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Yearly Archives: 2014

Comet Lovejoy Visible!

Photo of Comet Lovejoy by Jean Paul Mertens in Chile

Photo of Comet Lovejoy by Jean Paul Mertens in Chile

Hi Gang,

We had some clear nights over Christmas and I managed to get out in
my yard a couple of times for some telescope viewing….

Comet Lovejoy is now visible to us here in the northern hemisphere.
It was an easy target in my 40mm binoculars. See the finder chart for
its location. When I saw it on the morning (1230am put it on the
meridian) of the 25th it was only 10 degrees above the horizon but
its gaining in altitude every day and will be at about the same
altitude as the bright star Sirius by the end of the month. I didnt
see it in my telescope yet but if the weather permits soon we may get
a chance before the moon washes out the view.

I also viewed Jupiter the same night as the comet. Jupiter is in the
east and is well placed for viewing before midnight. The seeing was
good enough that night that I could get up to 340x magnification
through my C11 telescope using my Binocular viewers. I just got the
bino viewers recently and I have to tell you that it was like viewing
the Planet in 3D! Wow, what an improvement when you can use both eyes
at once. The downside of the bino viewers is that they may not reach
focus in a Newtonian and you have to buy 2 of each eyepiece…and
that can get expensive. If you have a refractor or a
Schmidt-Cassegrain  then you shouldnt have any issue reaching focus.

Info on the comet is here
http://earthsky.org/todays-image/watch-for-comet-lovejoy

If you are not familiar with bino viewers you can find out more here
http://www.canadiantelescopes.com/Shop-By-Brand/Accessories_25/William-Optics-Binoviewer-Package.html#.VJ8j2eAA

If you dont know what a C11 telescope is and would like to know then
look here
http://www.canadiantelescopes.com/Shop-By-Type/Cassegrains_2/Celestron-C11-A-XLT-CGE-Optical-Tube-Assembly.html#.VJ8kTeAA

You can buy telescope gear much cheaper used on the US astro mart
http://www.astromart.com/classifieds/ or here at the Canada buy sell
http://www.astrobuysell.com/

For new gear, for to many reasons to get into right now, I like to go
here  http://agenaastro.com/

Happy new year to all the club members

Neil Sandy
member – Sunshine Coast Centre RASC

Rare Triple Transit of Jupiter: 23/24 January 2015

On the night of Friday January 23 at 9:48 PM PST a rare triple shadow transit will occur involving Jupiter’s moons Europa,Callisto, and Io. Observers will see the shadows of the moons on the surface of Jupiter and see them merge. We’re hoping that the skies will be clear enough on that day for a star party at the airport to view this event. We will be meeting people at the Sechelt airport gate at 7:30 PM on January 23 to convoy in to the observatory site to set up telescopes in an attempt to view this event (weather permitting).

Update 19 January: Looking at the weather forecast for Sechelt,  things don’t look that hopeful for us Sunshine Coast Centre members hoping to view this transit. It is calling for rain from the 22nd to the 24th at present. We’ll keep an eye on it in case it changes. Stay tuned for updates to this post with times and details!

20150121_073753_resizedjupmoon4

Dovetail Adapter for PST Scopes

Coronado PST

Coronado PST

Members

I know the club has a PST solar scope as do several of the members… including myself. I just wanted to let you know about a dovetail adapter I found that works perfectly with the PST. You can see a pic and description of it here at
https://www.astronomytechnologies.com/astro-tech-dovetail-accessory-adapter-vixen-black_p17366.aspx

The nice thing about this unit is that the hole patterns match up with the pst perfectly. You just take 2 machine screws and thread them in to the 2 holes in the pst and you have a real stable system. The one thing I found about all these adapters out there is there is no standardization so its nice to find something that works without having to drill your own holes.  It fits on a common vixen type dovetail bar. Forgot to mention its really inexpensive too!
Good luck and if you want to try one I have one here.

Neil
member Sunshine Coast Centre RASC

Geminid Meteor Shower 2015: Report

Stephen with his Dobsonian at the Geminid Star Party 2015

Stephen with his Dobsonian at the Geminid Star Party 2015

Several club members braved the cold and showed up at the airport site sat eve to view the annual Geminids meteor shower. In spite of the cold temperatures nobody was disappointed as the display was as good as or better than predicted. The Geminds shower is known for producing long, slow, yellowish colored meteors. There was a mix of faint and bright ones but a good portion were above first magnitude and some as bright as the planet Jupiter.

