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All observing logs tagged with Mirfak

2007-11-15


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2007-11-15 13:35 UT
To: 2007-11-15 13:40 UT
Equipment: Solarscope
Temperature: 7.6C ...
Dew Point: 2.6C ...
Humidity: 70% ...
Wind Speed: Calm ...
Pressure: 1024.9hPa ...
Notes:

Very clear day. Took the Solarscope out to do a quick sunspot count.

Sun

From: 2007-11-15 13:35 UT
To: 2007-11-15 13:40 UT

No spots or other marks visible on the Sun.

Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2007-11-15 19:19 UT
To: 2007-11-15 20:02 UT
Equipment: Naked Eye
Sky-Watcher Explorer 130M
Temperature: 1.5C ...
Dew Point: -1.6C ...
Humidity: 80% ...
Wind Speed: Calm ...
Pressure: 1025.6hPa ...
Notes:

Mostly clear and cold evening, some cloud around and getting increasingly misty. Waxing crescent Moon very low in the south. Decided to get the 130M out to have a look at comet Holmes.

Comet 17P/Holmes

From: 2007-11-15 19:19 UT
To: 2007-11-15 20:02 UT

At first glance I struggled to see comet Holmes with the naked eye. Only after some effort, and using averted vision, could I see a faint fuzzy blob somewhere near Mirfak. By the looks of things the comet had faded quite a bit since my last observation a couple of nights ago.

The comet was easy enough to find with the 130M and the 32mm eyepiece. It appeared as a large, blueish, ghostly and distorted circle. While there was still no sign of any tail the impression I'd had from previous observations of it being an incomplete circle, with one part of the edge being much less brighter than the rest, was even more obvious.

I noticed that it appeared to be relatively bright in the middle, fading further out and then getting a little brighter again towards the edge (other than the faded edge I mention above).

The overall impression I got was of a large faint circle where most of one half had been smudged away (I'm guessing this is the side where any tail is/would be).

Switched to the 15mm eyepiece and noticed right away that the comet was pretty much too big to fit into the field of view. Moving the main part of the comet out of view, and looking backwards from the "faded" part of the edge of the comet, I did get the impression that there was "something" there. A very slight hint of blue, a hint of colour, or something, that was a little different from the background sky. Could have been a hint of the tail but couldn't say for sure.

Switched to the 25mm eyepiece and this gave a better view than with the 15mm but didn't show anything different from what I'd seen with the 32mm.

Switched back to the 32mm and added the Neodymium filter to see if it would have an effect. While it didn't reveal anything new it did remove the blueish colour (which is probably to be expected) but it also seemed to make the comet stand out from the background sky a little better.

I could get both the comet and Mirfak in the same field of view with the 32mm, a really nice sight that I'm sure would have made for a great bit of astrophotography.

The overall impression I got was that the "main event" was over. It seems, from the view I had, that not a lot is being given off by the comet now and that the main shell of debris is expanding to the point that it won't be visible to be pretty soon.

By 20:02 UT the sky was starting to get a little more hazy and it looked like it was only going to get more and more foggy so, having seen what I wanted to see, I packed up.


2007-11-13


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2007-11-13 14:15 UT
To: 2007-11-13 14:20 UT
Equipment: Solarscope
Temperature: 9.4C ...
Dew Point: 5.3C ...
Humidity: 76% ...
Wind Speed: 8.1mph ...
Wind Dir: West South West ...
Pressure: 1006.9hPa ...
Notes:

Cloudy all morning but cleared into the afternoon so I took the Solarscope out to do a quick sunspot count.

Sun

From: 2007-11-13 14:15 UT
To: 2007-11-13 14:20 UT

No spots or other marks visible on the Sun.

Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2007-11-13 19:15 UT
To: 2007-11-13 19:38 UT
Equipment: Naked Eye
Meade 10x50 Binoculars
Temperature: 6.4C ...
Dew Point: 3.2C ...
Humidity: 80% ...
Wind Speed: 2.4mph ...
Wind Dir: North North West ...
Pressure: 1006.9hPa ...
Notes:

Moonless evening with some cloud rolling in from the west. Decided to head out with the Meade 10x50 binocular to have a quick look at comet Holmes while I had the chance.

Comet 17P/Holmes

From: 2007-11-13 19:15 UT
To: 2007-11-13 19:38 UT

Comet Holmes was still visible to the naked eye although, right away, I could see that it was more "fuzzy" and not quite so bright as the last time I observed it. It was also obvious that it had moved a fair bit since the last time I'd observed it. It was now fairly close to Mirfak.

It also looked a little different in the binocular too. While it was still circular looking, with no hint of a tail, it now appeared to have a bright "spot" in the middle of the circle and the brightness of the circle dropped off as you looked further out to the edge (the difference here being that the last time I observed it the edge of the circle appears to be quite bright compared to the rest).

I did notice that part of the edge still also less bright than the rest of the edge.

By 19:38 UT cloud had taken over so I packed up and headed back indoors.


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.


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