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Everything posted by mcrowle

  1. I live on the edge of large village In Cornwall and have Bortle 4 skies at home, so I'm relatively lucky. However the streetlights stay on all night, and various houselights are an issue unless I wait until everyone else is in bed. I don't drive, but I often take portable equipment to a beach 25 minutes walk away. It's only slighter darker there to be honest, but the horizons are less obstructed and south is over the sea - so it's ideal for Milky Way views in the Summer . Regards, Mike.
  2. Wow, just checked and my last DSO image of 2020 was taken in September! I did manage a couple of wide-field sessions in November and December though. This was the September image, of the Pegasus galaxy group centred on NGC 7331. Not great, to be honest due to the tilt, coma and a heavy crop, so I hadn't posted it anywhere until now. Equipment: Revelation 12" f/4 Newtonian and astro-modified EOS 600D. Happy New Year and clear skies! Mike.
  3. Looks like Thursday is now my best bet, too. I got as far as having my kit ready in the bag for a walk to the beach, but I didn't even set out. What clear patches there were just recently were all too brief, and the nearly unbroken cloud is fast-moving. Best regards, Mike.
  4. As expected the conditions were very poor here yesterday, with thick cloud and either drizzle or rain all day and into the night. Looking a little more hopeful today, though, with only around 50% cloud expected around 4pm. I think I'll get some kit together for a walk to the beach and its low horizon. However, the same forecast shows nearly 100% cloud by 5pm, so I'm still not terribly optimistic. Good luck, and skies, all! Regards, Mike.
  5. Totally clouded out here in Cornwall, too, with rain expected to last for the next few hours. Yesterday evening was mostly cloudy, though with a few clear patches overhead - not much good for attempting to view the conjunction just above the horizon. In any case I would have had to set up away from home for an adequately low horizon, and was expecting visitors from 4pm, so I'm afraid I didn't even try! Maybe next time . Regards, Mike.
  6. Looks like I won't be setting out to see Comet Erasmus after all. Referring to theskylive.com, it will be half a degree below the horizon at the end of astronomical twilight and less than 4 degrees up by the end of nautical twilight from my location. Meanwhile the forecast of clear skies on Sunday morning has changed to high cloud and possibly mist, all with a nearly full Moon of course. I hope that someone more suitably located can spot the comet! Regards and clear skies. Mike.
  7. I spent a few nights photographing aurorae with a Canon EOS 7D in Finland last year - at down to -27°C. While I was aware this is well below the operating range, I encountered no major issues. Certainly the battery drained more rapidly, but I kept a spare in an inside pocket to keep it warm (plus in fact I was never far from the hotel and my battery charger). I did notice that the camera sounded different when taking images, though, as if the mechanism was struggling a bit. It never actually stopped working. Although I also have a 600D, I didn't have it with me so unfortunately I
  8. Has anyone seen or imaged Comet C/2020 S3 Erasmus? According to Spaceweather.com, it's currently visible low in the SE at dawn, about magnitude 7. Unfortunately, although it is expected to brighten over coming days it quickly becomes more challenging to see due to still lower elevation and the proximity of the Sun. Of course the weather has not been helpful of late, though it was clear this morning so I fear I may have missed an opportunity! Still, the forecast for Sunday morning looks good so I plan to head to a local beach with a low horizon in the right direction. There's a g
  9. I attempted another NEOWISE session tonight (Tuesday), as the next several nights are forecast to be cloudy. Things were looking good when I first arrived at my observing spot, but it gradually became obvious that high cloud was an issue towards the North. The comet was barely visible to the naked eye, and the tail much shorter than before in binoculars. Quite a contrast to last night's glorious views! Regards, Mike.
  10. A superb NEOWISE session tonight, under crystal clear skies! Due to the comet's location I cannot get a telescope pointed at it, but am instead using 7 x 50 binoculars (and a camera/star tracker) on a footpath a couple of hundred yards from home. NEOWISE's head may have dimmed a little, but the tail is as spectacular as ever! I was even just able to make out the ion tail via the binoculars for the first time. Moving the binoculars slowly from side-to-side helped with this, as did averted vision. I finished viewing once the head dipped below the trees on the valley side. I do have ano
  11. Just back from a bonus 2.5-hour session viewing and imaging NEOWISE. I say "bonus" because CO had given the conditions red status and the Met Office forecast had been fluctuating between cloudy and clear all day. Luckily there was barely a cloud in the sky since 11 pm, though the transparency has been reasonable rather than great. The location I'd used for the pre-dawn sessions, when NEOWISE first became visible, is no longer suitable as the comet is further north and hidden by the wooded valley sides. That location had been ideal because my back was towards the village lights. Now I have
  12. I arrived at my observing spot just after 2:30am, and was delighted to the see the tail of NEOWISE sticking up from behind the trees immediately - it didn't even give my time to get dark-adapted! I less delighted to realise I'd forgotten my 7 x 50 binocs (doh!), so a short walk back home was required. Once I returned, the comet was still a fine sight, although it was becoming increasing shrouded in slow-moving clouds that gradually took on the red shades of dawn. Regards, Mike.
