Thursday, March 7, 2019

March 2019

March 24th 2025 GMT


The clear sky continued past dusk and I wanted to revisit some deep sky objects with my DSLR at 300mm focal length, ISO 6400 and 2 seconds exposure. Unfortunately, the focus was a bot off.

First up was the Pleaides (M45), mostly as a sighter.




I saw a few stars in Perseus before I caught my intended target, M34.


Same for M35.



I then moved to Regulus.

More in hope than judgement I went for M65 and M66 in Leo.


I finished with the Tau Canis Majoris cluster.

March 24th 1050 GMT


There was a rare clear sky, I shot the Sun in hydrogen alpha light using my PST. The solar disc seemed quiet.



I saw some sunspots on the Big Bear and Learmonth images, so I had a go in white light with my DSLR and Mak. I used 1.54m focal length, ISO 100 and 1/4000 second exposure. Early indications showed that I had caught some sunspots about to rotate off. They appear as a single sunspot near the "4 o' clock" position.




March 23rd 0945 GMT

There were some sunspots on the Learmonth Solar Observatory images. Despite moving cloud, I tries to see them with my binoculars and filters but without success.

March 17th 2335 GMT


The sky was clear but it was cold and I felt too tired to drag a telescope outside. I took some full disc solar shots with my DSLR at 300mm focal length, ISO 6400 and 1/4000 second focal length.


March 17th 1015 GMT


There was lots of moving cloud around but I managed a few shots of the Sun with my PST and DSLR.




March 16th 2355 GMT


There was a lot of moving cloud around but I managed to snap the Moon with my DSLR anyway. I used 300mm focal length, ISO 6400 and 1/4000 second exposure.




March 14th 1235 GMT


The Sun looked quiet in my Coronado PST, although the professional observatories showed some features. I snapped in hope! I caught some minor activity on the edge of the solar disc, so processed the Red and Green channels separately.




March 12th 2235


There was a rare patch of clear sky, so I “attacked” the Moon with my DSLR at 300mm focal length, ISO 6400 and 1/4000 second exposure. Unfortunately, all attempts were ruined by poor focus.

I also tried some longer-exposure shots on the Moon with nearby Aldebaran. Now these DID work!




March 11th 1010 GMT


The Sun was quiet again in hydrogen alpha light, as I took some more images.




March 10th 2330 GMT


I went out again and shot a few frames of Leo at ISO 6400, 30 seconds exposure and 16mm focal length. I realised that the ISO was too high, so reshot with 15 seconds exposure. I stacked 13 frames and also caught Leo Minor above Leo.




March 10th 2035 GMT


I went out to catch Perseus on film but found conditions difficult with moving cloud. I kept moving the camera around to catch patches of clear sky.

The first shot was the Plough but I had to remove a lot of stray light.




I got my Perseus shot for a writing project but attempts to stack multiple images resulted in some stars appearing double. I processed a single frame that also included the Pleaides (M45).



I caught the Hyades and Pleaides in the same frame.




I took two frames of Cassiopeia but they didn't stack. I processed a single shot and caught the Perseus Double Cluster and Melotte 20 in the same frame.




March 10th 1835 GMT


There was still a lot of moving cloud around so I just shot the Moon with my DSLR at 300mm focal length, ISO 400 and 1/200 second exposure.




March 10th 1215 GMT



I had been watching moving cloud, on and off, for a while when I finally caught a clear spell and photographed the Sun. It was quiet in hydrogen alpha light.


March 7th 0940 GMT


Finally, March kicked off with a clear patch of sky between the clouds. The Sun was quiet but I had a nice, sharp image with my Coronado PST.



Thursday, February 7, 2019

Non-Astronomy Photos 2019

March 22nd


I was walking our dogs on one of our usual routes and just happened to see a nice pattern of flowers on a hedge.



March 11th

After photographing the Sun, I snapped some daffodils in our garden.






March 9th


I passed St Mary the Virgin Church at Upton Scudamore.



March 7th

I passed the River Thames at Kemble. It was about the same level as the last time I had stopped there. Neither the original source nor the side stream had water.



I snapped Winchcombe Church but the door was locked, so no inside shots.





I snapped another source of the Thames, Swill Brook after dark. It was flowing, whilst it had been almost dry the last time I looked. The photo, however, looked uninspiring.

February 25

We took our dogs to a local park and I caught this tree in blossom.




February 15

I was between appointments and visited Blaise Castle in Bristol. It looks nice but is a tough climb. I also saw many squirrels on the way up, although they were reluctant to pose for photos.










February 7th

I saw a rainbow from home.




I drove past Kemble and, on the way out of the village, stopped by the River Thames. The last time I had seen it, it was dry. There was some water but it was quite shallow and the original source of the Thames and a side stream that joins the main river were both dry.


Outside Nailsworth. I found a crop of snowdrops. In fact, I had past several that day but it was not always easy to stop for a photo while driving,


I was in Nailsworth when I snapped the clock tower.


I also snapped the well beside Nailsworth Stream.

Nailsworth Stream is home to some brown trout, although I did not see any.




St George's Church is a nice landmark.





Saturday, February 2, 2019

February 2019

February 27th 0900 GMT


The Sun was just not very quiet, it was even quieter than that! I took some shots in the vain hope of catching something on camera. I did but not much.


