Author Archives: Andrew Thornett

Observing Log Streethay 19/5/2018 @ 22:00 -20/5/2018 @ 03:30

Damian and I spent a memorable evening outside last night. Not the best of skies. However with the help of his Tec 140 on his Nova Hitch and my Sky Watcher Equinox Pro 120mm on my HEQ5 Pro Synscan mount, we observed a wide range of objects including Moon, the Eastern Veil Nebula and Witches Broom part of the Veil (both of those required an OIII filter or UHC to view well & were virtually invisible without such a filter), Ring Nebula, multiple other planetary nebula, globular clusters galore, Jupiter (the tracking Synscan HEQ5 Pro really helped here allowing me to get Jupiter in the field of view and keep it there at 600x magnification – 6mm Ethos + 2 x Tele Vue Big Barlow + 2 x Tele Vue 1.25 inch Barlow! – where we saw a wealth of detail on the planetary belts, open clusters and a lot beside.

I “upgraded” to Sky Safari Pro 6 planetarium software on my iPad a few months ago when there was half price deal and it turns out that it is very difficult in this new version to e-mail our observations to myself so that I can upload them to this blog unless they are set up on the software correctly first under an observing list which I did not do last night – plus the software keeps crashing on me whilst I try to get them off the machine – my old iPad is the problem here. So, I will downgrade my version of Sky Safari software on my iPad back to version 4 or 5 which worked well on this iPad and where observations were easy to get off the machine. Thankfully, although I could not buy those older versions now, it turns out they are still available in the iTunes store under “My Purchases” as I previously purchased them… they are both downloading now!


Solar observing in Streethay

Whilst the sun shone in Windsor for the royal wedding, it also shone here in Lichfield! Damian and I set up our telescopes with Daystar Quack (sorry meant to say QUARK – I think it was the automatic text correction on my Samsung!) Hydrogen Filters to capture three magnificent prominence on the edge of the solar disc – at approx 3 o’clock, 6 o’clock and 9 o’clock on the disc (location not time viewing feld of view as clock face) in our scopes with diagonals.

I used my Sky Watcher 80mm Equinox Pro and 8-24  zoom eyepiece on Manfrotto tripod. Damian used his Takahashi with 40mm, 32mm or 25mm Televue Plossls on Nova Hitch mount. The Tak has longer focal length than the Sky Watcher so it was appropriate to use longer focal length eyepieces.

Andy & Damian

The photos below were taken at approx. 14:50 (time BST) today through my Sky Watcher 80mm Equinox Pro on Manfrotto mount with my Samsung S7 smartphone camera hand held to eyepiece.

Prominence at ca. 3 o’clock on clock face of field of view:


Prominence at 6 o’clock:

Prominence at 9 o’clock:

The following is taken using Samsung through Damian’s Takahashi on Novohitch mount at 15:34. It shows evolution of the 9 o’clock prominence:

The following shows evolution of the 3 o’clock prominence so that it shows three rather than previous two projections up from solar surface. Also through Damian scope:

And the next picture a solar filament on the solar surface – although it is faint and difficult to pick out, again in the Takahashi:

Part of the solar disc seen through Quark Calcium-H filter in the Takahashi – not much detail but difficult to judge because these are apparently good with sun spots but we don’t have any to look at today!

The following image taken with Samsung S7 phone through my 80mm Equinox at 16:20 with 8mm eyepiece on Quark of the 9 o’clock prominence when seeing deteriorated for a while. First version is without processing and second some processing to bring out contrast using curves:

The next images were taken about 16:25 of the 2 o’clock prominence. Damian thought it had 4 projections now – the camera in both cases has only just caught the fourth faint one between one on right and two on left – just goes to show that the human eye can integrate over time and sometimes pick up detail that cameras might find difficult to see. Later, Damian took a hand held photo within his iPhone when seeing picked up and it did indeed show four projections!

Through 80mm Equinox when seeing improved – four projections now visible:

Through Takahashi:

Back to the Takahashi again but now using 25mm eyepiece to show more detail on the 9 o’clock prominence:

A great afternoon’s observing!

Observing Forecast

Observing Forecasts for our area


Rosliston Forestry Centre: