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Status Updates posted by Hawksmoor

  1. 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.

  2. Heavy dew, that's what could and did go wrong!

    I need to build a couple of 'dew zappers' for my 18-55mm EFS camera lenses. Where did I put that bag of resistors?

  3. Th rain has stopped, the gale force winds have abated and the Moon has dropped below my neighbour's roof, so I have put out my meteor rig to see if I can catch some. What can possibly go wrong?

  4. 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.

  5. Watched the ISS go over my backyard tonight. It almost occulted Vega. Never tire of watching it free falling it's way silently across my patch of sky.

    Night night stargazers.

  6. Lovely hot day here in Lowestoft. Sea like a mill pond. Spent an hour swimming and the caught some rays and doughnuts on the beach!  Clear night, so tried out my home made meteor catcher rig. Seemed to work ok and managed to capture a couple of meteors (sporadic or Capricornids) -- not sure which.

    So many bright satellites in the sky nowadays it's hard to take a widefield photograph without acquiring an image of one. Was using two cameras and two intervaluometers so not outside when the ISS went over but got several images with a very thick bright white line. Guess that was it!

    Now happily in my sleeping chariot awaiting the onset of Zeds.

    Night all.

  7. Just poked my head outside and its raining. Looks like February which this year looked strangely like July. Weird!

    Night all.

  8. First nice night in quite a while. Spent some time in my backyard with bins. Nice to see the Summer Triangle. Saturn and Jupiter so low and just visible over neighbour's roof. Noticed a very bright satellite travelling more or less north to south and a little to the east of directly overhead. Not noticed that one before. The sky is becoming very busy.

    Nighty night all

  9. Have now published my speculations regarding the 2016 Perseid Shower after 'graphing the life out' of my sdr radio meteor reflection data. This is what happens when you let an old artist loose in a shed with wires and concepts he barely understands.

    Probably a lot of 'balderdash' but I enjoyed playing with the data whilst it was raining outside. If you are interested please follow the link to my LVST (Lowestoft Very Small Telescope) site .

    LVST Perseids 04 Aug to 16 Aug  2016

    Please excuse my references to Jodrell Plank Observatory staff - I get a bit silly when I'm bored and make things up!  Comet the Observatory Cat exists but she or he does not belong to us or to Mr Schrodinger, who does not actually live next door.😉

    Unless God or the police move me on, I hope to do similar stuff on a comparative basis with 2017, 2018 and 2019 data (and  also for different meteor showers). ~On the other hand I might just get out more!

    I attach my favourite data plot for those that like graphs!

    U+TMaxpower-radialV lim=lesspxd1000anno.png

  10. Just about finished analysing my first batch of data from The LVST  sdr meteor catcher. Have been looking in detail at the Perseid Shower 2016. Now I know this is not cutting edge and that 3 years is a bit of a delay between receipt of signals and doing something with the data but I am a bit old and defocussed since giving up regular employment. Anyway I'm quite pleased with myself even if I've got the math wrong and jumped to the wrong conclusions in interpreting the data.  I will be publishing my findings on my LVST (Lowestoft Very Small Telscope) Google Site tomorrow. (subject to distractions too numerous to mention)

    George drowning in numbers in Lowestoft.

  11. Nice night with a few wisps of cloud. Full moon with Jupiter in close proximity - quite beautiful.

    Just admired the view for 30 minutes before reaching for a camera. 

    Then as I tried to accommodate the huge dynamic range of luminance between the two objects, I wondered at the complexity of the human eye and brain combination that can accomplish the feat with consumate ease.  Improvement by Darwinian selection may be wasteful,  brutal and incredibly slow but it sure delivers on performance.

    I will post an image tomorrow.

    Nighty night stargazers

  12. Well knock me over with a tripod I can actually see the Moon and Jupiter through and between the clouds. A few stars as well! Took some widefield DSLR snaps as it looked quite pretty. Jupiter is too low for me this year. Too many roofs on the way!

    Discovered my Funcube Dongle on the LVST had thrown a wobbly so had to reboot. Now working ok but sadly have lost a lot of data since the beginning of the year. On a more positive note I have been trying to develop a methodology for analysing data using Excel and INZite software (a relatively painless interface with R). Have been using Perseid data from 2016. Will stick a few graphs on once I've finished playing with the data. So don't laugh at an old bloke trying to do science-lite.

    George by moonlight in Lowestoft

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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


      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


      You're welcome.

    3. Fraunhoffer


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

  17. Last night I put out the 127mm refractor to image M 87 at approx f=750 mm. Very cold, a tad windy , lots of low-level cloud and too much moonlight but otherwise just what the old amateur astronomer dreams of! At least I managed to get a snap. Used my homemade Batinov mask for the first time - worked effectively so well pleased. 

    George now in bed - Nighty night all.

  18. Nice night here in Lowestoft. Been out with my big bins. Regulus a very nice multiple star system worth a look through binoculars. Lots of galaxies in Leo, Virgo and Coma Berenices. All just visible with averted vision through my handheld bins as small interesting fuzzies. Nice to see Vega visible and rising in the east just above my neighbour's hedge. Summer is on the way troops!

