Saturday, November 2, 2013

November 2013

November 2013

Nov 30th 2215 GMT

I wasn't feeling great, so I didn't go out for a big shoot but I pointed my DSLR at the zenith for two exposures at 18mm, ISO 800 and 30 seconds exposure to produce this final image. It would not load here, so this is the link:

Nov 30th 1235 GMT

I bin scanned the Sun during a traffic hold-up on the M4 on the way home at 1235 GMT and I saw a lot of new activity.

Nov 25th 2040 GMT

I was in Dusseldorf on business and it was clear enough to try some constellation photography. My first set of shots were well overexposed and out of focus but I stacked the best 3 of 6 frames of Cygnus and Lyra taken at 18mm focal length with a DSLR at ISO 400. The stacked image was processed using GIMP.

To make matters even more interesting, I saw a bright magnitude -6 fireball flash north to south through Pegasus at 2054 GMT.

Nov 23rd 1120 GMT

A solar bin scan showed that the large sunspot had rotated near the limb.

Nov 23rd 0955 GMT

I bin scanned a waning gibbous moon low in the west. Some southern craters were still visible but there were no extensive ray systems on view, although Kepler showed well. Grimaldi was visible but quite near the limb.

Nov 22nd 1200 GMT

I went out with the Mak and did some afocal solar shots. I was struggling a lot with ISO and exposure time settings. I was going to continue with some hydrogen alpha shots when cloud rolled in. To make matters worse, none of the shots was useable, so I resorted to drawing the sunspots.

Nov 22nd 0630 GMT

I woke up early (not by design) and checked the positions of Comets ISON and Lovejoy online. After a lot of searching, I found both of them in binoculars but dawn and moonlight made the search somewhat difficult. I found them both but, under the viewing conditions, I could only see fuzzy comas and no tails.

Nov 21st 2040 GMT

The evening weather had been very inconsistent, with lots of moving cloud and clear spells in between. When I went out, thin cloud was scattering moonlight. As the Moon was near Jupiter, I took some snaps of the two together before doing a big lunar shoot with full disc and close-up shots. I had a go at capturing Jupiter’s moons, then had a go at the Pleaides (M44). The initial results didn’t seem too promising but the cluster looked nice through the telescope,  even though I could not see the whole of it in a field of view. Unfortunately, most of the shots suffered from poor focus and over-exposure, so I just managed the conjunction and stitched 2 imaging runs together to produce one lunar image covering most of the lunar surface. Not much to show for more than 100 images!


Nov 21st 1630 GMT

I spotted Venus in the dusk sky and estimated a phase of 45% through my binoculars.

Nov 21st 1150 GMT

I checked the Sun with my PST, The large sunspot was very obvious and I could see some small prominences and nice filaments. I took some afocal shots with my DSLR.

Nov 21st 1630 GMT

I spotted Venus in the dusk sky and estimated a phase of 45% through my binoculars.

Nov 21st 1145 GMT

Fortunately, conditions were rather better than the day before and I managed to see two sunspots, the other one from the previous day had rotated off or was too close to the limb to see.


Nov 20th 2110 GMT

I was going to do some constellation shots, having seen the Summer Triangle earlier in the evening. When I went out there was cloud and the Moon was up. I did several afocal shots with my Mak and DSLR. I was using ISO 3200 to get a sharper shot with a short exposure. 

First up was 10 shots stacked of 22 for the whole lunar disc.

I didn't quite cover the full disc but I managed to stitch a series of close-up shots.

Nov 20th 1400 GMT

After a very wet morning and lunchtime, it cleared enough to see sunspots through my binoculars.

Nov 19th 0945 GMT

Due to an upgrade on my PC, I've had to use Powerpoint to draw sunspots instead of CorelDraw. Fortunately, it showed the sunspot patterns quite well.

Nov 15th 0715 GMT

There was a lot of moving cloud and some rain but I still managed to record some sunspots. The large one looked really impressive.

Nov 14th 0715 GMT

After a cloudy, wet period in Malta,  I saw that new sunspot activity had emerged.

Nov 10th 1020 GMT

Conditions were hazy but I managed to see two sunspots.

Nov 10th 2330 GMT

I had another go at last night’s shots but also tried M42 afocally and Jupiter’s moons. Nothing really quite worked but I managed to capture the stars of the southern half of Orion.

Nov 9th 1830 GMT

It was just about dark but there was some thin cloud around. I took a few shots of the Moon afocally with my DSLR for the first time. The Moon was almost at first quarter and there were lots of features on show. Only two out of 25 frames were of sufficient quality, so I stacked both of them to get the final image. OK, it's not perfect but it was my first attempt at the image.

Nov 8th 2130 GMT

I found a hotel balcony with an east view and took some snaps of Orion and Gemini and some attempted close-ups of Jupiter and M42. Only the constellation shots revealed anything.

I also browsed the sky with binoculars and enjoyed a nice view of the Orion Great Nebula (M42) and the Hyades. I also saw Jupiter had one moon to the west and three to the east. I could see M35, although it wasn’t at its best and the Beehive (M44).

Nov 7th 1730 GMT

I did another photo shoot with the Moon and Venus together.


Nov 6th  1810 GMT

I captured the Moon with Venus in the evening sky.

Nov 6th 0720 GMT

I saw the Sun low down in the morning sky before travelling to work and saw that many sunspots were around.

Nov 3rd 1655 GMT

A binocular scan of Venus suggested a phase of 55%. The official figure is 48%, so either some of the "night" side is partially illuminated or the Pugh Effect is at work. Shame I was separated from my 127mm Maksutov to do a phase estimation with that.

Nov 1st 1030 GMT

I managed to check the Sun with binoculars through some gaps in the cloud. The surface was much quieter than previous days but there were still a few sunspots around.