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

 

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

Installing new solargraphs at LRO

Damian kindly delivered two new solargraphs yesterday and I installed these in my garden in Lichfield (LRO). Good job he gave me instructions to check the aperture after hammering in the stake – in one of them the paper turned around and covered the hole (hole looked white) so I had to take off top and move paper around again and re-tape it.

Andy

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