Status Updates posted by Hawksmoor
Nice auroral glow on Cliff Cam3 _ 60degrees North Shetland tonight.
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
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.
Thought I would give my profile picture a seaside flavour.
The things Dr Maggie can get me to do : Truth is my children some years ago banned me from using ladders, not unreasonably as I'm a tad dyspraxic and have fallen off a couple of times. I also know that the industrial revolution has thrown a lot of terrestrial magnetic debris into the atmosphere but all this withstanding, I could not resist the eccentric idea of ferreting about in my gutters with a magnet looking for space dust. So I did and a lot of the crud turned out to be magnetic. Anyways, I attach an image which may or may not be a micrometeorite - its shiny - its magnetic (other bits of dust are adhering to it) - its ovoid and its got some pits on the surface.
Best bit was I disobeyed my children and made my partner and grandchildren laugh. So thanks S&N for encouraging me to be naughty..
Just had a good idea - sadly I dont live near the pristine Antartic ice but I do live near to East Runton where there is an eroding exposure of the 500,000 year old Forest Bed (definitely pre- industrial contamination). If I select a sample where it is overlaid with clay it might well be worth looking for magnetic micrometeorites as well as the fossil pollen and shrews teeth I usually find. A future project beckons.
What does a meteorologist mean by partly cloudy and how does it differ from mainly clear ? I really enjoy my astronomy but some times I do believe I'm bonkers. I've spent an hour setting up my scope in hope that partly cloudy means there are gaps between clouds and that when and if it moves on to mainly clear the gaps will be bigger and last for longer. Currently in Lowestoft partly cloudy means I can just about see Vega, Deneb and Altair. I'm sitting in my backyard writing this on my laptop by red torch light -I'm holding the torch in my mouth and starting to dribble. All this grief because I fancied imaging asteroid Florence as it goes whizzing by, a 3 mile wide rock 7 million kilometres distant. As my mate Big Phil from Sheffield would say "Why do you want to take hundreds of photographs with really expensive equipment that mainly comprise white dots on a black background" He has got a point!
Do you know what, I think it is clearing a bit so 3 star alignment here I come.
George trying to take pictures in Lowestoft
This is something I have asked a few times. It is obviously different to our idea of clear. Occasionally I have had "Clear" but a heavy fog. As fog is a local event it is not covered by the weather forcast usually. So Clear and you cannot see the other side of the road.
I suspect a trip to Exeter and the main Met Office might help but equally I suspect that it is almost arbituary and could depend on who wrote up the forecast.
In worst case Clear could be not raining and good horizontal visual clarity.
Big George has a point.
Thanks for the comment. The weather did improve sufficiently for me to get a few images of NEO Florence in between the clouds. By heck that lump of rock is moving at a pace. Couldn't find it in my big bins but go-to technology and my 127mm. Refractor did the trick. I think the moon light was a bit of an issue. Tonight much clearer but moon very bright and setting later. Have to say after last night falling into bed at 3:15 am and someone's car alarm going off at four, two late nights in a row are not an option. Tomorrow I will have a go at putting together an asteroid animation.
Best regards from George by the sea and now in bed.
Nice night with some high level cloud passing by. Just got back from Southend so a bit tired and the old back is playing up again. Going out with big bins for an easy hour - long eyeball trip around the Universe. According to Metcheck Thursday and Friday night will be mega -clear so will leave scopes and astro photography until the end of the week. I will also feel a tad less sore and more 'perky' by then.
One hour later
What a lovely hour under the stars - hope I'm not going to regret keeping my scopes in their boxes - paticularly if the weather does not oblige at the end of the week.
Spent some time gazing at the Andromeda Galaxy through my bins. When your eyes get 'dark sensitive' you gradually begin to appreciate how big it really is. Virtually fills the width of the FOV in my 11x80mm. binoculars!
Also noticed the 'stick-man' asterism next to the Double Cluster for the first time. How have I missed seeing that before?
Had a long look around Cassiopeia and Cepheus lots of clusters and nebulosity. Herschel's Garnet Star - Mu Cephei is a very pretty thing and very hard to believe that it is very probably larger than Betelgeuse and spacious enough to contain 2 billion Suns within its volume.
Looking over to the South and West - M17 was very easy to spot with my bins - a bright elongated nebulous patch at the bottom and to the west of Scutum. A very pretty section of the sky to scan with binoculars if a little close to my horizon.
The globular clusters in Hercules were still high enough in the sky to see well and Cygnus and Lyra were more or less directly over head. Always enjoy looking at the double -double stars in Lyra although unable to split each pair of stars using my bins. I have managed this before with both my 90mm. Mak and my 127mm. refractor. The bins just dont have sufficient magnification for the job.
Looked at the Coathanger Cluster before I called it a day and came back inside to finish this report before heading off to bed.
Nighty night stargazers from
George 'the old man by the sea' in Lowestoft.
Terrible night in Lowestoft. In the short time it takes me to walk from my kitchen to the shed I became fully immersed by rain in stair-rod formation. Checked that the LVST was still monitoring meteor activity over southern France. All OK but not much radar on plasma action. The sky over the Jodrell Plank Observatory was coal black and robbed of all light. I wasn't expecting to encounter a Balrog in Suffolk - thought they were native to Moria.
