the new plan. If it clears at all, would anyone be interested in an an early night (10p-12) at Keller?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on August 02, 2013, 05:03:39 PM
Saturday works best for me as well. Let's hope we get AGNFA!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on August 02, 2013, 06:36:08 PM
Eagle Bluff sounds good for Saturday.

Mr. Gorp, not sure about tonight at Keller.  If it is clear by 9:00, I'd think about going, but later than that and probably not.  It does sound good though.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: alancameron on August 02, 2013, 07:06:58 PM
I hope to get to  Eagle Bluff on Sat night
Alan Cameron
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on August 02, 2013, 07:53:49 PM
A strong-looking clearing line is moving into Rochester from the NW right now.   Keller is looking better and better for tonight. 

Chris, still out there thinking of Keller tonight?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on August 02, 2013, 08:29:37 PM
Anyone want to go to Keller tonight?  And Eagle Bluff tomorrow?  I just may do both.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on August 02, 2013, 08:57:34 PM
We're going to head out to Keller.  Doesn't look too bad out there now.  See you all down there.   :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Mr.Gorp on August 02, 2013, 09:36:08 PM
Astro Jr is finally in bed.  Boy was he bummed that EB didn't work out tonight. Keller Ho! We'll be there as soon as we can get packed up (and J. layered for the "colder" weather).
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Mr.Gorp on August 03, 2013, 01:50:02 PM
What a great night (at least a good night) out at Keller. Frequent meteors , a couple of Iridum flares early in the night. Just the 4 of us, Jeff, his charming bride, my lovely wife and me. While it wasn't very late (gotta save some sleep time for tonight), we did have good viewing.

We were doing very good at locating celestial objects: each of us finding our usual favorites. I got M51 within two minutes!! That made my day --err-- night. then on to Saturn, M8, M13, M22, ... 

When you know what you're looking for you can find it a whole lot faster.

Only problem was my back was getting sore from looking so much at the zenith. Still, AGNFA!

Now hopefully the clouds hold off for tonight. We may have be bringing another young astronomer.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on August 03, 2013, 03:33:16 PM
I'll be here in Rochester tonight doing a little event for a few people. Won't make EB or Keller. Hope it clears for all of us!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on August 03, 2013, 04:57:55 PM
It looks like a fabulous night is in store for us at Eagle Bluff.  :) I should be there by 7:30 p.m.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on August 03, 2013, 04:59:55 PM
Yes, last night it was nice at Keller.  Quite clear, was able to see the Milky Way before 10:00.  I think the clouds had cleared by 9:30, so very nice.  Not sure when they may have cleared farther south.  

Great Dean, good to see Eagle Bluff is still on.  Those fluffy clouds should clear by this evening.  7:30 though?  Sunset is about 8:30.   :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: bernie engels on August 06, 2013, 07:44:07 AM
I had a great weekend of viewing down in Marshall, MN with most of my extended family there.
None of them had ever looked through a telescope before, so Saturn, Venus, Lagoon Nebula, ISStation, etc... were quite a hit, to put it mildly :o
Weather was perfect, with only slight dew issues after midnight.  Randy, thanks again for help with collimation the other night.  Hope to make it to Keller or EB before the summer is gone.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on August 12, 2013, 08:02:38 PM
Anyone interested in going out to Keller tonight and observe Perseids?  We're sort of thinking of doing that.  Not sure if we will or not. 
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on August 12, 2013, 10:43:26 PM
We're going to head out to Keller for awhile..  maybe a little early.  Not sure how long we'll stay.  Just sit back and look for meteors, no scope.   See you there.    :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on August 24, 2013, 11:38:33 AM
Steve and I got out for a few hours last night. Venus is still not thrilling, but getting slightly higher. Saturn was its usual beautiful self, but getting lower every night. We saw Titan and one other of the 'amateur moons'.

Then we looked at M39 in Cygnus and M23 in Sagittarius. Shortly thereafter the Moon rose and Mare Crisium was almost all in shadow. Fun to see Moonrise. The corn down at the Flatin Farm has grown noticably since the StarBQ.

I really like my (almost) new van. It beats the heck out of hauling my gear around in the pickup. ;D
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: bernie engels on August 26, 2013, 03:02:38 PM
I was out last night at our local neighborhood park in Rochester to continue working the bugs out of my home made star stracker.  Tried to photograph M31 at about 10 pm.  Note to self... kind of important to charge camera batteries before going out to do a long exposure session.  Also important to focus the lens before starting  the exposure.   :-[Will try again tonight.
What are the plans for this weekend?  Any chance of going to Eagle Bluff?  Dean, Randy, I did end up buying a laser collimator from Orion, and would love to try it out this weekend.
Anyone else have thoughts about gazing this weekend?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: darkskyjim on August 28, 2013, 06:16:45 AM
i'm hoping to get out to EB Sat night if anyone will be there...
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: bernie engels on August 28, 2013, 07:50:23 AM
Anybody have any idea about availability of the EB parking lot this weekend?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Mr.Gorp on August 28, 2013, 03:24:29 PM
Wondering the same thing. If not EB, then Keller (depending on weather).
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on August 29, 2013, 07:42:39 PM
I'll check on the availability of EB tomorrow. I'd definately like to go, and even if it is humid, I've got a blow dryer and extension cord.

What about which night? Fri or Sat. Sat works best for Steve and Ellenvega. I'm good for either night. The seeing and transparency are a little iffy for tomorrow, but that can change.

Post as to which night is best, I'll post again after I talk to EB tomorrow.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: bernie engels on August 29, 2013, 09:23:41 PM
Friday night would be best for me, but I have some flexibility. 
Based on the forecast, we should probably flip a coin :D
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: bernie engels on August 30, 2013, 08:24:09 AM
Based on this morning's forecasts from NWS out of Lacrosse, intellicast.com, and ClearSky, it would appear that tonight may be the better of the 2 nights  of this weekend...
Dean, any word on EB availability? 
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on August 30, 2013, 10:01:32 AM
Hello astronomy fans!

