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Blog 19648

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Winter has arrived

Saw the Doc yesterday who said my back was healing well and light exercise was OK. Took this to mean I could catch a few photons. So I went outside into the garden about midnight to see if I could see a meteor or two. Hooray first night without rain for some time. Moon was a bit too bright for meteor watching and was lighting up really heavy clouds to the east. The wind was strong and gusting. Then it started to snow! Then it rained. Astronomy in the UK is not for the faint hearted or for those

Hawksmoor

Hawksmoor

 

What is it with Clouds ?

February the 4th. 2013: I get all my kit out, set up and ready to go. My laptop is performing Ok, it doesn't like the cold, and the QHY 5v driver has loaded without a hiccup. I can see Jupiter shining in a rapidly darkening sky. The BBC weather forecast for Lowestoft said clear skies excellent seeing between 17.00 and 18.00 which coincides with the GRS being visible. My cup floweth over! As an extra Jupiter 2 software has informed me that shortly after there will be a transit. Photo opportuni

Hawksmoor

Hawksmoor

 

Venus, the Moon and Jupiter

Tonight Venus was very close to the crescent Moon with Jupiter sailing above and to the south. I took a quick snap with a compact camera perched on top of our car. Really doesn't do the scene credit. Very beautiful even though in competition with the glare from the street lights.

Hawksmoor

Hawksmoor

 

Transit of Venus

My wife found an old disc from 2004 and low and behold the photographs that I took of the last transit were on it and not lost forever as I thought. With better software available in 2012 I have been able to improve them a bit. So was quite pleased bearing in mind the basic kit that I used at the time. Hopefully,, if the weather and I my back are OK I will have a second chance to get better images on the morning of the sixth.

Hawksmoor

Hawksmoor

 

Transit of Venus

My wife found an old disc from 2004 and low and behold the photographs that I took of the last transit were on it and not lost forever as I thought. With better software available in 2012 I have been able to improve them a bit. So was quite pleased bearing in mind the basic kit that I used at the time. Hopefully, if the weather and my back are OK I will have a second chance to get better images on the morning of the sixth.

Hawksmoor

Hawksmoor

 

Transformer

Christmas upright Armchair Astronomer 'transforms' into horizontal Settee Astronomer without any visible expenditure of energy as Moon obliges by rising almost directly in front of his sitting room window. I could get to like this 'indoor astronomy' as it offers a warmer winter alternative for the older stargazer.

Hawksmoor

Hawksmoor

 

Things are looking up in March 2013

Joined Breckland Astronomical Society and attended our first meeting this month. Very much enjoyed Prof Carolin Crawford's talk on 'Exo Planets' and received a friendly welcome from members. The snow stayed away long enough for us to get to and from Great Ellingham which is some hour away from our home by car. The clouds parted on the thirteenth of March for us to see Comet PanStarrs very low over the marshes. The graveyard at our local church provides a great elevated and unobstructed view we

Hawksmoor

Hawksmoor

 

The Moon,Venus and the Pleiades

Beautiful night in Suffolk. Took quick photos with tripod mounted compact camera and then used Iris and Photoshop to create composite showing the Seven Sisters as well as our closer neighbours the Moon and Venus.

Hawksmoor

Hawksmoor

 

The Moon,Venus and the Pleiades

Beautiful night in Suffolk. Took quick photos with tripod mounted compact camera and then used Iris and Photoshop to create composite showing the Seven Sisters as well as our closer neighbours the Moon and Venus.

Hawksmoor

Hawksmoor

 

The Aurora Revisited

Spent a rainy afternoon recovering a rather blurry photograph I took a year ago in Norway. At the time I was quite annoyed with my self in not obtaining a sharp focus of the Pleiades whilst concentrating on the Aurora above. http://stargazerslounge.com/members/hawksmoor-albums-aurora-picture16089-aurora-above-pleiades.jpg

Hawksmoor

Hawksmoor

 

Supernova SN 2014J

The evening of the 9th of March was cloud free and clear and presented a number of photo opportunities, e.g a double shadow transit of Io and Ganymede, obtaining spectra of Sirius and Betelgeuse (with my newly homemade diffraction grating), Supernova SN 2014J in M82, the planet Mars and a small comet in Gemini. Well the moon put paid to imaging the comet and Mars would not get above my hedges and trees until about 1.00 am. so I decided to save them for a better night later in the month. I had an

Hawksmoor

Hawksmoor

 

Sunny

As it was a lovely day, I decided to follow the advice in the June edition of either 'Astronomy Now' or 'The Sky at Night', sadly I cannot remember which as my brain has gone awol, and set about a little light maintenance on my mount and tripod. Amazing how stained stainless steel can become when left to the ravages of the East Anglian climate. No wonder those gnarled lowestoft fishermen wore heavily oiled waterproofs! I also tried out my new transformer which worked perfectly, hopefully passe

Hawksmoor

Hawksmoor

 

Summer Treats

Its a beautiful sunny day on the East Coast. Have been to the hospital to have an MOT on hip and back. Received great service and care from all staff at the James Paget Hospital. The NHS is great!:hello2: Having a bit of time on my hands and wanting a sit down, have spent an hour with an old photo of M57 which I took last summer in my backyard. Quite pleased with myself in that I have worked out how to use the de-convolution algorithms in IRIS software. (Probably less than pleased with myself

Hawksmoor

Hawksmoor

 

Starthrotch Analyser Mk1

When I was a ten year old kid I used my pocket money to buy job lots of old broken clocks from Maidstone Market.  I would take them home and spend hours in my Mum and Dad’s cellar taking them apart ostensibly to get them working again. They never did but hey I never let failure deter me. Nowadays, being happily retired (and no gloating intended), I have many an hour to while away in my shed.  Nothing that I can get away with, gives me greater pleasure than recycling old bits of metal, plast

Hawksmoor

Hawksmoor

 

Starry,starry night!

