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The noctilucent cloud is in the upper right of the image, hovering over some beautiful pink and purple-tinged lower level clouds just after sunset during last year's autumnal equinox. A single 1/1250s exposure at f/5, 155mm, shot with a Nikon D50. No processing. One of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen!
Perhaps as most of you in northern Europe, we had a dismal warm and cloudy winter here in Sweden. It has been so bad that it has prompted me to have a look at the data and consider if there is something to do with climate change.
I got cloudiness data from the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute. They have data from 1961 to 2016, but unfortunately only for daytime. With caveats for this, and for some quality issues before 1980, I found that cloudiness is indeed increasing, and that the number of clear days is decreasing even more.
Obviously I do not find this amusing. It is nevertheless consistent with the expected impact of a warmer climate on an oceanic climate like ours.
Has anyone done a similar analysis for other places? I would be happy to see your results.
Cheers and clear skies!
You find the complete story is in my astroblog, Epistulae Atronomicae.
I recently got hands on my first equatorial mount, a Celestron Advanced VX mount.. And the curse holds true, that after purchasing new gear, you are to bear the burden of weeks of bad weather! So whenever there has been minor holes in the clouds, I've been out practicing star alignment, polar alignment, and just the general behavior of the mount, pointing at any star that would glance through the thin cloud cover. Hope to soon be able to practice drift alignment.
A patch of "clear sky" showed itself a few nights ago, so I thought I would try and see how far I could push the unguided exposures (having only done the ASPA). And even though thin clouds would regularly pass over the target, I am at least pleased that I could squeeze this out of the image. +- 1 minute exposures of the center of the noble M45, Pleiades. 5-6 shots later, the clouds came rolling in again... So here I am stuck looking at my mount collecting dust and browsing these forums again
Looks like there is some coma that needs fixing too.
Scope is the Celestron 130 SLT OTA. Using a barlow right now to achieve focus. Trying to obtain the screws needed to move the mirror.
As a bonus, I noticed the presence of a magnitude 17.2 in this one, faintest I've caught yet I think.
Noticing a break in the cloud late evening on my 'Weather Channel' app; I decided to practice my new polar alignment skills on my wonderful sturdy AVX mount. Armed with my weapon of choice - the sensational Altair Starwave 102 F/11 Achro Frac which never fails to give me crystal clear and colourful views, I made my way onto the lush green grass of my girlfriends reasonable dark, edge of town garden lawn.
It's fair to say that when I started it was very cloudy and it proved quite entertaining trying to catch alignment stars teasing me by peeping out between the white stuff.
Last week I treated myself to an illuminated reticule which has turned out to be a fantastic addition to my armoury. Talk about centering stars in the field of view (perfect). Also following a suggestion from a practical friend I utilised my zoom EP for the first time when honing in on centering stars. Chuffed to bits with my new found polar alignment skills and equipment I proceeded to observe.
I confirmed alignment by pin point precision by capturing some obvious targets. I then selected my 12mm Meade HD-60 and decided to whizz through some doubles and trust the handset tour to provide some interesting objects, using that EP gave me 100 x magnification. I actually think it was a great tactic as I didn't have to change my EP once (unit the end)
So at 100x on everything. M11 the Wild Duck Cluster literally blew my pants off...!
I acknowledged a smile when seeing 95 Her and 61 Cyg I noted as kind of yellow orange… Sissy Haas marks those as Amber Yellow so I was bang on :-) lovely!
M57 The ring nebula was a Wow moment... Probably my imagination and my brain filling in what I knew was there but it looked in colour and so ‘ring like’ it was brilliant... M76 little dumbbell wasn't so clear but at least I could make it out ok.
Delta Cep and Alberio were lovely and got me all double excited.
17 Cyg - Great and of course Zeta Lyra - lovely
NGC 869 & ngc 844 The Double Cluster was sweet! I mean - really sweet and filled my field of view.
Andromeda (was there) it's more what it is, that excites me more than what it looks like when you’ve seen it a few times (don't get me wrong I'm not under selling this great target).
‘Just to see Gamma Delphini is worth the price of a telescope’ So says Sissy Haas in the rather nice book 'Double Stars for small telescopes'.
So I checked it out and can confirm that; Gamma Delphinium was amazing! like two tiny gold circles in the 102 so for this I decided to select my 6.5mm Meade for a closer look - and at 184x Gamma Delphini was stunning...
I then did a few single stars which is good fun in that 102.. I love the sharpness of that frac.
The AVX is such a solid mount and was really nice to set up. The 2" tripod is although heavy, very solid!
Aligning with that illuminated reticle is brilliant and fair play to the sec suggesting the zoom EP for hunting initially.
Last night felt like the damp is on it's way, although the kit stayed nice and dew free... I packed in not long after 11 as I had achieved my objective of super successful polar alignment and got to see some wonderful objects… As I cleared away the milky way gave me a farewell wave before being engulfed in the white stuff again.
Great night, great timing and worth noting it would have been easy for me to pack up as I was starting due to the cloud but I hung in there waiting for that clear session...
I’m back in love with this great but sometimes frustrating hobby :-) Bring on the long nights of winter!