Eagle Bluff is available all weekend. Tonight does seem like the best night. I am ready, willing and able, and will be there by 8 p.m. at the latest.

Last night David Coset and I were out at the Flatin Farm for 5 hours. Since it was so humid, I kept my telescope low to the southern horizon in Sagittarius and we "climbed the ladder" of looking at objects in the southern Milky Way. There was a nice breeze from the south that kept my glass from fogging up.

I found them and David looked at them while I read the pertinant info about them from Burnham's Celestial Handbook. It was really fun. It was the first night that I took the time to read about them while we were looking at the various globulars, diffuse nebula and open star clusters. I realized that I was finally savoring what I was looking at. In the years past, I was so busy ripping through the observing lists that I didn't read about them until I got home into my library.

I find that I am teaching now instead of learning. It's great, but I still need to learn. Time is the issue.

No matter, David, "Da-VEED" in Francois" is a hoot! He is fun, talented and brainy, just like the RAC!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: bernie engels on August 30, 2013, 11:27:52 AM
Count me in as well for tonight.
I may also bring a friend of mine who is even more of a newbie than I am, if that's possible.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on August 30, 2013, 03:48:41 PM
Moonrise is 1am.
I have a thing I need to attend tonight that should be done by 8:30, so if it is I might try to "Kirk it" down to EB late.

(Dean can explain what 'kirking' is)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on August 30, 2013, 04:13:11 PM
HAH!!

Randy you rascal.

"Kirking" is having someone show up COMPLETELY unexpectedly.

I'll be at EB by 8 p.m.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: bernie engels on August 30, 2013, 04:22:53 PM
You two seem a bit odd, but I will come down anyway :-\
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Mr.Gorp on August 30, 2013, 05:56:45 PM
Do we have access to the facilities (for the out-door challenged)?

We'll have our usual contingent -- looking forward to it.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Mr.Gorp on August 31, 2013, 11:21:55 AM
AstroMom was having a field day. She loves her new Pocket Sky Atlas. Getting excited about finding one start cluster and then bouncing to the next nebula.

I must be getting more familiar with the sky as I found my elusive M51-Whirlpool galaxy easier, then up to M101 (just up from M51). And then . . . .

Beautiful lightening show all night down by Decorah, IA. For 8 (when we go there) until about 3, it was continuous lightening. Not a problem viewing but great show. Started clouding up (storm broke up about 3-3:30) and then it was watching the moon and Saturn running in and out among the clouds.


Also love our new laser pointer from Z-Bolt: Duet Emerald. $68+SH, instantaneous on/off and a continuous on switch. excellent holster case, and a set of batteries.  Very ruggedly built. We're very happy.

AGNFA!!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: bernie engels on August 31, 2013, 02:06:31 PM
So glad I made the drive down to EB last night(my first time there).
It was an amazing night to be out, snow crickets chirping, owls hooting, occasional coyote howl and distant lightning show.  O.h. yes, and the stars showed up as well.  No, not just talking about Dean and Randy(they were upstaged by Julie anyway).  Best viewing conditions I've seen in a loonng time.  I had a chance to continue working the bugs out of my barn door tracker, attempting to image M31 and Saggitarius.  I will try to post a few pics later this weekend.
Thanks to all who helped me find just about everything!  Learning is exciting no matter what age one is ;D
fyi... to anyone interested, Dean will be giving french lessons to anyone willing to listen. 
or ev wha!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Mr.Gorp on September 01, 2013, 02:24:58 PM
Anyone up for an evening out at Keller? 
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: ellenvega on September 03, 2013, 02:23:04 PM
Sounds like I missed an EB outing.  Skies up in the Boundary Waters were NOT great for observing.  Humid and/or cloudy everynight. 

New moon this weekend.  An Eagle Bluff night?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on September 03, 2013, 10:28:41 PM
Possibly. I have to check with Eagle Bluff tomorrow.

Plus, not sure of the weather this weekend.

Will contact them and post tomorrow.

If the skies are like last weekend's, it should be very fun indeed. We had an excellent time.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on September 05, 2013, 08:36:05 AM
Hello astronomy fans!

There is a Boy Scout troop and a soccer group at Eagle Bluff this weekend. But since they will already be there, Dawn said that the parking lot lights will be off, plus the building will be open for the restroom.

Let's hope for some clear skies and a chance to have a great outreach will some youngsters!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on September 06, 2013, 04:51:45 PM
I'd consider Eagle Bluff or Kelner tonight if there was anyone else interested.
But the scopes will drippin' wet tonight!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on September 06, 2013, 06:10:25 PM
Eagle Bluff looks good. Clear sky, light wind and low humidity. If we do have moisture problems, I'll have Vidal and his long extension cord handy.

Eagle Bluff is where I am headed.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jerome Taubel on September 06, 2013, 06:38:04 PM
Jillissa and I will be down to Eagle Bluff tonight.  Can only stay until about Midnight, though, so binoculars only this time.

See you there!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on September 06, 2013, 06:54:03 PM
Will be there by 8:30
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on September 08, 2013, 04:56:27 PM
I went out to the Flatin Farm last night, a crazy night for weather. From 7:30 to 9 it was so warm and humid and cloudy that I thought, "what the heck did I come out here for?"

Then 'POOF', it cleared up and from 9 to 11 it wasn't bad, almost good! The NE portion of the sky was my target grounds. M33, M31 and satellites, Gamma Andromeda, M34, Perseus Double Cluster, M45, Alpha Persei association, and Algol.

