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All observing logs that mention sunspot 880

2006-05-12


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-05-12 13:39 UT
To: 2006-05-12 13:50 UT
Equipment: Solarscope
Temperature: 25.3C ...
Dew Point: 7.8C ...
Humidity: 32% ...
Wind Speed: 3.1mph ...
Wind Dir: South South West ...
Pressure: 1012.0hPa ...
Notes:

Quite a hazy day, no cloud to speak of, just a fair amount of high-level haze. Despite the conditions I decided to do a quick sunspot count with the Solarscope.

Sun

From: 2006-05-12 13:39 UT
To: 2006-05-12 13:50 UT

With the Solarscope I could only see a single spot (active area 880). Very small, quite hard to detect at first. Other than that I could see no visible markings on the face of the Sun.


2006-05-11


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-05-11 13:00 UT
To: 2006-05-11 13:06 UT
Equipment: Solarscope
Temperature: 21.6C ...
Dew Point: 7.4C ...
Humidity: 40% ...
Wind Speed: 3.5mph ...
Wind Dir: North North West ...
Pressure: 1017.2hPa ...
Notes:

Very warm, clear day. No real haze to speak of and no clouds visible. Did a quick sunspot count with the Solarscope.

Sun

From: 2006-05-11 13:00 UT
To: 2006-05-11 13:06 UT

With the Solarscope I could only see a single active area (880) which only contained a single spot.

Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-05-11 20:45 UT
To: 2006-05-11 22:51 UT
Equipment: Meade 10x50 Binoculars
Antares 905
Temperature: 14.1C ...
Dew Point: 5.7C ...
Humidity: 57% ...
Wind Speed: Calm ...
Pressure: 1015.8hPa ...
Notes:

Reasonably clear evening, no cloud visible, although the sky did look a little murky towards the horizon. Moon close to full (about 95% waxing gibbous) so moonlight was bound to make for a pretty awful sky.

Having read in a couple of places that fragment B of 73P Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 was in outburst (even to the point of claiming that it was visible to the naked eye in moonlight) I decided to have a session to see if I could find it.

Saturn

From: 2006-05-11 20:50 UT
To: 2006-05-11 20:59 UT

Sky not quite properly dark yet so I decided to start with another look at Saturn. Using the 905 with the 6mm eyepiece I had a view that wasn't one of the best I'd ever had. The image wasn't very crisp and was often unsteady. Despite this most of the usual detail could still be seen. Both shadows were very obvious and there was a hint of banding on the planet itself. The Cassini Division kept popping in and out of view but was mostly hard to see.

Titan was visible although, with direct vision, would pop in and out of view (first time I've ever seen that happen). With averted vision I could see it with little problem.

State of the sky

Time: 2006-05-11 21:05 UT

By this point the sky was still very light, it was very hard to see all but the brightest of stars. Looking at Ursa Minor, for example, I could only easily see the three main stars (Polaris, Kochab and Pherkad).

Comet 73P Schwassmann-Wachmann 3

From: 2006-05-11 21:07 UT
To: 2006-05-11 22:35 UT

From 21:07 UT to around 21:18 UT I did an initial sweep for either fragment B or fragment C of 73P Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 with the binocular but failed to locate either of them. This seemed to confirm that the sky was pretty terrible.

After double checking the location of fragment B (it was located about way between Deneb and Sulafat) I did another sweep that ended around 21:34 UT but I'd still not found it.

Finally, after a third attempt, at around 21:45 UT I was sure I'd finally found fragment B. It was in exactly the right location but very hard to see. All I could detect was a faint, ghostly patch with no definition to it. It was right on the edge of my vision with direct vision and only a little better when using averted vision.

To be sure that I had located it I made a mental note of the pattern of stars close by and popped into the office to check the location with Starry Night. This check confirmed that I had located fragment B.

Between around 22:15 UT and 22:35 UT I made further observations, comparing the view in the binocular with the view in the 905 using the 32mm eyepiece. It appeared to be easier to see with the binocular than with the 905.

