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All observing logs for month 2005-11 (earliest log first).

2005-11-09


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2005-11-09 21:30 UT
To: 2005-11-09 23:30 UT
Equipment: Naked Eye
Meade 10x50 Binoculars
Temperature: 4.0C
Humidity: 75%
Notes:

Reasonably clear night, some haze obvious closer to the Moon (which was just past first ). Felt rather cold. Decided to have a session out with chair and binocular, mostly with a view to having a good look at the Moon and also hunt down the clusters in Auriga.

The Moon

From: 2005-11-09 21:35 UT
To: 2005-11-09 22:11 UT

Started out by having a look at the Moon with the binocular mounted on a tripod. Lots of very obvious features were visible on or close to the terminator.

Noted that the terminator was running more or less through the middle of Mare Imbrium and that the shadows of Montes Apenninus looked long and very obvious. Also noticed that Archimedes, Aristillus and Autolycus were standing out really well too. The terminator also seemed to be running pretty much through the middle of Plato.

Towards the Moon's North Pole I could see what appeared to be a rather deep looking crater, in the terminator, with the back wall (this being in relation to the direction of the Sun) brightly lit but with the floor in shadow. Looking at my Lunar map I got the impression that I was looking at Anaxagoras.

Noticed quite a striking ray running diagonally — from "top right" to "bottom left" — through Mare Serenitatis. I could see that it seemed to be heading away from (or towards) a crater which, after looking at my map, appeared to be Atlas.

By 22:11 UT the Moon was heading out of sight behind some trees and it was also being lost behind haze towards the horizon.

M42

From: 2005-11-09 22:16 UT
To: 2005-11-09 22:23 UT
Temperature: 3.7C
Humidity: 77%

By now Orion had mostly risen and it was possible to see M42. Decided to have a look with the binocular mounted on the tripod. At first glance it simply looked like a sparse grouping of stars but, with averted vision, there was a definite hint of nebula. It might just have been my imagination but there did seem to be a hint of the "fan" shape that is so well known from drawings and photographs.

Clusters in Auriga

From: 2005-11-09 22:27 UT
To: 2005-11-09 22:37 UT
Temperature: 3.6C
Humidity: 77%

Swept Auriga for M36, M37 and M38. Found them all with no problems. Each one of them was a very obvious hazy patch — they all look like good targets for the telescope.

Given their appearance in the binocular, if I hadn't known they were all open clusters, I'd have assumed that they were actually globular clusters.

M35

From: 2005-11-09 22:38 UT
To: 2005-11-09 22:47 UT
Temperature: 3.4C
Humidity: 77%

While sweeping around the area near Auriga with the binocular I stumbled upon M35, another open cluster — this time in Gemini. This one looked very much like an open cluster. Again, this looks like it might make for an interesting telescope target.

M45

From: 2005-11-09 22:49 UT
To: 2005-11-09 22:56 UT
Temperature: 3.3C
Humidity: 77%

Given that they were now quite high in the sky I decided to have another look at M45 (AKA The Pleiades). They were too high up to comfortably view them with the binocular on the tripod (it's only a medium-height tripod) so I decided to try my monopod instead (it's actually taller than me when fully extended). This actually worked rather well.

The field looked very rich with stars, some seeming to pop in and out of view as I moved my eyes around. I also noticed something that I don't think I've noticed before: a striking line of stars that have a sort of "dog leg" look to them. For some reason they sort of reminded me of a small, bent version of Kemble's Cascade.

Mars

Time: 2005-11-09 22:59 UT

While taking a little break from the binocular I say and just looked at Mars with the naked eye. I realised that this must be the highest and brightest I've seen it in the sky for this apparition. I was tempted to go and get the telescope out to have a look but by the time it would have cooled down enough I'd probably be ready to call it a night. Also, the air wasn't terribly steady anyway so I wouldn't have expected a good view.

