1987 Observing Sessions

July 10
Time: 21:30 - 23:00 EDT
Location: University of Toronto, Scarborough
Telescope: Questar 12-inch
Activity: Saturn photography

Using the University's 12-inch Questar, located in the east end of Toronto, I took several photos of Saturn, with some good results (photos coming soon).

July 16/17
Time: 23:30 - 03:30 EDT
Location: University of Toronto, Scarborough
Telescope: Questar 12-inch
Activity: Astrophotography

Looked for Comet Sorrels (estimated mag. was 10.5) but did not see it. Took several photos of the Moon and Jupiter with the 12-inch Questar, with some good results. (photos coming soon).

July 17/18
Time: 21:30 - 03:30 EDT
Location: University of Toronto, Scarborough
Telescope: Questar 12-inch
Activity: Astrophotography

Took several photos of Saturn with some good results (photos coming soon). I also looked at some brighter Messier objects - M57 was very well defined, while M13 was resolved to the core! This telescope in a dark sky would be amazing!

July 20
Time: 22:00 - 00:00 EDT
Location: Oshawa
Telescope: Meade 8-inch LX2 SCT
Activity: Deep Sky Observing

From Walter MacDonald's backyard in Oshawa. Good clear sky, I could see part of the Summer Milky Way. Observed many Messier objects, plus 1 "new" deep sky object: NGC 5195.

July 28/29
Time: 21:00 - 01:30 EDT
Location: Claremont, Ontario
Telescope: Meade 8-inch LX2 SCT
Activity: Deep Sky Observing

I went scouting for a medium-dark sky site, within half hour of Toronto. I found a golf course called Cherry Downs, located between the towns of Brougham and Claremont, which are north of Pickering. I quickly got permission to observe from the golf course by the owner, who was in a very good mood after having had a few drinks too many!!

The owner (with drink in hand!) and one of the grounds keepers joined me at the telescope for about an hour at which time a homogeneous auroral arc flared up to a great aurora which lasted about an hour (photos coming soon). The sky was fairly dark and I enjoyed good views of several Messier objects.

July 31
Time: 22:30 - 23:30 EDT
Location: Claremont, Ontario
Telescope: Meade 8-inch LX2 SCT
Activity: Deep Sky Observing

I took a chance, and got clouded out. No observing.

August 21 - 22

Starfest '87

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

Arrived on Friday evening. Observed several Messier objects then at about midnight it clouded over, and later in the night it rained. Went home Saturday evening because it was cloudy.

August 29/30
Time: 22:00 - 06:00 EDT
Location: The Farm
Telescope: Meade 8-inch LX2 SCT
Activity: Deep Sky Observing

FarmFest '87. With Walter MacDonal, Doug Clapp, and Randy Hendriks. I was dewed up most of the night because I fried my heating element (the wires short circuted with a fizzle and a cloud of smoke!). I observed a few Messier objects, a few meteors, and saw the Zodiacal Lights for the first time.

September 24
Time: 20:00 - 23:00 EDT
Location: University of Toronto, Scarborough
Telescope: Questar 12-inch
Activity: Deep Sky Observing

Looked for Comet Rudenko (1987u) but failed to find it, probably because it was only 10 degrees above the horizon and I was viewing over severly light polluted skies. Saw NGC 7009, the "Saturn Nebula", which looked very much like an out-of-focus Saturn. I observed 1 "new" deep sky object: NGC 7772.

September 25
Time: 20:30 - 22:30 EDT
Location: Claremont, Ontario
Telescope: Meade 8-inch LX2 SCT
Activity: Deep Sky Observing

From Cherry Downs Golf Course. Observed 1 "new" deep sky object: NGC 7380, as well as several Messier objects.

November 10
Time: 18:15 - 19:15 EST
Location: My Backyard
Telescope: Meade 8-inch LX2 SCT
Activity: Comet Bradfield

From the balcony in my backyard in Scarborough, I first spotted Comet Bradfield in 16 x 50 binoculars. It was easy to see in the binoculars and there was even the hint of a very small tail. In the telescope at 100x, the nucleus was bright and condensed, while a very wide fan-shaped tail was hard to distinguish from the large coma. Its magnitude was about 5.5.

November 14
Time: 18:00 - 20:00 EDT
Location: Claremont, Ontario
Telescope: Meade 8-inch LX2 SCT
Activity: Comet Bradfield

From Cherry Downs Golf Course. Comet Bradfield was quite impressive with a noticeable tail at 50x, which was not as wide & fan-shaped as I had observed on November 10. Tonight the tail was longer and thinner. Two brighter stars were shining through the Comet's tail (neat effect). The comet was in the same field of view as NGC 6633 in Ophiuchus. Its magnitude was about 5.

Year End Stats
No. of observing sessions 11
Approx. telescope time 36 hours
"New" deep sky objects found 3
No. of comets seen 1
No. of auroral displays seen 1
Total deep sky objects observed by end of '87 289
Observing Frequency
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
0 0 0 0 0 0 5 2 2 0 2 0


Final Comments: A very poor year for deep sky observing (in fact, the worst ever!). I spent lots of time doing planetary photography using the University's telescope and doing casual Messier observing. Saw a nice comet and a nice aurora.