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2009-02-07


Location: Woodland Waters (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2009-02-07 21:00 UT
To: 2009-02-07 23:34 UT
Equipment: Canon EOS 400D
Naked Eye
Notes:

Joined John at Woodland Waters for an observing session. Forecast suggested the night could go either so decided to take a chance. I decided not to bother taking a 'scope, assuming that cloud would be turning up. Instead I packed binoculars and my Canon EOS 400D.

This was never going to be a real observing session, more a case of standing in a field, chatting, and looking at stuff when it was available. I left home with clear skies and reached the site to find lots of scattered cloud so packing light turned out to be a good plan.

Random Moon shots

From: 2009-02-07 21:15 UT
To: 2009-02-07 21:30 UT

While standing around and chatting, during the gaps in the cloud, I took a number of hand-held shots of the Moon with my EOS 400D and the its 200mm Tamron lens. Nothing fancy but they turned out okay. Here's an example:

Moon

Clouded Out

From: 2009-02-07 21:41 UT
To: 2009-02-07 22:24 UT

The cloud got worse and by about 21:41 UT we were totally clouded out. This lasted until around 22:24 UT when it started to break up again.

Saturn

From: 2009-02-07 22:25 UT
To: 2009-02-07 22:30 UT

By 22:25 UT some reasonable gaps had started to appear in the cloud and John turned his 'scope on Saturn. I had a look and was immediately struck by how much the rings at closed up since the last view I had almost exactly a year ago. There was a hint of mottling on the disc of the planet but it was difficult to make out much in the way of detail due to cloud coming and going.

Titan was easily visible.

Meteor

Time: 2009-02-07 22:33 UT

While waiting for Saturn to appear from behind the clouds again I was looking in the general direction of Leo and saw a short but bright meteor head roughly west to east just below the constellation.

More Saturn

From: 2009-02-07 22:36 UT
To: 2009-02-07 22:50 UT

Cloud cleared again so back to Saturn.

John noticed what he thought was another moon or perhaps a background star near Titan. I had a look and confirmed that there was a pretty faint object in the position he'd mentioned. I made a simple sketch in my notebook with a view to checking what it was when I got home.

Checking later it would appear that the object we saw was Rhea.

John next spotted another, even fainter, object. This time around half way between Titan and Saturn's rings. Again I looked and managed to confirm the object in the position he'd been looking in. Again, I made a note on the simple sketch in my notebook so I could check what it was later.

Checking later it would appear that we'd seen either Dione or Enceladus. Starry Night suggests that Dione would have been the brighter of the two so I'm assuming that that's what we saw.

The other thing I noticed while observing Saturn, and John confirmed it, was that one side of the rings (the "right" side as seen via the view at that time in John's refractor, the opposite side to the side where Titan was) looked like they were detached from the planet's disk whereas the other side looked like they were attached. Despite the rings being very closed up now it seems that the planet's shadow on the rings was still very obvious.

Later checking confirms that this is where the shadow should have been.

Some photography

From: 2009-02-07 23:00 UT
To: 2009-02-07 23:30 UT

Did a bit of general skyscape/landscape photography, taking in Orion (including picking out M42).

End of Session

Time: 2009-02-07 23:34 UT

Even though the sky had cleared by now the Moon was whiting out the sky and, given that we'd seen most of what was worth seeing tonight, we decided to call and end to the session and pack up.


2008-11-22


Location: Woodland Waters (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2008-11-22 20:20 UT
To: 2008-11-22 23:50 UT
Equipment: Antares 905
Lomo Lubitel 166B
Notes:

Joined John at Woodland Waters for an observing session. Very crisp, cold and clear night, started with some cloud around but the forecast was for it to clear.

I brought my Antares 905.

Waiting for cloud to clear

From: 2008-11-22 20:20 UT
To: 2008-11-22 21:06 UT

When we first arrived at Woodland Waters the sky was partly covered with thin cloud. In the clear patches it was obvious that it was a good night because, even as soon as I'd turned up, and with no dark adaption having happened, I could clearly see the Milky Way.

I set the Antares 905 up and left it to cool down while we waited for the sky to clear. It took around 45 minutes but, eventually, it turned into a really nice evening.

Started a star trail of Auriga

Time: 2008-11-22 21:13 UT

Once the sky had cleared nicely I set the Lomo Lubitel 166B up on a tripod and pointed it in the general direction of Auriga. It was loaded with Fuji Provia 100F (120 roll film), the aperture was set to f8.

NGC 1528

From: 2008-11-22 21:15 UT
To: 2008-11-22 21:40 UT

While I was setting up the Lubitel John had, while looking for something else, stumbled on what appeared to be an open cluster in Perseus. Using the 32mm eyepiece located it with my 905. Checking the position on a chart we worked out that it was NGC 1528.

The view was very nice. A small and tight collection of stars that stood out really well against the background. Next I switched to the 6mm eyepiece but the view was nowhere near as impressive, I suspect I was pushing the 905 past its limit in this case. Next I switched over to the 15mm eyepiece and the view was much better. The overall impression I got was that the shape of the cluster was something like a very wide arrow head.

Finished the star trail of Auriga

Time: 2008-11-22 21:45 UT

Stopped the star trail I'd started earlier. Here's the resulting image:

Auriga Star Trail

Started a star trail of Gemini

Time: 2008-11-22 21:49 UT

Started a new star trail with the Lomo Lubitel 166B, this time trying to capture Gemini rising above some trees. Fuji Provia 100F with an aperture of f8.

Very bright meteor

Time: 2008-11-22 21:59 UT

John saw a very bright meteor head roughly from the general direction of Ursa Major, head between Cygnus and the zenith, and head towards the horizon. Sadly I wasn't looking at the sky at the time. However, I did happen to be looking towards the ground and at exactly the same moment he shouted it out I saw a very brief flash on the ground.

Looking for the Eskimo Nebula

From: 2008-11-22 22:10 UT
To: 2008-11-22 22:30 UT

Decided to see if we could locate NGC 2392, also known as the Eskimo Nebula. I started with the 15mm eyepiece in the 905.

Got the 'scope pointing in the right place and, pretty soon, was wondering if I'd found it. Towards the end of a curved line of stars I could see a faint star that, with averted vision, appeared to be a little bit fuzzy. No other star in the area gave this impression.

I spent a little more time looking around the general area and couldn't find a better candidate. Going back to the area mentioned above I could still see the "fuzzy with averted vision" effect. However, I just couldn't be sure. Using higher power didn't help at all.

