Planetary 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...
CMI 321° - CMII 194° - CMIII 288°">Sketch of SaturnCMI 321° - CMII 194° - CMIII 288°Click image for larger version. Observation Notes: After several failed attempts to observe the storm in Saturn's NTrZ, we finally had a clear night with a decent seeing forecast. I headed out to Anderson...
Sketch of Jupiter, Europa + Shadow, Ganymede + Shadow, and IoMove mouse over image to view labels. Click to view larger version. Observation Notes: I enjoyed a beautiful dance between Jupiter, three moons and two shadows. Europa began to emerge from the preceding limb just as Io emerged from...
Sketch of Jupiter, Callisto, Impact Scar and Shadow TransitClick image to view larger version. Observation Notes: Jupiter put on a great show tonight! The impact feature is still hanging on and was readily visible through my 8 inch Dob at 120X and 240X. The best part was the addition of...
Sketch of Jupiter with Impact ScarClick image to view larger version. Observation Notes: On July 19, 2009, amateur astronomer and planetary imager, Anthony Wesley discovered a striking new feature on Jupiter. A dark spot had suddenly appeared in the south polar region. Although it might have been a new weather...

Asteroid 3 Juno

Move mouse over image to see labels. Observation Notes: This was my first attempt ever at an asteroid observation. I tried finding 3 Juno based on the data supplied in Orion's TheSky software, and I hunted in vain. I checked the data at the Minor Planet Ephemeris Service and...

C/2004 Q2 (Machholz) - DEC 30, 2004

The above image is a graphite sketch redrawn based on the original digital sketch. The star field was generated by Starry Night Pro 5.8. Click image for larger version. Observation Notes: Well, the weather and my schedule hasn't been cooperating too much lately for getting out under the stars...

C/2004 Q2 (Machholz) - DEC 11, 2004

Observation Notes: Since viewing Machholz the night before at the USNO, it had moved noticeably north. Light pollution here at home was pretty bad, but I think I can still see it barely by naked eye. Through the eyepiece, it is just inside the southwest edge of a triangle...

C/2004 Q2 (Machholz) - JAN 1, 2005

Observation Notes: Tonight, in my 10 X 50 binoculars, Machholz was starting to show a longer dust tail. I took some pictures during breaks in the passing clouds. This is a stack of 11 images ranging in exposure from 2 to 6 minutes. Exposures are with the Canon Digital Rebel...
I went to town on the light pollution in the image, and finally got something that would let me pop the tails out some more. It made a huge difference. The coma is still obviously green. But now the ion tail appears blue, while the short dust tail is a...

C/2004 Q2 (Machholz) - JAN 6, 2005

Comet this. Comet that. Sorry. This thing is just too cool. It's right up on the Pleiades now, and the clouds had mercy enough for some pictures tonight. Light pollution was pretty noticeable in the shots, and processing it out is killing the tails. But here's where I'm at so...

C/2005 E2 (McNaught) - January 22, 2006

Note: There are many comets with the name "McNaught" assigned to them. If you are looking for information on the bright twilight comet visible in January 2007, I have an observation and sketches available here: C/2006 P1 (McNaught). The observation on this page is for C/2005 E2 (McNaught) in January...
Move mouse over above sketch to view labels. Click the image for a large version to better see Jovian Moons (100K). Observation Notes: Oh boy did I have a hard time waking up for this one. I didn't have time to drive out to Sunset Crater for a "picturesque"...
Tonight's conjunction was a beautiful sight in the dwindling twilight. McMillan Mesa provided a wide open view of the western horizon as the lunar-planetary trio sunk lower. Thin cirrus, and a fresh contrail added color and interesting geometry to an already stunning scene. To cope with the wide dynamic...

Jupiter - March 2, 2005

Observation Notes: This was my first official observation of Jupiter. It turns out to be a lot like observing a DSO--lots of time and averted vision. Part of that may be because planetary contrast is low in my scope, but the seeing was also horrible. After some concentration, I...

Jupiter - March 9, 2005

Observation Notes: In the midst of some exceptional dso viewing from the Cinder Hills Overlook at Sunset Crater National Monument, I happened upon a shadow transit across the face of Jupiter. The transiting moon turned out to be Io. I could not see Io itself, but the shadow was...

Jupiter-Europa Transit: DEC 6/7, 2008

Digital Sketch: Jupiter-Europa Transit Entry Move mouse over sketch above to view Europa's motion.Click for larger version. Observation Notes: I brought the telescope out at sunset to view the moon and Venus with the kids. I tried to locate Jupiter in the still-bright sky with no success. I went...
Digital Illustration: Jupiter-Neptune Conjunction Move mouse over sketch above to view labels.Click for larger version. Observation Notes: Jupiter and Neptune have spent the last several days passing within a degree of each other. I finally got out to observe the pair tonight when they were separated by about 48...

