Saturday, May 2, 2015

Bird Table Visitors April 30th

I've posted many blackbird and pigeon photos in the past and, indeed, am pretty sure that the blackbird who came on April 30th was the same regular visitor. However, I also caught a coal tit and sparrow on film. I'd seen both species in the garden before but caught them at the bird table for the first time.

Friday, May 1, 2015

May 2015

May 31st 1810 GMT

I bin scanned the Sun in the evening, after a day of intermittent rain and cloud. I saw just a single sunspot.

May 31st

I reprocessed another solar hydrogen alpha image from June 3rd 2011.

May 30th 2310 GMT

Conditions were not great for deep sky photography. Fortunately, I was able to take a few frames of the Moon with my 127mm Maksutov and Konica Minolta DSLR at 1/1000 second exposure. I tried a few frames of Saturn but needed to go to 1/25 second exposure.
I somehow lost the Saturn shots.

May 29th

I reprocessed a solar hydrogen alpha shot from June 3rd 2011.

May 29th 1225 GMT

I bin scanned the Sun in a clear sky but did not see any sunspots.

May 28th 0700 GMT

I checked the Sun with my PST and only saw some filaments, albeit large ones. The quietness in white light seemed to be confirmed in hydrogen alpha light.

May 28th 0645 GMT

I bin scanned the Sun in a clear sky but did not see any sunspots.

May 27th

I combined 5 moon shots with a stellar background to end up with this composition.

May 26th 2030 GMT

I photographed the Moon at 1/500 second exposure, which turned out about right. I only took 60 frames, as cloud moved in and I stacked the best 56 of them.

May 26th

I reprocessed a solar hydrogen alpha shot from July 14th 2011.

May 26th 1310 GMT

I bin scanned the Sun but didn't see any sunspots.

May 25th 2320 GMT

Only the Moon, Jupiter and Capella were visible so I was a bit disappointed at not being able to do any proper night viewing. I took the conjunction photos and tried to catch Jupiter's moons and our moon my close-up. Only the conjunction photo worked.

May 24th 2115 GMT

After a cloudy time before and after sunset, I was able to see the Moon and Jupiter. I took some lunar frames at 1/250 second exposure and tried various exposures from 1/500 to 1/1000 second on Jupiter.
I stacked 95 frames of 98 for the Moon.
I was unable to get any detail from Jupiter's surface.

May 24th 1725 GMT

After a rainy morning and cloudy afternoon, I finally saw the Sun. I saw a single sunspot.

May 24th 2320 GMT

We avoided last place and the dreaded nil points at this year's Eurovision. I was hoping to catch the Moon while they counted the votes. I ended up balancing a 127mm Mak and EQ3 mount on a wonky table (don't try this at home!) to get a snap of the Moon. It was very low and suffering lots of extinction but I wanted to get a few days' lunar shots in sequence.
I took 45 frames but they were way under-exposed. I managed to get something out of the frames by stacking and processing but decided to shrink the final image.

May 23rd

I reprocessed a solar hydrogen alpha shot from July 9th 2011.

May 23rd 0800 GMT

I bin scanned the Sun in a clear sky but didn’t see any sunspots. 

May 22nd 2120 GMT

There was some cloud about and the Moon was low but I managed to take a few full disc exposures with my Mak and DSLR. I used 1/250 second exposure. I stacked 65 images in Microsoft ICE and finished off in GIMP.

May 21st 2010 GMT

I stacked 30 lunar frames and 13 Venusian frames to get the following results. The Venus shot suggests a larger phase than the evening before but also that I was over-exposing the sub-exposures.


May 21st 1130 GMT

The Sun was relatively quiet in hydrogen alpha light. There was some activity near the limb but the standout feature was a filament. I managed one close-up of the filament but, quite honestly, it looked better visually.


May 21st 0800 GMT

Conditions were not perfect but I managed to catch the sunspot that had been around for a few days. I’d missed it the day before.

May 20th 1930 GMT

I went out to photograph the Moon and stacked 47 frames from the Mak and Konica Mionolta DSLR at 1/200 second.
Despite the very small image, I was amazed to obtain a result from Venus by stacking 20 frames. I had some chromatic aberration to remove but it was, at least half decent.
Although I detected Jupiter's moons with one second exposures, all images were blurred due to mount instability.

May 20th 1610 GMT

I bin scanned the Sun in clear conditions but was unable to see any sunspots.

May 19th 1300 GMT

I checked the Sun with my PST and saw a nice filament near the north eastern limb but little else. Cloud rolled in again before I could take any photos.

May 19th 0620 GMT

Conditions were quite poor but, with the weather predicted to worsen, I wanted to check the Sun when I could. After a lot of hunting and waiting for clouds to move, I found the single sunspot I had seen the day before.

May 18th 1100 GMT

After a very wet morning, it cleared enough for me to bin scan the Sun. I was only able to see a single faint sunspot approaching the centre of the solar disc.

May 17th 0000 GMT

Conditions were not good but I had a crack at the night sky anyway with my Nikon D3200. There is simply so little darkness this time of year and work commitments and old age prevent me from staying up late during the week.
I started off badly, with focus problems but, eventually had some widefield shots of the Plough and Lyra/Cygnus. I tried some close-ups (at 70mm focal length) of Albireo, Hercules (trying to catch the elusive M13 again) and Alcor/Mizar. I finished up with some attempts at aeroplane trails.
The image of Cygnus and Lyra was processed from the best frame and also showed Sagitta.
Due to computer issues, I was unable to stack any images. The Plough shots really weren't that good but I managed to get a few stars by a lot of processing.
Cassiopeia was low down. I only took one shot but, on processing, I also caught Cepheus.

