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All observing logs for month 2006-04 (earliest log first).

2006-04-01


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-04-01 16:00 UT
To: 2006-04-01 16:06 UT
Equipment: Naked Eye
Solarscope
Temperature: 13.4C ...
Dew Point: 6.0C ...
Humidity: 61% ...
Wind Speed: 2.6mph ...
Wind Dir: South West ...
Pressure: 1001.0hPa ...
Notes:

Reasonably clear day, little cloud to get in the way of viewing the Sun. This was a relatively late observation due to the fact that I'd not had a chance to observe earlier in the day.

Sun

From: 2006-04-01 16:00 UT
To: 2006-04-01 16:06 UT

With the Solarscope I could see that area 865 had developed even more. I could count 8 spots in the group. The penumbra of the main spot had developed some more over yesterday.

The main spot in area 866 had now developed a visible penumbra and I could also see a second spot associated with it. Since making that observation I've found out that the second spot is actually part of a new active area (area 867).

Unfortunately I didn't have the time to make a sketch.

Using eclipse shades I was able to see the main spot in area 865 with the naked eye.


2006-04-03


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-04-03 14:25 UT
To: 2006-04-03 14:30 UT
Equipment: Naked Eye
Solarscope
Temperature: 12.4C ...
Dew Point: 0.7C ...
Humidity: 45% ...
Wind Speed: 7.9mph ...
Wind Dir: West ...
Pressure: 1016.2hPa ...
Notes:

Partly cloudy, quite breezy afternoon. Some moments of clear sunshine between the clouds. Got the Solarscope out to have a quick look at the Sun. It was hard to make a really good observation as the wind kept blowing the Solarscope around.

Sun

From: 2006-04-03 14:25 UT
To: 2006-04-03 14:30 UT

With the Solarscope I could see that area 865 had developed some more on yesterday. I counted fewer obvious spots but cloud see significant dark lines.

Area 866 seemed a little more developed and area 867 seemed to have developed a second spot.

Using eclipse shades I was able to see the main spot in area 865 with the naked eye.

Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-04-03 19:05 UT
To: 2006-04-03 20:07 UT
Equipment: Antares 905
Temperature: 7.4C ...
Dew Point: -0.9C ...
Humidity: 56% ...
Wind Speed: 1.1mph ...
Wind Dir: West North West ...
Pressure: 1017.3hPa ...
Notes:

Reasonably clear night, just the odd cloud floating about, quite breezy with the occasional strong gust. Waxing crescent Moon. Although the Sun hadn't long set and the sky was still quite light I decided to take the 905 outside and set it up with a view to having a look at the Moon — this would also give me the chance to get the finder aligned.

Further testing of the Antares 905

From: 2006-04-03 19:05 UT
To: 2006-04-03 20:07 UT

Spent a little time setting up the 905 and aligning the finder using the Moon as the target. Once that was done I settled down to look at the Moon with the 6mm eyepiece (which I'd finished up with in the holder during the alignment process). The detail along the terminator was excellent, very sharp and no hint of any false colour. Along the limb facing the Sun a lot of violet flare was visible, not so much to be annoying or a problem but it was very noticeable.

Something I was starting to notice was that the gusts of wind were causing a fair bit of vibration in the 'scope. I don't know if it's the mount or the tripod that's the problem (possibly both) it's obvious that this is more of a fair-weather setup or, if it were to be used for critical observations in windy conditions something would have to be done to firm it all up.

Had a look at Saturn next. Even though conditions weren't ideal, seeing wasn't that good and vibrations in the 'scope weren't helping, banding could be seen on the planet and the Cassini Division kept popping in and out of view.

I spent a fair bit of time watching Saturn, it was quite something to see the detail pop in and out of view as conditions improved and then got worse.

Using the 32mm eyepiece I went back to have a nice, wide-field view of the Moon. The flare on the sunward limb was very obvious (but, again, not distracting) and I also noticed that as I moved my eye closer to the eyepiece the flare appeared violet yet when I moved further back from the eyepiece it became obviously yellow. I'm not surprised by any of this, it is to be expected. Like I say above, it isn't at all distracting and lunar observing isn't the main intended use for this 'scope — I purchased it more for cluster observing and things like that.

