Lunar Observing program

Beginning with the April 2017  a Lunar Observing program will be presented at the Regular monthly meeting of the club. The first will be a overview of the moon and the variety of lunar features that can be seen on the Moon with a telescope.

Lunar features visible beginning  2 days after New Moon ,and forward thru the lunar cycle, will be presented throughout the year. Listed here are the descriptions of  craters, Dorsa, Mare, domes, mountains, valleys and rilles in the PowerPoint presentations.

Sources for the features presented

The Moon Observers Guide – Peter Grego
The Moon and How to Observe It – Peter Grego
What’s Hot on the Moon Tonight – Andrew Plank
The Modern Moon – Charles Wood
Lunar Picture of the Day – http://www2.lpod.org

Recommended  books, software and websites

Maps and Atlas

Rukl’s Atlas of the Moon – Rukl
Sky & Telescope Field Map of the Moon – Reverse and Nonreverse
The Lunar 100 – Sky & Telescope – Charles Wood

Software maps

Lunar Field Atlas http://www.astronomylogs.com/pages/moon.html
Virtual Moon Atlas (VMA) free -  http://ap-i.net/avl/en/start
Lunar Map Pro commercial -

http://www.riti.com/prodserv_lunarmappro.htm

Photographic Moon Book by Alan Chu -

http://www.cityastronomy.com/moonbook-mirror.htm

Photographic Lunar Atlas for Moon Observers by Kwok C. Pau -

http://lunaratlas.blogspot.it/2016/09/photographic-lunar-atlas-is-returned.html

Online magazines

ALPO The Lunar Observer -

http://moon.scopesandscapes.com/ALPO_Lunar_Program.htm

Following are the lunar features in the PowerPoint presentations by Lunar Day.

Lunar Age Days  2 – 3

Cleomedes (78 miles)

Smooth floor.
2 smaller craters on floor.
Northern wall intrude by 2 craters.
Narrow rile running north of center.
Linear rille running 18 miles branching into two.
Small mountain massif.

Langrenus (82 miles)

Complex crater.
Smooth north floor, rougher in south.
Radial rides spreading northward.
Complex terraced walls.
Two central mountain massif.

Vendelinus (91 miles)

Old eroded crater.
Walls are heavily cratered
Smooth interior.
No central massive

Petavius (110 miles)

Spectacular complex crater.
Smooth north floor, rougher in south.
Straight wide rima, running SW to a deep trench.
Extensive terracing and deep groves.
Central mountain massifs.

Funerius (77.5 miles)

Dark floor in the center surrounded by a floor of sandblasted appearance.
Narrow 43 mile rima, NW to SE.
Extensive terracing and deep groves.
Large crater on floor.
Very small central massif.

Vaillis Rheita (310 miles)

Longest crater chain on the nearside.
Runs from crater Rheita (42 miles)

Lunar Age Days 4 – 5

Atlas (54  miles)

Rims have a very sharp look.
Fracture, rough floor with narrow sinuous rilles.
Radial groves on outer rim and floor.
Cluster of small hills in center.

Hercules (41.5  miles)

Sharp rims with interior terraces.
Smooth floor with large secondary crater in the south.
Very tiny central hill.

Proclus (17.4  miles)

Small bright sharp rim crater.
Very broad bright fan shaped rays that border Palus Somni, a light gray hilly terrain.

Plinus  (62 miles)

Sharp rims and terraced wall.  Large size ejecta brake outside rim.
Two or three central peaks.

Rima Plinus (62 miles)

Set of three linear rills, look like cat scratches.

Dorsa Smirnov ( 200 miles)

Serpentine Ridge.
Braided rope of ridges, some 9 miles wide.

Rima Cauchy (130  miles)
A wide long rille.

Rupes Cauchy (75 miles )

A fault changing to a rille.

Tau and Omega Cauchy

Two domes below Rupes Cauchy.
Look for a central pit in Omega

Messier A (4.3 x 8  miles)
Messier B (8.7 x 5.6  miles)

Two small neighboring craters.
B  is a deep oval  to the E – W
A  is deep circular bowl with a raised lip.
Under high Sun can be see two long linear parallel rays.

Fracastorius (76.8 miles)

A flood crater
Northern wall is obliterated.
Forming a bay on Mare Nectaris.
Small broken rille within.

Posidonis (60 miles  )

Bowl shaped, crater inside west of center.
Very complex floor.
Linear rilles on east floor.
Curving ridge on east wall.

Theophilus (62 miles)

Broad terraced walls.
Impact melt floor.
Group of  4590 ft. peaks form central mound.

Cyrillus (61 miles)

Older eroded neighbor of Theophilus
Disorderly and lower wall.
A ridge along the east wall.
Three long central peaks.

Catharina (61 miles)

Smooth light color floor in the east.
Submerged crater on the south floor.
Mountain ridges with the north floor that connect to Cyrillus.

Rupes Altai (496 miles)

Giant fault cuts a path of 496 miles.
Eastern drop is 74 miles below  the scarp rim.
Runs north of Picolomini.

Picolomini ( 54.6 miles)

Prominent crater.
String internal terraced walls.
Cluster of 6561 mile high central peaks.

Lamont Dorsum 46.5 miles

Inconspicuous feature outlined by wrinkle ridges.

Lunar Age  Days 6 – 7

Aristotles (54 miles)

Very impressive broad terraced wall.
Complex crater with exterior radial ejecta blanket.
Smooth floor with two small covered peaks

Vallis Alpine (120 x 6 miles)

A graben, rift valley, 11 miles at it widest point.
Steep walls up to 6561 ft.
Smooth floor, darker than surrounding mountains.

Eudoxus (41.5 miles)

Terrace walled with complex interior.
Smooth floor in the west.
Grouping of four small central peaks.
Very small sinuous rille in the center.

Aristillus (34 miles) rim 10,824 ft.

Substantial outer radial ejecta blanket.
Collection of central mountain peaks in center.
Complex inner terrain.

Archimedes (50 miles) rim 6232 ft.

Walls display terracing.
Flat flooded floor, light rays deposited on floor.
Central peak is covered by flooded floor.

Autolycus (24 miles) rim 11,250 ft.

Small crater with outer radial ejecta blanket.
Complex floor of extruded lava.
No central peak.

Apennines Mt
.   (370 x 62 miles)

Of the 300 peaks the highest measured peak is over 18,000 ft.

Albategnius (85 miles)

Complex crater with broad inner walls.
Dark, smooth flooded floor.
Central peak, 487 ft., is west of center.
SW wall intruded by 27 mile crater Klien.

Maurolycus (68 miles)

Eastern wall displays terracing.
Western wall rough and disorientated.
NE hilly with small craters.
Central peak, 487 ft., is west of center.
Ragged mountains in North
Broad, deep, curving trench in NW

Ptolemaeus (101 miles) rim 7872 ft.

Circular Plain, Striated walls, Flooded floor.
Six mille crater on floor in NE corner.
No central peak.

Alphonsus (73 miles) rim 8954 ft.

Solitary central peak 9840 ft in height.
Small rilles around edge of floor.
Dark patches around rilles.

Arzachel (59 miles) rim 12.496 ft.

Inner walls have a intricate terracing.
Narrow rima, Rima Arzachel, parallel to east wall.
Central peak, 4900 ft. high, is offset to west from center.

Alpetragius (24.8 miles)

Small prominent crater.
Very large rounded mountain massif that takes up to 1/3 of the crater floor,
that rises up to 2170 feet above crater floor.

Mare Serenitatis

Well defined sea with tonal variations of the albedo
of the different lava flows.

Rima Ariadaeus (136 x 6 miles)

A graben – elongated depression between two parallel faults.
Ground between has fallen away.

Rima Hyginus  (130 miles)

An interlocking chain of craters, or pits, that appear to connect
to crater Hyginus, itself may be a rimless pit.
Each ends are smaller rilles.

Rupes Recta (86 x 16 miles)

(Straight Wall)
A classic fault in  east edge of Mare Nubium.
It is a 7 degree slope, at a height of 800 feet.

Lunar Age  Days 8 – 9

Plato (68.2 miles)

Very prominent Dark floor crater.
The floor is 6561 feet below rim.
Shadows cast by rim onto the floor is a spectacular sight.

Timocharis (21 miles)

A remarkable small crater.
Substantial sharp terraced wall.
Without a central mountain peak.
Has a 3.7 mile crater in middle of floor.

Eratosthenes (36 miles)

Complex crater with sharp rim and wide internal terraced walls.
Floor shows impact sculpting  surrounding the 3 mountain peaks.
Outside is a thick ejecta blanket.

Copernicus (57.7 miles)

Young crater with impressive radial ray.
Secondary impacts from excavation of crater.
Complicated terraced walls and internal landslides.
Floor is 12,464 feet below rim.
Two major mountain massive peaks.

Reinhold (30 miles)

Smooth floor containing small hills instead of a mountain massif peaks.
Strongly terraced walls.

Bullialdus (37.8 miles)

Very prominent crater with an indent on the SE wall.
Intricate terraced walls.
Tight group of central peaks

Pitatus (60 miles)

Eroded crater with complex rills system on flat floor.
Low terraced walls.

Tycho (52.7 miles)

Has the largest and complex system of rays.
Impressive sharp rim terraced walls.
Interior floor filled pool of impact melt.
Large pair of mountain massif peaks.
Dark collar of impact melt outside of the rim.

Clavius (140 miles)

Large flat floor crater with a scalloped rim.
Heavily cratered floor with a distinct small arc of unconnected craters.

DOMES

Milichius dome – an isolated  3 mile diameter dome with a central pit.

Hortensius domes – Six dome cluster field, 1 to 3 miles in size, with central pits.

Lunar Age  Day  10 – 11

Sinus Iridum (160 miles)

Very prominent Dark floor crater.
Southern half of the rim is overrun by lava flow of Mare Imbrium.
The floor is 6561 feet below rim.
Shadows cast by rim onto the floor is a spectacular sight.

Mons Gruithuisen

Second largest dome with a small summit crater.

Mon Rumker (43 miles)

Broad lumpy plateau.
Largest dome complex.

Aristarchus
(24 miles)

Brightest ray crater on the moon.
Western wall show radial banding of alternating
dark and bright features.

Vallis Schroteri (3 x 6 wide  x 100 long miles)

Impressive sinuous rille, a collapse 3000 ft deep lava tube.
It starts at the “Cobra Head” rim and runs 100 miles to Oceanus Procellarum
Exterior mound shows radial structure.

Reiner Gamma (37  x 90 miles)

Young crater with impressive radial ray.
Secondary impacts from excavation of crater.
Complicated terraced walls and internal landslides.
Floor is 12,464 feet below rim.
Two major mountain massive peaks

Kepler (20 miles)

Terraced walled crater with small hills
instead of central mountain peak.
Sun aged rays span a good distance,
interacting with rays of Copernicus.

