Friday, October 5, 2018

October 2018

October 11th 1945 GMT

After a cloudy day with rain, it was amazingly clear in the evening. Oh no, not another Melotte 20, you think. I went for a few widefield shots at ISO 6400, 8 seconds exposure and 70mm focal length. I was pleasantly surprised to capture M34 in the same photo. It also shows the value of snapping deep sky objects at a variety of focal lengths.

I stacked another set of frames.

I wanted to go for the constellation of Triangulum but the intervalometer started playing up. My aim was on a par with England away to Croatia on 12th but I caught a couple of frames of M34 by mistake!

October 10th 1730 GMT

There was a very thin crescent moon low in the west, so I tried to photograph it. The best result was ISO 400 and 1/200th second exposure.

October 10th 1130 GMT

The Sun was still quiet, even in hydrogen alpha light. I took some full disc shots plus one or two close-ups.

October 6th 2145 GMT

Well this was the big one! Mars was up but with humid air and a low battery, I did not feel like taking my PC outside, so did a DSLR shoot instead. I started off with the Pleiades (M45) with 200mm focal length, ISO 6400 and 2 seconds exposure, except that I didn’t. I forgot to adjust the focal length, so my first few shots were of 70mm focal length before I corrected them.

On to Melotte 20, another one of my deep sky favourites and things seemed to be going well until I was having problems with my intervalometer. Undaunted, I carried on with some shots manually.

I’d never snapped Aries before, so shortened the focal length to 70mm and increased the exposure time to 8 seconds. It was also around this time that I triggered the DSLR manually, with one hand, while bin scanning with the other. Initially, the view of the Pleiades (M45) and Hyades were good but not as exceptional as I’d seen before. However, when I turned to the Andromeda Galaxy: wow! I could even see light and dark patches and the full extent of the outer regions. As for the Pinwheel (M33), I’d never had such a good view in binoculars. I could see the centre as well as the outlying regions and it had never appeared so large. Of course, M31 and M33 were much higher in the sky. Also, the light pollution was minimal. They had replaced one streetlight with one recommended by astronomers and the other was out of action. I decided to try forM81 and M82, even though they were unfavourably placed. I saw M81, just. I could also make out the Auriga clusters M36, 37 and 38.

I thought about trying an audacious attempt to catch M33 widefield on camera. Yes I did! It was my first ever. It is near the bottom and to the right of centre.

Keeping the same settings, I aimed at  the Hyades.

I brought the camera indoors and managed to reset the intervalometer. I took the camera to the back and left it to catch Lyra. 

I stacked over 200 images but the final composite image did not show it! The first 50 frames did and it is near the bottom.

October 6th 2100 GMT

After a wet day, the sky cleared, somewhat earlier than the weather forecast predicted. I started off with some frames (hopefully, this time!) around the Pole Star. I used 70mm focal length, ISO 400 and 30 seconds exposure.

Got it with a faint engagement ring.

October 3rd 1115 GMT

The Sun was still quiet but I saw some shading in the photo.

October 1st 1025 GMT

The Sun looked really quiet but I took some shots in hydrogen alpha light just in case.

October 1st 0645 GMT

I did a lunar shoot with my DSLR. The moon was well-placed, high in the west. Unfortunately, my focus did not hit the spot.