When Stup got out there at 11, we went after the California Nebula near Zeta Perseii, found the area that it was in, but didn't have a decent enough filter to see it well. We could "see" it, but a novice wouldn't have had a clue.

Still fun though. By 1 a.m. the sky was the property of the clouds. Oh well. Still sort of AGNFA.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: bernie engels on September 14, 2013, 09:27:57 AM
This image was taken 2 weeks ago at EB.  The "ufo" is actually Dean strolling in front of the camera, unaware that I was taking a picture ???
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: bernie engels on September 14, 2013, 09:31:43 AM
This image is of Randy and Julie attempting to find Neptune.  On the southern horizon you can see the incredible light show from distant thunderheads, which were with us all night! 
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on September 16, 2013, 12:48:26 AM
Ha! Too funny Bernie. Both were great shots. Good for you. It was a great night, and very fun to finally meet you.

Last Friday night Steve and I got out and did a lot of Lunar observing. He got Rupes Recta (the Straight Wall) the craters Clavius and its inside crater chain, Longmongatonus, Davy, Eratosthenes, Coperincus, Cassini, Valles Alpes and Plato. There was a bright spot between Valles Alpes and Cassini that I can't remember seeing, A Transient Lunar Phenomena? Not sure. At any rate he made great progress on the Lunar 100. We also had a star in Sagittarius come out from behind the Earthshine part of the Moon. Steve found that first.

Binocular objects were the Andromeda Galaxy, the Perseus Double Cluster, Stock 2 (the Sick Man), Kembles Cascade, Gamma Andromeda (a binocular double star), M45 the Pleadies, Aldebaran and the Hyades, (a short discussion on the perspective of distance of naked eye objects in space.)

David Coset, (the French guy) came out to observe with us. He is so funny and the coolest part of it is that he doesn't even try to be. We love him and ultimately I am sure you will all get to know him. We observed until 1 a.m. until the Moon set. I'd have stayed out later, but the Myrah clan had a wedding the next day. For all of you that have met AJ, my sister, please keep here in your thoughts and prayers. She is on the cusp right now.

We got in 5 hours, it was AGNFA! May we all have many more.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: bernie engels on September 24, 2013, 08:36:12 AM
Any plans on observing this coming weekend?  The weather not sounding stellar, but, as we all know, that can change...
Anyone interested please shout out :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on September 24, 2013, 10:26:38 PM
That sounds like a good idea Bernie.  I would be up for it.  Not liking the forecasts for the weekend.  I've been trying to decide if I want to possibly head out to Keller on Wednesday or Thursday this week.   :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on September 24, 2013, 11:55:10 PM
I agree with Jeff. Wednesday or Thursday will be great for local observing only.

If the forecasts change, I'll check Eagle Bluff for Fri/Sat.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: bernie engels on September 25, 2013, 07:46:36 AM
that sounds fine.  I will check back here to see what the concensus is tommorrow...
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: bernie engels on September 27, 2013, 07:55:12 AM
So the weather forecast isn't too promising for tonight, with quite a bit of wind, and clouding up before midnight. 
Saturday night could be good, depending on the timing of the clear off of clouds, with lower dewpoints/winds forecast.
Any possiblity of using the parking lot at EB on that night?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on September 27, 2013, 08:44:39 AM
Eagle Bluff will have a wedding on Sat. night. No chance of a dark parking lot.

Tonight we could have the parking lot lights off, but not the trail lights. Dawn says there will be people there decorating for the wedding.

At any rate, I can't make either night this weekend. Good luck and clear skies to all who observe.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: jlmanatee on September 27, 2013, 10:48:55 AM
I think I'll try Keller tonight if it's not too cloudy.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Mr.Gorp on September 27, 2013, 11:24:04 AM
If the clouds hold off, we're planning on Keller, but won't stay too late.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: bernie engels on September 27, 2013, 03:24:23 PM
Based on the weather, and a social engagement, I have elected to put all my "stellar eggs" in the Saturday night basket at Kellor.
I hope you guys get enough gaps in the clouds/wind tonight to see some decent stuff :)
Post in the morning on your luck!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on September 27, 2013, 04:47:03 PM
Things clearing up a bit.  Methinks we may be at Keller tonight for awhile as well.   :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on September 27, 2013, 07:14:08 PM
We're going to head out to Keller for awhile, see if it clears up.   :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: bernie engels on September 28, 2013, 12:21:35 PM
How was Keller last night?
Anyone interested in going tonight?  I'm 67% certain the conditions will be favorable ::)

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on September 28, 2013, 12:41:41 PM
It was nice out there last night Bernie.  Sorry you couldn't make it.   It didn't look too good to start.  Some openings in the clouds, Arcturus, Vega, Altair.  Waited awhile and started clearing.  It got to be clear in the south and southwest.   Chris, Julie, and Joe showed up about 8:45 and the skies continued to clear and pretty much cleared out between 9 and 10.   Somewhere along the way, Brendan showed up.  He has come to the last few club meetings and saw that some of us where out at Keller and decided to come out and have a look.  He doesn't have a scope and was looking through ours and asking questions.  All in all a pretty good night.  We all turned in early and that was a good idea as the clouds started to come back in after 10:30 and it was getting mostly cloudy again when we packed up a little after 11.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on September 28, 2013, 03:10:44 PM
Oh, forgot earlier, if it clears out early enough I would be interested in Keller again tonight.   :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: bernie engels on September 28, 2013, 03:14:50 PM
I will be heading out about 7:30 to setup; hoping to give my barn door tracker another try photographing M31. 
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on September 28, 2013, 07:17:32 PM
Good call Bernie, looks gorgeous out there.  See you there!   :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Mr.Gorp on September 28, 2013, 07:32:16 PM
Last night was fun - sky looks better tonight... See you out there soon...
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: jlmanatee on September 29, 2013, 11:41:33 AM
  I was extremely disappointed in my astrophotography efforts last night.  Unlike the excellent motorized barn door tracker Bernie was working with, mine is manually operated and was slapped together in about 30 minutes.  I call it Mr. Shakey.  My next one will be an "awesome" motorized double-arm.   :)   I'm still gathering parts.  In any case we both suffered from dew on the lenses and I pulled up stakes about 10:30.
  In an effort to redeem myself, I recommend you to my best moon shot and excuse myself as I've only been at this self-abusive hobby for about a month.  http://www.flickr.com/photos/101302104@N06/9974867113/ (http://www.flickr.com/photos/101302104@N06/9974867113/)

