Wednesday, November 2, 2016

November 2016

November 30th 1750 GMT

I stopped off on the way home from work and snapped Venus and Mars together in the south west. I had a bit of camera shake but they showed quite clearly.
 
 

November 30th 1305 GMT

Despite the clear conditions, I was only able to see the same sunspot pair that I had been following.
 
 

November 29th 1305 GMT

Despite the clear conditions, I was only just able to see the sunspots from the day before. The new ones, visible on the Big Bear images, were nowhere to be seen.
 
 

November 28th 1305 GMT

The Sun was low in the sky, even though it was barely an hour since noon. The sunspots were quite hard to find and were approaching the centre of the solar disc.
 
 

November 26th 1320 GMT

I bin scanned the Sun through hazy conditions but was able to see the sunspot clearly. The sunspot I had seen the day before had a small companion. It had either formed recently or, possibly, become visible as it had rotated to a better viewpoint.
 
 

November 25th 1900 GMT

I tried to catch some star trails of the Pleaides and set my DSLR at ISO 40 18mm focal length and bulb.

 

November 25th 1320 GMT

 
The Sun was already starting to get low in the sky but I managed to get a scan in  after walking a way for it to clear the treetops to the south west. I saw the new sunspot activity, that had rotated on, for the first time.
 
 
 

November 25th 0720 GMT

Finally, a bit of action after a week of cloud. I took a few full disc shots of the Moon with my DSLR.
 
 

November 18th 2310 GMT


It was not cloudless but the weather was far better than  predicted.  As I was tired, I just took:

13 frames of the full lunar disc at ISO 400 F/L 300mm and 1/4000 second exposure.
 
 
4 frames of Orion's belt at the same but 2 seconds exposure. As three were blurred, I processed a single frame to get this.

 

4 frames of 6: M42 as above

 

3 frames of the polar region with 30 seconds exposure
 

November 17th 1800 GMT

I did another lunar shoot.
 
 

November 17th 1315 GMT

I bin scanned the Sun, having seen some sunspots on the Big Bear images in the morning. I did not see any, despite the unexpectedly clear conditions.

November 16th 0720 GMT

I had some clear sky before I left for work, so did some lunar frames at 1/4000 second, 300mm focal length and ISO 400.
 
 

November 13th 1140 GMT

Would you believe it was my first look at the Sun in hydrogen alpha light in the month? Not if you'd seen the weather in England. The white light images from the professional observatories showed nothing, so I went straight to hydrogen alpha.
 
Despite tuning, I could not see any detail on the solar surface but I did full disc and quadrant shots anyway.
 




 

November 13th 0000 GMT

Finally, some clear-ish sky. The Moon was two days from full phase, leaving only one sensible option. I took several full frame lunar shots with my Mak and DSLR at ISO 400 and 1/1000 second exposure and some close ups with a 3x Barlow lens, giving a focal length of about 4.5 metres.
 





When I ran out of space on my camera, I had a quick bin browse but cloud had moved in to obscure most of the north and west. The Hyades seemed largely unaffected but the Pleaides (M45) revealed few more than the main stars. I caught some of M35 and the Orion Great Nebula (M42) looked good for the conditions.

November 10th 1730 GMT

Again, the Moon was out but cloud was forecast for later. I repeated the shot from the day before, with a slightly larger phase. 

November 9th 1800 GMT

With a bad weather forecast there was some clear sky, so I took a few frames of the Moon at 300mm focal length, ISO 400 and 1/4000 second exposure.
 
 

November 9th 1305 GMT

I bin scanned the Sun under clear conditions but did not see any sunspots.

November 7th 2050 GMT

I set a camera on a bulb exposure and 18mm focal length. I tried using ISO 200 to see if it would reduce the background noise and pointed it north west, for a change.
 
 

November 7th 1750 GMT

I needed to stop on the way from home and noticed it was rather clear. Venus was near the horizon but not too ear anything else. I took a few frames of the Moon at 1/1000 second at ISO 400 and 300mm focal length.

 
I also snapped the Moon with Mars.
 

 
 
I also had a sneaky look at the Pleiades, Melotte 20 and the Perseus Double Cluster. It wasn't quite dark but the latter two clusters showed just about as many stars as in full darkness. I could only see the main stars of the Pleiades but it was very low.

November 4th 2330 GMT

I went out again at 2330 GMT. I looked for Taurid meteors, while taking some exposures of the Hyades star cluster.

