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Dave Chapman's Astronomy Blog (Dave XVII)

Urban Observing Report—the Go To Experience

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My motto is “there’s always something to look at,” and this is equally true for the urban observer, for whom the Moon is not just another source of sky glow, but a object of interest itself. There’s not much deep-sky observing to be had, but lunar, planetary, and stellar observing from the city is lots of fun. It’s certainly better than nothing!

Maple Sugar Moon—The Mi'qmaw Year

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Today is March 1, St. David’s Day (patron saint of Wales).

It is also New Moon, and the start of a new lunation for the lunar observers out there. The crescent Moon won’t be placed well in the sky until at least Sunday night, and we may have to wait for the weather to clear before we actually observe the young Moon in Nova Scotia.

"Explore the Moon" draft beginners lunar observing program

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Hi folks,

if you subscribe to the special email list you will have exclusive access to a new resource: an updated mirror-reversed labelled lunar feature chart.

You may have noticed the updated labelled lunar feature chart in the 2014 Handbook, originally by Roy Bishop, and recently updated by Michael Gatto.

Getting started in Astronomy—Then and Now

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Getting started in Astronomy—Then and Now

Two amateur astronomers with a 30-year age difference discuss how they got started stargazing

Urban observing with the Observer's Handbook

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It was clear in Nova Scotia last night, but I did not fancy the drive to Saint Croix Observatory, so I observed from my light-polluted backyard with my 12" Skywatcher "Go To" telescope.

The seeing was OK, but there were moments of clarity, which I used to observe Jupiter. The Galilean satellites were all on display, far from the primary, so there were no "phenomena" to view. The not-so-Great not-so-Red Spot was due to transit at 1:09 a.m. local time, so I stayed up for that. It is very pale, more of a hole in the SEB than a thing in itself.

Visual and photographic observations of Near Earth Asteroid 433 Eros

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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 Experience of 2011: Exploring the Far-Southern Skies

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Southern SkiesChoosing my top astronomical experience for 2011 is easy for me, as my wife and I spent 5 weeks in New Zealand, travelling all over, often staying in places away from large cities. The view we had of the far-southern skies almost defies description.

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