Saw Jupiter during the day

     I have read and listened to others discuss how they can see naked-eye some of the major planets during the day. I personally have done this with Venus but never with Jupiter or Saturn. Well, it helps if you have a large, extremely large celestial object to help you find it and on Wednesday, I have the waning gibbous moon to help me out.

I had gone to work at 7:00am at a local high school to help a teacher who is learning Google Classroom and at 8:05am I had to go to my car to get my Chromebook. While walking, and in truth, without thinking about it except that I had seen where Jupiter was located in position to the moon at 5:30am when I took our dog out, I looked up and then down and to the left and what to my wondering eyes did appear? Nope not a sleigh pulled by reindeer with a fat jolly old elf, we are past that now, far past that, but I saw the sharp reflection of light off a planet, a star like reflection that held steady.  I looked away, and then back and sure enough I quickly located Jupiter and held it. In this case averted vision would lose it, you had to use direct vision. I did it again a few times when a friend an Assistant Principal came walking by during his sweep of the parking lot with student, and asked me what I was being weird about. I told him, showed him where to look and nope, his 47 year old eyes couldn't locate it.  The 17 year old student easily captured it and thought it was cool he could see Jupiter during the day.  I chalk my experience up to knowing where to look, and the fact the Sun wasn't that high up in the sky, Jupiter and the Moon were lower in the sky and conditions for seeing were really good.

So next time you know where to look, in the early morning as the Sun is climbing in the sky, see if you can spot one of our major planets that stays in the sky after sunrise. You just may surprise yourself like I did.

Jorge's Pics of Winter Sky at Pit n Pole Feb 16th, 2017

Well, I am being kinda of bad here and sharing some pictures that my friend Jorge took from out at Pit n Pole last night.  I had some meetings I had to attend last night so the best I got was in the backyard with the 4" refractor. That's okay though.  Anyway, these were taken by my friend Jorge and they show the Winter Sky at the observing location Pit n Pole.  The snow is gone, the road are dry for the most part, but I am sure it is a little dewy out there since the Pit is always dewy this time of the year. I know my observing spot down is at 35 degrees with 50 percent humidity so much better than the Pit, but much farther out. Roads are dry with 4x4 or ATV's having cause winter ruts in the dirt roads out there from playing this winter.  Here are these incredible shots by Jorge!

The two above show the Winter Milky Way and many wonderful winter objects, some that I labeled in the bottom shot.  

A closer shot above of Orion's Belt and Sword region. 

Orion's Belt and Messier 42, the Orion Nebula and Messier 43. 

Jorge driving out from the Pit n Pole. Road is dray and good! Last night was probably the last good night, with the moon rising at 11:05pm. That would have given a good 5 hours of observing if you or I had gone out early yesterday afternoon, set up and was ready when it got dark. Sometimes you just have to do that! 


Observing January 27th, 2017 Nebula in Monoceros and Galaxies in Gemni

Well, I got out again on the night of January 27th, 2017, in extremely cold and frozen condition. Kudos to my Outback that handled the snow covered roads out on the Forest Land near Vernon with ease and some fun. My objects this night on my list were not as difficult as some of my last observations. They mainly focused on nebula in Monoceros and Orion, and Galaxies in Gemini.

1. NGC 2261 Hubbe's Variable Nebula; Jan. 27th, 2017, 8:10pm MST; FR006 Juniper Grove; Antoniadi I, clear, cold, 6 degrees F; 17.5" dob f/4.4; 10mm Pentax XW, Paracorr Type II. 

Been awhile since I looked at this object.  Beautiful this night and fun to see this old friend. Fans out with the western edge brighter to me than the eastern edge this night.  R Monoceros at apex and bright also. Fun! 

2. NGC 2316 Diffused Nebula in Monoceros; Jan. 17th, 2017; 08:36pm MST; FR006 Juniper Grove; Antoniadi II, clear and cold, 6 degrees F (I will post temperature changes when they occur. If I don't post the temperture they remain at the same as the previous post); 17.5" dob f/4.4; 10mm Pentax XW with Paracorr Type II.  

Loved sketching this object! Diffused nebula that is faint and small, with a bright knot on the southern end. I cannot see any star imposed. Nice field and a good view of 3 stars next to it. Fun! 

