Archive for April, 2011

camping report

Well that was fun. I had forgotten just how *dark* skies can get! Thankfully the moon didn’t rise until late in the evening, which left plenty of visual opportunities before bed.

Some of the objects I saw:

  • Saturn and Titan with my 30×100 binos – it was easy to make out the rings (though not separate rings), and Titan was there in all its miniscule glory 😆
  • It was dark enough to see the Coal Stack
  • I reckon I actually saw Eta Carinae without the need of the binos, and of course seeing it through the binos was great fun
  • A satellite. I shall need to check stellarium to try to figure out which one it was
  • some meteors

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going camping. What’s to see?

So I’m going camping up at Poona for this easter long weekend. Should be fun; fishing, relaxing, reading, relaxing, playing board games, swimming… oh and relaxing.
The skies shouldn’t be too bad except for the moon still being between about 83% and 64% luminous over the 3 nights we’re there.

My star gazing goals for the trip are:

  • Obtaining data (and even submitting a report if possible) at the location for the globeatnight.org project
  • Trying to pick out Saturn’s rings with my 30×100 binoculars.
  • Maybe having a look at Eta Carinae or some of the other bright DSOs visible at this time of year.

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ISS sighting – saw it!

I saw the ISS for about 3 minutes on Sunday April 10th. huzzah! I know it’s been there for years, and will be there for many more, but hey: this is what amateur astronomy is all about! 😀
I’m surprised it was so bright. I saw it with the naked eye and also trained my 30×100 binos on it. It seemed to just be a bright blob; not sure whether i was out of focus, or whether my eyes were failing me (I had been inside all day staring at a computer, and for a good 5-10 mins before the sighting time everything at a distance was doubled)

Unfortunately the long April 11 sighting opportunity was a no-go due to clouds.

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ISS sighting for my region

So it would appear there is a good 5-minute opporunity to view the ISS from Brisbane / Gold Coast region next week. Hopefully my Arnold Schwarzenegger arms (a pre-requisite for owning 30×100 binoculars without a tripod) will be up to the challenge of tracking it! I don’t think I’d be able to track it with the telescope very easily; that would involve leaning over on a weird angle, trying to find the sat through the finder scope, getting the focus right, using an appropriate eyepiece, and guiding it by hand.

SATELLITE LOCAL DURATION MAX ELEV APPROACH DEPARTURE
DATE/TIME (MIN) (DEG) (DEG-DIR) (DEG-DIR)
ISS Fri Apr 08/06:45 PM 1 14 10 above S 14 above SSE
ISS Sat Apr 09/07:10 PM 1 27 11 above SW 27 above SW
ISS Sun Apr 10/06:01 PM 4 18 10 above S 11 above E
ISS Mon Apr 11/06:26 PM 5 88 11 above SW 16 above NE
ISS Tue Apr 12/06:53 PM 2 16 16 above WNW 11 above NNW
ISS Thu Apr 14/06:09 PM 1 14 14 above NW 11 above NNW
ISS Tue Apr 19/05:47 AM < 1 13 10 above NNE 13 above NNE

We shall see.

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