NGC 1528

From: 2005-11-09 23:11 UT
To: 2005-11-09 23:24 UT
Temperature: 3.6C
Humidity: 78%

Started sweeping around Perseus and stumbled on what seemed to be a small, tight, hazy cluster. It seemed similar in appearance to the views I'd had of M36, M37 and M38 earlier on in the session. I checked on my Messier and Caldwell charts and couldn't see anything close to the location of the object. I next checked with a more detailed chart and noted that there were a number of NGC objects in the general location. NGC 1444 seemed like the most likely candidate based on location alone.

Knowing that I'd need to do some checking later on I noted that the object was about two binocular field widths away from the "middle" of Perseus (taking the middle to be the area around Mirfak) and at a angle of around 8 o'clock if the general direction of the Double Cluster in Perseus is taken to be 12 o'clock.

Later on, I did some searching on the internet and found a couple of observation reports of NGC 1528, through binoculars, which seemed to have descriptions which matched what I'd seen. I did, however, also find a binocular observation report which suggested that NGC 1545 was a reasonable candidate too. Further checking with Starry Night, and looking at DSS images of the two clusters, suggested that NGC 1528 is the best fit for what I saw — both in its look and also in the look of the field of stars around it.

End of session

Time: 2005-11-09 23:30 UT
Temperature: 3.7C
Humidity: 78%

Cloud was starting to roll in so I decided to call an end to the session.


2005-11-15


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2005-11-15 14:18 UT
To: 2005-11-15 14:36 UT
Equipment: Naked Eye
Solarscope
Temperature: 10.0C
Humidity: 68%
Notes:

Reasonably clear sky, some cloud about. Decided to have a quick look at the Sun with the naked eye and with the Solarscope because a new sunspot had come into view.

Sunspot 822 with naked eye

Time: 2005-11-15 14:18 UT

Before setting up the Solarscope I used a pair of eclipse shades to have a look at the Sun to see if sunspot 822 was visible with the naked eye. It wasn't obvious at first but with a little bit of effort I could clearly see a small, dark dot in the correct position on the face of the Sun.

I think this is the first naked eye sunspot we've had since sunspot 798.

Sunspot 822 with Solarscope

From: 2005-11-15 14:28 UT
To: 2005-11-15 14:36 UT

Set up the Solarscope for a better look at 822. I could see one very large spot which appeared to have a reasonably large companion, both of them were surrounded by a sizable penumbra. Next to that I could see three small spots. Next to them I could see two more spots, again, both surrounded by a penumbra.

Did the following sketch:

Sketch of Sunspot 822

Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2005-11-15 22:17 UT
To: 2005-11-15 23:32 UT
Equipment: Sky-Watcher Explorer 130M
Temperature: 4.8C
Humidity: 79%
Notes:

Cold and mostly clear night with some patches of thin cloud. Sky more or less washed out by a near-full Moon which was quite close to Mars.

Given that the Moon was washing out any chance of any DSO observing I decided to make the Moon and Mars the targets for this session.

The Moon

From: 2005-11-15 22:23 UT
To: 2005-11-15 22:51 UT

I initially lined the Moon up in the 25mm eyepiece and found that it was far too bright to look at. I could just see a hint of a terminator.

To combat the brightness I added an ND13 filter to the eyepiece. While the image was still quite bright it was far easier to look at for any period of time.

The surface of the Moon looked very two dimensional, the only features that stood out right away were the ray systems, the ray system of Tycho being the most striking.

After a short while I noticed what I'd describe as "dark patches" in and near Sinus Aestuum. They looked like large, more or less circular, darker patches when compared to the surrounding terrain. Initially I thought it might have been a problem with the filter, eyepiece or the 'scope itself but a simple tap on the 'scope (to make the image move) confirmed that what I was seeing was a lunar feature and not some effect brought on by a problem with my equipment.

Roving around a little more I noticed a reasonably prominent darker area towards the south eastern limb. Checking on a Lunar chart I'm pretty sure that what I was looking at was Mare Australe. I switched to the 15mm lens, with the ND13 filter attached, and carried on looking. The impression I got was that I was seeing part of a dark ring that surrounded a dark circular area (heavily foreshortened, obviously). It reminded me a little of images I've seen of Mare Orientale — it wasn't, I double checked.