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on October 01, 2013, 02:02:09 AM
Dear Jim,

I understand COMPLETELY your frustration with astronomy. That is why I have kept at it for 50 years.

Have you seen the movie, 'The Outlaw Josie Wales'? If you have, remember the scene where Chief Dan George uttered the line,

"ENDEAVOUR TO PERSEVERE".

Best of luck in all your astronomical pursuits, and may you always have AGNFA!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: ellenvega on October 01, 2013, 02:19:54 PM
On my way to work Sunday morning (at 5am) the winter constellations were BRILLIANT.  Orion and Sirius were in full glory and Jupiter and the Moon weren't too far off from one another.

Hankering for another long star-gazing night....
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: jlmanatee on October 02, 2013, 08:22:01 AM
Last nights prime focus efforts at Keller were rewarding, though I have a lot to learn about post processing. :)

M31 10-14 second light frames, 5-14 second dark frames.  Canon XSi, 800 ISO and CPC 800 @ f/10, alt/az mount

http://www.flickr.com/photos/101302104@N06/10062976906/in/photostream/
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: bernie engels on October 02, 2013, 04:35:33 PM
Very nice, Jack!  I would like to talk with you more about astro photography (I was hoping to try again this weekend, but the weather doesn't look promising at all).
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on October 05, 2013, 11:56:47 AM
Nice photo, Jack! 8)

Tonight looks good, at least down here in Spring Grove, and I am heading to the Flatin Farm for the Uff Da Fest Stary Party. I know its a long way, but if anyone is interested, you're always welcome.

I called Eagle Bluff, but no answer.

Clear skies to all who observe!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on October 07, 2013, 06:47:52 PM
Hello astonomy fans! Stup and I went down to the Flatin Farm. I got there first and just as I set up my tripod, a brief rainshower fell. I covered up the SkyView Pro with my parka and retreated under the van's hatch. Then the Sun broke through and a rainbow appeared. I couldn't help but think of Audrejean since this was the first time out there since her memorial service.

The Uff Da Fest Party was well attended...by 3 people, me, Stup and Logan Deschler made his patented late appearance when we were packing up. I got my binocs back out and showed him the Alpha Persei Association, the Pleadies, M13, M22, Andromeda Galaxy and Alberio.

Stup and I played "pocket astronomy" all night. High thin clouds came drifting by just like buses on a schedule. We looked at a lot of "the obvious stuff", but I was able to show him 'Mirach's Ghost' (Beta Andromeda and eliptical galaxy NGC 404). He had never seen that before.

It was ACNFA (A Challenging Night For Astronomy).
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on October 10, 2013, 12:55:15 PM
Hello astronomy fans! I went out last night to see if I could spot Comet ISON, but Jupiter took center stage.

While Mars, Regulus and Comet ISON's position was rising, I looked at the King of Planets and noticed a shadow transit taking place. Two of Jupiter's moons were to the east and one to the west, all very close. Callisto was way off to the east (90 degree stardiagnol), about 5 planet diameters away.

The three closest moons were within one planet diameter. While I was looking at Ganymede's shadow transit, the Moon on the other side (Io? Europa? Help me on this) disappeared into shadow! It went into eclipse! It was the first time EVER that I had seen a Jovian moon shadow transit accompanied by an eclipse of Jupiter's shadow. WOW!!

David Coset showed up shortly thereafter and I showed him Jupiter. Now the two moons to Jupiter's right in my FOV were very close and ANOTHER shadow appeared! It was SO fun!

Comet ISON will have to wait until tomorrow morning.

Friday night will be a triple shadow transit event for North America, the first one since March of 2004. I don't think we'll see it. Oh well, last night was definately AGNFA!!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on October 10, 2013, 06:13:04 PM
Sounds like you had quite the night Dean.  To whet your appetite for ISON, here are some images people are taking of it.
http://spaceweathergallery.com/index.php?title=ison (http://spaceweathergallery.com/index.php?title=ison)
If you look at some of those, I can see why you had trouble trying to find it the other night.   :)
Like this one with it next to Mars:
http://spaceweathergallery.com/indiv_upload.php?upload_id=87652&PHPSESSID=bf8gt9jhp3upfuq41hfqn7r5j6 (http://spaceweathergallery.com/indiv_upload.php?upload_id=87652&PHPSESSID=bf8gt9jhp3upfuq41hfqn7r5j6)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on October 11, 2013, 10:44:02 AM
Wow. Thank you Jeff. Now I don't feel so bad.

I was going to get up early again last night, but finally sleep deprivation got the best of me and I didn't wake up till 5:45 a.m.

