Friday, November 20, 2009

November 19th 2009 Pedros Castle

Seeing Conditions:
Started clear with lovely sunset however after dark there was substantial background haze.
The new spot lights in the Castle grounds didnt help either. As the sky darkened a wonderfull large white owl swooped across too.

Jupiter: We were lucky enough to find a predicted transit of the red spot on Jupiter timed for 7:30 PM local time, however there was much debate on whether we could actually see the spot through the 10 inch Dob and haze!

The 4 satellites were clearly seen but as the evening progressed Io disappered behind the planet itself

M31 : Andromeda Galaxy seen easily tonight but a spirited attempt to find M33 failed - too much haze. The same fate for the Ring Nebula in Lyra.

We settled for more obvious objects - The Pleiades and Alderbaran rising in the east.

We saw two unaccounted for satellites but a predicted Meteor 1-4 rocket at Mag 3.7 almost overhead wasnt visible at all Two random meteors were spotted both in the South

Albereo went down well too- a red and blue double star marking the head of Cygnus the Swan.
At one point the laser beams describing the constellations members resembled a scene from Star Wars

Next month promises our old friend Orion

We are starting a new "drive" to recruit memebers- three people officially joined tonight
Plans are to introduce special evenings and newsletters for members - which will not be free after the new year. If anyone is interested in astrophotography let me know at

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Late Fall 2009

The Web/Blog site has been "resting" for a while - a combination of bad weather, and personal matters, however with a new camera and a DIY project involving mirrors (!!) its time to start writing again

Over the summer (July) there was a solar eclipse- Heres a few photos (see at the end of this blog) -I know a few people from the Island made it to China too on seperate "expeditions: but we havent had chance to meet up yet.

Septembers Meeting almost didnt happen due to the bad weather but we set up in the car park instead. Peter Hughes bought along his small refractor and we had excellent views of Sagittarius inspite of the light Lesson... always go into the Castle Grounds

Also In September Richard and I had an attempt to run an Astronomy Course at the College- but the minimum threshold of required attendees failed to materialize.

Octobers meeting was cancelled due to bad weather (though the following evening was very clear)

Since then we had the Orionid Meteor Shower on October 21st - I got up early at around 4:30 AM and saw one..... No moon but again weather wise it was hardly clear.

So as we approach Novembers meeting the skies are shall we say mixed- fingers crossed

Three photos of the Eclipse on July 22 2009 taken from Hangzhou China , most of China was in Cloud and we were lucky. Even here a few hours later we had torrential rain !

For the eclipse itself the skys cleared but it still had a fine haze. At totality the Corona was not visible to any great extent . The photos were taken through a "modest" 60 mm refractor and a small Canon Powershot attached to the eyepiece.

It was certainly the darkest eclipse I have seen due to the length of the eclipse itself - the longest this Century (over 5 minutes!)