1989 Observing Sessions

January 11 - 16
Time: n/a
Location: California
Telescope: n/a
Activity: Astronomy Trip

Traveled to Los Angeles with Otmar Eigler on a 5 day astronomy trip (non-observing). We visited Mount Palomar observatory, Mount Wilson observatory, Griffith observatory & planetarium, went on the Celestron Factory tour, visited Hollywood General Machining (i.e. Scott Losmandy), Scope City, and Los Angeles Telescope Company. We also attended a meeting of the Orange County Astronomers where we met John Sanford.

January 23
Time: 20:30 - 22:30 EST
Location: Toronto Zoo, parking lot
Telescope: Meade 8-inch LX2 SCT
Activity: Lunar occultation of Regulus

Set up in the parking lot of the Metro Toronto Zoo, on the north-east end of Toronto, with Otmar Eigler. The full moon occulted Regulus at 21:02 EST. The disappearance was somewhat gradual, almost as if Regulus had an acutal discernible disk which slowly disappeared behind the moon. Typically the occulted star blinks out of view in an instant. The occultation lasted 32 minutes, but I missed the re-appearance because I was looking at the wrong area of the moon's limb. Took several photos on slide film, and many turned out well. Because they are on slide film, I don't have a simple way of scanning them to show here.

Sure enough, just five minutes before disappearance the Toronto Zoo security patrol showed up and wanted to kick us out of the property. After a couple of minutes of explaining and a look through our telescopes, we convinced the guards we posed no danger! But it was very close - had they come a few minutes later they would have made us miss the event!

January 27
Time: 20:00 - 00:00 EST
Location: Long Sault Conservation Area
Telescope: Meade 8-inch LX2 SCT
Activity: Deep Sky Observing

This was an organized Toronto Centre observing session, with a total of 14 people and 10 telescopes. I went up with Otmar Eigler. Had a bit of cloud for about 20 minutes, otherwise clear, cool, with lots of frost.

I observed 10 "new" objects: NGC 2438, NGC 2440, NGC 2432, NGC 2421, NGC 2482, NGC 2527, NGC 2467, NGC 2453, NGC 2509, Tr 9 = H2.

February 23
Time: 19:30 - 21:30 EST
Location: University of Toronto, Scarborough
Telescope: Questar 12-inch
Activity: Astrophotography

From the University of Toronto, Scarborough Campus, using the University's 12-inch Questar. I took a couple of exposures of M42 at prime focus (f-15) using Fujichrome 1600 for 15 minutes each. My logbook says the guiding was poor, thus it's probably not worthwhile showing those pictures here.

February 24
Time: 19:30 - 22:30 EST
Location: Long Sault Conservation Area
Telescope: Meade 8-inch LX2 SCT
Activity: Deep Sky Observing

This was an organized Toronto Centre observing session, with a total of 9 people and 7 telescopes. It was extremely cold, with a temperature of minus 15 or less. I spent my time doing some astrophotography through my 800mm Bausch & Lomb spotting scope. I shot M42, the Horsehead, the Double Cluster, and M37 at f-10 for 15 min. each. My logbook says the guiding was pretty good, so I will have to find these pictures to show here.

March 12
Time: 21:30 - 00:00 EST
Location: My Backyard
Telescope: n/a
Activity: Huge Aurora!

This was one of the brightest aurorae in recent times, and certainly the best I've ever seen. It was very extensive, covering half the sky, with lots of colour, such as white, green, and bright red. I usually descibe this aurora as being "blood red" in colour at times. I took about 15 picutures with Fujichrome 1600, but of course I over-exposed all of them! 1600 ISO film from the city with an incredibly bright aurora only takes seconds to over-expose! This display was so bright even from the city, it must have been "terrifying"
from a dark county sky!

March 26
Time: 19:00 - 22:00 EST
Location: Long Sault Conservation Area
Telescope: Meade 8-inch LX2 SCT
Activity: Deep Sky Observing

Went up with Otmar Eigler. Cloudy for most of the evening, but managed to find 3 "new" deep sky objects: IC 2157, NGC 2129, NGC 2266.

April 1
Time: 20:00 - 23:00 EST
Location: Long Sault Conservation Area
Telescope: Meade 8-inch LX2 SCT
Activity: Deep Sky Observing

A total of 8 people were out tonight, including Otmar Eigler, David Christmas, David Aylsworth, and Bob Chapman. We had clouds on & off all evening.

Observed 6 "new" deep sky objects: NGC 4290, NGC 3226, NGC 3227, NGC 3193, NGC 3190, NGC 3185.

