2007 Observing Log

Please submit observing reports to Paul R., Observing Chair for inclusion on this page. Thank you!

Fri 28 Sept: Owl Prowl night at the Congaree Swamp. It was well before sunset when the skies were a deep blue color and cloud free. After greeting the owl prowl group at the Harry Hampton visitor center two of us went back to setup. Seeing was poor at Jupiter's altitude only a hint of banding was present. Shortly after dark a camper arrived from fleeing the Okra Strut area. Moonrise occurred shortly after dark but before the east started to brighten the Milky Way and dim objects were viewed. When the owl prowl group arrived about 9:30 pm transparency was real good and M13 and a few other objects were targeted before viewing the Moon. [PGR]

Sat 8 Sept: Primary at MAC-hunter .The CSC and conditions in the afternoon pointed to a real clear and transparent night. The tropical system off of the coast was slow to develop and now was going to head up the coast. A high pressure ridge was to the northeast also pumping clear dry air into our area. Water vapor images showed very dry air over the state in the early afternoon. Five bog members were on site and two guests with one from the upstate. No non BOG MAC members showed up for what was a 10+ clear night. Conditions started out warm and the Pipe Nebula in the Milky Way was a naked eye object. There was almost no sky glow on the eastern horizon and stars were visible between the trees to the south. As the night progressed the temperature dropped. The dew was light. When Uranus was viewed Titania at Mag 13.9 about 30arcsec was easy to see and a 75% confidence of seeing Oberon at mag 14.3 within 10arcsec of Uranus's disk. The night was also marked by several nice meteor's with one having a nice trail. As the night progressed the 12" primary was forming some dew around the edges and by 3 am it was time to pack up and head home. [PGR]

Fri 7 Sept: A high pressure ridge and potential tropical system on a cold front off of the coast promised a clear Friday night and depending on the track of the low an unknown Saturday night. Several had planned on using the MAC-Hunter site on Friday and watch sports on Saturday or had other commitments. The CSC predicted some clouds just after sunset. Seven BOG members were on site and all observatories were active and before the night was over three additional scopes and 4 members were in the observing field.
Arriving before sunset it was clear and remained clear as Jupiter and Antares were starting to show and stability was very good. Jupiter was showing many bands and Antares companion was and easy split at 330x in the 12". As the CSC predicted clouds from the north and shut down the site for about an hour. Conditions slowly cleared and resulted in an average summer night which slowly improved to better then average in the early AM. One high light of the evening was while I was observing M38 and NGC 1907 at low power a meteor bisected M38 and left a glowing train which persisted for a second or so when viewed in the eyepiece. As the night progressed the 12" primary was forming some dew around the edges as Mars was just starting to get high enough to show some darker regions when I packed up about 3am. [PGR]

Thr 6 Sept: Before the meeting the Sun was low to the west and into some thin clouds. Using the PST one solar prominence on its eastern limb was observed for a while. At about 7:10 pm the Sun went behind some thicker clouds. After the meeting two telescopes were setup. One 11" SCT and the 12" Newtonian. Jupiter was the first target and supplied good images at 300x After everybody viewed Jupiter for a while other objects were selected. The first was the double double in Lyra, then Alberio and M57. With all of the easy objects spotted it was time to find some more challenging ones so Jim W. located M31 and M11. [PGR]

Sun 2 Sept: Unexpected blue skies were present in the afternoon. Since Monday was a Labor day a short notice observing session email was sent late afternoon. Two of us went to the swamp and at sunset one or two small puffy clouds were visible also on the drive some additional clouds very low the south to the north west were seen. Jupiter was the first target and the GRS was to transit was at 8:54 pm and was a nice view but it is not too red. The Milky Way was well defined. Bernard E was one of the first dark nebula targeted. Several more were found in the Milky Way. Other object observed with a filter and wide field eyepiece were the North American, Pelican and the Veil nebula. All were very bright compared with the sky background. Several Cool Galactic Carbon stars and some nice doubles were also hunted down. [PGR]

Sun 12 Aug: Sunday's late afternoon conditions looked much better then Saturday's. The thunderstorms on the front to the south were popping up from south Al. to Fl panhandle and Southwest Ga. At 7:00 pm the direction of the tops of the storms looked like they would miss the Congaree swamp and a go was posted. I had one rider with me and we left northeast Columbia at 8:00 pm and arrived at the out parking area at 8:25. Two other members were already on site with no other in the field. It was still warm and not dark. I set up the 12" shortly after arriving and Jupiter was viewed while the sky was still blue gray. Seeing was vary stable and exceeded magnification provided by the currently available 6 mm radian. By 10 pm 3 additional members arrived and later in the night a couple out of Columbia showed up and watched for a while until the ants ran them off. Conditions were about mag 4+ at the zenith because of transparency most of the night. The meteor rate detected was low but there were a few nice grazers in the early evening. Most of the time all but the person at the scope were watching for meteors which some appeared to come in pairs. About 2 am several of the have to work on Monday called it a night and as one other member showed up. I will have to say that they missed the best fireball of the night. It left a nice trail and it lasted long enough for everybody to view it at low power in the scope. With the new arrival we now had access to a 4mm Plossl giving 481x. Mars was rising and by 5 am when we packed up it was showing some dark markings. The other notable objects viewed that night were Uranus, blue snow ball, double cluster in Perseus, M31. M32. M110, M33, M11, M13, Veil, M57, M27, Double stars and carbon star or two. [PGR]

