Damian

Observing Log 26/5/2018, LRO, Lichfield, UK

Observing Log 26/5/2018, LRO, Lichfield, UK, Andy and Damian.

Damian came around to my house and he demonstrated that the iPad Air 2 that he owns works with my older SkyFi wireless box on my Synscan EQ 6 mount – important as I need to upgrade my very old iPad and have been considering what is the best option to replace it. Earlier today, I had great difficulty getting my Windows 10 laptop to link to it, ruling out the option of a windows-based tablet.

The sky is quite bright tonight with a virtually full moon. For a bank holiday Saturday, the main A38 is quite noise at this time of night – unexpected. Also, it is very windy. Thunder predicted later in the night. On the positive side, Damian is having a whale of a time playing around with his laptop controlling the mount whilst I write this!

ISS (ZARYA), Satellite in Ophiuchus,26 May 2018, 23:22:36, Just watched the ISS rise over my house and brighten greatly as it rises higher until it was a spectacular sight near culmination and then slowly fade as it moved to the east.

Bode’s Nebulae – Messier 81, Spiral Galaxy in Ursa Major,26 May 2018, 23:43:23, Took two attempts at alignment to get scope working well tonight. This is often the case. I have read online that it may be due to backlash when the user must fiddle back and for with the controls to centralise alignment stars, causing errors to creep in. Second time lucky today! M81 proved that alignment had been successful by appearing in the centre of the field of view. It only appeared as faint smudge with brighter nucleus – and looked smaller compared to our usual view, again demonstrating the poor sky. Currently, we are using my Explore Scientific 14mm 100-degree field of view eyepiece.

Hercules Cluster – Messier 13, Globular Cluster in Hercules,26 May 2018, 23:49:41, Top left of view of field so not quite spot on re GOTO but is putting objects in field of view of 14mm eyepiece tonight.

Whirlpool Galaxy – Messier 51, Spiral Galaxy in Canes Venatici,26 May 2018, 23:50: 39, which means that the fact that we could not see this pair galaxies demonstrates again the poor sky quality as we would expect to see it with this scope from this location.

Messier 92, Globular Cluster in Hercules,26 May 2018, 23:51:35, Seen but difficult to resolve stars similar to limitations in our view of M13 – I think sky is not transparent even though can’t see the cloud easily.

Ring Nebula – Messier 57, Planetary Nebula in Lyra,26 May 2018, 23:52:44, Better view but higher in sky. clear Outside app suggested 68-90% cloud by midnight – not that from here but still there is something obscuring view, suggesting the app has identified correctly deteriorating sky conditions.

Double Double – Epsilon1 Lyrae, Double Star in Lyra,26 May 2018, 23:54:44, With 14mm eyepiece we can just about split each of pairs.

NGC 6229, Globular Cluster in Hercules,26 May 2018, 23:57:31, Visible without too much difficult. Mag 9+ so surprising we can see it but prob as high up. This is a globular that we rarely look at – in fact, I can’t remember seeing it before. Not a bad one – recommend folks add it to their observing lists!

Kuma – Nu1 Draconis, Star in Draco,26 May 2018, 23:59:52, Lovely bright easily split double – to me looked like white and yellow/white stars, about same brightness.

Cat’s Eye Nebula – NGC 6543, Planetary Nebula in Draco,27 May 2018, 00:01:04, In Draco too, easily seen as out of focus star.

17 Draconis, Double Star in Draco,27 May 2018, 00:02:55, To me this double star looks like blue white and yellow white pair.

100 Herculis, Double Star in Hercules,27 May 2018, 00:04:03, A little known and little seen double star pairing, Sky Safari says – but we saw it tonight!

Omicron Herculis, Variable Double Star in Hercules,27 May 2018, 00:05:39, I could not split this even with 6mm Ethos, but it did not appear round but oval suggesting the double. These are 0.1 arc seconds apart, so we were asking too much of the scope in this sky to see this.

Nu Herculis, Variable Double Star in Hercules,27 May 2018, 00:10:55, Could not split this either – 0.5 secs.

