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Blog 19648

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Entries in this blog

 

Clear sky and bright Moon

Nice change to have a clear night. Beautiful Moon rising over the trellis in our backyard. Finished my dinner and took one or two handheld images with DSLR + telephoto lens. Lovely!

Hawksmoor

Hawksmoor

 

'How to use radio signals to catch meteors'

Having read this article in the June edition of the Sky at Night magazine I became unusually fired up by the thought of a bit of DIY. After some preliminary rumaging around in B&Q and Maplins, I set about constructing a Yagi aerial under the cover of my car port. Tension mounted as the July edition of Sky at Night, containing part 2 of 'How to use radio signals to catch meteors', landed on our door mat. Following tricky negotiations with my partner, the long suffering Anita, I ordered th

Hawksmoor

Hawksmoor

 

Antares

Every year in June the red super-giant star Antares becomes visible from our south facing bedrooms and over the roof tops. This year Saturn can be seen just above the claws of Scorpius,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,quite a sight without binoculars or a telescope.   I managed to get a nice photo with my little Lumix compact camera balanced on the window-sill. The minimal light pollution after midnight and the lightly applied assistance of APS providing all the help this inexpensive camera needs to capture t

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

 

'One of those'

After many a night of stretching pillow cases over the end of my telescope, no offence intended, I have finally got around to making myself a light-box for taking flats.  I can only hope this will improve my images. I gleaned most of the materials from the back of my shed, added a few LEDS and a switch from my best mate Mr Maplin and attached a bungee and batteries from everyone's favourite country 'Poundland'.  It doesn't look pretty but I cant wait to try it. Come on weather make an old m

Hawksmoor

Hawksmoor

 

Man Flu

Have been coughing and sneezing my way through February. When you add "am I feeling up to setting up my scope" to "are there clouds" to "is there too much moonlight" ?? Its all too easy to leave the scope in its box and rack up in front of the fire. Anyway, the 21st February presented a fine clear night and I enjoyed imaging the ‘king of planets’.

Hawksmoor

Hawksmoor

 

Io Mystery

Some time ago, I published an image of the shadow transits of Ganymede and Io I had taken on the 9th March 2014. The moon Ganymede was clearly visible but try as I might I could not find Io against the clouds of Jupiter. I used APS 'creatively' to try and convince myself that I had found it but eventually realised that if you clicked the sharpening tool enough times in any location on the cloud tops of Jupiter you could create a nice Io just about anywhere you wanted to! Anyway and eventually,

Hawksmoor

Hawksmoor

 

Excitement mounts

It's a very miserable afternoon in Lowestoft. It is raining and the sky is an unrelieved expanse of grey stretching from horizon to horizon. Early this morning the sky was clearer but not sufficiently devoid of cloud to permit the useful deployment of my 'scope. Due mainly to my overwhelming cheerfulness, I spent a happy pre-dawn hour with my 11x80mm binoculars looking at all the usual summer astro-culprits . This afternoon I have been removing malware with mixed success from two laptops. Why

Hawksmoor

Hawksmoor

 

Enthusiasm

Last night, I stood and watched as my ten year old grandson looked through my old 10x50 binoculars and found for his first time; the Andromeda Galaxy and then the Pleiades. Looking out into space and back in time is and should always be very exciting! He was very pleased with himself. Binoculars are a great way into astronomy for the younger child. Negligible set up and minimal supervision required - wide variety of observeable treats and maximum time taking in the view! Have set him a challe

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

 

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

 

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

 

Les Granges

Toot and I had a wonderful week with Olly and Monique in the Haute Alpes. We enjoyed the magnificent dark skies, the stunning Milky Way, looking through Olly's big Dob and drawing and painting with Monique.   We saw for the first time: The Crab Nebula, The Swan Nebula, The Eagle Nebula and all of the Veil Nebula. The Witches Broom was fantastic and through a wideangle eyepiece and Olly's monster of a Dob it appeared almost 3D. We also looked at the Lagoon and Triffid Nebulae before they drop

Hawksmoor

Hawksmoor

 

Chasing the Eclipse

As the weather forecast -Lowestoft seafront for the 20th March - was for cloud, cloud and more cloud, my partner and I set off for predicted 'clearing skies' in rural Lincolnshire. This required an early morning call at 4.30am. Strewth this was just like being back at worK! Anyway after quick coffee and cereal, we leapt into rhe 'family wagon' and headed at a brisk pace north west. It was a dark and stormy morning, but as we approached our favoured observation site, a recently manured field t

Hawksmoor

Hawksmoor

 

Funny old week

Last few days it has been very hot, so quite unusual for us folk on the windy East Coast. Even went in the sea and it was WARM! Due to haze and visiting grandchildren didn't use either of my telescopes but on the plus side had some great wide-field views through my 11x80 binoculars . M13, M92 and M31 :smiley: :smiley: :smiley: . Managed to view a number of very bright slow moving meteors, quite beautiful! I also thought that with averted vision I could just pick out a grey dot where M57 shou

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

 

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

 

16 Years old and still going strong

I like a bit of recycling and so, after I realised that I had not used my old ETX90 RA for at least two years, I decided to get it out of its fabric carry-case and give it 'the once over'. I have to say that little scope is a robust little beggar and optically as sound as the day my partner Toot purchased it for my fiftieth birthday. The fork mount is definitely passed its sell by date but the OTA is definitely too good to waste sitting on a shelf in a bedroom. So today I decided to remove

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

 

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

 

I've gone a bit technical

Well normally I'm a bit of a " give it a go" or "I wonder what happens if I push this button" sort of bloke. Anyway for whatever reason I purchased a couple of ledger type books from Poundland and started two observational logs. One log for visual observations and one for the LVST (the Lowestoft Very Small radio Telescope). So last night, I used the moon to calibrate the focus points for my camera - telescope -barlow lens combinations and wrote it all down in my log book. Train spotting next

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

 

Lowestoft pier aka. George's column - nearing completion

The pier construction project for my 5 inch refractor is nearing completion. Today, I bolted the oak capping, the mild steel levelling plate and my NEQ6 Pro equatorial mount to the top of the reinforced concrete column.  All in all I think the project will have cost me about £120 for materials but I did have some of the stuff I needed already in my shed.  The weather, true to form, has suddenly turned grim - grey clouds horizon to horizon.  I guess this is my fault. Everything seems to have

Hawksmoor

Hawksmoor

 

It works Igor-Yes master

Having connected the FunCube Dongle Pro+ to the newly erected Yagi aerial and my wife's laptop, I sat back in my shed watching a lot of wiggly lines dance across the screen and listened to a lot of white noise. Rather like an avante-garde 1960's art installation. Then it happened, there was a little whistle reminiscent of a canary on Trill and a little line appeared on the scrolling graph. I apparently had captured my first meteor or possibly the 14.30 Airbus from Norwich to Amsterdam. The LVS

Hawksmoor

Hawksmoor

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