K-Tec

Favourite Observations of 2017

11 months 2 weeks ago #106887 by flt158
Hello, everyone.
Please permit me to encourage you all to list your favourite observations of 2017 on this forum.
I have whittled my list down to 10 wonderful spectacles with my William Optics 158 mm f/7 apochromatic refractor.
In reverse order:

10. Do you remember observing the Crescent Venus last January? Well on the 20th at 280X in bright blue evening sky with minimal shimmering, I noticed that the north and south cusps were distinctly brighter than the rest of the planet. It surely was the first time I saw such an apparition.
9. January 13: I sought out a very dim carbon star which has the designation UY Andromedae. As I increased the magnification up to 225X, I discovered its lovely strong red colour at about magnitude +10 -that's 2 magnitudes fainter than Neptune!
8. December 27: it was my final night observing in 2017. I was completely captivated with the double star Eta Cassiopeiae (Achird). The yellow primary has a magnitude of +3.5. But its secondary (mag 7.4) has a very unusual colour. Almond brown is the best I can come up with. I got this estimation from Sissy Haas. The separation is 13.3". The PA is 325 degrees.
7. Zeta Cancri (Tegmine) is still my favourite triple star. On March 16th, I had the great pleasure of seeing all 3 components at 225X. Magnitudes are 5.3, 6.3 and 5.9. A and B's separation is a tight 1.1". Try it if you dare!
6. My favourite new binary of 2017 was 36 Andromedae. I successfully split it at 225X. The magnitudes were +6.1 and 6.5. The separation is 1.1" and a PA of 331 degrees. It was truly excellent to see both white stars side by side in my 5 mm Nagler on Friday 13th January.
5. April 3: We had a Half Moon; and at 112X Valerie and I saw both the Lunar X and V. It is vital that both features are right on the terminator. This makes them both easy and stunning to see. www.cloudynights.com always gives the times for us all.
4. May 25th is my birthday. A clear sky greeted us when we got home from a Japanese Restaurant. It was most extraordinary to observe the planet Jupiter, its 4 moons and no less than 3 double stars and 1 triple star nearby.
The easy doubles were Gamma Virginis split 112X, Struve 1690 split at 40X and 44 Virginis split at 40X. The triple star was Theta Virginis split at 112X. It will be 12 years until Jupiter visits the area again.
3. June 17th: I am happy to say I was not hallucinating. During observing Jupiter once at 167X, a red additional horizontal line was touching the southern part of the South Equatorial Belt. Quite clearly it was a red barge. A first time for me. How rare is that?
2. May 30th: whilst the 5 day old Moon was getting lower in the western sky, Rupes Altai (Altai Mountains) was cutting across the Moon's terminator. I had no preparation for this. At 112X I could easily see the eastern part of the mountain range in the bright part of the Moon. But west of the terminator and because of the height of the range, a substantial part continued on into the blackness of the lunar surface. The scope picked up the 3-D effect very well. This most certainly would have been my favourite observation of 2017. Except for:
1. August 21st, my wife and I observed my 10th Total Solar Eclipse in Wyoming USA. Highlights were 3 large streamers in the corona, 2 Diamond rings (before and after totality), 3 strong red prominences, 7 sunspots, and the icing on the cake, the star Regulus (Alpha Leonis) at 8 o'clock about 2 degrees southwest of the stunning corona.

That's it from me.
So over to the rest of you.
What thrilling experiences are you willing to share with everybody this time round?
Let us keep this post open for the next 7 to 10 days.

Clear skies for 2018,

Aubrey.
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11 months 1 week ago #106901 by flt158
Please allow me to give you all the gentlest reminder to send in your favourite observations of 2017.
We all love a good read. Even if you have only one.
You don't have to have a massive long list like mine :)

Clear skies,
Aubrey.

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11 months 1 week ago #106905 by Fermidox
Well Aubrey, I suppose 2017 can be divided into two groups - those who saw the Eclipse and those who didn't. I'm in the latter group but here are my highlights anyway, in no particular order -

Supernova 17 eaw in May - the explosion happened 22 million years ago but was still bright enough to be visible in a moderate telescope. Awesome.

Beautiful Venus/Jupiter conjunction in November, just ⅓° apart. Was very lucky to see this rising over the horizon as the rest of the sky was completely clouded out.

Penumbral lunar eclipse in February - a more obvious darkening than I had expected.

Near Earth asteroid Florence in September - a celestial object moving through the eyepiece in real time always makes captivating viewing.

ISS Lunar Transit in July - blink and you missed it.

Comet 29/P Schwassmann/Wachmann in September - my first observation of this temperamental object during one of its brightest outbursts in years.

Venus as a wafer thin crescent in March - just 20 hours before conjunction in broad daylight.

And, on the last morning of the year, finally witnessing an occultation of bright Aldebaran by the Moon, after numerous failed attempts.

Clear skies,
Finbarr.
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11 months 1 week ago #106908 by flt158
Hello, Finbarr.
That certainly is an impressive list.
Can you tell us what was the magnitude of the Supernova?
Was the one close to the border of Cygnus and Cepheus?
Well done on seeing the Venus / Jupiter conjunction, the Penumbral Eclipse, Florence asteroid,
I have only observed a ISS solar transit -never a Lunar one.
Any idea what magnitude Schwassmann / Wachmann comet was? I saw no comet in 2017.
I dd observe a 1% lit Venus on March 24 at the same time as you. (Little did I know)! I was in the Wicklow Mountains at the time.
It has been nearly 40 years (1978) since I successfully witnessed Aldebaran been occulted by our Moon. And does annoy me somewhat. Maybe 2018 will fix that.
As usual, Finbarr, you have come up with brilliant list!

