May 17

Hunting Globulars in the glow of the evil orb.

Finally we get a decent break from cloud and rain systems from hell!  Time to get out of the house and fire up the 8″ Edge and the Rev 2 for some globular hunting against half full moon.  So the cloud break during the moon phase did not do me any favors for DSO viewing but these days you have to take what you can get! Conditions were not perfect with an occasional thin layer of clouds passing by but the globular viewing was better than expected.  This took me by surprise considering the presence of the evil orb.  So I four stared the mighty CG-5 and put it to work.  My first target was M-3 and the CG-5 nailed it.  The Rev 2 went to work stacking a very nice image of the cluster.  Lots of nice pin point stars in a tight formation.  Next target was M-5 and again the CG-5 put it into the viewing screen.  This cluster had much more to offer with a lot of pin point stars at a much brighter magnitude with a nice dense core.  Third target was M-53 which was the runt of the bunch.  It has some nice pin point […]

Mar 28

Dusting off the scope

I have been eagerly waiting for a decent night to align with the work schedule to dust off the equipment for a little star gazing before we lose our winter sky gems.  Mike Dannefeldt and I decided to give it a shot on Tuesday the 26th as conditions were looking good for clears skies and the evil orb (moon) would not be an issue during our viewing time window.  I set up the 8″ Edge SCT with a four star alignment and plugged in the R2 Imager with the new high definition screen. We manage to pack it in with views of M-42, NGC-2024 (Flame), M-1 (Crab),M-81/M-82, M-51, M-108, M-106, M-109,  NGC-2392 (Eskimo) and M-104 (Sombrero).  My neighbor’s deck lighting was making some of the viewing to the southwest difficult.  As we were viewing the Eskimo nebulae there was an object passing through the screen at a slow pace.  As the imager shot a frame of the object would show up moving against the grain in short lines.  It took about 30 seconds to move across the 7″ screen.  I have seen satellites move cross the screen before and they move through the screen fast.  This object moved considerably slower […]

Feb 9

Not enough hours in the night?

Not enough time to set up a telescope rig? Too cold to spend a lot of hours out in the boonies? Worried about the clouds staying away long enough? Binocular Astronomy is GREAT for a quick, easy, and somewhat inexpensive way to get in some astro time! Clear Skies! Jeff

Jan 19

Lunar Eclipse – January 20-21 2019

Well… the Lunar Eclipse will need to happen without us… We won’t be meeting at the park in Riverdale on Sunday… but don’t forget to take a peek from the warmth of your home! The Lunar event time line is as follows for those of us in the QCA: 8:36 pm Sun, Jan 20 Penumbral Eclipse begins – The Earth’s penumbra starts touching the Moon’s face. 9:33 pm Sun, Jan 20 Partial Eclipse begins – The partial Lunar eclipse starts and the Moon is getting red. 10:41 pm Sun, Jan 20 Total Eclipse begins – The Moon is completely red. 11:12 pm Sun, Jan 20 Maximum Eclipse – The Moon is closest to the center of the Earth’s shadow. 11:43pm Sun, Jan 20 Total Eclipse ends 12:50 am Mon, Jan 21 Partial Eclipse ends 1:48 am Mon, Jan 21 Penumbral Eclipse ends. Thanx!

Jan 10

Blood Moon January 20th

In a few days we will have a nice treat to view from here in the Quad Cities. Beginning at 8:35pm the Full Moon will begin to move through the shadow cast by the Earth ultimately resulting in a Total Lunar Eclipse. A Total Lunar Eclipse are typically refered to as a Blood Moon due to the dark red or coppery appearance of the Moon whilst within the deepest part of the Earth’s shadow which is called the Umbra.   The above diagram from NASA gives you an idea of what’s actually happening. When the Moon enters the Penumbra, a dimming of the Moon’s surface can be observed as the edge of the shadow advances. This point is called Penumbra first contact and begins the Partial phase of the eclipse. If the Moon were to pass only through the Penumbra of the Earth this would be a partial eclipse and nothing more. But this month the Moon will make it into the deeper Umbra of the Earths shadow. Then the deeper portion of the shadow begins to cross the surface it is called (you guessed it) Umbral first contact and this begins the Total phase of the eclipse. When the […]

Jan 7

A rare clear night for a January New Moon!

Not too often does January have crystal clear nights here in the Quad Cities. Even more rare to get two back to back during the New Moon! A friend of mine has started to take an interest in Amateur Astronomy so I felt this was the perfect opportunity to let him see what it’s like to use some real gear. The first night went really well. After he arrived just before 11pm we were able to setup, polar align, 3-Star align fairly easily such that by midnight shots were being taken and a great time was had. Rather than taking the entire rig down when he left, I covered the mount, crossed my fingers, and hoped for another clear night despite a poor forecast.Night two I got home around 8:30pm to be greeted outdoors by a high haze. Undeterred, I was soon taking test lights of M42 that were blowing my mind! I spent that entire night with a bottle of Woodford Reserve to keep me warm whilst falling back in love with backyard astrophotography. 

Skip to toolbar