Checking later with a copy of Starry Night I can see that I didn't manage to locate the Eskimo Nebula. The "curved line" of stars that I'd been looking around comprised of TYC1372-1262-1, TYC1372-1306-1, HIP36307, 63 Geminorum and HIP36152.

Finished the star trail of Gemini

Time: 2008-11-22 22:35 UT

Stopped the star trail I'd started earlier. Here is the resulting image:

Gemini Star Trail

Started a star trail of Orion

Time: 2008-11-22 22:36 UT

Started a new star trail with the Lomo Lubitel 166B, this time trying to capture Orion. Fuji Provia 100F with an aperture of f8.

The Eskimo Nebula

From: 2008-11-22 22:40 UT
To: 2008-11-22 22:55 UT

While I'd been sorting out the previous star trail John had also been looking for the NGC 2392. He had found an object that, while small and star-like, also looked a little fuzzy even with direct vision. This object was, however, in a slightly different location to where I'd been looking (pretty much the same position overall, just off a little).

There was no question that what he'd found looked like a small planetary nebula so I made a very rough sketch of the nearby stars and the location of the object so I could check at home.

Checking later with a copy of Starry Night I can see that, without a doubt, we'd been looking at NGC 2392.

M42

From: 2008-11-22 23:00 UT
To: 2008-11-22 23:15 UT

Although I've observed it many times before I couldn't resist having another look at M42. First using the 6mm eyepiece in the 905 I was surprised at how much detail was visible. The dark lanes and "knotty" appearance in parts really stood out well. The trapezium could also be seen very clearly (probably the most clear view I've ever had of it). The slightly blue/green colour of the nebula was also very obvious.

Despite the fact that I wasn't using the better of my two 'scopes this was probably the best view yet that I've had of M42 and this probably says a lot about how good the air was.

Finished the star trail of Orion

Time: 2008-11-22 23:17 UT

Stopped the star trail I'd started earlier. Here is the resulting image:

Orion Star Trail

Increasing cloud and the end of the session

From: 2008-11-22 23:34 UT
To: 2008-11-22 23:50 UT

For some time we'd noticed cloud increasing from the west. By 23:34 UT it had started to cover a fair bit of the western sky and, by 23:50 UT it had reached the zenith. Given that it was obviously going to obscure the whole sky pretty soon we decided to call an end to the session and pack up.


2008-08-01


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2008-08-01 08:19 UT
To: 2008-08-01 10:05 UT
Equipment: Naked Eye
Solarscope
Temperature: 22.2C ...
Dew Point: 14.3C ...
Humidity: 61% ...
Wind Speed: 5.5mph ...
Wind Dir: South West ...
Pressure: 1005.3hPa ...
Notes:

Out to observe the partial solar eclipse (which was total in parts of Greenland, Russia and China). Weather was less than ideal. Some cloud around and very windy.

Partial Solar Eclipse

From: 2008-08-01 08:19 UT
To: 2008-08-01 10:05 UT

I set up the Solarscope before first contact (due some time around 08:30 UT). Things didn't get off to a good start when the wind blew the Solarscope off the table and, after I got it back on the table, the focus was totally messed up. I had to readjust the 'scope part to get it to work again.

While waiting for first contact I noted that no sunspots were visible on the Sun.

At 08:30 UT I got what I thought was the first hint of the Moon moving onto the Sun. Very quickly it became obvious that it was. By 08:31 UT I was also able to make out the Moon with the naked eye (via eclipse shades, obviously).

At 08:34 UT I noted that conditions weren't looking too good. In the short time since I'd set up the sky had gone from being more clear than cloudy to being more cloudy than clear.

Around 08:41 UT I took the following photographs:

Partial Solar Eclipse

Partial Solar Eclipse

At 08:49 UT a large cloud moved in and obscured my view of the Sun. At this point I took the opportunity to go into the office and find some small heavy objects which I then placed inside the Solarscope to weigh it down. This helped to keep it on the table in the increasing wind.

By 08:56 UT I had another reasonable view and noted that a good chunk of the Sun was now covered. The view lasted until around 09:03 UT and then cloud moved in again. I got a very brief view at 09:10 UT but got clouded out again.

Just after 09:14 UT I had a good clear spell and took some more photographs:

Partial Solar Eclipse

Partial Solar Eclipse

This was around the time of mid-eclipse.

I had a reasonable run of views of the Sun until 09:28 UT when more cloud moved in. A couple of very brief views came and went but, by 09:38 UT it was wall-to-wall cloud with no sign of any gaps heading my way. At 09:43 UT I decided to pack the Solarscope away seeing as how things weren't looking so good. However, I did keep an eye out for more clear weather and I kept the eclipse shades to hand just in case.

The sky cleared really well around 09:59 UT so I went back out with the eclipse shades to watch the end of the eclipse. I kept watching until, at 10:05 UT, I couldn't make out any sign of the Moon any more.

Not the best of views of a partial solar eclipse but better than the view I had back on 2006-03-29 and obviously far better than the eclipse on 2005-10-03.


2008-02-09


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2008-02-09 14:45 UT
To: 2008-02-09 14:50 UT
Equipment: Solarscope
Temperature: 11.1C ...
Dew Point: 6.4C ...
Humidity: 73% ...
Wind Speed: Calm ...
Pressure: 1026.8hPa ...
Notes:

Very clear day. I took the Solarscope out to do a quick sunspot count.

Sun

From: 2008-02-09 14:45 UT
To: 2008-02-09 14:50 UT

No spots or other marks visible on the Sun.

Location: Woodland Waters (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2008-02-09 19:55 UT
To: 2008-02-09 23:55 UT
Equipment: Antares 905
Lomo Lubitel 166B
Meade 10x50 Binoculars
Naked Eye
Notes:

Joined John and Kevin at Woodland Waters for an observing session. Not the best of nights, some thin cloud and contrails sticking around, also quite damp and a little hazy at times.

I brought my Antares 905 and John brought his Evostar 150.

Checking for Comet Holmes

From: 2008-02-09 20:10 UT
To: 2008-02-09 20:20 UT

I started out the session by seeing if comet Holmes was still visible to the naked eye. Given that the last time I saw it it appeared to be about the same brightness as the Double Cluster, and given that I could see the Double Cluster, I guessed I stood a chance of it was still of similar brightness to the last time.