Unfortunately, I did not pick anything up from the other photos.

May 16th 1750 GMT

I checked the Sun in hydrogen alpha light with the PST. Although it was clear, the solar surface was fairly bland.

May 16th 1100 GMT

I bin scanned the Sun under clear conditions. The original active region was getting closer to the limb but a new sunspot had appeared.

May 15th 0750 GMT

I checked the Sun with my Coronado PST. Apart from the sunspots visible in white light, there were some prominences. I took some full disc and region shots with one camera but was unable to do another set of shots with the other camera, as cloud had rolled in!

May 15th 0655 GMT

The conditions were quite clear, with a small amount of haze. The main sunspot activity had rotated close to the solar limb and was close to rotating onto the far side.

May 14th morning

I reprocessed a solar hydrogen alpha image from July 5th 2011, which showed a large prominence.

May 13th 1215 GMT

I bin scanned the Sun under clear conditions. The active group was starting to rotate closer to the limb and it was no longer possible to detect some of the smaller sunspots. The Sun continued to be interesting, though.

May 12th 1525 GMT

A wet, cloudy morning gave way to  bright afternoon. The sunspot pattern had changed again and not just because of rotation.

May 12th morning

I reprocessed a solar hydrogen alpha photo from December 12th 2011.

May 11th 1105 GMT

I bin scanned the Sun in conditions that were not far off perfect. Had I been at home, I would have used my Maksutov, probably afocally. Even the binocular view was quite breathtaking and my drawing didn’t really do it justice.

May 11th morning

I reprocessed a solar hydrogen alpha photo from August 3rd 2011.

May 10th 0000 GMT

It was more with expectancy than hope that I went out with my Nikon D3200 and 70-300mm lens. I set the focal length at about 150mm and proceeded to take a few shots.
I started off with Albireo, then proceeded to Epsilon Lyrae, with Vega in the same field. The Albireo shot was composed of a single frame and didn't show the double.

The Epsilon Lyrae shot was composed of two frames. It shows the star as a double, although I clearly did not expect to split each component.

I proceeded to Nu Draconi but early attempts picked up 16/17 instead. Further shots did catch Nu and quite a few background stars to go with it.
The Nu Draconi photo was composed of eight frames.

Attempts at M13 failed but I caught some background stars in Hercules. However, they were not clear enough to use.
The final shots were aimed at M29 and M39 in Cygnus.
Although I took 8 frames of M29, two were particularly good, so I stacked them.
The M39 shot didn't work as I was snapping the wrong part of Cygnus!

May 10th 2330 GMT

Thanks to good old daylight savings, it was today, even though the time suggested that it was still yesterday. Unfortunately, the sky wasn't that interesting. There was lots of thin cloud, so Jupiter's glare meant that any hope of seeing any moons was gone. I could pick up Epsilon and Delta Lyrae, Nu Draconi, Albireo (Beta Cygni) and Mizar/Alcor. The only deep sky objects I could pick up were M13 and Melotte 111.

May 9th 2025 GMT

I did a dusk binocular scan. Venus showed a phase of about 60% and Jupiter showed a disc but no moons.

May 9th 1100 GMT

I followed up my binocular scan with a hydrogen alpha shoot of the Sun using two cameras. Most of the activity was around the sunspots but there was also a prominence diametrically opposite the active region.

May 9th 1030 GMT

There was some cloud around but enough space to check out the Sun easily in my binoculars. The previous activity was nowhere to be seen and the newer sunspot group had rotated and changed shape showing six individual spots.

May 8th Evening

With complete cloud cover all day, I reprocessed a solar hydrogen alpha shot from April 21st 2011.

May 7th 1100 GMT

The sky was clear when I bin scanned the Sun. There was new sunspot activity that had rotated on and it was very large and dark. By contrast, the older sunspot group had started to fade. The Sun was proving again what a fascinating astronomical object it is.

May 6th 1255 GMT

I tried to see the Sun with my PST. There was lots of moving cloud and most of the activity was confined to around the sunspots.

May 6th 0725 GMT

The sky was partially clear but there was a lot of moving cloud. I checked the Sun with my binoculars. This time one of the groups was visible as two separate ones and there was new activity that had just rotated on.

May 5th 1310 GMT

I had tried to catch the Sun before but the sky clouded over on the way to the car. It cleared (at least in the area of the Sun  but was actually raining) and I managed to see what appeared to be 3 sunspots to my binoculars but the Big Bear images showed that I was unable to resolve some of the groups into individual spots.

May 4th 1140 GMT

I took some shots of the Sun through my PST. I could see some activity. I tried t use the new DSLR afocally but it didn't work. I used it on some flowers and our dog instead.

May 4th 0850 GMT

Conditions were somewhat hazy but I managed to see what appeared to be two sunspots. The Big Bear images showed several small sunspots close together but there's a big difference between 70mm binoculars and a 1.6 metre telescope!

May 3rd 1205 GMT

The weather was still poor but I managed to see a sunspot through the clouds.

May 3rd morning

I reprocessed a solar hydrogen alpha shot from April 20th 2011.

May 2nd evening

I did some further processing, this time from April 19th 2011.

May 2nd morning

With total cloud cover, I was unable to do any solar observations, so I reprocessed some solar hydrogen alpha shots from April 17th 2011.

May 1st

I had thick cloud all day. I reprocessed a solar hydrogen alpha image from April 12th 2011 and obtained two photos from it.