    Night night stargazers everywhere.

    1. orion25


      Nice report, George. Are you watching Jupiter, Saturn and Venus in the mornings? Such a peaceful time to observe :) 

    2. Hawksmoor


      Hi Reggie

      Nice to hear from you. Haven't been up early enough to see Jupiter, Saturn and Venus. Have been doing a lot of DIY work around the house so a bit too tired to pull an all nighter. Must try and obtain an image of Jupiter and Saturn but not sure whether they will get high enough for me to get my big scope on them. Our Southern Horizon is very built up and the planets are very low this year from 52 degrees North.

      Best regards George

  19. After an extended period of being 'uncle dick', during which I totally forgot that I had registered my interest in taking part , I finally got around to starting the OU-Moons free distance learning package that had been lurking in my Yahoo inbox.  Had an enjoyable day catching up the first week of studies. Week two - tomorrow, if all goes to plan.  Here in Lowestoft it looks set cloudy for awhile.?

    1. orion25


      Have fun until the sky clears, George :) 



  20. 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.

  21. After a grey and cloudy day the sky cleared for a quick look at the Moon. The crater Aristarchus was well clear of the terminator and shining brilliant white against the darker mare lava.

    Nighty night stargazers

    George the old man by the sea.

  22. A pretty thing:

    Turned my bins towards the terminator on the waxing gibbous Moon tonight and watched sunlight kiss the peaks of the Jura Mountains behind the Bay of Rainbows still cloaked in the darkness of lunar night. 

    Craters Tycho and Copernicus were very bright and clearly defined. The rays of projects from Tycho were very obvious. The dark lava of Plato stood out as a tiny oval against the lighter uplands.

    Nighty night stargazers.

    George in bed in Lowestoft

    1. orion25


      Nice report, George. Did you see the close encounter of the first quarter moon and Aldebaran on Wednesday night? I always look out for those occultations; I've imaged a few. Right now, I'm dealing with cloud, for about a week according to the forecast, UGGGGH!?

    2. Hawksmoor


      Hi Reggie

      Unfortunately, I missed close encounters of the Aldebaran kind. Sad to hear you have had an extended period of cloud. Hope things improve soon, forecasts aren't always right!

      Weather in Lowestoft still good but Moon so bright everything else very washed out. Spent 30 minutes looking at the Moon through my big bins. Tonight Gassendi was on display. Very interesting effect - the rims of the craters from Gassendi to the terminator and south  along the terminator were illuminated and looked like two bright straight lines at right angles.

      The other very visible feature on display was the elongated crater Schiller looking like a dark scar in the brilliant white southern moonscape.

      I love looking at the Moon through bins over a run of consecutive nights.  (Weather permitting)!

      The changes occasioned by variation in the angle of incident sunlight are quite fascinating.

      I quite like the low magnification of bins (11x), as you can see the whole Moon on display at a glance but have to really focus and concentrate to pick out the detail.

      Now off to bed

      Best regards George

  23. Went for a walk in Norfolk today and came face to face with a hare. Completely mad of course and it isn't even March!

    Night all.

    George in Lowestoft

  24. Glad I popped outside before I went to bed tonight! Really clear sky at the moment in Lowestoft.  Tonight, even before the street lights went out, I could see M44 with the naked eye as quite a bright cloud. Got a real grip on its apparent size with regard to the constellation Cancer, as much easier to do with unaided eye sight. When I looked at it through my 11x80 bins a real treat -lots of stars on view. Bonus - M67 a very easy spot  with handheld bins tonight - not always the case from my backyard.

    Looking west was fantastic. Orion, Gemini, Taurus, Auriga and Perseus all visible in one view without having to move my head absolutely fabulous. One off treats that stood out - Sirius, Orion's Sword, Betelgeuse, Aldeberan, the Pleiades and Capella. Through my bins the open clusters in Gemini and Auriga were top notch and the view of the Orion GMC was stunning.

    Looking south, Leo on display always nice to see - spring on its way. The Bear remains on its tail and Arcturus was shining yellow as it rose above my tall hedge to the east.

    My wife came out to have a look and spotted a meteor.

    Nighty night stargazers wherever you are.

    George in Lowestoft about to turn out the light.

    1. orion25


      Very nice. Thanks for pulling up the images, George. I find that I like the Hind's Crimson Star a bit better because it is more challenging to see and glows a deeper red. I was stoked to get an image of it!


      Reggie :) 

    2. Hawksmoor


      In your image Hind's star 'glows like an ember' Great image!

    3. orion25


      Thanks, George. I shot it at prime focus with my 127mm Mak and tweaked the exposure to bring out the color and not wash it out by too much luminance.

    4. Show next comments  6 more
  25. Interesting evening under starry skies in Redgrave, Suffolk. Sat next to a guy in the pub who played an officer on the Death Star in the first Star Wars film. Fell three feet into a sunken garden in the dark. Luckily the earth 's crust broke my fall. Survived to tell the tale and now back in bed in Lowestoft.

     George shaken but not stirred in Lowestoft

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