Podcaster:  Shane and Chris

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Title: Objects to Observe in the March 2023 Night Sky

Organization:  Actual Astronomy

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Description: The Actual Astronomy Podcast presents Objects to Observe in the March 2023 Night Sky.  In this episode we’ll talk about two conjunctions, first is Venus and Jupiter followed by Mercury and Jupiter, we give pointers on seeing the Zodiacal Light at its best and some stars in the daytime sky.

Bio: Shane and Chris are amateur astronomers who enjoy teaching astronomy classes and performing outreach where they help the eyes of the public to telescope eyepieces.

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00:06:27.000 –> 00:06:33.000
I’m just turning on the captions there, just so I can have some some notes to go back on.

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What is a good way for people to start learning their way around the night sky.

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They don’t, they probably don’t need a star atlas, or anything like that to get going.

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Do they need to know ascension, right ascension, declination?

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Or is there another handy way for people to navigate the night sky?

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Well, yeah, I don’t think you really need to know right ascension or declination.

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Something that we often talk about is just degrees and kind of like achor objects, and and there’s some, you know, bright stars and summer triangles, and all sorts of things that we talk about, but one way, or or if you hear us talking about, degrees, it is a

00:07:15.000 –> 00:07:28.000
measurement in the sky, of how far objects are away from each other, and essentially, if you hold your arm out full length and make a fist, you’re the width of your fist is 10 degrees in the night.

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Sky. And one finger, I think, is one degree or 3 degrees.

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I can’t quite remember, but that’ll help you in terms of following some of our notes here in in this episode and help you find some stuff in the sky.

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Big evening, March first. Actually, yeah, a little bit better, I think, in Europe.

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And for Marcus, who was a recent guest.

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You’ll hear him on a on an upcoming show.

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We’re gonna have a conjunction. So Shane, what’s what’s a conjunction?

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Generally speaking.

00:08:05.000 –> 00:08:09.000
Generally speaking, it’s when 2 objects are like very close in the night sky.

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Yup exactly, and a march first. There’s gonna be a conjunction of Jupiter and Venus, and for us in the middle of North America.

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They’re gonna be about half a degree apart, which is still close enough to see in the same medium power view of a little telescope.

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So what you’ll see is, you’ll see the Crescent of Venus and Jupiter.

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Very close together, and maybe you’ll be able to see Jupiter’s moons in amongst the crescent of Venus.

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I think that would be a pretty cool state to see fingers crossed that it stays clear for Wednesday.

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Yeah, yeah, that would be a great observation. The Galilean moons around Jupiter are quite bright.

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You’ll need a telescope or some power slightly powerful, handheld.

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Binoculars might or well reveal those moons as well.

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And yeah, very, this is a very accessible target. If it’s clear for you.

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That night.

00:09:04.000 –> 00:09:07.000
Yeah, and I think in Europe, I think it’s point one degrees apart.

00:09:07.000 –> 00:09:12.000
So that’s really gonna be a neat event.

00:09:12.000 –> 00:09:19.000
But for us, you know, I think they’re close enough that even in our small, wide field telescopes should be able to get a pretty good view of that.

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Yeah, absolutely.

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March seventh we are gonna have the full moon ruining our skies again.

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Exactly. Exactly. Oh, yeah.

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Here comes the hate mail. There’s lots to see on the full moon, and another great binocular target for folks with just binoculars.

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Yeah. All good. On the tenth of March, which is Friday, until about the 20.

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Fourth is, Zodiacal light, or zodiacal light.

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Prime time, so I saw it this past month, but hope for a better view in coming weeks, and this is the best period to look at.

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The naked eye. Phenomena of the zodiaca Lake. So, Shane, we’ve talked a little bit about this in the past.

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Maybe just a quick refresher from from your side over what the Zodiacal light is.

00:10:07.000 –> 00:10:14.000
Yeah, well, really, if you get out to a semi dark sky darker is better, for sure.

00:10:14.000 –> 00:10:30.000
And if you look west, it kind of looks like light pollution in a way, or maybe some like faintly illuminated clouds in the sky, and you know I see your notes, even reference, like a false sunset, which is a another great perspective of it, but it’s just this very soft

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glow in the sky that really doesn’t make sense.

