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Favourite Observations of 2023

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6 months 1 week ago #112207 by flt158
Favourite Observations of 2023 was created by flt158
It’s that time again, folks. 
I know 2023 will go down as a poor year weatherwise overall. 
But let us cheer ourselves up. 
2024 can only get better. 
(We live in hope).  

So please inform us of your favourite observations of 2023. 
Do tell us about your equipment, your dates of each observation, facts and figures, etc. 

As you all know, I own a William Optics 158mm f/7 apochromatic refractor. My finder is a William Optics 70mm f/6 apochromatic refractor. 

Here are my top ten in reverse order:

10. October 13: V720 Cassiopeiae is an extremely faint carbon star. I saw it at 225x. Its magnitude was +12.0. At 280x this tiny star appeared as a good and rich orange speck. 

9. April 6: I observed the famous variable star R Leonis. This rose coloured star was +7.5. By May 26, it was a lot brighter at +6.0. I'm already looking forward to observing R Leo again in 2024. Will I see it at its maximum brilliancy? I have to wait and see.  

8. June 2: STF 1884 is a beautiful true binary in Boötes. Magnitudes: A = 6.6. B = 7.5. Sep = 2.15”. PA = 54˚. I was thrilled to see it slightly split at 112x. But I did increase up to 225x. I was so enamoured with this lovely double star. 

7. August 21st: The four moons of Jupiter were all visible during this night in the Sugarloaf car park. Michael and Paul were with me. But a mere 10 arc seconds south of Jupiter was the magnitude 5.5 star Sigma Arietis. It truly was a magnificent sight. Sigma Ari was even visible “hanging” below the planet at 40x!

6. January 17th: STF 2843 is a triple star in Cepheus. A and B are an uncertain double. But C is optical. The magnitudes are: A = 7. B = 7.3. C = 11. Seps = <1.4” and 54.7”. PA’s = 150˚ & 277˚. I required 225x to see the tightest gap between A & B. This triple proved to be another magnificent sight. 

5. March 14: STF 13 is a true binary in Cepheus. Magnitudes: A = 7. B = 7.1. Sep = 0.96”. PA = 47˚. Very tight split at 280x and 320x. 

4. March 7: STF 2 is a true binary too. I only observed 2 doubles that have a separation of less 1”. STF 2 was the second. But its magnitudes were slightly brighter than STF 13. A = 6.7. B = 6.9. Sep = 0.95". PA = 14 degrees. Definitely my favourite double of 2023. 

3. January 31: Wasn’t it a real thrill to observe the comet C/2022 E3 ZTF in early 2023? I observed on 3 occasions. Of course, my most memorable was the first night. It was even visible at 11x with my WO 70mm small apo. At 280x, my wife Valerie and I noticed its upwards movement in Camelopardalis. The comet appeared round, grey and like a fuzzball galaxy. It was shifting at 206,000kms. 

2. January 1: It’s New Year’s Day 2023, and I thought this event was going to be may favourite main event of the year. Darren had phoned me wondering if I was planning on observing the Lunar Occultation of the planet Uranus. It had been a rainy afternoon, but the clouds were breaking up and the sky was clear by 9pm. Luna was 9.5 days after new. Its magnitude was -11.2. The magnitude of Uranus was +5.7. The sky remained clear and I had no obstacles getting in the way of my telescope’s position. The blue tinted planet was occulted at 22h 22m, and took about 12 seconds to disappear behind the dark side of our Moon. Darren and I had been chatting hands free on our phones during this memorable event. 

1. March 16: By a smidgeon, my favourite observation of 2023 was that of a carbon star. But what a goodie it was. S Cephei was observed at 40x, 112x, 140x and 167x. Its colour was ripe tomato red! 

That’s it from me. 

I wish you all a Happy New Year and clearer skies in 2024. 

Aubrey.      
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6 months 1 week ago #112210 by Until_then-Goodnight!
Replied by Until_then-Goodnight! on topic Favourite Observations of 2023
A very Happy New Year to you Aubrey and all on the IFAS forum,

I always look forward to this yearly post and your top 10 list made for great reading Aubrey. I was delighted to see that R Leonis made it into your final list for 2023 as I consider that your star : ). Also, King Cephus really delivered the goods for you in 2023. I remember you spending quite some time in and around that constellation last year.

Some of those other objects you listed feature in my list too, but where will the place - let's have a look...

#6

05/02/2023

Bagging my second comet C/2022 E3 (ZNF) at 39X. While it was dim; had no tail; and smaller than expected; averted vision helped to show the core. My wife joined me in the back garden to take a look, but she was more impressed with Orion :)

#5

26/03/2023

One of the my first observations from the new house, which is dreadful from an observing standpoint. Never the less, this observation put a smile on my face. because I received a call to notify me that there would be a snail on the Moon!

For sure, Fracastorius' western rim and its 'O' crater took on the form of a snail on the five day old Moon. Quite apt because earlier in the week I found a snail on the primary mirror of my 10 inch Dob - hahaha!

Many thanks to Aubrey and John who brought this Clair Obscur effect to our attention.

#4

01/01/2023 22:23 UT.

The Lunar Occultation of Uranus at 75X was an exciting observation to begin 2023. With its deep blue/green colour the seventh planet from the Sun stood out next to the white Moon. It was great to share the experience with Aubrey on the phone.

#3

22/09/2023

Michael and I went to Trooperstown Wood to observe the night sky because it was too windy at the Sugar Loaf. There were so many nice objects on show such as M15 (first time to see it), M31 (best view yet), the Double Cluster (best view yet), and we even caught a bright meteor, but the highlight from that night was the Reappearance of Io at 139X. The event took place between 23:30 and 23:40.

#2

06/04/2023

Session at the Sugar Loaf, Co. Wicklow are always great. What made this one extra special was seeing Mercury for the first time. it was low in the West (approximately 5°). Consequently, it was shimmering badly at 39X. However, I am still glad I observed it. There were many other nice objects on view that such as the Orange coloured Moon, and the Garnet star and S Cephei through Aubrey's 158mm Apo at 40X, and 112X. I also need to give a special 'thank you' to Michael who provided me with a lift that night as my own car was in being repaired.

#1

09/10/2023

This one was a morning session from my front garden. My daughter Robyn called me to say the Moon looked nice. So before we set-off for school we had a look at the Moon, but it was Jupiter that stood out. When Robyn looked through the eyepiee she said 'Wow' in amazement. She described how she could see stripes on the planet. I explained that they were cloud bands and she went to school full of wonder...great way to start the day.

Taken together, while there were fewer observing sessions last year than previous years, there were some really brilliant sessions looking through my f/5 250mm Newtonian reflector on a DObsonian basescope with family and friends.

So, here is to many more memorable late nights and early mornings thoughout 2024 with my astronomy friends.

Clear, dark, and calm skies to all,
Darren.
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6 months 1 week ago #112211 by flt158
Replied by flt158 on topic Favourite Observations of 2023
Thank you for these excellent contributions, Darren.
I totally forgot to add the "Snail" on the Moon to my list.
But I sure am pleased your included it! Happy Days, my friend.

Let's see who else will add more of their favourite observations of 2023.

Clear skies from Aubrey.
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6 months 1 week ago #112214 by Until_then-Goodnight!
Replied by Until_then-Goodnight! on topic Favourite Observations of 2023
Many thanks for your kind message Aubrey. Yep, that 'snail' was something else alright : )

Can you believe that event was last March - 2023 went in fast.

Clear skies,

Darren.
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