1988 Observing Sessions

January 21
Time: 18:30 - 21:30 EST
Location: Morningside Park, Scarborough
Telescope: Meade 8-inch LX2 SCT
Activity: Deep Sky Observing

Toronto Centre star party held at Morningside Park, in Toronto's east end. There were about 15 people in attendance, it was windy with a temperature of about minus 5 deg. C. There was a beautiful conjunction of the moon and Venus low in the west. I took a few photos of the conjunction (pictures coming soon) and saw several of the better Messier objects.

It was at this star party that I met Otmar Eigler, who then became my observing buddy for the next few years.

February 18
Time: 19:00 - 22:30 EST
Location: University of Toronto, Scarborough
Telescope: Questar 12-inch
Activity: Deep Sky Photography

Used the University of Toronto 12-inch Questar, located in the east end of Toronto. Took a few prime focus shots (f-15) of the Orion Nebula on Ektachrome 400 with some good results (pictures coming soon).

February 27
Time: 19:00 - 20:00 EST
Location: Scarborough
Telescope: n/a
Activity: Wide-angle photos

Took a few pictures of Venus and Jupiter, which were just 6 degrees apart, with my telephoto lens using Ektachrome 400 and exposures of 15 to 40 seconds, depending on the lens.

March 21
Time: 19:30 - 22:30 EST
Location: Long Sault Conservation Area
Telescope: Meade 8-inch LX2 SCT
Activity: Deep Sky Observing

Arrived on site with Otmar Eigler at about 19:00. It was extremely cold (about minus 15 deg. C.). I observed some of the brighter Messier objects, then took some telephoto shots of the Orion region with Fujichrome 1600. (pictures coming soon).

April 9
Time: 21:00 - 22:00 EDT
Location: Claremont, Ontario
Telescope: Meade 8-inch LX2 SCT
Activity: Deep Sky Observing

From Cherry Downs Golf Course close to the towns of Brougham & Claremont (north of Pickering). It was extremely windy so I could not do any worthwhile observing.

April 10/11
Time: 20:30 - 01:00 EDT
Location: Long Sault Conservation Area
Telescope: Meade 8-inch LX2 SCT
Activity: Deep Sky Observing

Arrived on site at about 20:00 with Otmar Eigler. Good clear sky. I observed 9 "new" deep sky objects: NGC 3145, NGC 3115, NGC 3169, NGC 3166, NGC 3242, NGC 3672, NGC 3732, NGC 3637, NGC 4361.

May 11
Time: 21:00 - 23:30 EDT
Location: Long Sault Conservation Area
Telescope: Meade 8-inch LX2 SCT
Activity: Deep Sky Observing

Arrived on site at about 20:30 with Otmar Eigler. Phil Reed and David Aylsworth were also there. We had a good clear sky with low humidity until 23:30 when it clouded over completely. I observed Comet Liller (1988a). It was large, bright and easily visible in the 8 x 50 finder at mag. 7.5. The tail was a fair size, but averted vision was required. It had a bright nucleus with a diffuse coma. I estimated it to be about the same size as M13. Overall, it was very good!

I also observed 3 "new" deep sky objects: NGC 5053, NGC 5172, NGC 5016. I tried finding Comet Tempel 2 (at mag. 10.5) but was unable to spot it.

May 13/14
Time: 21:30 - 00:30 EDT
Location: Long Sault Conservation Area
Telescope: Meade 8-inch LX2 SCT
Activity: Deep Sky Observing

Arrived on site at about 21:00 with Otmar Eigler. Alan Procter was also there with his 7-inch Questar. It was a good clear sky with some light dew later in the night. I observed Comet Liller again, recording similar observations as May 11 (see above), except I estimated the magnitude to be slightly brigher, maybe mag. 7 or 6.5. I took a piggyback photo for 15 min. but for some reason it did not turn out. Also spotted 1 "new" deep sky object: NGC 5012.

