I was lucky enough to be invited to spend the Canada Day long weekend on a boat in the North Channel, above Manitoulin Island. Although being on a boat didn't allow me to set up a telescope on a tripod (although ever so slightly, the boat was in constant motion), I did enjoy some amazing naked-eye and binocular views. I was able to see naked-eye stars of magnitude 6.0, but could not see a magnitude 6.3 star nearby, so that gives you an idea of the limiting magnitude. Deep sky objects like the Lagoon Nebula, the Andromeda Galaxy, the Double Cluster in Perseus and the Coathanger were all easily visible to the unaided eye. Perhaps most spectacular was the Milky Way, showing an abundance of detail and dark tendrils through the Great Rift, and the Scutum Star Cloud was perhaps at the best I've ever seen it. There were also many, many satellites and meteors. Even without a telescope, it was a wonderful observing experience. So this summer when you're up at the cottage or vacationing in a dark site, remember to bring your scope and binoculars, or even just take the time to get out under a really dark sky and enjoy.
Even though I couldn't get any astrophotos, at this point I was eagerly awaiting the fall of night and some very dark skies.
Lots of members were out at the Binbrook Conservation Area last night for the triple onjunction of Venus, Jupiter and Mercury. Lots of good skies, good observing, good people and good times.
Here is one image of the three planets reflected in Lake Niapenco. There were lots of shutters clicking, so hopefully there will be more images soon!
More information on the conjunction can be found in the May issue of the club newletter, Event Horizon, under "The Sky This Month".
I know some of the HAA members ventured out to Binbrook tonight to enjoy the scenery and the clear skies to watch the 3 planet conjunction. Tonight is the night that the 3 planets (Venus, Jupiter and Mercury) form a perfect triangle. But the conjunction has been visible for several nights and will remain visible for a couple of more (if weather permits) - though the ideal triangle shape won't be there. However they are within 5 degrees of each other low in the western sky shortly after sunset.
I visually saw the conjunction last night from my backyard so tonight I decided to take some pictures from my deck. Here is what I consider to be the best of my bunch. As you can see, you don't have to travel to enjoy astronomy. Often your backyard is good enough. Just remember to look up once in a while.
(click on image to enlarge in new window)
Lower right is Venus (brightest), to the left is Jupiter (next brightest) and to the top right is Mercury.
Just went outside and shot this image of tonight's full moon through my 80mm achromat (Antares Sentinel), ISO 200, 1/1250 second. This month, next month and the month after all have the full moon time around perigee, the time of the moon's closest approach to Earth, making for lovely, big full moon rises. Enjoy!
The HAA were out once again in our community, bringing the fun and excitement of astronomy to the public. This time we were at the Niagara Gateway Tourism Centre in Grimsby on Sat May 18.
Tony and his 11" Celestron waiting and hoping for a break in the clouds
Despite the clouds, visitors were having fun.
On very rare occasions, the Moon would tease and peak briefly from behind the clouds. We didn't have any significant clearing to allow us glimpses of Jupiter, Saturn or even sustained views of the Moon. Disappointing from that perspective.
Joe helping out a new astronomer
However, many of the people who stopped by were fascinated with the gear and asked lots of questions. A couple of people even brought scopes they were having troubles with and we were able to lend a hand. So it was a successful event from that point of view.
Thanks also go to everyone who brought donations of food for the local food banks.
Our next event will be Sat Jul 13 at TB McQuesten Park - hope to see you there and keep looking up.
This is a blog of recent observing sessions, meetings, happenings within the HAA. Feel free to contribute!
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