Gassendi (68 miles)

Magnificent crater on the North boundary of Mare Humorum.
Complex floor containing small hills, mountains, ridges and rilles.
Has three of a mountain peaks.
Walls are partial submerged by Mare Humorum.

Schiller (111 x 42 miles)

Elongated flood crater.
Southern is very smooth, north has an prominent central mountain Ridge.
May have been formed by 3 or 4 impacts.

Schickard (140 miles)

Low circular walls with around a smooth floor.
Darker floor in the north, brighter floor in the south
that a darker patch near the wall rim.

Wargentin (52 miles)

Strange sight of a crater filled up to the top of it’s
rim with extruded lava. Y shaped ridge on center.

Lunar Age  Days 12 – 15

Pythagoras (80 miles)

Broad scalloped rim walls.
Hilly interior floor,
with a central mountain peak.

Seleucus (27 miles)

Sharp rim crater with broad inner terraced walls.
Dark inner floor with a small central hill.
Has exterior ejecta blanket.
Bright broad rim and dark interior floor under high sunlight.

Struve (105 miles)

Large elongated flood crater with sharp rims.
North wall  all is eroded by lave flow.

Russell (64 miles)

Shares a eroded wall with crater Struve.
Flooded floore is smooth, does not have a central peak.

Cavalerius (36 miles)

Deep crater with a sharp rim with signs of terraced walls.
Small central hill.

Hevelius (66 miles)

Eroded wall crater with rilles on the interior floor.
Rima Helevlius rille crisscross to form an X pattern
with smmaler sinious rille before it continues outside
of the crater wall.

Grimaldi (27 miles)

Broad dark lava plain.
Broken hills surround the plain.
Very prominent

Riccioli (90.5 miles)

Well defined low wall crater.
Complex interior floor,small rilles and hilly in the south.
Large dark patch in the north.

Bailly (189 miles)

Largest crater on the Moon best seen during favorable librations.
Low multi ring impact basin.
Eroded outer walls, rough crater floor.

South Polar Region

Numerous mountains around lunar rim near the pole.

Mare Orientale (580 miles)

Very large Multi Ring Impact Basin.

Resources for Observing Mars

In the year 2016 the planet Mars will be at opposition and close to our planet Earth.

Listed below are some sites on how to observe the planet Mars and detail information on the 2016 opposition.

This information is from the presentation at the LAS regular meeting

Software and web sites with information on observing the planet Mars.

Mars Preview II

http://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-resources/freeware-from-sky-telescope/

Websites about observing Mars

Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers (ALPO)

Download observing forms http://alpo-astronomy.org/

British Astronomical Association (BAA)

Mars Section https://www.britastro.org/section_front/17

Links to other sites are found on the ALPO and BBA sites.

Using filters to view Mars:

Yellow (W8) Enhances Martian cloud details.

Yellow (W12, W15) to brighten desert regions, darkens bluish and brownish features.

Orange (W21, W23A) further increases contrast between light and dark features, penetrates hazes and most clouds, and limited detection of dust clouds.

Red (W25, W29) gives maximum contrast of surface features, enhances fine surface details, dust clouds boundaries, and polar cap boundaries.

Yellow-green (W57,W11) darkens red and blue features, enhances frost patches, surface fogs, and polar projections.

Blue-Green (W64) helps detect ice-fogs and polar hazes.

Blue (W80A, W38, W38A) and deep blue (W46, W47) shows atmospheric clouds, discrete white clouds, and limb hazes, equatorial cloud bands, polar cloud hoods, and darkens reddish features.

Wratten Filter Numbers and color guide

Wratten Color

#8 light yellow

#11 yellow-green *

#12 yellow

#15 dark yellow

#21 orange

#23A light red

#25 red

#30,#32 magenta

#38,#38A light blue

#46,#47 violet or deep blue

#56 light green

#57 yellow green *

#58 green

#64 blue-green

#80A median blue

#82A light blue

Neutral density These filters simply darken bright objects and reduce glare for better resolution of details.

More information on color filters below:

http://lackawannaastronomicalsociety.org/?p=1254

Searching For Comet C/2011 L4 PANSTARRS

Expectations of the appearance of Comet C/2012 L4 PANSTARRS is running high since the first solution it’s orbit. Magnitudes are expected in the minus range, sporting a long broad tail after sunset. I’ve seen the preview of this picture before, withthe repeat to follow at the end of the year.

First item to consider is the comet will be close to the Sun and the horizon when it reaches peak brightness. The comet will slowly move from the southeast of the setting Sun, moving northward and gradually higher each night. It will share the twilight sky with a crescent Moon and later light of the First Quarter Moon.

And that’s a description of the path the comet will take. This all happens in mid March in North Eastern Pennsylvania, not the most forgiving of weather around here most of the time. Dark clouds silhouetted against a light blue sky, winds whipping from the west, and with snow on the ground or sub freezing temperature. The regional weather can hinder viewing this comet, do you recall looking for comet C/2006 P1 Mc Naught in January 2007? Searching the western horizon for the coma or tail between broken layers of clouds each night.

Comet Hale-Bopp came around in March and April of 1997, it was in the northern sky, farther from the setting Sun and moving towards the north west. Weather conditions cooperated that year, moderate temperature, no snow on the ground and many clear nights without clouds made for many clear views of Hale-Bopp. March weather the year before and the year after Hale-Bopp were more typical of the start of spring. Cloudy skies, cold temperature and snow on the ground.

C/2012 L4 PANSTARRS is moving in the opposite direction, hence it will be viewed in twilight skies for a while as it quickly sets before the sky becomes completely dark. To rub it in, Daylight Savings Time begins as the comet appears. Make any required adjustments to your computer, planetarium software, or computer controlled telescopes.

If you must travel to a location to get a good view of the western sky, then binoculars would be the first instrument to use when searching the twilight sky for C/2012 L4 PANSTARRS. A digital SLR camera or a Point and Shoot on a tripod will give results with exposure of less than 20 seconds for focal length of 50 mm. Take many pictures as the every changing twilight sky will affect the exposure time. This would be good practice for the next comet at the end of the year.

Use software to calibrate, if you also take Darks and Flat images,to process and to stack the individual images. The list of software to examine included, RegiStaX, Deep Sky Stacker both freeware. Photoshop, CCDStack, MaximDL are commercial software, the later two astrophotography packages.

Plan ahead if you are setting up a telescope to view or take pictures. If it is a computer controlled telescope mount then, you may need the use the Moon or Sun to fix the scope’s position before you can slew the telescope to the comet. Arrive early to set up and wait for the comet to appear.

Here are the position of the comet at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time using a conservative magnitude estimate from Guide8 software. Remember the comet will be seen in a twilight sky, not against the dark night sky. Magnitudes will be difficult in a twilight sky, frustrating with moving clouds on the horizon.

Addition Jan 20, 2013

New magnitude estimate by Sechii Yoshida  put the comet at magnitude  2 or magnitude 3 at brightest.  http://www.aerith.net/comet/catalog/2011L4/2011L4.html

This reminds me of the appearance of comet Bradfield 1974 b (C/1974 C1) in March  1974.  Comet Bradfield  perihelon to the Sun was 0.5 AU,  higher in the sky at sunset and seen better as darkness fell. It traced a path in the western sky similar to what C/2012 L4 PANSTARRS will due this March. Comet Bradfiled reach 5 th magnitude back in 1974,  C/2012 L4 PANSTARRS will be closer to the horizon than comet Bradfield.

PANSTARRS (C/2011 L4) Magnitude listed are assumptions

Date                                    RA          declination       r     delta mag Elong Alt Azim    Sun el

—-                                       –             ———–          -       —–    —   —–  ——   ——     —–

