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Personal Astronomy Blogs

Visual and photographic observations of Near Earth Asteroid 433 Eros

DChapman's picture

Has anyone else been viewing or photographing Eros during its current close approach? I found it in Leo the other night using 7x50 binoculars in less-than-perfect skies. Over three hours, I could definitely detect motion against the stars. I could see mag 4.5 stars unaided and mag 9 stars in the binos, so the mag 8.5 asteroid was just visible.

Note to software users: make sure you update the orbital elements if making your own finder charts!

My Top Astronomical Event of 2011: Astronomy . . . A Rebirth

nikki72's picture

Anyone who’s met me knows this to be true: I don’t shut up. I’ve seen or heard the words “too chatty,” “talks too much” and “chatterbox” more times than I can count. Worst still is when friends or family ask me about the universe. But observing? That has always been a lone activity for me.

My Best Astronomy Experience of 2011

JEDGAR's picture

For the second year in a row, I visited two provincial parks on consecutive days. On June 29, I drove from my home in Melville, Saskatchewan, the 3.5 hours to Greenwater Lake Provincial Park, where I met with one of the park interpreters. She and I set up my telescopes on the lawn in front of the concession -- always a good place, since it's on the direct line from the beach to the ice cream! I estimate that 150 people viewed our Sun that day through both H-alpha and white light filters.

My Top Astronomical Experience of 2011, 50 Galaxies within 10° of the North Celestial Pole

BWeir's picture

Galaxies within 10° of the North Celestial Pole - Aug 25 - Sept 5, 2011 Over the end of August new Moon period, along with working on my Herschel 2500 project I went on a trek to the North Pole. On a popular internet forum a bit of a joke challenge went out to observe 50 galaxies within 10 degrees of the pole. This peeked my curiosity. I fired up Megastar and put in a few limits and came up with a chart of the pole with all galaxies that my 12.5" scope should be able to pick up. There are probably close to 100 galaxies on this chart and being the bit of an obsessive that I am, I NEEDED to find them.

I started on the night of August 25th and rather easily found 8. I was immediately hooked. I finished up the list on the night of Sept 5th by staying up late and closly after Moon set logged the last 3. It took a total of 5 sessions to log 8 NGCs, 6 ICs, 26 UGCs, 6 PGCs, 2 MACs, 1 MGC and 1 CGCG for the total of 50. I won't get into the gritty boring details of all these very faint and small galaxies but I will say that I was surprised at the detail I could see in many of them. For all but the NGCs and ICs the descriptions are mostly small to very small and faint to extremely faint. Magnifications used varied between 181X up to 456X to tease out those tiny faint ones. . My favorite view was of the core of the Abell Galaxy Cluster 2247 where I was able to see 6 galaxies all within one 300X FOV. The chain of galaxies that comprise the brightest of the NGC 2300 group was also wonderful.

The galaxies that I observed listed by catalogue are.

NGC 1544, 2268, 2276, 2300, 2336, 3057, 3172, 6251

IC 440, 442, 469, 499, 512, 1143

UGC 115, 392, 1285, 3410, 3435, 3500, 3528, 3549, 3654, 3661, 3670, 3993, 4078, 4262, 4601, 5658, 8264, 9205, 9650, 9668, 10054, 10222, 10280, 10471, 10923, 11495

PGC 6510, 59174, 59211, 59212, 59122, 59143

MAC 0116+8459, 1651+8130

MCG +14-07-021

CGCG 362-35

I actually could have finished the project sooner but I lost count of where I was on the night of the 4th because I also wanted to take advantage of the ubber excellent conditions we had that weekend to work on the Herschels. As well in the middle of it all was a night spent at the Cowichan Valley Starfinders star party, where through a friend's fine f/6 20 inch Tectron dobsonian I had my second ever view of 2 components of Einstein's Cross. And lets not forget how at that time Comet C/2009 P1 (Garradd) was putting on a very fine show.

So as can be seen that although the focus of the week was the galaxies north of 80 project it was in general just a very fine week to be involved in this hobby.

Bill Weir, Metchosin B.C. (Victoria Centre)

My Top Astronomical Experience of 2011

DRBoddam's picture

Ever since I was young and got my first telescope I’ve always wanted to see the sun. Of course you can’t actually look at the sun, at least not directly. My first telescope was something that might have been featured on the “Cheap Astronomy” podcast—a three inch Newtonian but it came with a projection screen eyepiece attachment. I tried in vain to see sunspots and I guess, since then, that’s been my obsession. I’ve wanted to see the sun and learn as much as I can about it.

Best Astronomical Experience of 2011

JPKulczycki's picture

This year began with an effort to get into astrophotography while fully appreciating the limitations of m my Celestron  Advanced GoTo mount. There was no way I would be able to use my 9.25 tube from my observatory deep in suburban London, Ontario.  I was able to find another RASC member who had a larger mount but wanted more image scale for his own astrophotoraphy endeavours. I came  away from this trade with a nice Stellarvue 102mm ED refractor. It just loves riding on the mount.

2011 Top Astronomical Experience (ok two of them)

pgray's picture

Well 2011 for myself started off with a Bang! I should say for my daughter, Kathryn Aurora Gray it started with a Bang and for me began a ride of a lifetime. You see on January 2nd of 2011 Kathryn discovered her first supernova, 2011lt, at the ripe old age of 10, yes 10! This would make her the youngest person to make such a discovery and would lead her on a path we could not have imagined.

From where it came...

gscratch's picture

My interest in Astronomy and astrophotography began 32 years ago.  I was taken by the night sky, and a special uncle and my mother provided me a small refractor.  Truth be told, I never saw a star through that telescope, save our own, but I was never the less pleased with it.  

Lance Taylor's Astrophotography (Edmonton RASC)

lancetay's picture

In 2003, I was the recipient of the Bryce Heartwell Memorial Award for Excellence in Astroimaging from the Edmonton RASC. This was the same year I had this photo published as Astronomy Picture Of The Day - which was taken with an "old school" film camera (remember those?).

Aurora Over Edmonton
APOD: November 4. 2003 by Lance Taylor

New Blog Feature Added - Name that Blog

admin's picture

RASCals who are using the Personal Astronomy Blog features on the National Website will now find that there is a new option under the "My Account" settings where you can give your Blog a name and also a description of your particular take on the universe. Note that Blogs are combined with your photo so to have a complete "profile" you should update all of the settings under "My Account" that you can.

Enjoy and do provide feedback at

RASC Webteam

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