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All observing logs for month 2006-03 (earliest log first).

2006-03-01


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-03-01 13:07 UT
To: 2006-03-01 13:10 UT
Equipment: Solarscope
Temperature: 6.0C ...
Dew Point: -5.4C ...
Humidity: 42% ...
Wind Speed: 4.9mph ...
Wind Dir: North West ...
Pressure: 1001.5hPa ...
Notes:

Crisp, cold, clear afternoon. Very little cloud around. Decided to have a quick look at the Sun with the Solarscope with a hope of catching a glimpse of sunspot 856.

Sunspot 856

From: 2006-03-01 13:07 UT
To: 2006-03-01 13:10 UT

Quickly dragged the Solarscope outside to see if I could see sunspot 856. There was no sign of the spot. I could see a faint hint of brighter markings in the general area of where I knew the spot should be.

Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-03-01 14:05 UT
To: 2006-03-01 14:08 UT
Equipment: Meade 10x50 Binoculars
Temperature: 5.9C ...
Dew Point: -6.1C ...
Humidity: 42% ...
Wind Speed: 3.5mph ...
Wind Dir: West ...
Pressure: 1001.1hPa ...
Notes:

Quickly popped out to try and view the crescent Moon.

Crescent Moon

From: 2006-03-01 14:05 UT
To: 2006-03-01 14:08 UT

Quickly popped outside again, this time with 10x50 binocular, to see if I could find the crescent Moon. There was a little bit more cloud around than earlier on in the day so it took a little bit of effort.

I positioned myself in the shadow of my garage so that there was no chance of me accidently looking at the Sun and then I started to scan around. A short while later I saw the very thin crescent of the Moon. I think this is probably the youngest Moon I've ever knowingly seen.

I also had a quick look to see if Mercury was visible (it is quite close to the Moon at the moment) but cloud kept getting in the way so I gave up.


2006-03-02


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-03-02 13:30 UT
To: 2006-03-02 13:35 UT
Equipment: Solarscope
Temperature: 6.5C ...
Dew Point: -3.2C ...
Humidity: 50% ...
Wind Speed: 3.8mph ...
Wind Dir: North West ...
Pressure: 998hPa ...
Notes:

Cold, partly cloudy and a little hazy. A quick look at the Sun to check for sunspots.

Sunspot check

From: 2006-03-02 13:30 UT
To: 2006-03-02 13:35 UT

Quickly dragged the Solarscope outside to do a sunspot count. The Sun was totally blank, not even a hint of the markings that I saw yesterday.

Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-03-02 20:31 UT
To: 2006-03-02 21:46 UT
Equipment: Sky-Watcher Explorer 130M
Temperature: -2.2C ...
Dew Point: -5.8C ...
Humidity: 77% ...
Wind Speed: Calm ...
Pressure: 998hPa ...
Notes:

Cold, clear, but slightly hazy night. Decided to get the 130M out and have a look at M42 and Saturn.

M42 and M43

From: 2006-03-02 20:31 UT
To: 2006-03-02 21:05 UT

Set up the 130M with the 25mm eyepiece and pointed it at M42 and M43 in Orion. Despite having owned the 'scope for almost a year now this is the first time I've really had the chance to have a look at this famous object (mostly due to the nature of my horizon and how the weather has been for me).

Right off the classic "fan" shape was easily visible with an obvious separation between M42 and M43. Also, all four stars in the Trapezium were easily visible. There was no hint of colour other than a sort of silvery gray — no hint of the green that some people say they can see and I've seen myself in the past in a 10" Newtonian telescope (on a Dobsonian mount).

Switched to the 15mm eyepiece, this gave a view where the nebula was bigger than the field of view.

Using either eyepiece direct vision was all that was required to see the nebula, although averted vision suggested a greater extent and a little more detail.

I made the following very rough sketch as a reminder of what M42/M43 looked like in the 25mm (although I've drawn it a bit bigger than it appeared). Finished the sketch at 21:05 UT.