After looking carefully for a couple of minutes I decided that it must be even fainter than the last time. I then grabbed my 10x50 binoculars and had a look in the general area around Algol and I pretty much saw it right away. Very faint and very diffuse. Only just brighter than the background sky. If I wasn't looking for it I probably wouldn't even have noticed it.

Started a Star Trail

Time: 2008-02-09 20:33 UT

I set the Lomo Lubitel 166B up on a tripod and started a star trail.

The camera was loaded with Ilford FP5+ 400 (120 roll film), the aperture was set to f8. Like the last time I tried this this was an experiment. This time I was interested to see what results I'd get with a faster film.

The camera was roughly pointed in the general direction of the Pleiades (M45) and the Hyades in Taurus.

Saturn

From: 2008-02-09 20:35 UT
To: 2008-02-09 20:45 UT

Had a brief view of Saturn via John's 'scope. Much like my last observation the view was very "soft" with no real detail visible. No shadow of the rings on the planet could be seen although, once again, I did get the impression that the rings were two separate and detached objects either side of the planet.

Titan was nicely visible.

Mars

From: 2008-02-09 20:47 UT
To: 2008-02-09 21:00 UT

Had a look at Mars via the 905 with the 6mm eyepiece and the 2x barlow. Just like always, I couldn't get any detail out of the planet. One thing I did notice though was that there was a definite hint of a gibbous phase. The planet did seem to be "taller" than it was "wide".

Stopped the Star Trail

Time: 2008-02-09 21:01 UT

Stopped the star tail I'd started earlier.

Taurus Star Trail

M1

From: 2008-02-09 21:15 UT
To: 2008-02-09 21:40 UT

Decided to have a look at M1 given that I'd not taken a look in over a year. With the 905 and the 25mm eyepiece it was very easy to find and, unlike previous observations, seemed to stand out really well. Despite the conditions during the evening (which were less than ideal) I'm pretty sure it was a better view than the one I once had via the 130M. Although it was the usual indistinct light patch it appeared to contrast with the background sky better than I'm sure I've seen it before.

M65 and M66

From: 2008-02-09 21:55 UT
To: 2008-02-09 22:05 UT

Had a look at M65 and M66 via John's 'scope and his 42mm eyepiece. Just two very faint patches of light, mostly needing averted vision to see them. It was impossible to make out any distinct shame or to say what their relative orientations were.

A break and a chat

From: 2008-02-09 22:10 UT
To: 2008-02-09 22:45 UT

Had a coffee and food break and a chat. Given that it was getting very cold and damp this was needed.

M95 and M96

From: 2008-02-09 22:50 UT
To: 2008-02-09 23:00 UT

Had a look at M95 and M96 via John's 'scope and his 42mm eyepiece. Just as with the previous view of M65 and M66 they appeared as two very faint patches of light, mostly needing averted vision to see them.

905 totally fogged up

Time: 2008-02-09 23:09 UT

I went to use the 905 and noticed that it was dripping with dew and that the main lens was totally fogged up. Decided to call it a night as far as the 905 was concerned.

Trying for the Eskimo Nebula

From: 2008-02-09 23:15 UT
To: 2008-02-09 23:35 UT

We spent some time using John's 'scope to try and locate the Eskimo Nebula but never managed to locate it. I made a note to check in some of my books and see how easy it should be to locate.

M3

From: 2008-02-09 23:40 UT
To: 2008-02-09 23:52 UT

Given that Canes Venatici was quite high up now we decided to have a look at M3 with John's 'scope. I first found it with my monocular to be sure of the location and then we got it in John's 'scope. With his 42mm eyepiece it was obvious that it was a globular cluster although no detail could be seen. Switching to his 15mm eyepiece we could see a hint of mottling in it giving the impression of a collection of starts without resolving any actual stars.

End of session

Time: 2008-02-09 23:55 UT

By 23:55 UT everything was terribly damp so we decided that it was time to call an end to the session.


2008-01-05


Location: Woodland Waters (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2008-01-05 20:00 UT
To: 2008-01-05 23:45 UT
Equipment: Antares 905
Lomo Lubitel 166B
Meade 10x50 Binoculars
Naked Eye
Notes:

Joined John Turner at Woodland Waters for an observing session. Dark and clear skies when we arrived. Also rather cold and windy.

I brought my Antares 905 and John brought his Evostar 150.

Mars

From: 2008-01-05 20:30 UT
To: 2008-01-05 21:10 UT

After a bit of time to get things set up we turned our telescopes on Mars. I first had a view, unfiltered, via John's Evostar. The image had quite a lot of fringing and was somewhat unsteady (probably partly due to the state of the atmosphere, but also down to the wind buffeting the 'scope). No detail could be seen. John then added a pale blue filter (#82A) and that improved things somewhat. While the image still seemed too bright it was then possible to see a hint of detail on the surface. At least two major darker areas were visible.

I then set up the 905 with the 6mm eyepiece and the 2x barlow. The planet presented a good sized disc although no surface detail was visible. The wind didn't help things either so periods of a steady image were few and far between. The view itself seemed pretty similar to previous views I've had via the 130M.

It seems that it's a struggle to get any detail out of Mars using either of my 'scopes.

I then tried the #21 Orange filter but that didn't make any noticeable difference.

I stuck with the planet a little more, waiting for steady moments, but never managed to get any hints of any detail via the 905.

Started a Star Trail

Time: 2008-01-05 21:15 UT

I set the Lomo Lubitel 166B up on a tripod and started a star trail.

This was nothing more than an experiment. The camera was loaded with Ilford FP4+ 125 (120 roll film), the aperture was set to f8 (the Lubitel is supposed to give sharper images when stopped down a little). While probably not the best setup (stopped down somewhat, slowish film) I was curious to see what would come out and I also wanted to finish the film (it already had 5 shots on it taken elsewhere).

The camera was roughly pointed at part of Ursa Major rising over some trees.

M42

From: 2008-01-05 21:20 UT
To: 2008-01-05 21:42 UT

Had a look at M42 using the 905 and the 32mm eyepiece. Noted that it was rather faint (almost to the point of not being visible) with direct vision but was easy enough to make out with averted vision. If the stars in the view were anything to go by the view was still very unsteady.

I then added the Neodymium filter and it appeared to make quite a difference. Probably the greatest difference I've seen it make so far. The background sky appeared darker and the nebula appeared to stand up to direct view a little more. With averted vision the view was obviously much better. Some actual "detail" was visible too.

