General Meeting for Friday October 10, 2014 @ 7:30pm

Extended Sky This Month

Matthew has been interested in astronomy and space flight for as long as he can remember having several 60mm scopes during the 70’s and and taking his first moon photo through one of them around 1977.  Matthew can remember watching a launch blow up on the pad when he was about 5 years old and asking his mom “if that was what was supposed to happen?”. Then in the 90’s Matthew and his wife spent evenings sitting on various beaches while camping learning the constellations and trying to find objects through a 60mm birding scope. It wasn’t until 2003 when Matthew bought an 80mm refractor that his observing really took off.  Matthew continued learning the sky on his own until 2008 when he  joined the HAA.  During that first year Matthew made the mistake of looking through a 12 inch scope at Saturn and needless to say, that led to another scope purchase.  Matthew joined the council 4 years ago as Membership Director and then moved on to his current position as Observing Director.

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IMG_9075 sun 2
IMG_9075 sun 2

A Sunny Day

Using the same set-up that I used for the moon photo below, along with a Baader white light solar filter, I got this picture of the sun. I actually tried the day before, but had no success. Perseverance paid off though, and I am pleased with this result.  Again, this is a 90mm refractor with a barlow.

Having my scope set up on my front lawn doesn’t usually attract much attention (by back yard has too many trees to see much of the sky) but setting up in the middle of the afternoon meant that lots of people stopped by to see what I was doing.  So along with a couple of nice pictures, I did a bit of ‘sidewalk astronomy’ as well, and that’s always a good thing.
Remember, never look at the sun without proper solar filters and the knowledge to use them correctly.

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IMG_9017absmall
IMG_9017absmall

Full Moon Tonight!

This month’s full moon is tonight and I am hoping to get out and see its rising. In preparation (and because I just couldn’t wait until tonight!), I went out last night to view and photograph the nearly full moon.

This image was taken with my 90mm refractor and a barlow to increase the image scale. I then converted the image to black and white and increased the contrast a bit. I hope to get an image of the full moon rising tonight.

The moon rises around 7:20 tonight, just barely south of due east, and I heartily encourage you to get out and see the moon and enjoy one of the loveliest naked eye sights in the sky.

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front cover light 3 flare
front cover light 3 flare

2015 Calendar Image Submissions‏

The Hamilton Amateur Astronomer’s 2015 Celestial Events Calendar is in the works right now, and this year it will have a better look, more astronomical information and all the other usual things that you are used to in our wonderful calendar. It needs just one thing to make it truly great; you!

The time has come to submit images for the calendar. The HAA calendar showcases photos, illustrations and other visuals exclusively from you, the members. In the past we have had images from very experienced astrophotographers and absolute beginners. Everyone is encouraged to participate; all images are welcome.

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Perseids Meteor Shower Public Stargazing Night

Perseids Meteor Shower Banner

Event

Watch the Perseids meteor shower with the Hamilton Amateur Astronomers at the Binbrook Conservation Area from 8 to 11 p.m. on Sat. August 16. Admission is free so bring the whole family for a fun evening under the stars. Bring a blanket or lounge chair as lying down is one of the best ways to enjoy the meteor shower.  Weather and clouds permitting.  No rain date scheduled.  

There will also be a meteorite display, night sky tour and members will set-up their telescopes for observing celestial objects.

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General Meeting for Friday, September 12th, 2014

A brief look at astronomical history and beyond.

From ancient calculations of the radius of the Earth to the Big Bang, Mario Carr will discuss some major astronomical achievements that have led to an understanding of our place in the Universe.

Mario Carr has been interested in astronomy since he was a child. He has a degree in Physics and is the club’s Director of Publicity. For the last four years, he has been writing a monthly astronomy column for local community newspapers, appeared on CHCH-TV to talk about the night sky and has promoted the club’s meetings and events through the media. Mario runs a public relations and communications business called The Carr Marketing Group.

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Lots of people, both members and public, enjoyed the clear night.
Lots of people, both members and public, enjoyed the clear night.

A great public night at McQueston

Clear skies, fresh air and a close conjunction between the Moon and Mars ensured that lots of members and public came out to McQueston Park in Hamilton for a night of observing.

Over 20 HAA members brought scopes of various sized, from 50mm to 12 inches, and entertained over 100 members of the public with wonderful views and lots of info. Two of the club’s loaner scopes were there and the club’s Malincam and television were also in use for the public to enjoy. There were also meteorites for the public to see and touch, and lots of planispheres, brochures and magazines were handed out free of charge.

At times there were large crowds around some scopes, and many people oohed and aahed at their first look at the craters of the moon or Saturn’s rings. The HAA’s next public event will be for the Perseid Meteor Shower at the Binbrook Conservation Area in August. This is traditionally our largest event and not to be missed. Be sure to come out for another great night.

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Watching the sunset over St. Mary River, while waiting for a dark sky.
Watching the sunset over St. Mary River, while waiting for a dark sky.

Observing on a Northern Vacation

I was fortunate enough to spend the past week in a cabin on an island in the St. Mary’s River, between Lake Superior and Lake Huron. There were two clear nights out of the six I spent there, and they were spectacularly clear and dark. I had my Unihedron Sky Quality Meter with me, and it registered 21.57, even with the Milky Way high in the sky, and I could see magnitude 6.1 at the zenith. That is a very dark sky!

I took one of the club’s 8 inch dobsonian loaner scopes with me along with my own 90mm refractor, and both provided spectacular views. Of course I enjoyed spectacular views of some old favourites, like the Lagoon (M8) and Trifid Nebula (M20), the Swan (M17) and the Eagle (M16), the North America Nebula (NGC7000), the Whirlpool Galaxy (M51) and many more. The 8″ dob and the dark skies gave much nicer views than I’m used to here in Hamilton with my scope.

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Janina Plach
Janina Plach

A great photo from Janina Plach

I received this photo from Janina Plach and asked her if I could share it with you. Great photo Janina! Deserts are stunning landscapes by day and equally magical by night. Recently, I had the opportunity to explore Sedona Arizona and try my luck at astrophotography. This red rock formation is named “Courthouse Butte” and was illuminated by moonlight.

A successful public night in Grimsby

Many club members showed up at the Grimsby/ Niagara  Tourist Information Center last night, for another successful public observing night. We had about 8 scopes set up  for the people passing by to get views of the Moon, Jupiter, Mars, and Saturn. Members spoke to many people, explaining about the club, the night sky, and why we love this hobby so much. Most of the people left with a club brochure,  a planesphere and a big smile. As well as talking to the public, club members had a good time chatting to one another, sharing experiences, ideas, and I know some equipment was loaned between friends. The next public night will be held at McQuesten Park in July. Watch your e-mail for the details.  I hope you can come out and enjoy the night  with us.