Mars - July 5, 2005

Observation Notes: This was my first look at Mars through a telescope. It was small and the seeing was horrible, but it was still excellent to see. At 38X during the finding stage, it had such a unique orange color that I was drawn to it even at that...

Mars - August 2, 2005

Move mouse over image to view labels. East and West noted in the sketch are Martian E/W, not celestial E/W. Observation Notes: Mars was still low in the east and the seeing was poor when I made the observation. The South Polar Cap was still prominent. After shading in...

Mars - August 27, 2005 - 1:00 AM

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Move mouse over image to view labels. East and West noted in the sketch are Martian E/W, not celestial E/W. Observation Notes: The dark band of Mare Cimmerium and the point of Syrtis Minor were prominent along the southern hemisphere. The South polar Cap was not as prominent as...

Mars - August 27, 2005 - 3:45 AM

Move mouse over image to view labels. East and West noted in the sketch are Martian E/W, not celestial E/W. Observation Notes: Since observing 3 hours earlier, Syrtis Major had rotated into view. The break between Mare Cimmerium and Mare Tyrrhenum was still evident. I was surprised how far...

Mars - September 13, 2005 - 12:45 AM

Move mouse over image to view labels. East and West noted in the sketch are Martian E/W, not celestial E/W. Observation Notes: This was my best view of Mars yet. I made out obvious detail in the northern hemisphere, which turned out to be Mare Acidalium. The dark peninsula...
Move mouse over sketch to view labels. East and West noted in the sketch are Martian E/W, not celestial E/W. Observation Notes: Well it keeps getting better and better. I viewed Mars earlier in the evening, and the regions east and west of Syrtis Major gave the rough impression...
Move mouse over image to view labels. East and West noted in the sketch are Martian E/W, not celestial E/W. Observation Notes: I really can't seem to catch a break with the gusting wind during these Mars observations. I have to keep trying to time my sketching with the...

Mars - October 13, 2005 - 06:00-06:45 UT

Move mouse over sketch to view labels. East and West noted in the sketch are Martian E/W, not celestial E/W. Observation Notes: I wanted to catch Solis Lacus this evening, and it was in a good position. Seeing was pretty shoddy, and I was having some contrast issues with...
Move mouse over image to view labels. East and West noted in the sketch are Martian E/W, not celestial E/W. Observation Notes: During the first half of this observation, the sky was reasonably clear, but the scope was still cooling down. A bit later, when the seeing began to...
Observation Notes: This was a great night to observe Mars. A dust storm has been brewing in Chryse for the past few days, and I wanted to try and catch it in the act. When I made my first observation of the evening at OCT 22, 2005, 05:30 UT, the...
Observation Notes: Wow, this was a great view. The dust storm south of Mare Erythraeum was still there, and not much larger than the previous night. The southern hemisphere features were nicely visible. The North Polar Hood still showed that notch. I gave a lot of scrutiny to the color...
Move mouse over sketch to view labels. East and West noted in the sketch are Martian E/W, not celestial E/W. Observation Notes: I hadn't observed Mars for a couple months when I finally gave it a last look for the 2005 apparition. The seeing was on and off crud...
Sketch of Mars - CM 265° - UnfilteredDEC 14, 2009 - 11:30 UTMove mouse over image to view labels. Click to view larger version. Sketch of Mars - CM 265° - Filter: Wratten #80ADEC 14, 2009 - 11:30 UT Observation Notes: It has been a long time since my...

Neptune - July 5, 2005

Observation Notes: I finally got a confirmed sighting of Neptune. The match to the finder chart I printed, and the blue-green color were the signals I needed. While the color was strongly blueish, I detected green, which doesn't correspond with the deep blue color of the planet, and I...

Mercury - Solar Transit

Move mouse over image to see labels. Click here to view large image (52K) Observation Notes: On Wednesday, November 8th, 2006, Mercury was due for a solar transit. Now, in my neck of the woods, that just happens to be a work day. So I planned to set up...

Uranus - July 5, 2005

Observation Notes: My first and only observation of Uranus was within a week of getting my telescope late last Summer. I wanted to firm up that observation. It was easy to find Uranus. I actually caught it in binoculars first as I was familiarizing myself with the star field....

Uranus - August 2, 2005

Observation Notes: As I was scouting out double stars late into the night, I noticed that the seeing had suddenly settled and become very nice. I swept over to Uranus and got a very smooth view. The edges of the small dot were smooth and gave an excellent impression...

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