1998 Observing Sessions

May 17/18
Time: 22:30 - 01:30 EDT
Location: Long Sault Conservation Area
Telescope: Meade 10-inch LX6 SCT
Activity: Deep Sky Observing

First time out observing this year. Arrived on site at about 22:15. Stephen Keefer was also there. Observed several galaxies in Corvus and Virgo, however by about midnight Virgo is already in the south-west where light pollution from Oshawa and Toronto is interfering. But, I could still see these because they all were in the mag. 10 to mag. 11 range, which is relatively bright.

Observed 12 "new" galaxies for the night:
NGC 4038, NGC 4039, NGC 4216, NGC 4212, NGC 4517, NGC 4526, NGC 4535, NGC 4567, NGC 4568, NGC 4564, NGC 4762, NGC 4754.

We left the site at 02:00 because clouds moved in suddenly.

July 18/19
Time: 23:00 - 02:00 EDT
Location: Long Sault Conservation Area
Telescope: Meade 10-inch LX6 SCT
Activity: Deep Sky Observing

Arrived on site at about 22:30. Mike D'Angelo and Mike Cook were also there. It was quite clear, cool with a slight breeze, and some dew later in the night. I observed 10 "new" galaxies in Ursa Major.

NGC 3079, NGC 2841, NGC 3877, NGC 4026, NGC 4088, NGC 4085, NGC 4157, NGC 4100, NGC 4096, NGC 3949.

The faintest of these objects was NGC 4085 at mag. 12.4. I failed to see NGC 3184, NGC 4047, and NGC 3985 because they were too low in the sky. We left the site at about 02:40.

August 20 - 22

Starfest '98

Time: n/a
Location: Mount Forest, Ontario
Telescope: Meade 10-inch LX6 SCT
Activity: Deep Sky Observing

Nothing but clouds each night on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night (Aug. 20, 21, 22). Woke up Sunday morning to rain. Set up my scope on Friday night and was able to view M57 through "sucker holes" in the clouds, but then it clouded over completely within half-hour.

See my Starfest '98 report & picture book here. (opens in a new window).


August 26
Time: 23:30 - 00:00 EDT
Location: My Backyard
Telescope: n/a
Activity: Aurora Sighting

Extremely active aurora with lots of "flames" shooting up from the northern horizon all the way up to the zenith. Some "rays" structures as well. Fairly bright, even from the city. This is believed to be the first major geomagnetic storm of the new solar cycle maximum.

October 24
Time: 21:00 - 00:00 EDT
Location: Long Sault Conservation Area
Telescope: Meade 10-inch LX6 SCT
Activity: Deep Sky Observing

Arrived on site at about 20:30. Mike D'Angelo and his wife, Lynn, were also there. It was quite windy and mild with a temperature of about 10 deg. C., which is quite warm for this time of the year. Consequently the sky was not the greatest due to moisture in the air. I rated the sky about 5/10.

Observed 4 "new" galaxies in Aries: NGC 1056, NGC 1012, NGC 930, and NGC 938.

NGC 1056 (mag. 12.4) gave us the most trouble and was spotted after about 1 hour of searching and confirming. Even in Mike's 12.5-inch Dobsonian it was still difficult. The other objects were just as faint and nearly as difficult to see. I am sure the less-than-ideal sky conditions made these objects more difficult than they really are. We left the site at about 00:20.

Year End Stats
No. of observing sessions 3
Approx. telescope time 9 hours
"New" deep sky objects found 26
No. of comets seen 0
No. of auroral displays seen 1
Total deep sky objects observed by end of '98 734
Observing Frequency
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 0


Final Comments: 1998 was a rather disappointing year for observing, although I made good use of the May and July observing sessions. I did little observing this year because of the birth of our first son, Michael, in February.