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Status Updates posted by Hawksmoor

  1. Beautiful night. Been out with bins and my 66mm Altair refractor. Not really dark this time of the year but warm as far as 2:00 in the morning goes in East Anglia. The Milky Way through Cygnus is a pretty thing and the view through 11x80 bins is breath taking. Hopefully I will have captured some widefield snaps in and around Sadr.

    Hope the skies are clear for you wherever you are.

    Night all you Stargazers.

  2. Amazing how many clouds can mysteriously appear out of a clear blue sky at the mere sniff of an eclipse!


  3. Nice to view tonight Antares and the claws of the scorpion just above my southern horizon as seen  from our backyard. Had a fledgling robin fly in through the open bedroom window. Bird now safely back with mum and dad in our garden. All's well that ends well!

    Nighty night stargazers.

  4. Mrs H planted out the petunias this week. Gales have since battered the east coast. It's no Midsummer Nights Dream in our backyard right now! The LVST yagi aerial is blowin' in the wind, the aerial is blowin' in the wind.

    Night all from Lowestoft too close the sea.

  5. Moon quite beautiful in broken cloud above Lowestoft tonight.

  6. Purchased Ken Harrison's book 'Astronomical Spectroscopy for Amateurs'. It arrived this week and I have started to read through. Packed with useful information and straight forward explanations! Have also managed to get my new laptop to run VSpec  - (cunningly by reloading Fritz Chessbase. VSpec must use some shared file - not sure why or how but it now works). Will review whether to buy RSpec after I've messed about with VSpec for a while. Have yet to master adjusting for Instrument Response using VSpec it is relatively simple using the trial RSpec software. Noticed Ken's book has a section on achieving this with VSpec, plus I have the relevant sections of the VSpec manual downloaded. Early this morning whilst I was trying out my homemade widefield astrograph, I noticed Vega was rising in the east so will soon be available for spectrometer calibration. -Yay!

  7. The weather is not good but the promised 'sleet' has not yet materialised. -BUT- I have had a wonderful day maintaining and reorganising my astro and photographic kit. Best of all I managed to acquire new pre-sectioned inserts for my airline storage cases and have spent a happy afternoon making nests for 'my stuff'. I love that moment when the foam detaches and it makes a lovely scrunching sound. Old men are easily pleased!  Mrs H just rolls her eyes upward to the heavens.

    I shall await a warmer day for sorting out my equatorial mount on it's pier in the backyard.

  8. Finally got my 3d. Printer to print. Yay!

    1. Grant Fribbens

      Grant Fribbens

      What are you printing? I have a few 3d printers now and have got them where I can now trust them but it did take a while to get them well trained!

    2. Hawksmoor


      Hi Grant. Printing wise, nothing startlingly complex as I'm new to the 3d printing process. My son gave me a GeeeTech PRUSA I3 kit for Christmas a couple of years ago and I finally got around to building it and getting it working this year. I've just made a slide holder for a 500lines/mm diffraction transmission grating to fit between my mono QHY 5-11 camera and the extension tube. Seemed like the easiest way of making a low resolution spectrometer with stuff I had to hand. I  wanted to try out the grating in a converging beam (after the objective lens) and keeping all of the first order spectrum on the chip meant that the grating had to be close to it. This design was easy to make and in no way compromised the camera. 

      If this works, many of my little projects don't, I will post an image or two.

      I'm glad you've got your team of printers well trained. I'm still in the 'taming business'. There are so many ways to mess up a print and I seem to have found most of them.

      Nice to hear from you.

      Regards from George next the Sea.


  9. Last night's 2 day old crescent Moon - a real pretty view from our kitchen.

    2 Day Old Waxing Crescent Moon.png

  10. Nice night until the fog rolled up. Mars below the Pleiades very photogenic, so took a few snaps with a tripod mounted DSLR. 1sec exposures at ISO6400 and f=55mm. Lovely full Moon over my hedge.The night sky from a semi rural location is a very beautiful thing!

    Night night Stargazers.

    1. Show previous comments  2 more
    2. orion25


      Here are some one-off shots I took of Mars and the Seven Sisters tonight with my DSLR. We're having a string of beautiful nights. I'm taking full advantage!




      Reggie :) 

    3. Hawksmoor


      Hi Reggie

      Really nice images. Stars and planet nice and sharp! A real pretty event. Mars continues to please the eye. Hope the string of beautiful nights continues for you.

      Weather here on the UK east coast remains volatile. Early this evening it started off well. No cloud and fairly stable. Sirius, which is low on the southern horizon at my latitude, was not 'twinkling' which generally signals a good night for imaging. I did notice a hint of cloud east over the sea and sadly within an hour this had moved on shore and astronomy was off for the night. I need to move to a desert at altitude!

