Friday, 13 August 2010

Perseids Watch - Part the second

Another night, and it started out the same, cloudy all day, still pretty cloudy as the sun was going down, and soon cleared shortly after sundown. Once the sky got completely dark, I setup the meteor lounger, and set down at around 2230 for a viewing session. I left the kit indoors, and just enjoyed the clear skies.

It was another superb sky, the Milky Way was clearly visible across the middle of the sky. It seems that when there has been rain and clouds, and they clear, the sky is left far clearer and cleaner than normal. Within a few minutes, I'd seen 5 Perseids, the 5th being by far and away the best with a long glowing trail left behind as it burnt across the sky. Over the course of the next 1.5 hours, I kept watch, spotting a total of 23 Perseids, 10 satellites, and 6 transient meteors blasting across the sky, although of those 4 looked to be heading towards Perseus instead of from the radiant, quite a surprise.

Again, M31 was visible with averted vision, so it goes to show how good the sky is around here I reckon.

I popped indoors at midnight to warm up, get a cuppa and get a blanket. Whilst my top half wasn't as cold (another layer) my legs were really cold after an hour and a half. The bad news is, when I went back out, I only saw another 3 Perseids, before, I started dozing off... Not really wanting to fall asleep in the garden, in the damp and cold air, I figured it was a much better idea to come in.

So a good haul of 26 Perseids, 10 Satellites and 6 Transients, with a great view of Cygnus, Cassie, Andromeda, Lyra, Aquilla and the glowing band of the Milky Way.

Just the Sun

A single shot of the Sun, from very early this morning.

NexStar 60, 2x TC, 450d, Baader Solar film, Contrast Booster, and a green filter


There was a thin layer of cloud, just enough to make the sun look dirty.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Perseids Watch

I kept an eye on the clouds, throughout the day, and as the sun was setting, they began to clear. I kept an eye out throughout the evening, and eventually, they finally cleared properly. So I got out a meteor lounger (more commonly known as a sun lounger) and lay back to watch the skies. No kit, just the oldest astro equipment in the book, a pair of the good old eyeballs. I started by just having a look around. I was surprised to find that, even though, the sky from the horizons up to around 20 degrees was pretty rubbish with a sickly glow to it, overhead was surprisingly clear. I was able to see the faint wonderful glow of the Milky Way arching overhead from Cassiopeia in the North, through Cygnus, and down to Vulpecula in the South, lovely. I lay there scanning back and forth. Throughout an hour and a half I saw 9 Meteors, the 7th being the best by far, bright (I'd guestimate Mag 0 probably, not that I really have much of a clue), leaving behind a faintly glowing track across the sky for a few seconds. In that same time I saw 5 satellites.

About half way through, I caught a glimpse of some dull fluffy stuff creeping into my field of vision, oddly, it would not have looked out of place at Halloween as the shapes and holes looked like ghosts.. amazing what the imagination can come up with. I stayed to watch as long as I could, and, much to my amazement, the ghostly clouds, gradually vanished as slowly and gently as they had come, before fully crossing Cygnus. Marvelous.

One interesting thing, and amazing thing, to note, I was able to find and see M31, the Andromeda galaxy, ok only as a faint blob with averted vision, but it was definitely there, and in the right place, so that I wasn't imagining.

There were some very odd noises from the garden behind me, I don't know what passed through, but I didn't care.

In the end, I was forced in by the cold, my lower back aching, and having to get up for work.

I didn't get the rig out, and that's ok. I enjoyed this nights viewing.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Sunday's Sun

Only a day late... Ho hum...

Another single frame image of the Sun,

NexStar 60, 2x TC (1400mm, f/23) 450d, Baader Solar Film and Contrast Booster, a green filter.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

The Sun Again (1092 and 1093)

I'm quite enjoying this Solar stuff... a shame I've not had the clear skies to try and get up close to a spot... but... I'll take what I can get...

These two are about 12 hours apart, both taken with the NexStar 60 Achro with a 2x TC... (1400mm, f/23)

This only had the Solar filter


This had the Solar filter, a Contrast Booster and a green filter


I'm amazed I've picked up some Faculae around spot 1093... and a couple of smaller spots above 1092.

Sailing the river

I stepped outside last night to check for low green haze on the Northern horizon (not expecting to see any, way too much light polution). But I looked up whilst out in the direction of Cygnus, and promptly lost myself in the immense arch of a dim yet clear milky way. I was amazed that even not being dark adapted (having not more than a minute before stepped out of the house) how much I could see. After a few minutes I tracked down to the south, following the shining river of stars and could make out the split where the dark bands run through the middle.


I'm sure, but it was in peripheral vision, that I caught a Perseid whilst wandering along the ribbon too.

Whilst I was amazed with the view, I also had the 450d and kit lens at 18mm mounted on my EQ1 and captured some widefield subs of 3 minutes each... f/3.5 @ISO400 (I think I got it wrong in the border)


Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Some more of the Sun

I've been ducking the clouds, and trying to shoot some shots of the sun in the gaps... Not an easy task, as finding the sun means you need strong shadows, and the clouds are putting paid to them. Then focusing is really much harder than I was expecting it to be...

Anyway, One from the weekend.. NexStar 60, 2xTC, 450d on a camera tripod with Baader solar film


A few from Yesterday, a bit more atmospheric

C80ED, 2xTC, 450d with Baader Solar Film




And finally one from today.. there was a shot 10 minute gap in the clouds

C80ED, 2xTC, 450d with Baader Solar Film


I'm rather pleased with this second one, it's got a second spot appearing in the upper left and there's details around it.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Some First Solar

I finally bought myself some Solar film to have a try at some solar imaging. The total swamp of clouds at night, and the bright skies were really getting me down.

I have a filter attachment for the scopes, unfortunately it's just a little too small for the C80ED (to the tune of about 1mm.. how typical is that ? Anyway, I made up too filter cells so far... one for my 55-250 camera lens (using a pair of UV filters and sandwiching the filter itself between them) and one for my little NexStar 60, as that's what the metal filter attachment fits. Here's the images so far...

With the 55-250


A couple with the NexStar 60 and the 450d on the back

A tree blew in the way whilst the shutter was open...


And a cloud boiled into view at this time...


And a few more with the 55-250... very heavily cropped...

This one has two spots... one upper left, and one lower right.


And whilst the spot isn't as sharp in this one, a bird flew between the camera and the sun... what could I do but shoot it...


Shooting the Moon

I saw the moon on the 21st at the front of the house, amazingly low, and hiding behind the house. I did check to see how high it was going to climb, but sadly it was already at highest, so there was no chance to try any mosaicing on it. So I plonked the C80ED on my camera tripod, put the 450d and 2xTC on the back and grabbed a shot...


And I decided to pull out the colour a bit