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About mcrowle

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  • Birthday 19/05/67

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  1. Clear Skies over most of UK tonight!!!

    I was lucky, though the clouds cleared quite late - by around 10:30pm Sunday night. Transparency was not great, slightly worse than Friday night but much better than Saturday! I chose to use the time as a short, practice imaging session (with M51).
  2. Clear Skies over most of UK tonight!!!

    I had been looking forward to clear skies this weekend, and not having to get up early. I did manage some observing (Jupiter, M13, M51, M57, Comet Johnson) and imaging (Comet Johnson) on Friday night, under less than ideal skies. However, transparency was extremely poor last night here in mid-Cornwall, with high cloud. I kept an eye on conditions, but didn't set up. I now have my fingers crossed for tonight, though with an early start for work tomorrow. Regards, Mike.
  3. Penumbral eclipse

    Thanks, Andrew! Yes, looking at the diagram for the event in the BAA Handbook, the Moon was more or less fully within the penumbra and the limb very close to the umbra at greatest eclipse. Regards, Mike.
  4. Penumbral eclipse

    I thought the penumbral shadow would be too subtle, so hadn't planned to observe. However, on looking out at about 00:30, I realised the shadow was quite striking. I set up the Meade 127mm ED for a few pics. This one was 4 minutes after maximum eclipse. Regards, Mike.
  5. It may be clear but..

    It was forecast to be clear here in mid Cornwall from 9pm until dawn, but there was a lot of drifting cloud until after midnight - when the sky finally cleared beautifully :). I do a mixture of observing and imaging, and I did get some decent shots of 'Thor's Helmet' (NGC 2359). However, I then decided to look for Comet Johnson (2015 V2) - I regretted that, after giving up in frustration nearly two hours later - I felt like I'd mostly wasted a great night! I did have a quick look at Jupiter (with the 12" Newt I'd been using for imaging and comet-hunting), but predictably the turbulence was awful. Forecast has it clear again tonight, thankfully (fingers-crossed).
  6. Show us your Frac

    Thanks, Chris. Yes, the mount is a Losmandy G-11, which I like a lot: it's so solid and yet not too heavy to manage! Regards, Mike Crowle
  7. Show us your Frac

    Here's my Meade 127mm ED Apo, bought in 2009. I've balanced the colour here for the white telescope tube, which is lit by house lights while the background is lit by the Moon. A Meade 5x Barlow is fitted, as I'd planned to image Mars and Saturn via a webcam (though in the event it clouded up before I could do anything). Regards, Mike Crowle.
  8. Your Astro Holiday Plans

    Thanks, Paz! Yes indeed, that is the Double Cluster in Perseus (NGC 884 and 869). Best regards, Mike Crowle
  9. Your Astro Holiday Plans

    Back on page 2 of this thread I mentioned my plan to check out the sky during an upcoming trip to Kandersteg in the Swiss Alps. I thought I'd post a follow-up, if that's ok. Briefly, was it a success? Yes, largely! I found a spot above the village, just a 10/15-minute walk from my hotel. Here there was a little indirect light pollution from the valley below, but no direct artificial light at all. I got the feeling I was seeing purely by starlight, and the Milky Way looked gorgeous overhead and to the South (though unfortunately Sagittarius was behind a mountain). On the downside there were only 2 clear nights during my visit, with occasional thin cloud patches during the first of those nights. Curiously, those clouds were not obvious to the eye as there was no artificial light to illuminate them from below (unlike at home in Cornwall). The next clear night had better transparency, but only for about an hour before thick cloud closed in. I did some imaging, and I'll post a couple that help illustrate the conditions (Cassiopeia and M31: 24mm, f/2, 25-sec, ISO 3200. Aquila and Scutum: 14mm, f/2.8, 30-sec, ISO 3200). Best regards, Mike Crowle
  10. Perseids tonight 11-12 August

    I watched from Cornwall for 90 minutes from roughly 11:35pm, and counted 50 meteors - mostly Perseids, plus a handful of sporadics. Some of the Perseids were wonderfully bright, and traversed much of the sky. I reluctantly called it a night shortly after 1.00am, as I needed to up for 6:30am, but was very pleased with the observations - especially given the amount of drifting cloud, and the fact that I couldn't see half the sky due to obstructions. Regards, Mike.
  11. Your Astro Holiday Plans

    Namibia sounds fantastic, Matthew! I long to see the Southern sky again - my only time was 15 years ago, when I joined the Explorers trip to Zimbabwe for the 2001 solar eclipse. I try to fit some astronomy into a holiday if the location and conditions are right. One very pleasant surprise was Saas Fee in Switzerland, a small ski resort at around 5000ft and surrounded my mountains, where I stayed briefly in 2012. Very luckily, the skies were beautiful on 6 of the 7 nights! My sky is not too bad at home in Cornwall, but in Saas Fee, when a short walk from the village, the Milky Way overhead in early September had to be seen to be believed! This year I'm heading to Kandersteg, also in Switzerland. It's quite small again, but at a lower altitude. I've booked around the new Moon to take advantage of any clear skies . Regards, Mike.
  12. SHOW US YOUR NEWTS........

    By the way, I too, like Craig above, was hanging an extra weight off the counterweight bar for balance. It didn't seem ideal but worked surprisingly well :). I've since added a gym weight instead. Regards, Mike
  13. SHOW US YOUR NEWTS........

    My Revelation/GSO 12" Newt on a Losmandy G11. Wish I'd fitted the finder and eyepiece before taking the photo so it looked more ready for action, but never mind! The proportions are a little distorted, as the photo was taken at close-quarters with a wide-angle lens.
  14. Things started to look promising by 6pm, so I packed the 70-300mm lens (with filter) and Coronado SolarMax 40 and headed to a nearby footpath where I could (in theory) see the Sun. The cloud closed in again before it could expose the Sun, but I decided to wait until the end of the event - just in case. Luckily, around 7:30pm the Sun shone through the cloud for just long enough to get a couple of images that showed Mercury very close to the southern limb! I didn't even try to set up the SolarMax, unfortunately, in those cloudy conditions.
  15. Congratulations to those having seen and/or photographed the Transit. I've been enjoying the images, and the on-line coverage. I still have my fingers crossed here in Cornwall. I've been keeping an eye on the weather radar all afternoon: it does look like more broken cloud will move in later - but will it be soon enough? Still raining at the moment, but I have my lens filtered up and ready to go!