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Status Updates posted by Hawksmoor

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. A very Merry Christmas to you all!


    1. Knighty2112


      Have a good one too mare! :) 

    2. Knighty2112


      Mate that should say! ?

  5. 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  15 more
  6. 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!


  7. 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  :).


  8. 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  :)


  9. 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 .

  10. 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.

  11. 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

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


  13. 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.


  14. 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.

  15. 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

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

  17. 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:

  18. 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

  19. Thought I would give my profile picture a seaside flavour.

    1. Hawksmoor



      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..:happy7:

      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.:happy6:



  20.  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!:happy7:

    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

    1. ronin


      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.

    2. Hawksmoor


      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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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. :happy6:

    George the Grey now at his bed in  a moist and soggy East Anglia.

    1. JimT


      Well it was a clear sky for all of five minutes George, enough time for me to open and reclose the roof last night, never got any rain here, you have your own cloud?   lol


  23. 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.

    Night all :happy7:

    1. orion25


      Beautiful report. The full moon peeked out from behind rain clouds and played hide and seek for a bit before the clouds took over. We're in a rainy "dog days" pattern (ugh). I'm praying for clear skies for the upcoming eclipse here in the States.


    2. Hawksmoor


      Hi Reggie

      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.:happy7:

  24. 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 :icon_biggrin: and just before I packed up I  saw two bright meteors simultaneously - coming from the same radiant almost due south. Tremendous visual perspective effect. :happy6:

  25. 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. :hello2:

    George not in bed yet in Suffolk.

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