Monday, October 27, 2014

1561m 2014/10/26-27

1561m 2014/10/26-27 06:50–07:10 a.m. EDT Foxmead E windows 9 10x50b ne

I spotted Mercury at 06:50 with binoculars, and right away could see it naked eye. I was surprised at how high it was. It was twinkling obviously in the binoculars, so obviously the seeing was poor. I thought at first it might be Spica, but when I checked in SkySafari, I found Spica was still below the horizon.

Temperature = –2.5°C

Thursday, October 23, 2014

1560d 2014/10/23

1560d 2014/10/23 05:30–06:15 EDT Foxmead W windows 8 ne

Partial solar eclipse

I had a bad run in dialysis this afternoon, so was feeling exhausted when I got home. I didn't have the energy to open the dome and set up the telescope, so instead I sat in the living room with a Baader solar filter, and watched the partial eclipse from there. The most memorable feature was the very noticeable naked-eye sunspot, which could be seen just to the left of the centre of the Sun's disk. When the Sun set in the clouds over Georgian Bay at 6:14 p.m., it was about 30% covered by the Moon.

Temperature = 10°C

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

1559m 2014/10/07–08

1559m 2014/10/07–08 05:40–06:35 EDT Foxmead W windows 3–8 ne 7x50b

Lunar eclipse

Sometimes it helps to have low expectations: you're pleasantly surprised! The weather prospects for the pre-dawn lunar eclipse were dismal, so I didn't even bother setting my alarm. When I woke up at 5:42 a.m. I was surprised to see the partially eclipsed Moon peeking through a sucker hole, low in the western sky.

The Moon soon vanished into a cloud bank, so I went back to bed. I got up 10 minutes later and the clouds were pretty solid except for one small strip. The Moon popped out again for a few seconds at 6:02, then was gone again.

Finally at 6:12, the Moon emerged into a clear patch, where it remained until I stopped watching at 06:32, by which time it was completely in the Earth's umbral shadow.

Those who were expecting a "blood Moon" will have been disappointed. The colour during totality was more a pale orange, verging on peach. As I said in my article this week on, there's no way of predicting the colour of a lunar eclipse in advance.

Temperature = 10°C