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Everything posted by Hawksmoor

  1. Grim weather here on the UK's east coast. Last night I noticed that upper atmosphere ice crystals had given the full Moon a '22 degree halo' Snapped this with a hand held Canon IXUS 160 compact camera. - Even optical artefacts may be beautiful.
  2. My old architectural practice was multidisciplinary (including mechanical, electrical and environmental engineers) and we designed a number of archive facilities which had strict environmental controls regarding relative humidity and temperature. I have some experience , some success and more than a few set backs in battles with condensation. The key issues are the relative humidity of the air and the surface temperature of your kit. In my backyard where I observe the relative humidity is often somewhere between 85 and 95% at this time of year. As soon as I take out my scope or cameras they start to radiate heat out into space. At some point in time the glass will cool and reach the dew point (the temperature at which the moisture in the air can no longer exist as a vapour). Irrespective of the amount of thermal insulation or the thermal mass of the glass at some point in time the dew point will be reached and condensate will appear where I don't want it. Thermal collars and the like which I have made delay the inevitable for about a hour and a half for the smaller bits of glass (camera lenses, my 66mm refractor and 60mm guide scope) and approximately 3 to four hours for my 127mm refractor's objective lens. The only way to prevent this happening is to add back the heat (that is being lost through radiation out into space) either by using a hair drier or dew heaters. For this reason I have just made dew heaters for all my bits of kit as I got fed up with having to stop imaging on the few clear moonless nights available because 'Niagara Falls' had turned points of starlight into fuzz balls. I suspect your 'observatory enclosure' will increase the time before the dew point is reached but if the relative humidity of the air in the observatory is high and in reality it will be similar to ambient external RH, condensation will eventually form on bits of kit that have a surface temperatures equal or lower than the dew point temperature. I've rambled on for a bit - sorry - old consultants never die they just ramble on for a bit more. best regards from George 'moist' in Lowestoft next the Sea.
  3. Today, I completed my last 'dew zapper' and fitted it to my 127mm. Meade 500. I'm awaiting some bell wire and a 1 amp-9 volt transformer from the 'bay'. When all connected up I shall be ready for 'astro fun and games' throughout a cold and moist winter on the East Coast. 

    I currently have a few stars outside but Metcheck doesn't look encouraging. Think I will stick with binoculars tonight.

    Night all


    127mm Dew Zapper.png

  4. We had the electrical storm directly overhead in Lowestoft. A second after a tremendous lightning flash the Sun from the West created a wonderfully bright rainbow in contrast with the black 'back-lit' clouds in the East. Spectacular! I do hope you are all safe in your tents at Kelling? best regards George
  5. Nicely bonkers mate! I manage to fill my 'down time' with similar eccentricities and my wife has been used to it for forty-six years, you have to admire their fortitude! best regards from George In Lowestoft
  6. Hi Gina It's raining on one side of my house whilst I have bright sunshine on the other and I don't have a big house! I can be simultaneously optimistic and pessimistic - the wonders of living next the sea. regards George 'damp in Lowestoft'
  7. Hawksmoor

    Redspot unravels.png

    As Jupiter this year, never got high enough for me to point my pier mounted scope at it, I was delighted to find out that I could 'play' with Juno Cam images. I thought this image really shows the GRS 'unravelling' at the edges. Credit: NASA JUNO.
  8. Hawksmoor

