Observing Saturday September 10th, Cates Hill Park

Observing Targets for tonight include the Supernova in the Pinwheel Galaxy, Comet Garradd, Several of the brighter clusters, Jupiter, the moon, & the Northern Lights, or the Aurora Borealis. Tonight’s observing run will be dominated by the brilliant light of a nearly full moon, as well as possible northern light activity stimulated by recent CME, or coronal mass ejection events. Several more are expected to reach the earth over the weekend. We should be in for a great show! More can be found at SpaceWeather.com on this and other current celestial events.

On a much more controversial note, there are ongoing studies that are taking place that find a statistical correlation between CME’s and earthquakes. We just had a CME hit the earth on the September 9th, and then experienced an 6.7 magnitude earthquake off of Port Alice on Vancouver Island. According to solarIMG, we are in for more CME’s over the weekend, with the earthquake risk window still open. While some may feel this to be sensationalist & irresponsible to be reporting, I feel it’s better to be informed and prepared than sorry.

I will also be trying my hand at some astrophotography so if there are any photography buffs out there please come and share your experience & passion! We may even be able to take photos with our digital cameras, hand held at the eyepiece so it’s theoretically possible that we can capture photos of the supernova, aurora, and Jupiter. Bring your iPods for a trial run too!

Not to be out-shined is the supernova event in the pinwheel galaxy, M101 that we viewed last weekend. Estimates have it still available as a target in binoculars for the next few days.

We will still experience Jupiter will be its jovian self in spite of the light pollution as it rises early each night as the earth moves nearer it’s fall quadrant in its epic journey around the sun.

Clear Skies & Happy Star Trails to You!