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All observing logs for month 2006-10 (earliest log first).

2006-10-02


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-10-02 13:10 UT
To: 2006-10-02 13:15 UT
Equipment: Solarscope
Temperature: 19.5C ...
Dew Point: 11.5C ...
Humidity: 60% ...
Wind Speed: Calm ...
Pressure: 997.0hPa ...
Notes:

Partly cloudy day, also slightly breezy. Took the Solarscope out to do a quick sunspot count.

Sun

From: 2006-10-02 13:10 UT
To: 2006-10-02 13:15 UT

Active areas 913 and 914 were both still visible. 913 now contained 2 small spots while 914 still contained a single small spot.

Active area 915 was no longer visible.


2006-10-06


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-10-06 14:10 UT
To: 2006-10-06 14:15 UT
Equipment: Solarscope
Temperature: 17.9C ...
Dew Point: 12.6C ...
Humidity: 71% ...
Wind Speed: 5.3mph ...
Wind Dir: North North West ...
Pressure: 992.3hPa ...
Notes:

Wet and windy day. Had a brief bright spell in the afternoon so took the Solarscope out to do a quick sunspot count.

Sun

From: 2006-10-06 14:10 UT
To: 2006-10-06 14:15 UT

Active areas 913 and 914 were both still visible. Both contained a single small spot each.


2006-10-09


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-10-09 14:10 UT
To: 2006-10-09 14:15 UT
Equipment: Solarscope
Temperature: 17.9C ...
Dew Point: 13.4C ...
Humidity: 75% ...
Wind Speed: 3.3mph ...
Wind Dir: West ...
Pressure: 1011.9hPa ...
Notes:

Very wet and overcast day. Cleared later into the afternoon so took the Solarscope out to do a quick sunspot count.

Sun

From: 2006-10-09 14:10 UT
To: 2006-10-09 14:15 UT

Two small spots were visible in new active area 916.


2006-10-10


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-10-10 14:50 UT
To: 2006-10-10 14:55 UT
Equipment: Solarscope
Temperature: 18.9C ...
Dew Point: 16.3C ...
Humidity: 85% ...
Wind Speed: 4.2mph ...
Wind Dir: East South East ...
Pressure: 1013.0hPa ...
Notes:

Very overcast and foggy day. Cleared later into the afternoon although was still quite hazy. Took the Solarscope out to do a quick sunspot count.

Sun

From: 2006-10-10 14:50 UT
To: 2006-10-10 14:55 UT

No spots or other markings were visible in the Sun.


2006-10-12


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-10-12 15:10 UT
To: 2006-10-12 15:15 UT
Equipment: Solarscope
Temperature: 17.6C ...
Dew Point: 12.7C ...
Humidity: 73% ...
Wind Speed: 0.8mph ...
Wind Dir: West ...
Pressure: 1020.3hPa ...
Notes:

Partly cloudy and quite a hazy day. Took the Solarscope out to do a quick sunspot count.

Sun

From: 2006-10-12 15:10 UT
To: 2006-10-12 15:15 UT

No spots or other markings were visible in the Sun.


2006-10-13


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-10-13 14:00 UT
To: 2006-10-13 14:05 UT
Equipment: Solarscope
Temperature: 18.2C ...
Dew Point: 13.2C ...
Humidity: 70% ...
Wind Speed: Calm ...
Pressure: 1028.5hPa ...
Notes:

Pretty clear day, small amount of cloud around. Took the Solarscope out to do a quick sunspot count.

Sun

From: 2006-10-13 14:00 UT
To: 2006-10-13 14:05 UT

No spots or other markings were visible in the Sun.


2006-10-19


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-10-19 13:15 UT
To: 2006-10-19 13:20 UT
Equipment: Solarscope
Temperature: 17.9C ...
Dew Point: 11.2C ...
Humidity: 65% ...
Wind Speed: 8.1mph ...
Wind Dir: South South West ...
Pressure: 986.8hPa ...
Notes:

Partly cloudy afternoon. Quite breezy. Took the Solarscope out to do a quick sunspot count.

