2006 Observing Log

Sat Dec 23: New equipment night at MAC-Hunter. The Clear Sky Clock was showing a few hours of clear and transparent conditions between the rain and clouds. A CPC 11 was tested along with 30 mm eyepiece from the December drawing. Conditions were clear and transparent for several hours and many good views of many object. M33 was showing its bar and two spiral arms. M31 does have dust lanes and the Blue Snowball is blue. Two observatories were active and two scopes were setup in the file with three observers mainly using the 11". [PR]

Sat Dec 9: MAC-Hunter Primary Session. It was cold but felt a little warmer then Friday evening. Very light turnout with 2 scopes and three observers in the field and two observatories with roofs open. M31's dust lanes and some structure in M33 was observed with low power view with a 10" dob. NGC 253 was also showing details. Conditions were stable allowing sharp high power views of star cluster and double stars. The highlight of the evening was the short trip to the "Caldwell annex" located on a dead end road some 300 yards from the observatories. See the shuttle launch in the gallery. [PR]

Fri Dec 8: Congaree Swamp Session. It was a cold and clear day followed by a colder and clear night. Three scopes on site by the end of twilight and 5 members before moon rise. Highlights of some of the object of the evening: M31 was showing dust lanes. The Veil nebula was easy to see without a filter. M42 at less then 5 degrees altitude when just above the eastern treeline was showing some nebulosity. Just before moon rise the M42 - M43 region was showing much detail. A start of the Geminids were seen with a rate of 3 to 10 per hour. [PR]

Sat Nov 25: Trip to 30" dob. It was a clear, transparent and stable night over the state again. Two cars and three observers left from Northeast Columbia about 6:10 pm. We were on site in Patrick by 7:45 pm. Observations of brighter objects started under moon light around 8:00 pm. After moon set notable objects were: Uranus, NGC253, M33 and hydrogen region NGC604, the M42 area, and carbon star R Lep. [PR]

Fri Nov 24: Clear transparent and stable night over the state. Two at the swamp from 6:30 pm until 12:30 am. Reports from campers that 30 to 40 showed up for the Leonids on the 18th. [PR]

Sat Nov 18: Alternate OS and Leonid watch at MAC-Hunter Site. Conditions started partly cloudy then mostly cloudy until about 9:30 pm and it cleared. After that no clouds but some haze came an went. Many sporadic meteors before 11:00 pm and a few Leonids after midnight. By 1:00 am most had called it a night. [PR]

Thu Nov 16: Nursery Road Elementary School's Family Science Night was clouded out. A short tour of the night sky with Stellarium was presented. [PR]

Sat Nov 11: Clouds and rain were forecasted by 10:00 pm so the primary was a no go. Three scopes were at the swamp for clear and dark conditions for about 1 hour. A boy scout pack was in the process of packing up to leave and has some good views before the clouds arrived. Cirrus started to arrive after 0:30 pm and by 10:00pm heavy overcast. Wet roads were only 5 mile north of the site. [PR]

Thu Nov 9: Blarney Elementary school program for the fourth grade class had 5 scopes on site. Conditions were clear and transparent. Comet Swan, double cluster, Alberio, M13, T Lyra, M57, M31, M45, Uranus and the Milky Way between Cygnus and Cassiopeia were shown. [PR]

Wed Nov 8: Mercury Transit The satellite views at noon showed a clear area forming down wind of the mountains. With the center or the low pressure centered over the state. At about 12:30 pm the Exit #44 trip was redirected back to Columbia to determine where the clear area would be at 2 pm. At 1:15 clearing started near my house and it was determined a good site to use. Over one hour of mostly clear conditions with Hydrogen Alpha and white light scopes used. By 3:30 pm the clearing had moved further east of Columbia. [PR]

Fri Nov 3: Clear and transparent and cold night for the Owl Prowl night at the Swamp. Two scopes were on site. Comet Swan, Double stars, Carbon stars and star clusters were viewed. Frost formed by 8:30 pm. The cold caused a very light turn out. [PR]

