Thursday, August 2, 2018

August 2018

August 13th 2100 GMT



I set another camera trap for the Perseids, aimed at Cassiopeia.

August 13th 1540 GMT



The Sun was even quieter than it had been recently.


August 11th 0650 GMT


I got my solar observations and photo shoot in early, as the weather forecast was poor. The Sun seemed rather quiet, yet again.




August 10th 2110 GMT


I took a few frames of Jupiter with its moons then set a camera trap for the Perseids.

As Jupiter was low, I caught some tree branches with the background stars.



My shots were out of focus but I caught 4 meteors on camera.





August 7th 1210 GMT


The Sun was quiet again, even in hydrogen alpha light.




August 6th 1050 GMT


The Sun was quiet in hydrogen alpha light.


August 5th 1020 GMT


I took some full disc shots of the Sun with my PST and DSLR and the Moon with my DSLR only.






August 5th 0030 GMT

Mars was well-placed, not just at a high elevation (well higher than 2/3 nights ago) and also in a good position to view from my back garden. Unfortunately, it showed little detail visually, so was quite disappointing. As cloud and moonlight were encroaching and my camera was full of attempts to catch meteors, I decided to call it a night.

August 5th 2305 GMT


I saw a bright meteor (about magnitude -3) flash through Triangulum, with a short trail.

August 4th 2245 GMT


I did not have an intervalometer for my Konica Minolta DSLR, so took occasional snaps of the Cassiopeia region at ISO 3200, 18mm focal length and 10 seconds exposure.




August 4th 2225 GMT


I aimed my DSLR at Cassiopeia at 70mm focal length ISO 6400 and 7 seconds exposure. The idea was to catch some early Perseids.

At about 2246 GMT, I caught one.


Make that two, 30 seconds later.


At 2302 GMT. I caught a faint sporadic meteor.


At 2321, I caught another Perseid.


As a by-product of my meteor imaging, I stacked 383 images to produce an image of Cassiopeia and the Perseus Double Cluster.


August 4th 2115 GMT


Jupiter looked great, visually. I tried to get focus using the Bresser Electronic Eyepiece but really needed to wait until the Moon was around for a focus target.


I took some snaps of Jupiter and Saturn with my Mak and DSLR. I caught some hint of the cloud belts of Jupiter.


All four Galilean moons were visible.


Saturn even showed some cloud belts.


August 3rd 1215 GMT

I was pleased to see the Sun in a clear sky, as the weather forecast had suggested otherwise. There seemed to be some activity near the limbs, so I snapped in hope!

August 2nd 2115 GMT


As it was quite late and I had work the next day, I decided to have a quick look at the planets. I took some afocal shots with my DSLR, just in case I could see something "on film". I started with the Mak at 48x magnification. Although experience had suggested that I would get better views at much higher magnification, the air was not stable and the images were “dancing”.

Jupiter showed a surprising amount of detail, showing polar shading as well as the cloud belts. I only caught a hint of the cloud belts on camera.



Saturn’s rings looked great, although I could not make out the Cassini Division. I could see some surface shading. Not a great photo, though.




Finally, Mars suggested that the worst of the storm was over, as I could see some green patches, once thought to be vegetation. I was also amazed that it was noticeably brighter than Jupiter and its disc was large. I thought it would look great at one o’clock but I had work the next day.


August 2nd 1035 GMT


The Sun looked quiet in hydrogen alpha light but I was glad to have a clear patch of sky to catch it “on film”.



I processed another frame.




August 2nd 0600 GMT


I snapped a waning gibbous moon with my DSLR. Unfortunately, all frames were over-exposed.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

July 2018

July 31st 0700 GMT

The Sun was very quiet in hydrogen alpha light again.


July 29th 0700 GMT

The Sun was quiet again but I found some features "on film".



July 26th 2100 GMT

I wanted to photograph the Moon, Saturn and Mars in the same frame but was prevented from doing so by cloud.

I tried to snap Jupiter’s moons instead.




July 25th 1300 GMT

The Sun was quiet in hydrogen alpha light again.  


        

July 24th 1125 GMT

Again, the Sun was quiet in hydrogen alpha light and extensive etalon re-tuning failed to reveal any detail.




July 23rd 2230 GMT

I snapped the Moon with my DSLR.




July 23rd 1130 GMT


The Sun was quiet again and I took some full disc shots.



July 22nd 2050 GMT


I went back to “good” old afocal photography. Only Venus was in a cloud-free position. I took some snaps with my DSLR and Mak at 62x magnification and another set at 186x. There was lots of instability in the air, otherwise I would have tried boosting the magnification further. A gibbous phase was clear and I just hoped I’d caught something decent on camera.

