Observing Report Category

H-Alpha view of the Venus Transit - June 5, 2012 - 22:51 UT Wow! Two amazing solar events within a couple weeks of each other--Annular Eclipse and Venus Transit! The first bookend Venus transit occurred during the summer of 2004, a couple months before I got my first telescope and...

Perseids - August 11/12, 2009

I planted myself on the back porch from 12:00 - 12:15 AM (0700-0715 UT AUG 12 2009) to look for some Perseids before heading to bed. I caught 3 in the first ten minutes, racing through Ursa Minor, Hercules and Draco. Nothing spectacular--2nd & 3rd magnitude, blasting westward, lasting about...

Mottled Galaxies

I enjoyed some wonderful galaxy observing in my front yard Tuesday night. It only amounted to 3 galaxies: M49, M61 and M99. But what a sight they were. I've learned that despite being inside the East-Flagstaff Industrial Light Circus, once objects have cleared about 45 degrees elevation, I've got the...

Lunar Eclipse - August 28, 2007

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Click image for larger version of the photo. Setting my alarm for 2:30 in the morning offers a slim chance that I will actually wake up for it. This morning, I'm glad I did. In Arizona, today's Lunar Eclipse totality ran from about 2:52 to 4:22 am. It was...
I've had my 15 x 70 Oberwerk binoculars for nearly a year now and have really enjoyed observing with them. In September, I started putting them to use on the Messier catalog. My goal was to see if I could observe all 110 objects from home, with as little fuss...

17P / Holmes Observations

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The links below will take you to my observations, data, sketches and photographs of Comet 17P/Holmes during it's outburst beginning October 2007. 17P / HolmesGrowth ChartOngoing 17P / Holmes DEC 6, 2007 17P / Holmes NOV 20, 200710 min - f/11 17P / Holmes NOV 20, 20075 min - f/7...
I had the opportunity to make an interesting comparison of Comet Holmes' visibility from Phoenix and from Flagstaff this weekend. While in Phoenix, I tried to view the comet from a fully moonlit, light-polluted sky and was not surprised that I could not see it with the naked eye. With...
This is an excerpt of a report posted to the Cloudy Nights Beginner forum: [edited Dec. 13, 2005: Changed 'Refractor' to 'Reflector' in title. Oy. I can't believe I had this titled as a refractor for over a year. How embarrassing.] Yesterday, a much anticipated set of boxes arrived in...

Observing Report - 08.19.2004

Excerpt from a report posted on the Cloudy Nights forum: Second light was last night. The clouds haven't been clearing out until after 11 pm. So the kids were in bed again, and I didn't get to share the Next-Amazing-Sightâ„¢ with them. I took the time to install the drives...

Observing Report - 08.24.2004

After a few days of aggravating monsoonal cloud bathings, things cleared up and I finally got a great viewing session in this past weekend. I got started Saturday night at about 8 pm and got my first look at the moon with the telescope. The brilliant hugeness of it was...

Observing Report - 09.05.2004

When I got started, I figured the moon would be interesting to check out from time to time, but my main interest lay in DSOs, planets and comets. So the past week of bright moonlight was getting irritating. Reading some comments in the DSO and Lunar forums got me to...

Observing Report - 09.11.2004

Saturday night, 9/11/04, I had my first observing field trip. Every near-new-moon Saturday, the Coconino Astronomical Society has standing arrangements for observing at some sites around Flagstaff, weather permitting. I got in touch with Bill Ferris (the CAS point man) to see what the latest arrangements were. We ended up...

Observing Report - 10.03.2004

I got a new section started in my sky journal for the New-and-Improved Messier records, made note of the things I had to take note of, and kept an eye on how the setting of the sun was progressing (a watched sun never sets, btw). Having seen Scorpius still low...

Phoenix Observing, November 26, 2004

We drove down to Phoenix for the long weekend. I told my sisters I would bring the telescope down the next time we visited, so into the trunk it went. It's one of those packing items that requires breaking all your other travel needs into smaller packages to fit around...
A productive and enjoyable observing session burst out of nowhere last night, like well-oiled rags piled up next to the water heater. Some quick emails between Bill Ferris and Max Oelschlaeger and myself set us on the road to the US Naval Observatory a few miles west of town. Max...
Flagstaff Observing - Dec. 10 & 11, 2004 I met Bill Ferris and Max Oeschlaeger once again, in the lower parking lot at the US Naval Observatory to take advantage of some calm, dark skies this past Friday. Bill's 18" Obsession was already set up, and Max had his recliner...

Observation Report - May 7, 2005

Last Saturday, a friend of mine, Michael Poppre, drove up from Phoenix to do some high altitude star watching. He brought his 150 mm reflector, a nice collection of eyepieces, and a healthy fear of Circle-K hot dogs. After loading up my gear, I replayed a routine I picked up...
Thumbnail images in this post are clickable for larger versions if you want... The evening of September 30, 2005, was incredible. My wife, two kids, and I packed things up for a stargazing field trip to Cinder Hills Overlook at Sunset Crater National Monument. This site is a cul-de-sac at...