At 22:51 UT an area of cloud moved in front of the Moon. One nice thing about this is that it was thin enough that you could still easily see the Moon and, better yet, it gave the Moon a double halo effect that had a hint of "rainbow" effect about it. The cloud cleared again at 23:04 UT

Mars

From: 2005-11-15 23:21 UT
To: 2005-11-15 23:32 UT
Temperature: 4.2C
Humidity: 80%

Decided to move on to Mars. Lined it up in the 130M with the 25mm eyepiece then quickly went to the 15mm and then 6mm eyepiece, centering as I went. There was no obvious detail visible and the image was very unsteady. What I could see right away is that the planet appeared much smaller than it had when I looked at it near the closest approach.

At 23:24 UT a load of cloud moved in. Decided to give it a short while to see if it would move away again.

End of session

Time: 2005-11-15 23:32 UT
Temperature: 4.4C
Humidity: 80%

Cloud was now more or less horizon to horizon so decided to call an end to the session.


2005-11-16


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2005-11-16 13:33 UT
To: 2005-11-16 13:46 UT
Equipment: Naked Eye
Solarscope
Temperature: 5.9C
Humidity: 68%
Notes:

Like yesterday the sky was reasonably clear with cloud about. Decided to have another quick look at the Sun with the naked eye and with the Solarscope to see how sunspot 822 had developed.

Sunspot 822 with naked eye

Time: 2005-11-16 13:33 UT

Unlike yesterday, sunspot 822 was immediately visible — no effort was required to find it. It was a very clear, dark spot.

Sunspot 822 with Solarscope

From: 2005-11-16 13:40 UT
To: 2005-11-16 13:46 UT

Set up the Solarscope for a better look at 822. Some changes were obvious when compared to yesterday's observation. While the biggest pair of spots still appeared to be more or less the same (and also had a striking resemblance to a Mandelbrot set) the smaller spots that were visible between them and the smaller pair appear to have grown in number. However, the whole group appeared more spread out now due to their being less foreshortening now that the rotation of the Sun had carried them further away from the limb; it could be the case that there weren't more small spots, it could be that they were just easier for me to see.

Did the following sketch:

Sketch of Sunspot 822


2005-11-17


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2005-11-17 14:28 UT
To: 2005-11-17 14:40 UT
Equipment: Naked Eye
Solarscope
Temperature: 5.0C
Humidity: 60%
Notes:

A very clear day today, no visible clouds. Decided to have yet another quick look at the Sun with the naked eye and with the Solarscope to see how sunspot 822 was getting on.

Sunspot 822 with naked eye

Time: 2005-11-17 14:28 UT

Just like yesterday, sunspot 822 was immediately visible — no effort was required to find it. It was a very clear, dark spot.

Sunspot 822 with Solarscope

From: 2005-11-17 14:33 UT
To: 2005-11-17 14:40 UT

As seen in the Solarscope, 822 had more or less the same appearance as yesterday. However, the biggest pair of spots now looked like they had merged — I could see no gap between them. This made them look even more like a Mandelbrot set. There also appeared to be more small spots between the big pair and the smaller pair of spots (I first counted seven and then managed to make out eight while doing the sketch that follows).

Did the following sketch:

Sketch of Sunspot 822

Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2005-11-17 20:35 UT
To: 2005-11-17 22:53 UT
Equipment: Naked Eye
Meade 10x50 Binoculars
Temperature: 0.2C
Humidity: 64%
Notes:

Very cold, very clear night. The Moon was just past full. Given that it was washing out the sky I decided to carry on with getting to know the Moon with binoculars.

General observing of the Moon

From: 2005-11-17 20:35 UT
To: 2005-11-17 21:30 UT

The first feature that really stood out, just a little in from the terminator, was the crater Langrenus. I could actually see the central peak through the binocular.