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

With Brian H. and Alan Procter. Cool and damp. At 22:30 there was a brief aurora with a glow in the north and a few rays.

Observed 12 "new" deep sky objects: NGC 3177, NGC 3162, NGC 3287, NGC 3301, NGC 3437, NGC 3607, NGC 3608, NGC 3626, NGC 3686, NGC 3684, NGC 3681, NGC 3655.

June 2
Time: 22:00 - 00:00 EDT
Location: Long Sault Conservation Area
Telescope: Meade 8-inch LX2 SCT
Activity: Deep Sky Observing

I did some casual observing in the company of another 4 people. Viewed some of the usual Messier objects, plus saw a very slight aurora.

June 28
Time: n/a
Location: n/a
Telescope: Meade 8-inch LX2 SCT
Activity: Deep Sky Observing

Set out with Otmar Eigler to go out observing at Long Sault, but on the driver over to the site it clouded over. So we decided to go scouting for another observing site. We found a good site called Kendal Recreation Area.

June 29/30
Time: 22:30 - 00:30 EDT
Location: Kendal Recretion Area
Telescope: Meade 8-inch LX2 SCT
Activity: Deep Sky Observing

First time observing at Kendal, with Otmar Eigler. Very clear night, quite cool, no humidity. Star images were crisp, clear pinpoints - on of the best nights ever in terms of seeing. Bright inactive aurora with large arc, white in colour.

I observed 4 "new" deep sky objects: NGC 5248, NGC 5363, NGC 5364, NGC 5566.

July 1/2
Time: 23:00 - 04:00 EDT
Location: The Farm
Telescope: Meade 8-inch LX2 SCT
Activity: Deep Sky Observing

Arrived on site at about 18:00, with Otmar Eigler, Walter MacDonald, Doug Clapp, Randy Henriks. Walter showed me 5 galaxies in the same field of view in his "new" 17.5-inch Dobsonian, ranging from mag. 14 to 15.5 - pretty amazing view.

It was a hazy and humid night, but I still observed 7 "new" deep sky objects: NGC 5574, NGC 5576, NGC 6445, NGC 6440, NGC 7626, NGC 7619, NGC 7469.

July 2/3
Time: 23:00 - 03:00 EDT
Location: The Farm
Telescope: Meade 8-inch LX2 SCT
Activity: Deep Sky Observing

Still at The Farm. Took photos all night (piggyback), with some good results (I will have to find those photos to show here). Saw Saturn occult a mag. 5.4 star - it was very intereting seeing a relatively bright star shining through the gap between the rings and Saturn's disk!

July 7/8
Time: 23:00 - 02:00 EDT
Location: Kendal Recreation Area
Telescope: Meade 8-inch LX2 SCT
Activity: Deep Sky Observing

Arrived on site at about 22:30, with Otmar Eigler and Elizabeth Doucette. Failry clear and "crip" night. I observed 8 "new" deep sky objects: NGC 6316, NGC 6325, NGC 6287, NGC 6235, NGC 6355, NGC 6342, NGC 6309, NGC 6384.

August 16
Time: 20:00 - 00:00 EDT
Location: Morningside Park
Telescope: Meade 8-inch LX2 SCT
Activity: Total Lunar Eclipse

Set up a Morningside Park, in Toronto's east end, as part of a public star night. We estimated about 500 or more people showed up for a look through the telescopes. Two TV stations and two radio stations showed up to cover the event. I was interviewed by CHFI radio, but I don't know if I ever made it onto the airwaves. I shot a roll of 24 exposures, and most turned out well. These are on slide film, so I don't have the means to scan them for showing here.

August 25/26

Starfest '89

Time: 23:30 - 02:00 EDT
Location: Mount Forest, Ontario
Telescope: Meade 8-inch LX2 SCT
Activity: Deep Sky Observing

Drove up to Starfest with Otmar Eigler in his van. The weather was unsettled throughout the weekend, but still managed to do some observing. On Friday night I observed 2 "new" deep sky objects: NGC 7048 and NGC 7026, both planetary nebulae in Cygnus.

August 26/27

Starfest '89

Time: 23:30 - 02:00 EDT
Location: Mount Forest, Ontario
Telescope: Meade 8-inch LX2 SCT
Activity: Deep Sky Observing

On Saturday night the sky was mostly cloudy, but I was able to squeeze in some observing. I spotted 3 "new" deep sky objects: NGC 1491, NGC 7600, NGC 7585.