    Other Peoples Photons

    Images created from data archive downloads from the Internet
  9. Feeling quite 'chipper' today! Many of my little 'summer' projects have been completed and seem to work. First - my bathroom extract system has been installed without me once falling off the ladder or putting my foot through the bathroom ceiling, second - I'm now producing tasty pizza and bread from my DIY wood-fired bread oven without upsetting my neighbours and third I've constructed four battery powered 'dew zappers' for camera lenses and scope objectives. The following is proof: - 'Dew zapper' on the Canon EFS 18-55mm lens worked for just over 2 hours, allowing star trails and a time-lapse movie to be made, and thus exceeding the design parameters for the heater and battery. Many thanks to Alan Sheehan B.E on IceInSpace for his excellent article and Excel Spreadsheet relating to building 'dew zappers'. Thanks to Alan I could concentrate on the difficult bits including burning my fingers with a soldering iron and 'wrinkling up' the duct tape. http://www.iceinspace.com.au/63-292-0-0-1-0.html
  10. Comet W2 AFRICANO in the constellation Andromeda - Altair Astro Lightwave 66mm. Doublet Refractor with 0.6x focal reducer and field flattener and Canon 600d DSLR all on a Star Adventurer equatorial mount. Crop of a stack of 15x60sec lights at ISO1600. Not the greatest of images but there was a lot of high level cloud and some moonlight. Pleased to find this without goto on this little scope and mount - nearby bright stars delta and epsilon Andromeda were a great help.
  11. 'rah'! -  finally, I was able to spot Comet W2 AFRICANO sailing through Andromeda. Managed to get a few widefield images of it but sadly through high level cloud and brightening moonlight that rather spoilt an otherwise good night with my little 66mm Altair Astro Lightwave scope.  Will have a go tomorrow at processing what I gathered tonight. Weather forecast for Lowestoft over the next couple of days is quite poor so I need to make the best of my blurry images as I'm unlikely to capture anymore anytime soon.

    Nighty-night Stargazers

  12. Today, I made my first prototype 'dew zapper' for a Canon efs 18-55 lens. Powered by a 9volt battery rubber band attached to the insulation. Not a pretty piece of engineering but quite cost effective. (My daughter in law said it looked like an electrically powered toilet roll). A moist night here on the east coast, so I was pleased that it kept the dew at bay for the length of the trial (two hours). Moon very bright in the backyard so a good night for experimentation. Will make more zappers tomorrow for different bits of glass but to the same/similar design - now I know it works. Night all
  13. Today, the electrical resistors, essential components for constructing 'dew zappers', arrived by post from China. Excellent, now where did I put my soldering iron?

  14. Spent all day in the loft installing a bathroom extraction fan plus ducting. Now I know how Quasimodo felt. Nice gibbous Moon waxing quietly outside but I'm in bed.

    Night night Stargazers.

  15. Another lovely autumnal night here on the east coast. Took a few snaps of the constellations Cassiopeia and Perseus with a tripod mounted DSLR. Quick spin around the sky with my binoculars and so to bed.

    Reckon I could see Comet W2 ARICANO with my big bins close to Gamma Persei but could be my old chum ' wishful thinking' kicking in.

    Night all


  16. Stood in my backyard in Lowestoft and showed the Milky Way and the Andromeda Galaxy to my granddaughter Maisy. Then did a trip around the night sky pointing out the constellations and asterisms. She was really pleased and interested. Living on a main road near the seafront in Southend with so much light pollution has meant that much of the night sky has been lost to her. Realised how lucky I was to live in relatively dark Suffolk.

  17. Beautiful night sky over Lowestoft tonight. Spent 45 minutes with my big bins in the backyard looking for comet 2018 W2 (AFRICANO) in and around Camelopardalis. Think I spotted it with averted vision above and to the right of Kemble's Cascade (towards the Double Cluster). If so very faint but quite large (in my 11x80 bins bigger than M13). Does this sound about right or is this the wishful thinking  of a stargazer who has been too long without a comet to observe?

    George now in bed in Lowestoft.

    1. Hawksmoor


      Last night was another clear night, so I  spent it trying to image said comet using my Altair 66mm scope with x0.6 focal reducer. All with no success and much dewing up of lenses. All got a bit silly in the end when I decided to use my partner's microwaveable'Fox' bed warmer to keep the dew at bay. A stuffed Fox fixed with a rubber band to your refractor tube does not give your rig a 'high-Tec' look! Jolly good job I don't take myself too seriously!

      Night night stargazers.

  18. Cloud Dodgin' - Canon 400D DSLR-EFS18-55mm lens at f=18mm. 30secs at ISO1600. Star Adventurer mount. Definitely a Perseid.
  19. Really nice image with lots of detail to admire! Jupiter is too low this year for me to image using my 127mm refractor. So thanks for sharing. The GRS looks quite different from the last time I imaged it! Regards George
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