Sunday, October 16, 2011

1490d 2011/10/16

1490d 2011/10/16 12:28–12:45 EDT Foxmead POD 8–3 28cmsc

Sun: 70x with new Kendrick solar filter. Counted 36 sunspots in 4  groups for a sunspot number of 76. The view was amazingly detailed using the full 28cm aperture. High gusty winds, temperature 13°C. Image from SOHO:

Monday, October 10, 2011

1489m 2011/10/09–10

1489m 2011/10/09–10 04:30 EDT Foxmead E window 8 10x50b

Searching for Comet Elenin. Once again no sign of it. I could see 5.4 magnitude star 37 Leonis close to its expected position, but no sign of the comet.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

1488m 2011/10/05–06

1488m 2011/10/05–06 05:25–06:00 EDT Foxmead E window and deck 8 7x50b

Another unsuccessful search for Comet Elenin. Between twilight and horizon haze, the faintest star I can see in the area is HIP53737, magnitude 6.5. Starry Night is estimating the comet's brightness at 6.07, but Mattiazzo's observations suggest it's at least 2 magnitudes fainter. Probably undetectable visually, but perhaps might show up on a CCD image.

Temperature: -2.1°C

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

1487e 2011/10/05–06

1487e 2011/10/05–06 19:40–20:35 EDT Foxmead POD 8 28cmsc

Polar alignment of  CGEM. I first aligned mount on Enif and Alpheratz, and then used the Polar Align feature to polar align in Enif. This was a good choice, since it was right on the meridian. Checked by finding M31 and M15, both of which were dead centre. Then I went to Jupiter which was a little off, but probably because it is near the horizon. Callisto right over S pole of Jupiter. Came in to warm up at 20:35. Temperature 5°C.

— —  22:00–22:50 EDT

Jupiter still well within field after 1.5 hours away. 255x was too much magnification; better at 127x, Much detail within NEB.

Uranus: Tiny disk at 127x.

Neptune: Even tinier at 127x.

DSOs: M31, M32, M110 (very faint), M33 (very faint), and M77 @127x.

Double stars: γ Ari, 30 Ari, λ Ari, and ζ Ari @127x

The Moon: Plato, Straight Wall, Tycho and Clavius well placed, 127x.

Temperature: 2°C.

1486m 2011/10/04–05

1486m 2011/10/04–05 05:30–05:35 EDT Foxmead upstairs E window 8 7x50b ne

Looking for Comet Elenin again. This morning the time was right, but the transparency close to the horizon was poor. I could see Iota Leonis, but no sign of the comet. Later when the Sun rose I saw what the problem was: very heavy ground fog.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

1485m 2011/10/03–04

1485m 2011/10/03–04 04:30–06:30 EDT Foxmead upstairs E window 8 7x50b ne

Looking for Comet Elenin. This comet was hit by a CME on August 19 and passed perihelion on September 10, both of which appeared to cause it to disintegrate. It was not visible when in the field of SOHO's LASCO C3 camera last week. This morning was the first chance for a visual observation. i woke up at 4:30, before the comet would have risen. When i next woke up at 6:30, the sky was too bright; all I could see were the second magnitude stars in the triangle of Leo, but not the fourth magnitude stars (Iota and Sigma) below it which bracketed Elenin's position. I'll try again tomorrow morning.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

2011 October 2

Moved CGEM mount slightly to the east and loosened azimuth so that adjustments work. Reading the manual I found that, during alignment pressing "Menu" switches to stars on the other side of the meridian. I also learned how to do a polar alignment using any bright star, not Polaris. I tried these out in daylight, and await a clear night so that I can try them for real.