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And that’s essentially the Zodiacal Light.

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Yeah. Melody. Hamilton is on one of the observing lists that I’m on.

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She’s an observer, and a pretty good one, and down in Nova Scotia she sent me an image that we can use for the show, and she also sent a video as well I don’t know if we can put video on our website but I’ll include the the picture that she has and it

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shows Venus and Jupiter, and you can see there’s this sort of glow bit of a triangular glow that goes up, into the left, and you can see that they’re sitting right in amongst that and pretty pretty neat shot of this interstellar dust that’s coming off

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Mars and in orbit around our solar system.

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Yeah, if you’ve never seen this, a dial, Coll and you’re thinking of chasing it down definitely, check out this sketch because I think it does a great job to capture what it does look like.

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Naked eye.

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March twenty-th. What’s your guess? What happens on March twentieth?

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Spring equinox apparently, and apparently also St.

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Patrick’s day in Newfoundland. Interesting.

00:11:36.000 –> 00:11:37.000

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That’s right. I thought it would just put that because it is a different date in Newfoundland that they celebrate St.

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Patrick’s day, so not until the twentieth of March. Sometimes I think it lands on the same day.

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I’m not sure why, that is exactly, but I was. I was aware of it.

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As the author of the Rioc Observers Calendar always stick that little nugget in there, and it is sort of one of those different things that we do celebrate here in Canada.

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March the 20. First we have the new moon, so people should be getting out to enjoy their dark skies.

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Take a look for the sodiumical light, and on March the 20 first, we also have series at opposition, and so series is a minor planet.

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And that night it’s going to be magnitude 6.9, making it a star-like, binocular object.

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So I’m kind of looking forward to that chain.

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Nice little object to a look at as we’re getting into some warmer nights. Hopefully.

00:12:31.000 –> 00:12:35.000
Yeah, and you know, this minor planet lives in the region of like the asteroid Belt.

00:12:35.000 –> 00:12:45.000
So for folks that enjoy or interested in asteroids. This is a pretty neat opportunity.

00:12:45.000 –> 00:12:51.000
Yeah, series is a dwarf planet. It’s like, like your sand rate between Mars and Jupiter in the Asteroid Belt.

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And it was the first asteroid discovered on the first of January the eighteenth, one by Giuseppe Piazzie at Palermo, Astronomical Observatory in Sicily, and it was announced as a new Planet course now we know it’s a dwarf

00:13:07.000 –> 00:13:20.000
planet. And it it was visited by the Don spacecraft in 2,015, and found and that spacecraft found that the surface was a mixture of this sort of briny water ice.

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Cream of stuff. The surface is 30% ice, and then it also has this briny, watery mixture that flows on the surface, and about every 15 million 50 million years or so this erupts in a cryo volcanic.

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Sort of volcano type thing on the surface, and it’s it’s one of the closest known cryovolcanoes to us in the solar system, and they think that perhaps that Briny water might make a good spot for microbial life to live so this erupting

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water, geyser might also be creating a thin atmosphere around around series. There.

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So kind of a lot of stuff on series. I remember when they were going in close, and they saw 200 of bright thing there.

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They didn’t know what it was in a turnip that it was this reflective ice volcano, basically.

00:14:12.000 –> 00:14:19.000
Hmm! Quite active. Then that’s interesting.

00:14:19.000 –> 00:14:20.000
Yeah. No.

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We need to take a look at through a big telescope some time, I don’t think, be able to see that, but I know you would be able to see it, but would be kind of neat.

00:14:23.000 –> 00:14:35.000
I think we’d try to hunt down Series march 20, s, Jupiter is going to be to the right of the moon in the evening, it’s gonna make a nice pairing for an astrolamps landscape photo so if you want to take a nice photo of Jupiter and the moon together.

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In front of, you know, like a church steeple or temple, or anything else, or like trees or mountains, or whatever.

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Then you can actually put your note. March 20 s. That’s gonna be a good evening to take a shot at the moon.

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And Jupiter together. March 20, fifth. Uranus is going to be 1.5 degrees below and to the right of the moon.

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On that evening just basically makes it a good time for people to hunt it up, because often Uranus can be a little bit difficult to track down.