I'll try again as soon as I can, but next time, the parka, gloves, coveralls and warm boots will need to go along. I hope to see some of you tonight for astronomy day, weather providing.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on October 12, 2013, 09:26:40 PM
I think I'll try to follow your lead Dean.  If I wake up sometime between 3 and 4 I'll hopefully get up and head out to Keller and see if I can find ISON.   :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on October 13, 2013, 01:13:59 AM
Good luck Jeff. God Bless you buddy.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on October 13, 2013, 09:03:08 AM
Thanks Dean, not sure, but I may have seen it.. Maybe.   :)  Heaven's Above wasn't working last night, so I didn't print off their chart, but I printed off Calsky and a couple of the photos.  The photos didn't help much, but the Calsky chart showed it a little down from Eta Leonis and just off the corner of a triangle of stars below Eta.  I guess on a line something like halfway between Mars and Eta.  There was an arc of stars to the right that it appears ISON probably went through.  I found a dim line of 3 stars and something faint and fuzzy off the end of those 3 stars.  I looked at that for quite awhile.  Wasn't sure if it was a 'fuzzy' or some dim star that I just couldn't bring into focus.  I tried a few different eyepieces, but still didn't get much from it.  I had my 12 inch and used 8.8, 11, 14, 19 mm eyepieces.  Still wasn't sure if that was ISON or not.  After I got home, I became more sure that it may have been ISON.  Heaven's Above was up and looking at the ISON chart there, it looked like what I was seeing.  I could see the arc of stars and then see the 3 dim stars and off the end them, there was ISON and that is where I was seeing that fuzzy object. So...  maybe..   :)

Otherwise, also a great night out there.  Jupiter and Orion nice and high.  Quite dark, less cars on the road.   Mars and Regulus were very low to start, so I was looking at other things.  Messiers for the morning:  1, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 35, 36, 37, 38, 78, 31, 32, 33, 110, 81, 82, 103.  Definitely AGNFA!

However...  some bad news.  It looks like they may have messed up Keller as an observing site.  They have been in there and trimmed all of the trees around the parking lot and trimmed them good!  Wow!  Couldn't believe it when I got there.  It is all opened up.  Since the trees are trimmed, there is nowhere to hide from the yard light that is across the road.  After setting up, I moved my vehicle between the scope and light so I could get some protection from the light.  Sadly doesn't look too good.   :(
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on October 13, 2013, 11:01:31 AM
Regulus doesn't clear my neighbors trees until 5am. So I got the 18" reflector out to take a peak at ISON. My two go-to planetarium programs did not agree on its position, but I did finally locate it visually with the 27mm Panoptic. Very faint! Used averted vision.
I then took some pictures and a video of the comet. The comet moves probably less than an arcminute in the 19 minutes I was able to shoot before the sunrise was too bright. The video is condensed down to 19 seconds. I will attach a low-resolution copy.
Jeff, does this fit with what you saw? Only the brighter stars in this video would be visible.
Anyway, it's out there!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: ellenvega on October 13, 2013, 02:08:18 PM
I'm pretty sure I saw it this morning, also.  4:55am, with my 8-inch Orion scope and a Meade 20mm super wide angle eyepiece.  Very, very faint but definetly something there.  I used this starchart from Astronomy.com, it's crossing a dark spot in the next night or 2:

http://www.astronomy.com/observing/sky-events/2013/10/comet-ison-brightens-before-dawn

Its got a long way to go to rival the moon.  :D


Randy, that looks nice!  What I saw wasn't that clear, but it was in the same location.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on October 13, 2013, 10:15:14 PM
Good job Randy!  Not totally sure where that is in relation to what I saw. 

Heaven's Above was showing what I saw.  Here:

http://www.heavens-above.com/comet.aspx?cid=C%2F2012%20S1&lat=44.022&lng=-92.47&loc=Rochester&alt=0&tz=CST (http://www.heavens-above.com/comet.aspx?cid=C%2F2012%20S1&lat=44.022&lng=-92.47&loc=Rochester&alt=0&tz=CST)

Put in 10/13 about 5:30 or so and it has it in the position I saw it the 'Fine finder chart'.  That site does seem to have problems displaying the comet in that chart at times.  This morning showed the comet and tonight it is not showing it.  Strange.  Not sure when I actually first saw it.  I was looking at it at the end and left a little before 6:00, before 5:30 for sure.  I got there a little after 3:30, but it was pretty low at that time.  I kept fine tuning things after that trying to figure out what was what.   :) 

Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on October 14, 2013, 02:21:31 AM
Terrific job everyone. Now I don't feel so bad.

I WILL spot that comet on my own, but I now know that it is not 'The Comet of the Century'. Thanks for the observational info.

If aces like Jeff, Randy and Ellenvega have a tough time picking it up, this amateur astronomer will too.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: jlmanatee on October 17, 2013, 12:56:50 PM
Does anyone know a cloud dissipation dance?  Do we sacrifice a chicken or something?   :D
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: bernie engels on October 19, 2013, 08:53:03 AM
No, I think we are supposed to sacrifice a meteorologist...
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on October 19, 2013, 10:49:10 AM
It is frustrating, isn't it?

I wanted to take a peek at the Moon before I went to tend bar last night to see if observers in our part of the world could see any subtle shading, but of course, clouds prevented that. When I walked home after my shift it was crystal clear. The Moon was full, beautiful and directly overhead at the zenith. It was the first time in many days the sky has been that clear.

With November coming on, stargazing is going to be limited. Observing sessions will be shorter due to cold, but at least we'll have more hours to try.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: jlmanatee on October 21, 2013, 12:45:28 PM
Tonight I'm heading down to a friend's farm near Fillmore to test out my new motorized double arm barn door tracker (nicknamed "Mongo").  I will try for the NGC 7000 region with a 50mm fixed focal length lens on the camera.   And maybe the same with a 300mm zoom lens.  The location is a light green light pollution zone and I'm expecting great things despite the moon.  It's gonna be pretty cool, and by "cool" I mean the temperature.   :o
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: bernie engels on October 21, 2013, 06:25:57 PM
Go luck, Jack! 
I hope you have clear skies.   Don't forget some chemical heat packs and a rubber band to manage frost?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on October 24, 2013, 07:51:40 AM
I called Eagle Bluff yesterday. Sally said that Friday night is the "Haunted Ropes" event, so no go for Friday night.