9 Mar 2013 19:30:59 00h21m52.73s -05 34′ 33.2″ 0.3016 1.1092 0.5 15.2 4.31 258.73 -6.1

10 Mar 2013 19:30:59 00h25m12.39s -02 55′ 44.1″ 0.3026 1.1144 0.5 15.1 5.98 260.79 -5.9

11 Mar 2013 19:30:59 00h27m56.28s -00 19′ 00.0″ 0.3068 1.1203 0.6 15.2 7.51 262.95 -5.7

12 Mar 2013 19:30:59 00h30m07.40s +02 14′ 25.0″ 0.3141 1.1266 0.7 15.5 8.89 265.16 -5.5

13 Mar 2013 19:30:59 00h31m49.45s +04 43′ 33.4″ 0.3240 1.1333 0.9 15.8 10.13 267.43 -5.2

14 Mar 2013 19:30:59 00h33m06.40s +07 07′ 45.3″ 0.3364 1.1402 1.1 16.4 11.21 269.71 -5.0

15 Mar 2013 19:30:59 00h34m02.20s +09 26′ 37.9″ 0.3509 1.1474 1.3 17.0 12.17 271.99 -4.8

16 Mar 2013 19:30:59 00h34m40.49s +11 40′ 02.6″ 0.3671 1.1548 1.5 17.7 13.00 274.26 -4.6

17 Mar 2013 19:30:59 00h35m04.52s +13 48′ 01.7″ 0.3848 1.1624 1.7 18.5 13.72 276.51 -4.4

18 Mar 2013 19:30:59 00h35m17.06s +15 50′ 45.1″ 0.4035 1.1700 1.9 19.4 14.34 278.72 -4.2

19 Mar 2013 19:30:59 00h35m20.43s +17 48′ 27.1″ 0.4232 1.1778 2.1 20.3 14.87 280.90 -4.0

20 Mar 2013 19:30:59 00h35m16.52s +19 41′ 24.9″ 0.4436 1.1857 2.3 21.3 15.33 283.03 -3.8

21 Mar 2013 19:30:59 00h35m06.89s +21 29′ 56.8″ 0.4645 1.1936 2.6 22.2 15.73 285.11 -3.6

22 Mar 2013 19:30:59 00h34m52.77s +23 14′ 21.0″ 0.4858 1.2016 2.8 23.2 16.08 287.15 -3.4

23 Mar 2013 19:30:59 00h34m35.18s +24 54′ 55.5″ 0.5074 1.2097 3.0 24.2 16.38 289.14 -3.2

24 Mar 2013 19:30:59 00h34m14.90s +26 31′ 57.2″ 0.5293 1.2178 3.2 25.2 16.64 291.08 -3.0

25 Mar 2013 19:30:59 00h33m52.57s +28 05′ 42.1″ 0.5513 1.2259 3.4 26.2 16.87 292.98 -2.8

26 Mar 2013 19:30:59 00h33m28.70s +29 36′ 25.0″ 0.5734 1.2341 3.5 27.2 17.07 294.84 -2.6

27 Mar 2013 19:30:59 00h33m03.69s +31 04′ 19.6″ 0.5955 1.2423 3.7 28.2 17.25 296.65 -2.4

28 Mar 2013 19:30:59 00h32m37.84s +32 29′ 38.5″ 0.6176 1.2506 3.9 29.2 17.41 298.42 -2.2

29 Mar 2013 19:30:59 00h32m11.40s +33 52′ 33.4″ 0.6398 1.2588 4.1 30.2 17.56 300.15 -2.0

30 Mar 2013 19:30:59 00h31m44.55s +35 13′ 14.7″ 0.6619 1.2671 4.2 31.2 17.70 301.84 -1.8

31 Mar 2013 19:30:59 00h31m17.42s +36 31′ 52.2″ 0.6839 1.2754 4.4 32.2 17.84 303.50 -1.6

1 Apr 2013 19:30:59 00h30m50.13s +37 48′ 34.9″ 0.7058 1.2837 4.5 33.1 17.96 305.12 -1.4

2 Apr 2013 19:30:59 00h30m22.72s +39 03′ 30.9″ 0.7277 1.2920 4.7 34.1 18.09 306.71 -1.2

3 Apr 2013 19:30:59 00h29m55.23s +40 16′ 47.6″ 0.7495 1.3003 4.8 35.0 18.21 308.27 -1.0

4 Apr 2013 19:30:59 00h29m27.68s +41 28′ 32.0″ 0.7712 1.3086 5.0 36.0 18.34 309.80 -0.8

5 Apr 2013 19:30:59 00h29m00.05s +42 38′ 50.2″ 0.7927 1.3169 5.1 36.9 18.47 311.30 -0.6

6 Apr 2013 19:30:59 00h28m32.31s +43 47′ 48.1″ 0.8142 1.3251 5.2 37.8 18.60 312.77 -0.4

7 Apr 2013 19:30:59 00h28m04.42s +44 55′ 31.0″ 0.8355 1.3334 5.3 38.7 18.73 314.21 -0.2

8 Apr 2013 19:30:59 00h27m36.31s +46 02′ 03.6″ 0.8567 1.3417 5.5 39.6 18.88 315.63 0.0

Color Filters for the Planets

This PDF file contains the tables and notes used the PowerPoint program that was given at the regular club meeting this year. The first section list each planet and the filters best suited to improve or enhance various visual planetary features. A narative description of the visual performance is present by Wratten filter number and color type desciption. 

A table format is next, listing each Planet, planet feature and filter most suited to enhance the visual viewing of the feature. This is good to use at the scope since it fits on on 8 x 10 sheet of paper.

The last section list the Wratten number, the planet it is to be used on and the feature on the planet the filter will enhance. This is the most common method that suppliers and dealers display their filters.

Download the pdf file Useful Filters for Planets

 

Here are Internet web sites that provide more information Color Filter for the planets.

The Abbey Road Observatory – http://www.karmalimbo.com/aro/index.htm

Observing the Planets with Color Filters – http://alpo-astronomy.org/mars/articles/FILTERS1.HTM

Meade Filters – http://www.meade.com/catalog/meade_4000/meade_series_4000_filters_02.htm

The Meade 4000 Series – http://www.analyticalsci.com/Astronomy/Filters/Filters_Described_Meade.htm

Celestron – http://www.celestron.com/astronomy/accessories/filters.html

Celestron Kits – http://www.celestron.com/astronomy/accessories/eyepieces/accessory-kits.html

 

These three include Solar and DeepSky Filter, which I did not cover in te PowerPoint slide show.

The Use of Filters – http://zeca.astronomos.com.br/pratica/filtros/The_Use_of_Filters.htm

Optical Filter Guide – http://www.myastroshop.com.au/guides/filters.asp

Nebula Filter comparison on Deep Sky Objects – http://www.prairieastronomyclub.org/filtercomparisons.htm

Transit of Venus 2012

 
 Looking at the LAS 2012 calendar the club published and sold this year, you may have notice two line items for June 5, 2012. The first is the regular monthly meeting of the LAS, followed by the Transit of Venus. I compliment the club founders on their foresight on choosing the first Tuesday of each month in order for this rare event to fall on the same day. That’s advance planning at its finest.
 
 The viewing time circumstance of this transit is opposite of the June 8, 2004 event that was seen by the club members during sunrise. A hardy group gather before sunrise, ready their scopes and filters to witness the planet Venus against the solar background as the Sun rose on that summer morning. They were not disappointed for their efforts, with the added bonus of seeing Venus without the use of filters as the Sun rose in a low fog bank. We watched the end of the transit as Venus exit from in front of the solar surface.
 
 In 2012 the Transit of Venus be visible in our location during the late afternoon into early evening hours. Approximately 2.5 hours before sunset Venus will begin transiting the Sun, appearing on the solar limb at 6:03 pm EDT. The altitude of the Sun at that time is 25.7 degrees from the western horizon.

More information about the Venus Transit and safe viewing of the transit can be found on these web sites.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 Information about the Transit of Venus will be the topic of the regular meeting on May 1, 2012. Those bring scopes to view or photograph the transit should park in the field near the LAS roll off observatory. The time that the gate will open will be anounce at the meeting and in the future e-mail to club members.

 

 

Viewing Comet C/2009 P1 Gerradd

 
The next few months comet C/2009 P1 Gerradd will be bright enough to be viewed with small scope. Its peak brightness may just reach 6th magnitude. Don’t expect a naked eye object, as the comet brightness is spread over 5 minutes or arc nebulous coma and a 6th magnitude star is a point source. Even a 6th magnitude star is difficult to see for many observers. This will be the brightest comet to be seen in some time. The visual magnitude is running a bit higher that the predicted magnitude estimates, but not by much. There is a little hope it may become brighter, not Comet Holmes brighter, rather a nice object to be seen with a telescope or larger binoculars.
 
Comet C/2009 P1 Gerradd is not a sungrazer, and will not produce a tail the likes of Hyakutake or Hale-Bopp, it closes approach to the sun is 1.25 AU on December 23, 2011. It is inclined 106 degrees the ecliptic and will be in view for a few months and will make its closest distance of 1.27 AU to the Earth on March 5, 2012.
 
To locate this comet I have produced a nightly ephemeris for a few months using SkyTools 2 software. The magnitude in the list is fainter than the observed magnitude at this time.
 
Other sources online to locate this comet can be found at these sites.
 
This site has good chart maps produced each month.
 
  
Charts with stars magnitudes that can be used to estimate the comet brightness are on this site.
 
 
To follow the progress of the comet these sites list recent reported visual magnitude of comets in the sky.
 
 
 
 
 
 
My last view of C/2009 P1 Gerradd was from Promise Land State Park on July 31, 2011 EDT. With my TV101 I could see the coma with easy at 36X. I located without the use of charts by recalling the position it was a week ago and that it would be near by M15 by now. Scanning the region with the 8 x 50 finder I soon located this position of the comet. A much better view was had with the 12inch reflector of Nancy and Ray Krake. The brighter inner and ghostly outer coma were move evident in the eyepiece view. It was still low in the eastern sky around 10:00 EDT, not a sign of a bright tail could be seen.

 

Saturn’s New Feature -The Serpent Storm

As a response to all the attention that Jupiter has been receiving in the news, the planet Saturn is now putting on a show of a major storm in the North Temperate Zone.  Numerous amateur astronomers have been recording the development of this major outbreak.

As a long time observer of Saturn, a white spot this large and bright is a very rare event.  Visible features on the globe are usually small and dim, if visible at all.  Most are only discovered in photographs.  It is well worth your effort to see this current storm, even if you must content with winter conditions and rise up early to observe Saturn in the morning .

The following  are times when this ever expanding storm can be viewed in the Eastern Time Zone. How long this will be visible is not certain.

The white hue storm has spread out in the NTrZ and diminish in brightness. I am using the central Merdian of the major outbreak, more of the storm following it. It has been given a unoffical name as The Serpent Storm by those who view and image it frequently in the Saturn Yahoo Group.

As of June 2011 the Storm in the northern hemisphere of Saturn continues to show up in amateur photos.  Spreading across nearly the entire longitude there are few places it does not show up. This is a recent photo from TGC Observatory. Althought it was not seen visualy with the RC20 at any magnification. I could see the white belt  on the laptop screen using a  DFK31AUS camera for imaging.

Update CM  to 63.6 degrees SYSTEM III,  the Head of the Storm,  which is the latest information fron images by Efrain Morales Rivera posted on Saturn Yahoo Group on  June 17, 2011 .

Saturn North Equatorial Disturbance at  (NED) CM III 63.6   Eastern Daylight  Date and Time

6/18/2011 9:18:36 AM 7:58:02 PM 
6/19/2011 6:37:29 AM 5:16:55 PM 
6/20/2011 3:56:22 AM 2:35:48 PM 
6/21/2011 1:15:15 AM 11:54:41 AM 10:34:07 PM
6/22/2011 9:13:34 AM 7:53:01 PM 
6/23/2011 6:32:28 AM 5:11:54 PM 
6/24/2011 3:51:21 AM 2:30:48 PM 
6/25/2011 1:10:14 AM 11:49:41 AM 10:29:08 PM
6/26/2011 9:08:35 AM 7:48:02 PM 
6/27/2011 6:27:29 AM 5:06:56 PM 
6/28/2011 3:46:23 AM 2:25:50 PM 
6/29/2011 1:05:17 AM 11:44:44 AM 10:24:11 PM
6/30/2011 9:03:39 AM 7:43:06 PM 
7/1/2011 6:22:33 AM 5:02:01 PM 
7/2/2011 3:41:28 AM 2:20:55 PM 
7/3/2011 1:00:22 AM 11:39:50 AM 

John D Sabia

Total Eclipse of the Moon

RESULTS (click picture for larger image)

TV101 - CoolPix 995 - 2 seconds 100 ISO @ 3:00 AM

TV101 - CoolPix 995 - 2 second 100 ISO @ 2:43 AM

One must be out in the early morning hours on Tuesday morning to see this Total Lunar Eclipse. The full moon will is riding high in the sky during the winter months for northern hemisphere observers. This will be the highest altitude start of an eclipse in a long while.

Tuesday Morning December 21, 2010

2010 Dec 21 01:29a Alt=71° Lunar Eclipse, Enter Penumbra

2010 Dec 21 02:00a Alt=67° Lunar Eclipse, Penumbra First Visible

2010 Dec 21 02:31a Alt=63° Lunar Eclipse, First Contact

2010 Dec 21 03:39a Alt=52° Lunar Eclipse, Second Contact

2010 Dec 21 04:17a Alt=45° Lunar Eclipse, Mid-eclipse

2010 Dec 21 04:55a Alt=38° Lunar Eclipse, Third Contact

2010 Dec 21 06:02a Alt=26° Lunar Eclipse, Last Contact

2010 Dec 21 06:34a Alt=20° Lunar Eclipse, Penumbra Last Visible

2010 Dec 21 07:05a Alt=20° Lunar Eclipse, Exit Penumbra

It will start out high and gradually lower as the night wears on. The graph show the position of First Contact.

Start now to determine a prime observing spot from your home location to setup your scope to see the event. Make sure there are no trees or building to block the moon. I know I must move a distance to clear some tall pines that will be in the way. The graphic also shows faint asteroids as red objects, one near the moon. Dress for the weather, and take a few breaks inside to warm up inside your home. If trying photography, insure you have additonal batteries for your camera, and the portable power pack is fully charged to drive the equatorial mount.

