Solar images from Lichfield Part II

Since I came back to post previous photos taken about 50-60 mins ago, a new prominence has appeared on the leading solar limb – show below: Samsung S7 phone/Celestron NexYZ phone adapter/Tele Vue 8-24mm eyepiece set at 24mm/Sky Watcher 80mm Equinox Pro 80mm telescope/Manfrotto mount.

The following photos are all of same prominence and show some change in its structure over even few seconds to couple minutes.


Solar images from Lichfield 23/2/2019

Solar Photographs using Samsung S7 Phone in Celestron NexYZ smartphone holder on Tele Vue 8-24mm eyepiece (24mm setting) on Sky Watcher DayStar Quark Hydrogen Alpha eyepiece on Manfrotto mount.

Chance to try out the NexYZ on solar imaging. Could not get it to work with Tele Vue 32mm Plossl for some reason but worked with 8-24mm Tele Vue zoom eyepiece on 24mm setting.

Detail of edge of Sun shown in photos below – no major prominences today according to GONG ( The fuzz on edge of Sun is real – it represents prominence activity all around the Sun – the photos are not out of focus.


Images show well that edge of Sun is not a sharp edge but a fuzz of small prominence activity:

Following image repeated 3x – no major prominences today but this one shows a very faint prominence which is not easily seen in first image but more obvious in next two where I have emphasised it with some processing in GIMP2 software:



Before the “Snow Moon” got going.

21/2/19 Swadlincote C6r on Neq6 mount.

A short session before the Moon glow got going. This time it was the “snow Moon”, big bright and silvery as SWMBO pointed out .

Very surprised to get a lovely unfiltered view of NGC 2440, a bright +9.3 planetary Nebula in Puppis. Discovered by Herschel , it bears the hottest central white dwarf. Continuing with obscure a lucky view pulled out by averted vision of 15 Hydrae . The B companion giving a 1.2″ split with two further faint companions. Staying in Hydra and a great view of M48.
Two further challenges in Gemini , Σ1037 and Σ1081. Looking at the Trapezium , the E star was quite obvious , but no sign of the F . Probably as Orion rested on the town lights. We’ve got led streetlights, the glow is pretty fierce , but doesn’t give that horrible orange glow. Just a few clusters worth observing ,M46, M47 , M50 and the compact NGC 2420.

From here a six inch aperture (f8)gives equivalent views to my 8″ Newtonian (f6) , but with increased contrast and more defined diffraction discs on bright stars and planetary views. The seeing and transparency of the atmosphere dominate , but it is possible to get down to below one arc second separation. It’s quite surprising to get so much detail from simple equipment . The Eq6 holds the 11.5kg ota weight of the six inch refractor, with a carrying capacity of 25kgs , there’s room for more !

Lovely early session under ,
Clear skies ! Nick.

Photographs of Moon 22/2/2019 – Meade Lightbridge 16″ Dobsonian Telescope, Samsung S7 Phone hand held, Lichfield

During my observing session last night, I took some photos of the Moon using my Samsung S7 phone hand held at the eyepiece through my Meade Lightbridge 16″ Dobsonian Telescope. I used my 6mm Ethos eyepiece. Photos underwent some small amount processing in GIMP2 using curves, de-speckle, noise reduction tool, and in some cases unsharp mask.

See also notes on my observing session with Sue, Chris and Rhys last night:

Observing Log 21-22/2/2019; Lichfield; Andrew & Rhys Thornett, Sue & Chris


Observing Log 21-22/2/2019; Lichfield; Andrew & Rhys Thornett, Sue & Chris

Observing Log 21-22/2/2019


Andrew & Rhys Thornett, Sue & Chris

See also photos of the Moon taken during this session:

Photographs of Moon 22/2/2019 – Meade Lightbridge 16″ Dobsonian Telescope, Samsung S7 Phone hand held, Lichfield

Orion Nebula, M 42, NGC 1976, LBN 974, Meade Lightbridge 16 inch with 20mm ES and UHC. Filter helps to improve view significantly. Tonight with Sue and Chris, new comers to astronomy, and my son Rhys Looks green in UHC, reflecting oxygen content.

Moon,301, A great chance to describe the formation. Craters on moon, impact vs. volcanic features, ghost craters, formation of mares.

M 35, NGC 2168, Next stop to show Sue and Chris an open cluster and explain this is what would have happened to our sun before it separated from its siblings.

Pinwheel Cluster, M 36, NGC 1960,Another open cluster for the duo to observe and admire. Lots of oos and arrs.

Bode’s Nebulae, Cigar Galaxy, Ursa Major A,M 82,NGC 3034,UGC 5322,PGC 28655,MCG 12-10-11,CGCG 333-8,Arp 337,IRAS 09517+6954, Chris managed to see this – well done to him he got averted vision the first time I told him how to use this technique.

Bode’s Nebulae, M 81,NGC 3031,UGC 5318,PGC 28630,MCG 12-10-10,CGCG 333-7,IRAS 09514+6918,2MASS 09553318+6903549, Sue had difficulty with the previous galaxy but was able to see this one. Well done to her – many folks can’t see galaxies first time they look through a telescope. Sue and Chris were awed by the idea that these galaxies were 12 million light years away and so the light we see left them 12 million years ago. The two galaxies were both nearly in Dobson’s hole – right nuisance for trying to get them in centre of eyepiece!

