Author Archives: Damian

Noctilucent clouds over Streethay

Yes, the same ones Andy has also posted!

Woke up, looked out the bedroom (back) window… could see them bright as anything. Shot round to the front and grabbed camera. Couldn’t get the angle from my office window. Tried Julie’s office window (also on the front), but no joy… Headed downstairs in dressing gown and into back garden. Pulled wheelie bin out (for small tripod) but still no joy! Opened side gate and plonked tripod on car roof and started taking pictures…. rang Andy’s mobile – no joy, rang house number…. got a pretty vacant “…..heeellloooo…”. I think my curt response went something like…” Andy, it’s me, you need to get your arse outside, Noctilucent clouds..!”

This is a 1 second exposure @ f/2.8. ISO 200, 48mm focal length was shot at 3.30am on Friday morning 6th July 2018

My trusty old full frame Nikon D3 on a small travel tripod, itself sitting on my car roof.

Damian

Off the iPhone6…

Noctilucent Clouds from Steethay!

Sunday 24th June.

Observed around 11.10pm looking North (out of my front office window) – North North West (so just to the right (East) of the earlier solar pillar.

jpegs straight from camera, no processing. Taken between 11.20 – 11.40pm

Really tricky to stop the street light flare hitting the lens…

Nikon D3 (full frame) and Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 lens.

All ISO 200, f/2.8, 70mm focal length and between 2-3 second exposures.

Towards the end of this run I could not see the NCL’s as they had grown too faint.

For orientation: the same picture above, but with annotations


 

Damian

Solar Pillar – Sunday 24th June 2018

Three jpegs straight out of the camera.

Nikon D7000 (APS-C/DX) Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 VRII + 1.4x TC

ISO 100, 1/160 sec, f/5, focal length 100mm (150mm in 35mm terms)

9.47pm

 

ISO 100, 1/100 sec, f/5, focal length 100mm (150mm in 35mm terms)

9.56pm

 

ISO 100, 1/50 sec, f/5, focal length 100mm (150mm in 35mm terms)

10.05pm

 

Damian

Solar Observing and Evening Treats!

Sunday 24th June, a chance to get out and do some solar observing – can’t leave it all to Nick and Roger after all !

I double checked my usual sites to see what was happening on the sun, they suggested enough to warrant pulling all the gear out.

http://halpha.nso.edu (GONG)

http://www.spaceweather.com

https://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov

Credit: SOHO (NASA/ESA)

 

Credit: SDO/HMI

 

Invited the big ‘A’ to join me, he duly did after 2.15 as we set up the gear.

Forecast on ‘Clear Outside’ app was correct, indicating 90+% high cloud cover…

This did have a detrimental effect on the observing to some degree, especially in my longer focal length scope, but you have to take the opportunities when they present themselves!

We both took the chance to do some sketching and it was good to see that Andy’s Calcium Quark actually worked – an “enhance white light” view, being my description.

Copyright: GONG/NSO/AURA/NSF.

We were more than pleased with our day as Andy packed up after 5, me not long after…

But the day wasn’t finished…

Looked out my North facing front office window to be greeted with a Solar Pillar – about 9.30pm.

Took a quick snap with the iPhone, then rang Andy. He seemed a bit perplexed at first for my call and a ‘Light Pillar’, but I urged him to go outside, then put the phone down pretty abruptly and went to grab a ‘proper’ camera.

iPhone image 9.34pm:

And again at 10.07pm

Even later into the evening, I spotted roughly in the same position what I thought could be noctilucent clouds… never seen them before.

Having left my tripod at work, I quickly grabbed the GorillaPod and took a 3 sec exposure – ‘NCL’ confirmed !

Texted Andy… no reply…

Those images will appear in a new thread!

 

Damian

 

Solargraph in operation…

Got a few Solargraphs loaded last light (Wednesday 20th June), just in time for today’s Summer Solstice.

Attached mine to it’s usual place on the back of the house (facing SSE), before heading off for an evening walk with two under my arm to deliver to Andy (he beat me to the blog entry – see below)!

Andy has one of the new style cans to try – donated by Ed who has a fine taste of coffee (Azeri / Lavazza – I also like this version). I did make the extra effort to drill a bigger hole in the can, then fix tin foil over it and then pin a fine hole through that. The only ‘issue’ with these cans is that I only get three sheets out of a big sheet of B&W photographic paper, whereas I get 6 when cutting for a standard baked bean can.