Sat Oct 28: The clear sky clock showed extreme clear and transparent conditions and at 4:30 pm the blue sky and a phone call resulted in two at the swamp from sunset until 1:30 am EST. It was clear with M31 naked eye visible several ours before moon set at 10:30 pm. Comet Swan was near M31 and was about the same size and brightness at low power. A problem with the RTV retaining my 10" mirror to the cell put it out of service that night so all observations were done with an XT8. While wait on the moon to set many double stars from the Orion Deep map 600 and Skywatch along with open clusters were viewed. The seeing forecast was predicted to be poor and the tight doubles were not split. It was hard to leave such a clear dark sky. [PR]

Fri Oct 20: Indescribable clear and transparent night at the Swamp. We had 6 scopes on site with Comet Swan one of the first objects of the evening. A group from the Owl prowl were shown many objects and enjoyed the views. The first meteors seen were near midnight but had radians different then the Orionids. A few bright orionids grazer started after midnight and we had 8 watching for meteors with count estimates between 30 to 60 per hour. By 4:00 am everybody had called it a night and was moving things to the car when a family of 4 showed up to view the meteor shower. The rates had slowed down so I took my scope off of the handtruck and showed many of the winter objects off About 5:30 few brighter ones occurred and were leaving persistent trails and were visible at low power in the scope for 3 to 5 minutes. Zodiac light was showing as a cone of light with its apex at Saturn and was brighter then the winter Milky Way next to Orion. [PR]

Sat Oct 14: The Cook out had about 32 members and guests. A nice large flare was viewed on the western limb of the Sun with a personal solar telescope before sunset. Comet Swan was spotted naked eye while the sky was still blue to the North West. Several good meteor were observed by many not looking into scopes. Great food, clear transparent skies and many scopes in the field. The new lower tree line allowed viewing of M42 before moonrise. The last few stayed until moon rise. [PR]

Fri Oct 13: Congaree Swamp out-parking area The clouds move out an hour or so ahead of predictions. Conditions were clear, transparent and cool as predicted. Three scopes were on site. Boy scouts showed up and set up camp after dark and the viewed a few objects before they retired for the evening. Then a large percentage of the owl prowl group stopped by and several choice objects were viewed. Comet Swan was viewed with binoculars from the south side of the field and was an easy target to spot. As Orion was starting to appear on the east tree line the moon was scheduled to rise so we packed up. [PR]

Fri Oct 6: Horrell Hill Elementary school Eagle Explorers program "Sleeping Under the Solar System! 2006." It was cloudy all day but started to clear at sunset and was cool and breezy. From 8:30 pm to 10:00 pm forty students along with staff and volunteers were able to view the moon and the Alberio double. [PR]

Fri Sep 29: Owl prowl night at the Swamp. Moon set at 11:34 pm. Fri morning started with a very blue sky and only a few small clouds in the afternoon. At 3pm some clouds were on the northwest horizon but conditions south of Columbia stayed blue and transparent. At 7:30 pm a introduction about the night sky was given to the Owl Prowlers just before they were to undertake their 2 hour walk. By 8:00 pm 4 scopes were in the field and some lunar and double stars were observed. That was about the time the warm weather gear was put on. The stars down to mag 2.7 were visible in the teapot with the moon less then 4 degrees away. M31, M32 and M110 were detectable with the 1/4 moon before 9 pm. The Owl prowl group arrived a little after 9:30 and many DSO, double stars and clusters were shown before the lunar viewing damaged night vision. Conditions were about 4 of 5 compared to a moonless night while the moon was up then 5 of 5 until the last two of us packed up at 2 am after a detailed review of M42. [PR]

Sat Sep 23: Observer at both sites. Some late afternoon clouds formed southwest of Columbia and at 6:00 PM looked like they would be over the Congaree Swamp site until after sunset. At 7:00 pm when on I-77 it was clear to the north with some clouds to the south and northwest. Arriving at the Congaree Swamp out parking area at about 7:20 pm the clouds edges were overhead but were heading to the south. After sunset no clouds were visible and conditions were clear, transparent and cloud free except for one small patch after midnight. Three DOB's and observers had and 5 visitors from the campsite. Conditions started warm and later in the evening the wind picked up and things cooled down some. Notable objects of the night were Jupiter low to the west, the Milky Way, Double cluster, M31 and the following nebula Veil, Helical, Saturn, Cat's Eye, Blue Snowball and Dumbbell. Several meteors were seen before 11 pm. Comet 4P Faye at Mag 11.2 was one of the last objects viewed. After the last two of us were finished loading the cars at about 1 am we could see from the parking area Rigel and Betelgeuse as they were rising above the east treeline. [PR]

