Saturday, July 1, 2017

July 2017

July 31st 1020 GMT

I managed a single shot of the Sun in hydrogen alpha light through a gap in the cloud.


July 25th 1540 GMT

The Sun was quiet, even in hydrogen alpha light but I took some full disc shots and close-ups.


July 24th 2135 GMT

Jupiter was very low. I took 8 frames with my DSLR at 300mm focal length, ISO 6400 and 2 seconds exposure in an attempt to capture the 4 main moons. I caught one with a maybe that appeared to merge with the planetary disc.


At 2200 GMT, I repeated the shot on Saturn and Altair. I took 8 dark frames for good measure. Er, no, none of the frames were useable.

July 23rd 0010 GMT

I left my DSLR outside, with my intervalometer set for ISO 800, 100mm focal length and 7.5 minutes exposure at the Pole Star. I thought I did but I could not rescue anything useful for the shots.

July 22nd 2200 GMT

Contrary to the weather forecast, there was enough clear sky to have a session. I went out armed with my15x70 binoculars and DSLR with 18mm focal length, ISO 800 and 30 seconds exposure. Naturally, I multi-tasked.

The area around Cygnus and Lyra was clear, so it became the object of my bin scanning and first set of shots. Not only was Albireo (double star) showing well but so did the background Milky Way stars. Also, in this area, I spotted the Ring (M27) and my first sighting of the Dumbbell (Mm27) for ages. I forgot just how large it appeared in binoculars. I found the Wild Duck Cluster (M11), after  a few attempts, due to cloud. To the west, Saturn looked oval but was diving in and out of view due to cloud. I also bagged the globular clusters M13 and M3 but did not manage to see the galaxies M51, M81 and M82.

The first shot was too far south but I managed to capture Aquila, Delphinus and Sagitta in the same single shot.

 In the Cygnus/Lyra shots, one of them showed two satellite trails.

 And now the target photo, showing lot of Milky Way.


"Talking" of galaxies, I saw the Andromeda Galaxy (M31) low in the east as a giant fuzzball and I even saw Melotte 20 buried deep in hazy cloud.

I picked up Mizar and Alcor as well as Delta and Epsilon Lyrae but the cloud was encroaching the Summer Triangle.

I took one or two frames of the Plough before it became too hazy for further observations and photos. On the whole, it was a great short session.

July 20th 1140 GMT

The Sun was really quiet, even in hydrogen alpha light, so I just took a few full disc shots.


July 17th 0835 GMT

The Sun looked bland in hydrogen alpha light, so I took just full frame images of the Sun through my PST and compact digital camera.


July 17th 0710 GMT

The sky was clear but the forecast for later in the day was poor. I took some full disc shots of the Sun with my Mak and DSLR, hoping to catch the sunspot before it rotated off of the solar disc. Unfortunately, I missed it.
I also took some full disc Moon shots without the filters.

July 16th 1545 GMT

The sky cleared enough for me to try a solar hydrogen alpha shoot. I took some full disc shots and attempted some close-ups of the sunspot.

July 14th 1320 GMT

I managed to see the Sun through a gap in the clouds , so did a solar hydrogen alpha shoot. However, I was unable to finish the shoot before cloud rolled in again.


July 14th 0930 GMT

The conditions from the two preceding days persisted, so it was a solar binocular scan. The single, large sunspot had rotated.

July 13th 0620 GMT

Even allowing for Earth's and the Sun's rotation, the sunspot had moved! Conditions were a bit better than the previous day's. I just did a binocular scan.

July 12th 1715 GMT

Conditions were very poor, with several layers of moving cloud. I was able to see the large sunspot that had been around for a few days but not the smaller one. It could have gone but it is more probable that it just wasn't visible under the conditions.

July 10th 2215 GMT

80% of the sky was covered by cloud but I was lucky because the Moon, Jupiter and Saturn were in clearer parts. I did 2 second exposures of both planets at ISO 6400 and 300mm focal length. I also took some dark frames.
The first frame was somewhat a mystery. It looks like an aircraft but would be moving far too slowly for a 2 second exposure. Same for a satellite and the red dots rule out the possibility of a meteor.

Using Deep Sky Stacker for Jupiter and its moons just produced a pattern of multi-coloured vertical lines but I selected the best 7 frames to stack using Microsoft ICE.
Deep Sky Stacker worked on Saturn with 10 frames and 10 darks. I could not definitively say I captured any moons but two dots were close enough to the planet to make me think.

The Moon was also at 300mm focal length but 1/2000 second exposure and ISO 400.


July 10th 1000 GMT

There was lots of cloud around but I managed to see two sunspots through my binoculars.