Stopped the Star Trail

Time: 2008-01-05 21:43 UT

Stopped the star trail I'd started a little earlier. Here is the resulting image:

Ursa Major Star Trail

Started a Star Trail

Time: 2008-01-05 21:49 UT

I started a second star trail using the Lomo Lubitel 166B. Same as before: Ilford FP4+ 125 at f8.

The camera was roughly pointed at Leo rising from behind some trees.

Saturn

From: 2008-01-05 21:50 UT
To: 2008-01-05 22:10 UT

Took a look at Saturn with the 905 and 6mm eyepiece. Very soft/musy view. No detail visible at all. However, Saturn was still quite low down so that wouldn't have helped.

Noted that, especially when compared to my last view of it, the rings had closed up quite a bit.

The most interesting thing about the view was the way that the rings didn't appear to be "attached" to the planet. In other words, the rings appeared to be two objects, one either side of the planet, with a distinct gap between them and the planet. The view reminded me very much of some of the very early drawings of the planet that I've seen in books.

I added the 2x barlow but the view was very mushy to the point of being no good. That said, the "detached ring effect" was still there.

Possibly Comet Holmes

From: 2008-01-05 22:13 UT
To: 2008-01-05 22:24 UT

While stood looking at the Double Cluster with the naked eye I spotted something close by, near Algol, that appeared to be about the same size and of a similar brightness to it. Initially I was confused about what it was. I quickly grabbed my monocular and had a look and could see that it was a faint but noticeable misty patch. Given that I wasn't aware of any object in that location, and given that I couldn't find any such thing on my charts (not that I expected to — I'd have known about such an object if it were a "fixed" item in the sky), I suspected that it was comet Holmes.

This came as quite a surprise because I thought it had long faded from naked-eye view.

Stopped a Star Trail

Time: 2008-01-05 22:25 UT

Stopped the star trail I'd started a little earlier. Here is the resulting image:

Leo Star Trail

Back to Comet Holmes

From: 2008-01-05 22:27 UT
To: 2008-01-05 22:40 UT

Went back to looking at what I suspected was comet Holmes. This time I used the 905 and the 32mm eyepiece. There was something there, a faint brightening of the sky, but nothing distinct. I also had a look via John's Evostar with a 42mm eyepiece and the same thing could be seen: slightly indistinct brightening of the sky.

I then grabbed the 10x50 binoculars and had a look with them. Using averted vision the object looked very much like a comet so it seemed obvious that I really was looking at comet Holmes.

Since this observing session I've checked with a couple of charts that show Holme's position for that evening and it turns out that my suspicion was correct. I'm kind of surprised by this as I really didn't think that the comet would be a naked eye object any more.

Started a Star Trail

Time: 2008-01-05 22:42 UT

I started a third star trail using the Lomo Lubitel 166B. Same as before: Ilford FP4+ 125 at f8.

The camera was roughly pointed in the general direction of Cassiopeia.

M81 and M82

From: 2008-01-05 22:44 UT
To: 2008-01-05 22:55 UT

Had a brief view of M81 and M82 through John's Evostar via the 42mm eyepiece. Very impressive sight.

M81 looked very much like a (more or less) face-on galaxy. I couldn't make out any hint of any spiral structure, it looked more like an oval shaped misty patch with a bright and distinct concentration in the middle.

M82 was the most impressive of the two. It looked like a thin line and I could also see a hint of the dust lanes that it contains.

Back on Saturn

From: 2008-01-05 23:00 UT
To: 2008-01-05 23:13 UT

Now that it was higher in the sky I returned to Saturn with the 905 and 6mm eyepiece (with and without the 2x barlow). Still no detail of any kind visible although the image wasn't quite so soft this time. In both cases (with and without the barlow) I was still seeing the "detached ring effect".

Stopped a Star Trail

Time: 2008-01-05 23:14 UT

Stopped the star trail I'd started a little earlier. Here is the resulting image:

Cassiopeia Star Trail

Started a Star Trail

Time: 2008-01-05 23:18 UT

I started a fourth star trail using the Lomo Lubitel 166B. Same as before: Ilford FP4+ 125 at f8.

The camera was roughly pointed in the general direction of Orion.

Stopped a Star Trail

Time: 2008-01-05 23:45 UT

Stopped the star trail I'd started a little earlier. Here is the resulting image:

Orion Star Trail

End of Session

Time: 2008-01-05 23:46 UT

During the previous star trail exposure we started to pack up and we finally called an end to the session at 23:46 UT.


2007-05-19


Location: Woodland Waters (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2007-05-19 20:20 UT
To: 2007-05-19 23:41 UT
Equipment: Antares 905
Canon EOS 400D
Notes:

Joined John and Kevin at Woodland Waters for an observing session. The sky was still very light when we arrived, Venus and a crescent Moon hung over the western horizon. Some cloud scattered around but appearing to clear.

Giving Guests a Tour

From: 2007-05-19 20:40 UT
To: 2007-05-19 21:00 UT

A short while after we'd set the 'scopes up and left them to cool down we were joined by a young couple asking what we were looking at. We explained that we weren't looking at anything specific and asked them if they wanted to have a look through the 'scopes.

Over the next 20 minutes or so we gave them a tour of Venus, the Moon and Saturn. As usually happens Saturn seemed to go down a treat.

While showing them Saturn I noticed that the image wasn't too good this evening. It was possible to make out the planet's shadow on the rings but that was about all that could be seen. I couldn't make out the Cassini Division.

Venus was also a bit of a problem too. While it was possible to make out the phase (it was apparent that the phase was smaller than the last time I observed it) there was a lot of false colour (the contrast booster helped a little but not as much as it has in the past) and the image was very unsteady.

Another guest

From: 2007-05-19 21:01 UT
To: 2007-05-19 21:05 UT

Just after the first guests left we had another visit. This person didn't stay very long, just long enough to have a quick look at Saturn through Kevin's ETX125. That sight got a very obvious "wow!" (as it does with most people).

Photographing Venus and the Moon

From: 2007-05-19 21:10 UT
To: 2007-05-19 21:30 UT

I got the Canon EOS 400D out of the car, set it on the tripod, and took some wide angle views of Venus and the Moon together:

Venus and the Moon

Venus and the Moon

Venus, the Moon and Me

Stopping for Coffee

From: 2007-05-19 21:37 UT
To: 2007-05-19 21:47 UT

By 21:37 UT it was obvious that it was going to be a very damp observing session. I noticed that lots of dew was forming on everything. I covered up the log book and anything else that might suffer from getting wet and decided to stop for a short coffee break.