The next thing I noticed, north and east of Mare Crisium, is what looked like some sort of "channel" running SW to NE. It appeared to be a "slot" of shadow that seemed to cut into the sunlit part of the Moon, coming out of the terminator. I checked on my Lunar map but couldn't be sure what was causing it. I suspect it might have been something to do with Mare Anguis.

I then noticed that I could still clearly see the dark patches that I noted a couple of nights ago. I could count five "patches", they appeared to run round the "headland" that contains the crater Schrter. The last of the patches (working counter-clockwise) seems to be near or in Sinus Medii.

Noticed another crater with a visible peak that stands out well: Petavius. Also very visible, near Petavius, due to their floors being in shadow, are Hase, Adams and Legendre. The latter seemed to be almost touching the terminator.

Went back to Langrenus in Mare Fecunditatis. Near it I could easily make out Barkla, Kapteyn, Lohse, Lam and Vendelinus.

Warm-up break

From: 2005-11-17 21:31 UT
To: 2005-11-17 22:01 UT
Temperature: 0.0C
Humidity: 64%

Getting bitterly cold. Decided to take a warm-up break.

More general observing of the Moon

From: 2005-11-17 22:02 UT
To: 2005-11-17 22:26 UT
Temperature: 0.0C
Humidity: 65%

Having warmed up a little I went back to viewing the Moon some more through the binocular. Spent some time working my way north from Mare Crisium. Cleomedes was very obvious, as was Geminus. I also thought I could make out Berosus, right in the terminator.

A quick warm-up break

From: 2005-11-17 22:27 UT
To: 2005-11-17 22:41 UT

Getting bitterly cold again — decided to take a short warm-up break.

Saturn, Procyon and end of session

From: 2005-11-17 22:42 UT
To: 2005-11-17 22:53 UT
Temperature: 0.0C
Humidity: 65%

Came back out again after having warmed up but it was feeling very cold now. To the east I noticed that Procyon, in Canis Minor had risen above the roofs and, to the north of it and about as bright, I could see Saturn. Not too long now and it should be high enough at a reasonable hour that I can get the telescope on it.

I had a quick look at Saturn with the binocular. I obviously couldn't see any actual detail but I could see that it was very elongated when compared with a star.

By 22:53 UT the cold was really starting to get to me so I decided to call an end to the session.


2005-11-18


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2005-11-18 14:04 UT
To: 2005-11-18 14:20 UT
Equipment: Naked Eye
Solarscope
Temperature: 5.0C
Humidity: 73%
Notes:

Like yesterday the sky was completely clear. Decided to have yet another quick look at the Sun (4th day in a row) with the naked eye and with the Solarscope to see how sunspot 822 had developed.

Sunspot 822 with naked eye

Time: 2005-11-18 14:04 UT

Like yesterday, sunspot 822 was immediately visible — no effort was required to find it. Still a very clear, dark spot.

Sunspot 822 with Solarscope

From: 2005-11-18 14:12 UT
To: 2005-11-18 14:20 UT

Set up the Solarscope for a better look at 822. Some changes were obvious when compared to yesterday's observation. The biggest pair of spots appeared to have fully merged into a single, large spot. The "tail" of smaller spots between the large pair and the smaller pair now appeared rather messy with some dark lines visible amongst them. The smaller pair of spots appear to have faded a fair bit.

Did the following sketch:

Sketch of Sunspot 822


2005-11-19


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2005-11-19 12:28 UT
To: 2005-11-19 12:44 UT
Equipment: Naked Eye
Solarscope
Temperature: 4.0C
Humidity: 83%
Notes:

Cold, rather hazy day. No cloud visible. Decided to have a look at the Sun (5th day in a row) with the naked eye and with the Solarscope to see how sunspot 822 was progressing.

Sunspot 822 with naked eye

Time: 2005-11-19 12:28 UT

Like yesterday, sunspot 822 was immediately visible — no effort was required to find it. I've seen no obvious change in it, with the naked eye, over the past few days.