July 9th 2115 GMT

I took a few shots of Jupiter with its moons but I had to use an exposure of 1/2 second due to the lightness of the sky.

July 9th 0800 GMT

Contrary to the weather forecast, the sky was clear! In white light, the sunspot group had rotated considerably and was growing more prominent. I did the usual full disc shot with my Mak and DSLR.

I tried the DSLR on its own at ISO 100, 300mm focal length and 1/4000 second exposure. This was a proof-of-concept shot to see if it worked.

YES! It worked.

I followed up with a hydrogen alpha shoot. The sunspot group appeared as a single, dark sunspot and there seemed to be more surface detail than the preceding days.


July 8th 2030 GMT

The Moon was low but I decided to do a lunar shoot with my DSLR, as the weather forecast was for thick cloud. I used my usual settings.


July 8th 1100 GMT

There was lots of cloud about, with a thin layer moving. I was able to see the Sun through it and managed to capture a couple of sunspots.

July 7th 0800 GMT

I went out with my PST and compact digital camera to do a solar hydrogen alpha shoot. I took the routine set of shots and took some further close-ups of the solar disc rim, as most of the features appeared to be on or near.

Unfortunately, the disc rim shots did not work, as there was too much banding.

July 7th 0700 GMT

Having seen sunspot activity on the Big Bear and SOHO images, I did a full disc solar "white light" shot with my Mak and DSLR. The focal length was 1.54m, ISO 400 and 1/4000 second exposure.

July 6th 2130 GMT

There was some cloud around. I took out my DSLR and started with 16 frames of Jupiter at 300mm focal length, ISO 6400 and 2 seconds' exposure. I also took 12 dark frames.

I could not quite fit Saturn and the Moon in at 300mm but had to reduce the focal length to 200mm.


Finally, I took some frames of the Moon at ISO 400, 1/4000 second exposure and 300mm focal length.

I combined the two images above to obtain the final result.


July 6th 1120 GMT

Despite the presence of a sunspot on the SOHO images, the solar disc was bland again. I took some full disc and half disc frames.


July 5th 2030 GMT

The sky was clear and the waxing gibbous moon started to shine. I took some full disc shots of it with my DSLR and Mak with my usual settings.

Jupiter was visible, so I tried it at ISO 6400and 1/2 second exposure. No good, jut looked white. Same at ISO 1600. I saw Jupiter at ISO 400 but could not see any sign of its moons. I hoped that some processing might reveal something.

Yes it did! Two moons.


July 5th 0735 GMT

In case you are wondering about the white light shots, I checked the professional observatory images and the Sun did not show even the smallest and faintest of sunspots. It was also quiet in hydrogen alpha light and I just took some full disc images.

July 3rd 2120 GMT

I took some full disc shots of the Moon with my Mak and DSLR. Focal length was 1.54m, ISO 400, 1/1600 second exposure.

I took some frames of Jupiter and its moons at 1.54m focal length, ISO 6400 and 1/2 second exposure.


I tried to use a 2x Barlow lens with my electronic eyepiece and Mak but could not get focus. I did some imaging runs without the Barlow lens on the Moon. After a few false starts and computer reboots, Jupiter was too low.


July 3rd 1610 GMT

The Sun appeared quiet in hydrogen alpha light yet again but it didn't stop me trying to find details in the photos.


July 2nd

I finished up by stacking some of the lunar imaging runs to form three separate panoramas.

July 2nd 2130 GMT

I took some shots of Jupiter with its moons ISO 400, 1/2 second, 1.54m focal length. Unfortunately, none of the shots came out, so I combined the earlier shots with the planet.


July 2nd 2130 GMT

I did some imaging runs of the Moon and Jupiter with the Mak and Bresser Electronic Eyepiece at 1.54m focal length. I found the presence of the Moon made focussing on Jupiter much easier.

July 2nd 2010 GMT

I took 40 full disc moon shots with my Mak and DSLR. 1/1000 second exposure, ISO 400 and 1.54m focal length. I stacked them in Microsoft ICE and finished off in GIMP.

Although I thought it was a bit too early and the sky too light, I took some shots of Jupiter with its moons. I processed a single frame to get this.


July 2nd 1740 GMT

I took some shots of the Moon with my DSLR. Even though I had left the settings on Auto, they appeared to work.

July 2nd 1020 GMT

I repeated the same solar shoot as the day before. The Sun still appeared quiet.

July 1st 1445 GMT

After  cloudy morning with some drizzle, it cleared up in the afternoon and I did a solar hydrogen alpha shoot. I reverted to the 15mm Moonfish eyepiece. The Sun was quiet, though.


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