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Status Updates posted by Hawksmoor

  1. Weather tomorrow night predicted fair, so might have a go at Mars and Uranus. Cloudy tonight here on the coast so off to bed.

    Night  Night stargazers


  2.   Beautiful Mars and waning gibbous Moon conjunction. Took a few images with my Canon DSLR at f=300mm. Interesting how the naked eye and brain can better accommodate the difference in brightness between the Moon and Mars than can the camera. To my eyes Mars shone like a pink jewel whilst the Mare on the Moon were in dark contrast to the southern highlands. My camera, set to show lunar detail, rendered Mars a very dull and tiny disc. Looks like a job tomorrow for 'photo editing software'!

    Now in bed in Lowestoft. Nighty night stargazers.

  3. Glad you got your Gazebo back after it 's maiden flight. I am happy to report that ours is still in place, but earlier today, it required some emergency running repairs with an adjustable spanner.

    Best regards from George in Lowestoft where it is still raining.

  4. I put up a small gazebo for a socially distanced meal with my daughter and grandchildren. Instantly, the rain became torrential and the wind speed increased to + 50 mph. Erecting a gazebo appears to have a more dramatic impact upon the weather than purchasing a new telescope! Who would have guessed?

    George holding on tight to a lifting gazebo in Lowestoft. A bit like the film 'Up' but damper.

  5. Lovely night here on the East Coast. Most unexpected as Metcheck was less than encouraging. Set up my pier mounted scope and managed to capture some video of Saturn and Jupiter. Been a long time since I've done any planetary imaging, so not expecting great results with both planets so low. Plenty of heat was coming off my neighbour's roofs and the planetary images were wobbling all over the place. Decided that I would have to get Mrs Hawksmoor to remove some more hedging if I'm going to be able to image Mars anytime soon. Poor long suffering woman, she deserves better!

    Nighty night stargazers wherever you are.

    George in bed in Lowestoft.


  6. Returned from an enjoyable holiday break in Northumberland. Got to use my newly acquired Nikon 8x40 Action EX cf bins on seals and stars. Well pleased with these bins for hand held observations by the older gentleman!

    Weather in Lowestoft however, remains poor and much as it was when I left. Will I ever get to image Saturn and Jupiter with my pier mounted scope or will the hedge grow back closing my window of opportunity ? A snap or two of Mars would be nice too!

    George in bed and under a cloud in Lowestoft.

  7. Cloud remains almost unbroken. Noticed number of reflections being detected by my sdr meteor set up has increased. Clearly the Delta Aquarids and Perseid showers are making there mark. Would be nice if the clouds departed by the night of Perseid maximum so I could capture a few visual images.

    Night all and hope the weather is more astro-friendly for you than here in Lowestoft.

  8. Wall to all cloud in Lowestoft tonight. Brought about by Mrs Hawksmoor who kindly trimmed back the honeysuckle on our southern fence in order that I might capture some video clips of Saturn and Jupiter with my pier mounted 5 inch refractor as the gas giants transit the small patch of sky between my two neighbours' roofs.  Sigh!

    Also acquired some Nikon 8x40 bins which probably put the tin lid on clear skies of any sort within the forseeable future. GRRRR! 

    "Does buying new kit make you feel happier" I'll let you know!

    George in murky Lowestoft.

  9. Quite a bit of cloud about tonight but I managed to see Comet NEOWISE under the Great Bear. Couldn't help but take a few 'snaps' through our bedroom window. I've had my money's worth out of my little Poundland tripod.

    It is a mind boggling thought that this comet last visited our planet in the Neolithic period and will not return for another 7000 years. There was a Neolithic presence on the coast at Pakefield which is only 2 miles from our home. I wonder what our distant ancestors made of it?

    Night all

  10. Lovely night again after quite a poor day here on the East Coast. Managed to get some views through my 11x80mm bins of the star clouds and Messiers in and around Sagittarius. Scraping the roofs to my south but remarkably clear and steady. Jupiter and Saturn still too low to be observed through my pier mounted refractor, but very bright to the naked eye. Saturn usually dim is surprisingly bright. I don't often get to see Sagittarius from our Backyard, so a bit of a treat. From our front door looking North Comet NEOWISE is easily visible with the naked eye even before the street lighting is extinguished. Very beautiful in the environs of the Great Bear. Not much photography tonight, just looking and enjoying the beauty of it all. Fabulous evening under the stars!

    Night all stargazers wherever you are.

  11. When you see wide field photos  in AN and S@N they usually have a wonderful foreground landscape.  A wild lake, a dark forest,  a deserted beach with abandoned lighthouse or an engineering masterpiece all adding grandeur to the night sky phenomenon pictured. So tonight I give you Comet 2020F3 NEOWISE over my neighbours' guttering - awesome !