Saturday night is available with only a quilting group and a Scout troop there with both parties staying overnight. If the weather co-operates and anyone is interested, I'd go. Friday night will find me on the Flatin Farm.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: quiet_earth on October 24, 2013, 02:46:38 PM
I would be interested in a star night at Eagle Bluff on Saturday if someone can let me know a yes/no and a time to be there. It would be my first time. I have a Celestron 130eq to bring. My wife would attend too.

Thanks.
Evan
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: jlmanatee on October 24, 2013, 04:02:59 PM
Do NOT trust those quilters.  Even hardened Hells Angels shy away from that crowd.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on October 24, 2013, 07:38:58 PM
The quilters are actually a pretty nice bunch. They've looked through our scopes a few times.

Look for a GO/NO GO message here about 4 p.m.

Let's hope it happens. It would be fun to get together again, and who knows when the next time will be? It has been November like way too soon.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: ellenvega on October 25, 2013, 04:22:24 PM
Might be able to get a few hours in Saturday night.

Next weekend is new moon, so perhaps another chance there.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on October 25, 2013, 05:58:39 PM
That sounds good to me as well.

Tonight is going to be VERY windy, plus Betty's Dad broke his hip today. Tonight won't work for me.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: quiet_earth on October 26, 2013, 04:20:02 PM
anyone going to lansborro tonight?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on October 26, 2013, 04:59:54 PM
I would go. Tonight looks better than last night.

It appears that it will be a little windy at first, then mellower as the night wears on. The trees to the north and west will give us shelter from the wind as well.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: quiet_earth on October 26, 2013, 05:05:14 PM
what time were you thinking?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: MattW on October 26, 2013, 06:06:07 PM
Hi Guys,

My name is Matt and I'm new around town.  I was thinking about coming out tonight if you guys are heading to Lanesboro  and you are willing to have me!

I don't have a telescope but I do have binoculars.

Thanks!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on October 26, 2013, 06:14:35 PM
Come on out Matt, glad to have you.  I'll be heading out soon.  Sun has set.    :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: MattW on October 26, 2013, 06:18:21 PM
Great, thanks!

I have a Halloween party to go to that I will sneak out of early. What time are you guys normally there till?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on October 26, 2013, 06:21:40 PM
I am loading up right now. I should be there by 7:30.

Ellenvega can make it. Stuppo can't.

It still should be a good bunch. The night is looking promising.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: quiet_earth on October 26, 2013, 06:21:48 PM
my wife and i would love to come. is there a time frame? we are in NW rochester. we could be there around 830pm? can bring our scope. where would we park?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on October 26, 2013, 11:37:32 PM
5 of us got out there, Jeff, Ellenvega, me, Evan and Kate (Quiet Earth). Nice people.

We saw some stuff, M57, M13, the Perseous Double Cluster, M31 w/satellite galaxies, Alberio, Polaris A&B, M33 in Triangulum, Stock2 'The Stick Man' in Perseus, but it was "Pocket Astronomy".

Then the clouds rolled in and even though we stayed for an hour and a half, we packed up and went home. Ellenvega said "When we get home, it will probably be clear". Sure enough it was.

FRUSTRATING!

Evan and Kate are very nice. I got to Eagle Bluff just in time to catch the ISS going over. Another minute later and I would have missed it.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: MattW on October 30, 2013, 08:22:23 PM
Hi friends!

Sorry I didn't make it out last week.  Whenever I tried to scoot my way out of the party my wife would give me the stink-eye.  Decided to stick around until it was too late to make it down.

I'm going to shoot to be there if ya'll are going out again this Friday as listed on the website.  Thanks!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on October 30, 2013, 10:41:13 PM
I called Eagle Bluff and this weekend they have two small groups there, but they don't need the lights on.

Sat. looks to be the better of the two nights. Ellenvega can make it, I can too, and I think Stup will be available.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: bernie engels on October 31, 2013, 08:05:08 AM
I am also hoping to make it on Sat. eve.
Still working the bugs out of my barn door tracker...
It may be a chilly night out there... Dean, will Vidal be joining us?  I like him, even though he is full of hot air ;D
is this also the weekend we set our clocks back?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: jlmanatee on October 31, 2013, 09:23:53 AM
I was going to go for ISON on Saturday or Sunday morning, but the weather reports are not giving me a good feeling.  So maybe I'll make my first visit to Eagle Bluff.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dave Gross on October 31, 2013, 04:16:38 PM
I'm planning on being there Sat. night with my new Zooom! eyepiece and correct image star diagonal.

-- Dave
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on November 01, 2013, 08:17:18 AM
Sounds good everyone. If the weather co-operates, we may have a pretty good crowd there.

To Bernie: Yep this is the 'clock back' weekend, and Vidal will be in the lot!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: bernie engels on November 02, 2013, 07:49:15 AM
Well, as of right now, the weather reports are looking good for tonight, although it may be chilly, surely better than what's to come in the months ahead.
I'm planning on getting there around 7:00 to set up my camera...
Jack, r you planning on coming tonight/photographing?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: jlmanatee on November 02, 2013, 01:51:43 PM
Yep, I'm planning on leaving Rochester at about 6 PM
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: jlmanatee on November 03, 2013, 06:40:57 AM
What a great night!  I met lots of new folks.  It was nice to put some faces (in the dark) to the names from the forum.  I thought you might like this photo of Orion nebula from last night.  And now ...... back to bed, or Perkins.  :D

http://www.flickr.com/photos/101302104@N06/10644624126/in/set-72157635374115141
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: bernie engels on November 03, 2013, 10:09:17 AM
Jack, that picture is magnificent!  What type of magnification did you use for that?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: jlmanatee on November 03, 2013, 10:28:06 AM
60 light frames at 20 seconds each.  Attached prime focus to the back of the 8" SCT with a f6.3 focal reducer on an alt/az mount.  That ends up providing an effective focal length of 1280mm.  The field of view is about 1 degree, 12 minutes in diameter.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Mr.Gorp on November 03, 2013, 01:49:42 PM
Wonderful pictures. Beautiful night for star gazing. Too bad AstroBoy go tired sooner than usual.

