1985 Observing Sessions

January 28
Time: 21:30 - 22:30 EST
Location: My Backyard
Telescope: Meade 8-inch LX2 SCT
Activity: Variable stars

Set up in the backyard for some variable star estimates. Temperature was a "comfortable" minus 5 deg C.
R Leonis = mag. 6.5
Z Ursae Majoris = mag. 8.5
I left the telescope set up to observe Comet Levy the next morning at 04:00, but it clouded over.

February 27
Time: 19:00 - 21:00 EST
Location: Longwood Park, Don Mills
Telescope: Meade 8-inch LX2 SCT
Activity: Deep Sky Observing

About 10 people came to this organized Toronto Centre city star party. Observed a few deep sky objects, plus variable star estimate. R Leonis = mag. 8.0

March 21
Time: 20:30 - 21:30 EST
Location: My Backyard
Telescope: Meade 8-inch LX2 SCT
Activity: Variable stars

Set up in the backyard for some variable star estimates.
R Leonis = mag. 8.9
Z Ursae Majoris = mag. 8.4

April 11
Time: 19:30 - 22:00 EST
Location: Richmond Hill, Ontario
Telescope: Meade 8-inch LX2 SCT
Activity: Variable stars, asteroids

Set up in the parking lot at the David Dunlap Observatory. Estimate for R Leonis = mang. 8.9. Also observed the asteroid Vesta at about magnitude 6.

April 16
Time: 20:00 - 22:00 EST
Location: Richmond Hill, Ontario
Telescope: Meade 8-inch LX2 SCT
Activity: Deep Sky Observing, asteroids, variable stars

Set up in the parking lot at the David Dunlap Observatory. Variable star estimates:
R Leonis = mag. 8.9
Z Ursae Majoris = mag. 8.9
Observed Vesta again, which moved about two degrees from April 11. Observed 1 "new" deep sky object: NGC 2903.

April 28 & May 8
Time: 21:58 & 21:50 EDT
Location: My Backyard
Telescope: n/a
Activity: Vesta

Spotted Vesta in my 16 x 50 binoculars.

May 19/20
Time: 23:00 - 01:00 EDT
Location: Long Sault Conservation Area
Telescope: Meade 8-inch LX2 SCT
Activity: Deep Sky Observing

Arrived on site at about 21:00 but it clouded over. Doug Clapp and Bob May were also there. We then sat in our cars while it rained heavily! Fortuantely by about 23:00 it cleared and we set up our telescopes. I observed 1 "new" deep sky object: NGC 4656.

June 24/25
Time: 23:00 - 02:30 EDT
Location: Long Sault Conservation Area
Telescope: Meade 8-inch LX2 SCT
Activity: Deep Sky Observing

Arrived on site at 22:00 with Doug Clapp and Randy Hendriks. The sky was good, but not excellent. It was cool with a temperature of just 10 deg. C., and little wind. I observer 10 "new" deep sky objects: NGC 6800, NGC 6830, NGC 6823, NGC 6802, NGC 6815, NGC 6885, Cr 399, NGC 6834, Harvard 20, NGC 6871.

July 20/21
Time: 22:30 - 02:00 EDT
Location: Long Sault Conservation Area
Telescope: Meade 8-inch LX2 SCT
Activity: Deep Sky Observing

Arrived on site at 22:30 with Doug Clapp and Randy Hendriks. The sky was good at first, but later we had some haze and clouds, but no dew. I observer 7 "new" deep sky objects: NGC 6400, NGC 6302, NGC 6284, NGC 7331, NGC 7457, NGC 7448, NGC 6217.

August 9/10

Starfest '85

Time: 22:00 - 02:00 EDT
Location: Mount Forest, Ontario
Telescope: Meade 8-inch LX2 SCT
Activity: Deep Sky Observing

Arrived on Friday afternoon at about 15:30. Camped out with Doug Clapp, Randy Hendriks, Walter MacDonald, Jamie Fougere, Steve Atkinson. We had good observing weather on Friday night, but clouds and thunderstorms on Saturday night. I left the site to go back home on Saturday at about 18:00.