An Evening at Lowell Observatory

I had an enjoyable evening at Lowell Observatory tonight. The Coconino Astronomical Society met there at 6:00 pm, and I was asked to share the Vandenberg launch photos from last month. Brent Archinal shared some very nice shots of the launch he got from Snowbowl Road as well as photos...

Observation Report - October 30, 2005

On the evening of October 30, I headed out to Anderson Mesa and set up next to Rick and Gary, a couple amateur astronomers visiting from Colorado on an observing vacation to New Mexico and Arizona. The sky promised to be spectacular as I arrived at dusk. (Most photographs in...
[All images in this report can be clicked to view larger 80-100K images] Saturday evening, November 19th, the Coconino Astronomical Society had a special visit from comet discoverers, Don Machholz and Carolyn Shoemaker. Carolyn, along with her late husband, Eugene, as well as David Levy co-discovered the comet, Shoemaker-Levy 9...
Tonight, I met Bill Ferris, Padraig Houlahan, James Wallace, and another observer named Tim for an observing session down the hill at the Beaver Creek Trailhead near the Sedona exit on I-17. The idea was to get down off the mountain for some more humane temperatures. Bill brought his 18"...

Observing Report - February 24/25, 2006

The Friday night/Saturday morning observing trip was excellent. I set off for this trip the most prepared I've been since I started doing this nocturnal activity. I'm going to say, right off the bat that all the extra cold-weather gear, especially the snowboard pants, snow boots, balaclava, chemical warmers and...
Saturday night, May 6th, was Astronomy Day. This synched up nicely with the CAS meeting at Lowell Observatory. I was scheduled to give a 10 minute presentation on Astro Imaging. I got a little ambitious with the presentation, and coupled with being last-guy-on-the-program, I had to really burn through it,...

Dark Sky Observing - NOV 10, 2007

After months without a dark sky visit, I finally made a trip outside city limits Saturday night. I was hoping to take some tracked, long exposure photos of 17P/Holmes as it nears Melotte 20. The experience reminded me how awesome the Milky Way under a true dark sky can be....
I met Steve Coe for an enjoyable evening of deep sky observing at Anderson Mesa Saturday night. Steve brought his 6 inch f/8 Celestron refractor and a list of galaxies in Corvus that he wanted to polish off. I had a pending appointment with M101. Steve brought along a nice...
When I took up amateur astronomy, I did it with the dual purpose of satisfying my own boundless curiosity about everything cosmic, AND to share that interest with my family. My 6 inch (150 mm) SkyView Pro Newtonian has served that first part perfectly. But it turned out not to...
On the evening of Sunday, June 8th, I had the pleasure of visiting Kitt Peak National Observatory and participating in the Advanced Observer's Program--an overnight observing session with one of the program's RC telescopes. I attended with four friends, Curt, Rob, Brazos, and Ken. Curt was the mastermind of...

Binocular Diversions

In an effort to compensate for not getting out to dark sites for observing lately, you'll notice that my recent observations and sketches are taking place from my front yard. But even that has been getting tough to make time for. So I decided to ease up on my expectations...
Photograph of Columbia Scientific Balloon AssemblyJune 11, 2009 - 8:42 PM MSTClick image to view larger version. One evening, earlier in June I read an email alert that a scientific balloon was crossing central Arizona. I ran outside with my family to check it out. To the naked eye, it...
Move mouse over sketch to see labels. Observation Notes: On the evening of this observation, I headed to Sunset Crater National Monument with the kids to see if we could catch a glimpse of the Aurora Borealis. That turned out to be a bust. But the kids had fun...

NGC 5139 - Omega Centauri

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Observation Notes Any opportunity to head closer to Earth's midsection is likely to get a Northern Hemisphere amateur astronomer salivating at the possibilities. The awesome trip we took to the Caribbean last month brought us down to 19 degrees North Latitude. That's 16 degrees further south than Flagstaff, and...
While observing comet C/2007 N3 (Lulin) Friday morning, I shot some photos of what I thought was a beautiful sight. Although moonlight is bad for deep sky observing, it does illuminate the landscape and makes for interesting night scenes. I usually observe at Cinder Hills Overlook when I drive out...
Last Sunday night, my daughter asked if we could bring out the telescope and do some stargazing. Boy was that the kick in the caboose I needed! (As you can see by the M64 sketch I managed later that night.) As I brought the Dob out the front door, I...
Sometimes, a plan comes together before you even realize what's happening. While working out the final details of a Caribbean cruise we were planning to take with my immediate and extended family, we realized that the Discovery was scheduled to launch on the day that we returned to Port...

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