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Favourite Observations of 2018

2 months 2 weeks ago #107502 by flt158
Favourite Observations of 2018 was created by flt158
May I wish you all a very Happy New Year for 2019?

In the meantime let us have some summaries as to what our favourite observations were for 2018.
Here are my Top Ten in reverse order.

As most of you know I own a William Optics 158 mm f/7 apochromatic refractor on a Berlebach altazimuth Planet mount. Mirror diagonals are fitted at all times.

10. February 9. Imagine seeing 2 carbon stars in the same 2 degree field of view. That is precisely what I had on this particular Friday night. SU Andromedae was a good strong orange star of 8.0 magnitude. HO Andromedae was less than 1 degree north. It has a good orange hue too and a magnitude of 9.7. I wonder if I will ever see the occurrence of seeing 2 carbon stars again somewhere else in our skies. 40X was sufficient on this occasion.
9. May 12. BU 1442 is a wide triple star in Bootes about 6 degrees north of Arcturus. A and B are a true binary. C is optical. The magnitudes are 9.9, 10.2 and 9.7. Separations: 45" and 75". PA's: 74 and 61 degrees. The triple has a wide V shape. But what is most extraordinary about the 3 stars are the colours. A and B are both M class and red. But C is almond brown. The C star has the spectral class K7. The hues are stunning at 100X and above.
8. May 4. V392 Persei is only the 2nd nova I have ever observed. The 8.5 magnitude had a fairly good orange colour at 167X. I was relieved to see it before that part of Perseus disappeared behind the trees!
7. June 28. I observed a 71% illuminated -4.1 magnitude planet Venus at a whopping 320X. There was very little shimmering at this high power in the bright evening sky. How rare is that in Irish skies?
6. June 22. Catena Davy is my first observation of a catena on our Moon. Its length is 50 kms. And at 167X I could make out 4 tiny craters along the thin line. The largest of which is 3.4 km wide.
5. April 21. The 82 km degraded crater Alexander on the Moon was right on the terminator. It is a very shallow crater, but the slightly raised rim was being caught by the Sun. The central part of Alexander was in darkness. As a result I saw the Dome of Lights at 112X. for the very first time. www.cloudynights.com highlights this rare effect on some occasions in bygone years.
4. April 7. How many double stars can you fit in a single field of view? Well on the night of 7th April I could count 4 doubles at 40X in my 2" 38 mm eyepiece. The doubles were: Iota Bootis (4.8 & 7.4 mag, Sep: 39"), Kappa Bootis (4.5 & 6.2 mags, Sep: 13.7"). Struve 1829 (8.1 & 8.6 mag, Sep: 5.5"), and Struve 1814 (9.3 & 9.8 mag, Sep: 11"). And what do I see at the top of the fov? Why it is a fair orange carbon star. Tyc 3471-762-1 has magnitude of 8.6. So that is 4 doubles and 1 carbon star within a 2 degree fov. Refractors are good at this sort of thing!
3. August 21. Here we have the tightest double I have ever split. STT 371 is a triple star. A and B are probably a true binary. But A and C are optical. The magnitudes are 7.0, 7.6 and 9.8 respectively. The separation of A and C is 47.4".Of course 40X is enough to see them. However A and B are a mere 0.9" apart. I required no less than 280X to split this extremely tight and wonderful pair.
2. May 18. A group of us have gathered in the Sugarloaf Car Park on a Friday night. M104 the Sombrero Galaxy is on the menu. The 8.3 magnitude giant elliptical galaxy is 7' X 5' in size. I see its central bulge, and using averted vision I make out the dark lane going across its nucleus. I used 112X, 167X, 225X, 280X and 320X on the 50,000 light years wide galaxy. It is 31 million light years away.
1. August 10. And so we come to my Number 1 observation of 2018. It is a tiny white dot orbiting Saturn.
The ringed planet was at the time 1.395 billion kms from Earth. Therefore to see the moon Enceladus of magnitude 12.0 at this great distance is something of a miracle. Guide 9.1 DVD provided me its position for this Friday night. There were 9 of us present and we enjoyed chunks of white chocolate to celebrate this remarkable event. Enceladus has a bright albedo and is 50 km wide -about the size of Britain. To see it I used 167X.

I do try and keep my list to a minimum of 10.
Please be free to do either a bigger or lesser list.

That's it from me.
It's over to the rest of you.

Clear skies for 2019 to you all.