I saw two meteors, almost identical, at 2335 GMT and 0000 GMT, with the second being about 0.3 to 0.4 of a magnitude fainter. Both travelled east below Auriga but had short trails. They were 3rd magnitude.

I also took a look at Betelguese and it was back to the same old problem. It definitely appeared brighter than Rigel and much brighter than Procyon. However, it was not much brighter than Aldebaran and far fainter than Capella. So what was its magnitude??? 0.4 would be a good bet!
 
The Hyades did not stack with Deep Sky Stacker but I managed to stack 82 images with Microsoft ICE. I finished off with GIMP.
 
 

November 4th 2115 GMT


I took a couple of 30 second exposures of the Perseus region in the hope of capturing a Taurid meteor.
 


I then took a longer "bulb" exposure of about half an hour to capture star trails and hope another meter or two would appear. In a word, no!!!
 



November 2nd 2150 GMT

I took a couple of 30 second exposures of the Perseus region. I processed the better one and could see M45, Melotte 20, M34 and the Perseus Double Cluster.
 
 

November 2nd 1750 GMT

I saw the Moon and Venus on the way home but the A46 isn't always the easiest road to pull over on. I tried some lunar shots and some of Venus but was unable to capture both in the same frame before Venus vanished!
I did not catch Venus on any shots but the zenith showed Cygnus and Lyra.
 
 

November 2nd 1325 GMT

 
I bin scanned the Sun but did not see any sunspots.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

October 2016

October 31st 1300 GMT

I bin scanned the Sun in a clear sky but did not see any sunspots.

October 26th 1915 GMT

It was quite clear so I took a half hour (ish) exposure of the area overhead. I hoped to capture some star tails and maybe a sporadic meteor.

I caught a nice white background, as it was well over-exposed!

October 22nd 2230 GMT

I went out again with my DSLR. I set the camera at 2.5 seconds exposure, 300mm focal length and ISO 6400.

My targets were:

The Pleaides (M45), Hyades , polar region, Orion's Belt and southern Lyra, hoping for the Ring (M57).

The Pleaides shot was composed of 49 light and 17 dark frames.


The Hyades came out quite well but didn't stitch well.


So I stitched another part of the cluster but they did not join.


I took 33 frames of the polar regions and I caught the Engagement Ring.


Orion's belt showed a lot of light pollution, so I only took four frames.

 
Southern Lyra was 33 frames.

 

October 22nd 2150 GMT


I set another star trail exposure going, this time aimed eastwards.
 

 

October 20th 2000 GMT

 
I aimed a long bulb exposure at Perseus at 18mm focal length and ISO 400. I hoped to catch some Orionid meteors on film.
 
 

October 17th 0530 GMT

I took a few frames of the Moon with my DSLR at 300mm, ISO 400 and 1/4000 second exposure.
 
 

October 16th 1425 GMT

As the previous day, the Sun was quiet in hydrogen alpha light, apart from a small prominence. I took some full disc shots and miscellaneous close-ups.
 


October 16th 1030 GMT

The trouble with looking at Big Bear images is that you can know that sunspots are there but you just can't see them. I would have stood a better chance of seeing them in my Maksutov but there was too much moving cloud to get a good shot. My bin scan resulted in a big fat ZERO!

October 15th 2215 GMT


The sky was cloudless but the Moon was pretty much full and bright. There really was only one thing to do and that was to snap the Moon. Being a Saturday, I took 166 full disc frames with my Mak and DSLR at ISO400 and 1/4000 second exposure. I applied the usual treatment to get this, which I was rather pleased with.
 
 
I then used a 3X Barlow lens, initially with an exposure of 1/1000 second and later with 1/400 second exposure. I did not use a driven mount, so I hoped the stitching and stacking would produce wide panoramas.

The first sets of images were too grainy and under-exposed.

I stacked 26 frames to get the first close-up.

I extracted two close-ups from the next stack, of 50 frames.




 
The next images were composed from a stack of 46 frames.
 

The next photo was from 144 frames.

 
I stacked 72 images to obtain this image:


The next two images came from 42 frames:



The next image showed a bit more of Tycho.

 
The next image was composed of 144 frames.
 
 
The final 11 frames featured Grimaldi.
 
 
I ended up with 653 frames altogether.

I stacked two large areas of the Moon from previous stacks but was unable to obtain a complete disc.


