Thursday, June 2, 2016

June 2016

June 28th 2235 GMT

The sky had cleared after some earlier storms but there was still some daylight. I took a few frames of Bootes and the surrounding area, while looking for (non-existent) meteors. I stacked 5 frames in Deep Sky Stacker and adjusted the brightness in GIMP. The star cluster Melotte 111 is visible low to the right. I also captured Corona Borealis and parts of nearby constellations.

However, thin cloud rolled in. It wasn't bad enough to stop watching for meteors but I was unable to continue photography. There was a small patch of sky near Aquila. No prizes for guessing!

Unfortunately, by centring Aqulia in the frames, I caught too much stray light from a street lamp, so the photo was ruined
Soon thin cloud obscured all but the brighter stars and I came in to shoot some dark frames.

June 28th 0600 GMT

I was up uncharacteristically early but when I needed to go to the little boys' room, I saw that it was clear. As my eyes were twitching from not getting my astronomical fix, I headed out.

The Moon was high in the south. Although observatory images of the Sun showed a very quiet disc, I decided to take a few white light frames with my Mak and DSLR at ISO 400 and 1/1000 second exposure, as I was out for the Moon anyway. I could not get any images to stack and the result was a solar disc as quiet as it gets.

I took some full disc lunar frames of the Moon at ISO 400 and 1/500 second exposure.


I went back in for my PST. The Sun was also quiet in hydrogen alpha light with no features visible through the eyepiece. I took a series of shots more I hope than expectancy.


June 24th 2125

I went out with my Mak, with the idea of webcamming Jupiter. OK, something was wrong with the webcam, so I had to come up, quickly with a Plan B.

OK, I decided to use the DSLR. As the night before, Jupiter showed quite good detail in my 32mm eyepiece. I started off with a 0.5 second exposure at about 1.5m focal length and ISO 6400. I took light and dark frames.

I went to 0.25 second exposure with a 2x Barlow, giving a focal length of 3m.  I took light and dark frames.


I then tried shorter exposures to try to get some planetary detail. Wow, I actually managed to overexpose Jupiter, so had no useful results. That must be a first!

I repeated the idea with a 3x Barlow lens. Yes, the images were under-exposed.

Finally, I used both Barlow lenses in tandem to get a focal length of 9m. This did not work either!
I then repeated the 2x and 3x Barlow shots on Mars. This was the best effort:


June 24th 1725 GMT

The sky cleared enough to see the Sun. I checked it with my PST, in hydrogen alpha light. The solar disc seemed rather bland, so I just did some full disc shots. I stacked 8 frames  get this:

June 23rd 2200 GMT

I was a bit unwell, so did not want to drag a telescope outside. Instead, I took 10 frames of Jupiter at 300mm ISO 6400 and 2 seconds' exposure.
I then aimed my camera at 18mm and ISO 400 to the west of Bootes in the hopeful attempt of catching a meteor on film. I tried various exposure lengths.
Unfortunately, the results told me I needed to clean my short focal length lens and I did not catch any meteors or even a 'plane or satellite trail.

June 22nd 2215 GMT

After some really rough weather, it cleared. Mars and Jupiter were both visible and their brightness was almost equal. My intention was to take webcam images of both planets but it never happened. Firstly, cloud obscured Mars. I managed to see Jupiter in a widefield (32mm) eyepiece, giving a magnification of 48x. I could see two Galilean moons on each side and some shading as well as the main belts. In fact, I was amazed that I could see so much detail at such a low magnification and could even see some jagged edges to the cloud belts.

Yet when I attached the webcam, Jupiter was nowhere to be seen. I thought I'd nudged the telescope but discovered that Jupiter, like Mars, was also lost to the cloud. Some rather nasty clouds had gathered overhead, so I decided to get my gear inside before it rained.

June 20th 1640 GMT

The sky cleared, so I did another hydrogen alpha shoot with my PST and did quadrant, as well as full disc shots.

June 20th 1530 GMT

I managed to find a few gaps in the clouds to do a hydrogen alpha shoot with my PST. The only stand-out feature was the sunspot.


June 20th 1505 GMT

After a wet morning, it finally cleared enough to see the Sun. I did a white light shoot with my Mak and DSLR at ISO 400 and 1/4000 second exposure. I stacked 32 of 44 images and finished in GIMP.

June 18th 2110 GMT

Contrary to the weather forecast, it continued to clear. I used my Mak and DSLR at ISO 400 and 1/000 exposure and captured 83 frames. I stacked them all and finished in GIMP.

June 18th 1830 GMT

It cleared a bit more later for me to get my PST on the Sun. As my previous view a couple of days before, the solar disc was quite bland, apart from the sunspot.

June 18th 1605 GMT

After a very cloudy morning, it cleared for a few minutes, enough for me to get my binoculars and filters out. Although I had to peer through moving cloud, I could detect the large sunspot.

June 16th 1715 GMT

I checked the Sun in hydrogen alpha light with my PST.  The solar disc looked bland, apart from the sunspot. I stacked ten full disc images.

June 16th 1050 GMT

It had been less than 72 hours since my last activity but it felt like over a week. I bin scanned the Sun through cloud to obtain this sunspot drawing.

June 13th 2145 GMT

As not to repeat the mistake of the night before, I took 100 frames of the Moon at 300mm ISO 400 and 1/800 second exposure.

I kept the focal length at 300mm but changed the ISO to 6400 and exposure to 2 seconds to attempt to capture Jupiter's moons. I stacked 10 frames.

June 13th 2300 GMT

By the time I got out, the Moon was low in the west and covered by cloud. I took lots of full disc images with my DSLR at 300mm and ISO 400. I got the best results with an exposure of 1/250 second but did not get a stack to work. I processed a single frame in GIMP.

June 12th 1525 GMT

I somehow managed to lose the images that I took earlier. I repeated the shoot.

June 12th 1540 GMT

Finally, a bit of clear sky! The Sun seemed quiet apart from the area around the sunspot. I took some full disc shots and a set of close-ups around the sunspot.

June 8th 1555 GMT

I checked the Sun in hydrogen alpha light. Visually it appeared bland then cloud moved in to prevent me from completing the shoot. I stacked three images to catch most of the disc. Some hints of filaments are visible.

June 7th  2015 GMT

The waxing crescent Moon was low in the west and was above a bank of clouds. Although sunset had barely past, I decided that an early shot was the best idea. I took 71 full disc frames with the Mak at ISO 400 and 1/1000 second exposure.

June 6th 0910 GMT

I checked the Sun in hydrogen alpha light with my PST. The solar disc was as bland as I'd ever seen it. I just took some full disc shots. I stacked 9 images to get this.

June 5th 1600 GMT

I checked the Sun in hydrogen alpha light again with my PST. I saw a prominence that wasn't there earlier in the day. 


June 5th 1000 GMT

Having seen a blank solar disc in the professional images, I just performed a solar hydrogen alpha shoot. The solar disc still looked rather bland but I took a few full disc and close-up shots, hoping to detect detail that I could not see visually.

June 2nd 1705 GMT

It clear in the west, so I took  few full disc and close-up shots of the Sun with my PST in hydrogen alpha light.