George the Grey now at his bed in a moist and soggy East Anglia.
Just returned home after a day out in Wells next the Sea with friends, Moon followed us all the way home nearly full and quite beautiful peeking between diffuse 'rainbow' clouds.
Hope the weather stays good for your eclipse. In 1999 my partner and I were in France for the solar total eclipse. We saw the diamond ring and totality rushing across the fields towards us. We heard the birds getting ready to roost. The temperature dropped. Then the clouds obscured the sun's disc and we never saw totality and the corona. We enjoyed the experience but we have always been saddened by missing those vital two minutes.
Hope you fair better. Let us know how you get on and post a photo of totality for us. From our location in the UK and if we are lucky we might get to see a tiny bite being taken out of the Sun just as it sets.
Best regards from George in Lowestoft.
Early night to night as I did not get into my bed until 3.30 am. this morning. Great night last night - 4 hours 11.00pm. until 3.00 am cloud free. Clouds rolled in just as my battery died - good timimg. Saw the ISS pass overhead at about 9.30pm. always a treat and just before I packed up I saw two bright meteors simultaneously - coming from the same radiant almost due south. Tremendous visual perspective effect.
Good call to get my scope out tonight. Lots of stars over Lowestoft. Two in the morning and my camera is still clicking - hope the battery doesn't die on me as all the kit is behaving itself up to now. Clouds haven't rolled in yet either.
George not in bed yet in Suffolk.
I should moan about the weather more often. Been terrible all day but just now I've been treated to the most transparent and steady summer sky I've ever experienced over our back yard in July. I could see M31 with the naked eye even though it was still quite low in the east. Similarly I could see M33 through my big bins but hand held. Vega, Altair and Deneb were so bright that the summer triangle looked 3d. I'm pretty sure that bins and averted vision allowed me to spot the tiny blur of M57 in Lyra. Could also see M71 in Sagittarius and M27 in Vulpecula. Along the way I picked up nice views of the big two globular clusters in Hercules, the Coathanger and the double cluster in Perseus.
In my bins I could follow the Milky Way right down to the rooftops on our southern boundary. Generally interesting fuzziness in this area of the sky just disappears into the murk and light pollution but not tonight, I could easily pick out all the Messiers down through Scutum and Ophiuchus until the roof tops met Sagittarius.
Finished off a rewarding 35 minutes with a nice meteor and several bright satellites.
No telescope action and no photography but what a great, if breathtakingly short, night of old fashioned stargazing.
Hope you all enjoyed some clear skies where ever you are.
Night night from George happy in bed Lowestoft.
Funny sort of day in Lowestoft. Had sunshine and rain and thought there was little chance of stargazing. Anyway, coming to bed just after the the street lights go out, I always out of habit check out the sky over the old backyard and low and behold tonight there were stars
So I grab my big bins and managed 15 minutes before the clouds started forming. What a great 15 minutes too. Sky was proper dark The milky way was visible from horizon to horizon. I managed to see The Veil and M27, not always a given through bins from my backyard and I think the globular M58 (if so a first for me with bins). Best of all ,just before cloud o' clock , an absolutely splendid slow moving white and very bright meteor travelling from east to west and from my perspective at the same Dec as Altair. I'm now in bed happy and ready for sleep.
Astronomy is great even in small discrete parcels, much like photons in fact.
Nighty-night stargazers where ever you are.
George under starry skies tonight in Suffolk.
Spectrometer Mk3 has moved on a bit - started to put the separate parts together and in a '4 year old kid with a new toy' sort of way I could not resist poking the fibre optic cable out the window and squinting down the camera end of the beast. Low and behold when I inserted the 0.15mm. slit and 600 line/mm. grating I could see a small displaced but definite continuous spectrum. Will it actually work? - "Tension mounts and then gets off again"
Sheds is off tomorrow as we have visitors - but maybe at the weekend ?
George 'ever so slightly excited' in Lowestoft
Spent an hour or so in the shed on the ongoing 'Spectrometer Mk3' build. I'm not convinced this 'Heath Robinson' contraption of mine is going to work but hey-ho - I've started so I'm going to finish. On a slightly more positive note, this particular DIY journey into the unknown has been relatively inexpensive and the bits I have purchased are easily recyclable for more and the equally pointless future projects with which I am determined to fill my ongoing retirement from gainfull enterprise. One of the minor benefits of being a compulsive hoarder and inveterate tinkerer is a shed full of stuff.
I really like stuff and sheds, stuff in sheds and sheds with stuff in 'em. My shed runneth over with stuff! Thats why I've got two sheds!
George in Oulton Broad sitting on a sofa contemplating the philosophy of 'stuff in sheds' and the imminent possibility of Pizza .
Ha ha, lovely one George, I do the same and once the observatory in the garden is complete I will turn my time to the attic and start sorting out all the bits and pieces that have been collected over the byears and look to turning it all into a "shed" of nicknacks for my future experiments and projects
The Observatory is looking good Jim! Nice kit too!