M51

From: 2007-05-19 21:47 UT
To: 2007-05-19 21:57 UT

John had got M51 in his 80mm 'scope and I had a look at it (I would have got it in the 905 too but it was in a position that I can't get that 'scope in to — it's not very good at pointing almost overhead). At first it was difficult to see but, slowly, a very faint ghostly patch came into view using averted vision. I was impressed that I could see anything given that the sky still wasn't anywhere near fully dark.

M57

From: 2007-05-19 22:00 UT
To: 2007-05-19 22:15 UT

Given that Lyra was at a reasonable hight I decided to see how M57 looked in the 905. I found it without too much trouble using the 25mm eyepiece (in that it simply looked like a slightly out-of-focus star) and I then switched to the 6mm eyepiece

With the 6mm it simply looked like a faint disc. There was no hint of the ring structure that I've seen before in the 130M.

Given that the sky still wasn't fully dark I decided to compare the view I had with the view using the Neodymium filter. It did appear to improve things slightly although I wouldn't have said that it brought out any more detail. While I wasn't really comparing like-for-like in terms of observing conditions I'm of the impression that this is an object better left to the 130M.

Antares 905 Fogging Up

Time: 2007-05-19 22:16 UT

By 22:16 UT I noticed that the 905 was starting to fog up. Because of this I decided to cover it up and see if it would clear.

M3

From: 2007-05-19 22:20 UT
To: 2007-05-19 22:30 UT

While the 905 was recovering I had a look at M3 thought Kevin's ETX125. For some reason I've never observed this cluster globular cluster before. I was surprised at how striking the view was.

Observing with a 15mm eyepiece, at first all I could see was a diffuse patch in the sky. As my eye adjusted, and especially when using averted vision, I started to see a mottled effect in the cluster and I soon had the first distinct impression that I was making out individual stars.

Jupiter via EXT125

From: 2007-05-19 23:10 UT
To: 2007-05-19 23:20 UT

After a short coffee break we noticed that Jupiter was visible between trees, low on the horizon. Kevin turned his ETX125 onto it and I spent a short while having a look. All four moons were visible, one to one side of the planet and three to the other side. The view, however, was terrible. It was impossible to make out any detail whatsoever on Jupiter. This wasn't really that surprising given that the planet was so low down and also given that we were observing it thought some thin (and apparently growing) cloud.

Jupiter via 905

From: 2007-05-19 23:23 UT
To: 2007-05-19 23:30 UT

I uncovered the 905 and turned that towards Jupiter. Using the 6mm eyepiece and the contrast booster the view was no better than it had been via the ETX125. I spent a short while just observing but the view never improved and I never saw any detail at all on the planet. At no point could I even make out the two main bands.

End of Session

Time: 2007-05-19 23:41 UT

Over the past hour or so more and more thin cloud had been forming over is and was starting to spread out more. By around 23:41 UT it was obvious that it wasn't going to get any better so we decided to call an end to the session.


2007-05-02


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2007-05-02 13:35 UT
To: 2007-05-02 13:45 UT
Equipment: Solarscope
Canon EOS 400D
Temperature: 14.1C ...
Dew Point: 7.8C ...
Humidity: 66% ...
Wind Speed: 5.8mph ...
Wind Dir: East North East ...
Pressure: 1016.5hPa ...
Notes:

Clear day. Also quite breezy. Took the Solarscope out to do a quick sunspot count.

Sun

From: 2007-05-02 13:35 UT
To: 2007-05-02 13:45 UT

The spot in active area 953 was still visible. Like yesterday there appeared to be three spots in total, one large and two much smaller ones, all sharing a common penumbra.

Using a pair of eclipse shades I could also see that the spot was visible to the naked eye.

I took the following photograph of my view of area 953 with my Canon EOS 400D

Active Area 953

Active area 954 was still visible with 2 small spots.


2007-05-01


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2007-05-01 13:10 UT
To: 2007-05-01 13:20 UT
Equipment: Solarscope
Canon EOS 400D
Temperature: 19.1C ...
Dew Point: 6.8C ...
Humidity: 45% ...
Wind Speed: 4.6mph ...
Wind Dir: East North East ...
Pressure: 1014.4hPa ...
Notes:

Very clear day. Also quite breezy. Took the Solarscope out to do a quick sunspot count.

Sun

From: 2007-05-01 13:10 UT
To: 2007-05-01 13:20 UT

The spot in active area 953 was still visible. Today there appeared to be three spots in total, one large and two much smaller ones, all sharing a common penumbra.

Using a pair of eclipse shades I could also see that the spot was visible to the naked eye.

I took the following photograph of my view of area 953 with my Canon EOS 400D

Active Area 953

Active area 954 was still visible but, unlike yesterday I could only see a single small spot.


2007-04-30


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2007-04-30 13:30 UT
To: 2007-04-30 13:40 UT
Equipment: Solarscope
Canon EOS 400D
Temperature: 15.5C ...
Dew Point: 6.2C ...
Humidity: 54% ...
Wind Speed: 1.3mph ...
Wind Dir: South East ...
Pressure: 1015.3hPa ...
Notes:

Very clear day. Also quite breezy. Took the Solarscope out to do a quick sunspot count.

Sun

From: 2007-04-30 13:30 UT
To: 2007-04-30 13:40 UT

The spot in active area 953 was still visible but I could see that, since yesterday, it had spit into two with a large umbra and a small umbra both sharing a common penumbra.

Using a pair of eclipse shades I could also see that the spot was visible to the naked eye.

I took the following photograph of my view of area 953 with my Canon EOS 400D

Active Area 953

I could also see new active area 954 which contained two very small spots.


2007-04-28


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2007-04-28 12:20 UT
To: 2007-04-28 12:30 UT
Equipment: Solarscope
Canon EOS 400D
Temperature: 17.5C ...
Dew Point: 9.3C ...
Humidity: 59% ...
Wind Speed: 2.0mph ...
Wind Dir: North East ...
Pressure: 1025.4hPa ...
Notes:

Very clear day. Took the Solarscope out to do a quick sunspot count.

Sun

From: 2007-04-28 12:20 UT
To: 2007-04-28 12:30 UT

The spot in active area 953 was still visible with a single and reasonably large spot. Like yesterday the umbra appeared quite dark and a large penumbra was visible too. I could also see what appeared to be an area of similar shade to the penumbra but separate from the spot.

