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Monthly Archives: January 2015

Latest Images of Comet Lovejoy

I want to share some photos that members got of Comet Lovejoy.

Clear skies on the 7th of January gave our past president Mike Bradley his first opportunity to view comet Lovejoy, and it was pretty impressive. He could see it with binoculars without trouble but in his telescope its head made up a full half of his 26mm eyepiece. He took this photo with a DSLR camera, a simple stack of six 20-40 second images. There is even some evidence of a very faint tail in the photos that wasn’t visible in the scope only view. Mike tried using a UHC filter but it didn’t lead to any improvement. Mike did not have star tracking turned on. Fortunately the comet is moving relatively slowly so there wasn’t too much blurring.

Comet Lovejoy photographed by our past president Mike on Jan 14

Comet Lovejoy photographed by our past president Mike on Jan 7

On the fifteenth Mike tried again: Visibility wasn’t as good, but he got a sharper focus

Image of Lovejoy from Jan 15

Image of Lovejoy from Jan 15

On the 21st conditions in Roberts Creek were not so good but they improved a bit later. Mike shot a stack of 10 x 120 second images at 800 ISO. This time the tail is starting to show!

Image of Lovejoy Jan 23

Image of Lovejoy Jan 23

Its Back! Comet 15P/Finlay

Comet 15P/Finlay is back and apparently it has reached a brightness level making it visible in binoculars this time. Currently it is visible in the western sky at the end of evening twilight.

http://www.universetoday.com/118295/comet-finlay-surprise-outburst-visible-in-binoculars-again/

Mike Bradley, Past President, Sunshine Coast Centre RASC

Comet Lovejoy Update

Comet Lovejoy photographed by our past president Mike on Jan 14

Comet Lovejoy photographed by our past president Mike on Jan 14

If you haven’t seen comet Lovejoy yet its putting on its best show now and during the upcoming moonless nights. Its up pretty early now and is now above Orion, not below.

I saw it last night through a foggy sky in my 70mm binos and it was very bright, large and diffuse. I would think it would be an easy naked eye object from the sunshine coast on a clear evening.

*** TIP If cloudy check outside every half an hour as this current weather pattern seems to offer short breaks of clear sky and then back to cloudy conditions…

http://www.universetoday.com/118031/if-you-can-find-orion-you-can-find-comet-lovejoy/

http://news.discovery.com/space/astronomy/surprisingly-bright-comet-lovejoy-dazzles-skywatchers-150108.htm

Charts can be found at
http://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-news/observing-news/binocular-comet-lovejoy-heading-c2014-q2-lovejoy-1211142/

Good luck!

Neil Sandy
Sunshine Coast Centre RASC

Speaker for February: Dr. Kristen Larson

kristen larson

At 7:30 PM, 13 February 2015,, at the Sunshine Coast Art Centre, 5714 Medusa St., Sechelt, our speaker for the Sunshine Coast Centre of the RASC will be Dr. Kristen Larson, Associate Professor at Western Washington University. Kristen got her BS at the University of California at San Diego in1993 and her MS and PhD at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in1999.

Dr. Larson’s Topic will be “Dust to Dust: The Life Cycle of Stars”:

Understanding the dust in the interstellar medium, the stuff between the stars, is key to understanding how stars form and what happens when stars die. This talk will illustrate some of the properties of interstellar dust and how local dust changes our view of the distant universe. Progress on current research to map the location of dust clouds in our own Milky Way Galaxy will be presented.

RASC Vice President Chris Gainor will also be attending this presentation to meet with members of our Centre.

Listing of Live Watch Astronomy Cams

Retired Special Education teacher Bill Jackson from The Social Studies Help Centre (http://www.socialstudieshelp.com/) wrote to us to tell us of a resource that we’ve added to the links on our web site: A list of Live Watch astronomy cams and resources: http://www.livewatch.com/watch-live-astronomy-cams-and-resources

Thanks Bill!

Important Time Change Notice for Astronomers

Our past president Mike sent us an important notice regarding a time change that will affect everyone’s telescope mounts. Don’t forget because if you don’t, your GoTos will be less accurate (or maybe more accurate?) than usual!!!
USNO Series 14
Date: Mon, 5 Jan 2015 18:52:26 +0000
From: Earth Orientation Dept. USNO

U.S. NAVAL OBSERVATORY
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20392-5420

January 05, 2015
No. 72

TIME SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT SERIES 14

UTC TIME STEP

1. The International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service (IERS) has
announced the introduction of a time step to occur at the end of June, 2015.

2. Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) will be retarded by 1.0s so that the
sequence of dates of the UTC markers will be:

2015 June 30 23h 59m 59s
2015 June 30 23h 59m 60s
2015 July 01 0h 0m 0s

3. The difference between UTC and International Atomic Time (TAI) is:

from 2012 01 Jul, UTC to 2015 01 Jul, UTC: TAI-UTC= +35s
from 2015 01 Jul, UTC until further notice: TAI-UTC= +36s

4. Information regarding current and predicted values of UT1-UTC is provided
in IERS Bulletin A.

5. UTC and all time scales based on UTC will be affected by this adjustment.
However, GPS will not be adjusted physically. For GPS, the leap second
correction contained within the UTC data of subframe 4, page 18 of the
navigation message transmitted by satellites will change.

Before the leap second
GPS-UTC = +16s (i.e., GPS is ahead of UTC by sixteen seconds)

After the leap second
GPS-UTC = +17s (i.e., GPS will be ahead by seventeen seconds)

International Astronomical Youth Camp- August 2 – 22, Germany

header9_q

Lina Dobnikar from the International Youth Camp (IAYC) just contacted us regarding their three week long camp, being held in Germany this year from 2 – 22 August. IAYC is a three-week long summer camp aiming to promote knowledge of astronomy and related sciences in a unique, international atmosphere. Here is the information booklet and poster for this year’s event:

poster_2015

First_Info_2015

And here is a link for information:

Telescope Mounting Accessories

I had my camera out at the observing shack the other day and took a few pics to pass along. This is further to my last message about mounting accessories on telescopes and telescope mounts. Its a bit of a jungle as there is no standardization in the industry not to mention the overlap between telescopes and cameras. Here is my blow
by blow description of the photos which are all numbered and are low res so as not to take up any valuable space on your computers hard drive. This info would be helpful to anyone wanting to attach accessories to there mount or telescope.

1, 2 and 3 all show the astro tech dovetail adapter and how its screw holes match up to the PST solar telescope which is popular with club members. If you have an equatorial mount its real nice to be able to just clamp the PST on for some daytime solar observing and enjoy the advantage of having tracking via the EQ mount. The mounting bar on the telescope is a “Vixen” style bar as opposed to the “Losmandy D” style bar which is much more substantial but usually much heavier and expensive. As you can see in the photo you can slide the PST solar scope anywhere along the bar for balance and viewing comfort.

4 and 5 show a dual mode dovetail adapter that fits both the Vixen style and the Losmandy D style dovetails. The advantages here are obvious in that you can attach this to either size of bar. As for the holes lining up with the PST on this adapter, I have not checked it.

6 and 7 show a camera mount used for piggy back shots while mounted on the back of a telescope. I attach this camera mount, to the dual mode adapter seen in the previous photo, and take short time exposures with my DSLR ( digital single lens reflex camera). Pic 7 shows where I had to add a threaded insert into the base of the camera mount so that it would mate with the bolts used in the dovetail adapter… another example of lack of standardization. I might have some more of these around the shop if anyone finds themselves in a similar situation.

8 shows the camera mount and dovetail adapter mounted on my scopes “Losmandy D” style dovetail. Using your telescopes dovetail can save you adding another dovetail to your tube assembly.

9 shows 2 things. Of interest to every observer is the dew strap that you can see wrapped around the eyepiece. You can buy these for a reasonable cost and run them off a battery. Think how nice it would be to be able to walk away from your scope for five minutes and find your eyepiece unaffected by dewing when you return.

2nd thing here is the focuser that I have attached to the back of my C11 (celestron 11″ tube assembly). This really is only of interest to members who have a similar style of telescope ie Schmidt Cassegrain… did I spell that right? My spell checker says not. The advantage here is that by using an auxiliary focuser you avoid the inevitable mirror shift that plagues this design. Also you have the advantage of having a 2 speed focuser and the slow speed focus works real nice on a solidly mounted scope. The disadvantage here is that you cant use a focal reducer for visual use, only for imaging.

I hope this helps some of you looking to accessorize your scopes and mounts.

Let me know if any questions!

Neil Sandy
Sunshine Coast Centre RASC member

PST Dovetail Adapter

PST Dovetail Adapter

PST Dovetail Adapter 2

PST Dovetail Adapter 2

PST Mounted

PST Mounted

Dual Dovetail Adapter

Dual Dovetail Adapter

Dual Dovetail Adapter 2

Dual Dovetail Adapter 2

Camera Mount

Camera Mount

Camera Mount Insert

Camera Mount Insert

Camera Mount Mounted

Camera Mount Mounted

Camera Mount

Camera Mount

Camera Mount Alternate

Camera Mount Alternate

Focuser and Dew Control

Focuser and Dew Control

Updated Star Chart for Finding Comet Lovejoy

I have attached an updated finder chart for Comet Lovejoy. It is higher and brighter and should now be much easier to find. If you know Orion use some of its brighter stars to form an alignment with the Comet. The moon is a bit of an issue at the moment and I haven’t tried it for a couple of days but I will try tonight and pass along my results. I suspect it should be visible in binoculars in spite of the moon.

Neil Sandy
Sunshine Coast Centre RASC member

Lovejoy2_BW