By the time I stopped attempting to observe fragment B the sky hadn't improved, if anything I'd have said that it had got a little worse. Even as late as 22:35 UT I could still only easily see the three main stars in Ursa Minor.

Jupiter

From: 2006-05-11 22:40 UT
To: 2006-05-11 22:51 UT

I noticed that it was now possible to have a look at Jupiter from round the side of the house so I moved the 905 into position, lined it up on the planet and dropped in the 6mm eyepiece. The view was very impressive, possibly the best view I've had yet (which is saying something considering how low down it is this apparition). Not only could I see the two main bands, they both had a very mottled appearance that was always visible. Also, the rest of the disc had very obvious variation with hints of detail to them. The polar regions were obviously very different in colour from the rest of the planet.

All four of the main moons were easily visible. When I had the planet in the middle of the field of view Callisto, which was furthest out, didn't actually fit in the field.

At 22:51 UT I decided to call an end to the session. Conditions were far from ideal and I needed to be up at a reasonable time the following morning.


2006-05-10


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-05-10 14:41 UT
To: 2006-05-10 14:45 UT
Equipment: Solarscope
Temperature: 20.1C ...
Dew Point: 8.0C ...
Humidity: 46% ...
Wind Speed: 4.4mph ...
Wind Dir: North North East ...
Pressure: 1018.1hPa ...
Notes:

Very clear day, free of any serious haze and not a single cloud visible. Did a quick sunspot count with the Solarscope.

Sun

From: 2006-05-10 14:41 UT
To: 2006-05-10 14:45 UT

With the Solarscope I could see active areas 880 and 882. 882 is now quite close to the edge of the Sun's disc and is very foreshortened — I counted 2 spots in that AA. 880, sort of near the middle of the disc, only had one spot.

Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-05-10 21:20 UT
To: 2006-05-10 21:30 UT
Equipment: Naked Eye
Temperature: 12.1C ...
Dew Point: 5.4C ...
Humidity: 64% ...
Wind Speed: Calm ...
Pressure: 1019.1hPa ...
Notes:

What looked like a clear evening turned into a very hazy night with some thin cloud floating around. I had hoped to have another stab at observing the comet but there was no way the conditions would have allowed that.

Moon and Spica

From: 2006-05-10 21:20 UT
To: 2006-05-10 21:30 UT

While wandering around the garden to check the conditions with a view to getting the 905 out (which I didn't as the conditions were pretty bad due to high-level haze and some thin cloud) I noticed that the Moon and Spica were very close together. I'd have said that they were separated by about 1. A really nice sight.


2006-05-09


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-05-09 15:33 UT
To: 2006-05-09 15:38 UT
Equipment: Solarscope
Temperature: 18.2C ...
Dew Point: 11.2C ...
Humidity: 64% ...
Wind Speed: 1.7mph ...
Wind Dir: South East ...
Pressure: 1016.3hPa ...
Notes:

Very hazy day, no cloud to speak of, just lots of high-level haze. Despite the conditions I decided to do a quick sunspot count with the Solarscope.

Sun

From: 2006-05-09 15:33 UT
To: 2006-05-09 15:38 UT

With the Solarscope I could see active areas 880 and 882. Between them I counted 6 sunspots.


2006-05-06


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-05-06 11:06 UT
To: 2006-05-06 11:12 UT
Equipment: Solarscope
Temperature: 21.4C ...
Dew Point: 11.4C ...
Humidity: 53% ...
Wind Speed: 1.3mph ...
Wind Dir: South East ...
Pressure: 1018.2hPa ...
Notes:

Quite a cloudy day with plenty of thick cloud and thin cloud inbetween. Also very hazy — seeing not very good. Despite the conditions I decided to do a quick sunspot count with the Solarscope while I had a brief view of the Sun through some thin cloud.

