The Log



For the first time this year, we could go observing after a Thursday evening meeting. The sky was pretty good as the roof goes. The object everyone wanted to see was Mars, but it was kind of disappointing. It could only be seen a a whitish blob with no visible features. We have a strong suspicion that hauling the tube up and down Poynting has sent the optics out of alignment and the scope is in desperate need of collimation. It wasn't all bad though. We got a good view of a very, very bright waning gibbous (and that was just through the solar aperture) we all got a good view of the Orion Nebula, which shows up a nebulosity behind Theta Orionis. The Pleides was also good to look at it, but the real challenge was identify all seven of the sisters with the naked eye. It's not too difficult, but you need concentration and averted vision. It was a pretty good session overall, but being on the roof, we are limited to low hanging fruit (although some of the low hanging fruit is the best). One good moment was when we all saw a bright meteor streak through zenith.


This was a last minute session to take advantage of an unusual situation: serviceable sky. There was scattered cirrus at high levels and poor seeing, but it was better than most nights. We had the legendary Sam and Steve along. The moon was at first quarter, which is always the best time to look at it (although using a Ten Inch for that purpose is kind of a waste). Steve used his camera to get some pictures at prime focus. Next, we went for a more ambitious target: M31, the Great Galaxy in Andromeda. This was the cause of much confusion. All we were able to get was a faint smudge, which was poor for such a light bucket. We put part of the blame on light pollution, but later we realised that because M31 is so big, the smudge may have actually been M110. M31 is too big to fit in the field of view. Our final target was Mars. It was bright and easy to find. It was definitely red and we could see some whiteness at the pole, but the poor seeing meant the image was rather blurred. We tried to find M81, but the light pollution made that impossible.


After booting out Sam and Stevere for being drunk, we headed to the roof. Weather wasn't great. There was scattered cloud and some haze, but the sky was serviceable. It was a big night because it was first first light for the Ten Inch. We viewed the moon at first quarter, which looked great of course. Saturn looked bright and contrasty and the Cassini division could be seen clearly. Jupiter was very contrasty with the bands of weather clearly visible. The Great Red Spot couldn't be seen though. We saw all the Galileans on one side of the planet.

This was the first observing of the year and first light for the Ten Inch. We have still yet to reveal its full potential.


Our best night of observing this year. We managed to observe the following through Scott's 5" Newtonian: M42 (Orion nebula), M45 (the Pleiades (Seven Sisters), M31 (the andromeda galaxy), Saturn, the Moon, the Hyades. Through the Grubb we managed to get some excellent views of the Moon, Saturn, the Pleiades (Seven Sisters) and then finally the wonderful Orion Nebula.

This was to be our final observing session of the year.


Scott and Emma did some observing of the Moon.

+ Pictures can be found here.


Patchy weather meant that the observing was not the best though some constellations were able to be pointed out but not enough time to observing anything of significance.

+ Pictures can be found here.


Bad weather yet again put a dampener on the proceedings (it snowed!) but we all had a great time laughing at Steve and Samuel dressed up as Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble.

+ Pictures can be found here.


The promise of a clear night for the Leonids meteor shower was dashed by bad weather (yet again!). This was one of the various predicted peaks. The weather was poor all week.


Wonderfully clear after the Vale fireworks. Samuel, Steve, Matt, Eleanor
and Josh went observing. Some excellent images of the Moon were taken. We tried to take a picture of the Pleiades (M45) but this did not come out clear. It was reported that a meteor was seen but no one afterwards admitted to seeing it though everyone has their suspicions that it was Josh who saw it!

+ Pictures can be found here.

27/10/2004 - 28/10/2004

Lunar Eclipse - Cloudy no chance of seeing the Moon.


The last few weeks have not been great for observing but we managed to view a few constellations through the clouds and had a look a Mizar and Alcor through the Grubb.


Transit of Venus - clear observing. More info soon, please see here for pictures.


Tonight a total eclipse of the Moon unfourtnately like so often the we were thwarted by the British weather, for some images of us on the roof hoping for the weather to get better see here.


After the quiz the weather was almost perfect for observing. We got the Dobsonian and Eleanor's telescope out. We managed to get a brilliant view of Jupiter and the Moon through Eleanor's telescope but with the Dob now operational we got an even better view of Jupiter with the cloud bands quite clear. Some members saw a shooting star!


After the talk by Mike Frost the weather seemed like it might be good for observing however it was not the best a good view of the gas giants was achieved.


It was the annual dinner and snowing, so no observing!


Venus was quite well seen.


After the talk some observing was done using the electronic eyepiece but it was far too cloudy to do much observing.


The clouds in the sky were patchy, but clear enough that we could do observing (was very windy). We met at 6:30 to observe Venus, we got a stunning view of a gibbous Venus through the Grubb.

Later in the evening we went back to observe and we managed to observe Saturn and Jupiter through Eleanor's telescope.

We then made our first attempt at Astrophotography something that the society has not done in about a decade. It was very successful and managed to get a couple good images of the gas giants, this was our first attempt so hopefully over time (and not being bothered by wind) will get some even better images. To see the images see here.


Eleanor and Samuel went observing. They managed to get a fantastic view of the Moon, a great view of the cloud belts of Jupiter and of Saturn and then the cold got too much so they went home!

Cloudy so no observing possible.

Samuel, Eleanor and Anthony were testing some of Astrosoc's fantastic equipment and managed to get a rather good view of the Phase of Venus through the Grubb telescope.

Previous Pages

The links below will take you to previous log entries for AstroSoc observing.

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Log Picture

This picture was taken using Astrosoc's own equipment. Click on the picture to go to our astronomy images page.

Moon and Venus Conjunction

Moon and Venus in conjunction, taken by Steve Spreckley (23/02/04).

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Last updated: 18/11/2005

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