Status Updates posted by Hawksmoor
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.
I have just put a post in the wrong album. Can anyone tell me how to delete it or better still move it to the appropriate album?
Confused of Lowestoft.
Eight years after we put up a bird-box with a web-cam in it, we finally aquired our first family of 'birdoes'. All a bit blurry but good fun watching the four 'blue tit' chicks being fed by their parents. My word those little birds work hard to raise a family and we can watch them doing it from the comfort of our living room, even when its cloudy and raining!
Tweet dreams Stargazers
Back home in Lowestoft tonight and I can see a few stars between the clouds. Good heavens!
It's not everyday that you get to see Galileo' s telescopes and his index finger and thumb in two glass jars!
Today, without any intention or plan and purely at random, I chose to walk along a road in Florence on which was located the house from which Galileo Galilei first observed the Medicean Stars or Galilean Moons as we know them. How lucky am I and how brilliant is this?
George currently not in Lowestoft.
Starry night in Lowestoft tonight. Just returned in from the cold early morning air having captured some images of comet C2015 V2 (Johnson). Pleased to have got some data as weather forecast for rest of week is grim and moonlight will also become a problem as we move into May
Nice crescent moon exhibiting earthshine. Set fairly early so not a problem for the pursuit of faint fuzzies.
So off to bed for me stargazers. Nighty night one and all.
George - tired but happy in darkest Suffolk.
Off to bed now, as I fear I'm developing RWE Syndrome (Registax Wavelet Elbow), nighty night stargazers.
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. 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. Anyway I think I have seen it!!
So off to bed for me stargazers. Nighty night.
Tonight I polar aligned my NEQ 6 Pro mount on top of my new pillar. All went well and I was really pleased to use my big refractor for the first time in 2017. For once the BBC weather forecast for Lowestoft did turn out to be more or less correct and the clouds did part a little from about 21.00 until 23.00. Also everything worked, camera, laptop and software . Jupiter was big and bright and above my backyard horizon SSE. GRS was on view and I got to watch/image one of the Galilean moons go behind the jovian disc. Lots of video to play with this week. Must say a permanent pier makes life a lot easier, particularly a tall one when you have a bad back and a refractor. No bending over to look through the eyepiece whoopee!!
A tired but happy old man now in bed in Lowestoft. Sleep tight stargazers wherever you are!