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…

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

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

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