Observed the Mercury transit from Public Observatory Bussloo together with volunteers and visitors. Even though the wind was strong from time to time with a less than mediocre seeing, we enjoyed the transit. After a couple of hours, clouds started to hamper observations more and more but after a dinner break, the skies cleared again and we were given a last look at the Sun and Mercury.
I decided to bring a tripod and a Vixen Polarie travel mount on a 1 week trip to the south of Portugal (São Brás de Alportel, 37°9’8.8″N, 7°56’27.4″W, alt=236m). Managed to observe comet 252P/LINEAR on a number of occasions. Below image was from the first night, april 6th, when the comet was near the globular cluster M14. On the night of april 7th, with proper dark adaptation the comet was visible to the naked eye. I estimated it’s brightness at +5.7 using 8.5×42 binoculars, with a coma diameter of 45′ and DC=3.
First light, more or less, for my new Sigma 20mm/F1.4 ART.
Minutes after parking the telescope and closing down the observatory, the skies cleared. Quickly opened up the observatory again, piggybacked the Canon 60D and 200mm on the mount and took some 1 minute shots. Comet C/2013 US10 (Catalina) was easily visible in 8.5×42 binoculars.
First night in 2016 at public observatory Bussloo under a perfect clear sky. A lot of visitors at the observatory, therefore just 2 images of the comet.
Accidently woke up early, took a shower and looking at my alarmclock realized it was only 3.30 a.m. The skies were clear so I decided to head out to my observing site and have a go at comet Catalina. The comet was clearly visible with 8.5×42 binoculairs.
Comet C/2014 S2 (PanSTARRS) is still visible in the northern hemisphere. Despite the stormy conditions I managed to take a number of 1 minute unguided shots with the William Optics Star 71 pggybacked on the observatories’ AP 1100GTO.
The first indication of winter; a strong easterly wind bringing clear skies. Mark-Jaap and myself headed for the observatory for some astrophotography. First object was comet C/2014 S2 (PanSTARRS) very close the Polaris. Piggybacked my William Optics Star 71 on the observatories’ AP 1100GTO for some unguided 1 minute shots. Next tried to locate comets Lovejoy and Jacques, but these seem to have gone out of reach for my setup. Ended the session with a couple of 2 minute shots of NGC7000, the North America nebula.
A crowd of volunteers and visitors gathered at public observatory Bussloo to catch a glimpse of the total lunar eclipse. As so often in the Netherlands it was an ongoing battle with clouds. Two hours before first contact, clouds had started to move in. But the moon remained visible through the clouds whilst totality was approaching. Then, minutes before totality started, a nice big gap in the clouds opened up. It only lasted for 20 minutes when thicker clouds moved in and made any further observations impossible. Nevertheless, we all enjoyed this very beautiful eclipse.