Astrophotography – solar system

Perseids-ish – Apologies photos now added!

First an apology – for some reason the system wouldn’t let me upload any pictures, I thought I just gave up, but it’s published the post anyway!

My weekend went a bit pear-shaped so I ended up trying to get some Perseid images last night. I only saw one, and my very last shot of the night picked up a very faint one heading straight from the radiant near the double cluster, please excuse the awful coma, on 10th.

Persied 2018
Persied 2018

This appears to be an ion trail from a meteor that sneaked through between shorter exposures on the 14th

Having much more luck with the Graves Radar setup, thanks to Peter hill for his inspirational talk which encouraged me to take the plunge!

I ahven’t been as sophisticated in my counting of events – my brain isn’t up to checking several thousand screen gabs, so yes there are multiple counts in there as well missed counts from meteors arriving before the previous one finished, space debris and the ISS on multiple occasions.  My assumption is that all these errors are effectively random and don’t affect the overall profile significantly.

These are my hourly counts, all peaking about 6:00am – UTC/GMT.

This is the average of the above graph, easier to see the overall daily pattern:

And all the data in a row, to show how the peaks rise and fall:


All data as a single series
All data as a single series


And an example of some detections:


Star over Sorrento

Like the famous Biblical Star over Bethlehem, this star shone over Sorrento, Italy, as the family and i went for a walk after our evening meal (three courses – lasagne, octopus on bed of maize, fruit and tiramisu – sounds strange combination but was delicious).

The star is of course Benus, at its brightness very near 50% phase.


Sunday Observing / Imaging (05/08/18)

Started the day hoping to catch the latest sunspot  only to find once I’d set everything up it had disappeared, along with any filaments and prominences, absolutely nothing, even scanning the disc in the PST with the Hyperion zoom set on 8mm, nothing!

Come the evening I’d set up the 9.25″ Celestron SCT on HEQ5 pro under the carport to get a view south, by 9:30 pm Venus was very low in the Western sky and Jupiter was visible above my neighbours roof top, visually all 4 moons were visible and the major cloud bands were visible on Jupiter, imaging was a different story very wobbly, whether image was in focus or not was a bit hit and miss, even using the electric control on the feather touch focuser, using the ADC made some difference but not a lot. I captured an avi of 1000 frames using Celestron neximage5 camera the best 500 were stacked using Autostakkert and tweaked brightness, contrast RGB alignment and wavelets in Registax6 with a final tweak in Photoshop CS6. Really not worth the effort.










As Jupiter passed out of view Saturn was nicely placed , visually OK, Cassini divison clearly visible but imaging wise very hard work, same process as for Jupiter.






Just past midnight Mars came into view, very low, visually could make out S. polar cap and hint of some markings, poor atmospherics and the recent dust storm don’t help, a complete contrast to 2015 when it was a lot higher and major features like Syrtis major were clearly visible. Imaging , helped to enhance the dark light areas, processed as above Checking helped to identify features visible at time of observation.

The Day of the Trifid (and Mars!)

Another superficially nice night, but the Mars seeing was pretty poor, and I got clouded out quite rapidly.

Before looking at Mars I had a go at M20, the Trifid nebula, in Sagittarius. This was pretty low at about 11 degrees elevation for a dim DSO, necessitating a fair amount of processing to get anything reasonable.

Mars was like a wobbly jelly. This time I tried a X3 barlow. The ADC is clearly doing its stuff, but it won’t compensate for poor seeing! The Hellas basin was obvious visually – easy to mistake for the S. polar cap!- and Syrtis Major was just about in view.

Mars from the window-sill 30/07/2018

Here is another stab at Mars from the window-sill.

This time the configuration is with an Altair ADC between the X3 barlow and the camera. The extra spacing involved turns the X3 into X5-ish.

I had to “wring its neck” processing-wise to see any detail, but of course you have to bear in mind that it is only a lowly ST-80 through the double glazing!

Still, I fancy that some of the detail is real if you compare it to the Stellarium snapshot, and also with the splendid images here

All the images are rotated to put the S pole at the bottom.

Must get out more!