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Entries in this blog

 

Tongue-tied but trying!

I couldn't believe it, I had waited till 10:00 pm and I still didn't have the inky black skies needed to see most of the stars except the brighter ones in each constellations. Deep-sky objects were clearly NOT going to be on the table for this particular night! I will have to take a strong coffee before doing any serious stargazing from now on as spring approaches summer! Since the planets outshone everything else, I decided to concentrate on them. Like usual, my first gaze fell on V

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(super)MOONSTRUCK!

One would think that after last night with the famous "supermoon" , that many posts covering the event prevail but no. To tell you the truth, I must admit feeling quite bothered about the "hype" the news conjured up with their flashy headlines and promises of wonder. In the end, there was little to see without some sort of measurable reference that the moon was "bigger". The media did it again, promised something they knew little about, raised excitement and only delivered an illusi

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Have you ever danced with the galaxies?

April 21st, 2012 The peak of the Lyrids settled in on this night which boasted a dozen or more meteors per hour. Did I see any meteors? Yes, I saw a couple but I have to admit that I wasn't really looking. According to me the "real show" was a little bit further,... I made my way outside after fixing my TELRAD which had become unattached at one side since the glue wore off with time. I realigned my viewfinder using bright Venus. When I stopped fumbling in the dark and actua

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Have you ever danced with the galaxies?

April 21st, 2012 The peak of the Lyrids settled in on this night which boasted a dozen or more meteors per hour. Did I see any meteors? Yes, I saw a couple but I have to admit that I wasn't really looking. According to me the "real show" was a little bit further,... I made my way outside after fixing my TELRAD which had become unattached at one side since the glue wore off with time. I realigned my viewfinder using bright Venus. When I stopped fumbling in the dark and actually gl

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A little bit of beauty goes a long way!

Saturday, March 31st, 2012 and into the wee hours of the first day of April. It had been nearly a month since my last serious stargazing session although I had caught many glimpses as the weeks strolled by. Each time, I was either swamped with school-related work, had no time to properly record what was observed or was away from my telescope altogether. There were times that I ached to be outside and other moments when my passion for the stars completely overwhelmed my senses. Howeve

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PLINK!

February 29th, 2012 Stargazing during the week when there is school the next day is always very tricky since time is a factor. Each minute I remain outside means less time to prepare for classes to be taught for the next day but sometimes,... passion wins over. Last night was one of those nights! Besides it's not every night where one can stargaze on February 29th! Ready for the LEAP? Since I knew I had little time and had not made any previous research to what I was going to obser

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It's easy to become greedy

February 24th, 2012 The mercury boasted a temperature of -21. Since the wind was inactive, this created comfortable viewing conditions outside. I wanted to post many of my own pictures with this entry but my chosen photographic subjects were not very cooperative except for the first two seen on the bottom left. Early in the evening, around 6:30 pm, a small crescent moon seemed to dance in the advancing darkness while Venus and Jupiter praised our natural satellite with their

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Dodging work!

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012 Many purchase telescopes and once that the moon has been spotted or a couple of chance views of planets, the excitement wanes, the equipment is soon forgotten and collects dust somewhere in the backrooms. We all want to see the planets don't we? I admit to jumping up and down upon seeing Saturn through my eyepiece and I also confess doing a "dance of joy" upon seeing Jupiter the first time but that's not where my interest lies. I always want to look fart

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Foiled again!

February 3rd, 2012 There are certain people that fill us with resentment and make us shrink into a world where battery acid pulses through our veins. Of course, one understands that such a negative power is controlled entirely by you. Although you are the only one that can stop the unbelievable crippling sensation, sometimes it seems much easier to do nothing and let it fester. Yeah, one therefore creates their own suffering. "It comes from others!" you scream! "I wouldn't be like

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It's been a long time!

January 16th, 2012 It has been nearly 2 months since I last gazed at the stars. As each night filled with clouds passed, a small part of me ached and succumbed to darkness. December sneaked by without revealing any sky splendours yet I rejoiced about being reunited with loved ones. My return to the north was one filled with many teaching responsibilities making stargazing difficult. That January night, the skies seemed to come out and embrace me as I brought out my telescope to accli

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It's just the girls!

October 7th, 2011 I was comfortable watching a movie with Steven when the doorbell rang. After a few seconds, I could hear a series of knocks. I made my way to the door and three of my science students were standing there. "Did you see the moon and the stars tonight Isabelle? We want to see it! Is your telescope out?" :rolleyes: The fact that it wasn't and that I preferred returning to the comforts of the couch to see the rest of the movie is proof that my husband had finall

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Brrrrr! It's cold, might as well reach for my Vesta!

Saturday, October 1st, 2011 A VEST? It was so cold that I reached for my winter coat and hat! Staying pretty much immobile in 2 ºC / 35.6 ºF with 70 km winds can become uncomfortable with time but the skies called out to me. Our geographical area goes through a second freshet in the autumn months. This means cloud cover for two months straight as the rains come in so right now, I don't want to let any chances pass me by! There was also the little matter of Vesta,... Throughout

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It doesn't get better than this!

Saturday, September 24th / 2011 (9:00 - 11:00pm) Actually this star session started in the late afternoon when I went through my second collimation (aligning my primary and secondary mirrors so the image being seen comes out crystal clear). This time, it was much easier and I was able to finish it in 20 minutes. I was extremely surprised when I stepped outside since the night greeted me with a very comfortable 10 ºC or if you prefer, 50 ºF. There was no wind and everything was q

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The dessert today will be a supernova drenched in northern lights.

