Thursday, September 1, 2016

September 2016

September 30th 1525 GMT

I had an early finish on Friday. The Big Bear images showed a blank Sun, so I bypassed white light and went straight to hydrogen alpha light with my PST.
 
The solar disc looked bland and I took some full disc shots and close-ups using my normal method.
 


MORE TO COME...

September 28th 0720 GMT

I bin scanned the Sun when I arrived at work but did not see any sunspots.

September 27th 2015 GMT

I waited for dark and took 10 light and 10 dark frames of Alcor and Mizar, in the Plough. I used ISO6400, 300mm focal length and 3 seconds exposure.
I was unable to move to other targets, as it clouded over!
 
Unfortunately, neither Deep Sky Stacker nor Microsoft ICE were able to stack the images, so I just processed the best image in GIMP.
 
 

September 26th 2010 GMT

There was lots of cloud around, most of it moving. It was not worth trying to photograph anything. I did manage to bin scan some objects. I could see all of the main stars of Melotte 20, an object that is rather reliable on poor occasions. I tried to find the Andromeda Galaxy (M31) but I could not find it through the cloud. I could find M15 through a small gap. I found Epsilon Lyrae and Delta Lyrae and I could even get them in the same field of view as each other and Vega. I split Albireo and that was that.

September 25th 1510 GMT

I checked the Sun with my PST. It seemed rather bland apart from a facula. I took full disc and quadrant shots.




September 25th 1430 GMT

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

September 24th 1055 GMT

Despite the presence of sunspots on the Big Bear images, I could not see any through my binoculars.

September 24th

The Sun was  quiet in hydrogen alpha light, so I just took some full disc frames,
 
 

September 24th 1025 GMT

I took some frames of the Moon with my DSLR at 300mm focal length, ISO 400 and 1/1000 second exposure.
 
 

September 24th 2330 GMT

Although there was  still cloud around, the patches in between the cloud were clear. I set the camera at 180mm focal length, ISO 400 and 4 seconds exposure.

I shot a few frames of the Pleaides (M45) ad Hyades.



I took an untimed "bulb" exposure of the Pole Star at 300mm focal length.


I then shot some dark frames for the first few frames.

I did some similar frames of Melotte 20.



I finished with another untimed long exposure of Polaris at 180mm focal length.

MORE PHOTOS TO COME.

September 23rd 2110 GMT

There was lots of thin cloud around. Due to early starts for work, I had not done any night viewing nor photography for a few nights, so I went out with my binoculars.

First up was Melotte 20. I could see some stars but only the brighter cluster members. The Andromeda Galaxy (M31) took several goes to find. I found the double stars: Alcor/Mizar, Albireo, Epsilon and Delta Lyrae, Nu Draconi and 16/17 Draconi. I also found the Pleiades (M45), M13 and the Wild Duck Cluster (M11).

I did not proceed with a photo shoot.

September 23rd 1250 GMT

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

September 23rd 0720 GMT

I took a few shots of the Moon with my DSLR at 300mm focal length, ISO 400 and 1/1000 second exposure.
 
 

September 22nd 1225 GMT

With less than an hour of summer to go, I bin scanned the Sun through a clear patch in the sky. I did not see any sunspots.

September 18th 2330 GMT

The Moon was just past full, so I repeated the same set-up as the night before.
 
 

September 17th 0735 GMT

I checked the Sun in hydrogen alpha light with my PST. The disc looked bland, in contrast  to the Big Bear images. I was going to  follow-up with a white light shoot but cloud rolled in.
 

 

September 16th 2150 GMT

I missed the penumbral lunar eclipse due to cloud but it cleared enough later to snap the Moon with my PST and Mak. I used ISO 400 and 1/4000 second exposure. The Moon seemed brighter than usual and I had trouble keeping it in the field of view, due to its apparent size. I was sure that the "supermoon" tag would be used a lot. It was too bright to consider constellation or deep sky photography.
 
 

September 16th 1250 GMT

Despite the clear conditions, I was unable to see any sunspots when I bin scanned the Sun.

September 13th 2030 GMT

I bin scanned the Moon under hazy conditions but could see Linne clearly. There was a green fringe, rather than the usual blue or red. I decided to have a quick shot, so I took 12 frames with my DSLR at 300mm focal length, ISO 800 and 1/4000 second exposure.
 