Sun

From: 2006-05-06 11:06 UT
To: 2006-05-06 11:12 UT

With the Solarscope I could only see a single active area (I believe it was 880) and, in that, I could only see a single sunspot.


2006-05-05


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-05-05 12:50 UT
To: 2006-05-05 12:54 UT
Equipment: Solarscope
Temperature: 22.8C ...
Dew Point: 8.8C ...
Humidity: 41% ...
Wind Speed: 7mph ...
Wind Dir: South South West ...
Pressure: 1018.2hPa ...
Notes:

Mostly clear, just a few clouds about, slight breeze. Nice and warm. Did a quick sunspot count with the Solarscope.

Sun

From: 2006-05-05 12:50 UT
To: 2006-05-05 12:54 UT

With the Solarscope I could only see two active areas (as best as I can tell they were 878 and 880). Could only see a single spot in each area giving a total of two spots for today.

Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-05-05 19:34 UT
To: 2006-05-05 21:45 UT
Equipment: Meade 10x50 Binoculars
Antares 905
Temperature: 18.3C ...
Dew Point: 8.2C ...
Humidity: 52% ...
Wind Speed: Calm ...
Pressure: 1019.1hPa ...
Notes:

A clear, warm and calm evening. The sky was still very light (the Sun hadn't long set). I decided to set up the 905 to have a session observing the Moon (which was just past first ). I also intended to observe Saturn and, if I was out late enough and the position was right, Jupiter.

All being well I also wanted to try and further observe 73P Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 although I didn't hold out too much hope given how bright the Moon was going to be.

Searching for Saturn in a light sky

From: 2006-05-05 19:34 UT
To: 2006-05-05 19:41 UT

Although the sky was still very light I did a quick sweep of the area to the west of the Moon with the binoculars to see if I could spot Saturn. Pretty quick I spotted it.

Having found it with the binoculars I tried to get it in the 905 but, even using the 32mm eyepiece to give me a fighting chance, I just couldn't track it down. I guess, if I'd persisted, I'd have got it in the end but I decided to give up and move on to the Moon.

Imaging the Moon with a mobile phone

From: 2006-05-05 19:51 UT
To: 2006-05-05 19:55 UT

I lined the Moon up in the 905 and, because I had my mobile phone in my pocket, I decided to try taking some shots. I knew they weren't going to be anything clever but I thought I'd have a try anyway. All attempts were using afocal projection while simply holding the phone in my hand.

I took a number of images but most of them were really terrible and were deleted on the spot. The following were the best of the bunch (which gives a good idea of how terrible the others were).

Moon with mobile phone

Moon with mobile phone

The Moon

From: 2006-05-05 20:14 UT
To: 2006-05-05 21:00 UT

After taking the images shown above, and after a short break from "proper" observing to show my wife the Moon via the 905, I stayed with the Moon to work my way along parts of the terminator and areas close to it.

The first features that really stood out were Ptolemaeus, Alphonsus and Arzachel. While Ptolemaeus was mostly fully lit by the sunlight (the floor looking very smooth except for a couple of small but obvious craters within it) Alphonsus and Arzachel both had their floors in shadow but with their central peaks lit.

Further south I could see (running east to west) Nasireddin, Huggins and Orontius. The latter was mostly in shade, in the night side of the terminator, but the "back" wall (in relation to the direction of the sunlight) was fully lit. I could also very clearly see a small crater in the wall (which is unnamed on the map I had with me).

To the north, on the eastern side of Mare Imbrium, I could clearly see Mons Piton casting a very long shadow which seemed to have a conical shape about it.

Over in the night side I could clearly see the peak of Mons Pico. Near it, just to the south, I could see another sunlit peak. The mountain in question is on my map but isn't named (I can see I'm going to have to get a more detailed map of the Moon some time soon).

The next thing I saw, clearly cutting a path through Montes Alpes, was Vallis Alpes. Although I've seen plenty of images of this feature I was still quite taken by how striking it was. This is a good candidate for further observations and possibly a good candidate for a lunar sketch at some point in the future.