      Best regards George

    4. orion25


      Thanks, George. Hang in there. When those clear nights return, if you can, GO FOR IT ;) 

  11. Frustrating day with a 3d printer. PLA insists upon getting stuck in the extruder nozzle but wont stick to the plate. Thankfully, I have nothing better to do but I'm convinced  that I could have whittled the gismo I'm trying to print, from a solid block of ebony using a blunt spoon, in half the time I've spent to date. I am just too old and obdurate to give up!  On a positive note Mrs. H made a tasty fish soup for tea!

  12. Lovely afternoon so went for a walk. Saw a green woodpecker and the sun felt warm on my old back. Lowestoft will get snow on Sunday according to Metcheck.

    Mrs Hawksmoor and I are booked in to get our first Covid Vaccine injections on Sunday  - so  we are hoping the snow does not intervene.

  13. Benefited from a small window of clear sky on a freezing foggy night. Tried to find the comet near Capella with my big bins and took a few snaps with my dslr on the Star Adventurer. Not convinced I spotted it so must be very faint. Will look at the images tomorrow and see what shows up.

    Night all.

  14. The weather was not kind so imaging Quadrantids wasn't an option. I did however wander into 'Mission Control' (my shed) at lunchtime today and noticed that my 'software defined radio' (The LVST) was pinging like mad as radar reflections from meteors over the South of France were being picked up by my Yagi aerial. I leave the LVST running 24 -7 - 365 days a year. I must download all the data from 2020 and get on with some data analysis.  Unfortunately, like Mr. Toad,  I am a backsliding animal!

    George 'data-rich' near Sole Bay.

  15. Just checked out NORAD tracks Santa. The 'man in red' is going well and the reindeer team look fresh and up to the job. Hope I'm on 'the nice list'!

  16. A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all my friends on Stargazers Lounge from 'the old man next the sea' in Lowestoft.


    1. orion25


      Same to you, my friend!

  17. The closest conjunction has been and gone whilst the cloud, rain and wind held sway over Lowestoft. Perhaps tomorrow will be still, dry and clear.

    George slightly sad on the East Coast.

  18. Getting even closer but I wont be able to capture future images, weather permitting, from the back bedroom window!


  19. Lowestoft weather is putting on a fine display for the Geminids - cloud cover from horizon to horizon, persistent rain and gusting winds. Great!

    Grumpy old man in Lowestoft

  20. Getting closer but wish the weather would improve, especially as the Geminids are due!

    Jupiter Saturn Conjunction 08122020crop.png

  21. Had all sorts of grim weather here on the east coast. Whilst going upstairs on Sunday I caught a quick glimpse of Saturn and Jupiter starting to look quite close. I pressed the Poundland minitripod back into use and captured this technicolour blurry image with the planets in hazy cloud - with my Canon 600d at ISO6400 through the back bedroom window. The clouds made for a prettier picture?

    Looking forward to closer and clearer!


    Conjunction 06122020 01.png

  22. End of an era. Just decommissioned my two old DELL Windows 7 laptops - no longer wifi enabled to the internet. Will save me the annual Bullguard subscription which has just come up for renewal. Will  use them in the future for data storage,  'guiding' and other non internet jobs until their little processors fade quietly away! 

  23. Clear sky tonight. Managed to observe one  straggler Leonid but as usual my camera was pointing in the wrong direction. Managed to capture two long sequences of exposures. Canon 600d camera - on  Star Adventurer driven mount - lens at f=18mm and ISO 1600 -exp 45 secs. & 60 secs. Widefield images of Auriga and the Pleiades. Just completing calibration frames then off to bed. Lovely night with Orion looking splendid.

    Night night Stargazers.

  24. No Leonids for me tonight as the rain and cloud have persisted. Decided to call it a night at 1:00am and have gone to bed. Maybe I will catch a few stragglers tomorrow?

    Nighty night cloud dodgers.

  25. Nice weather all day here on the East Coast. Spent the day fabricating a mild steel door for my pizza oven. Since I increased the external insulation the fire protected timber door becomes carbonised  after two firings, so a double skinned aluminium silicate wool insulated steel door is the way forward. Makes you wonder whether Pompeii was brought down by a volcanic eruption or a faulty pizza oven design?

    As I had not seen a cloud all day, I decided to set up my big refractor to catch some more Mars videos. Soon as it was up and running the clouds appeared along with some straggler fireworks. Went in to eat dinner and when I came out it was clear! Managed to capture some clips of Mars and was pleased to note that Syrtis Major was prominent. The atmosphere was not that stable and the wind was also a nuisance as I do not have an enclosed observatory. Will have to wait and see how the videos process. All done and dusted by 10:30. Had a glass of brandy to warm up as it has turned cold.

    Nighty night Stargazers.


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