Andrew Thornett

Observing in Lichfield 6-7/7/2018

This entry is more a statement to say we are both still active and interested than a detailed account as we only went outside to observe for about an hour 23:45 on 6/7/2918 to 00:45 on 7/7/2018.

Damian and I observed from my garden in Lichfield using my Orion ten inch Dobsinian with 14 mm Explote Scjrntific eyepiece.

We had good views of: Ring Nebula, Dumbell Nebula, M13, and Saturn, the latter enhanced using my 6mm Ethis eyepiece to give higher magnification.

On a Saturn we could see hints of bands, a shadow of the ring on the planet and the Cassini Division.

Andy and Damian

Noctilucent clouds galore!

Ean Ean and I viewed an amazing display of noctilucent clouds which was seen best out of our bedroom window (I feel like Roger although I did have window open) in the centre of Lichfield today at 3:30am. The pictures below were taken with either my Samsung S7 phone or Sony A350 DSLR. It was morning twilight and getting quite bright sky in the west just before sunrise with Belt of Venus visible.the clouds extended from approx. 15-60 degrees altitude – over massive area from almost direct north to nearly direct west.

I need to thank Damian who called Ean Ean and myself to make us aware of this incredible display and allowed us to see our first good noctilucent clouds.

Incredibly exciting!

Andy






Butterflies in Lichfield

On Friday evening after RAG, members of the astronomy group were invited to walk down to the Moth Group’s moth-observing area further in the forestry centre. It’s fantastic when scientific groups can share information and experiences. They showed us many beautiful moths but they did not have any examples of this intimate pair which Damian, Ean Ean and I saw on Saturday evening on a walk in Lichfield (the day after RAG) – these two are Six Spotted Burnet moths and were visible in broad daylight – I had not known that was possible until the moth folks told us that some moths were active in the day, and indeed Six-Spotted Burnets are one such species.

Andy

The following information comes from https://butterfly-conservation.org/1034-1540/six-spot-burnet.html

Six-Spotted Burnet Moths. Scientific name: Zygaena filipendulae

June – August. All over Britain, mainly coastal in Scotland. Medium-sized black moth with six red, occasionally yellow, spots. Frequents flowery grassland, woodland rides and sandhills.

The only British burnet moth with six red spots on each forewing, although care must be taken with identification, as in some cases the outermost spots can be fused. Rarely the red colour is replaced by yellow.

Flies with a usually slow buzzing flight during sunshine and is attracted to a range of flowers including thistles, knapweeds and scabious.

Size and Family

  • Family – Burnets and Foresters (Zygaenids)
  • Medium Sized

Conservation status

  • UK BAP: Not listed
  • Common

Particular Caterpillar Food Plants

Common Bird’s-foot Trefoil, but also occasionally on Greater Bird’s-foot Trefoil.

Distribution

  • Countries – England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland
  • The commonest and most widely distributed burnet moth in the UK. Well distributed in England, Wales and Ireland, becoming more coastal in Scotland and found on the Outer Hebrides. Also found on the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.

Habitat

Frequents flowery grasslands, including downland, cliff-edges, woodland rides, roadside verges and sand-dunes

Possible noctilucent clouds Whittington 28/6/2018

I think I may have seen noctilicent clouds on my way home from working at Robert Peel Hospital tonight. As I was driving towards Whittington, I saw this display of almost fluorescent blue shown on the photo below. Is this noctilucent clouds? Let me know what you think. Photo taken at 23:45 British Summer Time. Roughly 52 degrees North latitude. UK.

Andy

Moon, Jupiter and Venus over Lichfield, and unsuccessful attempts to observe noctilucent clouds 25-27/6/2018

Damian and I went out to see if we could observe some noctilucent cloud displays 25th and 26th and I went alone 27th June. In all cases no success but we did see Jupiter and Venus and a nearly full Moon.

Andy

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Belt of Venus from Lichfield

Whilst waiting to see if noctilucent clouds appeared I captured this photo of the Belt of Venus.

The Belt of Venus, Venus’s Girdle, or antitwilight arch is an atmospheric phenomenon visible shortly before sunrise or after sunset, during civil twilight, when a pinkish glow extending roughly 10–20° above the horizon surrounds the observer. The planet Venus, when visible, is typically located in the Belt of Venus.

In the photo below from Lichfield tonight, the pink of the Belt of Venus can be seen across the tops of the trees. Venus itself can be seen peaking above the trees on the left.

Andy