Thursday, March 7, 2019

March 2019

March 29th 2215 GMT

I didn’t get outside until late and had an early start the next day. I decided not to take a camera out and when I got outside I was glad I didn’t bother. It was so hazy, especially near the horizon, that I could not even see the Hyades and Pleaides (M45) in binoculars! I could see the brighter stars of Melotte 20 and also the Beehive (M44), as it was higher in the sky. I could also see Melotte 111, which had reached a respectable altitude. No other deep sky objects, apart from Alcor/Mizar were visible, so that was that! 

March 28th 2100 GMT

I went out with my DSLR, with my usual settings of 300mm focal length. ISO 6400 and 2 seconds exposure.

First up was Melotte 20. Like the Beehive (M44), I find it difficult to resist. I didn't catch it, though!

I had trouble finding M34, so I went for M35. Got this one!

I went back to M34 and missed it.

March 27th 1340 GMT

There was a patch of clear sky but the Sun was quiet. As usual, I proceeded with a photo shoot anyway!

March 26th 2250 GMT

I would have gone out earlier, except my camera battery was flat! Despite the weather forecast, it was surprisingly clear. Having possibly caught Ursa Major the night before, I was hoping for some closer shots with my DSLR at 300mm focal length, ISO6400 and 2 seconds exposure.

I started off by having another pop at Regulus. I was having real trouble getting M35 and thought that it might be one of those nights.

I got a few quality frames of the Beehive (M44).

I had a few goes at M67 but did not think I had caught it, despite taking several shots around the target area.

March 25th 2100 GMT

I was busy indoors, so set a camera to take star trail shots of the Plough.

They were over-exposed. I took some stills and spent ages trying to stitch the whole constellation but it didn't work. I just caught the western part.

March 25th 1440 GMT

The Sun was dimmed by a layer of thin cloud but I went ahead and did a hydrogen alpha shoot anyway. I could not see any detail.

March 24th 2025 GMT

The clear sky continued past dusk and I wanted to revisit some deep sky objects with my DSLR at 300mm focal length, ISO 6400 and 2 seconds exposure. Unfortunately, the focus was a bit off.

First up was the Pleaides (M45), mostly as a sighter.

I saw a few stars in Perseus before I caught my intended target, M34.

Same for M35.

I then moved to Regulus.

More in hope than judgement I went for M65 and M66 in Leo. I didn't catch either.

I finished with the Tau Canis Majoris cluster. I missed the target.

March 24th 1050 GMT

There was a rare clear sky, I shot the Sun in hydrogen alpha light using my PST. The solar disc seemed quiet.

I saw some sunspots on the Big Bear and Learmonth images, so I had a go in white light with my DSLR and Mak. I used 1.54m focal length, ISO 100 and 1/4000 second exposure. Early indications showed that I had caught some sunspots about to rotate off. They appear as a single sunspot near the "4 o' clock" position.

March 23rd 0945 GMT

There were some sunspots on the Learmonth Solar Observatory images. Despite moving cloud, I tries to see them with my binoculars and filters but without success.

March 17th 2335 GMT

The sky was clear but it was cold and I felt too tired to drag a telescope outside. I took some full disc solar shots with my DSLR at 300mm focal length, ISO 6400 and 1/4000 second focal length.

March 17th 1015 GMT

There was lots of moving cloud around but I managed a few shots of the Sun with my PST and DSLR.

March 16th 2355 GMT

There was a lot of moving cloud around but I managed to snap the Moon with my DSLR anyway. I used 300mm focal length, ISO 6400 and 1/4000 second exposure.

March 14th 1235 GMT

The Sun looked quiet in my Coronado PST, although the professional observatories showed some features. I snapped in hope! I caught some minor activity on the edge of the solar disc, so processed the Red and Green channels separately.

March 12th 2235

There was a rare patch of clear sky, so I “attacked” the Moon with my DSLR at 300mm focal length, ISO 6400 and 1/4000 second exposure. Unfortunately, all attempts were ruined by poor focus.

I also tried some longer-exposure shots on the Moon with nearby Aldebaran. Now these DID work!

March 11th 1010 GMT

The Sun was quiet again in hydrogen alpha light, as I took some more images.

March 10th 2330 GMT

I went out again and shot a few frames of Leo at ISO 6400, 30 seconds exposure and 16mm focal length. I realised that the ISO was too high, so reshot with 15 seconds exposure. I stacked 13 frames and also caught Leo Minor above Leo.

March 10th 2035 GMT

I went out to catch Perseus on film but found conditions difficult with moving cloud. I kept moving the camera around to catch patches of clear sky.

The first shot was the Plough but I had to remove a lot of stray light.

I got my Perseus shot for a writing project but attempts to stack multiple images resulted in some stars appearing double. I processed a single frame that also included the Pleaides (M45).

I caught the Hyades and Pleaides in the same frame.

I took two frames of Cassiopeia but they didn't stack. I processed a single shot and caught the Perseus Double Cluster and Melotte 20 in the same frame.

March 10th 1835 GMT

There was still a lot of moving cloud around so I just shot the Moon with my DSLR at 300mm focal length, ISO 400 and 1/200 second exposure.

March 10th 1215 GMT

I had been watching moving cloud, on and off, for a while when I finally caught a clear spell and photographed the Sun. It was quiet in hydrogen alpha light.

March 7th 0940 GMT

Finally, March kicked off with a clear patch of sky between the clouds. The Sun was quiet but I had a nice, sharp image with my Coronado PST.