Monday, September 3, 2018

September 2018

September 23rd 2130 GMT

The Moon was nearly full and had cleared our house, as seen from the back garden. I started off with a few dozen exposures with my Mak and DSLR. I used 1.54m focal length, ISO 100 and 1/1000 second exposure.

I took a few runs with my Mak and Bresser Electrronic Eyepiece, then turned my attention to Mars. I could clearly see it on my laptop screen! I saw what looked like some albedo features and an ice cap, then my PC crashed.

I restarted my PC and did a few imaging runs of Mars and seemed to catch something. Although the disc was small, I caught some albedo features, with the third effort being the best.

I then revisited the Moon until my laptop froze and I was starting to freeze myself. I decided to quite while I was ahead.

September 21st 0925 GMT

There was some moving cloud but the forecast for later was worse. Therefore, I grabbed a shot of the Sun, even though it was (again!) quiet.

September 17th 2025 GMT

The sky was clear but I had an early start the next day. I took some snaps of the Moon with Saturn then some of the Moon alone. 

I combined the two to get this.


September 17th 1455 GMT

I had some rare clear sky, so snapped the Sun in hydrogen alpha light. There appeared to be some shading.

September 15th 0820 GMT

The weather forecast for later was bad, so I did an early solar hydrogen alpha shoot. I could not see any detail visually, so I hoped that my camera might reveal something. It took some time but managed to catch a nice filament.

September 13th 1945 GMT

I popped out to have a look and found that the Moon was too low for telescopic photography but I could snap it using a hand-held DSLR. Unfortunately, none of the shots worked.

I then re-tried the pole shot from the night before. I managed to hit the right spot.

September 12th 2015 GMT

I decided to have another go at the polar regions. I used ISO 6400, 300mm focal length and 10 seconds exposure. I started off with some dark frames.

I missed Polaris but caught a meteor on film.

... and another one.

I stacked the first hundred photos but had to use Microsoft ICE, as Deep Sky Stacker did not like my images.

I was convinced that one trail was a satellite, rather than a meteor but I was not sure what this was.

I managed to stack the last 51 images to get a deep image of the region.

September 12th 2006 GMT

I was surveying the sky, looking for potential targets when I saw a meteor in the corner of my eye. It was in the Cygnus/Aquila area, so may have been a Kappa Cygnid.

September 9th

It was nice to have some clear sky again but the Sun was still quiet.

September 7th 0650 GMT

The Sun had cleared the trees but was still quiet.

September 7th 0545 GMT

I snapped a thin crescent moon with my DSLR.

September 6th 0505 GMT

I did a dawn raid on the Moon with my DSLR.

September 3rd 1100 GMT

At last some clear sky when I was at home!

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

I also took some snaps of the Moon with my DSLR, although there was a lot of haze. It took a lot of processing to get any detail at all.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

August 2018

August 30th 2125 GMT

The sky was covered by about 80% of cloud but I’d waited what seemed like years since I had been out. I took some close-ups with my DSLR at 300mm of the central part of Cassiopeia, 

One of the frames caught a meteor. 

I also aimed at the Andromeda Galaxy (M31) but think I missed it. Thought wrong but the result was hardly a classic.

I saw a meteor of about magnitude 2 at 2140 GMT. It flashed towards Cassiopeia from the direction of Cygnus so may well have been a Kappa Cygnid.

August 25th 2230 GMT

Conditions were rather poor and I bin scanned the Moon through moving cloud. I was able to see most features, such as the "seas" and Tycho's rays were dominating the moonscape, as expected. Grimaldi stood out, even though it was near the lunar limb and Plato showed well, too.

August 25th 0800 GMT

The Sun was quiet in hydrogen alpha light but it was nice to photograph it again.

August 24th 0715 GMT

The Sun was quiet in hydrogen alpha light and I was not able to grab a photo before cloud rolled in.

August 21st 2200 GMT

It was late, so I just did a quick session. I tried a few frames of the Moon with my DSLR.

I then tried using some background objects to align the Moon with Mars and Saturn for a possible conjunction shot.

Moon with Saturn:

The Mars shot did not work.

I finished with Melotte 20 and caught part of a meteor trail.

August 16th 2030 GMT

My original intention was to snap the Moon using the Bresser Electronic Eyepiece after some full disc shots with the DSLR. Unfortunately, Sharpcap kept crashing with the Electronic Eyepiece, so I just used my DSLR to catch the full disc of the Moon. I used 1.54m focal length, ISO 6400 and 1/4000 second exposure.

I took some snaps of Jupiter with its moons but changed the exposure time to 0.5 second.

I detached my DSLR from my Mak and aimed it above Cassiopeia, in the hope of catching some late Perseids.

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.