  13. It's great seeing all these observations and photos! I'm just about to head off to my NEOWISE observing spot, as seen in the photo below (from this morning). By about 3:30 the comet should be visible from my garden, so I can turn a telescope towards it . I say "should", though because there appears to be some cloud to the North now - I just hope it doesn't stick around! (By the way, the red on the fence and shrubs on the right of the photo is from the red light on the single track rail line). Regards, Mike.
  14. I had my 2nd NEOWISE session early this morning. Such a wonderful sight as it rises over the trees! I plan to be out again around 2:30am tomorrow. Unfortunately I can't see the comet from my usual observing location, so I'm limited to using binoculars for viewing and a camera on a static tripod for imaging, a short walk from home. However, I did take an 80mm telescope with me this morning, and used it on the camera tripod. I captured the following using 7 x 1.3 sec. frames at ISO 12800 (ouch!). Good luck and clear skies to all chasing NEOWISE over the coming nights! Regards, Mik
  15. I managed to see NEOWISE from a local footpath, so didn't have to take the long hike to my originally-planned observing spot! What a beautiful sight in binoculars as it rose above the trees, with it's curved tail, and easily visible to the naked eye! The head was still visible in the brightening sky at 4am. Wonderful, and well worth losing some sleep for . My 96th comet, and one of the best! Regards, Mike.
  16. I'm planning to see, and hopefully image, Comet NEOWISE tomorrow morning, but my usual observing location in the back garden is obstructed by the valley side. I have 2 alternative locations in mind but I'm torn between them. One is nearby and has dark skies and a fairly low horizon in the right direction. However, there are obstructions and no room to adjust position if it's not right due to a deep river channel next to the footpath. The other location is a couple of miles walk away , is less obstructed but the direction to view the comet is back over the large village where I live.
  17. Wow, these reports are wonderful! Think I'll give this a go tomorrow morning, though as I live in a valley and I don't drive I'm not very hopeful of a view for a few days. The south coast of Cornwall is great for the Milky Way, but not so good for something low to the north! Anyway, I'll walk out to a park a short distance away where the horizon is slightly lower. The forecast does look good for tomorrow morning, so fingers-crossed... Regards, Mike.
  18. I'm very much looking forward to seeing NEOWISE, if the weather gives a chance. I only managed one astronomy session in June due to the weather, so will need to keep my fingers crossed during July! March to May were much clearer, so we could do with a return to those conditions. From studying the position of the comet via Heavens-above.com, I think it should be visible locally from about 12 June. Those with a low Northern horizon should be able to see it earlier. In the meantime, I'll be keeping an eye on the images coming in from elsewhere. Good luck to all those comet-spotting this
  19. I've used everything from a C8 and a 12" Newtonian to a 135mm camera lens for comets over the years, so I would say try all three if you get the opportunity! The C8 would be good for close-ups of the head and brightest part of the tail, while the shorter focal length of the 66mm would of course take in more of the tail. Let's hope NEOWISE puts on a great show (and that the weather co-operates)! Regards, Mike.
  20. Comet C/2019 Y4 ATLAS from last night. (46 x 1-minute exposures at ISO 6400 with an EOS 600D and 12" f/4 Newtonian). Regards, Mike.
  21. Planning to observe and image C/2019 Y4 (Atlas) tonight, as I have a reasonable forecast too. I did photograph this comet when it was close to the Owl Nebula in February, but unfortunately it was too faint then for me to get a certain visual on it (even with a 12" Newt!) By all accounts it has brightened a great deal since then . Good luck all, and clear skies! Regards, Mike.
  22. Thanks for your comment, Agnes It's not too bad to set up. I take the mount out first, then the counterweights and finally the telescope (though I only fit the finderscope, etc, once the 'scope is on the mount). The optical assembly itself weighs about 20kg, and it did find it difficult to lift onto the mount at first. However, I found it easier after a while, once I got more used to handling it. I do have option of setting up a smaller and lighter telescope sometimes, on the same mount, if I don't feel like setting up the 12" Newtonian. Regards, Mike.
  23. My Revelation 12" Newtonian on a Losmandy G-11 (non-Gemini), while imaging Comet PanSTARRS C/2017 T2 last night. Regards, Mike.
  24. I had taken the day off to see and capture the transit. In the event the weather forecast was not great, with fast-moving heavy showers - but also clear spells. The low Sun was not visible from home, so I set up on a footpath a short distance away. At that location, a large conifer offered shelter once the showers hit (though sadly the Sun was not visible from under the conifer). Interestingly, only one of the many passers-by showed any interest in what I was doing (though she lost interest when I said I wasn't a bird-watcher!) Anyway, Mercury was clearly visible in the SolarMax 40
  25. Thanks, Marvin. I was also lucky enough to be able to enjoy the relatively fleeting appearance of Comet Hyakutake under clear skies in La Palma (where I happened to be on holiday). What a beautiful sight it was in the northern sky! This image is again 10 minutes and ISO 800, but with a 135mm lens at f/3.5, fitted to a Praktica MTL3 film camera, mounted on a star tracker. I took it from the roof of the Maritimo hotel, which has since closed (according to Google Streetview, the building is now a funeral parlour). Regards, Mike.
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