Some web sites with more info and animations on this eclipse:

http://www.shadowandsubstance.com/

http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/lunar.html

The next Total Lunar Eclipse that we can see is not until Oct 8, 2014. Which will be settiing during the total phase. The September 28, 2015 will be placed better for us.

Jupiter’s GRS in December

 Winter is here and with it colder nighttime temperatures. Don’t let that stop you looking at Jupiter; it’s in good viewing position as the night sky appears. I did have a fantastic view of Jupiter in the RC20 f/8.1 telescope one evening in October with near perfect seeing. Watch the white oval in the NEBs transit, the GRS and a red barge in the NTB transit later on. The GRS was seen easily with 26 mm and 15 mm eyepieces. A W82A filter gave a more pleasant view, while a deeper blue filter W47 made the GRS stand out on the planet. Even with those filters I could not see the Oval BA following that followed the GRS. A dusty region followed the GRS and was more southern in the STB. No sign the Oval BA was a darker red oval. I did manage to see, only once, a smaller white oval in the SSTB above the dusty region in the STB.

Nov 20, 2010 : I’ve kept the White Spot in the SEB,  added the SEB Revival Spot, and changed the longitide of Oval BA.

 These are only approximate transit times of current visible features. I’ll keep listing Oval BA in case it becomes a more easily target to see 
 
 2010 / 12 / 2  U.T. DATE , CM AT  0:00 U.T SYS I= 215.16 SYS II= 7.03

The GRS Spot (SYS II = 160)  transits at   4:13 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 160)  transits at  14: 8 U.T.

The Oval BA  (SYS II = 113) in STZ  transits at  2:55 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 113) in STZ  transits at 12:51 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 113) in STZ  transits at 22:46 U.T.

The White Oval (SYS II = 84) in NEB transits at   2: 7 U.T.
The White Oval (SYS II = 84) in NEB transits at  12: 3 U.T.
The White Oval (SYS II = 84) in NEB transits at  21:58 U.T.

The SEB Rivival Spot (SYS II = 290) in SEB transits at   7:48 U.T.
The SEB Rivival Spot (SYS II = 290) in SEB transits at  17:43 U.T.

 2010 / 12 / 3  U.T. DATE , CM AT  0:00 U.T SYS I= 13.36 SYS II= 157.15

The GRS Spot (SYS II = 160)  transits at   0: 4 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 160)  transits at  10: 0 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 160)  transits at  19:56 U.T.

The Oval BA  (SYS II = 113) in STZ  transits at  8:42 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 113) in STZ  transits at 18:38 U.T.

The White Oval (SYS II = 84) in NEB transits at   7:54 U.T.
The White Oval (SYS II = 84) in NEB transits at  17:50 U.T.

The SEB Rivival Spot (SYS II = 290) in SEB transits at   3:39 U.T.
The SEB Rivival Spot (SYS II = 290) in SEB transits at  13:35 U.T.
The SEB Rivival Spot (SYS II = 290) in SEB transits at  23:31 U.T.

 2010 / 12 / 4  U.T. DATE , CM AT  0:00 U.T SYS I= 170.86 SYS II= 307.62

The GRS Spot (SYS II = 160)  transits at   5:51 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 160)  transits at  15:47 U.T.

The Oval BA  (SYS II = 113) in STZ  transits at  4:33 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 113) in STZ  transits at 14:29 U.T.

The White Oval (SYS II = 84) in NEB transits at   3:45 U.T.
The White Oval (SYS II = 84) in NEB transits at  13:41 U.T.
The White Oval (SYS II = 84) in NEB transits at  23:37 U.T.

The SEB Rivival Spot (SYS II = 290) in SEB transits at   9:26 U.T.
The SEB Rivival Spot (SYS II = 290) in SEB transits at  19:22 U.T.

 2010 / 12 / 5  U.T. DATE , CM AT  0:00 U.T SYS I= 328.36 SYS II= 97.38

The GRS Spot (SYS II = 160)  transits at   1:43 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 160)  transits at  11:39 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 160)  transits at  21:34 U.T.

The Oval BA  (SYS II = 113) in STZ  transits at  0:25 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 113) in STZ  transits at 10:21 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 113) in STZ  transits at 20:17 U.T.

The White Oval (SYS II = 84) in NEB transits at   9:33 U.T.
The White Oval (SYS II = 84) in NEB transits at  19:29 U.T.

The SEB Rivival Spot (SYS II = 290) in SEB transits at   5:18 U.T.
The SEB Rivival Spot (SYS II = 290) in SEB transits at  15:14 U.T.

 2010 / 12 / 6  U.T. DATE , CM AT  0:00 U.T SYS I= 126.21 SYS II= 247.5

The GRS Spot (SYS II = 160)  transits at   7:30 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 160)  transits at  17:26 U.T.

The Oval BA  (SYS II = 113) in STZ  transits at  6:13 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 113) in STZ  transits at 16: 8 U.T.

The White Oval (SYS II = 84) in NEB transits at   5:25 U.T.
The White Oval (SYS II = 84) in NEB transits at  15:20 U.T.

The SEB Rivival Spot (SYS II = 290) in SEB transits at   1:10 U.T.
The SEB Rivival Spot (SYS II = 290) in SEB transits at  11: 6 U.T.
The SEB Rivival Spot (SYS II = 290) in SEB transits at  21: 1 U.T.

 2010 / 12 / 7  U.T. DATE , CM AT  0:00 U.T SYS I= 284.41 SYS II= 37.62

The GRS Spot (SYS II = 160)  transits at   3:22 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 160)  transits at  13:18 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 160)  transits at  23:13 U.T.

The Oval BA  (SYS II = 113) in STZ  transits at  2: 4 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 113) in STZ  transits at 12: 0 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 113) in STZ  transits at 21:56 U.T.

The White Oval (SYS II = 84) in NEB transits at   1:16 U.T.
The White Oval (SYS II = 84) in NEB transits at  11:12 U.T.
The White Oval (SYS II = 84) in NEB transits at  21: 8 U.T.

The SEB Rivival Spot (SYS II = 290) in SEB transits at   6:57 U.T.
The SEB Rivival Spot (SYS II = 290) in SEB transits at  16:53 U.T.

 2010 / 12 / 8  U.T. DATE , CM AT  0:00 U.T SYS I= 81.91 SYS II= 188.09

The GRS Spot (SYS II = 160)  transits at   9: 9 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 160)  transits at  19: 4 U.T.

The Oval BA  (SYS II = 113) in STZ  transits at  7:51 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 113) in STZ  transits at 17:47 U.T.

The White Oval (SYS II = 84) in NEB transits at   7: 3 U.T.
The White Oval (SYS II = 84) in NEB transits at  16:59 U.T.

The SEB Rivival Spot (SYS II = 290) in SEB transits at   2:48 U.T.
The SEB Rivival Spot (SYS II = 290) in SEB transits at  12:44 U.T.
The SEB Rivival Spot (SYS II = 290) in SEB transits at  22:39 U.T.

 2010 / 12 / 9  U.T. DATE , CM AT  0:00 U.T SYS I= 239.41 SYS II= 337.85

The GRS Spot (SYS II = 160)  transits at   5: 1 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 160)  transits at  14:57 U.T.

The Oval BA  (SYS II = 113) in STZ  transits at  3:43 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 113) in STZ  transits at 13:39 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 113) in STZ  transits at 23:34 U.T.

The White Oval (SYS II = 84) in NEB transits at   2:55 U.T.
The White Oval (SYS II = 84) in NEB transits at  12:51 U.T.
The White Oval (SYS II = 84) in NEB transits at  22:46 U.T.

The SEB Rivival Spot (SYS II = 290) in SEB transits at   8:36 U.T.
The SEB Rivival Spot (SYS II = 290) in SEB transits at  18:32 U.T.

 2010 / 12 / 10  U.T. DATE , CM AT  0:00 U.T SYS I= 37.62 SYS II= 127.97

The GRS Spot (SYS II = 160)  transits at   0:52 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 160)  transits at  10:48 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 160)  transits at  20:44 U.T.

The Oval BA  (SYS II = 113) in STZ  transits at  9:30 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 113) in STZ  transits at 19:26 U.T.

The White Oval (SYS II = 84) in NEB transits at   8:42 U.T.
The White Oval (SYS II = 84) in NEB transits at  18:38 U.T.

The SEB Rivival Spot (SYS II = 290) in SEB transits at   4:28 U.T.
The SEB Rivival Spot (SYS II = 290) in SEB transits at  14:23 U.T.

 2010 / 12 / 11  U.T. DATE , CM AT  0:00 U.T SYS I= 195.12 SYS II= 278.09

The GRS Spot (SYS II = 160)  transits at   6:40 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 160)  transits at  16:35 U.T.

The Oval BA  (SYS II = 113) in STZ  transits at  5:22 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 113) in STZ  transits at 15:18 U.T.

The White Oval (SYS II = 84) in NEB transits at   4:34 U.T.
The White Oval (SYS II = 84) in NEB transits at  14:30 U.T.

The SEB Rivival Spot (SYS II = 290) in SEB transits at   0:19 U.T.
The SEB Rivival Spot (SYS II = 290) in SEB transits at  10:15 U.T.
The SEB Rivival Spot (SYS II = 290) in SEB transits at  20:11 U.T.

 2010 / 12 / 12  U.T. DATE , CM AT  0:00 U.T SYS I= 352.97 SYS II= 68.55

The GRS Spot (SYS II = 160)  transits at   2:31 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 160)  transits at  12:26 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 160)  transits at  22:22 U.T.

The Oval BA  (SYS II = 113) in STZ  transits at  1:13 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 113) in STZ  transits at 11: 9 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 113) in STZ  transits at 21: 4 U.T.

The White Oval (SYS II = 84) in NEB transits at   0:25 U.T.
The White Oval (SYS II = 84) in NEB transits at  10:21 U.T.
The White Oval (SYS II = 84) in NEB transits at  20:16 U.T.

The SEB Rivival Spot (SYS II = 290) in SEB transits at   6: 6 U.T.
The SEB Rivival Spot (SYS II = 290) in SEB transits at  16: 2 U.T.

 2010 / 12 / 13  U.T. DATE , CM AT  0:00 U.T SYS I= 150.47 SYS II= 218.67

The GRS Spot (SYS II = 160)  transits at   8:18 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 160)  transits at  18:14 U.T.

The Oval BA  (SYS II = 113) in STZ  transits at  7: 0 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 113) in STZ  transits at 16:56 U.T.

The White Oval (SYS II = 84) in NEB transits at   6:12 U.T.
The White Oval (SYS II = 84) in NEB transits at  16: 8 U.T.

The SEB Rivival Spot (SYS II = 290) in SEB transits at   1:58 U.T.
The SEB Rivival Spot (SYS II = 290) in SEB transits at  11:53 U.T.
The SEB Rivival Spot (SYS II = 290) in SEB transits at  21:49 U.T.