3. NGC 2346 Hour Glass Nebula in Monoceros a Planetary Nebula; Jan. 27th, 2017; 09:15pm MST; FR006 Juniper Grove; Antoniadi II, clear, cold; 17.5" dob f/4.4; 7mm & 5mm Pentax XW; Paracorr Type II.  Thousand Oaks OIII 1 1/4". 

The main planetary nebula is seen with the central star.  Inner area is rather bright and oval in shape.  The OIII gives hints of extensions from the oval core region.  On top of that is an even fainter region or football shape that is very faint, much like Messier 27.  Nice, very nice PN! 

4. NGC 2170 Diffused Nebula in Monoceros;  Jan. 27th, 2017; 10:05pm MST; FR006 Juniper Grove; Antoniadi II, clear, cold 3 degrees F; 17.5" dob f/4.4; 22mm Nagler T4, Paracorr Type II; Thousand Oaks 2" OIII. 

This is a small faint nebula though my sketch makes it looke big. It surrounds a mag. 9.5 star, SAQ 132861. Field stars are easily visible, and the nebula is condenses on the central star. Nebula is round in shape and fading gradually into the interstellar background. Fun object. 

5. NGC 1788 Diffused Nebula in Orion. Jan. 27th, 2017; 10:45pm MST; FR006 Juniper Grove. Antoniadi II, clear, cold, 0 degrees F; 17.5" dob f/4.4; 22mm T4 Nagler, 14mm Pentax XW; Paracorr Type II; Thousand Oaks OIII filter. 

Small nebula in Orion that is bright at the core.  Brightness fades as the nebula spans out  

6. NGC 1977 Open Cluster, Emission and Reflection Nebula in Orion.  FR006 Juniper Grove. Jan. 27th, 2017; 10:40pm MST: Antoniadi II, clear, cold, 4 degrees F as temp rises; 17.5" dob, f/4.4; 22mm Nagler T4; 20mm Pentax XW, Paracorr Type II.  Thousand Oaks NB and OIII filters.  

Ill defined nebula that is faint but obvious that it is a nebula.  Slightly lays E to W and elongated. Three bright stars are in a row, kinda of, and it is believed that the bright star in the middle, Orionis 42 is the source of the illumination.  NGC 1973 is smaller patch of light around star HD 36958 and is mag 7.36.  If you look closely in the dark nebula, you can catch a hint of the running man. Fun as always. 

7. NGC 2024 The Flame Nebula, Diffuse Nebula in Orion; Jan. 27th, 2017, 11;05pm MST; FR006 Juniper Grove; Antoniadi II, clear, cold 6 degrees F and temp holding now; 17.5" dob f/4.4; 22mm T4 Nagler, 14mm Pentax XW; 10mm Pentax XW; DGM Hbeta Filter 2" & 1 1/4', Paracorr Type II. 

The Flame Nenbula popped out with the filter showing its wonderful structure and shades. Many see a flame but being a fan of Tolkien's books, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, I have always seen the Tree of Gondor in the nebula. So forgive me but I call this Tolkien's Nebula.  Lost of fun in this object. Here is a link to an image of the Flame that you can compare my sketch to. My dob flips the image of the sketch upside down as a FYI.  The image is right side up. LINK

8. NGC 1980 Emission Nebula in Orion.  Jan. 27th, 2017; 11:40pm MST; FR006 Juniper Grove; Antoniadi II, clear, cold, 6 degrees F; 17.5" dob f/4.4; 22mm T4 Nagler, 10mm Pentax XW; Paracorr Type II; Thousand Oaks OIII and NB filters. 

The nebula is faint and elongated NE to SW.  Direct vision and averted is needed to see it as this is faint and good observing techniques to see the nebula disperse out around the stars.  Nebulosity pronounced around Iota Orionis.  Nebulosity easily fades into the background. 

9. NGC 1982 and Messier 43 in Orion. Jan. 27th, 2017, 11:55pm MST; FR006 Juniper Grove; Antoniadi II; 17.5" dob f/4.4; 22mm T4 Nagler & 7mm & 10mm Pentax XW; Paracorr Type II.  

NGC 1982 is the tail of Messier 43 and to be truthful, I really dislike how this sketch came out. Shows some you like, some you don't.  M43 is tight and condensed and both are easily seen. 

