Constellations: Auriga, Canes Venatici, Cassiopeia, Coma Berenices, Corvus, Crater, Gemini, Leo, Libra, Scorpius, Ursa Major Stars: Castor, 1 Geminorum, HD114905, HD136067, HD136888, Pollux, Propus, 5 Ser, 6 Ser, Sirius Asterism:Winter Circle Double Stars: Com 32 & Com 33/HD111892, 17 Com, ζ Leonis & 35 Leonis, Canes Venatici 15 & 17 Planet: Jupiter Messier Objects:M5, M35/NGC 2168, M82 (Cigar Galaxy/Bode's Nebula) Satellite Meteor Identified, Not Observed: Boötes, Lyra, Procyon, Pollux, Spica, Vega, Venus
Location: St. Croix Observatory (SCO) Date: 2018-05-05/06 Time: 8:00 PM - 2:00 AM ADT Instrument: Visual + Binoculars (10x42 IS) + Refractor Doublet Telescope, 120 mm with 17 mm eyepiece Transparency: Good (3) Seeing: Good (3) Temperature: ~ 12º C
Light wind, no clouds with only occasional very high clouds. Mosquitos have disappeared but the spring peepers continue to serenade us. On this night, I was observing with Melody & Bruce Hamilton, Blair MacDonald, Matt Dyer, Mark Dryden, Jerry and the Desveaux family of four. Lots of observing fun and laughter.
Spring Peepers serenaded us most of the evening. An owl made its presence known in the latter part of the evening. The flies came out as the sun started to set but soon disappeared - and they didn't bite (at least they didn't bite me). A dominant (male? nesting female?) Canada Goose met us on the road near SCO and continued to harass 2 other geese on the pond beside SCO. Bruce brought his "new" scope to try it out. Jerry realized when setting up his scope that he forgot the counterweights so had to go back home to get them.
Humour: Melody had sent an email earlier that had autocorrected "binocs" to "bingos". We used our "bingos" numerous times throughout this session. Laughter about "Bingo Night at SCO" all evening!
Auriga Time: 8:45 PM ADT S&T Chart Reference: 12 Instrument: Visual Identified Capella and the other brightest stars in Auriga. I did not investigate any further.
Winter Circle Time: 8:45 PM ADT Instrument: Visual Could easily identify 4 of the 7 stars in the asterism; the others were hidden by the trees.
Note: I had also seen the Circle while in Chile earlier this year. Whereas the zenith was between Castor and Capella here, it was between Procyon and Sirius in Chile.
Leo Time: 9:42 PM + 11:23 PM ADT S&T Chart Reference: 47 Instrument: Visual Regulus appearing gave us a first clue that Leo's stars would soon become visible and we were not disappointed. Regulus to Denebola were easily seen visually. The sickle remained above the horizon for most of this observing session.
11:23 PM: We searched Leo for Adhafera (ζ Leonis) and 35 Leonis. Adhafera could be seen naked eye. With the binoculars, Adhafera was seen to have another star at 1:30 o'clock to it. Smaller and not as bright. In line with these two stars was 39 Leonis. While looking at the three stars a satellite travelled through.
Satellite Time: 11:23 PM ADT Instrument: Binoculars I was looking at ζ Leonis, 35 Leonis and 39 Leonis that was in line with the 2 stars. The satellite came into my FOV headed for 39 Leonis then travelled along the line of 3 stars and kept going. Very tiny, very fast.
Boötes Time: 9:42 PM ADT S&T Chart Reference: 42, 44, 53, 55 Instrument: Visual Arcturus was one of the earliest stars visible. Throughout the night, the stars of the constellation became more visible therefore identifiable.
Corvus ("Crow") Time: 9:44 PM ADT S&T Chart Reference: 47 Instrument: Visual Actually found this the first time while visiting Florida (May 16, 2017) when it had a different orientation. Corvus was readily seen this evening and was well above the horizon. Used this crater to find and identify Crater.
Ursa Major Time: 9:44 PM ADT S&T Chart Reference: 31, 32, 33, 43, F Instrument: Visual + Binoculars The dipper appeared high in the sky was easily seen visually. Using my binoculars, I located Mizar-Alcor oriented in its familiar way. Bruce also showed the two children and me what the double star looked like in his telescope.