Sat Sep 16: Primary Observing session at MAC-Hunter. It was clear with 3 scopes in the field and about 8 guest. Condition were above average. [PR]

Fri Sep 15: MAC-Hunter Site and Congaree Swamp were used. It was an Owl Prowl night. 5 scopes and 8 MAC members and there guests had clear transparent conditions from sunset to about midnight. 10 to 15 Owl prowl visitors were viewing from 9:15 for about 30 minutes. [PR]

Fri Aug 25: 2 Observers at MAC-Hunter had bug free and cool temps at MAC-Hunter with a 7 out of 10 (winter night) conditions. 3 scopes, 4 members and 27 scouts from Simpsonville were at the Congaree Swamp. It was humid and warm with DEET required. The scouts had there lights out curfew set at 11 pm. Objects viewed: H2 region in M33, M33, M110, M32, M31, NGC404, Double cluster, Veil Nebula, Blue Snowball, M13, M4 and many colorful double stars. [PR]

Sat Aug 19: The primary OS at MAC-Hunter was a GO. At 6 PM the CSC vs Satellite showed a major difference in the cloud directions to the Southeast. No large thunderstorms had popped up heading toward the site. Leaving Columbia under clear blue skies at about 7 pm and about 10 miles from the site the conditions were partly cloudy with light cirrus to the north. Six bog members were on site and most were working on observatory construction and upgrades. Six MAC members of which two had not been to the MAC-Hunter Site before. As it was getting dark the clouds vanished. Jupiter in a new refractor provided a quite a draw. Also a NGT-12.5 was on site. Conditions varied from cloud free and transparent to all clouds and no stars several times during the night. The clear times were real clear. The last of us left at 2 am. [PR]

Sun Aug 13: Congaree Swamp out-parking area The predicted conditions on Sat was for a Sun night that was partly cloudy. Sun morning the CSK and satellite showed a different possibility with the clouds being pushed more to the southwest by some dry air from the northeast. By 7 pm the water vapor images showed it would be a good night and the remaining clouds were heading to the south. A go was called and shorty after sunset 3 of us were under blue cloud free skies A wall of cloud line to the south was below the treeline. We had the field to ourselves and as it got darker Comet 177P Barnard was located and looked like M101. After a few DSO the Milky Way showed much details and we sat down and admired the view while waiting on a Perseid or two. Two short faint ones and one fast bright grazer occurred. A little while after that it looked like the transparency to the east was dropping and it was getting late so we started to pack up. While loading the car the rising moon was in the trees on the east side of the field. We left the site at 11:30 pm. [PR]

Sun Jul 30: Congaree Swamp out-parking area I was in the Chapin area at about 6:30 pm and the skies were clear and blue. I was without web access and contacted one member about going out and shorty after that I was contacted by one other looking to go somewhere. About 7:45 pm a trip to the swamp was scheduled for later that evening. When I arrived back in the Columbia northeast area there was a medium size cloud to the east. A quick review of satellite images at 8:15 showed low water vapor over the state but one area of development north east of Columbia growing and heading to the South east in the direction of the swamp. Under the cloud I headed to the swamp to meet with the other two for what I expected to be a cloudy warm short session because of the quick pop up storm. Just as I was turning into National Park Rd I saw the moon and Jupiter. Once at the out parking area it was getting dark and partly cloudy. Before long Antares, Arcturus were shining most of Cygnus and the tea pot were not behind clouds by the time we setup. It was warm and still for a while and I was able to find a globular cluster below the tea pot but flashes of lightning were building and after a while thunder and clouds forced us to pack-up about 10:00 pm. With in a few minutes of leaving heavy rain and lightning was encounter for several miles. Once back in the Northeast area it was partly cloudy with a large storm to the south. [PR]

Mon Jul 17: Congaree Swamp out-parking area The forecast was looking like the best of the summer and better south of Columbia. At 5 pm there was no sign of the line of clouds expected across the state at dark. A large area of low water vapor centered over the state. I had one other member said he would be there to going to the swamp. When I arrived at about 9:00 pm he was setup and repelling the bugs with two citronella candles. As twilight approached the candles were getting brighter and we put them out. For quite a while the initial coating of insect repellent lasted. A short while after dark a car with parking light on pulled in so it must be an unconfirmed member. We now had an 8" and 11" SCT and one 10" dob. It was dark clear and seeing allow high power views of Jupiter, Pluto, Neptune and Uranus. Also see Jul Sky and Tel for the dark horse of the Milky Way which was visible. The Milky Way naked eye view was about the best thing that night. [PR]

Fri Jun 30: It was a nice night under the stars with no camper fires at Congaree Swamp out parking area. We had 4 observer and three scopes. It was partly cloudy most of the time. Stable temperatures and seeing conditions provided excellent views of Jupiter in all scopes. The best view of the night and last few years was provided using Doyle's 8" F6 with a cheap 2x barlow modified to somewhere between 3x and 4x along with Radian 8 mm eyepiece. This was over the suggested maximum usable power of 50x per inch but a shadow transit and fine details of the banding along with a white oval were visible. Each star in Lyra's double double at about 500x showed non overlapping diffraction rings. After moon set it cleared for a while and the Milky Way was visible from Cygnus to the Teapot. Many other targets were viewed in the Milky Way. We left at 1:40 am. [PR]

Sat Jun 24: No alternate because of poor transparency and high temperatures in the forecast. Somewhat cooler and dry clear conditions formed between front to the west and tropical low to the south-southeast late afternoon and continued mostly clear over MAC-Hunter as reported from the only BOG member to use the MAC-Hunter Site. Additional reports of partly cloudy but transparent conditions from other areas of the state. [PR]

Sat Jun 17: At MAC-Hunter it was clear at sunset and transparency was better to start then Fri night and much cooler. After midnight some thin clouds reduced transparency in parts of the sky and at moon rise thin clouds cover the sky. On the drive home it seem the clouds over the site were a local condition. [PR]

Fri Jun 16: 3 visual observers were at the Congaree Swamp from about 8:30 pm to 1:30 am. Jupiter was stable all night long. Jupiter and Mars to the west fit in a single field of view. Transparency started out poor but by midnight the Milky Way was visible from Cygnus to the Tea pot. Planetary nebula and double stars. open and globular clusters were the additional targets of the evening. About 10 campers were treated to views of Jupiter, Saturn and Mars and a few brighter nebula and globular clusters and double stars. [PR]

Fri Jun 9: A bright moon along with 3 scopes and three observers were at the Swamp site. The afternoon cirrus cleared off after sunset and seeing conditions allowed very high power views of Jupiter, Saturn and Mars. A group of Scouts camping on the far side of the field had good views of the Jupiter and the Moon along with the double double and M57 in Lyra. We arrived about 9 pm and left at 11:30 pm. [PR]

Thu Jun 1: The trip to Melton Observatory after the meeting had nice views of the Great Red Spot at 250 power using the 40 cm F19 observatory scope. [PR]

Sun May 28: 6 members and one guest were at MAC-Hunter waiting on the forecasted extremely clear conditions. At sunset it was partly cloudy over the site. As it darkened, the clouds thinned. By midnight most of the thin clouds had vanished and a temperature drop occurred. Jupiter was showing many bands and 3 white ovals. As the summer Milky Way rose above the east and southeast tree line all objects showed details at high power. [PR]

Fri May 19: Congaree Swamp session was attended by with 5 members and one guest. Conditions were mostly transparent with a quite a few visitors after the Owl Prowl. [PR]

Thu May 11: Clear and bright ISS pass was observed by several members at several locations over the state just after sunset. [PR]