It is now 22:57 and my guests and Rhys have gone leaving me alone with the sixteen inch beastie and a rising virtually full Moon.

Whirlpool Galaxy, Lord Rosse’s Nebula, Question Mark, M 51,NGC 5194,UGC 8493,PGC 47404,MCG 8-25-12,CGCG 246-8,Arp 85,VV 403, Not much more than the condescend central nuclei of the two cores and very faint surrounding haze to see tonight.

M 108,NGC 3556,UGC 6225,PGC 34030,MCG 9-18-98,CGCG 267-48,CGCG 268-1,IRAS 11085+5556,Just seen VERY faint.

Owl Nebula, M 97,NGC 3587,ARO 25,PK 148+57.1,PN G148.4+57.0,VV 59,Not able to observe even after I added in UHC filter. However very humid tonight, with condensation over all equipment and sky not particularly clear plus bright Moon.

M 109,NGC 3992,UGC 6937,PGC 37617,MCG 9-20-44,CGCG 269-23,IRAS 11550+5339,IRAS 11549+5339,Failed to observe this.

Double Cluster, h Persei, NGC 869,C 14,The view with 20mm ES through the 16” not as awe inspiring as in the 10” Dobsonian in the past due to lack of contrast between object and background – the 16 inch has collected more of the background goo which is a shame – still the Double Cluster is a pretty sight.

Although background sky glow is amplified by large mirror, so is detail in objects and I can clearly see difference between denser Milky Way star clouds in this region and less dense areas reflecting what is seem on Sky Safari.

IC 1805, The Heart Nebula is in a less dense area of the Milky Way and this leads to a darker background and I found that I dropped quickly onto the central brightest knot in this brighter core of the Heart Nebula.

NGC 896,IC 1795,LBN 645,I also could find without difficulty the brightest part of this area of the Heart Nebula as well. Note only the brightest bit of each of these two regions was visible and other parts of the Heart and Soul Nebula were not visible tonight.

M 103, NGC 581, A smudge in the 20mm eyepiece.

Tr 1, Could not find/see this.

NGC 663, C 10, Several bright stars in easily identifiable pattern within cluster made this easy to spot tonight.

NGC 659, Got it eventually due to the brighter identifiable stars but for a usually easily found cluster it was more than usually difficult to observe tonight – not sure if this was due to light pollution or from bright Moonlight.

NGC 654, Faint smudge around bright ster – seen.

IC 1747, ARO 91,PK 130+01.1,PN G130.2+01.3,VV 7,I am very pleased with my observation of this magnitude 13 planetary nebula. It just goes to show that highly condensed objects can show through light pollution even if relatively dim. This one was just seen as a mildly out of focus star with 14 mm explore scientific eyepiece. When I increased the magnification using my 6 mm ethos eyepiece, the out of focus star became an obvious planetary nebula, although relatively faint. I could see it by direct vision. No filter was used for this observation. Another first tonight is that this is now the first note that I have written using the dictation feature in iPad/Sky Safari. It works well!

NGC 609,Could not see this….not surprising…11tn magnitude and no bright stars.

NGC 559, C 8, I thought I had found this but – no – on checking it with higher magnification eyepieces it turned out only to be some stars but no cluster. I’ve never seen this object before so I don’t exactly know what it looks like. I only have the picture that was shown on Sky Safari. That’s the thing with this Star hopping – I find that I don’t always find the objects that I’m looking for but I guess that’s part of the fun – it’s like fishing really.

Owl Cluster, Dragonfly Cluster, Kachina Doll Cluster, ET Cluster, NGC 457,C 13,Really not impressive tonight perhaps due humidity/big scope/observation really near top trees/moonlight?.

Moon, 301, I finished off by going back to the Moon and admiring the detail of craters using the 6mm Ethos. I was able to see vertical grooves in the central peak of one particular crater. In another crater, the detail in the peripheral walls was amazing but the centre of the crater was totally flat suggesting that was previously filled by a lava flow. Both of these and others were visible along the edge of the moon. I took some photographs of some of these craters using my Samsung S7 smart phone, hand held at the eyepiece. Not the best photographs in the world but good memories of tonight. I’ve enjoyed the evening even though the quality of the sky is poor. Even now, I can count only around 20 or so bright stars with my naked eye in the sky and I’m not able to see any faint stars without optical aid. However, there is something amazing about getting outside with my telescope. I find it peaceful, although I wish the noise of cars would go away in the middle of the night! It is also wonderful to have had a chance to introduce some new people to our hobby and to the wonders of the night sky. I’m sure that John Dobson would’ve been proud of me tonight!

Packed away now at 00:45. For the first time tonight, I’m going to leave my telescope outside until the morning. I’ll pack the rest of the stuff away but I think it will be safer to put the 16 inch way in the morning when the Sun is up and I can see what I’m doing. It rolls on casters but it does weigh 100 kg so if it were to fall over there’s nothing I can do to stop it.

It is also possible that the forecast for tomorrow might change in which case we could end up with another clear evening. Having the telescope already set up outside would then be helpful.


Mercury this evening from the garden 21/02/2019

A couple more shots of Mercury from this evening.The first is a wide-field view with Mercury in the bottom RH corner and Nailstone Parish church also in shot. The second is a closer view through the trees. This is a very favourable apparition  for Mercury. Get out there and spot it! Lots of people have never seen the planet – – – -!