Like yesterday I also took a photograph with my Canon EOS 400D:

Active Area 953


2007-04-27


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2007-04-27 13:15 UT
To: 2007-04-27 13:25 UT
Equipment: Solarscope
Canon EOS 400D
Temperature: 15.1C ...
Dew Point: 9.7C ...
Humidity: 70% ...
Wind Speed: 0.6mph ...
Wind Dir: East ...
Pressure: 1023.4hPa ...
Notes:

Mostly cloudy all morning but started to clear into the afternoon. Although it was still a little hazy I took the Solarscope out to do a quick sunspot count.

Sun

From: 2007-04-27 13:15 UT
To: 2007-04-27 13:25 UT

New active area 953 visible with a single and reasonably large spot (this is the first sunspot I've seen since 2007-03-03). The umbra appeared quite dark and a large penumbra was visible too.

Given how large the spot was I decided to try and take a photograph with my Canon EOS 400D:

Active Area 953

Location: Woodland Waters (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2007-04-27 19:55 UT
To: 2007-04-27 22:48 UT
Equipment: Antares 905
Notes:

A clear night had been forecast so John Turner and myself met up at Woodland Waters for a joint observing session. I took my Antares 905.

When we arrived the sky was mostly overcast with a lot of cirrus. It started to look like we'd abandon the session. However, it started to thin out a little so we decided to stick with it and see how it went on — it did look like it would be a shorter session though.

Venus

From: 2007-04-27 19:55 UT
To: 2007-04-27 20:15 UT

Started out with a view of Venus, even though the sky was still quite light. Using the 905 and the 6mm eyepiece the view wasn't too bad. There was some false colour and some unsteadiness at times but it was easy enough to make out the planet's phase (which had obviously changed since the last time I observed it).

I then added the contrast booster and, as I've found before, the image improved some more.

Giving a Tour of the Sky

From: 2007-04-27 20:16 UT
To: 2007-04-27 20:54 UT

Around 20:16 UT we were approached by two blokes who were part of a group of people camping in the field. They asked what was happening (apparently assuming that we were watching an "event" in the sky) and, after telling them that we were simply observing what was available, we asked if they'd like a look through the 'scopes. They said they'd love to.

Neither of them had looked thought a telescope before so between us John and I showed them Venus, Saturn and various views of the Moon. Both were impressed and, as normally happens, Saturn was the real winner with the most "wow" factor.

We also had a good chat about various things astronomical and how we'd got into observing in the first place. I also spent some time trying to explain to them what they'd been seeing when viewing Venus (the significance of Venus' phase wasn't clear to either of them and it took a little explaining).

Since getting into observing this was the first chance I've had to do this sort of thing. While it wasn't exactly sidewalk astronomy it was nice to give people a view though my 'scope and to answer some of their questions.

The Moon

From: 2007-04-27 21:35 UT
To: 2007-04-27 22:48 UT

After our two guests headed back off to their tent I had a sit down and a coffee break. By 21:35 UT it was obvious that the sky wasn't going to improve at all. There was still a fair bit of haze around and the Moon had a pretty impressive halo around it. There was no chance of any deep sky observing.

Trying to make the most of the evening I decided to do some observing of the Moon. With the 6mm eyepiece in the 905 I had a quick scan along the terminator and could see that the view appeared somewhat flat and muted.

Around 21:50 UT I concentrated on a large highlighted "wall" some distance into the Moon's shadow. Using my Moon map I quickly figured out that what I was seeing was the eastern wall of Gassendi.

I spent some more time just wandering up and down the terminator and then, at around 22:19 UT, I noticed a very strange thing right in the terminator near Delisle. What I was seeing was a perfect triangle, bright corners and obvious sides. It looked very artificial. Realising that I must be seeing some sort of optical effect I had a look at my map to try and figure out what I was really looking at.

To the west of Delisle are some mountains (unnamed on my map) which appears (according to my map) to have three peaks in a rough triangular formation. Given that the terminator was running right through these three peaks it would seem that my brain was "filling in the blanks" and joining the dots to make a triangle with actual sides. Even though I now knew what I was looking at I couldn't stop seeing what I'd initially seen.

I got John to also have a look too and he confirmed the effect.

Also, close to Delisle, I could see Mons Delisle as an inverted Y.

By 22:26 UT the sky was getting somewhat worse although the halo around the Moon was becoming more impressive. For a short while it had quite a lot of colour to it. It appeared yellowish in the inside (the part touching the Moon) and appeared to get redder out towards the edge.

Because of the deteriorating conditions I had another short break to see if things might improve again. However, they didn't and at 22:48 UT John and I decided to call it a night.


2007-04-18


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2007-04-18 12:55 UT
To: 2007-04-18 13:00 UT
Equipment: Solarscope
Temperature: 17.5C ...
Dew Point: 4.0C ...
Humidity: 41% ...
Wind Speed: 4.0mph ...
Wind Dir: North West ...
Pressure: 1022.8hPa ...
Notes:

Very clear day. Took the Solarscope out to do a quick sunspot count.

Sun

From: 2007-04-18 12:55 UT
To: 2007-04-18 13:00 UT

No spots or other marks visible on the Sun.

Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2007-04-18 20:15 UT
To: 2007-04-18 20:40 UT
Equipment: Canon EOS 400D
Temperature: 11.1C ...
Dew Point: 3.6C ...
Humidity: 60% ...
Wind Speed: Calm ...
Pressure: 1020.6hPa ...
Notes:

Saw earlier on in the day that the ISS would be making a good pass this evening so I decided to have a go at photographing it.

Leo, Saturn and the ISS

From: 2007-04-18 20:15 UT
To: 2007-04-18 20:40 UT

I went outside at around 20:15 UT and set the Canon EOS 400D on a tripod. I decided that the best place to photograph would be Leo. I took a couple of test shots and had a bit of trouble sorting out the focus but I more or less got it right in the end.

At around 20:30 UT (I wasn't making notes of exact times as I was too busy working with the camera) I saw the International Space Station slowly heading in from the west. A short while later, as it got close to Leo, I started the exposure. Annoyingly it's just a 30 second exposure because I'd forgot to put the camera on bulb (while I would have had time to do this I've also not used bulb mode with remote I use and wasn't sure how it works, rather than miss the pass I decided to go with 30 seconds).

