1999 Observing Sessions

Time: Shortly after sunset
Location: My Backyard
Telescope: n/a
Activity: Photography of Venus - Jupiter Conjunction

On February 23 Venus and Jupiter were in conjunction in the Western sky, separated by on a quarter degree. I took a series of photographs right up till the day before closest approach. Of course, on the actual night it was cloudy! So, I used some digital photo manipulation to create a fake conjunction shot!

Real photo taken Feb. 22
Fake photo after digitally moving Venus closer to Jupiter. But at least it gives a good idea of what the conjunction would have looked like if it had not been cloudy.

April 10/11
Time: 22:30 - 01:30 EDT
Location: My Backyard
Telescope: Meade 10-inch LX6 SCT
Activity: Asteroidal Occultation Timing & Deep Sky Observing

First time out with a telescope for 1999. Set up specifically to observe and time the asteroidal occultation by Ophelia at about 23:00 hrs. I recorded a negative observation as the path had shifted slightly south.

Also, observed 2 new objects: Cr 89 (OC in Gem) and NGC 3941 (G in UMa), but failed to see NGC 3184 (G in UMa). (S.B. = surface brightness)

Object Const Mag S.B. Comments
NGC 3941 UMa 10.3 12.5 Easily seen despite heavy light pollution!
NGC 3184 UMa 9.8 13.9 Not seen, S.B. is too faint.

July 6/7
Time: 23:00 - 00:30 EDT
Location: My Backyard
Telescope: Meade 10-inch LX6 SCT
Activity: Deep Sky Observing

This was an experimental night of deep sky observing from the city. I chose four galaxies that are in the same field of view as other bright stars/objects (thus easy to locate) and checked for visibility. Here are my results: (S.B. = surface brightness)

Object Const Mag S.B. Comments
NGC 3877 UMa 11.0 13.0 not seen
M109 UMa 9.8 13.6 not seen
NGC 4490 CVn 9.8 12.9 barely visible
NGC 6207 Her 11.6 12.9 not seen

July 15 - 17

Starfest '99

Time: 00:00 - 02:00 EDT
Location: Mount Forest, Ontario
Telescope: Meade 10-inch LX6 SCT
Activity: Deep Sky Observing
Thursday, July 15 - Cloudy.
Friday, July 16 - Very hazy, quite warm, windy, no dew, poor sky.
Saturday, July 17 - Cloudy.

On Friday night I observed 3 "new" brighter open clusters: NGC 6604 (Ser), Ru 141 (Sct), and NGC 6738 (Aql). Anything fainter would not have been visible due to the haze.

On Saturday evening hopes were high for clearing skies, but in fact the "sucker holes" shown on this photo closed up and the overcast skies remained.

August 15/16
Time: 21:30 - 02:00 EDT
Location: Port Granby
Telescope: Meade 10-inch LX6 SCT
Activity: Deep Sky Observing

Arrived on site at 21:20, Spilios Asimakopoulos was also there. Had to contend with clouds between 22:30 and 23:15, and again between 00:30 and 01:00.

Observed 6 "new" objects:
NGC 3998, NGC 3990, NGC 3982, NGC 3953 (all galaxies in UMa).
Cr 401 (OC in Aql), and NGC 7507 (G in Scl).

Also saw the Helix Nebula (NGC 7293), which I had not seen in a long time. My comments from my logbook read "Huge & bright, I can't believe it's so large and easy to see. Great!"

September 4 - 10 Strategically booked a family vacation around new moon. We rented a cottage on Stoney Lake, near Lakefield, Ontario, at the Pine Vista Resort. The previous week had been a typical sunny and cool "early September" week, but of course once I took time off for observing the weather turned on me. Most of the week was hot, hazy, and humid with lots of thunderstorms and clouds!!! The weather was just miserable. I only got a couple of hours of observing done on Sept. 8 as outlined below:

Time: 23:00 - 00:30 EDT
Location: North-east of Lakefield, Ontario
Telescope: Meade 10-inch LX6 SCT
Activity: Deep Sky Observing

Lots of moisture in the air with tons of dew, also lots of local light pollution from the resort. Generally a poor sky, but I had to make the most of it. I observed 3 "new" galaxies in Pisces:
NGC 7541, NGC 7562, NGC 7785.

Year End Stats
No. of observing sessions 5
Approx. telescope time 12 hours
"New" deep sky objects found 14
No. of comets seen 0
No. of auroral displays seen 0
Total deep sky objects observed 748
Observing Frequency
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
0 0 0 1 0 0 2 1 1 0 0 0

Final Comments: 1999 was a rather disappointing year for observing.