Aubrey.
The following user(s) said Thank You: michael_murphy, johnomahony, Fermidox

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2 months 3 weeks ago - 2 months 3 weeks ago #107503 by johnomahony
Replied by johnomahony on topic Favourite Observations of 2018
For me, the highlight was the Jupiter /Mars conjunction at the beginning of the year

www.flickr.com/photos/7703127@N07/395211...n/dateposted-public/

The Lord giveth, the Revenue taketh away. (John 1:16)

www.flickr.com/photos/7703127@N07/
The following user(s) said Thank You: flt158, Fermidox

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2 months 3 weeks ago #107504 by Fermidox
Replied by Fermidox on topic Favourite Observations of 2018
My highlights, in no particular order:

Space station transit across the Sun during the June heatwave, after numerous failed attempts.

A nice collection of periodic comets - Giacobini-Zinner, Swift-Gehrels, Stephan-Oterma and Wirtanen in addition to long-period visitors 2017 S3 and 2018 V1, bringing my comet total to 28.

Further asteroid observations including Victoria, Isis, Thyra, Eros, and Euterpe bringing my total to 36.

The very interesting Nova Persei in April along with Nova Scuti in July, just half a degree from Nova Scuti 2017.

A possible sighting of supernova 2018pv in NGC 3941. I still need to take an image of the galaxy without the SN to confirm observation.

My lunar highlight was probably a clear sighting in March of the Messier craters with their comet-like rays, once again after several thwarted attempts waiting for a 4-day moon.

A very interesting visit to Birr Castle and the Great Telescope in August.

Setting up a rudimentary fisheye cam which should capture the occasional considerate fireball.

Some beautiful planetary conjunctions involving Venus/Mercury, Jupiter/Mars and Mars/Neptune. Also a close approach of Venus/Spica in the morning sky and several binocular views of daytime Venus.

Perhaps more meteorological than astronomical, but there was an exceptionally striking rainbow on April 25.

And finally, an observation of nearby Ross 128 soon after claims of transmissions being received from that location - it turned out to be satellite interference of course....

Happy new year all!

Finbarr.
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2 months 3 weeks ago #107505 by flt158
Replied by flt158 on topic Favourite Observations of 2018
Oh -Yes! I remember that morning conjunction of Jupiter and Mars, John.
But I could only look at it with my own eyes, i.e, without my scope.
What a fine sight it was.
Thank you for reminding us of that event.
Strange, but I did not observe any planetary conjunctions in 2018.
Maybe 2019 will prove otherwise!

Happy New Year and clear skies to all from Aubrey.

By the way, www.met.ie are promising clear skies on 1st January 2019.

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2 months 3 weeks ago #107506 by flt158
Replied by flt158 on topic Favourite Observations of 2018

Fermidox wrote: My highlights, in no particular order:

Space station transit across the Sun during the June heatwave, after numerous failed attempts.

A nice collection of periodic comets - Giacobini-Zinner, Swift-Gehrels, Stephan-Oterma and Wirtanen in addition to long-period visitors 2017 S3 and 2018 V1, bringing my comet total to 28.

Further asteroid observations including Victoria, Isis, Thyra, Eros, and Euterpe bringing my total to 36.

The very interesting Nova Persei in April along with Nova Scuti in July, just half a degree from Nova Scuti 2017.

A possible sighting of supernova 2018pv in NGC 3941. I still need to take an image of the galaxy without the SN to confirm observation.

My lunar highlight was probably a clear sighting in March of the Messier craters with their comet-like rays, once again after several thwarted attempts waiting for a 4-day moon.

A very interesting visit to Birr Castle and the Great Telescope in August.

Setting up a rudimentary fisheye cam which should capture the occasional considerate fireball.

Some beautiful planetary conjunctions involving Venus/Mercury, Jupiter/Mars and Mars/Neptune. Also a close approach of Venus/Spica in the morning sky and several binocular views of daytime Venus.

Perhaps more meteorological than astronomical, but there was an exceptionally striking rainbow on April 25.

And finally, an observation of nearby Ross 128 soon after claims of transmissions being received from that location - it turned out to be satellite interference of course....

Happy new year all!

Finbarr.


Thank you, Finbarr, for your excellent contribution.
2018 truly was a very special year for you.
Many congratulations for your records of all those comets and asteroids.
A few years ago in 2013 I had the most rare opportunity to observe via image projection of the ISS transiting the Sun on a very clear Saturday morning. Good job you didn't blink, Finbarr. I didn't either. It was my 2nd favourite event in 2013. It was only upstaged by a Total Solar Eclipse that October. :)
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