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Hawksmoor

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Status Updates posted by Hawksmoor

  1. 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

  2. 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!

  3. Been absolutely lovely all day here in Lowestoft. Nice now but looking at Metcheck and SAT24 it will be good and cloudy at 'midnight when the street lights go out'. So instead of doing a bit of imaging tonight, I shall be surfing the cosmos with my big bins and then it's full on sulking for me.

    George a bit miffed in Lowestoft?

    1. Hawksmoor

      Hawksmoor

      Hi Jim

      Nice to hear from you. Are you well? And is your Observatory fully restored and up and running after last year's  storm damage?

      George

    2. JimT

      JimT

      Thanks, the observatory is being cleaned of whatever made its home there but I have yet to get to grips with the hardware that will happen in the next few weeks.  Done a reorg of the garden which took some time and then had a stroke, am okay now, spent a week in JPH, they looked after me well.  Will be good to get all behind me and start looking to the sky again, good to hear from you.
      Jim

    3. Hawksmoor

      Hawksmoor

      Sorry to hear that you have been unwell. Glad you are on the mend and hope you are stargazing soon. All the best.

      George.

    4. Show next comments  3 more
  4. Been busy during the day with DIY and the evening cloud cover has been a bit patchy, so have not had the scopes out - but instead I have used my bins when the sky has cleared. Thought the sky at dusk  on the 15th June looked like there was a possibility of Noctiluscent Clouds - so I set up my DSLR on a photo tripod and waited. Sadly no high level blue clouds appeared so I took a few random photos of the sky. As it turns out I captured one of the brightest satellite flares I've ever seen.  It was moving across the sky from South to North.

     

    Flare_2 copy.png

    1. Hawksmoor

      Hawksmoor

      Looked up what was in the sky over Lowestoft at the time. Could have been one of two active Russian electronic surveillance satellites.?

  5. 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.

     

  6. Been rainin' stair-rods here in Lowestoft. Clearing now and I can see stars, too damp under foot for telescope astronomy but if it stays clear will be out later with my bins. In between we enjoyed a sunset rainbow - quite an exotic looking beast and difficult to do justice with a handheld compact camera - but I tried.

     

    Rainbow 005.png

  7. Better day working in the backyard on the pier. Managed to wire together the reinforcement for the free standing column.  It then started to rain with some force,  so decided to give up on the arc welding. Electricity and water not the best of bed-fellows. :icon_biggrin:

    Continued work on the pier formwork and started Spectrometer 3 project. I love 'bumbling' about in that shed!!

    Now sitting down with a beer. :happy11:

     

    Lowestoft Pier 010.png

  8. Bright full moon - (big wink for Neil) - with lots of high level wispy cloud. A few big jets flying silently across my field of vision. All rather beautiful through my big bins.

    George now in bed wondering when he might go 'imaging' again?

  9. Changed my profile photo. At the weekend we attended a day long course at the London School of Mosaics. -  My effort - " Can you guess what it is yet"? -  A 'bright' comet with ion and dust tails plus three red and ancient stars.

  10. Clear night in Lowestoft. Spent an hour in the backyard with my big bins. Counted 70 stars in the Pleiades with the bins handheld. Not bad for an old bloke and with the 'Seven Sisters'  just above my hedge. Best bit of the session was seeing a proper fireball meteor fall out of the sky following a slow arc from directly over head and the direction of Perseus to my southern horizon. A  beautiful orange colour too! :icon_biggrin:

    Nighty night one and all from the old man by the North Sea .

  11. Clear sky over Lowestoft tonight. Hercules almost directly overhead and Vega higher in the east. Nice crescent moon setting in the North-West. 

    Night all.

  12. 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.

  13. Clouds and rain yesterday but at 22:20 last night, between the clouds and just above my neighbour's fence I glimpsed a pretty crescent moon (apologies for the Jane Austen like prose). So I dashed out with my camera and took a 'lucky snap' or six balancing my Altair Astro 66mm Lightwave frac with 0.6x focal reducer - 'telescopic lens combo' on top of our water butt. The break in the cloud only lasted for five minutes. Not the best of images but I'm suffering from 'wet weather front fever'.

     

    Crescent Moon small.png

  14. Cold but clear night here in Lowestoft this evening. Too tired  for astronomy as have just driven home from Sheffield via Barton on Humber. Off to bed to catch some zzzzzzzs.

    George 'counting sheep' in Suffolk.

  15. Completed the free OU 'Moons' short course. Very much enjoyed it! Thanks to the SGL member who gave the 'heads up on this'. Have now embarked on a free Data Analysis course - Auckland University via OU. Thought this might help me make sense of the copious amounts of data being produced by the LVST meteor detection software defined radio.

    Another clear night here on the coast but windy and the Moon is becoming gibbous and quite bright.

    Night night stargazers.

    1. Lurcher

      Lurcher

      Thanks for posting this. I just happened to see it, and it raised my intrigue to have a look at the OU website.

      I've just signed up and downloaded the free course on the moon. The others look good too.

      (Looking forward to getting out and trying another sketch tonight now).

      Many thanks. 

