Thursday, November 27, 2008

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Monday, September 15, 2008

Wednesday 3rd September 2008

The meeting started at 7:30 PM - The sky wasnt promising showing a lot of haze. After comparing this session with last years - there was a lot of objects to beat!

Nick wasnt able to make the evening either but around 5 people turned up in the end including Richard who seemed to say he wasnt going to stay.. We were also joined at close proximity by the Mosqueto Plane, so close infact I actually covered up the Scope to stop unpleasent precipitation on the mirror!!

The early Evening allowed us to see Venus and Mars but no Mercury. Mars was very small (Subsequent evenings were a lot clearer and there was a nice "triangle" of Mercury , Mars and Venus seen for several days)

As the sky grew darker and inspite of the haze the Milky Way became quickly visible and the sky was especially clear in Sagittarius- allowing us to see the Steam from the "Teapot" very clearly

Next up was Jupiter and we were lucky to see Europa appear from "no where".
The Septembers edition of Sky and Telescope shows this as Sept 4 0:43 II.Ec.R.
The 0:43 is easy as its GMT, so - 5 hours gives us 7:43 PM
II stands for Europa
Ec is the object is in Eclipse by Jupiters Shadow
R stands for Reappears!

Also seen was the Red Spot, seen with a good high powered eyepiece and averted vision- but clearly seen all the same! The sky although hazy was obviuolsy giving us very stable viewing conditions

Our viewing then turned to Sagittarius, objects M22 , The Lagoon Nebula M8 were seen, including the Dust lane in M8. A quick trip to the Scorpians tail gave us and the Ptolomys Cluster (M7) and the Butterfly Nebula (M6)

After this we saw The Ring Nebula in Lyra and of course Alberio the famous double star in Cygnus.

A number of sparodic meteors were seen (September Perseids or from Auriga ? ) as were a few satellites waited for and observed.

However the prize of the evening was right at the end- an Iridium Flare at 20:24 PM - at Mag -2 although it seemed brighter. A nice end to the Evening

Monday, August 25, 2008

Monday 4th August - Pedros

I was off Island (Chris) but Nick went down as usual. Inspite of the hazy hot weather good crowd turned up many of them visitors to the Island and a good range of ages too
A successful but dry evening!

Sunday 6th July - Pedros

A Hot Muggy meeting with muggy cloud. Inspite of this we observed Saturn and Jupiter as well as our favorites for this time of the year- the Jewel box and Omega Centauri. Alpha Centauri also resolved well into its apparent binary system.

The Southern Cross was not easy to resolve and it also took us a while to see the Jewel Box.

Last month was definitely the better month to observe this constellation, but we have a teapot to look forward too!!

We also had a quick look at Scorpio but the heat and humidity persuaded us for a finish at Durty Reids

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Sunday 5th June Pedros Castle

Nick and I arrived early- the weather looked mixed but started clearing.
After the Moon , Mars and Saturn ( 3 of its moons were visible) a couple of satellites were looked for - one seen!

The Southern aspect this time of the year is very grand, even though there is nearly always a slight haze near the horizon. the aspect at Pedros nearly always gives a good clear dark sky to the South

The Southern Cross (Crux) was clearly seen with the complex Centurus to its left. Alpha Centuari is seen as a nice easy double star (although its far more than that of course).
Also observed were the "Jewel Box" (NGC 4755) and Omega Centauri (NGC 5139) seen tonight with the naked eye.

I was very keen to push my knowledsge to the right of Crux, namely the Constellation of Carina.

Eta Carinae - the Keyhole Nebula has become almost a quest of Holy Grail proportions for me but I still struggle to find it. I did come across the "Southern Pleiades" (IC 2602) and a very nice open cluster ( which is either NGC 3766 or NGC 3532). The low haze won.

After brief refreshment at Durty Reids we re immerged to the car park to see Scorpius fully risen, the stars (Shaula and Lesath) representing the stinger clearly seen high in the sky.

Still no sign of Jupiter rising in the East though

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Thursday 8 May 2008 Pedros

Mercury was clearly visible as a disk. The Societies new eyepieces are helping a great deal. Also Observed were

-the moon, slightly different this month as the meeting was a little later in the lunar month
- Mars (disappointing as usual)
- Saturn and at least two moons.

2 satellites were observed.