Couple of things of note during the evening (not via the 'scope): the Moon was very close to Mars and Elnath. In fact, when I first stepped out and the sky was still light enough that only the very brightest stars were visible I thought the Moon was close to Castor and Pollux. It was only as the sky got darker that I realised that I'd been a little disoriented due to Mars' position.

The other thing I noticed during the evening was how many satellites I saw. During most of the winter months (not that I've been out that much this last winter) I don't recall seeing many satellites at all (other than the ISS) — this makes sense of course and the fact that I saw so many during this little session shows that days are getting longer.

By 20:07 UT the sky was getting very hazy and the gusts of wind were making it harder to view much though the 'scope. That, and the fact that I had a streaming nose due to a cold, meant that I packed up. A short session, but a worthwhile one in that it was another useful test of the 905.

I'm still pleased with the purchase.


2006-04-05


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-04-05 13:20 UT
To: 2006-04-05 13:24 UT
Equipment: Naked Eye
Solarscope
Temperature: 12.3C ...
Dew Point: -2.5C ...
Humidity: 36% ...
Wind Speed: 7.2mph ...
Wind Dir: North ...
Pressure: 1014.7hPa ...
Notes:

Very clear day, hardly a cloud in the sky, bit breezy. I was a little short of available time but decided to do a quick sunspot count with the Solarscope.

Sun

From: 2006-04-05 13:20 UT
To: 2006-04-05 13:24 UT

With the Solarscope I could see that the main spot in area 865 had developed quite a bit from my last observation two days ago; it almost looked like it was trying to split four ways. There was an obvious single split in the spot (making it two spots for counting purposes, I think) but the bigger half appeared to be splitting three ways.

Areas 866 and 867 were still nicely visible and appeared to be developing some more. New area 868 was also visible.

In total I counted 15 spots in 4 active areas.

Unfortunately, yet again, I didn't have the time to make a sketch.

Using eclipse shades I was able to see the main spot in area 865 with the naked eye.


2006-04-13


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-04-13 12:55 UT
To: 2006-04-13 13:00 UT
Equipment: Solarscope
Temperature: 162.3C ...
Dew Point: 5.8C ...
Humidity: 50% ...
Wind Speed: 9.2mph ...
Wind Dir: North North East ...
Pressure: 1003.0hPa ...
Notes:

Very windy and quite a cloudy day. Despite the conditions not being ideal I decided to do a quick sunspot count with the Solarscope.

Sun

From: 2006-04-13 12:55 UT
To: 2006-04-13 13:00 UT

With the Solarscope I counted five active areas, each with a single spot visible. I think, had the conditions been ideal, I might have been able to see more detail but the Solarscope was being blown around a lot and cloud kept blowing across the face of the Sun.

The active areas seen were: 869, 870, 871, 872 and 873.


2006-04-22


Location: Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge (Cambridgeshire, UK)
From: 2006-04-22 14:00 UT (approx)
To: 2006-04-22 14:30 UT (approx)
Equipment: Naked Eye
Notes:

The following observation was made while sat on the grass out the back of the Hoyle Building at the Institute of Astronomy, while attending Astroblast. Reasonably sunny day with lots of thin, high-level cloud about.

Partial halo around the Sun

From: 2006-04-22 14:00 UT (approx)
To: 2006-04-22 14:30 UT (approx)

Sometime between 14:00 UT and 14:30 UT (I failed to make an exact note of the time) I noticed a "rainbow" effect in the sky. Thinking back I'm not sure I can make a good estimate as to its altitude but I would have said that it was reasonable close to the zenith. It appeared to be a small arc of what could have been a halo around the Sun.

I suspect it was a partial 22 halo although there is the chance it might have been a partial 46 halo. Given that I was busy with other things at the same time I didn't really think to figure out its angular distance from the Sun.

Over a noticeable period of time it appeared to "rotate" around the Sun slightly which would suggest that the clouds responsible for the effect were slowly drifting and that the effect was rather localised.

The colours were faint but obvious and I found that I could see them better with my sunglasses than with my normal glasses.