    2. Hawksmoor

      Hawksmoor

      You're welcome.

    3. Fraunhoffer

      Fraunhoffer

      ooh thanks for this - looks good - as do the others (galaxies etc).

  16. Could not increase the signal to noise ratio significantly using my redundant QHY5v planetary camera as a spectrometer so decided to use it as a guide camera freeing up my QHY-11c for acquiring very low res spectra and blurry images of planets. Some fiddling about later managed to obtain a spectrum for Sirius. Best thing being, I managed this without venturing out into the cold. South facing living room, open the patio door, point tripod mounted Altair Astro 66mm Doublet with Spectrometer Mark 3 attached and job done. Quite a lot more fiddling required to get grating and imaging chip better aligned but in principle it appears to work. Also used a new black and white laser printer to print an objective grating on acetate sheet for my 5 inch refractor. Thought it would be interesting to compare spectra produced using converging and non-converging arrangements on the same scope. 

    Now off to bed so night-night stargazers.

  17. Decided to try out Topaz Denoise AI - Quite impressed by use on a couple of planetary images. Will have a go with some widefield photos tomorrow. Think I may well be investing $99.99 of my 'paper-round' money in this software. If so there will be no more astro investments until 2021. 

     

  18. Earlier this evening I watched a large moon rise over the end of our street. Just a bit of cloud about to add some perspective and reflect some of the deep warm yellow moonlight. A real pretty thing to see.

    More cloud now so off to bed after a day spent on new woodcut print.

    Nighty night stargazers.

  19. Even though the sky is full of clouds, I'm In an excellent mood:

    • The second hand 18-55mm efs  camera lens which I ordered  on-line has been delivered and works fine (completing my home made dual camera meteor imaging rig set up).  Tremendous value at less than -£40 including delivery.
    • I completed the conversion of my garden barbecue into a wood fired bread oven, and it works. Tasty bread with a proper crust.
    • Today, my garden was full of butterflies and they were beautiful.

    Now I'm off to sleep, night all.

  20. Every time I go to bed and post on here that the weather in Lowestoft is terrible, it immediately clears up. My partner woke me up at 2:00am yesterday morning and told me she should could see stars through the bathroom window. Downstairs I went in my dressing gown and through the kitchen door I could see the Pleiades. Minutes later still in my dressing gown but now equipped with big bins I took my first glimpse of Comet 46P Wirtanen as it sailed past the Seven Sisters. It then got a bit silly as I tried to get a photo using my Dslr on a Poundland mini tripod balanced on a set of boxes placed on a chair in my kitchen 'lean to' with the door open. No more than one out of ten for scientific method. Well I did manage to get a 'snap' or two of the 'blurred kind'. Will post something in the near future. Nice view of the comet through my 11x80 bins. It has quite a big coma when I compared it with the nearby Pleiades.

    Weather closed in again and I'm back in bed.

  21. Excellent auroral display on Cliff cam 3 60degrees north Shetland right now

     

  22. Excellent data outcome. Having grasped the basics of INZight data analysis software, thanks to OU free course and Department of Statistics Auckland University, I managed to load Spectrum Lab event logs for August 2016 and started compiling relationship graphs relating to various aspects of radar reflections from Perseid meteors. Next step : to filter out data outliers, but I probably need to finish the course first and attain the required skill set!  At least I can do something with the data stream generated by the LVST (The Lowestoft Very Small Telescope).

    Now retiring to the slumber pit. Last night I fell out of bed only to be  rudely awakened at 3am as I collided with the Cyril Lord. 

    Nighty night stargazers from George in Lowestoft.

  23. Feeling quite chipper even though its raining, so no astronomy tonight and worse still all our lovely grandchildren have gone home.  The reason for my good humour is my success in mending my old Meade ETXRA tripod at no cost.  I have adapted the tripod to accept my Star Adventurer equatorial mount and last time out  was distressed to find that the leg clamps were slipping like eels on a marble slab. 

    Referring to the excellent and comprehensive, if no longer updated, Weasner's Mighty ETX internet resource, I managed to find reference to the problem and the historic suggested Meade fix for my 15 year old tripod.  After manufacturing reinforcing pegs from plastic wall plugs  and wooden dowel fixings in my shed, I utilised my greatest asset in repairing the crushed aluminium legs: brute force and impatience.  After a bit of cursing and a small blood blister: "It works Igor" and slippage is a thing of the past. Hurrah!

  24. Feeling somewhat better. Man flu receding and coughing less. Hoping the clouds part this weekend so I can get a photo of the comet passing thoroug Taurus.

    George 'wanting to play with telescopes again' in Lowestoft.

  25. First full on summer's day here in Lowestoft. We went for a walk across the marsh. Lots of butterflies - Orange tip, peacock and one variety we didn't recognise. Walked through a full on swarm of bees. Heard them first and then suddenly they were all around us. Saw a snipe, a marsh harrier, swifts, marsh tits and a white egret. Surprised a roe deer by the railway track or did it surprise us? Great day in warm sunshine.

    Nighty night stargazers

    George tired but not stung in Lowestoft.

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