 

September 12th 1205 GMT

I bin scanned the Sun through various layers of moving cloud but did not see any sunspots.

September 11th 2000 GMT

I took a few frames of the Moon with my DSLR at 300mm focal length, ISO 800 and 1/4000 second exposure.
 
 

September 11th 0950 GMT

I checked the Sun in hydrogen alpha light with my PST and saw some prominences. Most of the solar disc seemed rather bland.
 

 

September 11th 0930 GMT

I took some solar frames with my Mak and DSLR. I used ISO800 and 1/4000 second exposure. I was pleased to capture some sunspots that had not been visible in binoculars.
 
 

September 10th 2150 GMT

Conditions were far from great, with the Moon in the west and some thin cloud scattering the moonlight. I used the Moon to help achieve focus then took some frames of Melotte 20 and the Pleiades (M45) at 300mm with ISO 800 and 2 seconds exposure.
 
Unfortunately, the lack of a working cable release showed with only two frames of the Pleiades (M45) working.
 
 

September 10th 2040 GMT

I took 142 full disc lunar frames with my Mak at ISO 800 and 1/2500 second exposure.
 
 

September 10th 1705 GMT

After a wet day, it finally cleared enough to bin scan the Sun and the sunspot group was close to rotating off.
 
 

September 8th 1230 GMT

I bin scanned the Sun in a clear sky and I saw that the sunspot pattern had changed again.


September 7th 2030 GMT

I took a few frames of the Moon with my DSLR at 300mm, ISO 800 and 1/4000 second exposure. Unfortunately, the focus was poor.
 
 

September 7th 1655 GMT

The awful weather continued but I was able to see that the sunspots had rotated after work and changed shape a bit.


September 6th 1315 GMT

After some quite awful weather, it finally cleared for a brief moment to allow me to see some sunspots. It is possible that I could have missed several smaller ones.
 
 

September 2nd 1755 GMT

It finally cleared, so I managed to record the sunspots before the Sun sunk below the nearby houses.
 
 

September 1st 0950 GMT


I bin scanned the Sun but, despite the presence of sunspots on the Big Bear images did not see any.

Friday, August 5, 2016

August 2016

August 31st 1605 GMT

Despite reports of new sunspot activity, my bin scan showed a blank disc.

August 30th 1030 GMT

Under a clear sky I took some full disc and close-up shots of the Sun in hydrogen alpha light with my PST. The only stand-out feature was a single sunspot. This is visible in the last close-up.
 

 

August 30th 2310 GMT


I returned out with my DSLR. I took 3 sets of frames. First was Perseus and the Pleiades. 5 frames stacked in DSS.
 
 

Next was Andromeda and Aries. I took only one frame but used DSS to process the dark frames. I caught Triangulum as well.

 
 
The first two sets suffered from skyglow, despite it being rather clear. I took the third high above Cassiopeia.


 
While snapping away, I did a binocular tour and it was more a case of what I didn't see. The Pleiades (M45) were starting to look as good as an autumn view. Melotte 20 was superb, as was the Andromeda Galaxy (M31) and the Perseus Double Cluster. I could just make out the Pinwheel (M33), while M34 looked rather good.

Moving  south, I was able to see M15 but could not capture M2, which is rather tricky from England. I could even see the Lagoon Nebula (M8), despite its low elevation. I hadn't seen it properly during the summer, due to poor conditions.

The Summer Triangle was ablaze with activity. I saw the Ring (M57), Dumbbell (M27). M71 (a tricky pot), M29 and M39 and the North America Nebula (NGC7000). To the south I saw the Wild Duck (M11) and the elusive M26. I could see M13 and M92. I picked up Delta and Epsilon Lyrae and Albireo. I also caught Nu and 16/17 Draconi.

M81 and M82 were not well-placed, so were rather elusive but  found them but did not find M51.

August 29th 2140 GMT


I took 17 frames of the Hercules area at ISO 800, 30 seconds exposure and 18mm focal length. I could not stack using DSS but managed a passable effort using Microsoft ICE.
 
