Astrophotography – solar system

Photos from penumbral lunar eclipse 10/1/2020, Lichfield, UK

A penumbral lunar eclipse occurs when the Sun, Earth, and the Moon are imperfectly aligned. When this happens, the Earth blocks some of the Sun’s light from directly reaching the Moon’s surface and covers all or part of the Moon with the outer part of its shadow, also known as the penumbra.

Last night, such an eclipse was visible from the UK.

Below are 2 photos taken at around maximum eclipse @ 19:10 and 19:25 on 10/1/2020.

Sony A58 DSLR camera with 300mm lens, single frames.




Hale-Bopp, the last Great Comet

On the subject of heavenly portents,staring at the wall near my computer, I noticed that I had a mounted picture of Hale-Bopp, the last “Great Comet” that I took on 26/03/1997. This was the pre-digital photography age, at least as far as I was concerned! I noted it was a 60 second exposure at f/1.8 on 400 ASA film. We could do so much better these days! So, I took the picture down and scanned it. Here it is:

Now after a bit of GIMPery to reduce the star trails and the light pollution (it was all low-pressure sodium lighting in those days), we get this:

And here it is with a bit of detail processing:

Wonder when we will get another comet as good as this one?

Mercury in the morning

Couldn’t sleep.

Compensation was clear skies at dawn from the window-sill.

Sony DSC-HX60

Inset with 80mm f/5 refractor + X2 barlow + PD camera,

A bit later-


Now had chance to look at the image sequence I took to investigate the “fake” Arcturus.

Here is one acquired 2 minutes earlier with Mercury still clear of the trees (and with a slightly different exposure)  that I have left uncropped to show the “real” Arcturus. No sign of the fake one!