Sat 11 Aug: Conditions in the early afternoon looked good for the primary and a go was called. At about 3:00 pm thunderstorms developed along front in Ga. and resulted with the MAC-Hunter being located on the edge of the cirrus. We had 3 on site. One bog member working on observatory and the 12" and one other member beside me. We did get some clearings and The Veil, M57, M13, Jupiter and Neptune were targeted. We packed up once and then looked up and it was clear again and pulled everything out. During this short window of clear skies a nice Perseid grazer was seen. [PGR]

Thu 5 Jul: After the meeting at ETV the skies were clear and Venus and Saturn were still up and Jupiter was also in a good spot. Seeing was good and most of the viewing was done at 150x. Other object were M57, Alberio, Alcor-Mizar and M4.[PGR]

Wed 4 Jul: I was near US-1 between I-20 and I-26 for a 4'th get together at my brother in law's. As the sky started to get darker for the evening I move my car away from the edge of the street to make room for the various large fire works that were to be ignited in the street. To the west Venus and Saturn were in the clear and also Jupiter was high to the southeast. The old saying if you build it they will come, but this night it would be if you set it up they will look. I almost always have my 10" DOB in the car and it had been cloudy for a while and it seem like a good reason to set the scope up. I found what looked like a safe spot near the house where I could see both Saturn and Jupiter and set up. Seeing was rather good even with Saturn so low. It only took a little coaxing to get a few to look. This was followed by cell phones being pulled out and by the first one and they call back to there house to get the rest of the family out to see. A few said the view was better then the fireworks which I must say were rather good with plenty of mortars and about 3 or more families each with a large load of the big things. As the night progressed the few that remained were treated to the dimmer stuff. M13, M92, M57, M27, Alberio, M81, M82, Mizar-Altar, the double double in Lyra, M4 and NGC6231 (Jewel box in Scorpius) [PGR]

Fri 29 Jun: Another cloudy day. Still in FL. Surely, we won't have the same luck as last night? Went to dinner. It was even drizzling as we drove back to the hotel at 9:15pm! Yep, it cleared just enough for us to observe for a little over an hour. Started with Jupiter, then Vesta. Then Alberio and M13. All from the parking lot of the Hilton in Cocoa Beach, FL! [EMW]

Thu 28 Jun: Was down in Cocoa Beach, FL, for the Dawn Educator Workshop. Took my Meade 8" SCT and set up in the parking lot of the hotel. The goal was to observe Vesta, one of the targets of the Dawn mission. Most of the day had been cloudy, even had pouring rain in the late afternoon (one of those good car-washing rains). Had designated 9:30 to 10:30pm as our observing session. After dinner, started to relax, thinking that there was going to be no observing. But by golly, it cleared off sufficiently and we observed. Had about 40 or so people from the workshop as well as some of the science team (attending the science symposium for Dawn) come out and observe. Started off with Venus and Saturn, then over to the moon and Jupiter. Finally, after identifying Vesta with binoculars, I found it in the telescope. [EMW]

Fri May 18: Poinsett State Park with scouts and others. We had 4 scopes and a large amount of scouts and other campers. The two day old moon and venus were the early objects and then Saturn was the WOW object. M3, M81, M82, M65, M66, M13, M104, M44 and M51 were target for the last of the group to leave. We left the park at about 11 pm [PGR]

Fri May 11: Congaree Swamp Owl Prowl night. Two of us arrived at the visitor center a few minutes before the Owl Prowl tour left. With this a mothers day weekend the out parking area was almost empty. Only one camper, no fires or other lights. Conditions were clear and stable. Between dark and when the Owl prowl group arrived the one camper viewed many objects. Saturn was very good all night and the group from the out prowl did stay long enough to see Jupiter rise above the tree line. It was near midnight when we left. [PGR]

Sun Apr 22: Congaree Swamp Nature Fest solar viewing day 2. Sunday had a large attendance but did not overflow the parking area. The Sun was a little more active most of the day and had somebody at the eyepiece 75% of the day. [PGR]

Sat Apr 21: from Alexandria, VA... Setup 152mm refractor on sundeck of building. Invited neighbors to come up and observe. Had about 7 come up during the evening. Observed mostly showpiece stuff: Venus, moon, Saturn. Also observed Jupiter when it was rising. Took some pics of M13 and tried to image Vesta (for Dawn mission stuff). First warm night, but still put on coat around midnight as there is a constant breeze on the rooftop. Went to bed about 3am. [EMW]