Follow comet 103P Hartley 2 in September

The first two weeks of September 2010 should be a good time to begin a search for comet 103P Hartley. By that time the should be bright enough to see in a modest size telescope. Depending of course that it follows the redicted pattern of increased brightness.

Already I have read online that this comet will be visible to the unaided eye when at maximum  brightness of 5th magnitude. Let me point out that this depend upon the extend of the size of the coma. A 5th magnitude star is can be difficult enough to see for newbies to astronomy, a diffuse object of 5th magnitude will be more difficult.

To brush up on comet observing you can review information on the topic in November Observing post (2009) in this  Observing Notes blog.

I do expect this comet get some press in newspapers and featured in popular online news outlets for two reasons. It will make a close approach to Earth, some 0.12 A.U., Astronomical Units, roughly 11 million miles (October 20, 2010). The other reason, the  spacecraft EPOXI, you know it as the Deep Impact http://deepimpact.umd.edu/ is on it’s way to a encounter this comet in November 2010. That alone will insure some press coverage.

Here is a list produced from the software Guide version 8. The positions are for zero hours Universal Time, U.T., from orbital elements at this time. the column labeled “r” is distance from the Sun in A.U. and “delta” from the Earth in A.U.
P/Hartley (103P)

UT  Date          Time             RA            declination     r        delta     mag
——-                —-                 –               ———–       -        —–           —
6 Aug 2010  0:00:00  22h31m12.13s  +25 49′ 39.2″  1.5250  0.6452 11.2
9 Aug 2010  0:00:00  22h33m05.26s  +27 06′ 52.9″  1.4992  0.6122 11.0
12 Aug 2010  0:00:00  22h34m58.18s  +28 25′ 36.8″  1.4736  0.5803 10.7
15 Aug 2010  0:00:00  22h36m52.77s  +29 45′ 51.9″  1.4483  0.5495 10.4
18 Aug 2010  0:00:00  22h38m51.36s  +31 07′ 41.5″  1.4233  0.5197 10.1
21 Aug 2010  0:00:00  22h40m56.67s  +32 31′ 10.7″  1.3987  0.4910  9.9
24 Aug 2010  0:00:00  22h43m11.94s  +33 56′ 25.2″  1.3744  0.4632  9.6
27 Aug 2010  0:00:00  22h45m41.09s  +35 23′ 32.0″  1.3506  0.4363  9.3
30 Aug 2010  0:00:00  22h48m28.97s  +36 52′ 38.9″  1.3273  0.4103  9.0
2 Sep 2010  0:00:00  22h51m41.73s  +38 23′ 55.5″  1.3044  0.3852  8.7
5 Sep 2010  0:00:00  22h55m27.25s  +39 57′ 32.1″  1.2822  0.3610  8.4
8 Sep 2010  0:00:00  22h59m55.89s  +41 33′ 41.3″  1.2606  0.3375  8.2
11 Sep 2010  0:00:00  23h05m21.42s  +43 12′ 38.3″  1.2398  0.3148  7.9
14 Sep 2010  0:00:00  23h12m01.93s  +44 54′ 40.7″  1.2197  0.2929  7.6
17 Sep 2010  0:00:00  23h20m21.04s  +46 40′ 01.0″  1.2004  0.2718  7.3
20 Sep 2010  0:00:00  23h30m49.90s  +48 28′ 32.2″  1.1821  0.2514  7.0
23 Sep 2010  0:00:00  23h44m10.21s  +50 19′ 26.0″  1.1647  0.2318  6.7
26 Sep 2010  0:00:00  00h01m17.60s  +52 10′ 32.8″  1.1485  0.2131  6.3
29 Sep 2010  0:00:00  00h23m24.21s  +53 57′ 12.3″  1.1333  0.1954  6.0
2 Oct 2010  0:00:00  00h51m55.59s  +55 30′ 22.4″  1.1194  0.1788  5.7
5 Oct 2010  0:00:00  01h28m10.66s  +56 34′ 11.0″  1.1067  0.1635  5.4
8 Oct 2010  0:00:00  02h12m28.45s  +56 44′ 12.9″  1.0954  0.1499  5.2
11 Oct 2010  0:00:00  03h02m48.53s  +55 30′ 14.7″  1.0855  0.1384  4.9
14 Oct 2010  0:00:00  03h54m27.01s  +52 27′ 17.0″  1.0771  0.1295  4.7
17 Oct 2010  0:00:00  04h41m58.66s  +47 30′ 41.3″  1.0702  0.1235  4.5
20 Oct 2010  0:00:00  05h22m04.41s  +41 02′ 30.3″  1.0649  0.1209  4.5
23 Oct 2010  0:00:00  05h54m09.45s  +33 43′ 19.6″  1.0612  0.1218  4.4
26 Oct 2010  0:00:00  06h19m13.45s  +26 16′ 38.6″  1.0591  0.1260  4.5
29 Oct 2010  0:00:00  06h38m40.99s  +19 15′ 49.7″  1.0587  0.1330  4.6
1 Nov 2010  0:00:00  06h53m48.57s  +12 59′ 19.2″  1.0600  0.1425  4.8
4 Nov 2010  0:00:00  07h05m36.19s  +07 32′ 58.3″  1.0628  0.1537  5.0
7 Nov 2010  0:00:00  07h14m48.68s  +02 55′ 00.1″  1.0673  0.1663  5.2

A plot of the comet’s path from TheSky6 follows.

The GRS in August

More transit times  of the GRS on Jupiter. I suspect that the Oval BA will get close to the GRS a pass by it during this viewing season. Keep an watch on this for any changes than may occur to the Oval BA.

Add White Spot in NEBs 8/15/2010

2010 / 8 / 15  U.T. DATE , CM AT  0:00 U.T SYS I= 277.73 SYS II= 181.41

The GRS Spot (SYS II = 152)  transits at   9: 7 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 152)  transits at  19: 2 U.T.

The Oval BA  (SYS II = 152) in STZ  transits at  9: 7 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 152) in STZ  transits at 19: 2 U.T.

The White Spot (SYS I = 58) in NEBs transits at  13:40 U.T.
The White Spot (SYS I = 58) in NEBs transits at 23:30 U.T.

2010 / 8 / 16  U.T. DATE , CM AT  0:00 U.T SYS I= 75.59 SYS II= 331.52

The GRS Spot (SYS II = 152)  transits at   4:58 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 152)  transits at  14:54 U.T.

The Oval BA  (SYS II = 152) in STZ  transits at  4:58 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 152) in STZ  transits at 14:54 U.T.

The White Spot (SYS I = 58) in NEBs transits at  09:21 U.T.
The White Spot (SYS I = 58) in NEBs transits at 19:11 U.T.

2010 / 8 / 17  U.T. DATE , CM AT  0:00 U.T SYS I= 233.79 SYS II= 121.99

The GRS Spot (SYS II = 152)  transits at   0:49 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 152)  transits at  10:45 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 152)  transits at  20:41 U.T.

The Oval BA  (SYS II = 152) in STZ  transits at  0:49 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 152) in STZ  transits at 10:45 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 152) in STZ  transits at 20:41 U.T.

The White Spot (SYS I = 58) in NEBs transits at  05:02 U.T.
The White Spot (SYS I = 58) in NEBs transits at  14:52 U.T.

2010 / 8 / 18  U.T. DATE , CM AT  0:00 U.T SYS I= 31.99 SYS II= 272.46

The GRS Spot (SYS II = 152)  transits at   6:36 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 152)  transits at  16:32 U.T.

The Oval BA  (SYS II = 152) in STZ  transits at  6:36 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 152) in STZ  transits at 16:32 U.T.

The White Spot (SYS I = 58) in NEBs transits at  0:43 U.T.
The White Spot (SYS I = 58) in NEBs transits at 10:33 U.T.
The White Spot (SYS I = 58) in NEBs transits at 20:23 U.T.

2010 / 8 / 19  U.T. DATE , CM AT  0:00 U.T SYS I= 189.84 SYS II= 62.58

The GRS Spot (SYS II = 152)  transits at   2:27 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 152)  transits at  12:23 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 152)  transits at  22:19 U.T.

The Oval BA  (SYS II = 152) in STZ  transits at  2:27 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 152) in STZ  transits at 12:23 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 152) in STZ  transits at 22:19 U.T.

The White Spot (SYS I = 58) in NEBs transits at  6:14 U.T.
The White Spot (SYS I = 58) in NEBs transits at 16:04 U.T.

2010 / 8 / 20  U.T. DATE , CM AT  0:00 U.T SYS I= 347.7 SYS II= 213.05

The GRS Spot (SYS II = 152)  transits at   8:14 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 152)  transits at  18:10 U.T.

The Oval BA  (SYS II = 152) in STZ  transits at  8:14 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 152) in STZ  transits at 18:10 U.T.

The White Spot (SYS I = 58) in NEBs transits at  1:55 U.T.
The White Spot (SYS I = 58) in NEBs transits at 11:45 U.T.
The White Spot (SYS I = 58) in NEBs transits at 21:35 U.T.

2010 / 8 / 21  U.T. DATE , CM AT  0:00 U.T SYS I= 145.9 SYS II= 3.87

The GRS Spot (SYS II = 152)  transits at   4: 5 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 152)  transits at  14: 0 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 152)  transits at  23:56 U.T.

The Oval BA  (SYS II = 152) in STZ  transits at  4: 5 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 152) in STZ  transits at 14: 0 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 152) in STZ  transits at 23:56 U.T.

The White Spot (SYS I = 58) in NEBs transits at  7:06 U.T.
The White Spot (SYS I = 58) in NEBs transits at 17:16 U.T.

2010 / 8 / 22  U.T. DATE , CM AT  0:00 U.T SYS I= 304.1 SYS II= 153.98

The GRS Spot (SYS II = 152)  transits at   9:52 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 152)  transits at  19:48 U.T.

The Oval BA  (SYS II = 152) in STZ  transits at  9:52 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 152) in STZ  transits at 19:48 U.T.

The White Spot (SYS I = 58) in NEBs transits at  3:07 U.T.
The White Spot (SYS I = 58) in NEBs transits at 12:57 U.T.
The White Spot (SYS I = 58) in NEBs transits at 22:47 U.T.

2010 / 8 / 23  U.T. DATE , CM AT  0:00 U.T SYS I= 102.3 SYS II= 304.45

The GRS Spot (SYS II = 152)  transits at   5:43 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 152)  transits at  15:39 U.T.

The Oval BA  (SYS II = 152) in STZ  transits at  5:43 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 152) in STZ  transits at 15:39 U.T.

The White Spot (SYS I = 58) in NEBs transits at  8:38 U.T.
The White Spot (SYS I = 58) in NEBs transits at 18:28 U.T.

2010 / 8 / 24  U.T. DATE , CM AT  0:00 U.T SYS I= 260.16 SYS II= 94.92

The GRS Spot (SYS II = 152)  transits at   1:34 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 152)  transits at  11:30 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 152)  transits at  21:25 U.T.

