We had a great night tonight for our public stargazing night at McQuesten Park in Hamilton. Well over a hundred people visited more than a dozen members with a wide variety of scopes. We had clear skies so lots of interesting things to see. Moon, Saturn, Globular Clusters, double stars and more. Met a lot of really nice people and had fun showing night sky objects and answering lots of good questions.
(click on image to see larger version)
We even saw a new, previously unrecognized (as far as we know) feature on the Moon which we have affectionately identified as the Lunar Diamond - Palus Somni - which in the lighting we had tonight, formed a perfect large diamond shape right next to Mare Crisium. While visible in scopes, it was more pronounced in a pair of 15x70 binos where it was first identified. Perhaps the 3D nature of binos makes it easier to spot.
Any way, the HAA would like to thank everyone who came out to help and those who participated. We're glad you joined us and had fun. We really enjoyed your company.
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!
This is a blog of recent observing sessions, meetings, happenings within the HAA. Feel free to contribute!
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