No moaning from me this time! The night of the 22nd and the early hours of the 23rd of April were absolutely splendid. It rained in the morning, knocking the dust out of the atmosphere, then as darkness fell (clang) the sky cleared, there was no moonlight, Mars shone bright and steady and a lone meteor flashed across the sky. The software driving my planetary camera didn't crash and when I looked at the first clip I could see that Syrtis Major was located almost on the meridian, my cup flowed ov

Hawksmoor

Hawksmoor

 

Spectrometer Mark 2

After completing my current oil painting blitz, I spent some time today completing 'Spectrometer Mark2' in the 'clean room' or the kitchen as my wife likes to call it.  The primary reason for the redesign is my desire to use either my QHY5v or QHY5-11 as the imaging camera, without dedicating either camera to capturing spectra.  So a modular approach seemed sensible and the ability to experiment with different diffraction gratings was also an objective.  Mark1 was virtually built for 'nowt',  Ma

Hawksmoor

Hawksmoor

 

Saturnalia

I look forward to Saturn coming to opposition each year or each 378 days to be precise. The sky over our backyard in the early hours of the 24th of May was clear and the stars shone bright. In the east, the stars of Cygnus and Lyra were shining brightly and Saturn was a brightish yellow presence due south over my neighbour's house rooftops. Through the eyepiece its rings shone bright, the Seeliger effect making a clear difference. Sadly, my imaging and images were affected by the planet's low

Hawksmoor

Hawksmoor

 

Right up Mount Teide

I decided to try the month's free access to the Bradford Robotic Telescope on Mount Teide, Teneriffe. So thanks 'Sky at Night' Magazine! The free trial is limited to a number of given objects and the exposures and filters are all preset, so you cannot go wrong, but all in all I was quite pleased. I am considering investing the less than prohibitive £3 a month inorder to try out the real thing. Seems to me a very inexpensive way of accessing objects near or below my southern horizon with bette

Hawksmoor

Hawksmoor

 

Rain, wind, Jupiter and moonlight

Lowestoft weather has been so changeable, breaks in the cloud so infrequent and the comfort of my fireside chair so all enveloping, that I have hardly ventured out with my scope for what seems an age. Pining for some photons, I set up my DSLR on a tripod and photographed Jupiter dodging the clouds and coming within 6 degrees of the Moon. With a bit of ham fisted Photoshop jiggery pokery, I constructed a composite image of the event. Looks a bit 'Macbeth' but I quite like it! If the weather st

Hawksmoor

Hawksmoor

 

Rain drops keep falling on my head

I suppose I could take up fishing. Anyway, I have replaced my ailing and recently failing power tank with a 12 volt 5 amp power supply from 'Modern Astronomy'. It is sitting in my shed awaiting a clear dry night- could be some time then. Apprarently and according to the very nice weather-woman on Anglia TV, the weather is to improve on Wednesday. The hail is currently bouncing off my conservatory roof. I have been playing about with some old data and reworked an image of the Horsehead Nebula et

Hawksmoor

Hawksmoor

 

Rain drops keep falling on my head

I suppose I could take up fishing. Anyway, I have replaced my ailing and recently failing power tank with a 12 volt 5 amp power supply from 'Modern Astronomy'. It is sitting in my shed awaiting a clear dry night- could be some time then. Apprarently and according to the very nice weather-woman on Anglia TV, the weather is to improve on Wednesday. The hail is currently bouncing off my conservatory roof. I have been playing about with some old data and reworked an image of the Horsehead Nebula et

Hawksmoor

Hawksmoor

 

Puss in Bootes

The early hours of the 8th of January were not for the faint hearted. Although the ambient temperature was well above freezing the wind chill here on the UK east coast was significant. After a couple of hours outside I needed a hot cup of industrial strength Marmite to thaw out my inner self. On a positive note the sky was clear of cloud and significant moonlight. I thus set foot to first view Comet Catalina through my big bins and then photograph it.   The comet was far too low in the no

Hawksmoor

Hawksmoor

 

Pantomime Season

Toot an I have just returned from a short tour of Turkey. Part of the itinerary involved very early pre-dawn starts. Looking out from our hotel balcony on the 4th. December at approximately 04.20 I saw what I thought was a comet . Oh no it wasn't, oh yes it was! At first I thought it was a first glimpse of Comet Catalina. It was approximately south east and close to the horizon. The twin tails appeared to be as they should be pointing away from the sun. But then I returned home to Suffolk

Hawksmoor

Hawksmoor

 

Oh! those Summer Projects

Feeling quite 'chipper' today! Many of my little 'summer' projects have been completed and seem to work. First - my bathroom extract system has been installed without me once falling off the ladder or putting my foot through the bathroom ceiling, second - I'm now producing tasty pizza and bread from my DIY wood-fired bread oven without upsetting my neighbours and third I've constructed four  battery powered 'dew zappers' for camera lenses and scope objectives.  The following is proof:

Hawksmoor

Hawksmoor

 

Oh those summer nights!

The 26th of April turned out to be a nice clear night. It wasn't balmy out but on the other hand it was metallic simian cold! Winter was behind me and as I looked up at the waxing moon I noticed that Jupiter was much further west than it had been a few weeks before. I decided to capture my last Jovian images of the season and take a picture or two of the our old Moon. As a bonus I managed to get some video clips of Venus as it climbed above our house extension roof. I'm looking forward to s

Hawksmoor

Hawksmoor

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