Looking forward to a full report on all the sightings after we left. I hope that Dean was able to see his comets before the clouds and fog rolled in.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on November 03, 2013, 03:52:01 PM
Nope. Barb and I were the last two in the lot, but the clouds rolled in and we packed up by 1 a.m. Dew (ice) was getting to be a real nuisance. The first comet (Lovejoy?) would have been visible by then.

Still, a great night! 13 of the RAC made it there. Fun!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: jlmanatee on November 13, 2013, 04:02:01 PM
 Unless my wife objects, I think I might go out to my dark place near Fillmore.  The weather report looks favorable for tonight and I want to try out my new wedge.  That means a my first time performing a polar alignment and all that entails with  fork-mounted GoTo. 
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on November 15, 2013, 11:27:48 PM
Jack, you did an outstanding job of imaging at Eagle Bluff the last time the RAC got together. In fact, you made it look easy.

Good luck with the new equipment, looking forward to more great images. You move in a different realm than I do, but that is what makes our hobby so interesting.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: jlmanatee on November 18, 2013, 01:11:15 PM
If the weather holds, it looks like it will be a good morning to spot ISON on Tuesday (11/19).  It should be visible at about 10 degrees above the horizon at 5 AM and magnitude will be around 5.  Can anyone suggest a location, maybe just east of Rochester, that would be suitable for viewing at this low angle?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on November 30, 2013, 09:42:42 AM
Does anyone want to get out tonight? I'm planning on the Flatin Farm (the corn is out now), but am open to suggestions.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: MattW on November 30, 2013, 03:43:22 PM
Hi!

I would be up for it but not until late.  Where is this place?
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on November 30, 2013, 04:05:20 PM
Hi Matt. The Flatin Farm is 5 miles south of Spring Grove on Co. Rd. 16 on the way to Dorchester. It is 80 miles from Rochester, so a pretty long haul. Steve Remick and I will be there starting at 7 p.m. David Coset is a 50% chance of showing up.

I want to start on my Carbon Stars list tonight, plus score some more Binocular Double Stars. It sounds like Comet ISON is fading fast.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on December 01, 2013, 01:07:33 AM
Talk about the proto-typical winter observing night. A beautiful day, a gorgeous sunset, set up at 7 p.m., got a look at the Andromeda Galaxy and satellite galaxy M110.

Then, clouds. I told Steve, "This is just like the 2d night at the Heart of America Star Party." We sat in the two chairs I brought out and shot the breeze until 9 p.m., then packed it up.

Tomorrow will be absolutely clear, I'll wake up and see nothing but blue sky in the morning.

"One of these days, Alice, to the MOON!!" We'll get a nice night sometime.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Mike C:\ on December 04, 2013, 10:11:59 PM
Hi everyone, first time posting here and looking to join the club. Weather report is saying clear night friday, is anyone looking to do any star gazing? if so time and place?
Thanks
Mike C.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on December 23, 2013, 01:46:42 PM
There is a chance of winter observing starting at about midnight. Tomorrow night I'm going to have to miss my yearly chance of seeing Santa in his sleigh because of clouds and snow.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Go RAC!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on January 18, 2014, 04:20:12 PM
AT LAST! Steve and I are going to get in 3 hours of observing tonight. We're going to the Myrah home farm driveway a mile east of Spring Grove. There is a good E/SE and N sky visible from there, the road is plowed and no one lives on the home farm anymore so we'll have a decent spot with little to no traffic. David is coming out there too, so it should be a pretty good night. It looks like moonrise will be about 9:30.

It's been a while. Dust off those telescopes and get some stars!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on January 19, 2014, 11:23:25 AM
We didn't get as much time as we thought, 2 hours, 6:30-8:30. Clouds rolled in and the Moon came up an hour before I thought it would.

Still, we got a great look at Jupiter, 3 moons to the west and one to the east. I nabbed R Leporis for my carbon star observing program, still very red but not as pronounced as last year.

We had a wonderful time looking at the Orion Nebula. Steve got one of those nifty 8mm Explore Scientific eyepieces. You'd have to see it to believe it! Only a hundred bucks! WOW! I had a severe case of "eyepiece envy". Greg Bragg works for them and he would have loved being there last night. I hope we get to see him at Okie-Tex in September.

A short, but AGNFA!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on January 19, 2014, 09:11:47 PM
Nice! Getting out anytime in January is always bonus!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on January 26, 2014, 03:32:50 PM
WOW!! Have you seen the CSC for Monday night? Dark Blue Boxes all across the board!

