Comet PanSTARRS 2011

Grace and I are having a lot of fun with this comet.  It appeared in our sky’s over Calgary at the beginning of last week.  March 12th was the first eveing when a significant number of people were said to have sene it.  We did from Nose Hill Park in Calgary.  Both with our 20x80MM Binoculars and also with our Camera.  We had a chance to repeat this on March 18th from a spot near downtown Calgary.  Should prove an interesting oject to see for the next couple of weeks.

M1 – Crab Nebula; M35 in Gemini and NGC 2158

Went out again tonight, even though the Sky Clouded over still managed a few sky shots, this one is of M1 the Crab Nebula and M35.  for the M35 Image if you look closely to the lower right you will see NGC 2158 in the background, a more compact  and more distant open cluster that is behind M35.m35_ngc2158_MG_0429

The Little Sombrero NGC 7814 the last NGC Object

If you look at any list of NGC (New General Catalog) objects you will note that the last one on this list is 7814. Tonite this one was the galaxy that was the objective of my hunt. It sits just off to the right of the lower left star in the Square of Pegasus. This star is also known as Algenib or Gamma Peg. With my 4″ scope and a 30 second exposure, the Galaxy shows up as a faint whisp, I need to do a little work to perfect my technique.

Why I was looking for this one on this night, is early Feb is the last time this one will be visible. Soon it will be lost in the evening twilight unitl the fall when it will be observable in the morning hours. By the middle of March it will be out of reach.

After I snapped a few images of this, I went over to Orion and found more targets there, but I will save the stories about these to another night.

Observing the Herschel 400

One of my Sketches from 1994
One of my Sketches from 1994

Update March 18/2013: Closing in on calling it compelete. Captured 5 more on March 9th.  This leaves 5 more to do hopefully around the new moon in April.

Update Feb 19/2013: recently tracked down my original drawings, this has allowed me to verify that I am further along than the scanned versions suggested,  As of today, I have 10 more!


On the advice of a good friend (Fr. Lucian Kimble) some years ago, I took my Astronomy hobby up a level and started to record my Observations. This led to a project where I cataloged over 600 different observations. This work started in 1986 and continued into 1994. At which time I set the active pursuit of astronomy aside and focused on other things in my life.

Between 2005 and 2009 I again became active in the pursuit of Astronomy. At that time I scanned the drawings to computer media as they were all recorded with pencil and paper. And again I have taking up the hobby again. This time to mount the information online, some of it is already stored in my FaceBook profile for 4 years now, but I would like to do more.

One of the things I did so long ago was observing project. First it was to observe all the planets, the Messier List This is a list of deep sky objects that were first cataloged by a French Astronomer Charles Messier.

Then it was other more elusibe objects, comets as they came and went, and finally I started to work on Observation of the Herschel 400. Back in the early 1990’s I was able to observe and sketch (no I did not do a lot of photography with film cameras then) all but 28 of them. In the past few weeks I have been reviewing my work from back then. The original drawings are lost. I still have them but they are packed away. So I am looking at the scanned images. The reason why I did not get the last 30 done are that these ones are the ones that you typically view in the spring evenings, which at my northern lattitude dissapear quicky to the late sunsets.

I am eagerly waiting for the right sky conditions so I can set out on this. I have reactivated this old list, and this time I will be using modern digital photography to record the resutls, I will have a go-to computer to help me find the objects. and unfortunately only a 4″ refractor. Unless I go back to the C14, an instrument that I spent a lot of time working with back in the 1990’s.

Wish me luck and look forward to seeing a lot of images posted here and on my Flickr stream