Rough sketch of M42

When I get the chance I aim to do a more complete sketch based on what I recorded in the above.

Saturn

From: 2006-03-02 21:17 UT
To: 2006-03-02 21:46 UT

Turned the 130M on Saturn. Found it with no problems using the 25mm eyepiece and then switched to the 6mm eyepiece.

Oh Wow! Every other time I've observed Saturn it's been a struggle to get a good view; it's always required patience and a lot of looking before any serious detail, especially the Cassini Division, has stood out. This view was totally different. From the very first moment the rings appeared nice and crisp, the planet's shadow on the rings stood out really well and the Cassini Division was immediately obvious.

I spent the next 20 minutes or so observing the planet and the quality of the image hardly ever changed. Without a doubt the best view I've ever had.

By 21:46 UT I was starting to get rather cold and dew/frost was starting to form on everything. With some reluctance I decided to pack up for the night.


2006-03-03


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-03-03 04:50 UT
To: 2006-03-03 05:40 UT
Equipment: Meade 10x50 Binoculars
Temperature: -6.5C ...
Dew Point: -9.0C ...
Humidity: 83% ...
Wind Speed: Calm ...
Pressure: 996.4hPa ...
Notes:

Woke up early and the sky was clear so I decided to head out with the 10x50 binoculars to see if I could spot Pojmanski (C/2006 A1).

Search for Comet Pojmanski (C/2006 A1), plus Venus and Jupiter

From: 2006-03-03 04:50 UT
To: 2006-03-03 05:40 UT

Using the Meade 10x50 binoculars I had an initial look for comet Pojmanski (C/2006 A1). Spent 5 or 10 minutes scanning the right area of the sky but failed to find it. This probably wasn't helped by the fact that the eastern horizon was rather murky (this was made obvious by the fact that Venus wasn't very clear when I looked at it).

I had a short break and then tried again but failed a second time.

Having failed to find the comet I had another quick look at Venus. Even in the binoculars I'm sure I could see a hint of a phase.

Before finishing I decided to have a quick look at Jupiter, currently in Libra. It was quite low to the south. In the binocular Europa, Io, Callisto and Ganymede all seemed to be visible. Also, just south of the planet, I could see Nu Librae.

Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-03-03 14:00 UT
To: 2006-03-03 14:05 UT
Equipment: Solarscope
Temperature: 6.0C ...
Dew Point: -7.4C ...
Humidity: 38% ...
Wind Speed: 6.3mph ...
Wind Dir: North West ...
Pressure: 995.8hPa ...
Notes:

Quick check of the Sun with the Solarscope to see if there are any Sunspots.

Sunspot count

From: 2006-03-03 14:00 UT
To: 2006-03-03 14:05 UT

The Sun appeared totally unblemished, just like yesterday.


2006-03-04


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-03-04 14:50 UT
To: 2006-03-04 14:55 UT
Equipment: Solarscope
Temperature: 5.4C ...
Dew Point: -4.0C ...
Humidity: 51% ...
Wind Speed: 1.5mph ...
Wind Dir: West North West ...
Pressure: 998.8hPa ...
Notes:

Very clear afternoon. Quick sunspot count.

Sunspot count

From: 2006-03-04 14:50 UT
To: 2006-03-04 14:55 UT

Sunspot count via the Solarscope. No active areas or sunspots of any kind visible.


2006-03-05


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-03-05 13:00 UT
To: 2006-03-05 13:05 UT
Equipment: Solarscope
Temperature: 7.9C ...
Dew Point: -5.3C ...
Humidity: 39% ...
Wind Speed: 7.9mph ...
Wind Dir: West North West ...
Pressure: 1007.2hPa ...
Notes:

Yet another very clear afternoon. Quick sunspot count.

Sunspot count

From: 2006-03-05 13:00 UT
To: 2006-03-05 13:05 UT

Sunspot count via the Solarscope. No active areas or sunspots of any kind visible.