October 15th 1030 GMT

I checked the Sun in hydrogen alpha light with my PST and it appeared as quiet as it did in white light. I took full disc, quadrant shots and tried a few shots in the centre of the solar disc.
 

 


October 15th 0955 GMT

I bin scanned the Sun through cloud but did not see any sunspots, even though one was visible in the Big Bear images.

October 13th 1200 GMT

I bin scanned the Sun through cloud but did not see any sunspots.

October 11th 1205 GMT

 
I bin scanned the Sun under clear conditions and saw the same sunspots as the day before.
 
 

October 10th 1210 GMT

I waited for some clouds to clear then had a clear bin scan of the Sun. I could see  two large sunspots.
 
 

October 9th 2045 GMT

I did some shots with my DSLR of the Moon.

 

October 9th 1230 GMT

It cleared again for a while. I did a solar hydrogen alpha shoot. The Sun seemed quiet, apart from the sunspot regions.
 


October 9th 0920 GMT

I woke up to bright sunlight and did a rare white light shoot, as there hadn't been many sunspots. I managed a handful of frames before cloud rolled in.
 
 

I used my Mak and ISO 400 with 1/4000 th second exposure.

October 6th 2000 GMT

Conditions were not great but far better than forecast. Nevertheless, I settled on the relatively easy target of Melotte 20. I took plenty of frames and darks butmany were affected by cloud.
 
 

October 6th 1935 GMT

The Moon was low but I caught it between the cloud. I took shots at 300mm focal length, ISO 800 and 1/1600th second exposure.
 
 

October 6th 1225 GMT

The fat old sun is obscured by clouds. Well, that was as sung by Pink Floyd but there were enough breaks in the cloud to catch a look at some sunspots. I saw two of the fainter ones that were visible on the Big Bear images as well as the large one. Rather pleasing, given the conditions.
 
 

October 5th 2000 GMT

I repeated the polar star trails, hopefully with a more suitable ISO of 400. I used a focal length of 18mm and the exposure was about 25 minutes.

 

October 5th 1800 GMT

I took some frames of the Moon at 300mm focal length, ISO 800 and 1/1000 second exposure.
 
 

October 5th 1200 GMT

I bin scanned the Sun in a clear sky. I saw the large sunspot that was visible in the Big Bear images but missed some smaller ones.
 
 

October 4th 1950 GMT


I figured that it would be one of the last days, if not the last day that I would be out astronomising in shorts. I covered my T-shirt with a light jacket. I had tried to find the Moon earlier but failed, as it was below a bank of cloud or the neighbouring houses.

The sky coming up to 2000 GMT was clear overhead but it was cloudy near the horizon. I decided to shoot straight overhead with my DSLR at 18mm, ISO 800 and 30 seconds exposure. I shot 8 light frames and 24 dark frames but the camera rotated the last 4 light frames, so I could only stack four.
 
 

In parallel, I did some bin scanning. I tried to see the Wild Duck Cluster (M11) but it was too cloudy. Albireo showed well. I could also see the other summer double stars and Alcor/Mizar to the north.

I was pleasantly surprised to see M13 showing quite nicely. Although they were low, I could see the Pleiades (M45). Rather too soon, cloud started to encroach on Cygnus to the west. I had a browse through the constellation before packing up for the night.

October 4th 1225 GMT

Despite the presence of sunspots in the Big Bear images, I was unable to see any when I did my bin scan.

October 2nd 2000 GMT

I did a couple of long bulb exposures in the polar regions but appeared to ov er-expose them!
 
Fortunately, I managed to extract some detail from the second image.
 
 

October 2nd 1120 GMT

The Sun was so quiet in hydrogen alpha light that I couldn't see anything at all. I took some full disc and quadrant shots.
 



 

October 2nd 2320 GMT

I shot a few frames of the Pleiades (M45) with my DSLR at 300mm focal length, ISO 6400 and 2.5 seconds exposure.
 
 

October 1st 2220 GMT

I went out to check the sky. It was mostly clear and I saw a bright sporadic meteor of magnitude -3 flashing south east from Cygnus to near the southern horizon.

I headed inside and set up my camera. I used the wider angle lens at 18mm focal length and 30 seconds exposure. I aimed the camera at Capella.

OK, first mistake. The camera was on ISO 6400 and I hadn't checked it! However, I managed to catch some detail by processing.



I tried again at ISO 800 but found that there was too much haze near the horizon. It looked so similar to the previous effort that I didn't process it.

I aimed higher, at Perseus, and took a few shots and then took some dark frames.