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Status Updates posted by Hawksmoor

  1. Cheered myself up by designing a permanent pier and removable cover.  My partner seems to have given it the tick in the box. Probably will start the build in the spring.

  2. Wall to wall cloud last night in less than sunny Lowestoft, so no chance of imaging the NEO whizzing past Polaris.......... GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!

    Spent some time today in the shed  - nice ! -  getting on with Spectrometer Mark2,  Going to have a coffee then back in 'Shedland' to do a bit of non cloud dependant, oil painting.  Having said that, its a landscape and guess what are in the sky- Ironic or what?

  3. Winters arrived. Frost predicted for tonight and Orion and Gemini visible over my backyard fence before 23:00. A bit of cloud about so didn't get the telescope out. Content with 30 mins with my bins.Quick look at Orion' s Sword, M35 in Gemini, the Double Cluster almost straight up, the Andromeda  Galaxy riding high in the sky, M36 and M38 in Auriga the Pleiades and the Hyades in Taurus. Might try a bit of astro photography tomorrow night if the clouds take a night off!

    Nighty night stargazers.

  4. Nice bright aurora over Lerwick. Cliff cam One on Shetland.org worth a look at the moment.

    1. orion25


      Wish I were there, mate! 

  5. Went out to the dustbin, looked up and watched the ISS pass overhead. An unexpected treat on a cold and then rainy night.

  6. If you are a fossil collector, one day you realise that once you know what you're looking for, that is how big they are - what colour they are - how shiny they are, you find lots more of them. Tonight I had a similar Eureka moment with the veil nebula. I've never been able to see it through my 11x80 binoculars before tonight.

    Having photographed the eastern veil for the first time a few nights ago, l had a feel for how big and how feint it was in the sky. So tonight when I turned my big bins towards Cygnus, there it was feint but with averted vision clear as day, a broken ring of nebulosity in the sky.

    I finished an hour's viewing catching glimpses between fast moving clouds of: the Ms in Auriga and Cassiopeia, the Andromeda Galaxy group, the Double Cluster, the Pleiades, Aldebaran and friends and what I took to be Neptune.

    Astronomy rocks!

  7. Heads up. Friends in the Shetlands have indicated that the aurora is visible and getting stronger. Have just seen on Shetland.org webcam - Cliffcam 1.

  8. Good night last night in Lowestoft. Moon didn't peak over my fence until about 2.30 a.m. so had a couple of hours after the street lights went off for imaging fuzzies. Had a go at part of the Veil Nebula. Well I knew more or less where it was in he sky but could I see it through my finders or my big bins? 

    In the end, with time running out, I pointed my refractor at where I thought it was, slapped my focal reducer on to increase the field of view, added my DSLR and took a 30 sec light at ISO 6400 and suddenly there it was!  Managed to get a dozen 3 min subs at ISO 800 without satellites, planes and contrails. High level cloud appeared at about 1:45am so took some darks and flats before packing in for the night. Will post image tomorrow.

  9. Last night did turn out to be splendid in Lowestoft. Got out my scopes out in the backyard. My recently home constructed spectrometer saw first light attached to my 127mm Refractor. It appeared to work OK and I managed to capture some video footage of Deneb,Vega and Altair and their respective first order spectra. So quite excited and a little daunted at the prospect of using Iris and Vspec software to analyse the data. Have previously read "Using Commercial Amateur Astronomical Spectrographs" by Jeffrey L Hopkins. Guess I need a reread pretty urgently!

    It was a great night and stayed out to 3.00am this morning. Took some widefield images of M57 using my 127 mm Refractor-0.8x focal reducer and field flattener and Canon 600 d Dslr all guided with my Qhy5-11 camera. (At ISO 400 and 800 - range of exposures 30 secs and 3 mins.) Also used my home made light box for flat frames for the first time with my big scope and that seems to have worked OK. The use of cheap 0.5mm white plasticard rather than the more expensive and heavier opal perspex for the light box screen-diffuser seems to have been at no obvious detriment to the flats. Tomorrow, after some compulsory gardening, I will complete my 'Ring Cycle'

    Sky tonight fully overcast, so off to bed!