2006-03-06


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-03-06 13:35 UT
To: 2006-03-06 13:40 UT
Equipment: Solarscope
Temperature: 8.1C ...
Dew Point: -4.2C ...
Humidity: 42% ...
Wind Speed: 4.0mph ...
Wind Dir: West North West ...
Pressure: 1017.4hPa ...
Notes:

Mostly clear with some broken cloud. No trouble seeing the Sun. Quick sunspot count.

Sunspot count

From: 2006-03-06 13:35 UT
To: 2006-03-06 13:40 UT

Sunspot count via the Solarscope. No active areas or sunspots of any kind visible.


2006-03-22


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-03-22 15:15 UT
To: 2006-03-22 15:25 UT
Equipment: Solarscope
Temperature: 5.6C ...
Dew Point: -4.6C ...
Humidity: 48% ...
Wind Speed: 2.4mph ...
Wind Dir: East North East ...
Pressure: 1012.4hPa ...
Notes:

Quite a hazy afternoon, quite a bit of broken cloud too. Some trouble getting a good run of time to look at the Sun. Decided to try a quick sunspot count (first for quite some time).

Sunspot count

From: 2006-03-22 15:15 UT
To: 2006-03-22 15:25 UT

Sunspot count via the Solarscope. No active areas or sunspots of any kind visible. I was hoping that I might catch a glimpse of any evidence of area 862 but no matter how much I looked I couldn't pick out anything. I suspect that the haze wasn't helping.


2006-03-23


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-03-23 12:25 UT
To: 2006-03-23 12:30 UT
Equipment: Solarscope
Temperature: 8.3C ...
Dew Point: -2.8C ...
Humidity: 46% ...
Wind Speed: 4.4mph ...
Wind Dir: East South East ...
Pressure: 1007.8hPa ...
Notes:

Quite a hazy morning, quite a bit of broken cloud around too. Good mixture of cloud types from what I could tell.

Sunspot count

From: 2006-03-23 12:25 UT
To: 2006-03-23 12:30 UT

Sunspot count via the Solarscope. No active areas or sunspots of any kind visible.


2006-03-24


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-03-24 20:24 UT
To: 2006-03-24 20:44 UT
Equipment: Antares 905
Temperature: 7.9C ...
Dew Point: 6.0C ...
Humidity: 88% ...
Wind Speed: 0.4mph ...
Wind Dir: South South West ...
Pressure: 991.4hPa ...
Notes:

Despite the weather being less than ideal I decided to use a break in the clouds to give my newly acquired Antares 905 a quick test. Conditions were quite misty with a warm dew forming on most surfaces.

Quick Test of the Antares 905

From: 2006-03-24 20:24 UT
To: 2006-03-24 20:44 UT

Quickly set up the 905 and roughly polar aligned the mount. Dropped in my new 32mm eyepiece and swung the 'scope around to M45. Despite not using the red-dot finder I'd ordered with the 'scope (it needed aligning and I suspected that I wouldn't have enough time to do that and to observe something too) I managed to get the cluster in the field of view with very little effort.

My initial impression was that the image was crisp and bright. There was no obvious false colour anywhere in the field. I then switch to the 25mm eyepiece and found that the quality of the image was just as good.

I then decided to try what might have been an unfair test: I pointed the 905 at Saturn. After finding it (with very little effort) in the 25mm eyepiece I switched to the 6mm eyepiece. I was delighted to note that the image appeared crisp and sharp, still with no obvious false colour.

Despite the conditions being less than ideal, and despite the fact that the 'scope had been given no cool-down time at all, I'd happily say that the view I had of Saturn was the 2nd or 3rd best view I've had since I got back into observing a year ago. The Cassini Division kept popping in and out of view, as did a hint of banding on the planet. If Saturn looks like this in the 905 in less-than-ideal conditions I'd be interested to see what it would look like in ideal conditions.