July 1
Time: 21:30 - 00:00 EDT
Location: David Dunlap Observatory, Richmond Hill
Telescope: Meade 8-inch LX2 SCT
Activity: Deep Sky Observing

Clear sky but badly light polluted. Saw a few of the usual Messier objects.

July 3
Time: 22:00 - 00:00 EDT
Location: Long Sault Conservation Area
Telescope: Meade 8-inch LX2 SCT
Activity: Deep Sky Observing

Arrived on site at 21:00, Karl Miller was also there. Good clear sky, but the seeing was poor. Looked again for Comet Tempel 2, but could not find it. Observed Saturn and Uranus. Karl showed me Pluto in his 8-inch SCT. It was extremely faint, and I only glimpsed it a couple of times during moments of steady seeing. Observed some of the nicer summer Messier objects.

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

Arrived on site at about 21:30, Karl Miller and David Aylsworth were also there. During the day it was very hot, hazy, and humid, with a daytime high temperature of 37 deg. C. The sky was clear but as you can imagine rather hazy, and the night-time temperature was also still warm. There was an incredible amount of mosquitoes and no dew. Looked again for Comet Tempel 2, but could not find it. Observed several summer Messier objects, and well as Saturn, Uranus, and Mars.

July 17/18
Time: 22:00 01:00 EDT
Location: Long Sault Conservation Area
Telescope: Meade 8-inch LX2 SCT
Activity: Deep Sky Observing

Arrived on site at about 21:30 with Otmar Eigler, David Aylsworth, Guy Nason, and Phil Reed were also there. The sky was quite good. Looked again for Comet Tempel 2, but could not find it. Observed the usual messier objects, plus I took a couple of piggyback shots of Cygnus, which did not turn out because I had bad chemicals when I developed the film.

August 5 - 6

Starfest '88

Time: n/a
Location: Mount Forest, Ontario
Telescope: Meade 8-inch LX2 SCT
Activity: Deep Sky Observing
Arrived on site at about 19:00 on Friday evening. Rained all of Friday evening. Saturday was sunny all day, but clouded over in the evening. We had clear skies only from 22:00 to 00:00 on Saturday, so I did some Messier viewing, and I also tried Comet Tempel 2 again, but no success. Starfest 1988


August 11/12
Time: 23:30 - 04:00 EDT
Location: The Farm
Telescope: Meade 8-inch LX2 SCT
Activity: Deep Sky Observing

FarmFest '88. Arrived on Friday at 21:30. Also there were Walter MacDonald, Doug Clapp, Randy Hendriks, Steve Atkinson, Steve Chomniak, Peter Sargent. Did not stay Saturday night because of bad weather. I observed 3 "new" deep sky objects: NGC 2276, NGC 2300, NGC 40. Also watched for Perseid meteors between 03:30 and 04:00 but saw only 8. There was some cirrus cloud interfering.

August 15
Time: 21:00 - 00:00 EDT
Location: Long Sault Conservation Area
Telescope: Meade 8-inch LX2 SCT
Activity: Deep Sky Observing

Arrived on site at about 20:30 with Otmar Eigler. Clear, cool, with lots of dew. Did an extensive search of Comet Tempel 2 (supposed to be about mag. 10), but still could not find. Took a few piggyback shots on 3M 1000, the results were not the greatest.

Saw a nearly "point" meteor; there was a bright flash, then a fading point of light with a very short train that lasted about 1 second.

August 20/21
Time: 23:30 - 04:00 EDT
Location: The Farm
Telescope: Meade 8-inch LX2 SCT
Activity: Deep Sky Observing

Arrived on site late Saturday afternoon. Also there were Walter MacDonald, Otmar Eigler, Randy Hendriks, and Doug Clapp. When I left Toronto it was sunny, but it was overcast at The Farm. It eventually cleared up around 23:00, but we had clouds on & off all night. Cool with lots of dew. I observed 3 "new" deep sky objects: NGC 1893, NGC 1857, NGC 1664.

