Surprising Discovery In Sudbury

On Thursday, November 14, 2014, I went to Sudbury with my father, and the second day we were there, it was a gorgeous day. My father suggested I take the telescope out to observe the sun, and I did that.

The batteries had died, therefore I got the DC adapter, and plugged it into the car. I looked at the sun, and there were a few minor sunspots on the right side of the Sun. My father, and my aunt, saw the sun, and they were impressed. When my father needed help with some repairs, I centered the sun in the telescope’s eyepiece and, I went to help him leaving the telescope and car running.

My experience with tracking this past year was horrible. It never stayed in the center long enough to take any good photos. That is why it was a surprise to find that the telescope actually stayed in the center. Tracking worked because it was connected to a DC power source. When I stayed in Sudbury during the summer, I connected my telescope to an AC outlet, and it didn’t work as well as I wanted it to. Maybe it has to be connected into a DC plug to power the telescope efficiently.

Whatever happened, we need to do more research on this. If this is the case, then my problem is solved, and I can do all the imaging that I would like to do. I hope that is the case.


UPDATE: A few weeks ago, I tested my telescope’s tracking capabilities using my Pontiac G6 as its power source. Tracking did all right, but not as expected. I had the idea of imaging the Pleiades, but the clouds came in and quickly blocked the night sky. Therefore, I centered my telescope on Sirius. I timed the tracking, and Sirius reached the edge of the Eyepiece’s Field of View in less than 5 minutes. I think that might be the acceptable limit that my friend was talking about, nevertheless, I needed to do more testing. Good Night!


Sudbury Observing

From August 1 until August 20, I will be observing the night sky in Sudbury, Ontario. There, I hope to be able to do more astronomy and see more celestial object there.

On Friday, August 1, 2014, late at night, it was a clear night in Sudbury, and I decided to take my scope out that night. In Sudbury, the sky was much clearer than at my house. It was much clearer than the sky back home. For the first part of the session, my dad was with me.

While we were beginning to set up our telescope, we saw an artificial satellite high in the sky at 11 pm. It was bright enough that it looks like one of the stars. Probably at magnitude 2-3. It was moving from the Southwest towards the North. I couldn’t figure out what the satellite is, but I do know it is not the ISS. After researching the night sky on a program called, Starry Nights, I suspect it is a satellite called, Cosmos 1536, but I can’t be sure. Cosmos 1536 is a Soviet satellite that was put into orbit in February 8, 1984. It’s perigee is 557.8 km and its apogee is 576.0 km. It takes 95.9 minutes for the satellite to make one orbit. It was used as an ELINT (Electronic and Signals Intelligence) satellite to intercept signals that are not commonly used for communication.

Starry Nights

The night sky at 11 PM EDT simulated by Starry Nights ™. Ecliptic is displayed in green dashed line. Cosmos 1536’s path in the night sky is the blue line.

After it disappeared in the night sky, we decided to continue setting up the telescope. Once it was set up and aligned, we pointed it to Saturn. It was beautiful as always, with its rings shining prominently. As we looked at Saturn, my dad decided to call it a night. He went inside to sleep, as he had an early morning that night.

I then continued to look for other celestial objects to look at. Since I was in darker skies, I decided to look for Deep Sky Objects (DSO’s). However, that didn’t work out as I was not able to see any DSO’s. I tried to look for M51, Cassiopeia A, and other objects, but that didn’t work out. Looking at a light pollution chart a few days later, I realized that Sudbury’s level of light pollution blocks out most of the DSO’s in the night sky which was disappointing.

After realizing that there are no DSO’s that I could see, I decided to call it a night. That night was quite successful. I saw an artificial satellite that was not the ISS, and I saw Saturn. It was unfortunate that I wasn’t able to see any DSO’s. Hopefully I can find them another time. Happy Observing!

Sudbury Skies

On Sunday, May 18, 2014, during the Victoria Day long weekend, I was up in Sudbury with my family. We were blessed with beautiful night skies, and as a result my dad and I decided to take advantage of it and observe the night sky. We went outside to a clear area in our surroundings. After setting up the scope, it was ready to align.

We saw very unusual objects. There were fast moving objects in the sky moving as a group. We thought they were UFO’s at first, but we realized that they were birds flying across the sky. It was unusual to see these birds illuminated at night, even though Sudbury is a pretty dark place. However, due to the construction around the land, there were a lot of lights pointed towards the sky. Those lights illuminated the birds quite brightly, which led to that confusion. After clearing that up, we continued on with our astronomical goals.

We first aligned the telescope with Mars. Looking at Mars, it was a beautiful red dot that shined brightly in the sky. Unfortunately, we couldn’t make out any details on it. Looking at the sky, we also found Saturn and Jupiter in the sky. Saturn was moving upwards away from the horizon, and Jupiter was moving towards the horizon. From the locations of Jupiter, Saturn and Mars, I drew a line between them to see where the ecliptic was. The ecliptic is the path the sun takes when it rises and sets every day. I was able to estimate the location of the ecliptic, because all the planets orbit close to the plane of the sun, thus we see the rising and setting of planets near the same location as the ecliptic. It is quite interesting. After realizing that, we soon decided to slew to Saturn.

After slewing to Saturn we saw a brilliant planet surrounded with beautiful rings. It was a sight to see, especially up in the Sudbury sky. Looking around for another target, we saw a star that was flickering in the atmosphere between different colours. It was intriguing to my dad and me. I thought it was a variable star. However, my dad believed it was a star that was so low in the atmosphere that the atmosphere was dispersing the light. I’m not certain, but it could be it. We slewed to it and saw the fluttering star. However, at midnight, the clouds started to come in and block the starlight. With that, we decided to pack the telescope back into the truck and return inside.