 

August 29th 2000 GMT

I took a dusk shot of Mars, Saturn and Antares.
 
 

August 29th 0810 GMT

The sky was quite clear but hazy. The Sun was quiet in white light and hydrogen alpha light.
I took some full disc shots of the Sun with my PST and did a bin scan. The only significant feature was a single sunspot.
 
 

August 26th 2045 GMT

As my late father would say, it was starting to get late earlier. The sky was mostly clear. I set my camera at 18mm focal length, ISO800 and 30 seconds exposure.

First target was directly overhead. Unfortunately, my focus was poor and the frames did not stack. I processed a single image and shrunk it.
 
 

Second target was Ophiuchus.

 

Third target was the Lyra/Aquila area. Although it was only one frame, I caught the whole Summer Triangle and a meteor.

 

Fourth was Pegasus but I didn't take many frames, as I was getting interference from a street lamp.

 

Fifth was Perseus and Cassiopeia.

 

I was checking for late Perseids. I didn't see any but caught a sporadic meteor at 2214 GMT while shooting dark frames.

August 26th 1440 GMT

I checked the Sun in hydrogen alpha light with my PST. The Sun was quiet, apart from a filament. I took full disc and close-up shots.
 

 

August 26th 0815 GMT


I took the Mak and DSLR out under a clear sky. I snapped the Sun and Moon at 1/1250 second exposure and ISO 400.
 

August 24th 1330 GMT

There was a lot of haze around, so I bin scanned the Sun but only saw a single sunspot.
 
 

August 24th 0900 GMT

The Moon was high in the south west. I took some full disc shots using the DSLR at 300mm, ISO 400 and 1/1000 second exposure.
 
 

August 23rd 2230 GMT

It was too cloudy to attempt any deep sky or constellation photography, so it was a bin scan coupled with a quarter-hearted attempt to see some late Perseids.

Well, unsurprisingly, I blanked on the second. Melotte 20 showed quite a few stars but is quite a reliable deep sky object, even when low. I saw a brief glimpse of the Andromeda Galaxy (M31) and it showed some structure. I also saw Alcor/Mizar.

Finally, after trying for a while, I caught the Pleaides (M45) grazing the rooftops and then rising above them. It was an emotional moment although my first view of them with my binoculars was rather later in the year than recent previous years.

August 23rd 1330 GMT

It cleared from the day before. Big Bear images showed a couple of sunspots and I could see one in hydrogen alpha light with my PST. I took full disc and close-up frames.
 

I took some full disc shots with my DSLR only at 300mm focal length and 1/4000 second exposure and tried ISO settings at 100, 200 and 400.

 

August 22nd 1230 GMT

There was a period of clear sky between the rain. Unfortunately, the Sun was rather quiet, so I took just full disc shots with my PST.
 
 

August 19th 2230 GMT

The sky was clear but the Moon was bright. I took some lunar frames at ISO 400, 1/2000 second exposure and 300mm.
 
 
I took some further frames of Alcor/Mizar and Albireo at ISO 6400, 2 seconds exposure and 300mm.
 
Unfortunately, the photos did not work, due to camera shake, as my remote shutter release packed up.

August 19th 1705 GMT

After a wet morning and cloudy afternoon, the sky cleared enough but only enough to give me time to take some full disc solar shots with my PST.
 
 

August 18th 2225 GMT


Conditions were poor but I took some full disc frames of the Moon anyway using just my DSLR at 300mm, ISO 400 and 1/1600 second exposure.
 
 

August 18th 0830 GMT

Conditions were somewhat hazy, so I bin scanned the Sun and saw a single, small sunspot that was about to rotate from view.
 
 

August 16th 2150 GMT


Conditions were poor, with haze and moonlight. I decided against trying to take any photos. I saw three faint Perseids, barely 3rd magnitude, each at 2159, 2200 and 2210 GMT.

August 16th 2000 GMT

I took some full disc frames of the Moon at ISO 400 and 1/800 second exposure with my DSLR at 300mm.
 
 

August 16th 1140 GMT

I took some full disc white light frames of the Sun with my Mak and DSLR at ISO 400 and 1/1600 second exposure.
 
 
I then took some hydrogen alpha shots.

