University Lowbrow Astronomers

A Beginning Amateur Astronomer Part 3.

by George W. Ferrier
Printed in Reflections: June, 2008.

After reaching a high membership of 14 members we have dropped to 6 or 8 people that do observing. This is mostly due to warmer and longer days and also due to not being satisfied with just Binocular Observing and were not interested in what was being viewed but wanting to experience what is seen in magazines and pictures, but those still with us are Energetic, Enthusiastic and Willing to Observe anything that is in the night Sky. Some of Our Observing:

January 4, 2008:

Orion, Mars which was between Betelgeuse and Aldebaran, NC2244 the Rosette Nebula which looked like a bright star surrounded by a gray fuzzy glow. We were using 10 x 50 Binoculars.

January 19, 2008:

We were tracking Mars movement using its close proximity to the moon. We observed it for One hour and 37 minutes.

February 20, 2008:

We Observed the Moon and Saturn and watched the full Eclipse; at the end we noticed a blue glow from the moon.

Moon and Saturn

Lunar Eclipse

March 20, 2008:

EMU. Saturn, Gemini; the double of Castor, Orion Nebula, Perseus; Double Cluster NGC 869 & 884.

April 15, 2008:

I had Four Members meet me at EMU for some observing. We used a 6” Dobsonian and a Mononocular on a tripod. We observed using the Dobsonian M51, M81 & M82, Saturn and two of its Moons and the Trapezium in the Orion Nebula and thru the Mononocular we observed The Pleiades, Hyades, Mizar & Alcor and the Andromeda Galaxy, which looked like a small gray cotton ball.

April 26, 2008:

Took 3 Members to Peach Mt. We viewed Regulus, Saturn, Polaris, Sirius, The Whirlpool Galaxy, M3, M85, Rhea & Titan. We also observed a satellite pass North to South above Ursa Major and also a meteor passed above Arcturus.

May 10, 2008:

About 1 hour after sunset we were able to observe both Mars and Mercury which was about 25 Degrees below and left of Mars.

May 22, 2008:

I had 2 of my members with me at EMU and we watched the ISS pass at about 9:30 PM in the South and it was a -2.5 Brightness and we observed it again after 11 PM but it was not as Bright. We also watched Mars in the Beehive Cluster, M13; the Hercules Cluster, Saturn and Titan, Arcturus, Vega and we watched two artificial satellites passing overhead.

May 24, 2008:

Peach Mountain. Observed M3 Regulus, 2 passes of the ISS. Ken Cook gave me a 4” Orion Saturn scope we can borrow. He helped me with the set up and we viewed Regulus which when we first viewed looked like a Sapphire Ring surrendered by Diamonds, but when focused it was a BEAUTIFUL Blue Object hanging in the night sky, then he put it on Saturn and we could see the separation of the rings and also 1 or 2 moons. He then left me to use another scope. I had great difficulty in sighting in on objects to observe but was eventually was successful and Observed Castor & Pollux and then Mars. While Observing Mars I saw a Meteor or Artificial Satellite pass below it. We also observed several Satellites pass overhead. We also did observations when the Shuttle, ISS and also several satellites like Cosmos, Evisat, Genesis 1 & 2 passed over and we were able early in the Morning to view the Hubble pass but it was about a 3 in brightness. On the nights we did no observing I had my group make a Model of Orion to show how the Constellation looks like when we view it and what it looks like in space. We also talked about our Universe and what’s in it, and one day we made an Astrolabe to measure Degrees. I am trying to get used to using the scope and how to find objects more easily and I need to align the spotter scope according to Mr. Cook.


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