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But when they’re that close in the nighttime sky, if you put a telescope on it, you’ll be able to see Uranus and the moon in the same very low-power field of view.

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And if anybody is looking at Uranus with a telescope, I’d be curious if you see any of the color larger apertures.

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Sometimes you can tease out a little bit of the green. There.

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Every time we talk about Uranus, I think about Rakusiak, who was a guest a few weeks back, and he was talking about light pollution.

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But Rick is a man of many talents, and he gives a great talk on Uranus.

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It’s quite funny. So every time we talk about Uranus I was always, and this is not a joke.

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I was listening to Cbc. Quirks and quirks, which is the Canadian public Broadcasting Science Weekly Show, and they were talking about.

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They are sending a probe to Uranus. So just putting that there!

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Yes, yes, they are.

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We’re not gonna we’re not going down that that rabbit holdo. All right, March. Let’s see.

00:16:04.000 –> 00:16:11.000
March 20 sixth. This last week of March. You can try spotting Vega and Cirrus as naked eye objects in the daytime sky. Be careful.

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Watch out for the sun. Don’t look anywhere near the sun, but if you can kind of orientate yourself so that the sun is well blocked by a house or building, or something really big that you’re well into the shadow, then you can try spotting vega or cirrus in the

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daytime sky, without any optical aid at all. I’ve seen a couple of them, you know, a few times, just with the people pointing them out.

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I’ve never stumble upon them myself, but particularly in a telescope.

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I’ve been able to see them, but my eyes just don’t focus that well on on the daytime sky.

00:16:49.000 –> 00:16:50.000
I don’t know. But have you ever seen the data time, Star?

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Hmm, yeah. Yeah. I’ve seen those I’ve seen Venus, and I believe Jupiter once.

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What what makes it easy? If you have a go-to telescope, have it set up an aligned say, you know, the night before, and then the next day, when you want to attempt these stars during daytime, tell your go-toelescope to you know look at

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Vega cause. The most challenging part is just getting like the area of sky that you should be looking for or looking at.

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And if you have that go-to telescope pointing at the right place, then you just, you know, natural extension.

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You just look up, and quite often it’s a very easy observation that way.

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We have another conjunction. In March 20 seventh, we have the conjunction of Jupiter and Mercury, which are going to be a little bit further.

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Part 1.3 degrees apart versus the point 5 degrees, that Jupiter was from Venus at the start of the month.

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This is, gonna be low down and pretty tough. But I think just high enough that I think some people might be able to to get that one if they have a good horizon and great skies that night that one might be possible.

00:18:04.000 –> 00:18:09.000
Yeah, yeah, you definitely would need a very unobstructed view of the horizon to get that one.

00:18:09.000 –> 00:18:16.000
You mentioned the moon earlier in. Observe that couple, neat features in the moon you could see on March 20 eighth, the Lunar X.

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Is a visible. What’s the lunar?

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X again, Shane, is that where they’re gonna find sort of the Oak Island treasure, or what’s happening up there?

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Yeah. So the lunar X as well as the next object you’re going to talk about, which is the straight wall they’re clear, obscure effects, and photographers are probably familiar with that term.

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But really it’s just a shadow play. So the moon is very textured.

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There’s lots of ridges, craters, mountain ranges.

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On and on and on, and depending how the sun is illuminating the surface, and some of these objects cast shadows.

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You can see, these other features are not really features, just, you know, an observational phenomena that you can see.

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You’ll need a telescope for the lunar X.

00:19:01.000 –> 00:19:19.000
And really, it’s just that you see, this kind of bright acts very near the Terminator, which is the the line where the illumination ends, and in the darkness begins on the moon, and kind of in the darker area you’ll be able to see the lunar X that night and also the

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same night, anytime. The lunar X is visible, I think, just to the north there’s the Lunar V, which is kind of on the same location along that terminator, and it stands out quite a bit as well.

00:19:33.000 –> 00:19:37.000
Hmm! Very neat, as you mentioned march thirtieth.

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That’s when the street wall is is going to be visible, so people can try to take a look at those features on those nights.

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March 30. First. Uranus is going to be 1.3 degrees above and left of Venus that evening.

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I don’t know how visible that is, but anyway, people can can try to give that one shot. It’s not a conjunction or anything.