The shadows from Montes Alpes were very striking — I counted 6 distinct shadows stretching out into the floor of Mare Imbrium. One of them appeared much longer than the others and I took this to be the shadow of Mons Blanc.

Other mountain ranges that stood out were Montes Spitzbergen (which could be seen just north of Archimedes and more or less on the terminator) and Montes Archimedes (which was also more or less on the terminator, south of Archimedes).

The next thing I noticed, in the terminator, was the eastern wall of Plato. Above it, in Mare Frigoris, I then noticed what looked like some sort of ridge running more or less east to west. I could see a hint of the feature on my map but no name is given. While the impression on the map is that it isn't a very distinct feature the view I had was one of a feature that was very significant (not very surprising really given its proximity to the terminator — the western end of it seemed to disappear into the terminator). To some degree the view I had reminded me of Rupes Recta, except this feature more or less runs east/west (unlike Rupes Recta, which runs more or less north/south). The "higher" side (the side that appeared to be sunlit) was the north side — the south side seeming to be in shadow.

At 20:52 UT the seeing suddenly deteriorated and for the first time this session there seemed to be a breeze about. Given that the image in the 'scope seemed to be getting worse I finally decided, at 21:00 UT, that it would be a good time to take a short break.

Assessing the viewing conditions

Time: 2006-05-05 21:10 UT

By now the sky had got quite dark but the moonlight was visibly causing problems — making the sky look quite washed out. Conditions were so bad that I couldn't actually make out the Keystone. Conditions didn't look good for viewing the comet.

Although it was hard to tell at this point there was a hint of some cloud moving in on the eastern horizon.

Brief look at Saturn

From: 2006-05-05 21:15 UT
To: 2006-05-05 21:25 UT

Had a brief look at Saturn with the 905 and the 6mm eyepiece. It wasn't anywhere near the best view I've had of it this apparition but I was still able to make out both of the shadows, a hint of handing on the planet's surface and, from time to time, the Cassini Division would pop in and out of view.

A quick hunt for Comet Schwassmann-Wachmann 3

From: 2006-05-05 21:20 UT
To: 2006-05-05 21:30 UT

Used the binoculars quickly hunt for fragments B or C of 73P Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 but failed to find them. I did note that M13 was only just visible so it didn't come as any surprise that I failed.

Assessing the chances of observing Jupiter

From: 2006-05-05 21:33 UT
To: 2006-05-05 21:34 UT

Wandered around the house looking for a possible vantage point that would give me a good view of Jupiter but couldn't find a location that would give a clear view with the 905. I did have a quick look with the binoculars and could briefly see a hint of the Jovian moons but the eyepieces misted up and put a stop to that.

Increasing cloud — end of session

From: 2006-05-05 21:35 UT
To: 2006-05-05 21:45 UT

Just after checking on Jupiter I noticed that it was starting to fade and, shortly after that, it totally disappeared. I quickly became obvious that a bank of cloud was moving in from the east. Within a couple of minutes it was almost overhead and I could see no stars all the way down to the eastern horizon. Because it looked like there wasn't going to be a break in this (and the forecasts for the evening had it clouding up with a chance of rain) I called an end to the session.


2006-05-04


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-05-04 12:42 UT
To: 2006-05-04 12:45 UT
Equipment: Solarscope
Temperature: 25.6C ...
Dew Point: 14.7C ...
Humidity: 52% ...
Wind Speed: 2.2mph ...
Wind Dir: South South East ...
Pressure: 1011.9hPa ...
Notes:

Clear, slightly breezy day. Hardly any cloud around to speak of but with just a hint of haze in the sky. Did a sunspot count with the Solarscope.

Sun

From: 2006-05-04 12:42 UT
To: 2006-05-04 12:45 UT

With the Solarscope I counted 4 active areas (875, 878, 879 and 880). I noticed that 875 was now close to heading off around the limb of the Sun while 880 was just coming around into view.

Counted a total of 7 spots.


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