1994 Observing Sessions

May 10
Time: 11:00 - 14:00 EDT
Location: Binbrook Conservation Area
Telescope: Meade 8-inch LX2 SCT
Activity: Annular Solar Eclipse

Drove to Binbrook Conservation Area, about 50 km south of Hamilton, Ontario, to get closer to the centre-line of the eclipse. Was quite busy photographing the event with two cameras - one with slide film, one with print film. Click here for my photos of the eclipse.

  • 11:00 - Arrived on site. A mix of sun & cloud, except there were some really dark clouds forming to the north-east.
  • 11:35- Mostly cloudy, but the sun was still shining through a hole in the clouds.
  • 11:42 - First contact - awesome! Quite windy, the telescope was shaking. Clouds were moving in!
  • 13:00 - enjoying the eclipse, while just to the north-east there were heavy dark clouds and I could hear thunder!!
  • 13:24 - Maximum eclipse! Amazing sight, even though it's only annular and not total. The ambient lighting was noticeably darker, however it was still completely daytime. The two pictures (above) show before and during mid-eclipse (using the exact same exposure to make the comparison meaningful).
  • 13:50 - Quit. The eclipse was now in "reverse". Time to get back on the road and beat rush hour traffic back into Toronto!

August 5 - 6

Starfest '94

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

Arrived on Friday afternoon at about 17:00. On Friday, Aug. 5, I only did some casual observing from 23:00 to 01:00.

On Saturday, Aug. 6, I observed 3 new deep sky objects: NGC 6503, NGC 6654, NGC 6643, all galaxies in Draco. I also observed Comet Nashimura-Nishimura-Macholtz. It was large, with a stubby fan-shaped tail.

Here I am, posing with my fiancee (at that time) Elsie, at Starfest '94.

September 4/5
Time: 22:00 - 05:00 EDT
Location: The Farm
Telescope: Meade 8-inch LX2 SCT
Activity: Deep Sky Observing

Farmfest '94. Present were Walter MacDonald, Kathy Hall, and Doug Clapp.
During this very long observing session (7 hours!) I spotted 19 "new" deep sky objects:

NGC 7492, NGC 7721, NGC 7377, IC 5271, NGC 253, NGC 288, NGC 7793, NGC 24, NGC 613, NGC 210, NGC 1700, NGC 1535, NGC 1300, NGC 1297, NGC 1400, NGC 1407, NGC 1440, NGC 1452, NGC 1359.

At 22:10 I also observed Comet Nashimura-Nishimura-Macholtz. The coma was quite large at about 1/3 of a degree in diameter, although it was low surface brightness. The nucleus was a bit brighter. Nice sight!

Year End Stats
No. of observing sessions 4
Approx. telescope time 14.5 hours
"New" deep sky objects found 22
No. of comets seen 1
No. of auroral displays seen 0
Total deep sky objects observed by end of '94 555
Observing Frequency
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
0 0 0 0 1 0 0 2 1 0 0 0

Final Comments: A dismal year for observing! The reason was most likely because I spent most summer weekends working on organizing our wedding, which took place in December 1994.