Sun

From: 2006-10-19 13:15 UT
To: 2006-10-19 13:20 UT

No spots or other markings were visible in the Sun.


2006-10-20


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-10-20 13:45 UT
To: 2006-10-20 13:50 UT
Equipment: Solarscope
Temperature: 16.5C ...
Dew Point: 11.4C ...
Humidity: 72% ...
Wind Speed: 0.6mph ...
Wind Dir: West ...
Pressure: 985.6hPa ...
Notes:

Very clear afternoon, hardly a cloud in the sky. Took the Solarscope out to do a quick sunspot count.

Sun

From: 2006-10-20 13:45 UT
To: 2006-10-20 13:50 UT

Two new small spots were visible in active area 917.


2006-10-21


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-10-21 13:45 UT
To: 2006-10-21 13:50 UT
Equipment: Solarscope
Temperature: 17.4C ...
Dew Point: 11.4C ...
Humidity: 68% ...
Wind Speed: 8.6mph ...
Wind Dir: South ...
Pressure: 990.3hPa ...
Notes:

Partly clear afternoon, quite breezy too. Took the Solarscope out to do a quick sunspot count.

Sun

From: 2006-10-21 13:45 UT
To: 2006-10-21 13:50 UT

Active area 917 was still visible but had change somewhat from yesterday's observation. Today five small sunspots were visible. A faint hint of a penumbra was visible around the biggest of the group and it also appeared to have a "tail" to it as well.


2006-10-24


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-10-24 14:15 UT
To: 2006-10-24 14:20 UT
Equipment: Solarscope
Temperature: 14.6C ...
Dew Point: 7.6C ...
Humidity: 63% ...
Wind Speed: 2.9mph ...
Wind Dir: West ...
Pressure: 996.8hPa ...
Notes:

Partly clear afternoon, quite cool and breezy too. Took the Solarscope out to do a quick sunspot count.

Sun

From: 2006-10-24 14:15 UT
To: 2006-10-24 14:20 UT

Active area 917 was still visible, now quite close to the limb of the Sun. I could see three small faint spots.

Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-10-24 20:30 UT
To: 2006-10-24 22:15 UT
Equipment: Meade 10x50 Binoculars
Antares 905
Temperature: 9.1C ...
Dew Point: 5.8C ...
Humidity: 80% ...
Wind Speed: Calm ...
Pressure: 1002.1hPa ...
Notes:

Reasonably clear night but appearing a little unsteady at times. I was caught out by it, I wasn't expecting it to be clear. Having noticed in Starry Night that Uranus would be well placed for viewing from my garden I decided to pop out and see if I could view it.

Uranus

From: 2006-10-24 20:30 UT
To: 2006-10-24 21:20 UT

First off I used Starry Night to figure out exactly where Uranus was in relation to easily spotted star patterns. After I was happy that I'd be able to find it I went outside with the 10x50 binoculars and tried to track it down. I was surprised to find that I could see it with no problems whatsoever.

Uranus was near to, and down and to the right from, Lambda Aquarii. Lambda Aquarii was quite a fascinating object to see in itself given its vivid red colour. In relation to the surrounding stars Uranus, while obvious given that I knew where it should be, didn't stand out as being a planet. If I hadn't known what I was looking for and where I was looking for it I would simply have thought it was just another star.

Having seen it with the 10x50s I decided to get the Antares 905 out and have a look at it through that. After setting up the 905 I started out with the 25mm eyepiece and got Lambda Aquarii in the field and then centered on Uranus. I then worked my way up to the 6mm eyepiece, keeping Uranus in the center of the field of view as I went.

By about 20:50 UT I had Uranus and TYC5813-273-1 in the field of the 6mm. Even at this magnification I would have thought that I was looking at 2 stars if I hadn't already known one of them was a planet. Initially there was no hint of any kind of disc and I could detect no obvious colour.