00:19:59.000 –> 00:20:03.000
They’re just gonna be pretty close in the in the early evening sky.

00:20:03.000 –> 00:20:10.000
Comments, comments, comments, and fortunately we’ve we’ve now pretty much lost common e threes and Tf.

00:20:10.000 –> 00:20:18.000
To the Southerners, and the only other comment that’s really bright that I could dig up Shannon if you were looking at any of these, is comment K.

00:20:18.000 –> 00:20:25.000
2 pan stars. But according to what I saw, you got to be at both 30 degrees below the equator to get a good shot at seeing that one which is about an eighth mine. 2 comets.

00:20:25.000 –> 00:20:31.000
So a good big binocular, small telescope comment as well.

00:20:31.000 –> 00:20:36.000
And unless there’s any big surprises this year, I’m just taking a quick glance.

00:20:36.000 –> 00:20:39.000
I don’t think we really have any expected bright comments.

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There’s one or 2 that maybe reach magnitude 7 later in the year, but we’ll talk about those ones more at that time.

00:20:41.000 –> 00:20:55.000
Hopefully. Those something changes. Your comments are very erratic, and you never know we could be treated to a bright one unexpectedly.

00:20:55.000 –> 00:21:00.000
Yeah, and some of the comments that are gonna be brighter are actually more in the southern hemisphere.

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And we have a pretty strong contingent down there now.

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I’m just gonna call it a few people. We we’ve got a few people down there.

00:21:04.000 –> 00:21:13.000
Get somebody in Argentina. I’m listening down there, roubles and in Chile recently sent us some some really kind words.

00:21:13.000 –> 00:21:19.000
Flippy is down in Brazil. He’s a he’s a bit busy these nights.

00:21:19.000 –> 00:21:23.000
Andrew, who’s a somewhat recent actually correspondent.

00:21:23.000 –> 00:21:34.000
I know how long he’s been listening to this to show, but and Andrews in New Zealand we have Ben and Wade and and Ozzy, aunt and Australia, and anyway, all the all these folks in the Southern Hemisphere.

00:21:34.000 –> 00:21:40.000
I’m sure there’s more should be getting their telescope so to take a look at some of these comets, I think well, well worth your while to to do.

00:21:40.000 –> 00:21:49.000
Drag the mode, and as well I know all of you folks have warmer weather than we’ve had this week, so please get some.

00:21:49.000 –> 00:21:50.000
Observing in for us.

00:21:50.000 –> 00:21:51.000
Yeah. Let us live vicariously through you.

00:21:51.000 –> 00:21:54.000

00:21:54.000 –> 00:22:03.000
Exactly. Exactly so. We do have an observing report to reaching. But before we get to that, do you have anything to add?

00:22:03.000 –> 00:22:08.000
No, nothing else, nothing else jumps out for March.

00:22:08.000 –> 00:22:14.000
Okay. So we had. And observing report from from Berta, she, she typically keeps her.

00:22:14.000 –> 00:22:20.000
Her, observing to herself, although she corresponds with us frequently enough, but a variety of things.

00:22:20.000 –> 00:22:27.000
She’s a backyard observer from Edmonton, which is just about 800 kilometers to our northwest.

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I’m currently pointing to the southwest. I don’t know why.

00:22:30.000 –> 00:22:35.000
And she actually, I think, is responsible helping line up our guest next week.

00:22:35.000 –> 00:22:37.000
Who’s going to be Alister Lang from Astronomy Magazine?

00:22:37.000 –> 00:22:42.000
So appreciate that Burta Burt is a pretty good backyard.

00:22:42.000 –> 00:22:43.000
Observer on her own, and and does observe with Alister fairly frequently. I think so.

00:22:43.000 –> 00:22:53.000
Gonna be interested in talking to Alister, and maybe in the future he’ll be able to commit Spurta to come on the show.

00:22:53.000 –> 00:22:57.000
So we have an observing report from her about seeing the comment and doing some observing with Alister Shane, do you?

00:22:57.000 –> 00:23:02.000
Want me to kind of start? Or did you want to?

00:23:02.000 –> 00:23:07.000
Yeah, but yeah, kick it off, and I’m very excited for this report.