10. NGC 2274 & NGC 2275 Galaxies in Gemni; Jan. 28th, 2017; 12:40am MST; FR006 Juniper Grove; Antoniadi II; 17.5" dob f/4.4; 10mm Pentax XW and Paracorr Type II.  

NGC 2274 is the round galaxy and NGC 2275 is the ill shaped one below it. NGC 2275 is faint, smaller than NGC 2274 with a rather even surface brightness that is elongated SSW to NNE and hints of curvature which I exaggerated. NGC 2274 is fainter and round and small. It has a bright core region. 

11. NGC 2289, 2290, 2291, 2294 galaxies in Gemni.  Jan. 28th, 2017; FR006 Juniper Grove; Antoniadi II; 17.5" dob f/4.4; 10mm Pentax XW and 22mm Nagler T4; Paracorr Type II. 

NGC 2290 is the top galaxy, below it to the left is NGC 2289, NGC 2291 is below that and NGC 2294 is to the bottom right.  The best galaxies of this bunch to observe are NGC 2289 and NGC 2290.  NGC 2291 and 2294 are much harder to observe and capture. Aperture and experience in observing are needed for those two. NGC 2289 has a faint outer shell and is lenticular in shape.  Has a brighter inner core region. NGC 2290 has a faint outer shell with a slightly brighter inner core region.  Oval in shape. NGC 2291 is round in shape, faint and somewhat brighter inner core, almost equal in surface brightness.  NGC 2294 is extremely faint, soft and has a bright inner core. 

12. NGC 2339 a galaxy in Gemni.  Jan. 28th, 2017; 12:55am MST; FR006 Juniper Grove; 17.5" dob f/4.4; Antoniadi II; 10mm Pentax XW, 22mm Nagler T4; Paracorr Type II. 

This is a small and relatively bright galaxy that gets brighter toward the core.  High magnification 400x plus revelas a stellar nucleus. Fun object and my personal favorite sketch of the night. 

13. Comet C 2015 V2 Johnson's Comet. Jan. 28th, 2017, 01:35am, FR006 Juniper Grove; Antoniadi II; 17.5" dob f/4.4; 22mm Nagler T4, 10mm & 14mm Pentax XW.  Paracorr Type II. Above the top of Bootes which is lower in the sky.

Wonderful little comet that shows 2 tails here easily!  Very easily visible and hows a nice bright core.  Fun object.

I stayed too late. I wasn't cold when I was ready to tear down, but I was tired. I got broken down and loaded in 20 minutes. Great thing about winter observing is I don't drag that much out in to the field. My Lenovo Thinkpads held up great and I only had to use one. When I left it was at about 40% charge or about 3.5 hours to 4 hours left on the charge.  It was easier to drive out since the roads were frozen but I went slow leaving the forest land. It was so, so quiet that night. No coyotes howling, no birds making sounds, just peaceful and so quiet.  Now the temperature has risen, the snow is all melted, but we are back to having rain and plenty of clouds. It was 60 degrees today so that was nice. Now rain and clouds through Saturday, then clear from Sunday to Wednesday if the National Weather Service is correct (they are pretty good for the 7 day).  Well I hope others can get out! Hope I get out again at new moon. It's been a hard, extremely hard winter if your an amateur astronomer I think!

January 17th, 2017 Simeis 147 SNR Remnants

Simeis 147: Supernova Remnant in Auriga/Taurus Border 
Credit:Davide De Martin & the ESA/ESO/NASA Photoshop FITS Liberator

I am going to acknowledge up front, that this quest for Simeis 147 was spurred by this post by Rich Jakiel and his observation of Simeis 147 found at this LINK and Jim Shield's Bright Regions of Simeis 147 finder chart located HERE. You should be able to identify the bright regions from Jim Shields post in my sketches. I will be referencing both websites in my observation but will not be posting information from those sites since I do not have permission to do so. I do want to thank them both for inspiring me to achieve this as well.  You may also see that photographs of these areas located here LINK .  I am of the belief that I have some bleed over from those images to my sketching as I used them as finder charts also.  However, I do feel the sketches provide a rather accurate view of what I saw this night. My portions of this SNR are labeld 1 through 4.

Other resources I used for this journey are found in the following links. I used this image capture from Sinbad LINK to help me identify the portions of the SNR that I observed.  This astro image LINK I also used to identify parts of Simeis 147 based on my observing and sketches.