September 2/3
Time: 23:00 - 02:00 EDT
Location: The Farm
Telescope: Meade 8-inch LX2 SCT
Activity: Deep Sky Observing

FarmFest '89. Drove to The Farm with Otmar Eigler. Other people there were Walter MacDonald, Doug Clapp, Randy Hendriks, and probably some other people. Used the "ClappTrapp" portable observatory. Around 1 am there was a weak aurora and some clouds. By 2 am there was more clouds, so I went into Otmar's van and fell asleep. By 3 am it cleared nicely, but I was much too tired so I called it quits for the night. I observed a total of 8 "new" deep sky objects: NGC 1, NGC 7137, NGC 7678, NGC 7741, NGC 7742, NGC 7743, NGC 7769, NGC 7771.

September 3/4
Time: 23:30 - 05:30 EDT
Location: The Farm
Telescope: Meade 8-inch LX2 SCT
Activity: Deep Sky Observing

FarmFest '89. Cloudy for the first part of the evening, so Walter, Doug, and I showed the others some slides. Eventually it cleared and we were able to observe till morning twilight. Between 2 am and 4 am there was a bright aurora with lots of rays. It was white in colour and it was extremely active - it looked like a burning fire. Took about 10 photos on slide film (Fujichrome 1600).

I tried finding Comet Brorsen-Metcalf, but failed to see it. I think I waited too long and morning twilight was interfering. I observed 6 "new" deep sky objects: NGC 1058, NGC 1169, Kg 5, NGC 2022, NGC 2112, NGC 2419.

September 18/19
Time: 23:45 - 01:15 EDT
Location: My Backyard
Telescope: n/a
Activity: Aurora

I attended my first Toronto Centre council meeting where I was voted in for a three-year term as councillor, to begin at the November 1989 annual meeting. Upon my return at home, I saw a very extensive aurora which was brightest at the zenith. It covered almost the entire sky, with the exception of the southern portion. It became very bright with some red for about 5 minutes, otherwise white in colour.

September 24
Time: 20:00 - 23:00 EDT
Location: Long Sault Conservation Area
Telescope: Meade 8-inch LX2 SCT
Activity: Deep Sky Observing

Toronto Centre deep sky observing session. Seven people present with a total of five telescopes. I might have seen PK 373.2, a planetary nebula in Aquila, but I was not absolutely certain.

September 27
Time: 20:00 - 00:00 EDT
Location: Long Sault Conservation Area
Telescope: Meade 8-inch LX2 SCT
Activity: Deep Sky Observing

Arrived on site at about 20:00, David Christmas was also there. We observed till about 23:30 when it clouded over. I spotted 5 "new" deep sky objects: NGC 956, NGC 772, NGC 972, NGC 1156, NGC 877.

September 28
Time: 20:30 - 21:00 EDT
Location: University of Toronto, Scarborough
Telescope: Questar 12-inch
Activity: Deep Sky Photography

Wanted to do some prime focus deep sky photography, but there were just too many clouds floating around.

September 30 / October 1
Time: 21:00 - 01:00 EDT
Location: Kendal Recreation Area
Telescope: Meade 8-inch LX2 SCT
Activity: Deep Sky Observing

Arrived on site at about 21:00. David Christmas and David Aylsworth were also there. I observed 9 "new" deep sky objects: Basel 1, Tr 35, Tr 34, Stock 1, NGC 6882, Cr 21, IC 1727, NGC 784.

November 3
Time: 20:30 - 23:30 EST
Location: Kendal Recreation Area
Telescope: Meade 8-inch LX2 SCT
Activity: Deep Sky Observing

Arrived on site at about 20:00, Otmar Eigler and Elizabeth Doucette were also there. I had some minor equipment problems so that slowed me down. I took a couple of piggyback photos of M45 and M31.

December 3
Time: 19:30 - 22:30 EDT
Location: Kendal Recreation Area
Telescope: Meade 8-inch LX2 SCT
Activity: Deep Sky Observing

Arrived on site at about 19:30 with Otmar Eigler and Guy Nason. It was extremely cold, about minus 20 deg. C., and very windy. My telescope was shaking quite a bit and my eyes were watering due to the strong wind. I could not do much observing due to the inclement weather, but still saw some favourite messier objects. There was a brief auroral display made up of bright rays.

Year End Stats
No. of observing sessions 24
Approx. telescope time 74 hours
"New" deep sky objects found 83
No. of comets seen 0
No. of auroral displays seen 8
Total deep sky objects observed by end of '89 405
Observing Frequency
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2 2 2 2 0 2 3 3 6 0 1 1


Final Comments: A banner year for observing!! Many observing sessions, many hours of telescope time, lots of new deep sky objects, 8 auroras (including the best ever!), and I even did some astrophotography!