  10. Lovely night in Lowestoft. Milky Way very clear over our house. Too tired tonight to get out my scopes but have spent an hour looking through my binoculars. Must be very clear tonight as, for the first time, was able to see the globular star cluster M2 with my 11x80 bins hand held. Quite low to the south from my backyard and I pick up quite a bit of light pollution in that direction and altitude tHink I picked up Neptune but need more magnification to discern a disc. The weathermen say tomorrow night will be good, so if I get a good night's sleep tonight, I might go for an imaging session after midnight tomorrow! Night night all. 

  11. Friends in Shetland have a sky full of Aurora, in Lowestoft I can see the glow from Great Yarmouth and cloud moving in from the north - time for bed said zebedee!

  12. Waiting for the street lights in Lowestoft to go out at midnight. Maybe I might see the Auroral glow if it can compete with Great Yarmouth's lights?

  13. Feeling quite chipper even though its raining, so no astronomy tonight and worse still all our lovely grandchildren have gone home.  The reason for my good humour is my success in mending my old Meade ETXRA tripod at no cost.  I have adapted the tripod to accept my Star Adventurer equatorial mount and last time out  was distressed to find that the leg clamps were slipping like eels on a marble slab. 

    Referring to the excellent and comprehensive, if no longer updated, Weasner's Mighty ETX internet resource, I managed to find reference to the problem and the historic suggested Meade fix for my 15 year old tripod.  After manufacturing reinforcing pegs from plastic wall plugs  and wooden dowel fixings in my shed, I utilised my greatest asset in repairing the crushed aluminium legs: brute force and impatience.  After a bit of cursing and a small blood blister: "It works Igor" and slippage is a thing of the past. Hurrah!

  14. Lovely night in Lowestoft. Daughter and 3 grandchildren staying with us. Showed them lots of binary stars, M14, M57 and the Andromeda galaxy group through my 127mm refractor. They really enjoyed some nice views. Sadly the grandchildren were too young and tired to view the moon. Took some quick high ISO and noisy snaps of the galaxies so they can take home a memory of a beautiful warm evening in our garden.

    1. cloudsweeper


      Great times, great memories!  


    2. Knighty2112


      Sounds like a great night. Glad you shared the views with your family. :) 

  15. All sorts of weather in Lowestoft today. Did get to eat lunch in the backyard, which was nice, and the evening cloud, that rolled in after dark, finally cleared to reveal a gibbous waning moon. I love the moon in this phase as it looks positively 3d to the naked eye and a bit backcloth scenery Startrek 1960s.

    I believe I'm losing the plot. When I went out to lock up my shed/mission control, at about 23:30, I noticed an almost vertical shaft of light poking up above my hedge. I started to get all 'old man' angry about it. Had another one of my neighbours fitted laser bright security lights or had a local 'entrepreneur' installed the club standard searchlight?  Then I realised it was only moonlight reflected from a passing jet plane's diffusing contrail.

    Best drink my cocoa and take myself off to bed. -  "Ah bless! "- As they say in Suffolk.




  16. After searching through over 200 - 30 second light frames of a large tranche of the milky way, taken over two nights around maximum,  I found two far from dramatic potential Perseids. I must say I was amazed how many Iridium flashes and satellites I managed to capture. Low earth orbit must be like the M25 on a Friday afternoon.

  17. Moon tonight looked beautiful through my 11x80mm. binoculars!

    1. orion25


      Great! I'm getting out there to peek between the clouds, haha.

    2. Hawksmoor


      Clouds can't live with them, can't live without them!