Sat Apr 21: Congaree Swamp Owl Prowl Viewing session. We had 2 11", 1 10", 1 8" and 1 4.5" setup after sunset in the out parking area. Good views of Saturn and other objects to the campers Owl Prowl group. Clear and steady conditions allowed many to see the texture in M82. Because of the early morning solar session we left under clear conditions and with the moon heading for the western horizon about midnight. [PGR]

Sat Apr 21: Congaree Swamp Nature Fest solar viewing. We had Brian's PST with a line all day. Once we located Venus and the moon additional telescopes were used. Reports of over 1000 visitors to the park on Saturday. [PGR]

Sat Apr 7: Spring Cookout at MAC-Hunter was held. Conditions were clear and cold. Several guests and scopes setup in the field. Steady seeing conditions for the early evening provided good views of Saturn and high power views of deep space objects. As the moon was about to rise a few of us stopped at the low horizon site to check for some low southern objects. Omega Centauri did resolve to as a few stars while is was a few degrees above the horizon. The moon and Jupiter were rising in the east as we called it a night and packed up for the second time that night. [PGR]

Sat Mar 24: Trailblazer camping trip near I-20 exit #51. The CSC showed clearing after sunset and conditions matched the forecast. Two Scopes and two members were on site from Sunset until after 11 pm. Saturn was steady and the highlight of the night. The moon came in as a must see object. Various open clusters filled the menu but M42, M3 and a few galaxies and a carbon star or two kept people a the eyepieces. [PGR]

Fri Mar 23: Was an Owl Prowl Night at the swamp. Conditions were forecast for average transparency but in the late afternoon the transparency was very good. 2 scopes 3 members and one future member met at the swamp after sunset. As it got dark several scouts and other campers were viewing objects until after 10:30 pm. Saturn was very steady at 200 power. The moon was a target but was still thin allowing some of the brighter galaxies to star clusters to be viewed. Some clouds to the Northwest showed up around 11:30 and the last two of us headed out after 12. [PGR]

Sat Mar 17: It looked like a good forecast for the evening. Both the MAC-Hunter site and the "Caldwell" site down the street were in use. Two of us used the dead end road site. Conditions started clear with some clouds to the east and south. It was cool early and at times a little breeze amplified the cool. M74 and M77 were attempted for a while after it was getting but some thin clouds, glare from Venus and some light domes in the area along with rusty star hopping skills allowed both those objects to slip too low before being viewed. By this time M31 and M32 were still visible but M110 was not. M33 also was not to be found. Conditions were much better higher and to the north. The notable objects were M42 which is heading west fast, M47 and M48, M35, The double cluster, M3, M13, M51, M81, M82 M65, M66, M97, IC2391. [PGR]

Sat Mar 3: For the lunar eclipse it was mostly cloudy at sunset with a potential for clearing to occur. Three of us met at the hill behind the Columbia Place mall and waited for the clouds to the east to be replaced by the clear overhead. Sometime after 7:00 pm when total phase was ending we spotted a bright area in the clouds and for a few minutes the edge of the moon that was out of the umbra was visible through the thinning clouds. About 20 minutes later a hole between two lines of cirrus opened where the moon was in the sky and the moon was showing some redness in the region of the umbra. At about 8:00 pm we packed up and went home. [PGR]

Mon Feb 26: On the Saturday before this event the conditions were predicted to be cloudy. As it turns out the outreach event at Saluda River Academy for the Arts in West Columbia were much better then expected. It was clear and transparent with stable seeing conditions. Four club member scopes and one other owned by a parent were on hand. The gibbous moon as the main target of the night but Venus, Saturn, M42, M45 and one half of the double cluster gave it some competition. A quick guess of 30 plus [PGR]

Sat Feb 10: Conditions were much better then expected. I had to stay in Columbia and did a little bit of testing with the Meade Video eyepiece and LPI. Send any reports from the Primary OS or any observing so it can be posted. [PGR]

Thu Feb 8: A quick trip after dinner to the swamp with my nephew which was visiting from out of town. It was after 11 pm before we arrived and the site was vacant. Orion was already in the west heading for the tree line and transparency was about average. The winter Milky Way near the western tree line and was not apparent do to some cirrus and skyglow to the west. After moving batteries from my read flashlight to my telrad a quick tour of the brighter objects started. Objects viewed included the nebula's M42, M1, M97 and NGC2438 in M46. Galaxies M81, M82, M108, the Leo triplet M65, M66 and NGC3628 and open clusters M44, M46, M47, M35, M38 and NGC1907. M3 was the only globular cluster viewed but resolved to many stars. Saturn was viewed after the moon was making the sky bright and showed some patchy cirrus. We packed up and headed out before 1 AM. [PGR]

Sat Jan 6: Clear Sky Clock looked great for Saturday Night at the Congaree Swamp location, so Paul R and I decided to try it. The highlights of the evening were NO CAMPERS, No Flashlights, Headlights, and observing in Jan in shorts and a flannel shirt. Did I mention it was very clear. We played with the go-to feature on my CPC11, observing M31, M33, M42, M74, the companion to Rigel, and numerous other objects. The night ended with Saturn and the moon breaking over the trees just as the clouds came in. [DVW]