Now has anyone else willing to share their experiences?
Thank you and clear skies for 2018.

Aubrey.

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11 months 1 week ago #106909 by Fermidox

flt158 wrote: Can you tell us what was the magnitude of the Supernova?
Was the one close to the border of Cygnus and Cepheus?

Yes Aubrey, that's the one. NGC 6946, which has now produced a record number of SN. That's why they call it the Fireworks Galaxy. Max magnitude was 12.8.

During this outburst Comet 29/P reached mag 11.5. Still dim but over 100 times brighter than normal.

AFAIK there are only two more occultations of Aldebaran visible from Ireland this time around, in February and March. Then we have to wait until 2023 for the next occultation of a 1st mag star, Antares.

All the best,
Finbarr.
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11 months 1 week ago #106911 by johnflannery
Hi Aubrey,

Happy New Year!

In no particular order, my highlights for 2017 were:

In early July I saw my brightest ever display of noctilucent clouds. Observations and photos were made from near UCD.

Venus with the unaided eye at 6am prior to sunrise and just a few hours from solar conjunction. I then attempted to see it that evening but cloud on the horizon defeated me. The waning Moon that morning rose like a luminous shark fin from behind distant low hills. Stunning.

The zodiacal light from Ballinskelligs in March - it had been many years since I saw it. Thanks to Ronan Newman for pointing it out to us.

The total solar eclipse in August, shared with my 10-year old nephew from San Francisco. The thin crescent Moon seen the morning preceding that of totality was nice to see too. As John O'Neill says, "Just checking the Moon is still on track."

Getting a peek at the Sun during Solarfest through Neil Patterson's double-stacked h-alpha scope equipped with a bino viewer. Awesome!

John

John Flannery ( aurorawatcher - at * gmail - dot * com ... remove hyphens/asterisks/spaces for email)
The chicken's motive for crossing the road would not be questioned in an ideal world
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11 months 1 week ago #106912 by Paddy Stack
My memories of observing during 2017 are more humble than Aubreys and Finbarrs ! Thanks to both of you for those lovely reports. Apart from the thin creasant Venus, two things stick out.

1. The total solar eclipse from Missouri. I viewed it west of St. Louis as I was visiting relatives. I was taking a chance as that region can get clouds and it poured rain the next day ! Anyhow, as luck would have it, we had a great view. During totality, the "black eye of Sauran" looked down on us and seemed 3D . I was not expecting that. I think because the moon is also being illuminated with earth shine it didn't just appear as a black hole in the Corona. It seems to stick out by itself and the corona was behind it. Also seeing the magnetic field lines in the corona through my 20X80 binoculars was very nice.

2. We had a lovely view of Neptune during a club observation session in September. Neptune was perfectly positioned. The seeing was very good. Its always nice to get good views of Neptune, however I was surprised at how many newer club members had either not seen Neptune before or were not 100% sure that what they had been looking at in the past was Neptune. It was very satisfying.

Regards,

Paddy.
KAC

Paddy.
kerryastronomyclub.com
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11 months 1 week ago #106913 by Paddy Stack
and Johns !

Paddy.
kerryastronomyclub.com

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11 months 1 week ago - 11 months 1 week ago #106914 by lunartic
It has to be the September full moon, Sandra and I were sitting at a roadside restaurant in Rome, the moon had risen above the buildings at the end of the road, it was a beautiful yellow colour, and it appeared wonderfully framed against the side of the Collesium. Unfortunately my camera was back about our accommodation.
Paul

Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better programs, and the universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the universe is winning.

Rich Cook
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11 months 1 week ago #106916 by flt158

Paddy Stack wrote: My memories of observing during 2017 are more humble than Aubreys and Finbarrs ! Thanks to both of you for those lovely reports. Apart from the thin creasant Venus, two things stick out.

1. The total solar eclipse from Missouri. I viewed it west of St. Louis as I was visiting relatives. I was taking a chance as that region can get clouds and it poured rain the next day ! Anyhow, as luck would have it, we had a great view. During totality, the "black eye of Sauran" looked down on us and seemed 3D . I was not expecting that. I think because the moon is also being illuminated with earth shine it didn't just appear as a black hole in the Corona. It seems to stick out by itself and the corona was behind it. Also seeing the magnetic field lines in the corona through my 20X80 binoculars was very nice.

2. We had a lovely view of Neptune during a club observation session in September. Neptune was perfectly positioned. The seeing was very good. Its always nice to get good views of Neptune, however I was surprised at how many newer club members had either not seen Neptune before or were not 100% sure that what they had been looking at in the past was Neptune. It was very satisfying.

Regards,

Paddy.
KAC


Hello, Paddy Stack.

I am so glad you got to see the Total Solar Eclipse in Missouri state.
And that you observed Neptune for maybe for the first time through a good telescope.

Please keep sending any future observations during 2018!

Clear skies,

Aubrey.
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