    IMG_7089 copy.png

  12. Sky over Oulton Broad has just cleared. Little bit of high level scattered cloud remains and some haze towards the northern horizon mixed with light pollution from Great Yarmouth. Comet NEOWISE still visible to the naked eye but not so sharp as when last viewed on the 13th July. It has moved quite a distance west towards Ursa Major. The tail appears longer. A really nice thing to see when viewed through my 11x80 mm bins. Had a quick look at the Double Cluster always a treat. Jupiter and Saturn very bright to the South. Saw a nice white fast moving meteor, going south to north, before I called it a day and came to bed.

    Night all

  13. Quite pleased with these two blurry images. Jupiter and Saturn virtually perched on the ridge tiles of my neighbour's roof and imaged with my old ETX 90 Ra balanced (just) on a Star Adventurer mount.


  14. Back to cloud and rain again but I did get to see the comet in the early hours yesterday. Tired but happy in Lowestoft.

    Night all!

  15. Been cloud dodging in the backyard. Just captured some SER video clips of Saturn and Jupiter using my twenty year old Meade ETX 90 Ra on my Star Adventurer mount. Image scale a bit on the small side but nice to use my new QHY 5 -11 mono camera for the first time. However small the image, Saturn never fails to amaze me.  Considering both planets were skimming the ridge tiles of my neighbour's roof, the presence of intermittent cloud at various levels and the limited aperture of the scope, the old ETX punched well above its weight! By pushing up the gain, increasing the exposure time and over exposing Saturn, the ETX resolved at least 3 and possibly 4 of Saturn's moon's.

    Nighty night Stargazers.


  16. Weather on the East Coast has gone into a serious decline. Rain wind and more rain. Haven't been able to see Comet NEOWISE, the Moon or anything vaguely celestial for several days. In a rush of blood to the head and during a brief period of sunlight yesterday morning, I decided to affix my triangular Australian 'Sun break' to its wall mounted anchor rings. Spent the afternoon regularly emptying the pooling rainwater from its distended fabric embrace. Made the informed choice of taking it down before 'the wind got up' and we all went impromptu wind surfing. Today, the gale has abated but the rain remained tropical until about 23:00 when low and behold we have stars. Wandered the neighbourhood with my 'big bins' trying to find a location with a sufficiently low northern horizon, to enable a quick view of comet NEOWISE, but sadly without success. Eyed with suspicion by a number of late night revellers returning home. Probably a wise fashion choice, not to have worn the knitted black ski-mask!

    Saturn and Jupiter looking good but still too low to use my pier mounted refractor. Will try and get some video using my old 90mm ETX mounted on the 'star adventurer'. With my patio doors open I reckon I could capture some planetary pictures without having to leave the house. According to Metcheck, the next cloud free night will be on Wednesday. Will set up the rig tomorrow - just in case.

    Now in my Lowestoft slumber chariot awaiting Morpheus.

    Night night Stargazers


  17. Very windy here on the East Coast tonight. Lots of clouds scudding about. Jupiter and Saturn are accompanying the full Moon in its low course across my southern horizon. I have been hanging out of our back bedroom window taking a few pictures. I'm sure this sort of eccentric behaviour will result in my acquisition of a dubious neighbourhood reputation.🙃

    Nighty night stargazers

  18. Yet another beautiful day on the east coast. Went for a walk along the dunes at Winterton on Sea. Watched the little terns fishing and return to shore beaks crammed with silver fish. Was watched in turn by a suspicious seal.

    As the evening was clear I decided to photograph Jupiter and Saturn rising up over the sea from a vantage point on Corton Cliffs near Lowestoft. Got some nice widefield images with my Canon Dslr simply mounted on a standard tripod at f=18/mm. and ISO 1600 and 3200 - 10sec  exposures. Will try stacking them tomorrow to bring out fainter background stars and increase signal to noise. Got back home just after midnight. Waxing Moon setting in the west was very red nestling in the trees near the horizon.

    Night all - from George in bed in Lowestoft

  19. Beautiful night tonight. Been out in the garden with my bins. Summer Milky Way is now well above my hedge to the East. Summer Triangle nicely displayed. Hercules is directly above our backyard. There seems to be many more satellites in the sky. I thought I would test this by laying my DSLR on its back on the patio table and taking a series of 10x10 sec exposures at ISO3200 and f=18mm. I was amazed and rather dismayed by how many were picked up by my camera in such a short time. I also believe that I'm recording radar reflections from increased numbers of satellites with my sdr.

    George saying goodnight to all stargazers from Lowestoft

  20. Just took a quick handheld snap from the bedroom window. The extra elevation enabled my first views of Saturn and Jupiter this year, low over my neighbours' roofs. Oh for a clear view of the southern horizon!