I took the following two images of the display with the camera in my mobile phone:

Image of partial Sun halo

Image of partial Sun halo

Location: Stamford (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-04-22 16:15 UT
To: 2006-04-22 16:45 UT
Equipment: Naked Eye
Notes:

On the way back from Astroblast I stopped off in Stamford for something to eat and, from the park in the middle of town, managed to catch an even more impressive display in the atmosphere.

Display of atmospheric phenomena

From: 2006-04-22 16:15 UT
To: 2006-04-22 16:45 UT

While sat having a bite to eat in the park in Stamford I noticed that there was an even more impressive atmospheric display. At the time I made some short notes and a quick sketch of what I saw; the following is a version of the rough sketch that I made:

Atmospheric display visible from Stamford

The sketch is rough and isn't supposed to show anything to any sensible scale, the angular distances are probably quite off too. The intent was to record the shapes and general locations of what I saw.

Checking with the Atmospheric Optics website it appears that I saw was, starting at the top: a circumzenithal arc with a parry arc below it. To the left and right of the Sun was a pair of sundogs. Both sundogs displayed a tail pointing away from the Sun and the sundog to the left was far brighter than the one to the right. Also, the one to the left had a very obvious vertical arc running through it.

Using the camera in my mobile phone I attempted to image each of the things I saw but all that came out were the following images of the sundogs:

Sundog from Stamford

Sundog from Stamford

Sundog from Stamford

Sundog from Stamford

Unfortunately the images don't really do justice to what I saw, the sundogs were much more obvious than they are in the above images and were also more colourful.


2006-04-27


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-04-27 14:10 UT
To: 2006-04-27 14:15 UT
Equipment: Naked Eye
Solarscope
Temperature: 18.5C ...
Dew Point: 5.9C ...
Humidity: 44% ...
Wind Speed: 5.2mph ...
Wind Dir: North West ...
Pressure: 1023.3hPa ...
Notes:

Slightly breezy day with lots of broken cloud but with the occasional period where the Sun could be seen. Took the Solarscope outside to do a quick sunspot count.

Sun

From: 2006-04-27 14:10 UT
To: 2006-04-27 14:15 UT

With the Solarscope I could see what appeared to be two active areas (875 and 876). Between them I counted 14 sunspots.

Of the two areas 875 appeared to be the most developed with what appeared to be two main spots, both surrounded by (and apparently joined by) extensive penumbra and a curved tail of smaller spots (surrounded by darker areas that didn't look like a penumbra).

Using eclipse shades I was able to see the main spot in area 875, as a small black dot, with the naked eye.


2006-04-28


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-04-28 13:47 UT
To: 2006-04-28 13:53 UT
Equipment: Naked Eye
Solarscope
Temperature: 14.8C ...
Dew Point: 2.6C ...
Humidity: 44% ...
Wind Speed: 9.9mph ...
Wind Dir: North ...
Pressure: 1025.2hPa ...
Notes:

Another slightly breezy day with lots of broken cloud but with the occasional period where the Sun could be seen (very similar to yesterday). Took the Solarscope outside to do a quick sunspot count.

Sun

From: 2006-04-28 13:47 UT
To: 2006-04-28 13:53 UT

With the Solarscope I could still see active areas 875 and 876. Between them I counted 17 sunspots (two more than yesterday's observation).

Neither area seemed to have changed that much and the descriptions stay pretty much the same as yesterday.

Using eclipse shades I was able to see the main spot in area 875, as a small black dot, with the naked eye.


2006-04-29


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-04-29 15:15 UT
To: 2006-04-29 15:19 UT
Equipment: Naked Eye
Solarscope
Temperature: 13.4C ...
Dew Point: 3.7C ...
Humidity: 52% ...
Wind Speed: 5.2mph ...
Wind Dir: North North West ...
Pressure: 1018.0hPa ...
Notes:

Slightly breezy day with lots of broken cloud about, only the occasional view of the Sun could be seen. Took the Solarscope outside to do a quick sunspot count.

Sun

From: 2006-04-29 15:15 UT
To: 2006-04-29 15:19 UT

With the Solarscope I could still see active areas 875 and 876). Between them I counted 12 sunspots — that was down on yesterday's observation. Given that it was later in the afternoon and conditions weren't ideal I suspect that this might have been as much to do with the view I had as with anything else.

Using eclipse shades I was able to see the main spot in area 875, as a small black dot, with the naked eye.


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