00:23:07.000 –> 00:23:16.000
Yeah, okay, sounds good. So this is an observing log from from Verta from January and and then she kind of goes on Wednesday, January the eighteenth.

00:23:16.000 –> 00:23:18.000
From her backyard. On that day she woke up at 6 Pm.

00:23:18.000 –> 00:23:22.000
And that’s really great to hear that somebody’s waking up at 6 P.

00:23:22.000 –> 00:23:28.000
M. To try to see the comment from her, sooth, facing Emmonton backyard.

00:23:28.000 –> 00:23:37.000
The night was clear, and coal at thirteenc, which is just about a good temperature to go observing at around here when it’s much colder.

00:23:37.000 –> 00:23:42.000
It’s too cold, and when it’s much warmer you get the ice bug, and we don’t like to get that.

00:23:42.000 –> 00:24:00.000
So the seeing felt above average here, and while the transparency was below average because of some mist and cloud, she was able to get a good view of the comment, started trying to find it in her foreignry fracture, looking at boots and finally around 70 I’m sorry it wasn’t 6 P M it was

00:24:00.000 –> 00:24:03.000
6 0 M. I’ve got that wrong in the notes.

00:24:03.000 –> 00:24:07.000
She was able to find the common E 3 zed tf.

00:24:07.000 –> 00:24:08.000
As a faint, whitish circle in her 40 IP.

00:24:08.000 –> 00:24:29.000
Which gave her 20 magnification, and about a 3 and a half degree field of view, and she was able to kind of star, hop around there and use some higher powers, took her time carefully observe the faint fuzzy ball, and said that the comet appeared as a round fuzzy very dim ball with a

00:24:29.000 –> 00:24:33.000
brighter core. She only saw it as a whitish color.

00:24:33.000 –> 00:24:34.000
I haven’t heard of any visual report chain of anybody seeing it as anything but a whitish color.

00:24:34.000 –> 00:24:41.000
How about you?

00:24:41.000 –> 00:24:57.000
Same thing, and with our conversation, that we had with Mark Radici, he was at the Winter Star party in Florida, observed the Comet, with a 22 inch Newtonian and a 28 Inch Newtonian and typically a larger aperture Telescope, if you will ever

00:24:57.000 –> 00:24:59.000
see color in any object. It’s usually larger aperture telescopes that will show that.

00:24:59.000 –> 00:25:15.000
And those are giant telescopes, and they were unable to see any color other than kind of this whitish gray that every every other stronger has reported visually.

00:25:15.000 –> 00:25:16.000
We’re to drew the stars of the ipiece.

00:25:16.000 –> 00:25:26.000
And later added in the common when she was home, just just from memory, which is a pretty common technique when you’re observing it at those temperatures.

00:25:26.000 –> 00:25:31.000
And she said the comet appeared dimmer than what her sketch showed, and I did try to put the sketch in.

00:25:31.000 –> 00:25:36.000
Oh, yeah, it’s down towards the bottom. If you scroll towards the bottom you’ll you’ll see the sketch.

00:25:36.000 –> 00:25:50.000
So she did put a couple sketches in, she said, foggy, dewy Don left a layer of Rhine frost or rhyme frost on the trees, making the branches and our scope look like frosted candy, and then she was trying to pack up and get going

00:25:50.000 –> 00:25:57.000
beautifully magical, and it was a wonderful short 1.5 h, observing session. So sorry about that.

00:25:57.000 –> 00:26:05.000
I got the time wrong there at the start. Chain. Did you want to take a read of the second report in her by okay.

00:26:05.000 –> 00:26:16.000
Yeah, yeah, for sure. So Porta goes on to say, Alistair offered me to go observing at the dark location near Monday, even though it was a Sunday and the next day I had to wake up early.

00:26:16.000 –> 00:26:24.000
It was really, it was also really warm for being winter so I felt that I couldn’t let this wonderful opportunity pass by.

00:26:24.000 –> 00:26:28.000
We located the comment with Allister’s binoculars just above the tree line.

00:26:28.000 –> 00:26:46.000
I would say that the Binyl view was the best comment view for me that night. And, interestingly enough, Chris, is the sketch that’s in here is very similar to the binocular view that I had of the comet with my 12 by 30 sixsixes so certainly can concur there.