  18. Clouded out in Lowestoft tonight!  Off to bed.

  19. As the clouds are back over Lowestoft, I decided to give Perseids hunting a night off. Some weeks ago someone on SGL had recommended the webcams on www.Shetland.org 60 degrees north for the aurora and birdwatching. Over the light nights of June and July, I got hooked watching the Puffins. Well it suddenly struck me that if it was clear over Lerwick, meteors might be visible via webcam. I have been laying in bed watching Cliffcam One and Auriga and the kids are clearly visible above the horizon, so Cliffcam One has an eastern view. What's more I've seen two meteors and all without leaving my bed. What I call a cloudy night result.


  20. Did anyone see a very bright meteor last night? Some time after 23.00. My partner  and daughter saw a fireball over Lowestoft, very bright and quite slow moving. From the direction it came from, likely to have been a Perseid. I was in my shed at the time and as she shouted out I got a long duration ping on my SDR meteor set up. Quite the largest I have recorded since I set it up. Not sure the geometry would work so might have been a coincidence!  When I have finished my SDR run for this year's Perseid shower I will find the screenshot and post it. Lovely night took some nice images of the Milky Way, Picked up the ISS through my big bins - it actually appeared rectangular!  M27 was very clear and easy to see through bins plus lots of open and globular clusters.  Although I observed quite a few meteors I did not get any images. I did however capture an Iridium Satellite flare.

    Iridium Flare.png

  21. Last night was a beautiful night in Lowestoft. I didn't crack out any of my imaging rigs as some of my children and grandchildren are staying with us this weekend. Did however, watch the ISS sail across the sky in its own majestic way. It always cheers me up. However much the news is full of grim stuff about our species, it remains such an inpiring symbol of what Homo Sapiens can achieve when we cooperate,  collaborate and celebrate our intelligence rather than our prejudices.

    After midnight, I also 'snuck in' an hour observing with the naked eye and my big Bins. The Milky Way was truly magnificent stretching from almost horizon to horizon.  I also believe that with averted vision I could just make out the misty patch that is the Andromeda Galaxy. If I did, its the first time with the naked eye from our backyard. The sky was pretty transparent as I could see quite a lot of stars within the square of Pegasus.

    I finished the night in my shed monitoring my laptop screen as my homemade SDR radar meteor set up captured some pretty hefty pings. I know interpreting this information is quite difficult, but I presume the duration of a ping is in some way proportional to a meteor's momentum and that if meteors from a shower share a common velocity, then these meteors had a greater mass than many of the others my set up has recorded over the past two days.

    1. orion25


      Great report. I love watching the ISS, too. The Milky Way must be gorgeous from your location. I live in a small city with a Bortle scale of about 5, but sometimes I can get away to the country and take in our galaxy in all its glory. Love the idea of having a meteor radar in the shed!

    2. Hawksmoor


      Thanks for your kind comment. You can't best a shed for versatility! Ours multi-venues as : an artist's studio, a kiln room, a craftroom, a lab and control room for the LVST (The Lowestoft Very Small radio Telescope). All accommodated in a cosy 4 square metres!

      Best regards George

    3. orion25


      That's wonderful, George! I just may follow your lead :hello2:

  22. SDR switched on and calibrated. Radar pings from meteor plasma trails being recorded. Hoping this year to get uninterrupted record of Perseids over about twenty days - so can plot frequency over time. Last year laptop shut itself down on night of Perseid max whilst I was visiting son in Southend. Never found out why! Hope I do better this year. If weather improves l shall try to get some images of Perseids using Dslr on Star Adventurer.

  23. Hurrah! Bits of dark sky visible between fast moving cloud over Lowestoft. Managed to catch some 'M' s through my hand held 11x80mm. Bins. Great views of M13, M92 and. M14 globular clusters + open clusters: the double and M39. Milky way through Cygnus a treat. It's great to be back!

  24. I'm back from holiday now and it's raining again!

  25. Was going to do a bit of observing with my small scope as the forecast for Lowestoft was a clear night after rain. Got the rain but the clear night never materialized. Gave up and now in bed.

    1. spaceman_spiff


      I've been there!

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