George, nice to hear from you, thanks. Am afraid I had a lot of problems getting to where it is now, mainly the weather and a bad roof design but all okay now. Been a very busy time the last few months now it's relax time, sitting back and enjoying it all. I have not been able to look in on you so was wondering how your pier was getting on. Was out tonight learning about the CGE, it's wierd, does the opposite to what one would think it should do so a bit of a learning curve Off to bed now, just clearing up here, take care and thanks again
Glad you've sorted your roof out. The whole set up looks impressive. My pier is working fine but have been away looking after grandchildren so it has not had much use since end of May.
As have been elsewhere - have laptop can travel - I've been using the PIRATE Open University robotic scope on Mount Teide, Teneriffe - via the Internet. Bit of a 'one shot pony' but a 17.5 inch scope on top of a volcano packs a big punch on a 3 minute exposure.
Clear skies from George in Bed in OB.
Not really dark but had a pleasant 45 minutes in the backyard hand holding my big 11x80 bins. Quick sweep through Cygnus and Lyra. Couldn't identify M56. Summer triangle always a beautiful naked eye asterism to view and the starfields around Sadr in my bins never disappoint.
Saturn just visible between the rooftops and very yellow, couldn't pick out Titan. Neither could I find M10 or M12 in Ophiuchus as sky quite murky low to the south. By contrast, M13, M92 and M5 all easy spots.
Now in bed ready to surf the realm of the unconscious.
Night night stargazers wherever you are.
- George zzzzzzzzzzzzzz Lowestoft
Beautiful night but sadly not really dark. Did go out for a couple of hours with my big bins and my 66mm. ED. Altair Doublet Refractor mounted on a photographic tripod. Had some very nice widefield views of Saturn through the Altair scope with a Teleview 2.5x Barlow and Panoptic lens combo. Nice to get a quick look at Antares between roofs but the sting too low for me to see. Same eyepiece - Barlow arrangement provided quite a splendid view of M16 'The Eagle Nebula'. Have to say the little Altair scope is excellent value for money and with a field flattener performs very well photographically as a DSLR camera telescopic lens at a fraction of the cost of a comparable Canon lens.
All in all a nice way to wile away an hour or two on a warm summer's night. Pound for pound I still rate eyeballing Saturn in real time as one of the best astro-treats on offer.
Night night all you stargazers wherever you are.
George about to nod off in a balmy Oulton Broad.
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.
Two consecutive nights under the stars with my telescope and could have gone for three in a row but needed a bit more sleep as grandchildren will arrive tomorrow.
Night night stargazers.
George 'tired but happy' in Lowestoft.
Watched the ISS go over three tiimes in one night, got some very noisy video of Saturn when it briefly appeared between the roofs of our neighbours' houses (by heck it appears lower than Antares), took some better video of Jupiter with all the Galileans strung out on one side, had a quick look at Comet Johnson and then it was twilight again. Nights 'up north' dont last long this time of the year, serves us right for living on a tilty planet. Mind you it was lovely to see the summer Milky Way again running through Cygnus and right across the sky. If the weather stays good, I might have another night with my scope under the stars. Two nights in a row - woo-hoo!
Well I've set up my scope and I'm sat in the garden with bits of glass, cameras, wires and laptop waiting for it to get dark. This twilight malarky hangs about a bit in late May!
Well the weather turned out better than the forecast and as I didn't get 'wellied'' on cocktails I decided to trust myself in the garden with my 11x80mm. bins. Such fun!. Managed to see Callisto far out in its orbit around Jupiter, two comets : 'Johnson' not far from Delta Bootes and '41P' low in Lyra, and three Globular star clusters M13, M92 and M5.
It seemed to me that the coma and or tail associated with Comet 'Johnson' was more extensive than that associated with '41P' but the densest part of '41P' around the nucleus appeared brighter.
Shame I didn't get the scope out as originally planned because I think there was an Io transit this evening. Anyway, no moaning, all in all it turned out to be a great night for stargazing !
Hopefully, tomorrow night will be good enough to get the telescope out and look for Saturn low on my horizon in the early hours.
George 'relatively sober' and much cheered by some top-notch binocular viewing from Lowestoft
Its been a funny old day here in Suffolk. One moment sunny the next rain but hey am I depressed - not me- well just a little. I was hoping to get my big scope out on the mount and stay up to see if Saturn cleared my neighbour's roof at the back of our yard but the weather forcast for tonight is more of the same.
Any way, I v'e had a good shed day. Spectrometer Mark 3 continues apace. Without the aid of a lathe Ive reduced the diameter of a round aluminium bar inorder that it will plug into my telescope's focuser. Next step is to drill it to take the fibre optic cable that arrived through the post last week. I have no idea whether my latest design proposal will work but thats half the fun of it!
Good news is - BBC Weather Lowestoft says that tomorrow night it's going to be 'cloud free' Woo Hoo!
Just had my first ever 'Strawberry Daiquiri' cocktail - nice!
George 'unlikely to be sober tonight' in Lowestoft
Nice day but now it's raining again! Tomorrow the shed beckons, l have a plan Moriarty.
George, soggy in Suffolk, currently and comfortably ensconced in his sleeping chariot.