Temperature is REALLY dark blue. I wonder what that means....
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Captain Kirk on January 27, 2014, 09:51:11 AM
I think it means pour your beverage of choice and see if RandoEyes is active on nightskiesnetwork.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on January 27, 2014, 11:21:33 PM
Notta.
It's 247 degrees Kelvin out. I don't set up until it's at least 260!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on January 31, 2014, 06:07:58 PM
If you look right now! - Beautiful 1.2 day old moon in the west!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: bernie engels on February 22, 2014, 05:26:40 PM
I was out in the driveway just before sunrise having a look at Venus in a crescent stage, and the last quarter moon.  The seeing was o.k. but not great (I was able to get a "that's cool Dad," out of my kids.)  I figured that the cold air that settled in overnight, plus viewing in early morning would have made for excellent viewing ???
So, any talk about a Messier marathon next weekend?  It's been so quiet on this site lately, I thought maybe everyone had either picked up and moved to Arizona or sold their scopes on Ebay!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on February 23, 2014, 12:25:38 PM
Steve and I got out last night. We could see the Beehive quite well. Looked great in binoculars. Steve showed me the supernova in M82, but he said it appears to be fading. I could still see it with direct vision.

I showed Steve and Dale and Sue Scobie the "Diamond Ring" asterism that Polaris is part of, and then finished off the short night with the carbon star X Cancri. That was suprisingly easy to find. I cold even see it in my finderscope. It is bright, near maxima instead of minima and I thought that the mag. was about 6.5. Not a deep red, but a bright orange red. Pretty cool.

I don't know about next weekend. It is still predicted to be very cold. We'll see.

Kudos to ANYONE that gets out in temps like this. I now have one observing session for Dec. Jan. and Feb.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Mr.Gorp on February 26, 2014, 01:47:57 PM
Quick look at the weather predictions for Friday/Saturday are not looking good. Not only is it cold, it'll be overcase and possible snow. If it does not get much better, we may go stand-by out to Keller. :-\  At near zero, even I wouln't make it long in Dean's Marines.     
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on February 28, 2014, 05:00:18 PM
Hello astronomy fans! I have a HUGE weekend of astronomy planned....

both my ASTRONOMY and SKY&TELESCOPE magazines appeared in the mail today. HOORAY!!  (Pssst! Check out the 70 inch portable dob in S&T's edition on page 68. I think Randy is going to want to update in the near future.) My little library is looking pretty good this weekend.

Now I won't feel so bad about missing our first shot at the March Messier Marathon. I sure hope Mr. Gorp, Julie, Astroboy and all the other astronomy afficianados will be at Eagle Bluff at the end of March for our second chance. The current RAC record stands at 82 for the MMM.

Just think... it will be 60 degrees, dry air, all the snow will be gone and nothing overhead but stars, stars, stars with the sound of classical music quietly playing in the background. It will be AGNFA!!!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 08, 2014, 09:30:16 PM
Steve and I got out for 2 and a half hours of fabulous winter stargazing tonight. We knew that Io was supposed to come out of Jupiter's shadow at 7:31 so we set up at 6:30. The first thing we looked at was the Moon and to see if we could spot Purbach's Cross. I saw that we were about six hours too late for that, but the cross was in full sunlight and discernable, so I pointed that out to Stup and then noticed that a bright (4th or 5th mag.?) blue white star was heading towards the unlit side of the Moon. We spotted it at 7:02 and it disappeared at 7:16 p.m. The star we saw occulted was 119 Taurii, mag. 4.3

Then we switched to Jupiter and saw 3 moons to the east of the planet. We watched intently until 7:33 p.m. when Io started to become visible about a half a planet diameter away on the same side as the other moons. Totally cool! I think that was Steve's first time to see that and only the 4th or 5th for me. I took some time to journal these observations and while I was doing that, Steve saw the star reappear near Mare Crisium from behind the Moon.

After that he found NGC 2264 "The Christmas Tree Cluster" in Monoceros, I showed him the famous triple star Beta Monoceros, then bagged Y Canes Venaticorum for my carbon star search and called it a night. It was definately AGNFA!!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: jlmanatee on March 12, 2014, 09:36:11 PM
If you were out tonight, you may have noticed the lunar halo.  Pretty awesome.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: bernie engels on March 22, 2014, 08:09:37 AM
Are plans for the Messier Marathon still on for next weekend?   Looks like we will be getting into some warmer weather by next weekend :o
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 22, 2014, 10:11:03 AM
 I just called Eagle Bluff and no one is scheduled to be there next weekend. We can have the parking lot lights off, so weather permitting, we are a GO.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: MattW on March 24, 2014, 10:03:15 AM
I planning on coming out to this.   :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: bernie engels on March 26, 2014, 07:53:00 AM
Weather wise, Saturday night is looking to be Messier than Friday(and by that I mean good ;D) , with mid 30s for lows...
I will be there for sure if it is a go. I got a pair of 10x50s for my bar mitzvah that I want to try out...
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on March 27, 2014, 08:39:02 PM
Saturday looks good to me!
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on March 28, 2014, 11:54:57 AM
So it sounds like Saturday will be the day?  Looks to be the best of the two.  I don't know, if it is clear this evening, I just might try and head out to Keller to get some practice...  maybe.   :)
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Dean Johnson on March 28, 2014, 09:39:35 PM
I'll be there. Stup is going to show up about 10 p.m. Mike Rowlands may not be, but a couple other LCAAS are interested in coming. No word yet from Ellenvega. If she doesn't make it, somebody should print up a list. I'll try tomorrow. There's got to be someplace on the internet that has a printable version in observing order.

Any chance of Randy or Jerome bringing along those jazzy new binoculars? What better way to showcase that dynamic duo than a March Messier Marathon!

Here's to besting 82...
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Jeff Newland on March 28, 2014, 11:09:09 PM
Hi Dean,  I should be there and I have some printed lists, so you shouldn't need to print anything.  See you tomorrow night.
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: Randy H on March 29, 2014, 07:45:33 AM
Obsession and Wall-E will be coming down from north Rochester. It's been so long. Does anyone remember which end you look in these things??
Title: Re: Observing tonight?
Post by: bernie engels on March 29, 2014, 08:15:43 AM
Weather looking very good for the evening, with a moderate wind looking to be the only fly in the ointment.