Observations: Locate Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Bootes, Virgo,

Observations: Locate Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Bootes, Virgo,

Postby rene-gedaly » Sat May 18, 2013 11:52 pm

Mostly cloudy night; went out anyway to get into habit; with small binos, planisphere, red light. Had to wait for moon to decloud; surprisingly detailed with 10x42 binos. Noticed 2 bright objects. Verified Spica (Virgo), recognized Saturn as the object out of place--no detail w/ binos. From Spica, curved to Corvus but had to wait for break in clouds. Looked N; saw zeta, eta, & epsilon of big dipper handle but was enough to arc to Arcturus (Bootes), so bright, orangey-red, even thru clouds. Remembered Alcor & Mizar (eta UMa), saw both, nicely separated w/binos thru haze. Never did see Polaris. For such a cloudy night, saw a surprising number of stars. :)
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Re: Observations: Locate Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Bootes, Vir

Postby debbie-moran » Sun May 19, 2013 12:25 am

Just back from the Star Trek movie and sky is cloudy. I think I will pull out my telescope the next couple of nights to look at the Moon in some detail. It has been a while. I was going to put the double star Delta Corvi in next time for those with a telescope. It is worth seeing...one star is blusih white and the other much fainter is magenta if you see much color at all. I could not remember how well Corvus shows up in Houston.

http://www.dibonsmith.com/crv_con.gif

http://www.perezmedia.net/beltofvenus/a ... 00644.html
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Re: Observations: Locate Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Bootes, Vir

Postby joe-khalaf » Sun May 19, 2013 10:34 pm

It looks like tonight was a bad night to try and start this set of observations. With only temporary breaks in the clouds to allow for short glimpses of the half moon, nothing else was visible. Let's hope tomorrow evening's weather is a little more cooperative.
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Re: Observations: Locate Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Bootes, Vir

Postby debbie-moran » Mon May 20, 2013 12:43 am

The weather after sunset the next couple nights is not looking too good. I will do another post for the triple planet show going on from the 23rd to the 30th when Jupiter, Mercury, and Venus will all be near each other in the west near sunset. You can still see the Moon observations for this time vicariously in the YouTube link I posted. It is a great tour of the Moon a couple days past 1st quarter.
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Re: Observations: Locate Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Bootes, Vir

Postby tom-gederberg » Wed May 22, 2013 9:23 pm

Forecast calls for clear sky on Sunday night (and no work the next day :D ). Looking forward to getting started it this. Thanks for starting the Backyard Observing Program.
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Re: Observations: Locate Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Bootes, Vir

Postby rene-gedaly » Thu May 23, 2013 7:08 am

Depending where you are, it's showing clear or mostly clear from six until midnight tonight. Things can and do change, but I'm going to give the alignment a shot tonight.
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Re: Observations: Locate Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Bootes, Vir

Postby joe-khalaf » Thu May 23, 2013 11:31 pm

Here goes my first report, I'll try to make it as short as possible.

It was a partly cloudy night when I started, getting progressively more cloudy in the 1/2 hour or so that I spent outside. The nearly-full moon and a nearby streetlamp made for a bit more of a challenge, and with the prediction of greater cloud cover, I opted to leave the telescope in its case tonight.

Equipment: Planisphere, Bushnell 10x50 binoculars, Meade 16x50 binoculars.

Naked Eye Challenge:
I started out looking for Ursa Major, quickly identifying the "Big Dipper," and then tracing a line through Merak and Dubhe to Polaris. In Ursa Minor, I was only able to identify Polaris, Kochab and Pherkad. Attempts to find other stars in Ursa Minor proved fruitless. I went back to Ursa Major where I then "arced" to Arcturus and "spiked" to Spica. Arcturus, Spica, and Saturn made for a near isosceles triangle.

After squinting for quite some time, (thanks to it being located between the moon and the nearest streetlight,) I was able to make out most of the major stars in the constellation Boötes. In Virgo, I could only make out Spica. Leo proved a little easier, but some of the stars in the "reverse question mark" were tough to make out.

Binocular Challenge:
The moon was much more pleasant to view in the 10x50 binoculars as opposed to the 16x50's. Images were oriented the binoculars as one would see them naked eye (right-side up and not reversed.) Making out the terminator on the moon was a little tough because of the nearly-fully-illuminated face of the moon, however, the southern hemisphere near the terminator appeared to be more mountainous than the northern hemisphere.

I did make out a "bunny" in the moon, but the one I spotted looked something like the traced image in this photo:
Image
(Credit: http://bettasplenden-bettasplenden.blog ... -moon.html)

Doing a Google search afterwards showed the following bunny shape as well:
Image
(Credit: http://www.bunnyrabbitonthemoon.com/)

Either way, I don't think I'll ever look at the moon without noticing these from now on.

It was hard to make out any details on Saturn in either the 10x50's or the 16x50's, but I was able to see an elongated, yellowish/brown shape stretching longer from the 8 o'clock to the 2 o'clock position (from my view and orientation.) I had to rest up against my truck to steady the binoculars enough to make out the shape.

Mizar and Alcor (in Ursa Major) were visible with the naked eye, but the 16x50's were able to show the pair nicely. Mizar appeared blue and Alcor white (and much smaller) in the 16x50's. Colors were not as apparent in the 10x50's.

Hopefully, the weather will cooperate long enough tomorrow to take out the telescope and continue with that challenge. Thanks for putting this together, Debbie and Rene.

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Meade 12" LX200GPS
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Re: Observations: Locate Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Bootes, Vir

Postby debbie-moran » Mon May 27, 2013 1:33 am

Thanks for your observations, Joe. If it is first quarter, a simpler rabbit can be made out with the Sea of Tranquility as the head, the Sea of Serenity as the body and the Sea of Fecundity and the Sea of Nectar as the ears. But by the time it cleared up, most of the moon was visible.

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=htt ... AQ&dur=167

I had also learned about the Lady Reading a Book. Here are some more moon shapes:

http://www.netaxs.com/~mhmyers/mnillusion.html
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