The weather was as the evening progressed slightly muggy, and visibility was not as good as the early evening had suggested. Having said that we were treated to a fine view of Omega Centauri (and most of Centuraus too!) as well as the Southern Cross, though the Jewel Box is still too low this month.
A thoughtfull discussion then ensued (as always this time of the year) on the "pointers" to the South Pole and where the False Cross was actually located.

The Meeting was adjourned to Durty Reids

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

April 8th 2008

Early arrivals at the viewing had a chance to see Saturn and the Moon before heavy clouds rolled over. Concerned with the possibility of rain, I packed the "scope away. however, there was a sufficient number of people for some lively discussion, and some naked eye observations as the sky cleared.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Monday 10th March Pedros Castle

Good turn out tonight, almost all the committee! The skies cleared nicely by 7:30, Mike also bought his heavy binos on an even heavier equatorial mounting to add to the fun .

Saturn seems very impressive at the moment inspite of the rings closing up. Recent visitors to the Island (see last months notes) commented on just how stable the air is in the tropics, and is ideal for planetary viewing

Mars also was visible but VERY high up in the Zenith.A good sized disk is still visible with some surface markings in the higher powered eyepeices, though with some flaring of the image.

The Moon also was observed along with an easy target of the open Cluster M41 near Sirius.

After the Plieades we attempted some of the open Clusters in Auriga , we got M36 and M38
Two satellites were observed and one meteor, from its direction it may have been a Leonid

Overall quite a clear night for us at Pedros

Saturday, February 23, 2008

February 2008 Extra Ordinary Events,The AGM, ISS passes and a great Lunar Eclipse!

Inspite of a poor Observing night at Pedro this month,

1) the AGM was held on Sunday 17th , The Society continues!!

2) On Monday 18th AND Tuesday 19th thanks to a reminder from Richard the ISS together with the space shuttle made passes across the Caymans, the Monday Evening pass was especially brilliant, first the shuttle and then the ISS crossed thr sky in formation. The ISS seems very bright - much brighter than predicted on "Heavens Above" _-3?). The following evening the pass was much lower in the West and not long after sunset, so it certainly appearred less bright. On Wednseday the Shuttle landed safely in Florida

3) An excellent lunar eclipseon the 20th!

Sunday Feb 11th 2008 Pedros Castle

Poor cloud but started with the Moon., nothing else visisbale not even Mars
Good turn out but not much to see :-(

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Friday 11 Jan 2008 Pedros Castle

The evening started with an exceptional sunset at 6:00Pm although the meeting officially started at 6:30PM

Unfortunately for us a planned event the following day at the castle meant that the whole of the lawn was covered in marquees and chairs, this happens sometimes, which means that although the tables are convenient to use, we had to move the scope around several times through the evening.

After spotting the Moon and looking at Mars, we managed to spot Mercury through binoculars, then the naked eye and then finally through the 10 inch Scope. The disk was clearly seen but showed no phase.

Mars was a popular object through the evening. In all over 25 people turned up though not all at the same time, which caused some reputation of objects seen.

The Objects seen were as follows

Orion Nebula
Andromeda Nebula
M42 (Globular Cluster) near Sirius
The Winter “Pentangle”

A number of meteors (3-4) , possibly the Quadrantids
Number of satellites thanks to Richards (Heavens Above predictions)
This included the Hubble Space telescope, though it was quite faint.
Most Satellites disappeared into Earth Shadow.

Also Canopus was easily seen in the South. I also noticed Akibar, which is the tail of Eridanus. I was able to trace for the first time the river all the way from its “source” near Sirius What I didn’t appreciate is that “on the horizon” it may have been possible to see the LMC . Of course I wasn’t looking for it

Unusually, the Pleiades were not seen through the telescope tonight!

Comet Holmes is now very large (well over ½ degree?) and very faint. We couldn’t pick it up at all in the Scope or its finder, but with patience I saw it several times through 8x25 binoculars.

A number of interesting questions were asked, one very simple question produced some good discussion. - the similar apparent brightness and comparison between Mars ( being a red disk) and Sirius being a blue star, as both were “similar” in brightness ( Mag - 1.2?).

Looking at the 3 day old moon a series of craters were seen of similar size. The question was just how many miles across were they? Embarrassingly we didn’t know. The answer is of course is an average of the following, and Ive based this list on the “obvious” row of craters seen on the terminator of a 3 day old Moon ie Langrenus (132 km), Petavius (177 km), Furneriu( 125km) Lets say around 75-100 miles across