The meteors seemed to come in bunches with several appearing over a couple of minutes followed by a short lull. At times 2 would appear in the sky at the same time… sometimes one following directly behind the other. At one point I did a one hour tally and counted 50. This puts this display pretty much in line with the summers biggest shower, in August, the Perseids.

Later that eve when I arrived at home I had the good fortune to view a shadow transit on Jupiter through my C11. I also had a good look at the still shrinking great Red Spot on Jupiter
http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2014/15may_grs/

Did anyone else see the show? Let us know what you saw or didnt see!
What about sunday night…. did anyone see any?

clear skies

Neil Sandy
member
Sunshine Coast Centre RASC

Beginner Telescopes

my telescope

Often people ask us what to buy as a beginner telescope so I have attached a scan (see link to PDF below) of 4 telescopes starting at just $149., all available online from http://www.canadiantelescopes.com/, free shipping included I might mention. These are all alt-azimuth mounted or push and pull as its much easier to operate and there is no need to learn the names and locations of any alignment stars as you do with a goto telescope. So there you go! Department store prices but much higher quality than you will find at a department store.

The beauty of these 4 scopes is they are always ready to grab and go, they are light and portable, you can go outside and be looking at the moon or planets the first day you get it (try that with a goto), they have stable mounts and take standard eyepieces and they all come with everything you need to get started right away. Last but not least they are inexpensive and thats what you want with a first telescope… spend the bigger dollars on the next one when you have a better understanding of your own needs.

Speaking of department store quality a simple rule of thumb is that if the box cover advertises the magnification then its not an astronomical telescope… doesnt matter if it says it is on the box… its not. The mount will wobble so bad you wont be able to see a thing and it probably wont take standard size eyepieces… dont buy it no matter how inexpensive!

If you are thinking of getting yourself a scope this Christmas and would like some further advice feel free to give me a call anytime at 604-989-6345

This certainly isnt the last word on whats good for a beginner so others may want to chime in with there own advice…. please do!

sincerely

Neil Sandy
Sunshine Coast Centre RASC member

beginner telescopes

Small Observatories: A Talk by our President, 9 January 2015

Our President, Charles Ennis, has been researching small observatories all over the world in order to write a handbook for the RASC for people interested in building themselves such an observatory for their own use. He has spoken to amateur astronomers all over Canada and the US, in Japan, Australia, Tasmania, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Belgium, and the UK. He’s also on the observatory committee responsible for our Centre’s own small observatory project. At 7:30 on 9 January, 2015 at the Sunshine Coast Arts Centre, 5714 Medusa St, Sechelt, Charles will talk about what he has learned about what to do (and what not to) when approaching a project such as this.

Rooftop observatory in Tokyo

Rooftop observatory in Tokyo

An Astronomy park in the  Outback of Australia

An Astronomy park in the Outback of Australia

Photos of October 23 Solar Eclipse

I posted the pictures of the October 23 Solar Eclipse that club members obtained through the clouds on that date on the Photo Album page. You can check the album out here

oct 23 eclipse by ed hanlon 2.

Clear Dark Sky Chart for Sky Maps and Space Weather Page

Attilla Danko of Clear Dark Sky just generated a page for our Wilson Creek Observatory at the airfield which you can now find on our Sky Maps and Space Weather Page.

P1120232

TV Shoot at the HR Macmillan Space Centre and Vancouver Telescopes

I went with a Coast Cable crew to the HR Macmillan Space Centre and the Vancouver Telescopes Center yesterday to film footage for upcoming episodes of our Night Lights TV show. The shoot at the Space Centre went very well, including tours of the Gordon Macmillan Southam Observatory, the Planetarium, and the Space Centre exhibits. We got some good footage interviewing the owner of Vancouver Telescopes afterwards.

Charles

half meter cassegrain telescope in the Gordon Macmillan Southam Observatory at the Space Center

half meter cassegrain telescope in the Gordon Macmillan Southam Observatory at the Space Center

"Harold", the retired projector in the HR Macmillan Space Centre Planetarium. A year ago a new computer projection system replaced him.

“Harold”, the retired projector in the HR Macmillan Space Centre Planetarium. A year ago a new computer projection system replaced him.

Mars Orbiters Observe Oort Cloud Comet

Mars_NASA02

This is amazing to me. We, humans, currently have 5 craft orbiting one planet, Mars, and 2 landers on its surface. All this to help satisfy our need to learn. A comet happens to come by so 3 of them duck behind Mars for a short period just to be safe and then all 5 orbiters proceed to study the comet and send data back to us on Earth… and all this was accomplished by 5 small groups of people with computers sitting in control rooms in various countries here on Earth. What a great time to interested in science! Check out the article from Sky and Telescope.

Neil Sandy