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Status Updates posted by Hawksmoor

  1. Pulling an all nighter as the clouds that were supposed to disappear at midnight have inconveniently not consulted a meteorologist. I've given up trying to obtain 4min subs at ISO800 in favour of 2min subs at ISO1600 whilst cloud dodgin' without a 'G'. Why is it that 'mainly clear' isnt and that mainly it isnt clear in front of the thing you're trying to photograph?  It is also mind numbingly cold in our Backyard - my nose has started to run and my clumsy rating has started to climb exponentially.

    Nighty night stargazers wherever you are.

    George not asleep in Lowestoft

  2. 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

  3. Misjudged the weather. Set up my scopes for a night of adventure. All my kit and software working in concert. Then the clouds rolled in. I waited and waited whilst the cloud thickened overhead. I consulted Metcheck. The cloud was predicted to worsen. So at 23:45 I packed up my kit and retired to the warmth of the living room. By 00:15 the sky over Lowestoft was as clear as a bell. As protocol forbids the use of swear words and common oaths - "Oh dear, what an unfortunate decision I made"

    George currently fuming in bed in Lowestoft.

  4. Foggy tonight in Lowestoft and I'm the worse for alcohol - so no astro -imaging tonight.

    George inebriated in Lowestoft.

  5. Very clear and chilly night in Lowestoft. Spent a half hour in the garden after the street lights went out. Nice to scan the winter sky with my big bins. Lots of interesting clusters and fuzzies to see this time of the year. 

    Leo Major just about due South and at a good elevation - lots of galaxies just about visible through my 11x80 bins as tiny smudges or fuzzy stars. A bit further east and lower in the sky Virgo is now on show with a few more fuzzies on the edge of visibility.

    Had a look at Mellotte 111 in Coma Berenices - a large and beautiful open star cluster. Not far away the globular star cluster M3 was an easy spot.

    Galaxies M81 and M82 were easy to find near the nose of the Great Bear. This time of the year he stands on his tail and has moved sufficiently East so as not to be hidden by the bulk of our house.

    I finished off my session with a quick look at the Beehive Cluster, M35 and the three Messier open clusters in Auriga.

    A quick trip around the Universe in 30 minutes. Not many hobbies can offer so much in so little time.

    George in bed in Lowestoft.

  6. 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.

  7. Its officially 'Spring' here in in Lowestoft, yesterday and without prior warning, I developed an irresistible urge to reorganise and clean out my tool shed. Putting up shelving is almost as satisfying as tearing out the foam rubber inserts in aluminium flight cases. Well almost! :happy7:

    1. teoria_del_big_bang


      Wish I could get the same enthusiasm to do the same in my garage. 

  8. Some of last night's images were spoilt by the gusting wind but some have turned out OK. Did manage to capture an image of Comet PanSTARRS in Taurus so mission accomplished. Very pleased that my partner has purchased two tickets to see and hear Dr Michael Foale at the UEA towards the end the month. Quite excited!

  9. Nice clear night here in Lowestoft. Still up waiting for my camera to stop snapping NGC 2244. Have captured some wide field images using my Altair Astro 66 mm Doublet and my Meade 127 mm triplet refractors with combined x 0.8 focal reducer and field flattener. Hopefully, I managed to image the comet in Taurus - very faint.

    I've come indoors to warm up leaving the intervalometer to do its business. My Canon 600D DSLR has been eating up batteries, I'm on my third one. The wind is getting up so the guider is working extra hard - hope I'm not going to get a lot of wiggly lines. The moon is now well and truly above the hedge - so i'm going to call it a night soon. Partner went to bed some time ago as she has caught my 'man-flu'. My life will not be worth much if I wake her up particularly, as I said it wouldn't be long before I joined her- some 2 hours ago!

    How time flies when you're catching photons.

    George 'still awake' in Lowestoft.

  10. 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.

  11. Terrible night, rain and gale force winds. In bed as I've got a dose of 'man flu'. Off to sleep in a Vick micro environment of self pity.

    George 'snotty' in Lowestoft.