As it turned out, the lower magnification shots gave the sharpest results.



July 22nd 1325 GMT

The Sun looked quiet in hydrogen alpha light, as I did a photo shoot.

July 21st 2045 GMT


I took some full disc shots of the Moon with my DSLR.



July 19th 2110 GMT


I took some frames of the Moon and Jupiter with its moons with my DSLR.



July 19th 1310 GMT

It cleared enough to check out the Sun with my PST. Apart from some reddening near the limbs, the solar disc was quiet.




July 16th 2030 GMT

I took some shots of the Moon with Venus with my DSLR.

Only the Moon worked but not that well.




July 15th 1030 GMT


The Sun was quiet again, even in hydrogen alpha light.



July 15th 2330 GMT

I recovered a bit but decided to have a session with the camera alone, in case I felt queasy again. I used the DSLR at 70mm focal length, ISO 6400 and 8 seconds exposure.

First, I took a few frames of Aquila to see if I could stack some shots.

My next target was Sagitta.

I didn't get either but I did get the Coathanger and its surroundings.


I used Microsoft ICE to stack part of the constellation.




Although it was low in the sky, I tried Triangulum.





I then increased the focal length to 300mm and reduced the exposure time to 2 seconds. I tried Melotte 20 and the Perseus Double Cluster.




July 14th 2200 GMT


I had a few more problems with the Meade Electronic Eyepiece. I took a few shots of Jupiter with my Mak and DSLR using various exposure times and focal lengths up to 9 metres. I caught some nice frames of the moons. I was going to image Saturn but could not, as I was feeling unwell.



July 14th 0730 GMT


Despite carefully re-tuning my etalon, the solar disc seemed very bland and quiet.



July 11th 1015 GMT


The Sun seemed much quieter than the day before.



July 10th 0650 GMT

The professional observatories showed some faculae rotating onto the solar disc. They were difficult to make out in hydrogen alpha light.


July 9th 1410 GMT


The sky cleared for a while to a sun quiet in hydrogen alpha light.




July 8th 2130 GMT

I took some shots of Jupiter with my DSLR in an attempt to capture its moons. The initial frames seemed over-exposed, so I reduced the exposure time.


July 8th 1400 GMT

The Sun seemed rather quiet and I took some full disc shots.


July 8th 2345 GMT


I waited for it to get as dark as it gets but possibly waited a bit too long, as Jupiter was close to setting. I used my Mak and DSLR in an attempt to capture Jupiter’s moons and Titan around Saturn. I used 1.54m focal length, ISO 6400 and 2/3 second exposure.

The focus wasn't great but I caught all five moons.




I attempted to repeat the same settings with the Andromeda Galaxy (M31) and Melotte 20. It didn't work on M31 and the Melotte 20 shots just showed Alpha Persei.


I finished by taking the DSLR out on its own with 70mm focal length, ISO 6400 and 8 seconds exposure. My targets were the small constellations Corona Borealis and Delphinus.

Result!



July 7th 1800 GMT


The Sun looked quiet in hydrogen alpha light, even quieter than the day before.




July 6th 2225 GMT


I took some frames of Jupiter and Saturn with my DSLR in the hope of capturing some moons.




July 6th 0700 GMT


The last quarter moon was quite high just past south. I took some snaps with my DSLR at 300mm.




The Sun looked quiet in hydrogen alpha light and I took some full disc frames.


July 1st 2300 GMT


It was my first session of a new month and I started with my Mak and DSLR on the Moon.




To be honest, I did not adjust the ISO setting when I should have, so some shots were wasted, especially the ones of Jupiter’s moons. I had a go at Jupiter, Saturn and Mars with the same set-up but more in hope than expectancy.

The shots of Jupiter's disc were fuzzy but the result with the moons was not bad,


I caught Saturn's rings but little else.


Mars showed very little.



I took a few frames of the Moon with Mars. With a bit of digital wizardry, I combined one of them with the individual images of the Moon and Mars.



I changed the set-up to the DSLR at 70mm ISO 6400 and 8 seconds exposure to . With moonlight, it was not a good night for constellation or deep sky photography but I went for Cassiopeia, the Andromeda Galaxy (M31), Melotte 20 and the Perseus Double Cluster. The Double Cluster shot did not work but the other three did.




I then tried to capture Titan and Jupiter’s moons with 300mm focal length.

I caught Saturn with Titan.



... and another shot of Jupiter's moons.