The observation probably wasn't helped by the fact that, at the elevation of Uranus, the sky was a little murky and sometimes quite unsteady.

After some more viewing, especially when comparing it with TYC5813-273-1, I began to detect that Uranus wasn't a point-source but was actually a very small disc (at least I think I could see that, I don't think it was wishful thinking).

Around 21:08 UT, after scanning the area around Uranus and memorising some of the closer stars, I went back into the office to double-check what I'd seen with Starry Night. The main feature that stood out was two starts, sort of close together, just south of Uranus. I could see them in Starry Night (they were TYC5813-519-1 and TYC5813-814-1) and this confirmed that, without a doubt, I was looking at Uranus.

I also noticed in Starry Night that TYC5813-789-1 was very close to Uranus but I never did manage to see it through the 'scope.

After doing the above checking and after memorising the general pattern of starts around Uranus, at around 21:15 UT, I went back out and put the 10mm eyepiece in the 905 and checked everything again. Everything matched and there was no doubt that I'd found Uranus.

Random viewing

From: 2006-10-24 21:25 UT
To: 2006-10-24 22:15 UT

Given that I was out with the 905 and given that the sky wasn't too awful I decided to stay out a bit longer even though I managed to achieve my aim for this session. Because I didn't really have any other sort of plan I decided to just randomly sweep around the sky looking at whatever turned up or took my fancy.

First off I tried to have a look at M31 with the 905. Annoyingly, because it was so far overhead, I couldn't get the 905 in a position where I could view it, the mount kept getting in the way. So, instead, I turned it on the Double Cluster in Perseus (also known as Caldwell 14 or NGC 869 and NGC 884).

In the 32mm eyepiece it was a nice rich star field, just the sort of thing I'd purchased the 905 for. Both clusters stood out very well against the very starry background and the line of starts that runs away from the area of the cluster stood out really well.

At around 21:43 UT I noticed that the sky was looking quite nice now. Still a little hazy but it looked quite impressive. The Milky Way stood out really well — I think this is probably the best I've seen it for most of this year.

Given that I couldn't get the 905 trained on M31 I decided to have a quick look with the 10x50 binoculars instead. Even though I was only holding them with my hands it was a very impressive sight. The more I looked the wider it appeared to get. I think this was probably the best view I've had of that galaxy since I started observing again.

While I had the 10x50s to hand I next had a look at M45. It looked very clear, very bright and the "mini cascade" in it stood out really well. I think this was probably the best view I've had for a long time.

At around 21:55 UT, while sweeping around Cassiopeia with the 10x50s, I saw a pretty obvious cluster of stars about way between Epsilon Cassiopeiae and Delta Cassiopeiae. Checking with my maps it turned out to be NGC 654 (also known as Caldwell 10). Checking back I have observed this before. It looked like a slightly fuzzy but loose collection of stars. Last time I observed I remember thinking that it looked more like a globular cluster but this time around it was obvious that it was an open cluster.

Starting around 22:05 UT I did a bit of aimless sweeping around with the binoculars, just taking in the beauty of the sky. However, it was starting to get colder and damper (dew was forming on everything) and given that I wasn't really dressed for the conditions (I had, after all, intended to just pop out for a quick look for Uranus) and that I really needed to get off to bed I decided to call an end to the session at 22:15 UT.


2006-10-26


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-10-26 13:30 UT
To: 2006-10-26 13:35 UT
Equipment: Solarscope
Temperature: 15.5C ...
Dew Point: 8.9C ...
Humidity: 67% ...
Wind Speed: 6.8mph ...
Wind Dir: West ...
Pressure: 996.5hPa ...
Notes:

Very clear afternoon, very breezy too. Took the Solarscope out to do a quick sunspot count.

Sun

From: 2006-10-26 13:30 UT
To: 2006-10-26 13:35 UT

No sunspots or other marks were visible on the Sun.

Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-10-26 18:10 UT
To: 2006-10-26 20:35 UT
Equipment: Naked Eye
7x50 Binoculars
Meade 10x50 Binoculars
Antares 905
Temperature: 11.3C ...
Dew Point: 5.3C ...
Humidity: 67% ...
Wind Speed: 4.4mph ...
Wind Dir: West ...
Pressure: 1001.0hPa ...
Notes:

Pretty clear night but also very breezy. Seeing appeared to be quite unsteady. Decided to head out and see if I could find comet Swan.

A first look for comet M4 Swan

From: 2006-10-26 18:10 UT
To: 2006-10-26 18:20 UT

I first headed out with the 7x50 binoculars to see if I could even find comet Swan. I managed to locate it with very little trouble. Its appearance was that of a small fuzzy blob, not unlike a globular cluster. In fact, when compared with M13, it appeared quite similar except that the comet seemed somewhat brighter.

Observing comet M4 Swan

From: 2006-10-26 18:25 UT
To: 2006-10-26 19:25 UT

After having located the comet without any problems I went and got the 905 out so I could have a proper look. Starting out with the 32mm eyepiece I found the comet without any problems. Just as it did in the binocular it simply looked a lot like a globular cluster. I could see no sign of a tail.

After a short while, as my eyes became more dark adapted, I found that I could see a hint of a tail — it was quite a bit longer than I would have expected. I then switched to the 10x50 binoculars and was surprised to see that the tail was very obvious. Using the binocular I again compared it with M13 and noted that the comet was quite a bit brighter.

I went back to the 905 and dropped in the 10mm eyepiece. I could see a very bright central spot, not sharp but it was quite distinct. Surrounding it was a fainter coma.

At this point I noted that this is probably the best comet I've seen since I got back into active observing.

After switching back to the 32mm eyepiece I noticed that the tail was even more obvious and that the head of the comet could easily withstand direct vision without any obvious loss of detail. Up to this point I still hadn't been able to spot the comet with the naked eye.

Around 19:03 UT I noticed that some thin cloud was moving in from the west and that it looked like it would interfere with observations. While it wasn't in the way just yet it did put me off doing a sketch I was planning to attempt as it appeared that it was cause problems during the sketching process.

Looking some more via the 32mm eyepiece I estimated that the tail that was visible to me extended about to ⅓ of the field of view of the eyepiece.

Around 19:10 UT was really looking like it was going to become a problem. As well as being annoying because I wanted to try a sketch it was also annoying because I'd been thinking about getting the 130M out to compare the view.

At 19:15 UT the cloud started to get in the way so I decided to have a break to see if it would pass. By 19:23 UT the worst of it seemed to have passed but the sky behind it seemed much more hazy (the tail of the comet wasn't anywhere near as visible in the 905 as it had been earlier). At 19:25 UT I decided to finish with the comet for the evening.

M31, M110 and a satellite

From: 2006-10-26 19:27 UT
To: 2006-10-26 19:38 UT

Because M31 was at a good height for the 905 (unlike the other night when it was too high) I decided to have a quick look. Using the 32mm eyepiece it wasn't quite as impressive as I'd hoped (or as impressive as the other night's view with the 10x50 binoculars). However, I thought I could just about make out M110 when using averted vision. Oddly I couldn't make out M32 at all.

At 19:36 UT a satellite passed right through the field of view (at the time I was using the 25mm eyepiece), only just missing M31 (as it appeared to me, with a bigger aperture the galaxy would look wider and it probably would have appeared to transit it).

Update 2006-10-27:According to stella, a poster on the SPA's BB, what I saw was "99-04C, Globalstar M036, catalog no. 25623. Orbiting at a height of 1413 kilometres".

With the 25mm eyepiece I could still see what I thought was M110. It was only visible with averted vision and seemed quite ghostly but there was little doubt that there was something there. Checking with a chart it appeared to be in the right place.