At this point I decided to give the 6mm eyepiece a go along with the 2x barlow but at that moment cloud rolled in and obscured Saturn (and, quickly, the rest of the sky). Given that rain had been forecast I decided to quickly pack up and call it a night.


2006-03-28


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-03-28 15:50 UT
To: 2006-03-28 15:55 UT
Equipment: Solarscope
Temperature: 11.3C ...
Dew Point: 5.3C ...
Humidity: 67% ...
Wind Speed: 5.3mph ...
Wind Dir: North West ...
Pressure: 991.0hPa ...
Notes:

Very windy (despite what the weather station suggests) day, a fair amount of cloud around. Had a break in the cloud turn up so decided to quickly check the Sun for sunspots.

Sunspot count

From: 2006-03-28 15:50 UT
To: 2006-03-28 15:55 UT

Sunspot count via the Solarscope. At first I couldn't see anything but I then noticed a single spot close to the limb. The spot seemed to be in an area of increase brightness on the surface of the Sun. Other than that, due to the cloud getting in the way and the wind buffeting the Solarscope, I couldn't make out any extra detail.

It would appear that the spot has been given the ID 865.


2006-03-29


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-03-29 09:45 UT
To: 2006-03-29 11:20 UT
Equipment: Naked Eye
Solarscope
Temperature: 12.4C ...
Dew Point: 3.5C ...
Humidity: 56% ...
Wind Speed: 1.3mph ...
Wind Dir: West ...
Pressure: 1003.5hPa ...
Notes:

Attempt to observe the partial solar eclipse (which was total in parts of Africa, Asia and Europe). Weather was less than ideal. Despite the day starting totally clear conditions were more or less overcast by the time of first contact.

Partial Solar Eclipse

From: 2006-03-29 09:45 UT
To: 2006-03-29 11:20 UT

At the time of first contact the Sun wasn't visible. I got my first glimpse of the Sun, with the naked eye via a pair of eclipse shades, at 09:51 UT. At this point I couldn't make out any hint of the Moon in front of the Sun.

At 09:54 UT I managed to catch a better view of the Sun and, this time, the Moon was visible. The cloud was starting to thin out a little so at this point I got the Solarscope out and set it up ready in case I could get a view through it.

Around 10:00 UT I finally got a good view of the Sun via the Solarscope and I managed to take a quick image with the camera in my mobile phone:

View of the partial eclipse

Around this time I also noticed that active area 865 (which I first noticed yesterday) had appeared to develop a second spot and that there was another spot visible, further away towards the trailing limb of the Sun, and that this appeared to be part of a different active area (later checking confirmed that this was a separate area with ID 866 ).

By 10:10 UT I'd lost any view of the Sun and could see that the cloud was getting thicker all the time. At 10:15 UT I packed up the Solarscope and table but kept them close to hand on the off chance that a hole might appear. It never did.


2006-03-31


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-03-31 11:35 UT
To: 2006-03-31 12:00 UT
Equipment: Naked Eye
Solarscope
Temperature: 16.6C ...
Dew Point: 5.1C ...
Humidity: 47% ...
Wind Speed: 1.7mph ...
Wind Dir: West ...
Pressure: 1001.4hPa ...
Notes:

Breezy, partly cloudy day but with the Sun showing for long enough between clouds to make a sunspot count worthwhile.

Sun

From: 2006-03-31 11:35 UT
To: 2006-03-31 12:00 UT

With the Solarscope I could see that area 865 had developed a fair bit. The main spot now had a very obvious penumbra and I could count five other spots (making six in total for the active area).

Area 866 still only had the one spot and still had some brighter areas visible around the spot.

I had a quick look at the Sun through a pair of eclipse shades and was a little surprised to see that the main spot in area 865 was visible to the naked eye.

I then made a sketch of the Sun, as seen via the Solarscope. I finished it around 11:55 UT.

The Sun


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