Sat May 6: Astronomy Day at Saluda Shoals Park 12:00 noon to 4:00pm. It started clear and transparent with a few small clouds. Three scopes were setup for white line solar viewing. One PST for Hydrogen Alpha viewing and two others for Venus. The PST showed many sharp flares. [PR]

Thu May 5: Clouds covered the Sun just before 6:45 pm so no Ha Viewing. A few holes in the clouds allowed views of Saturn, Moon and Jupiter with 12.5" F5 Starbuckets ultralight scope. [PR]

Fri Apr 28: It cleared at MAC-Hunter at sunset. Conditions remained cloud free and a little better then average on transparency until about 12:00 when some thin clouds linger for about 45 minutes. It was clear and not quite as transparent until I left at 2:30. Three DOB's present provided good views of the great red spot transit on Jupiter and many DSO's, some red carbon stars and OIII filtered planetary nebula. The C and B component of Comet 73P are about 8 degrees apart. [PR]

Sat Apr 22: NoGo for cookout and OS at MAC-Hunter. The Exit #44 site was used as it cleared by 9:30 pm. [PR]

Tue Apr 18: Better then average conditions at Sugarloaf Observatory until about 11:00 pm. We left NorthEast Columbia a little before 7:00 pm and arrived before 8:20 pm. Saturn, Comet P73, M51, M104, Ghost of Jupiter, Jupiter along with a few Abell clusters highlighted the evening with the 30".We left at 11:20 pm and arrived back in NE at 12:50 am. [PR]

Thu Apr 6: The Sun was behind some cirrus at sunset but after the meeting Saturn and the moon offered excellent high power views. [PR]

Sat Apr 1: Deep Sky observing session at MAC-Hunter Site started with a cloudy Sat but prediction's varied from clearing early Sat to just after sunset. When I arrived about 30 minutes before sunset 3 bog members were on site. Just after sunset while jet contrail were still lit by the setting Sun the Moon was mostly of the cirrus. Using a low power view of the moon I was surprised to see Alcyone at mag 2.8 visible in the blue of the sky. By this time a second club member and one more BOG member showed up and we watched using various equipment and other imaged many of the occultation. By the time all of the bright stars were occulted the skies were clear. An hour before moon set Deep sky objects had good contrast and Saturn and Jupiter showed great detail. Too bad so many did not get to view from on a night that turned out as predicted to be clear and transparent. [PR]

Sun Mar 25: 3 scopes and 5 observers used the exit 44 site. The south horizon is below 10 degrees. [PR]

Sat Mar 24: Primary at MAC-Hunter was better then the forecast. 5 Bog members and 4 MAC members were present. It was clear before sunset and only 2 or 3 times before midnight were any clouds visible as they passed over quickly. [PR]

Fri Mar 17: Public Saturn viewing at the BC Components site started out partly cloudy and warm before sunset Saturn was visible between the clouds as it was getting dark. As it cleared it turned cool then Mars, Saturn, M44 the Beehive cluster , M42 the Great Orion Nebula were targets. [PR]

Sun Feb 26: 2 scopes and three observers enjoyed clear and transparent conditions while at the new site near I-20 exit #44. Mercury was well above the west tree line for a while after sunset. It was cold and dew was a problem early then frost started to form around 9:00pm and was a problem but as the temperature dropped the problem went away. [PR]

Fri Feb 24: 3 scopes were out at the Congaree Swamp from around 6:15 pm until the clouds looked like they would not have any more sucker holes. It was 11:30 when we left and had quite a few visitors/campers at the site. One of the best view of Saturn were produce by a new member Orion XT8. [PR]

Sat Jan 28: at MAC-Hunter had some periods of cirrus but it was clear most of the time. [PR]

Wed Jan 25: at the swamp was clear and cold. Excellent views of all the objects from the week before plus several more Messier and NGC objects. The rosette nebula was an easy object using a 10" scope without any filters. [PR]

Thu Jan 19: was a real clear and cold night at the swamp. Three guests a new member and I observed an ISS pass before dark and before we left at 8:30 11 Messier objects, 5 NGC's, 2 planets, naked eye views of the winter Milky Way, M31 and the double cluster. [PR]