September 7/8
Time: 21:00 - 00:30 EDT
Location: Long Sault Conservation Area
Telescope: Meade 8-inch LX2 SCT
Activity: Deep Sky Observing

Arrived on site at about 20:30 with Otmar Eigler. The sky was clear but not very transparent, cool with lots of dew. I looked extensively for Comet Tempel 2 again, but no luck. I observed 7 "new" deep sky objects: NGC 6814, NGC 6755, NGC 672, NGC 925, NGC 1023, NGC 1220, NGC 957.

September 11/12
Time: 21:00 - 01:30 EDT
Location: Elmvale, Ontario
Telescope: Meade 8-inch LX2 SCT
Activity: Deep Sky Observing

I was a house guest at Ted Sparrow's place. I arrived on Sunday evening at about 19:30 and took several shots of a great sunset (pictures coming soon). The sunset was amazing because of high altitude smoke from the huge fires in Yellowstone Park (yes, the fires were so extensive that smoke made it all the way to Ontario!). The smoke and haze made for very poor observing conditions, but I still saw several Messier objects. There was a faint inactive aurora all night long.

September 13
Time: 20:30 - 23:30 EDT
Location: Long Sault Conservation Area
Telescope: Meade 8-inch LX2 SCT
Activity: Deep Sky Observing

Arrived on site at about 20:00, Karl Miller was also there. Good clear sky, with a short aurora. Searched extensively yet again for Comet Tempel 2, but still could not find it. I observed 6 "new" deep sky objects: NGC 7479, NGC 7814, NGC 7177, NGC 16, NGC 23, NGC 7640.

September 25
Time: 20:00 - 23:30 EDT
Location: University of Toronto, Scarborough
Telescope: Questar 12-inch
Activity: Mars photography

Otmar Eigler was there with me. We looked at some Messier objects, but the full moon interfered quite a bit. The light pollution filter and the UHC filter did help. We took several photos of Mars (pictures coming soon).

September 28
Time: 20:00 - 22:00 EDT
Location: Long Sault Conservation Area
Telescope: Meade 8-inch LX2 SCT
Activity: Deep Sky Observing

Arrived on site at about 20:00 with Otmar Eigler. Cool with a few clouds. I expected the moon to rise at about 23:30, but instead it rose at 20:30! (I had made a calculation error). The moon interfered with deep sky observing so I did not do any.

October 18
Time: 20:00 - 22:00 EDT
Location: Morningside Park, Scarborough
Telescope: Meade 8-inch LX2 SCT
Activity: Deep Sky Observing

This was a Toronto Centre organized public star night. We had 8 telescopes and about 200 to 300 people came by to take a look.

December 6/7
Time: 20:00 - 01:30 EDT
Location: Long Sault Conservation Area
Telescope: Meade 8-inch LX2 SCT
Activity: Deep Sky Observing

Arrived on site at about 19:30 with Otmar Eigler. Also there were Rob Burbank and David Christmas. The sky was average, it was mild with a temperature of plus one. I saw several meteors (Geminids) including a magnitude minus 5 fireball that left a train for about 5 seconds. The meteor was so bright that during its duration its light caused my telescope tripod to cast a shadow on the ground! I took eight piggyback photos which turned out well (pictures to come). I also had a very good view of Jupiter.

December 8
Time: 20:00 - 22:00 EDT
Location: Long Sault Conservation Area
Telescope: Meade 8-inch LX2 SCT
Activity: Deep Sky Observing

Arrived on site at about 19:30 with Otmar Eigler. David Christmas was also there. The sky was quite clear, the temperature was a cool minus 10 deg. C, and there was some snow on the ground. We had clouds on & off, then the sky completely clouded over by 22:00. I observed 1 "new" deep sky object: NGC 2392.

Year End Stats
No. of observing sessions 24
Approx. telescope time 73 hours
"New" deep sky objects found 33
No. of comets seen 1
No. of auroral displays seen 2
Total deep sky objects observed by end of '88 322
Observing Frequency
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1 2 1 2 2 0 4 4 5 1 0 2


Final Comments: A very good year for observing, although I did not spend much time on deep sky observing. This year I took a bit more time for astrophotography, as well as planetary observing. I saw Pluto for the first time.