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Status Updates posted by Hawksmoor

  1. Weather wise today we have had a tiny bit of snow, some rain and sunshine.  Plus, one of the most striking rainbows I can recall in Lowestoft.  At least a double bow and at best and momentarily a triple bow. Physics can be breathtakingly beautiful!

    Double Bow.png

    1. JimT


      Certainly missed the snow but did get the rain whilst down town.

    2. Hawksmoor


      Easy to miss Jim.  It literally snowed in our backyard for a minute. Not enough to make a snowman!  Plenty of rain and no stars again tonight. I still haven't tried out my Mark2 homade spectrometer. I guess I shall have to be patient.



      Certainly missed the snow but did get the rain whilst down town.

    3. JimT


      Yes all clouded out till maybe midnight tonight so may give it a try then, am getting impatient to get all the cameras focused then it will be perfect :)

  2. Nearest I've been to 'imaging' for some time. Balancing my little Canon compact camera on top of my barbecue and getting a shakey mov. video clip - converted to avi and then Registaxed and manipulated to remove any direct relationship with reality.  I give you my technicolor version of last night's Moon Venus conjunction, which was a very pretty thing to witness!

    Moon Venus Conjunction 02-01-2017.png

    1. spaceman_spiff


      Great shot!

      I saw the conjunction from Oxford - there was a big crowd of people taking shots of it.

      Dan :happy7:

    2. JimT


      I must be the only one to have missed this   llol

  3. Eaten too much!

  4. Lovely starry night in Lowestoft tonight!

    1. JimT


      Agree, still is but today I part dismantled my mount so hopefully back up by the weekend :)

    2. Hawksmoor


      Hi Jim, strangely I also had dismantled my mount only to be presented with the best run of clear nights for months. Frustrating hobby astronomy! Anyway in Lowestoft freezing fog has settled as the weather norm so no longer missing a rare imaging opportunity.

      Best regards George

    3. JimT


      Thanks George, yes is frustrating, hope to get the whole setup sorted by end of play today.  Took a drive over to Kessingland for a meal last night, knew with the fog it was going to be quite :)


  5. When I went for a walk this evening I actually saw some stars!  It had clouded over by midnight but I did get to gaze upon my mate Orion and all the other mid winter culprits.  As I walked home I was able to watch Cygnus sinking into the horizon with Vega just keeping its head above the trees.  

    Let's hope we've all been  good girls and boys and Santa brings us clear skies in 2017.

    Nighty night Stargazers where ever you are.


  6. Horrid, damp and cloudy night in Lowestoft. Only improved by a glimpse of the ISS passing overhead and by watching the Martin Scorsese Bob Dylan film biographies on BBC Four. Got a new preowned/loved acoustic guitar from my eldest son on my birthday. Have put on a set of new extra light weight strings and have lowered the action. Tomorrow, in our living room and to an audience of one, I will perform  'A hard rain' with nostalgia and uncomfortable contemporary relevance.

    I have retired to my bed and await the arrival of Morpheus or Aurora, whichever comes first.

    Nighty night everyone.

  7. Fireball-meteor: 02-12-2016 between 20:30 and 21:00 GMT. Over Darsham, Suffolk travelling west to east seen from the A12.  Went by car to pick up grandchildren from Southend on the way back both my wife and I saw a very bright ball of a meteor pass over the road infront of our car. No noticeable colour. Quite spectacular, quite slow moving and curved down towards the ground at the end of its trajectory before we lost sight of it. Did anyone else see this?:happy11:

  8. Visited the Berlin Zeiss Planetarium on Sunday. Recent renovation and new projection kit when coupled with a 25 metre diameter dome provides a stunning visual experience. Just as well as my understanding of the German language is zero and the presentation was in German without translation. Would recommend this 8 Euro ticket for a fifty minute show as serious value for money particularly if you are fluent in German. Nice health food cafe almost opposite that does great coffee and a proper cheesecake. Nice! :icon_biggrin:

    1. orion25


      Wunderbar! I'm glad you had a nice time. The experience transcended the language barrier!



    2. Hawksmoor


      Hi Reggie. I'm back home now and have clear skies overhead. Just been out in the backyard with my big binoculars. I'm pretty sure that I glimpsed M1 with averted vision. If so it was a first with bins for me. 

      Now off to bed as all the travelling has worn me out.

      Best regards George

    3. orion25


      Clear skies! Hooray! I'm out observing tonight myself, mostly clear here. I have both my 127" Mak and 150" reflector out. Glad you made it back safely. Have a good rest!



  9. Today I stood in front of and looked at the fossil bird Archaeoptetyx from the Solhofen Jurassic lithographic limestone.  A lot like the first time I looked at Saturn through the eyepiece. Jaw dropping stuff!

  10. 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.

  11. 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?

  12. 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.

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

    1. orion25


      Wish I were there, mate! 

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

  15. 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!

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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!

  19. 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. 

  20. 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!

  21. 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?

  22. 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!

  23. 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. :) 

  24. 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.




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