    George now tucked up in bed.

  21. Watched the ISS  go over Lowestoft followed by the much fainter Crew Dragon capsule. Could just see the latter and might have got a handheld image or two whilst hanging out the bedroom window.

    Last night I set up my big refractor and captured some video clips of the Moon at first quarter (at f=2250mm and f=2700mm). Some time consuming processing awaits!

    Lovely clear night this evening after a really beautiful sunny day. Nighty night stargazers.

    George still socially isolated on the East Coast.

  22. Been a 'good' old boy and managed to get my very old QHY5v to talk to an old copy of PHD2 in order that I might use it for guiding. This frees my QHY5L-11 colour planetary camera, which I had been using for guiding, for other uses. Been a 'bad' old boy this week and purchased a QHY5L-11 mono camera for spectral application in combination with a 'homemade' transmission grating Mark 3.  It is my understanding that an under £200 purchase in lock-down is acceptable behaviour for the 'older retired gentleman' in 'not upsetting long-suffering life partner' mode.😉

    This new camera - Peak QE 74% and pixel size 3.75 um- might also be used  in combination with it's colour variant to take some images of brighter DSOs - probably worth a try out on M27 and M57 later in the summer, as long as it doesn't get too hot. (not much chance of that on the UK's desirable East Coast!)

    Very excited awaiting a package from Modern Astronomy. Come on Bernie!

  23. I dont know!

    I decide to get my 5inch refractor out and on its pier, first time in a while. Lovely sunny day here on the coast. Beautiful blue sky, as you can see on the photograph from this pm. Within literally minutes the sky turned as black as thunder and has remained that way. 'Metcheck clear sky' completely ignored by the weather. This hobby is not for the faint hearted. You can probably work that out for yourself if you noticed my 'tidy' wiring festooned over the scope and its locale. Don't do this at home kids!

    Walk on the wild side 010small.png

    1. Show previous comments  2 more
    2. orion25


      I am well and hope you are too, my friend.  Been having some really nice skies my way with less pollution and aircraft (but still those bothersome geo satellites). I can't wait to see your images. I've taken several widefield shots of the waxing crescent and Venus. Did you see Venus cross the Pleiades earlier this month? I got some cool pictures of that.


      Clear skies,

      Reggie :)

    3. Hawksmoor


      Glad you are keeping well. I did see your sequence of images of Venus crossing the Pleiades. I thought they were a very good set. I missed the event as weather was poor here. My last good weather window was either the 28th or 29th and just before the Venus Pleiades conjunction. I saw Elon's Starlink Satellites for the first time on that night. It was quite spectacular as they crossed the sky on either side of the ISS.

      I've also noted the reduction in planes and improvement in air quality. I also observed that the signal to noise ratings on PHD whilst I was 'guiding' the other night were really good. I guess that is a measure of good seeing and improved air quality.

      I've been processing the images today but not quite finished them. Tomorrow I'm providing support for my grand children on 'lock down' in three separate towns around the UK. I'm hosting an internet 'art class' for them. My partner did a 'cooking class' for them today.

      Hopefully, I will get some time to finish my image processing tomorrow and get them 'posted'.

      Best regards and stay safe.


    4. orion25


      I'll be waiting with bated breath, lol!

  24. After another day in isolation we decided to go for a walk at about 21:00 BST.  After a morning on which we had a short snow shower and lots of cloud, we were surprised to see some stars. The crescent Moon, Venus, Hyades and Pleiades conjunction was  a real visual treat. Quite unexpectedly, the Space Station went over accompanied by a retinue of Elon Musk's Stsrlink Satellites. By heck there were a lot of them and quite bright!

    When we got home I grabbed a camera and tried to get a handheld image of the conjunction before the clouds rolled in. I hope to post something tomorrow.

    Quite excited as we have made our first batch of yoghurt today and will be trying it in the morning for breakfast. We could have made one small step towards dairy self sufficiency or a biological weapon of mass destruction. Only time will tell!

    Now in bed awaiting sleep in Lowestoft

  25. Two nights in a row out under the stars. No cloud at all tonight so excellent! Managed to see Comet 2019 Y4 (ATLAS) through my big bins and now hopefully imaging it with my widefield mini- rig. Self isolating in a big way as the rest of  Lowestoft's residents appear to be asleep in bed. Don't remember ever seeing Coma Berenices quite so bright with the naked eye and spectacular through my bins. What a great night for stargazers. 

    1. orion25


      Nice report! 

      Cheers! :) 

    2. pipnina


      I have to agree! A wonderful set of nights perfectly coinciding with me being home from work.

      Hope to get some good use from my kit. Pleiades was clear as anything when I was outside just now. A lot of the cluster of stars surrounding Aldeberan were visible too despite the light pollution being heavier in that direction.

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