Good job as well that it was set up ready for this morning – today was pretty good and should have set a fine ‘upper limit’ on the paper for when we open the  can up and take a look after December 21st…

This morning, in action (around 8.15am) !

Damian

Crescent Moon 17th June 2018 @ 10.46pm

Thought this made a pretty picture – moon between branches of the front trees (slightly cloudy as well giving plenty of ‘glow’!)

Taken with my spare works camera, a Nikon D7000 (16.2 Mp on a cropped sensor), with my glass on the front:

Nikon 1.4x teleconverter and Nikon 70-200mm VRII f/2.8

Settings:

ISO 160, 1/30 sec, f/4, Focal length 280mm (420mm in 35mm full frame terms), hand-held.

RAW file processed twice in Adobe Lightroom for the background and then the lunar features. Composited in Adobe Photoshop CC 2017.

Damian

A Day’s Observing from Streethay 19/5/2018 – The Royal Wedding…

The ‘big day‘… and the weather couldn’t have been better… sunny for most of the day plus into the evening forecast (although there appeared to be a layer of high cloud).

There was great excitement in the Briden household to see what our guest would appear in… would it be a one or two piece, perhaps sandals… or a hat.. or come completely ill-prepared…

Look who came around to play, after arriving in her (motorised) carriage !

Yes, well ‘Meghan‘ is a bit shy after all… and these solar hoods/veils can be a right pain to get into!

And a pic of ‘her’ using her own scope and trying a different… veil…

Our solar panels had a cracking day also – generating over 24kWh.

To get into the spirit of things Julie appeared with flags…

What a fine specimen of a man is our ‘Harry‘… It was a first chance for him to use his updated home-made sun shield – now faced with white card to reflect some heat and so stop the main cardboard construction warping (the other face is covered with DC-fix black self adhesive felt – the same stuff that ‘Harry’ had lined his 10″ OO Dob some years ago…)

Although the seeing was not so good today, one has to make do when the opportunity arises… besides it didn’t spoil the generally good feel of the day… we even managed a celebratory glass of Pimms No.1 no less – I say, can’t get more British than that!

Following two images are taken hand held, iPhone6 to a 32mm TV Plossl, (Takahashi TSA102s, Daystar Quark Chromosphere, 2″ Baader UV/IR blocking filter inserted before the diagonal), running at 107x

…showing a fantastic set of ‘Newton’s (wedding) Rings‘ there!

This prominence can be seen on the GONG images at the 8 o’clock position…

Time: 2.16pm

Copyright: GONG/NSO/AURA/NSF.

..and later at 4.44pm

Copyright: GONG/NSO/AURA/NSF.

My sketches of the evolving prominences throughout the ‘big’ day…

After a great day, we retired for dinner, then set up again with changed attire…. ready for the…. ‘evening event‘!

What a beauty, hey! Just checking how he looks on the ole social media! Here featured in a RAG jacket, matching trousers and footwear by….

Lunar shot taken at 9.50pm, iPhone 6 hand held to the 21mm TV Ethos (TEC 140-ED APO refractor)

..and another slightly later at 10.05pm (not so zoomed in) – those damn paparazzi, hey….

Had a chance to do some drawing…. managed quick sketches of both the Western and Eastern (Bridal) Veil portions. Seeing and transparencey was not good and my intended target, Jupiter, was just not great tonight to bother with…

Managed to just pick out the Crescent Nebula in Cygnus (only via my 2″ Lumicon OIII and UHC filters), but I’ve seen it through the same scope much clearer on a previous occasion.

Most tricky observation came early on in the evening after following Andy… sorry ‘Meghan’ to M81/M82… came across ‘Coddington Nebula’ in the same vicinity – IC2574, a spiral galaxy in Ursa Major, running at Mag 10.4. Took averted vision, patience and the superb Sky Safari Pro 5 charts (able to reverse the chart as well which really helps to double check everything). Discovered by Edwin Coddington in 1898 and classified first as a ‘nebula’.

Best observation was the ISS flypast just after half 12. Was able to use the laser pointer attached to the Nova Hitch mount to track it sufficiently well for brief periods to see the Space Station as clear as day through the eyepiece as it whizzed passed the ‘adoring throngs‘!

So to wrap up this post, a few pictures of the ‘Happy Couple‘ in the garden at Briden Palace!

Sweet…

…off on ‘honeymoon’ to RAG this Friday!

Damian (and Andy!)