Astronomy Camping at Nirvana

Astronomy Camping at Nirvana

Nirvana is a nice dark sky zone known to Members of RASC where one can go for astronomy. That weekend there were over 9 of us out there, from planetary observers to DSO (deep space objects). Even one expert who spent the entire astronomical night watching meteors plummet to the earth.
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Noctilucent Clouds Over Ottawa

Noctilucent Clouds Over Ottawa

Its not often you get a phone call at 4am saying “Look Up”, but today I did and it was for quite a sight! Apparently some ultra high level clouds (+75km up) were hovering above Ottawa and visible, a rarity for sure. This type of cloud is illuminated by sunlight from below the horizon so only visible just after sunset or just before sunrise.
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ISS Flyby & Hercules Cluster

ISS Flyby & Hercules Cluster

Tonight was a clear night with several visible ISS flybys. Using the GH2 for the first time I mounted it on my telescope mount to track the stars so that only the ISS itself was streaking across the stars. The above picture has a bit of a jitter as I was trying to capture the fast moving ISS station and reposition the camera to take the shot.

This shot is of the Uras Major (Big Dipper) as the ISS station passes close-by constellation. While waiting for the ISS station to do the flybys I also set-up my telescope with the GH2 to take some pictures of M13, the Hercules Cluster.

Although not the largest cluster in the sky (that is the Centauri cluster) it is the largest in the northern sky whereby North America and Europe and Russia can see.

Royal Astronomical Society of Canada – Ottawa Centre Meeting at the Canada Science and Technology Museum

Friday night, at the Canada Science and Technology Museum, the Ottawa Centre RASC (Royal Astronomical Society of Canada) meeting was underway when I arrived. Now, to be fair, these folks are used to sitting in the dark for hours at a time, but I was still a bit surprised to find them all sitting in a completely darkened auditorium when I arrived.

But there they were, about a hundred of them just sitting there patiently waiting for something to happen. No mosquitoes to swat so that was a good sign!!! :-).
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Astronomy Day 2011

Astronomy Day 2011

Today is Astronomy Day, and the above picture is a shot of the Sun as it rises. Again you can see some sunspots. Once again I was volunteering for the RASC event held at the Canada Museum of Science and Technology. We had two main events, Solar Observing during the day, and Star Party after it got dark.

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Pontiac Observatory Initiative RASC Presentation

Pontiac Observatory Initiative RASC Presentation

Stephane is trying to win the Pepsi Refresh Canada $100K prize to build an Observatory Park in Pontiac Quebec. The idea is that it allows for the general public to get access to telescopes, planetarium and a safe dark sky location in which to observe the stars.

He put on a presentation to the RASC members in Ottawa this month and the next day help promote his challenge and astronomy in general during Astronomy Day at the museum of Science and Technology.

To help support his cause vote daily here:  http://www.refresheverything.ca/observatoryinitiative

Just logon via facebook (yeah I know you got one) and vote everyday towards this valuable astronomical asset!

Sun Photos (with Solar Filter)

Sun Photos (with Solar Filter)

So I finally got my solar filter cell made (from solar filter paper + set-up rings) and gave it a try. First shot (above) was around noon. You can see some sun-spots, so I rank it a success. Next, I took out my 500mm Gregorian Mirror Lens and tried to take the picture of the sun in three different set-ups. Continue reading

Startrail Photography

Startrail Photography

We will start with the Star Trail photos, all taken in Cobden Ontario as Ottawa, Arnprior and Renfrew were clouded over. We had gone out hoping for auras which didn’t materialize, but ended up with several star trail photos over a farmer’s field. Continue reading

Earth Shine and the Waxing Crescent Moon

Earth Shine and the Moon

The moon is once again making an appearance in the night sky. It is currently in the waxing crescent, and it’s a good opportunity to try and capture some earth-shine.

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Getting out of a rut.

Last night, Graeme was heading along the trail into the Observatory buildings when a nice rut grabbed a wheel and held him there. We looked at the problem in the dark and decided that would have more success getting the car out of the rut in the daylight so we moved all of his astronomy gear over to my car and headed home.
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