1. Simeis 147: January 17th 2017; 8:50pm; FR006 Juniper Grove; Antoniadi I, cold 12 degrees F; 17.5" dob f/4.4; 35mm Panoptic, 26mm Nagler T5; 22mm Nagler T4; 10mm Pnetax XW; Thousand Oaks OIII 2" and 1 1/4" and DGM OIII.  Paracorr Type II.  

Nebulosity is basically streaky going from star SAO 77322 and going for about 12' to 14' east. Filaments seen south of star SAO 77350 and easy to follow once you capture them. Sketch is too bright for me, the filaments and nebulosity should be fainter. 

2. Simeis 147; January 17, 2017; 9:37pm MST; FR006 Juniper Grove; Antoniadi I, clear, cold, 12 degrees F; 17.5" dob f/4.4; 35mm Panoptic; 22 Nagler T4; 26mm Nagler T5, 10mm Pentax XW; Thousand Oaks and DGM OIII Filters 2" and 1 1/4".  Paracorr Type II 

I believe this is the best portion of the SNR to observe.  Filaments are easily observable (relatively speaking) and are observed with the OIII and pop out.  Averted vision brings out more to my eye.  There are several criss cross patterns that when put together form a box shape or square shape.  Averted vision needed on the fainter portions of this region to get details.  Lots of stars and I spent almost an hour after acquiring it observing the region. Very similar to me to the parts of the Veil or perhaps Sh 2-91. 

3. Simeis 147; SNR in Aurgia; January 17th, 2017; FR006 Juniper Grove; 10:30pm MST; Antoniadi I; 12 degrees F; 17.5" dob f/4.4; 35mm Panoptic; 26mm Nagler T5; 22mm Nagler T4; 10mm Pentax XW; Thousand Oaks & DGM OIII filters 2" and 1 1/4" and Paracorr Type II. 

This portion to me was very faint, very, very faint, and far fainter than my sketch. I believed I show in the sketches nebulosity and filaments brighter than they appeared. Probably the fault of the light.  filaments running ENE to WSE between stars SAO 77354 which is about mag. 6.0 and SAO 77381 mag. about 7.0.  Some filaments had what appeared to be fiber structure, much like the outer edges of the Veil Nebula in Cygnus, but not as much as number 2 above. This portion really did remind me of Sh2-91 in Cygnus. That is a good prep for observing this portion of the Simeis 147. 

4. Simeis 147; January 17th 2017; 11:05pm MST; FR006 Juniper Grove; Antoniadi I, clear, cold 10 degrees F; 17.5" dob f/4.4; 26mm Nagler T5; 22mm Nagler T4; 10mm & 14mm  Pentax XW; Paracorr Type II; Thousand Oaks and DGM OIII Filters 2" and 1 1/4" 

Faint nebulous quarter moon shape with faint nebulosity in the center. There is almost a small open cluster in this region. Nebulosity is held with direct vision in the brighter portions and with averted in the the fainter parts of the region, averted not always needed. I did shake the scope and that helped to define the edges for me.  Fun to observe and sketch, a challenge as all are. 

I compared the sketches to the photographs of them I posted above, and the images are much brighter than the sketches. I actually like the actual sketches more.  I think simulate port of what I saw, and I filled in what I thought I observed or what was hinted at.  


Observing December 29th, 2016, Open Clusters, Cassiopeia A Arch and Messier 1, The Crab Nebula with Sturcutre

This winter has been dismal, horrid, unfriendly, distasteful and in my opinion downright depressing. Currently my dark site observing area is at 169% of normal snowfall and it has just made observing near impossible this winter.

That is not my house, but it is for sale about 2 streets over and this was before the last storm dumped another 14 inches of snow in the area!

Now, having said that, I will state that I said the weather has made it near impossible to observe. Keyword, is near. I did get out for two nights, the night of December 30th, 2016 and the night of January 17th to the early morning hours of January 18th, 2017. Roads were snow covered and in a couple of places muddy, but my Subaru Outback handled it just fine. The snow down in my observing area was present, but not as bad as at home. I was lucky for the most part as the snow was pretty frozen due to temperatures that were in the -4 degrees F to 10 degrees F and somehow someone had gotten to my observing area with some sort of ATVs and cleared off part of the area. Here are a couple of shots from the drive out.