00:26:46.000 –> 00:27:03.000
Where did I leave off here? It was easy. Yeah, it was easy to locate by just sweeping the by nose in the right direction, although I couldn’t observe this comment by eye.

00:27:03.000 –> 00:27:04.000
It ain’t quite right.

00:27:04.000 –> 00:27:13.000
Alister could. It looked like a star. That was not quite right, as Alister very carefully described it, I could clearly see a grade, whitish nucleus coma, and a short, wide tail sky.

00:27:13.000 –> 00:27:17.000
Safari gave it a visual magnitude of plus 6.2.

00:27:17.000 –> 00:27:34.000
On that night my 10 inch job with a 25 I piece gives 40 time, 48 times magnification enough to see the coma tail and anti-tail, one striking thing for me was the shockwave shape that the coma had around the nucleus which looked like a brighter

00:27:34.000 –> 00:27:37.000
boomerang shaped area around it. The tail became almost invisible.

00:27:37.000 –> 00:27:43.000
Looking away from the nucleus. Even with my 10 inches of aperture.

00:27:43.000 –> 00:27:47.000
Alister taught me to look at that tail, and the anti-tail.

00:27:47.000 –> 00:27:55.000
By hiding the new nucleus just out of the field of view and moving the scope slightly to record the movement of the fuzzy halo.

00:27:55.000 –> 00:28:05.000
With my eyes this way I could see the tail extend a little bit further, but the anti-tail was still hard to make out for me.

00:28:05.000 –> 00:28:27.000
I spent almost 1 h, observing sketching, and trying to see as much detail as possible of this comment.

00:28:27.000 –> 00:28:28.000

00:28:28.000 –> 00:28:29.000
The sketch shown was done completely at the ipiece, Alastair captured a set of very nice pictures from the Comet on that night in summary this January has been filled with warmer than average days, and some wonderful observing nights thanks Roberta yeah it’s

00:28:29.000 –> 00:28:40.000
a great sketch, especially. You know the comment there that it was entirely done at the ipiece is is quite a feat, especially when the temperatures are, you know, double digits below 0.

00:28:40.000 –> 00:28:42.000
That’s that’s really good.

00:28:42.000 –> 00:28:45.000
Yeah, I know it’s nice. She’s got some nice gear.

00:28:45.000 –> 00:28:52.000
She’s got a 10 inch job, at 4.7, and then also has a 4 inch refractor.

00:28:52.000 –> 00:29:05.000
Currently, she has an acrobat, and we’ve been talking back and forth quite a bit about her potentially upgrading and she’s doing what I was doing number of years ago and saving up to buy sort of that one size fits all good Apocrat.

00:29:05.000 –> 00:29:11.000
I think she’s she’s been slowly convinced, maybe to get a scope very similar to what I have.

00:29:11.000 –> 00:29:13.000
Oh, yeah, yeah, you can’t go wrong with that one.

00:29:13.000 –> 00:29:16.000
No, that’s for sure. Anything to add to this show, Shane.

00:29:16.000 –> 00:29:27.000
It’s a little bit shorter one, but I think we hit on variety of different topics here, and we’ve recorded a nice long episode for people to catch on coming days with.

00:29:27.000 –> 00:29:28.000

00:29:28.000 –> 00:29:29.000
Only thing to add is just a reminder that the show notes will be available at Triple W.

00:29:29.000 –> 00:29:40.000
Dot, actual astronomy, comm, and we don’t always post show notes.

00:29:40.000 –> 00:29:53.000
But for these episodes where we list the objects to observe for the month. We do like to post the show notes so that you don’t have to try to feverishly write down all of this information as we’re talking so go check that out if you’re interested.

00:29:53.000 –> 00:30:03.000
Thanks for that, Shane. Thanks everybody for listening. We got all kinds of emails from all sorts of people giving us advice and asking for advice on observing in gear, always happy to communicate with folks.

00:30:03.000 –> 00:30:09.000
It’s a lot of fun to exchange all this kind of information if you would like to write us, please do.

00:30:09.000 –> 00:30:12.000
You can reach us at actual astronomy at Gmail Com.

00:30:12.000 –> 00:30:23.000
Thanks for listening, everybody.

End of podcast:

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