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Devon stargazing

Amateur Astronomy

Helix Nebula

Devon stargazing

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cool, ice
I made notes in a notebook throughout the week. I then complemented these notes with Stellarium, an awesome piece of free software to get exact ascensions etc, as well as identify the things I couldn't identify at the time due to my beginner status.

Latitude: 50d 57m 44.68s N
Longitude: 4d 23m 55.40s W
Altitude 229m

08-Aug-2009

Very bright object to the east low on the horizon, with a distinctive orangey hue @ approx 21:45. Thought it might be Mars, but did not expect Mars to be visible. Got the binoculars on it, orangey hue remained, three moons became apparent


 . . O   .


Drew a rough sketch as above. {In order} Europa, Callisto, Jupiter, Io. Later I thought I could just detect Ganymede too (to the right of Jupiter) but not sure. Exact location:

Azimuth: 3 hr 50m, 5.8°
Equatorial: 21hr 42m 15°

A couple of minutes to the north of it could be distinctly seen three stars. Here is a picture someone else took last month, I saw Jupiter on the other side of the three stars in a line,


Click to go to original


Each of those stars is part of Capricorn, from top to bottom the three stars are
42 Cap
44 Cap
45 Cap

On the 3rd August Jupiter occulted 45 Cap.

Also saw several satellites through the binoculars (Konusview Giant Binoculars 20x80), no details discernible - they move very fast.

A good dozen meteors seen (beginnings of Perseid shower, the light show left over from when Comet Swift-Tuttle (a reasonable candidate to eliminate human life on earth) passed by. We won't see Comet Swift-Tuttle again until 2126 (last seen - 1992) when it will be visible to the naked eye like Hale-Bopp.)

The rest of the Eastern sky was washed out by a near full moon with only Jupiter surviving for naked eye observations.


09-Aug-2009

Very cloudy. Moon visible a little, Jupiter not visible. So we danced a polka a waltz and Levi Jackson.


10-Aug-2009

Very cloudy. Even more cloudy than yesterday. No moon visible, and some rain as well.


11-Aug-2009

Lovely cloudless day which was spent in a hot kitchen eagerly anticipating a good night's star gazing. Naturally, the moment we finished cooking a mass of clouds came overhead. As night fell there was a brief glimmer of Jupiter, but not long enough to train the bins on it. The moon was up until the very late morning/early afternoon.

A lucky break in the clouds along with the moon being covered later on, afforded a brief view of the Milky Way directly over head - and even a good number of shooting stars were seen in the small gaps - which lasted only a minute or so.

12-Aug-2009

Was inside a cloud all day and all night. Actually inside a cloud. Visibility about 50-100m max. Boo.


13-Aug-2009

Whilst playing live-action Pac-man, noticed rainbowish Sun dogs (aka parhelia) at about 20:00. Didn't get a picture, but it looked almost exactly like this :


The 'dogs' were a little more round than here


22.12: Jupiter out with a vengeance:

 O  . .   .



Jupiter, Europa, Ganymede, Callisto


23.30: (Azimuth: 40° 18h - Corona Borealis

Then saw a huge shooting star to the south - it must have covered about 20-30° of sky. I was stargazing with a child of approx 10 years old and we were both awestruck my it, it left a significant smoke trail behind it (perhaps one of three to leave such a noticeable smoke trail that night).

23.40 Azimuth: 18° 15' 17h27m
Equatorial: 14h 16m 19°10' Arcturus

0:00: Azimuth 80° 20' 3h50m - Deneb

Altair also looking fantastic in the South.

Sagittarius setting in the South, looks like a teapot?

0:12: Half moon looking pretty. Spent some time sketching notable bits. Seemed to have recorded Grimaldi, Mare Humorum, Copernicus and Eratosthenes and a southern triangle of craters maybe including Schiller?

0.30: My young stargazing companion heads to bed. Made a sketch of a constellation at Azimuth, 22° 22h which I have later identified as Scutum

Also, with a lot of effort, managed to get Collinder 399 in the Binoculars (aka Al Sufi's Cluster or Brocchi's Cluster) More specifically I was viewing "The Coathanger". Azimuth: 55deg; 21h40m, Equatorial: +20deg; 19h30m

0.52 Thought I saw a plane, but it didn't move. It was to still for too long for a helicopter but it seemed to be distinctly flashing from red to blue. I have now identified it as Arcturus, it was startling.

Somebody with a telescope came over and chatted - I identified Albireo for him he said he could see four moons in Jupiter through the 'scope. Took another look through the binoculars and saw the fourth. Checked on Stellarium and it looks like Io came out from in front of Jupiter during the course of the night!

 O .  . .  .


Jupiter, Io, Europa, Callisto, Ganymede. Although now Jupiter was setting and the line was at about a 40° angle to the horizon.

01:00 Took a look at Albireo, a binary star, and was able to identify both of them through the bins.

Also sketched an asterism, part of the constellation of Pisces.

1.12: For a few moments I glimpsed at Andromeda, but it was very blurred and I was in free mode (no tripod). I tried to set the tripod up and get a good glimpse but found it difficult. Extreme condensation was covering the lenses and the sky was beginning to cloud over. Called it a night and went to bed.

14-Aug-2009

Complete cloud cover- no moon, no nuffink.
  • Pretty comprehensive update! that software must be usefull indeed... [link?]
    Certainly sounds like you were blessed with clear skies while you were down there though, nice one ;]

    Anyway, I think Tue 1st Sept could be the next Astro evening, we both seem to be off the next day, and providing we have clear skies we should be able to see some interesting stuff, including Mars, Venus, M51 Whirlpool galaxy, & M101 Pinwheel galaxy, and the giant eliptical galaxy M87, which has a huge jet extending from its centre [though we'll definately need to get the high mag' lenses on the 'scope properly cleaned to get a good view of the later ones]
    Anyway, let me know.
    • Stellarium

      Only 2 clear nights - but I took advantage of the second one as much as possible.
      Normally, it looked like this:

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