Wednesday, March 2, 2016

March 2016

March 31st 2120 GMT

I tried out a fish eye lens and took some other constellation shots with my DSLR.
First up was a minute's worth of Ursa Major and Minor. I had to get rid of some dust motes.

Some similar shots didn't work.

A more traditional approach at Ursa Minor came out.

My Auriga shot showed the stars quite well but not the clusters, as I'd hoped.


March 31st 1115 GMT

I checked the Sun in hydrogen alpha light. The disc looked quiet apart from the region surrounding the sunspot. I managed some full disc shots and one closer one before cloud moved in.


March 31st 0915 GMT

I bin scanned the Sun in a refreshingly clear sky and saw that the sunspot had rotated.

March 30th 1930 GMT

Conditions were hazy. I tried to photograph Jupiter with its moons but had problems getting focus. I managed to capture 3 moons but could not get rid of the haze.

March 30th 1340 GMT

A solar bin scan showed that the sunspot had rotated to close to the centre of the solar disc.

March 30th 0610 GMT

I did a few frames of the Moon with my DSLR at 300mm. I started with 1/1000 second exposure I found at shorter exposures, the sky was darker, so I took a set at 1/4000 second exposure. The final result was a stack of 34 images.

March 29th 0845 GMT

I caught a small patch of clear sky. The sunspot appeared to have grown but there was no sign of the smaller one I had seen on the Learmonth images.

March 28th 1130 GMT

Conditions were hazy but I managed to see the sunspot from the day before.

March 27th 1240 GMT

Finally, some clear sky and I saw a sunspot through a gap in the cloud.

March 23rd 2215 GMT

Although it cleared from the day,  there was still some haze, so I just did some lunar shots with my DSLR.

March 22nd 2240 GMT

Finally the sky cleared and I snapped Jupiter at 1 sec exposure and the Moon at 1/1000 sec with my DSLR.

March 21st 1205 GMT

There was still some haze around but the Sun was higher in the sky. The disc looked fairly bland, except for some activity near the sunspots.


March 21st 0830 GMT

The sky looked clear when I got up. As per Murphy’s Law, the only hazy patch of sky was where the Sun was. Never mind, I still saw the sunspots I had seen the day before. Their orientation was due to Earth’s rotation and not any movements of the spots themselves.


March 20th 1835 GMT

I saw the Moon through a gap in the clouds and snapped it with my DSLR before the gap closed again.

March 20th 1700 GMT

I bin scanned the Sun during a brief cloudless spell and saw two sunspots.

March 17th 2210 GMT


I went out with my DSLR and shot a few frames of Jupiter with moons and our moon.

March 17th 1200 GMT

Conditions were still slightly hazy when I checked the Sun with my Coronado PST. There seemed to be some activity in the areas surrounding the sunspots. I did not see any obvious prominences but took some “edge” shots as well as those of the whole solar disc.


March 17th 0855 GMT

Despite the promising weather forecast, there was lots of thin moving cloud and haze around. The sunspot I had been following was fainter and I don’t believe it was all due to the viewing conditions.
I did not see the sunspot that had recently rotated onto the solar disc from the far side but it was visible in the Big Bear images.

March 14th 1240 GMT

I did a PST shoot. Although the solar disc looked bland, I found a prominence at the 3 o’clock position and caught it on “film”.

March 14th 1210 GMT


I did a shoot with the Mak on the Sun and Moon. I stacked 25 solar images to reveal the sunspot.



The Moon shot took a lot of processing and was a stack of 20 of 28 images.



March 13th 1915 GMT

I tried out a new (well I’d had it for ages but never tried it) webcam on the Moon to do some close-ups. There was a lot of shimmering but I caught some detail.




March 13th 1900 GMT

I took a few full disc frames of the Moon, this time at ISO 400 with the Mak.

March 13th 0915 GMT

There was some haze about but it was, otherwise, quite clear. I did a white light shoot of the Sun with the Mak and DSLR. I started with ISO 400 and, initially, found that the exposure was too short. I lengthened it to 1/500 second and it seemed to do the trick. I could see a fairly large sunspot through the viewfinder and took a few full disc frames.

I followed up straight afterwards with some full frame shots of the Sun in hydrogen alpha light. Initially, the disc looked rather bland, so I did not feel inspired to do any close-ups.

 March 12th 2340 GMT

Conditions were marginally better than the day before and I took a few frames of Jupiter with moons.



March 12th 1830 GMT

We were off out, so I just did 36 full disc frames of the waxing crescent moon with my Mak and DSLR at ISO 6400 and 1/1000 second exposure.

March 12th 0010 GMT

Conditions were poor, so poor that only Jupiter and Cappella were visible and Cappella drifted in and out!

Only one possible Photographic target: Jupiter. I needed a whole second's exposure to capture the moons with my Mak and DSLR and had to be a contortionist to aim the telescope. I tried a 3x Barlow to try and get the disc features but it just wasn't right.
I then had problems connecting the camera to my laptop!

March 11th 1345 GMT

I bin scanned the Sun in a clear sky and saw a single sunspot. I regretted not having time to do a hydrogen alpha shot.

March 10th 1200 GMT

I bin scanned the Sun through thin cloud but did not see any sunspots.

March 7th 2115 GMT

I went out again to try some other ideas. I started off with a few frames of Jupiter at 1 second exposure and 300mm.


I then went for some 8 second exposures at 100mm. I started with the Beehive (M44). I took 16 frames and 11 darks.


I went for southern Cancer in the possibly vain hope of capturing M67. Only 2 frames stacked and M67 showed, even though it was small and faint.


I tried for northern Cancer but could not reach with my tripod. I resolved to sort out my functionally challenged one!

I ended up with a few frames of Melotte 111.

March 7th 1415 GMT

I caught a gap in the clouds and caught one of the sunspots I had been following on the Learmonth site.

March 5th 2215 GMT


I did a shoot with my DSLR at 300mm. I used ISO 6400 and shot Jupiter at 1 second in an attempt to capture its moons.


I then shot several frames of M44 at 2.5 seconds exposure. The idea was to reduce star trailing that I’d noticed on some of the brighter stars. 32 of 37 frames stacked in Deep Sky Stacker and I brightened the stars in GIMP.

I then tried to get the Perseus Double Cluster. I missed it but managed to find an interesting star field in the same area. I returned to a familiar object, Melotte 20.

Unfortunately, I somehow disturbed the focus for these shots. I could have got something from them but nothing as good as I already had.

I meant to return to the double cluster but some haze had moved in.

March 4th 0825 GMT


I bin scanned the Sun through some light cloud but did not see any sunspots.
I also saw a thin waning crescent Moon low in the south.  I could see Grimaldi but few other features


March 3rd 1230 GMT

I caught the Sun in some clear patches between cloud but could not see any sunspots. The Learmonth solar observatory showed some small ones and it is probable that they were just below binocular resolution.

March 2nd 1130 GMT

I saw a brief shaft of sunlight on an otherwise stormy day. I saw a single sunspot during gaps in moving cloud. By the time I was back in the warm, it was raining again.