(With all these double stars, we feel like we are following IN Nick’s footsteps!)

b Herculis, Double Star in Hercules,27 May 2018, 00:12:50, Can’t split this either tonight – 1.4 arc seconds.

Mu Herculis, Double Star in Hercules,27 May 2018, 00:15:31, these stars are 35 arc seconds apart according to Sky Safari app in the iPad. To me, the second one is much fainter than the primary component – easily seen pairing.

Sarin – Delta Herculis, Double Star in Hercules,27 May 2018, 00:20:26, Strange that we could not see this double star at all, even after checking the alignment of the mount to ensure that we were pointing at the correct location in the sky. Possibly the reason we can’t see it is that the sky is deteriorating. It is starting to feel like rain soon and the sky has a varying tint across it which suggests high moisture content and formation cloud. We will try to view M13 again. That will be a good test of sky conditions….

Out last object we viewed tonight: Hercules Cluster – Messier 13, Globular Cluster in Hercules,27 May 2018, 00:23:20, We could just about resolve some stars but not a great view. Time to pack up.

Andy

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!)

 

Observing Log Streethay 19/5/2018 @ 22:00 -20/5/2018 @ 03:30

Damian and I spent a memorable evening outside last night. Not the best of skies. However with the help of his Tec 140 on his Nova Hitch and my Sky Watcher Equinox Pro 120mm on my HEQ5 Pro Synscan mount, we observed a wide range of objects including Moon, the Eastern Veil Nebula and Witches Broom part of the Veil (both of those required an OIII filter or UHC to view well & were virtually invisible without such a filter), Ring Nebula, multiple other planetary nebula, globular clusters galore, Jupiter (the tracking Synscan HEQ5 Pro really helped here allowing me to get Jupiter in the field of view and keep it there at 600x magnification – 6mm Ethos + 2 x Tele Vue Big Barlow + 2 x Tele Vue 1.25 inch Barlow! – where we saw a wealth of detail on the planetary belts, open clusters and a lot beside.

I “upgraded” to Sky Safari Pro 6 planetarium software on my iPad a few months ago when there was half price deal and it turns out that it is very difficult in this new version to e-mail our observations to myself so that I can upload them to this blog unless they are set up on the software correctly first under an observing list which I did not do last night – plus the software keeps crashing on me whilst I try to get them off the machine – my old iPad is the problem here. So, I will downgrade my version of Sky Safari software on my iPad back to version 4 or 5 which worked well on this iPad and where observations were easy to get off the machine. Thankfully, although I could not buy those older versions now, it turns out they are still available in the iTunes store under “My Purchases” as I previously purchased them…..so they are both downloading now!

Andy

Solar observing in Streethay

Whilst the sun shone in Windsor for the royal wedding, it also shone here in Lichfield! Damian and I set up our telescopes with Daystar Quack (sorry meant to say QUARK – I think it was the automatic text correction on my Samsung!) Hydrogen Filters to capture three magnificent prominence on the edge of the solar disc – at approx 3 o’clock, 6 o’clock and 9 o’clock on the disc (location not time viewing feld of view as clock face) in our scopes with diagonals.

I used my Sky Watcher 80mm Equinox Pro and 8-24  zoom eyepiece on Manfrotto tripod. Damian used his Takahashi with 40mm, 32mm or 25mm Televue Plossls on Nova Hitch mount. The Tak has longer focal length than the Sky Watcher so it was appropriate to use longer focal length eyepieces.

Andy & Damian

The photos below were taken at approx. 14:50 (time BST) today through my Sky Watcher 80mm Equinox Pro on Manfrotto mount with my Samsung S7 smartphone camera hand held to eyepiece.

Prominence at ca. 3 o’clock on clock face of field of view:

     

Prominence at 6 o’clock:

Prominence at 9 o’clock:

The following is taken using Samsung through Damian’s Takahashi on Novohitch mount at 15:34. It shows evolution of the 9 o’clock prominence:

The following shows evolution of the 3 o’clock prominence so that it shows three rather than previous two projections up from solar surface. Also through Damian scope:

And the next picture a solar filament on the solar surface – although it is faint and difficult to pick out, again in the Takahashi:

Part of the solar disc seen through Quark Calcium-H filter in the Takahashi – not much detail but difficult to judge because these are apparently good with sun spots but we don’t have any to look at today!