The Oval BA  (SYS II = 152) in STZ  transits at  1:34 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 152) in STZ  transits at 11:30 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 152) in STZ  transits at 21:25 U.T.

The White Spot (SYS I = 58) in NEBs transits at  4:19 U.T.
The White Spot (SYS I = 58) in NEBs transits at 14:09 U.T.

2010 / 8 / 25  U.T. DATE , CM AT  0:00 U.T SYS I= 58.01 SYS II= 245.39

The GRS Spot (SYS II = 152)  transits at   7:21 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 152)  transits at  17:16 U.T.

The Oval BA  (SYS II = 152) in STZ  transits at  7:21 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 152) in STZ  transits at 17:16 U.T.

The White Spot (SYS I = 58) in NEBs transits at  0:00 U.T.
The White Spot (SYS I = 58) in NEBs transits at  9:50 U.T.
The White Spot (SYS I = 58) in NEBs transits at 19:40 U.T.

2010 / 8 / 26  U.T. DATE , CM AT  0:00 U.T SYS I= 216.21 SYS II= 35.86

The GRS Spot (SYS II = 152)  transits at   3:12 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 152)  transits at  13: 7 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 152)  transits at  23: 3 U.T.

The Oval BA  (SYS II = 152) in STZ  transits at  3:12 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 152) in STZ  transits at 13: 7 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 152) in STZ  transits at 23: 3 U.T.

The White Spot (SYS I = 58) in NEBs transits at  5:31 U.T.
The White Spot (SYS I = 58) in NEBs transits at 15:21 U.T.

2010 / 8 / 27  U.T. DATE , CM AT  0:00 U.T SYS I= 14.41 SYS II= 185.98

The GRS Spot (SYS II = 152)  transits at   8:59 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 152)  transits at  18:55 U.T.

The Oval BA  (SYS II = 152) in STZ  transits at  8:59 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 152) in STZ  transits at 18:55 U.T.

The White Spot (SYS I = 58) in NEBs transits at  1:12 U.T.
The White Spot (SYS I = 58) in NEBs transits at 11:02 U.T.
The White Spot (SYS I = 58) in NEBs transits at 20:52 U.T.

Jupiter in View for 2010

For observers of the planet Jupiter, who rise early or stay up late, the planet is a prime target in the finder’s crosshair or Telrad circle. This is a good time to see the Great Red Spot,  as it stands out alone against a dull white  STrZ and SEB region.  At this time the usual dark SEB is hidden behind a higher layer of white clouds or haze.  When this happens the GRS is a easy target.   It may also be possible to see the Oval BA that follows the GRS by some  20 degrees.

Here are some Universal dates and time to look for both of these features.
2010 / 7 / 22  U.T. DATE , CM AT  0:00 U.T SYS I= 86.13 SYS II= 172.62

The GRS Spot (SYS II = 152)  transits at   9:21 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 152)  transits at  19:17 U.T.

The Oval BA  (SYS II = 165) in STZ  transits at  9:43 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 165) in STZ  transits at 19:38 U.T.

2010 / 7 / 23  U.T. DATE , CM AT  0:00 U.T SYS I= 243.98 SYS II= 323.09

The GRS Spot (SYS II = 152)  transits at   5:12 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 152)  transits at  15: 8 U.T.

The Oval BA  (SYS II = 165) in STZ  transits at  5:34 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 165) in STZ  transits at 15:29 U.T.

2010 / 7 / 24  U.T. DATE , CM AT  0:00 U.T SYS I= 41.84 SYS II= 113.2

The GRS Spot (SYS II = 152)  transits at   1: 4 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 152)  transits at  10:59 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 152)  transits at  20:55 U.T.

The Oval BA  (SYS II = 165) in STZ  transits at  1:25 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 165) in STZ  transits at 11:21 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 165) in STZ  transits at 21:17 U.T.

2010 / 7 / 25  U.T. DATE , CM AT  0:00 U.T SYS I= 200.04 SYS II= 263.67

The GRS Spot (SYS II = 152)  transits at   6:50 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 152)  transits at  16:46 U.T.

The Oval BA  (SYS II = 165) in STZ  transits at  7:12 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 165) in STZ  transits at 17: 8 U.T.

2010 / 7 / 26  U.T. DATE , CM AT  0:00 U.T SYS I= 357.89 SYS II= 54.14

The GRS Spot (SYS II = 152)  transits at   2:41 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 152)  transits at  12:37 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 152)  transits at  22:33 U.T.

The Oval BA  (SYS II = 165) in STZ  transits at  3: 3 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 165) in STZ  transits at 12:59 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 165) in STZ  transits at 22:54 U.T.

2010 / 7 / 27  U.T. DATE , CM AT  0:00 U.T SYS I= 155.74 SYS II= 204.26

The GRS Spot (SYS II = 152)  transits at   8:29 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 152)  transits at  18:24 U.T.

The Oval BA  (SYS II = 165) in STZ  transits at  8:50 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 165) in STZ  transits at 18:46 U.T.

2010 / 7 / 28  U.T. DATE , CM AT  0:00 U.T SYS I= 313.59 SYS II= 354.38

The GRS Spot (SYS II = 152)  transits at   4:20 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 152)  transits at  14:16 U.T.

The Oval BA  (SYS II = 165) in STZ  transits at  4:42 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 165) in STZ  transits at 14:37 U.T.

2010 / 7 / 29  U.T. DATE , CM AT  0:00 U.T SYS I= 111.8 SYS II= 144.84

The GRS Spot (SYS II = 152)  transits at   0:11 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 152)  transits at  10: 7 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 152)  transits at  20: 3 U.T.

The Oval BA  (SYS II = 165) in STZ  transits at  0:33 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 165) in STZ  transits at 10:29 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 165) in STZ  transits at 20:24 U.T.

2010 / 7 / 30  U.T. DATE , CM AT  0:00 U.T SYS I= 269.65 SYS II= 295.31

The GRS Spot (SYS II = 152)  transits at   5:58 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 152)  transits at  15:54 U.T.

The Oval BA  (SYS II = 165) in STZ  transits at  6:20 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 165) in STZ  transits at 16:15 U.T.

2010 / 7 / 31  U.T. DATE , CM AT  0:00 U.T SYS I= 67.85 SYS II= 85.43

The GRS Spot (SYS II = 152)  transits at   1:50 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 152)  transits at  11:45 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 152)  transits at  21:41 U.T.

The Oval BA  (SYS II = 165) in STZ  transits at  2:11 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 165) in STZ  transits at 12: 7 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 165) in STZ  transits at 22: 3 U.T.

2010 / 8 / 1  U.T. DATE , CM AT  0:00 U.T SYS I= 225.7 SYS II= 235.9

The GRS Spot (SYS II = 152)  transits at   7:36 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 152)  transits at  17:32 U.T.

The Oval BA  (SYS II = 165) in STZ  transits at  7:58 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 165) in STZ  transits at 17:54 U.T.

2010 / 8 / 2  U.T. DATE , CM AT  0:00 U.T SYS I= 23.91 SYS II= 26.37

The GRS Spot (SYS II = 152)  transits at   3:27 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 152)  transits at  13:23 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 152)  transits at  23:19 U.T.

The Oval BA  (SYS II = 165) in STZ  transits at  3:49 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 165) in STZ  transits at 13:45 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 165) in STZ  transits at 23:40 U.T.

2010 / 8 / 3  U.T. DATE , CM AT  0:00 U.T SYS I= 181.41 SYS II= 176.48

The GRS Spot (SYS II = 152)  transits at   9:15 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 152)  transits at  19:10 U.T.

The Oval BA  (SYS II = 165) in STZ  transits at  9:36 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 165) in STZ  transits at 19:32 U.T.

Lunar Observing Resource Guides

Our Moon, when viewed thru the eyepiece of a telescope shows us a great variety of surface detail. Besides the many craters of all sizes and complexity there are mare, mountains, rilles, and small domes spread across the surface. Under a changing illumination these features take a different view in the eyepiece.

Guidebooks and maps are well worth it when locating and identify these named features. Any of the variety of references here will be of great value to assist a Lunar Observer with that task. Not an exhaustive list of all resources, rather a good material to start with. Each resource type is separated into one of six category type. You’ll notice the majority of the resources are Internet available, with the exception of the first two categories.
Lunar Resources

Books

The Moon – Peter Grego
The Modern Moon – Charles Wood

Maps and Atlas

Rukl’s Atlas of the Moon – Rukl
Sky & Telescope Field Map of the Moon – Reverse and Nonreverse
The Lunar 100 – Sky & Telescope – Charles Wood

Online magazines

ALPO The Lunar Observer – http://moon.scopesandscapes.com/ALPO_Lunar_Program.htm

GLR (Geologic Lunar Research Group)  Selenology Today -   http://digilander.libero.it/glrgroup/

Online maps and places

Observing the Lunar 100 – http://www.eastvalleyastronomy.org/downloads/OTL100.pdf
Hitchhikers’s Guide to the Moon – http://www.shallowsky.com/moon/hitchhiker.html

Moon Atlas – http://the-moon.wikispaces.com/Lunar+Maps

Lunar Picture of the Day – http://www2.lpod.org/wiki/
Group -  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/lunar-observing/
Wiki Moon – http://the-moon.wikispaces.com/Introduction
Eclipse – http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/eclipse.html

Organizations with a Lunar Section

ALPO -  http://www.alpo-astronomy.org/

Software

Virtual Moon Atlas (VMA) free -  http://ap-i.net/avl/en/start
Lunar Terminator Visualization Tool (LTVT) free – http://ltvt.wikispaces.com/LTVT
Lunar Map Pro commercial – http://www.riti.com/prodserv_lunarmappro.htm

The Two Inner Planets

I cannot recall the last time the weather was so good at sunset during April. Our usual rain clouds that prevail mostly during the start of spring weather held back, till the 2nd half of the month. This weather happened at the right time, the planet Mercury was putting on an appearance in the west joining Venus in the same part of the sky. It was good time to show Mercury during the start of the spring public viewing nights at Thomas G. Cupillari Observatory. With Venus serving as a guide, Mercury is easily swept up in the 8 x 50 finder scope on the Clark refractor.
Using the local terrain, I aim the refractor to the approximate point in the western sky where Venus makes its appearance. One or two sweeps of the scope and Venus is found in the 8 x 50 finder. Offsetting Venus in the finder and Mercury is seen. Most of the time I can locate Venus between 7:30 and 7:45 PM EDT, when the Sun is on the western horizon. On April 14, 2010 I swept it up at 7:13 PM EDT, using my hand to shade the Sun from my eyes. It was a good telescope view, very steady gibbous disk, better than any of the precious 8 days that I was able to view it in the scope. It took more time to find Mercury. Rarely had I seen Mercury show a good appearance in the low sky, but tonight the crescent phase was holding steady, if only for a little while. The small nine arc second disk was 20% illuminated. Never have I seen it so well, so low in the sky.
My camera got a work out in April. Sitting on a tripod I would capture from 75 to 90 photographs a night of Venus and Mercury as they moved closer to the horizon. A record 9 out of 16 days that I was able to photograph both planets together. Usually I would only manage 3 days before weather hampered photographing Mercury.

