2000 Observing Sessions
Attempted to observe and time the occultation of a
star by asteroid Pales. Recorded a negative observation
as the actual occultation path shifted north by about 200
Km. It was an extremely cold night, with strong gusts and
a temperature of about minus 20
Celsius. It was definitely the most uncomfortable
observing conditions I have ever experienced in 18 years
Suffering from deep sky observing withdrawal symptoms after a cold and cloudy winter I decided to set up in the backyard and look for some brighter open clusters in Puppis and Canis Major. Fortunately I got a small "fix" of DSO (deep sky objects) and spotted 3 "new" open clusters: NGC 2360 (CMA), NGC 2414 (PUP), and NGC 2396 (PUP).
All three were quite poor due to low altitude and
strong light pollution in the south-west.
|March 31/April 1||
Arrived on site at 20:30 with Stephen Keefer and Wayne Yeo. Some cirrus clouds at first then clear. No wind, but it got quite cold. Surprisingly there was no dew. Spotted 18 "new" objects!! (all galaxies in Ursa Major).
NGC 3184, NGC 3972, NGC 3921, NGC 3888, NGC 3898, NGC 3780, NGC 3804, NGC 3738, NGC 3756, NGC 3718, NGC 3729, NGC 3631, NGC 3656, NGC 3549, NGC 3448, NGC 3445, NGC 3683, NGC 3683A.
Faintest object for the night
was NGC 3804 at magnitude 12.9.
Arrived on site at 22:00. Mike D'Angelo had arrived shortly before, while John McDowell and Vincent Chan arrived within the next half-hour. We were greeted by a completely overcast sky, even though it was clear when each one of use left to drive out to the site!
We chatted and waited for about one hour and in the meantime a strong northerly wind slowly cleared the sky. By around 23:30 parts of the northern sky were visible, and around 23:45 we saw a very brief aurora. It lasted only 5 minutes and was comprised of only a couple of moderately bright rays in the north, shooting up about 30 degrees.
Once the sky cleared the wind did not let up, consequently it was a bit nippy. I observed a total of 11 "new" objects, all galaxies in Virgo, with the exception of Cr 285, an open cluster in Ursa Major.
NGC 4592, NGC 4642, NGC 4653, NGC 4666, NGC 4668, NGC 4808, NGC 4799, NGC 4701, NGC 4765, NGC 4713, Cr 285.
Faintest objects for the night
were: NGC 4668 (mag. 13.1), NGC 4765 (mag. 13.0), and NGC
4799 (mag. 13.3.) I was quite amazed that such
faint objects could be see from this site with my
10-inch. Mike D'Angelo confirmed my sighting of NGC 4668
(mag 13.1). Note that NGC 4799 (mag. 13.3) was actually
easier to see than NGC 4668 because it had a higher
|May 5 & 6||New Moon, mostly clear, but no observing due to hazy
skies. Unseasonably hot, with
daytime highs of 28 to 30 deg. Celsius!! There
goes our last new moon period for viewing the Virgo
galaxy cluster with no mosquitoes!!
Raymond Li, a friend from
work, came by my place for some hands-on training with a
Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope, as he's planning to
purchase one. We looked at M13 and M57, which despite the
nearly full moon, were still easily visible in the
10-inch. We also looked at Mizar & Alcor, Albireo,
Epsilon Lyrae (Double double), all double stars.
|May 26 & 27||Last Quarter Moon weekend. Friday May 26 turned out
to be clear at Port Granby. I did
not make it to Port Granby because the weather
forecast was uncertain and we still had clouds just
before sunset. Mark Kapler, Steve
Bevan, Stephen Keefer, and Vincent Chan, however
took a chance and were rewarded with clear skies and
observed until 03:30. Saturday May 27 was quite hazy with
lots of cirrus cloud - no observing.