The following image taken with Samsung S7 phone through my 80mm Equinox at 16:20 with 8mm eyepiece on Quark of the 9 o’clock prominence when seeing deteriorated for a while. First version is without processing and second some processing to bring out contrast using curves:

The next images were taken about 16:25 of the 2 o’clock prominence. Damian thought it had 4 projections now – the camera in both cases has only just caught the fourth faint one between one on right and two on left – just goes to show that the human eye can integrate over time and sometimes pick up detail that cameras might find difficult to see. Later, Damian took a hand held photo within his iPhone when seeing picked up and it did indeed show four projections!

Through 80mm Equinox when seeing improved – four projections now visible:

Through Takahashi:

Back to the Takahashi again but now using 25mm eyepiece to show more detail on the 9 o’clock prominence:

A great afternoon’s observing!

Observing and… ‘Observatories’…

Firstly, two moon shots (on successive), mornings no less…

Wed 9th May @ 4.46am, looking out of the bedroom window.

Nikon D3 and Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII

ISO200, 1/30sec, f/4. Processed in Adobe Lightroom CC and Photoshop CC 2017

…and again on Thu 10th May 4.55am, looking out of the bedroom window – caught a very lucky break in almost solid clouds!

Nikon D3 and Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII

ISO200, 1/50sec, f/4. Processed in Adobe Lightroom CC and Photoshop CC 2017

Photographing future auction ‘lots’ at work, I came across these Lilliput Lane ornaments…

This is a replica of The Great Equatorial, part of Flamsteed House. Originally commissioned in 1857 by the then Astronomer Royal, Sir George Biddell, it forms part of The Old Royal Observatory at Greenwich.

The Observatory dates from 1675 when it was commissioned by King Charles 2nd.

And… The Old Royal Observatory, Greenwich, London. Released to celebrate the Millennium.

So another of my ‘something a bit different’ threads!

Happy Observing!

Damian

Moon and Venus… The ‘Evening Star’…

Took this picture of the Moon and Venus (the Evening Star) on the 19th April, around 8.47pm.

Nikon D3 and Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 looking out of my office window.

ISO200, 70mm, f/3.2 @ 1/125 sec.

The star between the two (enlarge the pic!), is Aldebaran in  The Hyades (Taurus). You can just make out a small amount of ‘Earthshine’ on the moon as well.

And photographing ‘lots’ at work… I came across this Hornby locomotive in a set of three…

Steam locomotive and tender, British Railways, 9F class 2-10-0 No 92220 “Evening Star”, designed by R.A.Riddles, built at Swindon in 1960, withdrawn in 1965.

Historically significant as the 999th British Rail (BR) Standard, and indeed the last steam locomotive to be built by BR, Evening Star was scheduled for preservation from the moment she was built in 1960.

Evening Star was the only locomotive to be named in the ‘BR’ days and the only 9F to be painted in BR’s express passenger service livery of lined green. The name Evening Star was chosen following a competition held by the BR Western Region Staff Magazine. There were three winners, who all suggested Evening Star – a fitting name given that one of the first locomotives to run on the Great Western Railway was named Morning Star.

Evening Star had an extremely short life span for a steam locomotive and was unexpectedly withdrawn from service in 1965. The locomotive was claimed for the National Collection in 1975.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BR_Standard_Class_9F_92220_Evening_Star

 

Damian

Solargraphs, from Summer>Winter 2017

Just started to refurbish last years units ready for the coming solstice… soon comes around, hey!

Hope to have some ready for purchase at the next RAG (month end) meeting….

Now I don’t have a scanner (via work!), I popped in to see Andy last evening to get the outstanding ones scanned and so sorted.

Good fun to try different process techniques (I use Photoshop, but as Andy showed earlier using GIMP (free), it’s very much ‘Science – meets – Art’ !

 

So Andy’s – 2 versions…

 

My father in laws (from Barton Under Needwood)…

 

and lastly my sister’s (also from Barton Under Needwood – she has just moved, so her next will be a different view)…

 

Damian