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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 9:17 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2012 3:36 pm
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Location: Middletown, NJ
ASTRA members Mike K. and myself had a great night observing at Dorbrook Park, Rt. 537 in Colts Neck. We viewed the following: planets Venus, at 1/4 phase, Jupiter (bands were pronounced and the four visible moons were paired on each side), Uranus near Venus, small but discernible by it's color. Later on we viewed Mars but it was low in the sky and could not see much detail. M44 The Beehive in Cancer both in binoculars and low power in the scopes. Also open cluster M35 in Cancer, M45 Pleiades, and M103 in Cassiopeia. Always a favorite was NGC 884/864 the Double Cluster in Perseus. Galaxy M31 in Andromeda was crisp in both binoculars and the scopes. M42 (Orion Nebula) was sharp both the nebulosity and Trapezium amid different magnifications. We also viewed double stars Mizar and Alcor, Capella and Castor. The sky was so clear we were able to completely see Canis Major up to its tail. As the evening went on, we started to get moisture problems and the sky started to deteriorate, so we decided to come back again later in the month to view Saturn. Equipment used were STAR members Russ' 4" Astroscan Scope, Al and Ruth's, [from STAR] 8"Orion DOB, my 10" Orion DOB plus binoculars. Rich S. [from STAR] had a handheld I Phone type device, which identified sky objects. I used a chart from S&T from February's issue. We also discussed prior to observing what our targets would be. To summarize, it was a great night out considering NJ conditions in mid February.

Rich G.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 7:15 am 
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Joined: Thu Oct 13, 2011 6:28 am
Posts: 28
Great report Rich. Glad you were able to catch a good night for a change. Its been a while sense I've been out, and I am hoping some agreement can be reached with the State about Coyle Field so everything can go back to normal again. Here's hoping we meet at Coyle before the next meeting.


Ed Mullen


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 1:24 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2012 3:36 pm
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Location: Middletown, NJ
Looking forward to it Ed! If not Coyle, perhaps another spot.


Rich G.

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Rich Gaynor
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 4:47 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 13, 2011 12:53 pm
Posts: 259
Location: Maple Shade, NJ
Rich,

Indeed, it is a nice report and it causes me to regret even more that I didn’t get out myself on Friday night! I’m hoping Monday night holds up as predicted since I still have the scope in the car from last Wednesday night at Carranza Field.

Anyway, you note that Venus was at “1/4 phase.” I presume you mean it was similar in appearance to a quarter moon rather than being 25% illuminated (lunar “quarters” refer to the orbital position, not the illumination, although the visible face of the moon is half illuminated at the first and third quarters). I mention this point because according to the USNO, Venus was about about 68% illuminated this past Friday evening (so it’s gibbous). Venus won’t reach dichotomy (50% illuminated) until March 29th, a couple of days past greatest eastern elongation (although the Schröter Effect can make it look like 50% several days before or after dichotomy).

As you can see on the USNO image, the gibbous shape isn't all that obvious compared to a half-illuminated disc, and seeing it through a scope is further compounded by the brilliant glare of Venus. I often use a moon filter on the eyepiece to cut down the glare and get a better view of the disc (it works for bright ISS passes too).

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 1:26 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2012 3:36 pm
Posts: 16
Location: Middletown, NJ
To all, STAR members have access to an open area at Dorbrook Park on Rt. 537 in Colts Neck. We do have to give 24 hour notice to the Park Ranger to keep the gate open. It's not Coyle but you can get a good night of observing done there with good horizons. If anyone is interested in joining us when we go, please e mail me your contact info (cell phone, e mail etc.) and I will call you. As we are all well aware of, this is a "last minute" hobby due to sky conditions so it is not really practical to post these informal sessions on the board. My e mail is richg870@aol.com.

Rich Gaynor

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Rich Gaynor
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