February 27th 0810 GMT

It was rather cold but clear when I checked out the Moon. It was just past last quarter phase and I snapped it with my DSLR at ISO400 300mm focal length and 1/200th second exposure.

Unfortunately, I could not get the right contrast.

February 26th 2250 GMT


I went out again and took some shots of Ursa Minor and Cassiopeia. It was starting to get a bit hazy, so called it a day.



February 26th 2200 GMT



I took a few frames of Leo using my DSLR at 300mm focal length, ISO 6400 and 10 seconds exposure. Some mist ruined the photo but I managed to get the main star patterns.


February 25th 2030 GMT


I took a few widefield shots of Gemini, then reset the controls for star trails around the Pole Star. I caught Cancer as well.




February 25th 1840 GMT



I saw Mercury low near the western horizon. It was too low to catch in a telescope. Binoculars showed it as a disc but I could not detect the phase. I tried the DSLR on it, more in hope than expectancy. I needed to remove a lot of chromatic aberration.


February 25th 1000 GMT


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




February 24th 2200 GMT


I returned outside with my DSLR and used it at 300mm focal length, ISO 6400 and 2 seconds exposure.


First was the Orion Great Nebula (M42).


After an OK-ish result from a single frame, I revisited the stacked image to extract more detail.


Then there were 27 frames of the Pleaides:


Again, I tried an alternative process to show more stars and some nebulousity, although the result was not so sharp.


The Beehive (M44) was out of focus but looked OK when I shrunk it.


February 24th 2000 GMT


I tried a few constellation shots, mostly around Orion but did not have much luck. I managed 3 decent frames of Orion and stacked them using DSS.




February 19th 0625 GMT 


The Moon appeared full, low in the north west, so I took some frames with my DSLR at 300mm focal length, ISO 100 and 1/2500th second exposure.




February 18th 2000 GMT

Things did not go to plan! I attempted lunar close-ups with my Mak and Bresser Electronic Eyepiece and I had PC crashes and clouds to contend with. I managed two imaging runs aimed at Plato and Copernicus/Kepler.



February 18th 1740 GMT


It was not long after sunset and I knew that Mercury was in the evening sky. Superficially, the sky appeared clear but, on checking the area near sunset, I could not see any sign of the planet. The Moon, however, was different. It was near full and Tycho’s rays were dominating the moonscape. I could also see Plato, Copernicus and Kepler.

I followed up with some snaps of the Moon with my DSLR at the same settings as the evening before. I managed three shots in focus, so combined them.




February 17th 2110 GMT


There was lots of moving cloud around but I found a clear patch to take some frames of the Moon with my DSLR at 300mm focal length, ISO 100 and 1/2000 second exposure.




February 16th 2110 GMT



Despite the weather forecast, there was a lot of haze so I snapped the Moon early using the same approach as the evening before.


February 15th 1615 GMT


I was out and about with only binoculars. The sky was very clear, so I took a look at the Moon, which was well clear of the horizon. I could clearly see Clavius and Tycho’s ray system was already prominent. Despite the daylight, the contrast was very good.

Although the Learmonth images did not show any features on the Sun, I decided to have a rare look at the Sun, as I normally carry my filters with me. I did not see any features. The Sun was quiet, indeed.

February 15th 1115 GMT


The Sun looked quiet in hydrogen alpha light again.




February 14th 2110 GMT



I took some shots of the Moon with my DSLR only. I used 300mm focal length, 1/2000 second exposure and ISO 100.

I was very pleasantly surprised to end up with nine images in focus. I stacked them using Microsoft ICE, then finished in GIMP. I removed the red and blue channels and adjusted colour, curves, brightness and contrast to end up with a decent result.


February 14th 1350 GMT



The Sun appeared quiet in hydrogen alpha light again but I saw some minor signs of activity.


February 13th 2110 GMT

After an underwhelming couple of lunar shoots two days before, I increased the exposure time to 1/160 second, with ISO 100 and 1.54m focal length. It seemed to work better and I stacked 110 frames.




February 11th 2120 GMT


It was my first use of my 127mm Maksutov for the year. The Moon was nicely placed from our back garden. Unfortunately, my Bresser Electronic Eyepiece caused my PC to crash. I think it may have been because I had to rebuild my PC in January. I used my DSLR with my Mak instead to obtain some full disc shots. I used ISO 100, 1.54m focal length and 1/200 second exposure.

Unfortunately, the result was disappointing, despite having stacked 70 images.




February 11th 1845 GMT



I did another shot of the Moon with my DSLR using the same settings as the evening before.


February 11th 1510 GMT



The Sun was quiet again in hydrogen alpha light.


A second attempt at processing revealed a little more detail.



February 10th 2120 GMT



I snapped the Moon with my DSLR at 300mm focal length, ISO 100 and 1/1000 second exposure.


February 7th 0940 GMT


There was a persistent clear patch of sky around the Sun. A view through my PST suggested that the Sun was very quiet but I took some full disc shots in the hope of detecting something. The Big Bear images that morning also suggested an unusually quiet sun.




February 2nd 0940 GMT


There was snow and ice around, so I snapped the Sun in hydrogen alpha light from indoors. It was the most blank and featureless Sun I'd seen but the Big Bear images showed little, too,