M33

From: 2006-10-26 19:40 UT
To: 2006-10-26 19:55 UT

Next I decided to have a look for M33. Using the 905 with the 32mm eyepiece I quickly found my way to the correct area of sky and was sure I could see it pretty much straight away. I could see a very ghostly patch that, while it wasn't that distinct from the surrounding sky, was obviously some sort of object.

Looking through the red-dot finder, and checking with my charts (in this case the Sky & Telescope Pocket Sky Atlas), I could see that I was lined up on exactly the right spot so I was very confident that I was seeing M33.

Back at the eyepiece, the more I looked the more I was sure there was something there. Given how indistinct it was it would have been pretty much impossible to actually sketch. I think this is probably a good object to go after with the 130M as the extra aperture would probably be a big help.

I then had a look at the same patch of sky with the 10x50 binoculars and could see the object through them too. There's no doubt that I was seeing M33.

M76

From: 2006-10-26 20:00 UT
To: 2006-10-26 20:17 UT

Decided to go hunting for M76 (the Little Dumbbell Nebula). I star hopped my way to the right location with the 905 and the 32mm eyepiece. I then switched to the 25mm eyepiece and had a sweep around the area for some time without seeing anything obvious.

Finally, after a short while, I noticed a faint, ghostly object in the right location (seems it was the night for this sort of observation). I could only see it with averted vision.

I then switched to the 10mm eyepiece and found that I still needed averted vision but that the object was still visible.

With the object centered in the field of view I then had a check through the red-dot finder and, when compared with my chart, I could see that I was lined up on the right spot in the sky. This would appear to be another good target for the 130M.

Quick look at Albireo

From: 2006-10-26 20:25 UT
To: 2006-10-26 20:35 UT

Before packing up for the night I decided to have a quick look at Albireo through the 905. I started out with the 25mm eyepiece, then moved on to the 10mm eyepiece and then, finally, the 6mm eyepiece.

I noticed that at this magnification the image was quite unsteady. This was probably in part down to the breeze moving the telescope about but there also seemed to be a component of bad seeing involved too.

The colour of both the starts was quite vivid.

Finally, at 20:35 UT, with conditions not being that great and with more cloud heading in I decided to pack up for the night.


2006-10-27


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-10-27 19:15 UT
To: 2006-10-27 20:35 UT
Equipment: 7x50 Binoculars
Meade 10x50 Binoculars
Antares 905
Sky-Watcher Explorer 130M
Temperature: 9.5C ...
Dew Point: 7.0C ...
Humidity: 85% ...
Wind Speed: 0.6mph ...
Wind Dir: South South West ...
Pressure: 1019.7hPa ...
Notes:

Another clear night. Headed out to have another look at comet Swan.

Comet M4 Swan

From: 2006-10-27 19:15 UT
To: 2006-10-27 20:35 UT

I first headed out with the 7x50 binoculars to see if I could find comet Swan again. As with my previous observation I managed to locate it with no trouble. Again, its appearance was that of a small fuzzy blob, not unlike a globular cluster. I was able to see it and M13 in the same binocular field and, as before, the comet looked brighter.

At 19:24 UT I put both the 905 and the 130M outside to cool off.

By 19:43 UT I was all set up outside with both 'scopes. I found the comet in the 130M using the 32mm eyepiece and also in the 905 using the 25mm eyepiece. In the 130M I found that the best view was with averted vision. The coma looked quite large with a distinct bright spot in the middle. There was a hint of a tail visible. I could also see a hint of colour too, I could see what appeared to be a blue/green tint (I would have said slightly more blue than green).

I then switched to the 15mm eyepiece in the 130M. The view of the head of the comet was even better. The side of the coma on the opposite side to the tail appeared to have a slightly "squashed" appearance to it. The sight withstood direct vision, although averted vision was still better.