Crater ("Cup") Time: 9:52 PM ADT S&T Chart Reference: 36 Instrument: Visual Melody pointed out the base of Crater. It was easy to find as it had a similar shape to Corvus. Once the base was found, we looked for the shape of the cup. Found them all although it took some time as they were all quite faint.
Gemini & M35 / NGC 2168 Time: 10:10 PM ADT S&T Chart Reference: 23, 25 Instrument: Visual + Binoculars The main reason for looking for Gemini was to find Castor's toe star "Propus" in order to locate M35. Castor and Pollux could both be seen easily above the trees but I had to move into the parking lot to see the constellation between the trees at the entry to the Observatory. I focused on Castor.
I followed Castor's foot stars to locate the general area of M35. In my binoculars, it looked like a faint circular fuzzy. With averted vision in the binoculars, I could detect at least 4 brighter stars. the remaining stars were not that significantly dimmer. Couldn't locate it visually this evening. The star 1 Geminorum was below M35.
M82 / Cigar Galaxy / Bode's Nebula / NGC 3034 Time: 10:15 PM ADT S&T Chart Reference: 31 Instrument: Telescope Bruce was trying out his new telescope and found M82 in Ursa Major. It was exciting to see a new-to-me item. There were 2 bright stars below the Galaxy and 1 at 4 o'clock. I identified them later using SkySafariPro (or at least I think I did).
Canes Venatici Time: 10:42 PM ADT S&T Chart Reference: 43, 32 Instrument: Visual + Binoculars Melody and I found this constellation again. At this pointing time, it was almost perpendicular to the horizon between Leo and Boötes. Once we identified this constellation, we looked east of Cor Caroli (α CVn) to find the double star CVn 15/CVn 17. In line with them was a third star - HD114905.
Coma Berenices (Berenice's Hair) Time: 10:50 PM + 11:41 PM ADT S&T Chart Reference: 43, 45 Instrument: Visual + Binoculars I had identified this constellation in our backyard last Summer but for some reason didn't log it until today. The constellation is 3 stars in a right angle. α and β Comae were easily found between Boötes and Leo. γ took a little longer to locate visually. Used SkySafariPro to locate Com 32 and Com 33/HD111892 west of α Comae.
11:41 PM:Located 17 Comae using gamma as the first star to use in star hopping. Started here then moved the binoculars slowly towards 7 o'clock to γ Comae - et voilá!
Meteor Time: 10:50 PM ADT Instrument: Visual I was looking at Melotte 111 when I saw a meteor travelling west to west in about a 45º angle directly below the cluster. Very bright, maybe 1 second in duration.
M5 / NGC 5904 Time: 11:52 PM ADT S&T Chart Reference: 55, 57 Instrument: Binoculars We used Boötes to find M5. My binocular FOV if 6.5º. We went 2 FOVs plus a bit of a third "down" from Arcturus to find it. M35 was a globular cluster with bright core.
Once found, we used SkySafariPro to identify the stars nearby - 5 Ser, 6 Ser, HD136888, HD136067. Should look at Serpens sometime.
Jupiter in Libra Time: 11:52 PM ADT S&T Chart Reference: 46, 57 Instrument: Visual Libra was easily found later in this session session as the trees had obscured it from view earlier. Jupiter had moved from being in the centre of the sigma-β line above it. τ Librae was not easily seen but did see alpha and υ.
Blair MacDonald let me view the bands of Jupiter plus its 4 moons through his scope. Couldn't see the GRS.
Cassiopeia Time: 12:15 AM ADT S&T Chart Reference: 1, 3, 72 Instrument: Visual Just visible above the treeline on the parking lot side of the Observatory. The 5 main stars were easily seen. Attempted to find Kemble's Cascade. melody identified but I unfortunately could not.
Scorpius Time: 12:15 AM + 1:45 AM ADT S&T Chart Reference: 56, 58, J Instrument: Visual 12:15 AM: Noticed Antares and some of the stars SE of it. Because it was so low on the horizon (15º - 20º), the Halifax.Bedford light pollution obliterated the lower stars that could potentially have been seen. Omega1 and Omega2 adjacent to Graffias were also very bright and easy to see on this evening. 1:45 AM: Scorpiuus could only be partially seen as Thad "arrived" around the trees.