In 1985 there still was no big tent and as you can see the campground was relatively empty.

On Friday night I observed 16 "new" deep sky objects: NGC 6522, NGC 6528, NGC 6520, NGC 6540, NGC 6624, NGC 6774, NGC 6818, NGC 6652, NGC 6645, NGC 6756, NGC 6781, NGC 6760, NGC 6751, NGC 6804, NGC 6960.

August 11
Time: 22:30 - 01:00 EDT
Location: University of Toronto, Scarborough
Telescope: Questar 12-inch
Activity: Deep Sky Observing

The U of T observatory is located in the east end of Toronto. Walter MacDonald, a student there at the time, took me and Doug Clapp there for some observing. This was my first time using this telescope, but after I started attending U of T in the fall of 1986 I used this telescope several times. We looked at a few deep sky objects, including 1 "new" deep sky object: NGC 404. Later, while Doug Clapp fell asleep on the floor of the observatory, Walter and I looked for Comet Gacobini-Zinner, but after a half-hour search we still could not find it.

August 12
Time: 02:00 - 02:30 EDT
Location: My Backyard
Telescope: n/a
Activity: Perseid Meteor Shower

I observed the Perseid Meteor Shower from my backyard for half-hour. Saw 8 Perseids and 1 sporadic meteor.

August 16/17
Time: 23:00 - 05:00 EDT
Location: The Farm
Telescope: Meade 8-inch LX2 SCT
Activity: Deep Sky Observing

Arrived at The Farm at 22:00. Also there were Walter MacDonald, Doug Clapp, Randy Hendriks. Excellent sky throught the night. I observed 13 "new" deep sky objects: NGC 5641, NGC 5466, NGC 5533, NGC 6704, NGC 6649, IC 1295, NGC 6997, NGC 7008, NGC 7082, NGC 891, NGC 7662, NGC 7332, NGC 7217.

Left to right: Randy, Doug, Walter.

Randy, Doug, Walter


August 17/18
Time: 22:30 - 03:00 EDT
Location: The Farm
Telescope: Meade 8-inch LX2 SCT
Activity: Deep Sky Observing
Still at The Farm with the same friends. I observed 21 "new" deep sky objects: NGC 6517, NGC 6539, Harvard 19 (= Tr 32), NGC 6426, NGC 6535, NGC 6366, NGC 6181, NGC 6239, NGC 6791, NGC 6703, NGC 6905, NGC 7006, NGC 6934, NGC 6891, NGC 7606, NGC 7727, NGC 7723, NGC 246, NGC 255, NGC 157, NGC 151.

In the background is Walter's almost completed
observatory which houses a C-8. Outside are Doug's,
Randy's, and Paul's telescopes, all Meade 8-inch LX2's.


November 7
Time: 20:00 - 22:00 EST
Location: My Backyard
Telescope: Meade 8-inch LX2 SCT
Activity: Comets

At 20:20 I spotted Comet Hartley-Good. At 62x it is very faint with a large coma, no tail visible.
At 21:46 I spotted Comet Halley. Found easily at 62x. Round and about twice as large as Hartley-Good, no tail either.

December 7
Time: 20:00 - 20:30 EST
Location: My Backyard
Telescope: Meade 8-inch LX2 SCT
Activity: Comet Halley

First spotted in 16 x 50 binoculars. In the 8-inch it's just a round patch with no tail. Rather disappointing. The sky however, was not very transparent on this night.

Year End Stats
No. of observing sessions 15
Approx. telescope time 37.5 hours
"New" deep sky objects found 70
No. of comets seen 2
No. of auroral displays seen 0
Total deep sky objects observed by end of '85 282
Observing Frequency
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1 1 1 2 1 1 1 5 0 0 1 1


Final Comments: A pretty good year for observing. I was able to make the most out of only a few trips to dark country skies.