The top picture shows you the road condition the best. Some mud near the cattle guards with snow covered dirt roads the rest of the way. Glad I went though and like I said, I had not problem driving out to the site, or back to the main road after I finished my observing session.

On December 30th, 2016, I went out with two goals only in mind. I wanted to capture Cassiopeia A in the 17.5" and then take a really good observation of Messier 1 the Crab Nebula.  I also chased down 18 open star clusters in Monoceros, but I did not sketch those. The open clusters I captured were NGC 2215, 2225, 2232, 2236, 2244, 2251, 2252, 2254, 2259, 2260, 2262, 2269, 2270, 2286, 2301, 2302, 2306, 2309.  Perhaps at some point I will include my observation of those open star clusters but not today. Enough that I observed them. Some were quite wonderful and had some fun asterisms, and a few, I wonder about (if they are open clusters and if so, they really are either small or really spreading out).

Well, after chasing open clusters for a couple of hours, at about 8:00pm MST I turned my scope to SW and high in the sky to Cassiopeia.  I did my star hop (I have listed in another post on my blog HERE) to Cassiopeia A, and got in the general area. I easily detected without a filter on a faint whisper of this SNR in my 22mm T4 Nagler. I put a Thousand Oaks OIII in and structure to me became quite easily seen.  I put in the 10mm Pentax XW with both a Thousand Oaks OIII and a DGM OIII to compare and the structure for this part of the SNR was easily seen.  The arch stuck out this evening with the equilateral triangles easily seen.  Fun to capture and I believe my sketch captures what I saw pretty well.

The top sketch shows what I saw with my 17.5" without a OIII filter.  The bottom is with the OIII filter which seems to have brought out the brighter portions.

Next I moved the scope over to Taurus and easily found Messier 1 or NGC 1952 or what a lot people call the Crab Nebula.  It has been a long time since I sketched Messier 1 (seems to be that way for me) and I wanted to see tonight if I could see some of filament structures.  At first I did not observe using either my DGM or Thousand Oaks OIII filters and after studying the object for some time, I did not detect any filament structure.  I studied the SNR with my 22mm T4 Nagler, my 10mm and 5mm Pentax XW.  No filaments as I stated were seen. Now putting in the Thousand Oaks OIII filter with the 7mm and 5mm Pentax XW, I was able to tease and bring out some of the filament structure.  I also detected some contrast with darker areas in Messier 1.

I had considered combining this with the observing of January 17th, 2017 but I want to do that separate.  I spend most of my evening on the 17th of January observing, chasing after and sketching the remnants of Simeis 147 that I could capture, which for once I think I got more than I ever have before. So not a bad night his December 30th, 2016. In this winter beggars like me cannot be choosy.


Ending of Iridium Flares

Well, the weather is just horrible here and I have a couple of posts I need to finish but just haven't had the time due to work and other commitments.  I saw this today and thought it was important enough to share. One of the thrills I have had as an amateur astronomer is observing Iridium Flares, light bouncing off the antennae of the these satellites that are in low light orbit.  Here is a GIF simulation of what such a flare looks like from Wikipedia: LINK.  There are 66 of these low orbit satellites and Wikipedia has a good description and a very good animation of what a flare looks like at this LINK.

Well, now there is only a year or two to view Iridium Flares as those 66 low orbit satellites are being replaced by newer ones launched through Space X. The new Iridium Flares are not capable of providing Iridium Flares as this BBC News article points out: LINK. In the article, Matt Desch, the CEO at Iridium states:

"One thing the new satellites will not be capable of doing, however, is producing Iridium "flares". These are the flashes in the sky that result when sunlight glints off the antennas of the old spacecraft.
The new satellites do not have the same configuration, so once the original constellation is de-orbited the flashes will cease.
"I'm afraid those who've been tracking that phenomenon over the past 20 years have another year or two to see it," Mr Desch told BBC News.
"As someone who's seen a couple myself, you can imagine what a thrill it is to be the CEO of a company like this and watch your satellite go overhead. But we weren't going to spend money just to make angular shiny things on our satellites, so that phenomenon will go away - but it's been fun."

You can use Heavens Above LINK to detect when and in what location of the sky to see an Iridium Flare if your interested.  The original 66 satellites will be decommissioned and sent into the atmosphere to end their careers.  So if your out observing, at an outreach event or anything similar take the time to look up when oen flies over and enjoy watching the flare! There isn't much time left to see this fun observation.