Sun with Solarscope

From: 2005-11-19 12:34 UT
To: 2005-11-19 12:44 UT

With the Solarscope I could see a new, small, pair of spots some distance from 822. I checked on SpaceWeather.com but couldn't see any mention of them (although the image being displayed at the time was from yesterday) so I don't know if they have an ID.

Subsequent checking showed that they'd been given the number 823.

Sunspot 822 hadn't greatly changed a whole lot from the previous day.

Did the following sketch:

Sketch of Sunspot 822


2005-11-20


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2005-11-20 11:44 UT
To: 2005-11-20 12:00 UT
Equipment: Naked Eye
Solarscope
Temperature: 4.6C
Humidity: 86%
Notes:

Quite a hazy day, some wispy cloud in the sky, some of it passing the Sun. Checking the Sun again to follow the progress of sunspot 822, to see if 823 was still visible and also to try to catch a glimpse of 824 — a new spot that was coming around the Sun's limb.

Sunspot 822 with naked eye

Time: 2005-11-20 11:44 UT

Like yesterday, sunspot 822 was immediately visible — no effort was required to find it. Still no obvious difference to the naked eye.

Sun with Solarscope

From: 2005-11-20 11:47 UT
To: 2005-11-20 12:00 UT

With the Solarscope, 822 looked more or less the same as yesterday. 823 seemed a little more obvious. I could also see 824 without any problems.

Did the following sketch of the whole of the Sun to show the positions of the spots as I could see them in the Solarscope:

Sketch of the Sun

Also did the following sketch of sunspot 822:

Sketch of sunspot 822


2005-11-21


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2005-11-21 13:52 UT
To: 2005-11-21 14:07 UT
Equipment: Naked Eye
Solarscope
Temperature: 5.1C
Humidity: 86%
Notes:

Another hazy day, the haze seemed to be subduing the sunlight. More checking of the Sun to follow the progress of sunspot 822 and to see if 823 and 824 are still visible.

Sunspot 822 with naked eye

Time: 2005-11-21 13:52 UT

Like yesterday, sunspot 822 was immediately visible. It did, however, seem a little smaller than previous observations. I'm guessing this is down to the fact that it's getting more and more foreshortened as it heads towards the Sun's limb.

Sun with Solarscope

From: 2005-11-21 13:57 UT
To: 2005-11-21 14:07 UT

With the Solarscope I could see sunspots 822 and 824 with no problems. However, I was unable to make out sunspot 823.

Did the following sketch of the whole of the Sun to show the positions of the spots as I could see them in the Solarscope:

Sketch of the Sun

Also did the following sketch of sunspot 822:

Sketch of sunspot 822


2005-11-23


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2005-11-23 13:56 UT
To: 2005-11-23 14:09 UT
Equipment: Naked Eye
Solarscope
Temperature: 5.5C
Humidity: 74%
Notes:

Quite a hazy day. As with my last observation the haze seem to be subduing the sunlight. Decided to have another look at the Sun to see if I could still see sunspots 822 and 824.

Sunspot 822 with naked eye

Time: 2005-11-23 13:56 UT

For the first day since I started observing sunspot 822 I was unable to see it at all with the naked eye. This might have partly been down to the sky been so hazy.

Sun with Solarscope

From: 2005-11-23 14:00 UT
To: 2005-11-23 14:09 UT

With the Solarscope I could see sunspots 822 and 824 with no problems. 822 now looks mostly like just two spots, one large one that still has a very obvious penumbra and a smaller one with no visible penumbra. 824 appeared as two spots, one bigger than the other, both slightly "fuzzy", neither having a visible penumbra.

Did the following sketch of the whole of the Sun to show the positions of the spots as I could see them in the Solarscope. Note that the smudged area near 822 didn't look quite that obvious, it's there to mark an area where there was some faint mottling on the Sun's surface and where I thought I could see some very small, faint spots.

Sketch of the Sun


Page last modified: 2013-04-09 09:19:19 UT
Dave Pearson <davep@davep.org>
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