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Corton Beach after Dark




Well last night, my partner's Aurora alarm app went off whilst we were having dinner - so pudding had to wait!  We loaded the tripod and camera bag into the family truckster and headed off to Corton Beach under cloudy but clearing skies.  Sadly, the street lights dont go out until midnight so Corton Beach, relatively close to our house, provides a dark site with a northerly view back over the cliffs largely missing the 'orange glow' that is Great Yarmouth. Whilst we were on the Beach the clouds began to clear and both of us thought we could see a green glow over the cliffs and just below the tail of the Great Bear. Anyway I took a number of photographs the best of which was taken whilst the app was telling us that photography would show the aurora from most of England. I have attached the image - 20 sec exposure - ISO1600 - F3.5 - tripod mounted Canon 600D DSLR - 18-55mm at 18 lens  which has had the following image processing :

  • Application of autocolour at about 20%
  • Colour saturation enhancement using LAB color and adjustment of channels by increasing contrast.
  • Colour blurring using a gaussian blur.
  • Saturation of red and yellow colours reduced to reduce the orange red glow of some 'low pressure' sodium street lighting that I could not avoid when taking a photograph looking north.
  • General lowering of saturation across all colours and some repetitive luminosity layers to finish

I think it shows some auroral activity. Looks very much like the low level auroral display that I photographed in Tromso several years ago. But as my partner says when I reach for the 'imaging software' - "Cheating again" - So who knows for sure ?

A bit of a bonus was the very dark sky view east out across the North Sea.  Quite beautiful. We watched the Pleiades rise out of the sea and the Milky Way was absolutely marvellous. The dark lanes of dust could be traced with your finger and the Andromeda Galaxy was an easy spot with the naked eye. I took a sequence of images more or less centred on the Double Cluster in Perseus - 6x20 secs RAW-ISO3200 f=18 and F3.5- stacked in DSS - FITSwork etc.  I do like widefield astro photography and very much enjoy reading articles and viewing widefield images created by Professor Ian Morison - I have some way to go!

It was very nice to see a couple of meteors - one was quite bright - and to capture the less than bright one shooting by and just under Messier 31 - an exposition in 'near and far'.



Aurora over Lowestoftsmall.png

Milky Way Andromeda and Meteor bestsmall.png

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Very nice George, pity about the Yarmouth glow, I doubt if the midnight shutoff would have helped. Funnily enough today the wife mentioned a cruise to take in the Northern Light, have to think on that one  :).

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5 hours ago, JimT said:

Very nice George, pity about the Yarmouth glow, I doubt if the midnight shutoff would have helped. Funnily enough today the wife mentioned a cruise to take in the Northern Light, have to think on that one  :).

We went on an astro trip to Tromso a couple of years ago very enjoyable. The aurora was stunning. We are off to Iceland for a few days this year, so hope the solar activity doesn't' fall away before we get there.

Is your new observatory and kit all up and running yet?

Best regards George

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You will enjoy Iceland George, had a wonderful time there a few year back, the only problem as I seen was the currency and cost but that's another story :).  Yes the observatory is up and running but not me, I had been adding a security feature and I tripped and fell off the roof, caught the ladder on the way down and that crashed down on top of me, badly winded and hurt my knee, lay for a bit to check myself out and used a tree to haul myself up, no lasting damage except it's added a few years to my age  :).


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Sorry to hear about your fall but glad nothing too serious as a result. We have both had a couple of unexplained falls guess in our case it's old age coming upon us. Some time ago our kids made me promise I would not be going up ladders anymore but as they all live some way away its not always possible to avoid minor maintenance issues above head height - anyway what they don't know they don't grieve over.:happy7:

Hope you're feeling better soon and back out under the stars in the observatory. I'm currently awaiting images from the autonomous robotic telescope on mount Teide. I've programmed it to take some snaps of Quasars. I had a fancy to capture some photons older than the Earth.

All the best for a full recovery George

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Thanks George, turned out to be a fright more than anything else but the ladder work stays, have to put a security camera on frontage today, not too hard a job if I take my time.

Was out last night, clear skies but a bit muggy, persevered and started playing, found I could not hit a target, done a couple of alignments with the StarSense but zilch.  Looking at the equipment later I realised that I had put the guider scope mount on back to front   duh...., another job to do today, but still I got out for a few hours and to a degree it was enjoyable  :)   


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