Monday, January 2, 2017

January 2017

January 20th 1440 GMT

I checked the Sun with my PST. Although it was quiet, there was a stand-out prominence that was visible in the images but not clear.
 
 

January 20th 1405 GMT

Despite the clear sky, my bin scan did not reveal any sunspots.

January 19th 2040 GMT


I took some 30 second exposures of the Polaris region at ISO 6400 and 30 seconds exposure. I also took some darks. Unfortunately, Deep Sky Stacker only accepted 2 light frames and used 8 darks. I finished off in GIMP.
 
 

January 19th 1810 GMT

I stopped on the way home to catch Venus and Mars and used a DSLR with the same settings as recent shots.

 

January 19th 1305 GMT


Although it was mostly cloudy, there were gaps and I was able to see sunspots for the first time for ages.


January 18th 2040 GMT


It finally cleared but I was quite busy, so I took a few zenith shots and some darks, ready to process. I used ISO 800 30 seconds exposure and 18mm focal length.
 
 

January 18th 0720 GMT

 
It was well into dawn but Jupiter was still visible. I took some quick shots of the Moon and Jupiter before setting off for work.

I caught the Moon using my normal method and was quite pleased with the (camera-only) result. There was too much shake in the shots with Venus.

November 15th 1305 GMT

On an otherwise cloudy day, I caught the Sun through a partial gap. However, I did not see any sunspots. 

November 14th 0935 GMT


The Sun was low but I managed to get a clear disc with signs of limb darkening through the thin cloud. There were no sunspots, though.

November 11th 1800 GMT

I took another shot of Venus and Mars at 70mm and 2 seconds exposure. Conditions were much worse than the previous shot and it took a lot of processing to remove the glare of Venus and catch some background stars.
 
 

January 5th 1805 GMT

There was some haze around, especially to the south and west. Venus seemed to be getting even closer to Mars. I kept the same camera focal length and settings as two days before, hoping to do a composite picture sometime later.

I also took some shots of the Moon with my usual settings.

 

Finally, I could not resist a peek at the Pleiades (M45) and Hyades. They looked great and it was nice to see them again for the first time for what had seemed ages.

January 3rd 1750 GMT

With less than convincing weather forecast, I stopped off on the way home. I took some lunar shots with the DSLR at 300mm ISO 400 and 1/4000 second exposure.
 


Although the Moon was east of Mars, I could still get them and Venus in the same 70mm field of view.
 

January 2nd 1720 GMT

I took some shots of the Moon, Venus and Mars in the same 70mm field of view in my DSLR. The best result was with ISO 400 and 2 seconds exposure.
 
 

January 2nd 1640 GMT

I took some full disc shots of the Moon with the Mak and DSLR. I used ISO 400 and 1/500 second exposure. I stacked 44 frames in Microsoft ICE and finished off with GIMP.

 
 
 
I reduced the exposure to 1/4000 second to snap Venus but I could not get a sharp focus. On the other hand, at least my photo showed the phase.

 

January 2nd 1030 GMT

The first action of the year was a solar hydrogen alpha shoot. I saw and captured the first prominence for ages.
 







Saturday, December 3, 2016

December 2016


December 29th 1705 GMT

I bin scanned Venus. I could not estimate the phase but it seemed decidedly "egg-shaped".

Its published phase was 81%.

December 29th 1110 GMT

The Sun looked quiet again in hydrogen alpha light but, as the day before, took some full disc and close-up shots.







December 28th 1445 GMT

A solar bin scan did not reveal any sunspots, even though the sky was clear.

December 28th 1100 GMT

Finally, some proper clear daytime sky! The Sun was very quiet, though, and no amount of etalon tuning, detuning and retuning could bring out any noticeable detail. I took some full disc and close-up shots.
 

 
 
 

December 26th 1300 GMT

It was more clear later in the day, so I took some full disc and close-up shots.
 


December 26th 0950 GMT

It was hazy but I checked the Sun in hydrogen alpha light with my PST. I could not see anything visually, I took some full disc shots but there was not enough light to do any close-ups.
 
 

December 22nd 1120 GMT

 Finally some clear sky! Despite reports of sunspots being seen the day before, I could not see any in my binoculars.

December 14th 1305 GMT

I bin scanned the Sun. It was hazy but clear enough to see limb darkening. I did not see any sunspots, though.

December 12th 1830 GMT

I caught a small gap in the clouds to take a few frames of the Moon at 300mm focal length, ISO 400 and 1/4000 second exposure. The focus was a bit out.
 
 

December 11th 0930 GMT

To be honest, had I seen more of the Sun mid-week, I'd have given it a miss. I managed just one shot in hydrogen alpha light that worked.
 
 

December 7th 1310 GMT

I bin scanned the Sun under hazy conditions and did not see any sunspots, even there were still some on the Big Bear images.

December 4th 1130 GMT

I bin scanned the Sun and saw a smaller sunspot that I hadn't seen in my PST. It was due to the additional aperture of my 70mm binoculars.
 
 

December 4th 1110 GMT

I checked the Sun with my PST. Apart from two sunspots, I could see no surface detail and no prominences. I took a few full disc and close-up shots but could not find the sunspots on the images. I planned to return outside to catch the sunspots in white light.
 
The first shot was composed of a single frame.
 

I had enough shots to try stacking the bottom left quadrant but the stack looked more like an egg! Oh well, single shot again.


Better with a single frame again.


... and again.


 

December 3rd 1820 GMT

I caught the Moon and Venus close together in the west and took a series of shots.
 
The first was a deliberately-overexposed shot of eight seconds to catch some background stars.
 

The second shot was a more "regulation" lunar shot composed of 3 frames.



I deliberately WAY over-exposed the Moon using 1/100 second exposure to catch the dark side.


OK, could do better!!

December 1st 1305 GMT

The weather forecast had originally been cloudy but it was clear when I saw the sunspots that were about to rotate off and (finally!) a new one.