Venus and Mercury

Three Day Composite

The long string of nice skies and warmer temp is now past it’s time. Now it is back to more normal conditions for this time of year.

Resource Material

More times than I can recall club members have ask to shared their digital media with the club at the regular meeting or during social observing nights. Many of items are photographs they have taken; a few are documents they have discovered on the Internet. Usually the photographs are on a directory of a USB memory stick, which are displayed with one of the Imaging software program on the observatory computer. I have seen many great photographs presented in this fashion. It was not always a good presentation method. A better way would have been by using digital slide show software. By using one of these programs text information could have been added to the slide and the photos could be shared with all of the members during the meetings.
The software Impress, part of the Open Office suite of programs, is a free slide show program that is a well suited this purpose. For my slide shows I use an old version of Microsoft PowerPoint, which is not free and very expensive. As with any software learning how to use it takes time. Often the supplied Tutorials are long-winded, and sometimes hard to follow. I find the HELP functions often are more insightful.
Remember now that I have spend a lot of my working years in the Information Technology field, reading many software manuals and documenting procedures for “In House” developed software. I realized how much of a task it could be to learn new software. I have often seen software documentation focus on minor details and impressive features, while burying basic features inside the manual. To that end I have documented the steps to guide the user in creating a basic slide show. Assuming the user knows what a toolbar is and drop down menus are and how to navigate using a mouse. This is all covered in one or two page document. Not all of the step procedure I write will make sense to everyone. Need more information, search the software Help files for details.
So here they are for you to download and follow. First you must download and install the Open Office software suite for the Impress slide show from this web page. http://www.openoffice.org/ You can use the custom install to load only the Impress on your computer or load all of the programs.
Then download my (very) basic documents:

How to make a slide show using Open Office Impress. Text Version .txt

Impress

How to make a slide show using Open Office Impress. WordPad Version .rtf

Impress

If you have Microsoft Office suite then use this one:

How to make a slide show using Microsoft PowerPoint. Text Version .txt

PowerPointInstructions

How to make a slide show using Microsoft PowerPoint. WordPad Version .rtf

PowerPointInstructions

Now if you really get the hang of this and share your photos at the club meetings, you can use you newfound skills by making any number of different informative presentations. One such example is the Konstellation Klouseup show, that former President Joe Kamichitus many years ago. An informative slide show of the deep sky objects of interest in a Constellation that can be observed with a telescope from your backyard. Need reference material to create a Konstellation Kloseup show? Well you’re in luck, for the club’s library is stocked with many observing books well suited for this. Download this list of books in the library and other resource available online.

Observational books in the LAS library and online resources. Text Version .txt

LASGuide

John D Sabia

Musing on Maps

As I have stated many times, I like looking over printed charts of the sky and maps of the worlds of our Solar System. However, not all maps can be used at the telescope. Moisture from dew, which can damage a chart, a windy night, or just plain cold weather can make their use cumbersome at the telescope. Laminated charts are great at keep dew from destroying charts.

Some of you may recall my slide show program review of three downloadable PDF charts. There a number of free star atlas available online for download. Printing selected PDF charts or from software such as Guide or AstroPlanner has some advantages. The paper charts fits easily on a clipboard; one can mark it up with notes, and if dewdrops do fall and make a mess of the chart one can simple print another. I prefer to use a tape or digital recorder for making notes at the eyepiece. Another handy item I use in the field are the 3 x 5 inch AstroCards. They can be stored in a small index card box, or as I have done with my sets, insert them into a 4 x 6 inch photo books.

If you enjoy browsing through a hardcopy atlas, then there are many to choose from. The Sky Atlas 2000 is a very popular and oversized set of charts. It also comes in a laminated version for use at the scope. When I am in need of a closer view of an object of interest then I use Uranometria or one of my software charting programs.

Most of the time a printout from software works fine for my purpose at the eyepiece in the field when used with my Sky Atlas 2000. On occasion I do use one of the 571 Type C Tri Atlas PDF charts instead of a software-generated charts. These are 8.5 x 11 portrait orientated charts of the sky that can be downloaded for free from www.uv.es/jrtorres/triatlas.html website. Check out the other Type A and Type B charts also available at no cost.

A new Atlas in print has just come to market. The Great Atlas of the Sky by Piotr Brych is larger and more detailed than The Sky Atlas 2000. There are 296 pages; each is 24 x 17 inches in size. It’s big. To see how big this atlas is see
www.astro-forum.org/Forum/index.php?showtopic=30784. This is not something to carry around in the field. So that is why each one of the pages can be removed from the Atlas and placed in a protective sleeve. In a price range of some planetarium software packages this atlas is billed as “the world’s largest printed atlas of the entire sky, available on the market”. Less than the price of the no longer available DeskTop Universe software. If this sound like a must have for your library then direct your web browser at www.greatskyatlas.com.

To identify lunar features I use my copy of Rulk’s Atlas of the Moon. The book is not laminated so I prefer not to use it in the field on nights of high humidity. The book is out of print at this time, new observers do have other sources to use when observing the Moon. One that I have just become aware of is the Lunar Field Atlas CI. A large and free PDF file, on the same layout order as Rukl’s Atlas of the Moon, the Lunar Field Atlas CI is by Frederick C. Dase. Lunar Field Atlas covers the lunar surface with 38 separate charts, each from the digitized photographs of the Consolidated Lunar Atlas. Get yourself a copy from the website www.astronomylogs.com/index.html.

The website on the moon by Charles Wood, lpod.wikispaces.com, is a rich source of detail information on many of the well known and lesser known lunar terrain.

These are some of the many fine charts and atlas available now.

John D Sabia

The Globe at Night campaign

The annual event that uses the bright stars of the constellation of Orion to estimate regional brightness levels of the sky at night will get underway again in March 2010. Starting on March 3 and continuing to March 16 you have the opportunity to get involved in this worldwide program. All the information need to participate is online on their web site of the Globe at Night.

The program is based upon limiting magnitude, the faintest star that one can see with one’s eye, without optical aid. No special equipment is require, i.e. binoculars or a telescope, just your own eyes. The stars used in the program are those of the constellation of Orion. Orion is one of the most familiar and easily recognized star patterns in the sky. The other patterns are the stars of the Big Dipper; still not a constellation, and of course the often mistaken for a constellation The Pleiades; still not the Little Dipper. I’ll let you figure that out.

Using charts of Orion downloaded from the Globe at Night web site, participants determine the faintest star one can see with their eye. This along with your longitude and latitude is submitted to the Globe at Night program using an online form or paper form if you wish. The web site has instructions on how you can get the longitude and latitude of you location from online sources or your own personal GPS device. Of the two web sites mentioned on the Globe at Night web site the ItouchMap web site was easier to use.
Use the drop down menu in the upper left to select the Lat – Long menu. You then enter your home address to display your Latitude and Longitude in both degrees minutes and seconds and in decimal degrees. Not to complicated is it?

I have been participation in the program for a number of years, as have other members of the club.

Ok so you’ll need a red light and warm clothing and a good view of the sky where Orion is. And a chair, that’ s all you need. And a computer. I’ll assume since your reading this you have one. But that’s all, really. One last thing, clear skies. A eye patch, one that you may have left over from Talk Like a Pirate Day, is not required.

And the website location http://www.globeatnight.org

Mars Observation Feb 5, 2010 UT

Mars Feb 05, 2010 UT 0:15 – 1:00 UT
CM : 349.8 – 1.0
Instrument: 9.5-inch (241.3-mm) f/15 A. Clark Refractor
Magnification: 172x and 241x
Filters: Blue W80 and Yellow W15
Seeing: 6-7
Transparency (SAC): 4

The first views of 2010 opposition of Mars with the 9.5 inch f/15 A. Clark Refractor

My main objective of the night was imaging various Messier Objects with the RC-20, a project of one of the Astronomy Class students. A thin layer of clouds turned the sky to grayish color. Only the brighter stars of Orion and stars of the other constellations made their way through the clouds. No chance getting acceptable photos of galaxies and planetary nebula on the schedule tonight.

However this made Mars a prime visual observing target with the Clark Refractor. Having missed out looking at the planet with telescopes because of the long periods of overcast skies and single digit temps, this would be a chance to get a look at the planet. Even with the small halo around the planet, seeing conditions were over all very good. Better views as the planet climbed higher.

By the time I arrived most of the 15 or so Astronomy Class students had already taken a look through the eyepiece. When it was my turn at the eyepiece the view was not good at all, slightly out of focus and over magnified for the seeing conditions at the time. A 21mm plossel improved the view considerably. The seeing settled down and the edges of the planet were sharp. The right angle diagonal was removed, so I could view it straight through the scope. I prefer this setup over the other.

The NPC stood out as a very bright white easy target, bordered by a darker collar surface. Above the NPC and rotating into view Mare Acidalium was an easy dusty region. Further south a bright white feature hugging the limb. Half the size of the NPC it was the second brightest feature seen tonight. I have never seen a bright marking as this before close to the equatorial region of Mars, I assumed it to be a very bright morning cloud on the limb. It was surprising easy to see without the use of a filter. It was slightly brighter when viewed with blue and green filters. Near the CM, Sinus Sabaeus stretch across the southern hemisphere of Mars. Rotating out of view was Syrtis Major, marked only as a darker feature close to the limb. Seeing was acceptable when the magnification was increased with a 15 mm Panoptic eyepiece. Steady views more that unstable conditions. More of Sinus Sabawus was seen and the bright white clouds on the limb still an easy target.

Overall I was very pleased with tonight’s first long awaited view of the 2010 opposition of Mars. The students enjoyed the view also their second time around.

This web site has a photo closely matches the eyepiece view.

http://astrosurf.com/prostjp/Galerie%20Photos/Mars/M20100204-00h21UT-JPr.jpg

Mars Resources for 2010
January 18, 2010

These are some web sites and software programs that and observer of the planet Mars should find useful when observing or imaging the planet.
A detail Guide to the planet’s appearance written by Jeffrey Beish for the yearr 2010 is found here :

http://www.alpo-astronomy.org/jbeish/

Identfing and viewing features of Mars can be a difficult task, using simple software can help you determine what is visible from your location. I use these often to confirm what I have seen.
The oldest is Mars Previewer II, which can be downloaded from Sky and Telescope web site amoung other places, and placed on your PC.

Mars Previewer, a direct link to the program. http://www.skyandtelescope.com/resources/software/3304921.html?c=y&page=2

Mars Profiler
The new JavaScript program on Sky and Telescope web site is also useful.

http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/objects/javascript/mars

The software WIMP, Windows International Mars Patrol, software written a number of year back and update over the years covers more tha Mars. It includes all of the major planets, our Moon and the Sun. Not heavy on graphics, but loaded with observing data.