As it was, despite the odd problem or two, the image seemed to turn out okay, it shows Leo, Saturn and the ISS:

Leo, Saturn and the ISS


2007-03-21


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2007-03-21 13:15 UT
To: 2007-03-21 13:20 UT
Equipment: Solarscope
Temperature: 7.9C ...
Dew Point: 0.1C ...
Humidity: 58% ...
Wind Speed: Calm ...
Pressure: 1017.3hPa ...
Notes:

Partly cloudy day. During a clear spell I took the Solarscope out to do a quick sunspot count.

Sun

From: 2007-03-21 13:15 UT
To: 2007-03-21 13:20 UT

No spots or other marks visible on the Sun.

Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2007-03-21 19:20 UT
To: 2007-03-21 19:30 UT
Equipment: Canon EOS 400D
Temperature: 4.5C ...
Dew Point: -1.6C ...
Humidity: 65% ...
Wind Speed: Calm ...
Pressure: 1016.7hPa ...
Notes:

The Moon and Venus were very close to each other in the western sky this evening so I decided to have a go at photograping them with my Canon EOS 400D.

Photographing the Moon and Venus

From: 2007-03-21 19:20 UT
To: 2007-03-21 19:30 UT

I went out with my Canon EOS 400D and set it up on a tripod and ran off a series of shots. Given how bright the Moon and Venus were I didn't need to use very long expopsures. Annoyingly I appear to have got the focus slightly wrong (I do find it tricky to manually focus the kit lens for astrophotography work

I took 12 images in all but the best of the bunch appears to be this one:

Moon and Venus

While it gives a reasonable idea of how the Moon and Venus looked it's nowhere near as crisp as it should be. I can see I need to work some more on manual focusing for astronomical photography.

Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2007-03-21 21:25 UT
To: 2007-03-21 22:07 UT
Equipment: Sky-Watcher Explorer 130M
Antares 905
Temperature: 1.6C ...
Dew Point: -3.2C ...
Humidity: 71% ...
Wind Speed: Calm ...
Pressure: 1016.6hPa ...
Notes:

Reasonably clear evening, slightly misty and looked like it might get a little foggy. Decided to take the 130M out for a quick test of a new 2x barlow that I'd purchased a couple of weeks ago at the 2007 Society for Popular Astronomy convention.

Testing new barlow against Saturn

From: 2007-03-21 21:25 UT
To: 2007-03-21 21:47 UT

I started out by getting Saturn lined up in the 130M using the 25mm eyepiece. I then switched to the 10mm eyepiece. The image wasn't too bad — a little unsteady and a little soft but it was possible to make out the shadow of the rings on the planet and also the shadow of the planet on the rings.

Next I added the Sky-Watcher supplied barlow lens and had a look at the image with that. As has always been the case I found it difficult to find good focus and the image was very soft to the point of being unusable. I then switched to the new barlow. Focus was a lot easier to find and, while the image wasn't fully crisp, it appeared to be a huge improvement over the Sky-Watcher barlow.

After comparing them a little more I came to the conclusion that the new barlow would, without a doubt, replace the old one in my lens box. It was a very obvious improvement.

I then tried the new barlow with the 6mm eyepiece. As I expected, the image was rather dull and rather soft but it was obviously much better than with the old barlow. I've seen worse views of Saturn at lower magnifications before now.

Testing With the 905

From: 2007-03-21 21:50 UT
To: 2007-03-21 22:07 UT

Having tested with the 130M I decided to give the new barlow lens a quick test when used in the 905. The main point of this test was to see how well it worked with the diagonal. The old barlow, which has quite a long barrel, didn't work too well as it tended to bang against the mirror. The new one is rather shorter and looked like it wouldn't suffer from this problem.

Got Saturn lined up in the 905 and then dropped the new barlow into the diagonal (and it was a perfect fit, didn't hit the mirror at all). Using the 10mm eyepiece Saturn looked pretty good. Again, it was a little soft (I suspect much of this was down to the state of the atmosphere this evening) but was very acceptable. I also tested with the 6mm eyepiece and, while the image was much darker and softer, it was still better than the worst views I've had in the 130M with the 10mm and the old barlow.

Under ideal conditions I imagine that this new barlow and either 'scope will make for a reasonable combination.

By 22:07 UT it was starting to get very misty and, to make matters worse, smoke from someone's fire was being blown over my garden so, having managed to conduct some quick tests, I decided to call it an evening.


2007-03-03


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2007-03-03 13:00 UT
To: 2007-03-03 13:05 UT
Equipment: Solarscope
Temperature: 11.1C ...
Dew Point: 5.8C ...
Humidity: 71% ...
Wind Speed: 3.3mph ...
Wind Dir: West ...
Pressure: 1003.9hPa ...
Notes:

Mostly clear day. Took the Solarscope out to do a quick sunspot count.

Sun

From: 2007-03-03 13:00 UT
To: 2007-03-03 13:05 UT

Active area 944 was still visible and looked more or less the same as it did yesterday.

Location: Woodland Waters (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2007-03-03 20:10 UT
To: 2007-03-04 01:12 UT
Equipment: Naked Eye
Antares 905
Meade 10x50 Binoculars
Notes:

Very clear and pretty cold night. Arranged to meet up with John Turner at Woodland Waters to observe the total lunar eclipse. I took along my Antares 905 and a pair of 10x50 binoculars and John brought his Sky-Watcher Explorer 130M mounted on an EQ5 mount.

Saturn

From: 2007-03-03 20:10 UT
To: 2007-03-03 20:50 UT

After setting up I started out with a brief look at Saturn (given that the umbral phase of the eclipse wouldn't be starting for a short while). The first thing I noticed was that seeing seemed to be very steady. The view of Saturn in the 905 with the 6mm eyepiece was nice and sharp.

The shadow of the rings on the planet seemed obvious and I kept getting a good hint of the Cassini Division. Titan was easily visible and, off to the other side of Saturn, closer than Titan, there appeared to be another moon visible. Checking with Starry Night I suspect it was Rhea.

Total Lunar Eclipse

From: 2007-03-03 21:00 UT
To: 2007-03-04 01:12 UT

Having observed Saturn for a while I turned to observing the lunar eclipse.

At 21:04 UT I had the impression that there was less visible contrast between the highland and lowland regions of the Moon. This was especially noticeable on the side of the Moon that was heading towards the Earth's umbra. By 21:24 UT this loss of contrast had become much more noticeable and there was obvious darkening of the part of the lunar surface that was deepest in the Earth's penumbra.

