Planning a Successful Observing Session

Join us on February 8th 2019 at 7:30pm – Admission is free and everyone is welcome!

These cold, cloudy months have undoubtedly frustrated many a backyard observer. With warmer temperatures and spring skies just around the corner our talk this month addresses the topic of planning a successful observing session. This talk is designed to get you back in field with your telescope by relating timely tips to help you get the most from your limited observing opportunities. Drawing on his considerable observing experience and time at the eyepiece, our speaker this month, Bernie Venasse, says ‘Thank you Mother Nature’ and to remember to bring a paper and pen (and a friend!).

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Sad News

Roger Burrough, the owner of Hamilton’s Camtech Photo & The Scope Shop, has passed away. Roger was a longtime supporter of the local astronomy community and we will miss him very much.

Visitation & services are this Saturday. Details can be found here.

Great Astro Apps for your Smart Phone

1960’s Star Trek could only imagine the power we wield today with our smart phones and the amount of information available at our fingertips. I’m never far from my phone, dawning it from my pocket whenever I need a bit of information or to access some tool for a task at hand. Somewhat akin to Mr. Spock’s tricorder, using astronomy apps I can point my phone at the cosmos and see what star is in view, when the International Space Station will cross the sky or predict upcoming aurora. Here is a list of some of the apps I use and while I’ll be focusing on iOS apps, many of these or similar are also available for Android and other platforms.

Be it under a night sky or riding the train home from work, Aurora Forecast provides up-coming aurora predictions and includes a 3D view of the Earth showing exactly where the aurora is presently visible. Added details such as solar wind speed and density help provide a complete picture which can be fascinating on its own even if the aurora is not visible.

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Cheers for some great members!

I just wanted to offer congratulations to a few members for a great job well done.

I have really enjoyed Bruce Pawlett’s recent articles in the newsletter. Having submitted now for three months in a row he is at risk of becoming a regular feature in the Event Horizon! His topics have been diverse, and I enjoyed all his work and look forward to more in the future. Well done, and thanks Bruce!

Our own webmaster, David T., is also our calendar editor this year, and although the calendar is advertised right here on our website, there is little mention of a great newspaper article that featured the calendar and its editor. David did put a link to the article below the notice (look a few blog posts below this one), but was clearly too modest to say more, and although it was briefly refered to in the newsletter, there was no information on the article, name or link provided. I say well done David and very glad to see some well deserved recognition! The calendar is hard work (I know!) and David did a great job this year. And, as you can see by heading to the following website to see the article, it was picked up by a number of newspapers, including the Hamilton Spectator. http://www.thespec.com/news-story/6202926-hamilton-amateur-astronomer-calendar-tells-you-when-to-watch-the-night-skies/

Finally, although certainly not deserving of last place, a personal nod to Alex Tekatch for creating a cartoon for the newsletter each and every month for over 6 straight years now! Aside from being one of my favourite features in the newsletter, Alex has quietly become perhaps out longest running contributor! Well done Alex! I enjoy the Cartoon Corner each and every month!

October Event Horizon Newsletter

The October issue of the Hamilton Amateur Astronomers Event Horizon newsletter is now available.

In this issue you’ll find…

  • The Sky This Month
  • Treasurer’s Report
  • Astronomy Crossword
  • Cartoon Corner
  • Upcoming Events
  • Plus Much More!

Download your copy from the newsletters section.

Photo credit: Ann Tekatch, Lunar Eclipse

Curious about the ‘Blue Moon’?

In the May 1996 issue of our club newsletter, Event Horizon, Rob Roy wrote an excellent article about this phenomenon. Here is a link to everything you ever wanted to know about Blue Moons.


Messier marathon night #1

Due to the late confirmation that we would actually go out tonight, I was pleasantly surprised that we had a good turn out for our first night trying to complete the Messier Marathon. Kevin Salwich was anxiously waiting along with his sister and mother when I arrived at 8 to open the gates. We were joined shortly thereafter by Dave T., Gord Newell and Matthew Mannering.

Despite earlier cloudy skies, we ended up with quite good seeing and only some patchy clouds. And the winds that were forecast never manifested themselves which helped to make the cold night slightly more tolerable (though Lolly wouldn’t agree). With the coyotes and geese in the background, we got underway.

I was the only one who seriously attempted to complete all 110 objects. Everyone else had their own plans and were just happy to get out observing after a long hiatus. But the variety of goals made the night more enjoyable. Kevin was just out for a few hours of practise, getting ready for his major attempt on Sat night. Matthew was picking off a few objects with his excellent 12″ DOB and trying out some new eyepieces. Dave was doing some experimenting with PEC on his CGEM and 8″ SCT, and then eventually got into imaging M81 for most of the night.

The numbers gradually whittled down over the course of the night, but Dave and I stuck it out until 4:30am when the chill and fatigue got the better of us (and we ran out of coffee). But I had managed to see 92 objects (plus a few non-Messiers like Saturn and some galaxies in the Virgo cluster). Even though I cheated and used the Goto, it was the first time I made a real effort to catch all the items in one night and was pleased with results. The only items I missed were those lost in the trees due to a late start, or not waiting for the rest of Sagittarius to rise.

After many months without any serious observing, it was great to see others just as enthusiastic about the upcoming season. Here’s hoping to a great year. And good luck to those who try on Sat night. Clear Skies!