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24/10/2010 Birkrigg Common – Cumbria 01:30 – 03:30





Birkrigg Common – Cumbria

01:30 – 03:30

Spent Saturday night at work but I was itching to get out with the scope, it’s been well over a week since the last session. Since then I have strained some muscles in my back, changing a light bulb of all things?

Still I’ve put up with it for a week now so it was not going to stop me getting out, what made it worse though, is I slept heavy and had a stiff neck as well, think I’m falling apart?

I finished work at 00:20 and drove home to get changed and pack all my equipment in the car for the drive to Birkrigg, arrived at 01:00. A Very bright full Moon and Orion in the East, Jupiter in the South/West.

Started to set up the EQ5 and balanced the scope and polar aligned the mount. Struggled to polar align straining my neck to look through the polar scope on the EQ5, not a good start. Set the SynScan until up and aligned using 3 stars, and was successful my first test object as always is M31, Andromeda galaxy, even with the full bright moon washing the galaxy out, the central core was perfectly aligned in my 32mm eyepiece. Next alignment test was M42 Orion Nebular, which again it was positioned correctly in the eyepiece.

Quick scan of the skies produced nothing on the comet, but on checking the RA & Dec I was too late, the comet was already below my horizon at this time 01:45, so I decided to go and do some CoolPix and Iphone photography.

One of the disadvantages of photographing the full Moon is apart from the intense brightness it is also difficult to get any definition from the lunar features.

My main eyepiece for this observation session is the Skywatcher 7-21mm Zoom eyepiece fitted with 2 Moon filter back to back, this would not only allow comfortable viewing but also allow me to at least get a little contrast and definition from the lunar surface.

At 01:55 I checked on the Double Cluster, and then onto Jupiter. The great red spot was visible and usual cloud belt but viewing anything other that the bright moon was going to be difficult, so back to the Moon for more photography.

For the next 90 minutes I used the Nikon CoolPix Camera, Canon D30 DSLR and the IPhone to photograph the Moon using a variety of lenses and adapters, but I can honestly say the IPhone is a very easy camera to use. The App I use is Camera + which allows some degree of exposure adjustment and for bright objects such as the Moon, this comes in very handy.

By 03:30 I was freezing cold and uncomfortable from the back and neck strain and also the freezing conditions; my feet were like blocks of ice. This was due to the previous nights heavy rain, and the ground being so damp, then freezing temps just froze everything.

I packed every thing up at 03:30 and was back home by 04:05, unloading the car and getting warm was the first priority.

More Iphone Pictures on my Main blog page:




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