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Observations 2007

Thursday Feb 22nd: First semi-clear night of the term! We got to observe Saturn (with 10") and the Moon (with new 4" Newtonian Reflector)

Saturday March 3rd: Lunar Eclipse - no formal meeting but members observed in the comfort of home. The Lunar Eclipse was quite stunning, for more info including some pictures taken by our members see [here]

Observations 2006

Thurs Oct 12th (with 10"): Albireo (blue /red double in Cygnus), M31 (Andromeda Galaxy), M45 (Seven Sisters)

Tues Oct 24th (with 10"): Double Cluster in Perseus, NGC 8649, Eta Cas - white / yellow stars, Vega, the Coathanger

Thurs Nov 2nd, after vale fireworks: - Moon (attempt to get planetary imager working with Dib), (rest with binoculars) Auriga clusters, Orion, Albireo, M31, Hyades

Thurs Nov 9th (Public Observing after talk with 10" and Dib), Albireo, M31, M45, Moon (+dob)

Observations 2005

17/11/2005: 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.

10/10/2005: 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. 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.

17/03/2005: After booting out Sam and Steve for being a bit too merry, 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.

Observations 2004

02/12/2004: 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.

26/11/2004: Scott and Emma did some observing of the Moon (pics in the gallery)

25/11/2004: 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.

18/11/2004: 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.

11/11/2004: 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.

04/11/2004: 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!

27/10/2004 - 28/10/2004: Lunar Eclipse - Cloudy no chance of seeing the Moon.

14/10/2004: 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.

08/06/2004: Transit of Venus - clear observing and an absolutely wonderful day with around 1,000 people observing the event with us - more info in our other sections (gallery/special events).

04/04/2004: Tonight a total eclipse of the Moon unfourtnately like so often the we were thwarted by the British weather.

25/03/2004: 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!

18/03/2004: 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.

04/03/2004: Venus was quite well seen.

26/02/2004: After the talk some observing was done using the electronic eyepiece but it was far too cloudy to do much observing.

19/02/2004: 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. Images can be found in our gallery.

08/02/2004: 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!

05/02/2004: Cloudy so no observing possible.

01/02/2004: 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.

29/01/2004: A surprisingly clear Thursday night and so this meant we could observe. We observed: * The Moon, got a beautiful view of creators along the terminator * Saturn, rings and clouds, with Titan * Jupiter, however the view was not very good as it was low in the atmosphere with cloud around it. Was fun though watching it jump around. (see: Jupiter pic) * M42, The Orion Nebula (see: M42 Pic) It then got very cold and so we decided to call it a night. While we were observing Josh did some Astrophotography.

23/01/2004: Eleanor and Samuel went observing on the roof and managed to view: * Jupiter and the Galilean satellites (see: Jupiter pic) * Saturn, rings and clouds, with Titan * M42, The Orion Nebula (see: M42 Pic) * The Hyades with Aldebaran on top * The Pleiades (m45) * Mizar and Alcor. * Mizar A and B

15/01/2004: It was rainy again, like usual!

14/01/2004: Occultation of Porrima - We managed to see the star disappear behind the Moon (2am) but alas when it was to reappear (at 3am), just as we predicted it became cloudy and thus our late night attempt was over!

Observations 2003

11/12/2003: It was nice and clear but since it was our party we decided not to go observing tonight however we did look at the Moon as it had a huge halo around it. It had to be about 10 Moon radius' in diameter!

04/12/2003: The weather was not very good.

29/11/2003: We managed to see a fantastic view of the Moon again, the craters along the terminator were fantastic. We also saw Saturn again with what we believed to be Titan, the Pleiades, Mizar and Alcor (with surrounding stars - more info soon) and the constellation Auriga was identified, we were going to looking for the nebula in Auriga but it got a little cloudy.

27/11/2003: It started of great when Samuel, Scott and Steve had an impressive view of the Moon through Scott's telescope but dropped off when we could not even focus mine on BT Tower! This was around 6:30pm just before Astrosoc Scott's telescope is a 5.25" Newtonian Reflector and Samuel's is a 3.5" Newtonian Reflector. After that though since the weather was still great and the moon had set so we headed off looking for other objects. During Astrosoc we managed to get a great view of Saturn (with Cassini division and Titan) and a nice view of Mars followed by the diffuse Orion Nebula (M42) and a look at the belt of Orion. The Pleiades where fantastic like usually and we even got a glimpse of the Andromeda Galaxy (M31).

20/11/2003: Bad weather yet again denies us the pleasure of observing.

19/11/2003: Leonids. Not the best weather, in fact heavy cloud cover but since the cloud was moving rapidly a few of us met up to go observing at 4am, however no meteors were seen.

13/11/2003: Yet again bad weather. At times was able to see through the cloud cover but not great. The electronic eyepiece was tried out.

08/11/2003: 8 of us met and ended up watching the eclipse at Selly Park.

06/11/2003: We went to watch the fire works at the Vale, was clear afterwards so we went observing. Got a fantastic view of the almost Full Moon, was great.

30/10/2003: Quite heavy rain. No observing.

23/10/2003: AGM, was cloudy as well. No observing.

16/10/2003: Fantastic night, very clear. The best night of term so far. We used the Grubb to see Mars (again), this time it was must better after last weeks experience. We then went on to view Mizar and Alcor the famous Double Star system in Ursa Major.

09/10/2003: Mostly cloud but there where some breaks in the clouds which allowed the viewing of a few stars. The constellation of Cassiopeia was visible. Our intention was to use the Grubb (5.5" telescope) to observe Mars, due to this being the first use of the Grubb in a long time it was an ambitious goal. The moon was eventually found in all its glory the craters on the surface could be seen clearly. The telescope was then pointed at Mars but since the finderscope is slightly off from the main scope, it was quite hard to find, however Scott managed to get it in view. However we could not get the magnification correct (due to the optics being dirty) and so appeared to be a definite red planet.