Adrian and I went to the observatory Sunday and completed the framing of the deck access ramp as well as drawing me out of rock climbing retirement and sending me up in harness to install the roof ridge cap. Making progress! After a meeting of the observatory committee on Saturday, 24 January, we committed to completing this observatory by May.
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.
On the fifteenth Mike tried again: Visibility wasn’t as good, but he got a sharper focus
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!
Our Astro Cafe for February will be at Davis Bay on February 20 at 7:30. This is an hour earlier than in the past because the store changed their closing time to 9 PM. Meet our members at Pier 17 followed by a viewing of the skies with our telescopes (weather permitting).
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.
Mike Bradley, Past President, Sunshine Coast Centre RASC
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…
Sunshine Coast Centre RASC
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.
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