Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Sketching the Grass Moon.

An older sketch of Plato from January 9th 2014

With any luck, over the next fortnight I will be making several sketches of the waxing April Moon.

Or to give it some of its other names:  Hare Moon, Grass Moon, Egg Moon, Pink Moon,  Seed Moon, Frog Moon, Awakening Moon.

60mm,f15 refractor

I like the idea of the April "Grass" Moon, our garden lawn is just coming back to life after the winter break.

I've made a list of a few lunar objects for each night up to and including the Full Moon.

This month I'm going to concentrate on observing with the 60mm/f15 refractor.




So with small refractor, pencil and sketch pad I will be on the look out for the following:

Old sketch from 2006 - 50mm refractor
Moon 2 day - 30/4/17
Langrenus, Furnerius and Messala.

Moon 3 day - 31/4/17
Mare Crisium, Cleomedes and Geminus.

Moon 4 day - 01/4/17
Atlas, Hercules and Taruntius.

Moon 5 day - 02/4/17
Gartner, Fractastorius and Charcornac.

Moon 6 day - 03/4/17
Meton, Lamont and Maurolycus.

Moon 7 day - 04/4/17
Abenezra, Montes Caucasus and Licetus. 


This small list will keep me busy for the first week and no doubt a few other lunar lovelies will be added as I go along.

I've kept each evenings target list to a minimum of three objects, therefore allowing me more time to sketch and ponder.

Next week I will make up a further list of lunar targets to find between April the 5th and 12th.



Sunday, 26 February 2017

When the wind blows.

VENUS - February 26th 2017 - 18h 15m UT- Jason 60mm/f15 O.G.

This chilly February evening still gripped by the days north wind didn't at first inspire confidence of an observation of Venus.

But as the sky darkened and the many clouds turned to black, Venus in solitude shining brightly in the west silenced my wintry complaints.

The Jason (60mm/f15) refractor was close to hand and within minutes was in the back garden, partially protected by hedge and shed wall.

Tonight would allow a test of my new "plastic" Huygens eyepieces.

Three oculars in all, a 20mm, 12.5mm and 4mm.

I had no idea how well they would work on such a bright object as Venus.

Being that all three are about the cheapest eyepieces you could buy I didn't have high expectations.

The 20mm and 12.5mm eyepieces returned lovely sharp views of the planet, with no false colour noted.


Next was the real test, the 4mm! Again a surprise, no false colour, no sparkly rainbow effects, just simply an enlarged sharp image of the waning crescent Venus.

To begin with I was dubious that any of the three eyepieces would deliver a clear image, probably the colour correction was helped by the focal length of Jason, being an f15 scope it is very forgiving of cheap eyepieces.

If I had used a telescope of f5 focal length I would probably have seen a lovely rainbow and fireworks display, I will have to try out these eyepieces on my f5 reflector one day soon.

After making a quick sketch of Venus it was time to pack up.

The north wind and the ever multiplying clouds told me to clear off and go back to the warmth of our kitchen..!

I was more than happy to oblige.


Monday, 13 February 2017

Venus and the Beehive.

It was cold outside tonight, and the wind was starting to pick up. It would have made more sense to stay indoors, but the promise of Venus through Oscar's optics was calling me.

Venus sketch - post Photoshop

Tonight's image of Venus showed a distinct crescent, a very bright crescent!

I tried out the 80a blue filter on the 9mm ocular, it helped reduce the glare. 


We didn't stay out long;  after a quick glance at M44 the Beehive, Rigel, Aldebaran, the Hyades, and the Orion Nebula, it was time to pack up and retire to the warmth of the house.

It may not have been a long observing session, but it was completely worth the effort of hauling the 12 inch Dobsonian outside, albeit for only twenty minutes.


Sunday, 1 January 2017

Radio astronomy in Australia (1958)

It's that time of year when the clouds invariably fill the night skies, and all astronomy activity is put on hold!

My thoughts as usual turn to radio astronomy. 

Astronomy has always been my main hobby, but it is followed closely by my interest in the radio spectrum, especially the amateur (ham) and radio astronomy frequencies.

Thanks to the winter cloudy stuff, often at this time of year I'm unable to collect starlight with my telescopes, but collecting  cosmic radio waves through the clouds is no problem with the right radio receiver.

Recently I've been able to catch up with a couple of vintage radio/astronomy related programmes.

Good old YouTube..





This past month has been pretty clouded over, with the odd clear night allowing some beautiful views of Orion and friends.

Apart from a few quick glances of Venus through the 60mm refractor, I haven't taken the telescopes out at all this month!

Fingers crossed for some decent observing in January.....


Happy New Year and clear skies for 2017

Mark & Helen.