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TUESDAY AUGUST 29, 2017


My apologies for not updating this page on my website yet this year, but the truth is I have not really been up to much astronomically speaking. I usually start venturing out to my dark sky observing location in May or June once the weather warms up. I choose a weekend when there will be no Moon in the sky to interfere with viewing objects which are better seen without any glowing light sources to interfere with seeing them. Unfortunately, those precious few weekends this year have all been overcast in my area. There have been a few Sunday evenings when the conditions were not bad, but unfortunately I have to work on Monday mornings. I would not relish the prospect of going into work after 3 hours of sleep, which would be the case after a night of viewing and getting home from my dark sky site.

I'm sure most of the people reading this page are aware of the solar eclipse that occurred last week. I envy those people who either lived in the path of totality that crossed over a small section of the United States from coast to coast, or anyone who was able to make the trip and experience it. I myself could not justify taking a week off work and using half of my year's vacation to view the event. When I considered the cost, the driving time, and the fact that the weather might not be favourable, I decided against it and took off the week of June 26 to 30 instead. I was eager to get a telescope out under a dark sky, and was sure that there would be a few clear nights during that time near the new moon. Unfortunately it rained a lot of that week, and the nights it did not rain were overcast. My first night of viewing this year under a dark sky was on Sunday August 20 (I had the following Monday and Tuesday off work), when I viewed a handful of objects under a less than ideal sky once the clouds had cleared a bit.

I did manage to view the partial solar eclipse from home. The Moon covered about 70% of the Sun's surface from my location here in town. I saw it through a 4" refractor with a 500mm focal length using a solar film filter to safely reduce the light going through the telescope, and an orange colour filter to give the Sun a more pleasing colour. I could see several sun spots on the surface of the Sun, and watched the first half of the eclipse until the Moon started to cover less and less of the Sun. I was considering buying a Hydrogen Alpha solar telescope for this event, but the cheapest one available would have cost me about $1000 brand new. I decided to spend less than half of that amount on a remote controlled plane instead, which I crashed after the 4th flight. Hopefully I will have it all repaired and glued back together in time to fly (or crash) it again this coming long weekend.

I am hoping to get some quality viewing in some time this year. There will be a window of opportunity in September, and possibly October as well if it does not get too cold out. I can pretty well rule out November, as it will likely be snowing here in Ontario Canada by then. Hopefully there will be a few clear Saturday nights when the Moon is not in the sky in the next few months.

It bothers me that I do not have many images taken through my telescopes to display on my website. I really should update my Moon images at the least. My present Moon images were taken through an achromat refractor using a webcam. I now own several apochromatic refractors and a good DSLR camera as well, which is more than capable of taking quick single exposures of the Moon. As far as deep sky imaging goes, I really don't have the patience to try and polar align my mount well enough for the long exposures necessary (I have no auto-guiding capabilities either), not to mention the computer programming and skills necessary to stack and modify multiple images. Perhaps that will change some day, but right now I cannot justify any major equipment purchases.

I have included links to other websites on some of my pages. My intent was to make it easier for people to find out more information about telescope gear and accessories, the current Moon phase, sky maps, and other topics related to astronomy in general. Occasionally other websites move this information to another page, and people trying to access that page through the link I provided see a message stating "this page does not exist" or "this page cannot be accessed" or something similar. I have no affiliation with other websites or sellers of telescope products, and am not notified when they move pages to new locations. If you use a link on my website to access another website that either is no longer active, or worse yet takes you to something unrelated to what you intend to see, PLEASE notify me so I can change the link on my page. I check these links once in a blue moon (no pun intended), and was once horrified and embarrassed to see that my link to colour filters took anyone who clicked on it to some very inappropriate material. When a web domain is closed, anyone who purchases that domain can change the content of any pre-existing pages to anything they wish. Once again if you notice any of the links on my web pages to other sites have been re-directed, please let me know so I can correct them. Thank you for taking the time to visit my website.