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Status Updates posted by Hawksmoor

  1. Last night was beautiful in Lowestoft. Really clear night - all night.  On a plus side I set up to take some lights of M31 wide-style. On a negative side my NEQ6 Pro started to play up and in combination with the guiding software and my laptop turned all my stars into arcs. Got to bed at 5.30 am. pigged off!! ? BUT sitting out under the stars for five hours watching the Summer Constellations set in the west and Orion rising in the South East how can that be bad? M33 was really easy in my big bins and I think I spotted M1 with averted vision. Loads of Ms all round and the Garnet Star was big and red and beautiful. Not many meteors (saw three in five hours) but one was nicely spectacular. Have spent today in the backyard re-fitting my mount on its pillar - reduced the play on the central fixing -I also cleaned all the electrical contacts. Will probably reload PHD2 software before I go 'a guiding' again. When the stars come out tonight I shall realign on Polaris but I will give imaging a miss tonight cos I'm a really tired old man and according to Metcheck its going to rain here in the early hours of tomorrow morning.

    I rarely photograph my 'refractor in action' but I did early this morning and it turns out it was the only image worth a look! ?

    The Jodrell Plank Observatory.png

    1. JimT


      Glad you had a good night except for the photos, went for a stroll along the promenade, looked like rain this end when we started off home but stayed dry.  Up bright an early this morn to find the garden wet but not much rain fell around Kirkley.  Just wondering when I will start the pier up, still a few odd and ends to sort out before then namely PCs which I bought from a certain person whom the police have been interested in, see whats going local and get it all sorted  :)


  2. Latest images I have taken of Comet Catalina in the early hours of 19th Jan show no ion tail.  Should have been clearer than in first images taken on the 15th as much higher in sky and after street lights turned off. Much more moonlight though. Dust tail better in more recent images.  I have been thinking that moonlight might affect visibility of ion tail more than the dust.  Otherwise, I suppose it could be a line of sight geometry issue?  Any useful comments would be welcome.

    Comet Catalina 19th Jan 2016.png

  3. Light snow and cloud in Lowestoft, so no chance of viewing the fast moving Comet in Hercules or penumbral lunar eclipse tonight.


    1. JimT


      Been waiting and hoping for a little bit of clear sky all day George but no chance, grey skies all over.  Got on with resurrecting the garden observatory, coming along well, still lots to do   :)


  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.


  7. Lowestoft Pier build took a set back today. The electric concrete mixer that had rested quietly for 6 years under a tarpaulin on our backyard did not go when I plugged it into the National Grid.  Shocker :happy8: . Had to take it apart. :happy6: The electric motor had seized solid. Had to drill the main shaft to obtain sufficient purchase to free it with loads of WD40 and brute force. Finally got it reassembled and working at about 4.30 pm.:icon_biggrin:

    Onwards and upwards

    1. JimT


      Silly boy George, you had me thinking a ship had hit the town pier or it had fallen into the sea :D


  8. M44 from our backyard a real pretty thing with lots of red giants  and white dwarfs. 127mm Apo-refractor, Altair Astro Field flattener and x0.8 focal reducer + Canon 600D DSLR. February 2016 + some Neil's spikes.


  9. Managed at about 1:30 this morning to clearly see and identify comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner through my big 11x80 bins.  Much less bright than I was expecting from my reasonably dark site. Must be my old eyes failing? ×




  10. Merry Christmas Stargazers

    from George in Lowestoft

    1. orion25


      Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, George :) 


    2. Hawksmoor


      Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you Reggie.  I am currently sitting by a fire in our house, eating a tangerine and working up the courage to take a dip in the North Sea on Christmas Day with my wife and youngest son.  Swimming in the sea off a local beach on Christmas Day for charitable causes is a local tradition which we have not yet actively participated in. The sea is very cold at this time of year.

      All the best George

    3. orion25


      I get chills just thinking about that cold dip! Best wishes to you and your family :) 

  11. Metcheck currently predicting clear skies for the lunar eclipse as seen from Lowestoft. Very excited! At the moment it is -3 C outside. Hope it warms up a bit in the next 24 hours or I will be hitting the hot marmite quite hard by the time it reaches totality.?

    George in preparation, looking for his mittens in Lowestoft

  12. Meteors and a bright comet up there but now I've returned from Berlin, what do I see before me .....?  Clouds.

    I've looked at clouds from both sides now both up and down and still somehow it's clouds occlusions I recall I really can't see stars at all.

    George in lyric mood, in bed and in Lowestoft.

  13. 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.

  14. My word the early hours of this morning in our backyard were very very cold, so cold that my laptop stopped working properly! Didn't get to bed until 5:30am but enjoyed seeing a fine lunar eclipse. By and large the clouds stayed away until 5:00am. so cannot complain.

    George contemplating an early night in Lowestoft

  15. New keyboard now installed on laptop - £50 down but now fully operational.  George much happier in Lowestoft.

    1. Beulah


      Good stuff. :)


  16. Nice clear and dark night tonight. Spent some time in the backyard with my big bins. Watched a big jet plane lumber across the sky, lights flashing and contrails straddling Cygnus left in its almost silent wake.  Made me feel slightly sad. Not sure why?

    George about to turn out the light in Lowestoft.

  17. Nice clear night but too tired to get out scopes. Had 30 minutes in the backyard with my 11x80mm bins. Pretty sure I managed to find comet C2015/V2 (Johnson) for the first time. :happy7: Either close to a dim star or I might have seen a hint of a tail vertically above and facing away from the Hercules keystone. Very faint and my old mince pies aren't what they once were, plus I am prone to wishful vision.:happy6: Anyway I think I have seen it!!

    So off to bed for me stargazers. Nighty night.

  18. 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!


  19. 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.

  20. Nice clear night in the early hours of Valentine's Day.  Tried to find the two comets in and around Bootes. Sadly my trials and tribulations with binoculars and small refractor came to no avail. I might have got away with it, if it had not been for that pesky moonlight!  Cloud in Lowestoft tonight so in my warm  bed with March edition of Astronomy Now.

    Nighty night stargazers.

  21. 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.:happy11:


  22. 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

  23. 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

  24. 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!:happy6:

    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.

  25. Nice transparent night in Lowestoft. Spent a happy hour in our backyard with my big bins. Jupiter a big disc and at least one moon visible. Hercules rising in the east so had a look at the two globular star clusters. The Beehive cluster a very pretty sight through bins. Could also see the more distant and older cluster in Cancer. Ursa Major overhead so had a wander through the constellation. Leo and Virgo due South picked out the chain of galaxies. Gemini and Auriga low in the west but still able to pick out four Messier open star clusters. What a lovely night!

    Nighty night Stargazers


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