These will be highlighted at February meeting.

John D Sabia

November Observing

Sources for Comets on the Internet

The recent error of positional ephemeredes and magnitude of comet C/2008 O2 on the popular Heavens-Above web site caught a number of observers looking for a bright telescope comet in the sky. I first heard of this from local club members whose attempts to view C/2008 O2 with various scopes, GOTO’s included, with disappointing results. Later on I read of similar accounts on Cloudy Nights Forum.

Since I am known to search for those dim members of the solar system that yield a non-impressive sight in the eyepiece, I was surprised to hear about a bright telescopic comet in the early evening sky. I follow the latest info of comets visible in the sky and was confused at to what I may have missed. The Internet web sources I use to follow position and magnitudes of comets did not list C/2008 O2 as a bright telescopic comet in the position of the sky that the Heavens-Above web site.

Tony Cook, a comet observer and photographer, posted a short list of good sources for comet observing web sites on the Cloudy Nights Forum. For the benefit of all who looked for C/2008 O2 I list here the sources I use on the Internet to aid with observing comets.

A quick simple look at current comets and magnitude are found on these two sites:

BAA Comet Section at http://www.ast.cam.ac.uk/~jds/

German Amateur Observers Society Comet Section at http://kometen.fg-vds.de/fgk_hpe.htm

For site that include Charts:

SkyHound’s Comet Chasing at http://cometchasing.skyhound.com/

Charts with star magnitudes at http://www.shopplaza.nl/astro/

And this web site with observation, analysis, charts, and weeky trends of current comets:

Seiichi Yoshida of Japan comets pages at http://www.aerith.net/comet/weekly/current.html

This site contains a great deal of historical data and useful information a links.

Gray Kronk’s comets web site at http://cometography.com/

The International Comet Quarterly (ICQ) has many pages with information on comet observing.

Dan Green Harvard Observatory at http://www.cfa.harvard.edu/icq/CometMags.html

All of the above sites are useful when planning to view comets in the sky. Happy Hunting.

Observing Jupiter

Jupiter is still in good viewing position in the early evening sky. I find that observing the planet during twilight may better that later in the night. My local seeing conditions are sometimes better shortly after twilight than later. One feature to keep an eye on is the possibility of that the SEB preceding the GRS many be fading in color. Christopher Pellier noted this in photos on the Jupiter Yahoo Group page. If the belt does fade, as it has done so in the past, then the GRS will stand out against a white background region. This will take a while to develop along the length of the belt, and my not occur until the next apparition of Jupiter in our skies. But for now there are a number of dark barges that follow the GRS in the SEB. Opposite the GRS on the other side of the planet the dark spot in the STRZ is still observable.

Here is the list of observing times of these features.

 2009 / 11 / 1  U.T. DATE , CM AT  0:00 U.T SYS I= 2.11 SYS II= 295.66

The GRS Spot (SYS II = 138)  transits at   5:34 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 138)  transits at  15:30 U.T.

The Oval BA  (SYS II = 323) in STZ  transits at  0:45 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 323) in STZ  transits at 10:40 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 323) in STZ  transits at 20:36 U.T.

The Dark Spot (SYS II = 285) in STRz transits at  9:38 U.T.
The Dark Spot (SYS II = 285) in STRz transits at 19:33 U.T.

 2009 / 11 / 2  U.T. DATE , CM AT  0:00 U.T SYS I= 159.96 SYS II= 85.43

The GRS Spot (SYS II = 138)  transits at   1:26 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 138)  transits at  11:22 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 138)  transits at  21:18 U.T.

The Oval BA  (SYS II = 323) in STZ  transits at  6:33 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 323) in STZ  transits at 16:28 U.T.

The Dark Spot (SYS II = 285) in STRz transits at  5:30 U.T.
The Dark Spot (SYS II = 285) in STRz transits at 15:25 U.T.

 2009 / 11 / 3  U.T. DATE , CM AT  0:00 U.T SYS I= 317.46 SYS II= 235.55

The GRS Spot (SYS II = 138)  transits at   7:14 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 138)  transits at  17: 9 U.T.

The Oval BA  (SYS II = 323) in STZ  transits at  2:24 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 323) in STZ  transits at 12:20 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 323) in STZ  transits at 22:16 U.T.

The Dark Spot (SYS II = 285) in STRz transits at  1:21 U.T.
The Dark Spot (SYS II = 285) in STRz transits at 11:17 U.T.
The Dark Spot (SYS II = 285) in STRz transits at 21:13 U.T.

 2009 / 11 / 4  U.T. DATE , CM AT  0:00 U.T SYS I= 115.31 SYS II= 25.66

The GRS Spot (SYS II = 138)  transits at   3: 5 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 138)  transits at  13: 1 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 138)  transits at  22:57 U.T.

The Oval BA  (SYS II = 323) in STZ  transits at  8:11 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 323) in STZ  transits at 18: 7 U.T.

The Dark Spot (SYS II = 285) in STRz transits at  7: 9 U.T.
The Dark Spot (SYS II = 285) in STRz transits at 17: 4 U.T.

 2009 / 11 / 5  U.T. DATE , CM AT  0:00 U.T SYS I= 273.16 SYS II= 176.13

The GRS Spot (SYS II = 138)  transits at   8:52 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 138)  transits at  18:48 U.T.

The Oval BA  (SYS II = 323) in STZ  transits at  4: 3 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 323) in STZ  transits at 13:58 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 323) in STZ  transits at 23:54 U.T.

The Dark Spot (SYS II = 285) in STRz transits at  3: 0 U.T.
The Dark Spot (SYS II = 285) in STRz transits at 12:55 U.T.
The Dark Spot (SYS II = 285) in STRz transits at 22:51 U.T.

 2009 / 11 / 6  U.T. DATE , CM AT  0:00 U.T SYS I= 71.02 SYS II= 325.9

The GRS Spot (SYS II = 138)  transits at   4:44 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 138)  transits at  14:40 U.T.

The Oval BA  (SYS II = 323) in STZ  transits at  9:50 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 323) in STZ  transits at 19:46 U.T.

The Dark Spot (SYS II = 285) in STRz transits at  8:48 U.T.
The Dark Spot (SYS II = 285) in STRz transits at 18:43 U.T.

 2009 / 11 / 7  U.T. DATE , CM AT  0:00 U.T SYS I= 228.52 SYS II= 116.02

The GRS Spot (SYS II = 138)  transits at   0:36 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 138)  transits at  10:32 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 138)  transits at  20:27 U.T.

The Oval BA  (SYS II = 323) in STZ  transits at  5:42 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 323) in STZ  transits at 15:38 U.T.

The Dark Spot (SYS II = 285) in STRz transits at  4:39 U.T.
The Dark Spot (SYS II = 285) in STRz transits at 14:35 U.T.

 2009 / 11 / 8  U.T. DATE , CM AT  0:00 U.T SYS I= 26.37 SYS II= 266.13

The GRS Spot (SYS II = 138)  transits at   6:23 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 138)  transits at  16:19 U.T.

The Oval BA  (SYS II = 323) in STZ  transits at  1:34 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 323) in STZ  transits at 11:29 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 323) in STZ  transits at 21:25 U.T.

The Dark Spot (SYS II = 285) in STRz transits at  0:31 U.T.
The Dark Spot (SYS II = 285) in STRz transits at 10:26 U.T.
The Dark Spot (SYS II = 285) in STRz transits at 20:22 U.T.

 2009 / 11 / 9  U.T. DATE , CM AT  0:00 U.T SYS I= 184.22 SYS II= 56.6

The GRS Spot (SYS II = 138)  transits at   2:14 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 138)  transits at  12:10 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 138)  transits at  22: 6 U.T.

The Oval BA  (SYS II = 323) in STZ  transits at  7:20 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 323) in STZ  transits at 17:16 U.T.

The Dark Spot (SYS II = 285) in STRz transits at  6:17 U.T.
The Dark Spot (SYS II = 285) in STRz transits at 16:13 U.T.

 2009 / 11 / 10  U.T. DATE , CM AT  0:00 U.T SYS I= 341.72 SYS II= 206.37

The GRS Spot (SYS II = 138)  transits at   8: 2 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 138)  transits at  17:58 U.T.

The Oval BA  (SYS II = 323) in STZ  transits at  3:12 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 323) in STZ  transits at 13: 8 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 323) in STZ  transits at 23: 4 U.T.

The Dark Spot (SYS II = 285) in STRz transits at  2:10 U.T.
The Dark Spot (SYS II = 285) in STRz transits at 12: 5 U.T.
The Dark Spot (SYS II = 285) in STRz transits at 22: 1 U.T.

 2009 / 11 / 11  U.T. DATE , CM AT  0:00 U.T SYS I= 139.57 SYS II= 356.48

The GRS Spot (SYS II = 138)  transits at   3:54 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 138)  transits at  13:49 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 138)  transits at  23:45 U.T.

The Oval BA  (SYS II = 323) in STZ  transits at  9: 0 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 323) in STZ  transits at 18:55 U.T.

The Dark Spot (SYS II = 285) in STRz transits at  7:57 U.T.
The Dark Spot (SYS II = 285) in STRz transits at 17:53 U.T.

 2009 / 11 / 12  U.T. DATE , CM AT  0:00 U.T SYS I= 297.42 SYS II= 146.6

The GRS Spot (SYS II = 138)  transits at   9:41 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 138)  transits at  19:37 U.T.

The Oval BA  (SYS II = 323) in STZ  transits at  4:51 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 323) in STZ  transits at 14:47 U.T.

The Dark Spot (SYS II = 285) in STRz transits at  3:49 U.T.
The Dark Spot (SYS II = 285) in STRz transits at 13:44 U.T.
The Dark Spot (SYS II = 285) in STRz transits at 23:40 U.T.

 2009 / 11 / 13  U.T. DATE , CM AT  0:00 U.T SYS I= 94.92 SYS II= 296.72

The GRS Spot (SYS II = 138)  transits at   5:33 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 138)  transits at  15:28 U.T.

The Oval BA  (SYS II = 323) in STZ  transits at  0:43 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 323) in STZ  transits at 10:39 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 323) in STZ  transits at 20:34 U.T.

The Dark Spot (SYS II = 285) in STRz transits at  9:36 U.T.
The Dark Spot (SYS II = 285) in STRz transits at 19:31 U.T.

 2009 / 11 / 14  U.T. DATE , CM AT  0:00 U.T SYS I= 252.77 SYS II= 86.84

The GRS Spot (SYS II = 138)  transits at   1:24 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 138)  transits at  11:20 U.T.
The GRS Spot (SYS II = 138)  transits at  21:16 U.T.

The Oval BA  (SYS II = 323) in STZ  transits at  6:30 U.T.
The Oval BA  (SYS II = 323) in STZ  transits at 16:26 U.T.

The Dark Spot (SYS II = 285) in STRz transits at  5:27 U.T.
The Dark Spot (SYS II = 285) in STRz transits at 15:23 U.T.