By 19:54 UT I noticed that the view appeared to be getting a little worse as the comet got lower in the sky (it was starting to look a little misty). Not wanting to miss my chance I put the 25mm eyepiece back in the 130M, grabbed my A5 sketch book and, between around 19:55 UT and 20:05 UT, I made the following sketch:

Comet M4 Swan

I did notice that, during the sketching process, the image carried on getting a little worse.

In the time between starting and finishing the sketch I'm pretty certain that I managed to detect movement in the position of the comet. I couldn't detect any sort of movement as I was viewing it but I'm sure that, as time went on, I could see that the position had shifted a little.

At 20:16 UT I had a look, via the 130M, with the 10mm eyepiece. The nucleus seemed to be very bright and distinct within the coma. The while view nicely withstood direct vision.

By 20:21 UT I was sure that more movement was visible since finishing my sketch. Comparing what I could see now with what I had recorded with my sketch I was certain there was a difference.

At 20:24 UT I decided to take a short break to move some gear that I didn't need back into the office because everything was starting to get damp with dew. I came back at around 20:32 UT and noticed that the view of the comet had got even worse. At that point, having done everything I wanted to do, I called an end to the session.


2006-10-29


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-10-29 12:50 UT
To: 2006-10-29 12:55 UT
Equipment: Solarscope
Temperature: 15.4C ...
Dew Point: 9.0C ...
Humidity: 67% ...
Wind Speed: Calm ...
Pressure: 1022.0hPa ...
Notes:

Clear day but with some haze. Took the Solarscope out to do a quick sunspot count.

Sun

From: 2006-10-29 12:50 UT
To: 2006-10-29 12:55 UT

No sunspots or other marks were visible on the Sun.


2006-10-30


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-10-30 14:30 UT
To: 2006-10-30 14:35 UT
Equipment: Solarscope
Temperature: 16.2C ...
Dew Point: 13.6C ...
Humidity: 85% ...
Wind Speed: 1.7mph ...
Wind Dir: West ...
Pressure: 1010.0hPa ...
Notes:

Mostly clear day, some cloud around. Quite breezy. Took the Solarscope out to do a quick sunspot count.

Sun

From: 2006-10-30 14:30 UT
To: 2006-10-30 14:35 UT

Today I could see two small faint sunspots in new active area 921. The area was quite close to the limb and, because conditions were very unsteady, it was hard to make it out from time to time.


2006-10-31


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-10-31 15:30 UT
To: 2006-10-31 15:35 UT
Equipment: Solarscope
Temperature: 11.1C ...
Dew Point: 6.2C ...
Humidity: 72% ...
Wind Speed: 2.9mph ...
Wind Dir: North West ...
Pressure: 1005.5hPa ...
Notes:

Overcast and stormy for most of the day but started to clear a little into the late afternoon. While I had the chance I took the Solarscope out to do a quick sunspot count.

Sun

From: 2006-10-31 15:30 UT
To: 2006-10-31 15:35 UT

Active area 921 had developed quite a bit and looked a lot stronger than yesterday. I counted 5 sunspots, all quite small.

Close by I could also see another single spot but I wasn't sure if this was in a separate active area or was part of 921. Checking later it turned out that it was part of new active area 922.

Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-10-31 19:15 UT
To: 2006-10-31 19:20 UT
Equipment: 7x50 Binoculars
Temperature: 7.6C ...
Dew Point: 1.6C ...
Humidity: 66% ...
Wind Speed: 6.5mph ...
Wind Dir: North West ...
Pressure: 1012.5hPa ...
Notes:

Reasonably clear evening, if a little hazy. The view of the sky was made worse by a 61% waxing Moon.

Comet M4 Swan

From: 2006-10-31 19:15 UT
To: 2006-10-31 19:20 UT

Annoyingly I didn't have the available time to do a proper observation of comet Swan so I quickly grabbed by 7x50 binoculars and went outside for a few minutes to see if I could still find it.

I found it almost right away, a small fuzzy patch just off the bottom left hand corner of the Keystone in Her. I compared it with M13 and I would say that the comet still looks brighter.


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