Arrived on site at about 21:45. The site quickly
filled up with a total of 9 people! In attendance were: Stephen Keefer, John McDowell, Daniel
McDowell, Mike D'Angelo, Mike Cook, Mark Kapler, Abe
Slomovitz, Raymond Li. With some many people this
turned into a bit of a "star party"! The sky
remained clear until about 2:30 when cirrus moved in, and
the temperature got a bit nippy.
|June 30 / July 1||
Arrived on site at about 22:20, after battling heavy
traffic from Pickering to Oshawa (due to the Canada Day
long weekend). Also present were Stephen
Keefer, John McDowell, and Mark Kapler. The sky
was somewhat cloudy when I left Toronto and remained
partly cloudy until about midnight. Initially it was warm
(ie no jacket required!) but later the wind picked up and
it got cooler). The wind was quite strong for a couple of
hours, enough to shake my scope and make observing
difficult. There were a few mosquitoes buzzing around,
but it was not too bad. There was no sign of aurora.
Although the sky appeared to be quite transparent,
Stephen and I noticed that typical galaxies that should
be visible from Port Granby were very difficult to see on
this night. Magnitude 12 objects that are typically
"easy" to see in my 10-inch were difficult,
while magnitude 12.5 and fainter were very difficult to
see. We suspected there must have been lots of moisture
in the air, which was confirmed by significant dew all
over our equipment.
|July 4 / 5||
Cooler daytime temperatures resulted in a rather
transparent sky tonight. The plan for this session was to
observe some brighter open clusters in Hercules.
|July 22 / 23||
I wanted to hunt down the remaining two DoDz open
clusters in Hercules, and doing this from the city was
easy as they are relatively bright. I also found an NGC
object which is actually just two stars and not a true
|August 24 - 27||Starfest 2000. This was
my 17th consecutive Starfest attendance! I arrived on
site at about 17:30 on Thursday, Aug. 24. This year I
stayed on site (rather than the usual bed & breakfast
in Mount Forest), and shared a nice big trailer with
Walter MacDonald. The sky was clear on Thursday night,
partly cloudy on Friday night, and cloudy on Saturday
night. I left on Saturday night after the door prizes and
announcements as it was cloudy with rain in the forecast.
|August 24 / 25
|August 25 / 26
On Friday night / Saturday morning it was partly
cloudy so we were limited to observing where the
"sucker holes" were. The night was quite warm,
but windy without dew. Even when clear patches opened up,
it was rather hazy. I helped out Raymond
Li polar align his new Meade LX200, the observed
several of the usual summer Messier objects.
|October 4 / 5||
Extensive aurora covering half the sky (west - north -
east and overhead), but not very active and just white in
colour. At first it looked like high altitude thin clouds
(cirrus), but a closer look revealed the typical motion
of the northern lights. A rather disappointing display
from the city.
|October 21 / 22||
Arrived at Port Granby at about 21:00, Spilios and Stephen Keefer were
already there. Lots of clouds, especially in the west.
Very windy and mild. By 22:30 still clouds floating
around, very very windy , and much cooler. Around
mid-night the wind died down and around 00:30 it cleared.
On Saturday afternoon (Oct. 28) I
purchased a Lumicon OIII filter, based on the
great views of Oct. 21/22 through Stephen Keefer's
16-inch Dob and OIII filter. This observing session was
mostly to evaluate the filter.
This session was used to further evaluate the OIII
filter from my light-polluted backyard
Set up in the backyard to try out the OIII filter
again. It was quite clear but rather cold (minus 9 deg.
C). No wind, and lots of frost.
This event sure was a nice Christmas present,
especially because the sky was absolutely clear all day!
The daytime high temperature was around minus 10, and
there was so much snow in the backyard that I could not
even set up my telescope. I observed from inside the
house, looking through a window. I used "solar
eclipse" glasses (the ones that came with Astronomy
Magazine). I also set up my binoculars to project a large
image of the sun on an indoor wall.
|Year End Stats||
2000 was an amazing year for observing. Went observing much more frequently than other years and it was the fourth best year in terms of newly observed objects. This year I also completed my the RASC's Finest NGC's Objects list.