New Years day arrived right at the same time as the temperature warmed, enough for me to take a scope out on the deck and take a picture of the First Full Moon of 2018. I was using the 90mm Celestron, that I purchased in 2006 in South Carolina while on a visit to my uncle Michel and Aunt Marion. I had not been actively observing for about 10 years, and was starting to miss it. I wandered into a Telescope store, and I was surprised by the price of a decent telescope. This one had an equatorial mount and manual controls. Just had to figure out how to get it home on the Airplane. I used it for 4 years until I purchased my 110mm Refractor that I use now. For the past 8 years it has been used by my son, but I asked for him to return it so I could observe the Moon.
December 2, 2017 Perigee Full Moon
Was successful in capturing the Perigee Full Moon this evening from a vantage point in Signal Hill in Calgary. This was taken a few hours before the Moon is full just after sunset in Calgary. I also figured out how to balance the light levels between the image of the moon and the darker background the Skyline. To get an image that more closely aligns with what one sees with their eyes.
Check out the Album on Flikr http://flic.kr/s/aHsm8TT4un
People that were instrumental in getting me into Astronomy
I like to tell the story of my Uncle Evert, my dad’s oldest brother and the role he has played in inspiring me to get into Astronomy. When I was young and lived with my family on a farm in rural Manitoba. I used to spend my time out in the yard looking at the stars. My Uncle Evert who had a Grade 8 Education and was for the most part a worker, farmer and tinkerer, stands out as one of the first people that inspired me, in fact he is directly responsible for me getting my first telescope and now my most recent telescope (the one I use now all the time for taking astro-photos.) As he had no children of his own, he always spent lavishly on presents for his nieces and nephews.
When I was 10, I received the most amazing gift of a small telescope. I remember vividly as it happened yesterday that Christmas Eve in Small town Rural Manitoba where I immediately took that small telescope outside to look through it for the Andromeda Galaxy in the driveway of my Grandparents home.
He was always keen to look through my scope. Later when I had obtained use of a 8″ reflector, he was one of the first people to come out and take a look. Any story, any picture, and any drawing or sketch, he was always keen to see what I had to show, even later when he was confined to a wheel chair in his nursing home.
Launch of my Astronomy BLOG
I (Roger) first started a Web Log in 2010 when I moved to using the TheBlueGrid web domain for my work it was created as a work experiment with WordPress. Since that time I have always contemplated creating one for my Astronomy hobby that would be focused on that. In this way, I would get a chance to practice and get better at using WordPress for providing web solutions. With this relaunch in November this process has begun. I will post articles of astronomical interest as we go forward, I will also use this to post anecdotal details of other astronomical adventures from the past, so look forward to the addition of historical posts, which will be back dated when they are added. And I have brought the articles from my former BLOG and added them here for items of note that were added between 2010 and 2017 …. Roger
Search for Comet PanSTARRS in 2013
Grace and I are having a lot of fun with this comet. It appeared in our sky’s over Calgary at the beginning of last week. March 12th was the first evening when a significant number of people were said to have observed it. We did from Nose Hill Park in Calgary. Both with our 20×80 mm Binoculars and also with our Camera in a tripod and a wide angle lens.
We had a chance to repeat this on March 18th from a spot near downtown Calgary. Should prove an interesting object to see for the next couple of weeks.
and later out by Cochran, Alberta
Cataloging my Digital Photos
In 2008, I converted to taking digital photos as apposed to sketching and drawing for my Log Book. From that point onward, my logbook is mainly a recording of digital Images, I have used a number of recording devices, starting with a CCD imager that I won as a prize at the SSSP in 2007. In 2008 I purchased my Refractor, this allowed me to take longer exposures, but I fought with the technology for the first few years, In 2013 I purchased my Cannon 60Da and have dedicated more time to imaging and recording events. Taking digital photos of the many things I explored with my eyes in the early years has become a constant source of enjoyment.
This image of M42 is an early example of the work I did with the Meade CCD imager
Went out again tonight, even though the Sky Clouded over still managed a few sky shots, this one is of M1 the Crab Nebula and M35. for the M35 Image if you look closely to the lower right you will see NGC 2158 in the background, a more compact and more distant open cluster that is behind M35.
The Little Sombrero NGC 7814 the last NGC Object
If you look at any list of NGC (New General Catalog) objects you will note that the last one on this list is 7814. On Feb 4th 2013 this one was the galaxy that was the objective of my hunt. It sits just off to the right of the lower left star in the Square of Pegasus. This star is also known as Algenib or Gamma Peg. With my 4″ scope and a 30 second exposure, the Galaxy shows up as a faint wisp, I need to do a little work to perfect my technique.
Why I was looking for this one on this night, is early Feb is the last time this one will be visible. Soon it will be lost in the evening twilight until the fall when it will be observable in the morning hours. By the middle of March it will be out of reach.
In August 2015 I went back and took the following Image which was a little better.
After I snapped a few images of this, I went over to Orion and found more targets there, but I will save the stories about these to another night.
Observing the Herschel 400
Update March 18/2013: Closing in on calling it compelete. Captured 5 more on March 9th. This leaves 5 more to do hopefully around the new moon in April.
Update Feb 19/2013: recently tracked down my original drawings, this has allowed me to verify that I am further along than the scanned versions suggested, As of today, I have 10 more!
On the advice of a good friend (Fr. Lucian Kimble) some years ago, I took my Astronomy hobby up a level and started to record my Observations. This led to a project where I cataloged over 600 different observations. This work started in 1986 and continued into 1994. At which time I set the active pursuit of astronomy aside and focused on other things in my life.
Between 2005 and 2009 I again became active in the pursuit of Astronomy. At that time I scanned the drawings to computer media as they were all recorded with pencil and paper. And again I have taking up the hobby again. This time to mount the information online, some of it is already stored in my FaceBook profile for 4 years now, but I would like to do more.
One of the things I did so long ago was observing project. First it was to observe all the planets, the Messier List This is a list of deep sky objects that were first cataloged by a French Astronomer Charles Messier.
Then it was other more elusibe objects, comets as they came and went, and finally I started to work on Observation of the Herschel 400. Back in the early 1990’s I was able to observe and sketch (no I did not do a lot of photography with film cameras then) all but 28 of them. In the past few weeks I have been reviewing my work from back then. The original drawings are lost. I still have them but they are packed away. So I am looking at the scanned images. The reason why I did not get the last 30 done are that these ones are the ones that you typically view in the spring evenings, which at my northern lattitude dissapear quicky to the late sunsets.
I am eagerly waiting for the right sky conditions so I can set out on this. I have reactivated this old list, and this time I will be using modern digital photography to record the resutls, I will have a go-to computer to help me find the objects. and unfortunately only a 4″ refractor. Unless I go back to the C14, an instrument that I spent a lot of time working with back in the 1990’s.
Wish me luck and look forward to seeing a lot of images posted here and on my Flickr stream