  12. A very Merry Christmas to you all!


    1. Knighty2112


      Have a good one too mare! :) 

    2. Knighty2112


      Mate that should say! ?

  13. Had a medley of meteorological treats in Lowestoft today. Started with torrential rain, then hail, then sleet followed by snow. Finished off tonight with thunder and lightning with clearing skies and stars visible as I made my way upstairs to Bedfordshire.

    Nighty night stargazers wherever you are.

    George in bed in Lowestoft.


    1. Hawksmoor


      Nice to hear from you Jim. I haven't done much stargazing in the last few weeks. Weather and Christmas have combined to keep my scopes in their cases. Did get one night with my bins and saw a very bright and beautiful Geminid meteor. It just dropped out of the sky and fell down below the Great Bear's tail. Real pretty thing!

      Merry Christmas to you and your family.



    2. JimT


      Hi George, just had a one night outing myself, the dew stopped that night in it's tracks after an hour, since then it has been either the snow or rain so that is it till the new year.  Thanks for the Christmas greetings, wish you and the family the same, I'm afraid we don't bother with Christmas, no children and being a distance from any relatives we tend to have a quite time, this year we are away to Switzerland for  a week courtesy of Belle Coaches, a small village enclosed by glaciers so will be getting heavy gear on.  Okay, take care and enjoy the next couple of week and don't get cold out with your bino's  :)


    3. Hawksmoor


      Have a great time in Switzerland, stay safe and warm.


    4. Show next comments  9 more
  14. Nice clear night here in Lowestoft. Moon waning about third quarter, "on its back" as my late mother in law used to say. Very busy 'Christmas Cwafting' making those 'you can't buy them in the high street gifts' at the moment, so not much time for astronomy. Quick ten minutes with my bins amongst the festive garden illuminations before bed. Bah humbug I hear you say!


  15. Beautiful night in Lowestoft. Have been in Norwich all day and returned home too late and tired to get out scopes. Instead enjoyed fortyfive minutes in the backyard with my big bins. Best 250 pounds I've ever spent on astro kit. 

    The double cluster was spectacular - straight overhead - filled the FOV with jewel like points of light arranged in curved strings. All of the 'M's in Auriga and Gemini were easily visible with hints of individual stars in M35. Pleiades were the best I've seen through my bins - stars visible well beyond the normal cluster of brighter stars - the cluster looking triangular and extending beyond the FOV of my bins. 

    First sighting of Sirius above my hedge this year - always startled by its brightness through my bins. Orion's Sword absolutely cracking view with nebulosity observable well beyond the central bright area of the Trapezium.

    Finished by locating the Comet 2017 01(ASASSN) just above Polaris. Always a treat to see a comet through my bins. Must try to get a photograph before it fades away.


    1. JimT


      Nice one George, had a good four hours last night, dragged myself in gone 0130, starting to get to grips with the gear at last  :).


  16. Just got in after witnessing a 3 hour long display of 'The Northern Lights' over Reykjavik New Harbour. Absolutely fantastic light show in green, magenta snd blue. I would recommend excited atoms for exciting old amateur astronomers. Now enjoying a glass of Bushmills to calm me down and then off to bed.

    Nighty night stargazers wherever you are.

    1. JimT


      Well done George, was there a few year ago and although we enjoyed it the display was ruined by a laser which lit up the sky all night right in the middle of the lights.  Think the laser was something to do with Yoko Ono and peace, certainly had something to say about and it had nothing to do with peace  :)


  17. 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 .

  18. As my partner's aurora alarm went off, so did we to the dark delights of Corton beach car park. Looking north we thought we could see something other than the Orange glow of Great Yarmouth 10 miles to our North. So I took a few 20 second images at F3.5 and ISO1600. I then realised how dark the site was and decided to take a few images of the Milky Way running through Cassiopeia and Perseus. Andromeda was naked eye bright as was the Double Cluster. The Seven Sisters had just appeared out of the North Sea horizon. Quite a lot of people lurking about in the dark on and around Corton Car park and I'm pretty sure few of them were Stargazers. Hey - ho it takes all sorts. :happy6:

    George now in bed after an hour or two of image processing. Will post the results tomorrow in blog format. Nighty night stargazers wherever you are.