 

August 15th 2130 GMT

Although I could see some stars, there was a lot of thin cloud scattering moonlight, so I just took some frames of the Moon at 300mm, ISO 400 and 1/640 seconds exposure.
 
 

August 15th 1830 GMT

I bin scanned the Sun through thin cloud and saw the sunspots had moved.
 
 

August 14th 2030 GMT

I took a few full disc frames of the Moon with my DSLR 300mm ISO 400, 1/500th second exposure. I stacked 37 frames and finished off in GIMP.
 
 

August 14th 1635 GMT

After a cloudy morning, the Sun came out and most of the activity was in the central part of the disc. I took some full disc and close-ups of the Sun with my PST.
 



August 13th 1200 GMT

There was a lot of moving cloud and I saw only one sunspot.


August 12th 0855 GMT

I bin scanned the Sun through moving cloud and saw two sunspots.


August 11th 2240 GMT


Cloud was encroaching from the east, so I took 50 lunar frames at 1/1000 second exposure at 300mm and ISO400. They were under-exposed, so I had to do some processing in GIMP.
 
 

August 10th 1150 GMT

I bin scanned the Sun and saw a single sunspot. I was expecting to see more as some were visible on the professional solar images. I guess that they were below binocular resolution.
 
 

August 9th 2055 GMT

With bad weather forecast for later, I took some full disc frames of the Moon with my Mak and DSLR, ISO 400, exposure 1/640 second.
 
 

August 9th 1055 GMT

I took some full frame solar white light images with my MAK and DSLR with ISO 400 and 1/1000 second exposure.
 
 

August 9th 0745 GMT

I checked the Sun in hydrogen alpha light. It was rather quiet with a single sunspot being the only feature.
 
 
 

August 9th 2300 GMT

I took a longer exposure of about 40 minutes. No Perseids, though.



August 8th 2250 GMT

I took a bulb exposure of the area centred west of Cassiopeia for about 2 to 3 minutes.
 
 
 
I saw a mag -1 Perseid flash east with a trail of about 10 degrees.

August 7th 2100 GMT

I took some frames of the close passage of Mars, Saturn and Antares at 55mm focal length, 8 seconds exposure and ISO 400.
 
 

August 7th 1900 GMT

The Sun was low and the forecast was not good, so I took a set of frames of the Moon with my DSLR at 300mm, ISO 400 and 1/800 second.
 
 

August 7th 1210 GMT

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

August 6th 1000 GMT

I was a bit busy, so didn't lug my Mak out. I took 20 frames of the Sun in white light using my DSLR at 300mm ISO 400 and 1/4000 second exposure. I used a Baader filter, too.
 
 

August 6th 0950 GMT

I checked the Sun in hydrogen alpha light and saw a prominence. A quick look at the images confirmed I'd caught it on camera. I took full disc and close-up frames.
 


 
 

August 6th 2300 GMT

I took two long exposures centred on a point about halfway between Cassiopeia and Polaris. As they looked similar, I processed the better of the two.
 
 
 
I did not see any meteors visually.

August 5th 2255 GMT


I was preparing for another Perseid session. I used one camera, my Nikon D3200. I set ISO to 400 focal length down to 8mm and bulb exposure. I started off with an exposure of about two minutes and verified that I could see stars.
 
 

August 4th 2200 GMT

At last, my first action of the month! I used my antique Konica Minolta DSLR and fuel-injected, turbo-charged Nikon D3200 digital cameras at 18mm focal length ISO 800 and 30 seconds exposure. I started by taking darks on each camera. I used each camera asynchronously by opening one camera’s shutter when the other closed. My target area was to the west of Cepheus in the Milky Way.
First light was 12 images shot with my Nikon with 8 darks. It was around Cepheus, which shows a lot of Milky Way but no meteors.
 

I later moved the Nikon, as to be centred on Cassiopeia. I was unable to do the stacking using Deep Sky Stacker, so I used Microsoft ICE. The result was lots of stars and a bit of Milky Way but no meteors.

Unfortunately, I had no way of retrieving my frames that I took with my Konica Minolta.

At 2239 GMT, I saw my first visual, magnitude 1 with a short trail through Cassiopeia travelling north east.