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Blog 19648

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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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

'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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Grrrrrrrrrr !

If it looks like a clear night, is cloud free like a clear night and you can see stars like on a clear night............ It probably isn't a clear night because there's just enough fog, mist or other agent of atmospheric mischief sufficient to prevent me obtaining a sharp avi-clip of Mars. It's 12.20am, the Council has been kind enough to extinguish the street lights, Mars is approaching opposition and I might as well go to bed!!!! I'm not adding an 'entry image' because I haven't got one. Grrr

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

 

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

 

Mercury and Comets rising core temperature falling

Spent two early mornings, 4.00am to 7.00am, comet hunting. Second morning more successful, managing to get some images of a very small and faint Comet ISON and the bright planet Mercury with a tripod mounted DSLR. Second session more productive as I swapped the relative warmth of my sheltered backyard for the cold but improved eastern horizon of Lowestoft Seafront. I must say the beach was uncrowded at 4.30am. but oh my it was cold!!!. Why I didn't wear a thermal coat and hat I do not know, b

Hawksmoor

Hawksmoor

 

Nova in Delphinus

The evening of the 16th and the early hours of the 17th of August presented clear skies over our backyard and having read about the new Nova in the Constellation Delphinus, I decided to try and find it and photograph it with a tripod mounted DSLR. Even with the help of info from the Internet, finding the Nova amongst the rich fields of the Milky Way was a bit of a challenge. Hats off to the Japanese amateur astronomer, Koichi Itagaki, who discovered it!

Hawksmoor

Hawksmoor

 

"Turned out nice then"

For once a Bank Holiday turned out nice so enjoyed a ramble along the river and took a look at the Sun. http://george-artcabinedujardin.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/what-amateur-astronomers-do-in-daylight.html

Hawksmoor

Hawksmoor

 

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

 

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

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