September 9th, 2011 The stargazing forum had been abuzz for the last couple of days about a supernova that had been recently discovered in the Pinwheel Galaxy (M 101). Boasting an easy find, I decided to give it a whir after a succulent supper of lobster tails, rice and broccoli (I'll eat broccoli with just about everything). The supper was perfect and adding a glass of wine from the Loire Valley made it sublime! I left the table for a well deserved dessert,... a

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A night with my students and,.. something else!

September 6th, 2011 I wasn't thinking of staying long outside and didn't have any set goals but I simply couldn't let a cloudless night pass by without attempting to explore the skies! I set up and decided to return to the constellation Cygnus for another romp. As I was making sure everything was aligned, I heard a strange noise. It was subtle but I recognized it right away. Something or someone was playing with the tarp found around the BBQ. Could it be that a wild animal was

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Cygnus, Oh Cygnus, Wherefore Art Thou?

September 5th, 2011 (9:30 - 10:30pm) The last time I was out with my telescope, I was pressed for time and didn't experience the night sky as much as I wanted. My earlier quest had been simple, I wanted to harness the light capturing power of my scope in order to observe Messier Objects,... any object! I had not been successful in doing this with my smaller telescope during the summer and wanted to make-up for lost time. Nothing went in my favour and I returned home defeate

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I should have remained indoors. :(

August 28th, 2011 I hope this post doesn't often anyone for it is not my intention. I'm writing out of sheer disgust and frustration. I was finally back in the north where stargazing was at it's best. My 10" Sky-Watcher had been waiting for me during the month of July but what had welcomed me home were not skies of bliss but heavens completely littered with clouds! I watched as one night blended with another and still I had no chance. School had started which limited my sta

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Ever look at stars with the help of high beams?

I know that I have made myself scarce this summer but the camping season is coming to a close and I should be back up north (armed with my computer and electricity) on an everyday basis soon. Isabelle July 29, 2011 August is right around the corner and as night fell, so did the mercury (no,... not the planet, although I have been told that it is visible before sunrise). At 9:00 pm, already a chill could be felt in the air so I grabbed my jeans and sweater. Si

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The little telescope that COULD!

Being on vacation makes it hard for me to come online. This entry is a feeble attempt to reconnect with those that thirst for the stars. I hope everyone is doing well! July 12th, 2011 I couldn't wait to try my summer telescope ever since I had purchased it many weeks ago, My new acquisition was nothing compared to my ocular masterpiece (Sky-Watcher seen below) back in the north. Let's just say that there is quite a difference between an aperture of 10" and one of 4.5". However

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The summer means many things,...

There is much less darkness and when it does appear, coffee becomes our best friend! We never stargaze alone,. there are always mosquitoes to keep us company. Stargazing means grabbing a t-shirt and shorts. Heavy coats and mitts can be left aside. This is a huge plus for me since it means no FROSTBITE! and,.. and,.. and,.. Wait for it,... Wait for it,... School's out! Sigh! :rolleyes: Yes, I am a high school teacher and I can now taste the sweet

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COLD, Sweat and FIRE!

June 18, 2011 Since nights are incredibly short, this stargazing evening went far into the early morning of the 19th. I am more of an early riser than a night owl which makes viewing the night sky quite difficult at this time of year. Stargaze in the morning? This would mean setting my telescope up at 3:00 am. I do love astronomy but I've been told that sleeping was a good thing,... I set up my telescope around 11:30. It was at this time that the ISS was streaking across the sky.

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I caught the ISS on video!

June 17th, 2011 For a couple of weeks now, I have been obsessed with the International Space Station. This is rather peculiar on my part since I am usually this passionate about the natural world, not the one created by the means of human technology. However, to indulge in the knowledge of the natural world one must also hold a deep respect in the technology that helps us achieve this knowledge in the first place. The ISS is therefore a crucial step in obtaining this knowledge as well

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ISS - I See Something (June 14, 2011)

My ultimate goal in surveying the night sky is experiencing the wonderment of the natural world and how incredibly vast it is. The program Stellarium helps me find remote Messier objects such as nebulae, galaxies, clusters and also comes with a plug-in that enables the viewer to identify man-made satellites. Up till now, because of lack of interest, I haven't used it that much. However, after going to Florida, seeing the Space Shuttle Endeavour and then seeing it a couple of wee

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This is what I've been missing?

June 11th, 2011 The clocked seemed to tick forever yet still,.. the sun wouldn't disappear completely. It wasn't before midnight when most of the stars could be seen and the last light of day disappeared. I waited impatiently since it was the first time I would take my telescope out since my first collimation one week ago. No collimation after using my telescope fifty-eight times! What was I thinking? That's the problem, I wasn't thinking. I was simply nervous about tampering with

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Collimation DONE!

June 1st, 2011 I have dreaded this day since the first time I have looked through my sky-watcher. That would be the day when I would have to "tinker" with all that makes it "tick". Today, I grabbed the Dobsonian by both horns and attempted collimation using the HoTech SCA Lazer Collimator. I bought this little gadget with the hope that it would make the task at hand less intimidating. It wasn't complicated at first since I followed a YouTube video and the somewhat simplistic direction

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