  19. First night for some time that was billed as 'mainly clear', so got out my scopes even though it was a full moon.  It also rained as soon as I connected my NEQ 6 to the National Grid. Didn't mention rainfall on any of the weather sites.:happy6:

    Used my new fixing plate to piggy back my Altair Astro 66mm Refractor on the 127mm Refractor. Obtained two video clips to put together a two pane full moon image. Also captured some video of Neptune using the 127mm Refractor and a x3 Barlow. Very low near my horizon so lots of colour dispersion and the very small image was wobbling about in the thermals rising off my neighbour's roof.

    Now in bed, photons viewed , collected and stored on my orange clockwork laptop computator ,tired but happy of Lowestoft.

    Nighty-night stargazers

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


  21. It wasn't supposed to be clear here tonight but as it turned out I managed a good hour and 15 minutes out under a starry sky. Very transparent at times although the moon in the west rendered everything lower than Altair in that part of the sky invisible.

    Managed to find Uranus and Neptune both appeared very 'blue' in my 11x80 binoculars. Another night I must try to image them with my big refractor. I have a better planetary camera now than when I last imaged the 'Ice Giants'.

    Using my little red torch and the October Edition of Sky at Night - Sky Guide chart, I set about finding some of the stellar highlights.  Globulars M15 and M2 were easy finds albeit quite small - I can usuaslly find these without a chart. Similarly I know where to find  M31 and M33 although M33 is not always easy to spot - tonight it was easy as was the large planetary nebula M27. I do like looking at M31 through my big bins it is so big, so far away and so mysterious. I had a fancy that I could just see M74, small and faint, through my bins but this could have been wishful thinking.

    I managed to view a number of beautiful open clusters - The Double Cluster, M103, M34, M52, M39 and NGC 752. M103 is jewel like through big bins and NGC was a new cluster for me - very large and a mixture of bright stars with a dusting of stars on the verge of resolution - very beautiful indeed!

    The best thing about Stargazing is you can always learn something new. Its a bit embarrassing but I realised tonight that I've been miss identifying the constellation Cepheus. Up until tonight what I thought was Gamma Cepheus turns out to have been Delta Draco. It helps to have a chart infront of you when stargazing. What a numpty!:happy6:

    Hope you have clear skies wherever you are - nighty night stargazers.

    George off to bed in Lowestoft.


  22. Heads up. I've probably done for the weather tomorrow in the east of England as I'm off to watch the 'cricket' at Chelmsford.

    Nighty night Stargazers wherever you are.

  23. Yesterday was notable for its contrasts. The morning and afternoon were the component parts of a perfect September day - cerulean blue sky unbroken by cloud.  I felt great, had a nice afternoon out with friends and then returned home hoping to go all 'astronomical' as night fell.  Sadly on my horizon clouds were forming both literally and figuratively. I gave up on the astronomy early evening and the made my first and rather obdurate error of the day. My partner had warned me not to use the date expired cream in making my signature dish - 'bread and butter pudding' but like many old architects before me 'George knew best'. Now my younger son is a research biologist and as he has said before "it wasn't Lysteria because that probably would have been fatal - more likely the Lysteria was killed by the cooking process but the toxins they produce have a pretty unpleasant impact upon the more elderly adventurous cook". Well without getting into graphic details"  Little of my night was spent in bed.

    However in the early hours of the morning I looked out over my garden to see my old friend Orion striding across the close-boarded fence between our house and our neighbour's. So as 'Big Will' would have said "All's well that ends well"

    George making a bit of DIY astro kit and recovering in Oulton Broad

  24. Nice auroral glow on Cliff Cam3  _ 60degrees North Shetland tonight.

  25. 3.00am BST - Just got back from Corton Cliffs and having some soup to warm up. Hoped, looking North out over the Sea, to glimpse a bit of auroral activity but reckon we kidded ourselves that there was a faint green band close to the horizon. Took some photos with a tripod mounted DSLR so after a little sleep I will go through them. Not hopeful:hmh:

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