At 21:30 UT the umbral phase started and, very quickly, it was obvious where the umbra was. To the naked eye it looked like part of the Moon had gone missing. Via the 905 detail was still visible in the umbra, it looked like a very dark gray shadow.

I noticed that Tycho had been fully consumed by the shadow at around 21:48 UT. I noted at this point that the umbra seemed very dark (much darker than I remember it looking during last year's partial eclipse), dark gray to almost back looking in places. I also noted at this point that the sky was obviously getting darker and that my shadow was starting to fade.

Around this time I started to take a few afocal images, via the 905, with my mobile phone. Few turned out that well but the following is an example of one of the better ones:

Total Lunar Eclipse

By 22:05 UT we were about way towards totality and I was starting to notice a slight red/brown hint to the umbra. In the 905 the umbra showed no colour, still just a dark gray.

At 22:16 UT, via the 905 and with the 10mm eyepiece, I could see a star quite close to the Moon. This star hadn't been visible before so it seemed pretty clear that a lot of the Moon's glare had gone now. Checking with Starry Night it appears that it was 56Y Leonis (HIP53449, TYC261-384-1).

By 22:32 UT I was starting to see a hint of red/brown colour in the deepest part of the umbra when viewing via the 'scope. The redness was now very obvious to the naked eye. By this point it was looking like it was going to be a reasonably dark eclipse.

At 22:44 UT it was obvious that totality had begun. Although there was an obvious hint of redness to the Moon with the naked eye it wasn't that red. There was an obvious difference in brightness between the part of the Moon that was towards the edge of the umbra and the part that was deepest in the umbra. By now the sky was a lot darker — many more stars were visible, as were the more obvious deep sky objects such as the Double Cluster and M44. I could no longer see my own shadow and, unlike earlier in the evening, I now needed a light to be able to move around safely.

Mid totality was around 23:20 UT. On the Danjon scale I would estimate that the brightness of the eclipse was L2.

At 23:32 UT I observed a short and bright meteor head south of Auriga in the direction of Orion.

By 23:35 UT it was obvious that the brighter part of the shadow had "swung" around to the edge of the Moon that would exit the umbra.

By 23:58 UT the first bright patch was visible to the naked eye, totality had ended.

Around 00:09 UT I took a few more afocal shots of the Moon, via the 905, with my mobile phone. The best of the bunch is this one:

Total Lunar Eclipse

Around 00:17 UT it was obvious that the sky was starting to brighten again. M44 was still visible but much harder to see than it had been during totality. I could also see my own shadow again.

At 00:24 UT, with the Moon about way out of the umbra, some thin cloud started to move in front of the Moon. While it didn't put a stop to observing it was a cause for concern given that thicker could cloud be seen towards the west.

Around 00:36 UT I watched Tycho emerge from the umbra. Also, around this time, I noticed a star pretty close to the lit limb of the Moon (the limb that had already emerged from the umbra). By the looks of things it seemed like it might actually be occulted by the Moon before the Moon was clear of the umbra. I decided to stay at the eyepiece and see how long I could follow the star.

Later checking suggests that I was watching 59 Leonis (HIP53824, TYC268-1064-1). From my location this star would not be occulted by the Moon but would come very close. Western parts of the UK would see an occultation.

At 00:39 UT I noticed that the objective lens of the 905 was starting to badly mist up (this might have started happening some time ago but it was now very obvious due to the glare from the brightening Moon).

The star was still just visible at 00:49 UT, although I now struggling to see it in the glare of the Moon. I carried on watching it for as long as I could and I lost it, very close to the Moon's limb, at 01:01 UT. It appeared to have been occulted (but see the note above).

By 01:04 UT the sky was now very bright again, only the brightest of stars were visible and I could no longer see the naked-eye deep-sky objects I'd been able to see earlier. I could also now walk around without the aid of a torch without any danger of bumping into anything.

I started to pack up during the final moments of the Moon exiting umbra and, at 01:12 UT, I watched the Moon finally move out of the umbra. Now cold and tired we finished packing up and called it a night.


2007-02-01


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2007-02-01 14:00 UT
To: 2007-02-01 15:00 UT
Equipment: Solarscope
Canon EOS 400D
Temperature: 11.6C ...
Dew Point: 8.8C ...
Humidity: 83% ...
Wind Speed: Calm ...
Pressure: 1025.6hPa ...
Notes:

Mostly clear and still day but with some cirrus cloud about. I was about to take the Solarscope out to do a quick sunspot count when I noticed that a faint circumzenithal arc was visible.

Circumzenithal Arc and Sundog

From: 2007-02-01 14:00 UT
To: 2007-02-01 14:30 UT

The circumzenithal arc was rather faint, nowhere near as good or as obvious as the last one I saw. However, I went indoors and got my Canon EOS 400D and tried to take some images. The following image is the best of that bunch. The arc is hard to see, it's in the bottom half of the picture.

Circumzenithal Arc

I then noticed that there was a sundog to the right of the Sun. This was quite bright and had some colour to it.

Sundog to right of Sun

I watched the sundog for a short while as it started to fade. I also noticed that the arc had faded to the point that it was almost impossible to see.

Sun

From: 2007-02-01 14:35 UT
To: 2007-02-01 14:40 UT

Now that the display of the circumzenithal arc and sundog had faded I got the solarscope out and did a sunspot count.

Active area 940 was still visible. It still had 1 large spot (that now had an obvious penumbra) but I could also now count 6 small faint spots in a chain close to it.

New active area 941 was visible with 1 dark spot.

Circumzenithal Arc and Sundog Again

From: 2007-02-01 14:43 UT
To: 2007-02-01 15:00 UT

The circumzenithal arc was visible again, still faint, but noticeable. I had a go at taking some more photographs. Again, it's rather hard to see in the image:

Circumzenithal Arc

The following image is the previous one, heavily processed in an attempt to better bring out the arc:

Circumzenithal Arc

I then noticed that a sundog had formed to the left of the Sun. This one was also bright and had a fair bit of colour to it too:

Sundog to the left of Sun

I watched for a short while longer as the arc and the sundog came and went as the clouds moved and then finally returned to my office at around 15:00 UT.


2006-11-02


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-11-02 13:00 UT
To: 2006-11-02 13:05 UT
Equipment: Solarscope
Temperature: 8.6C ...
Dew Point: 2.3C ...
Humidity: 65% ...
Wind Speed: 0.4mph ...
Wind Dir: North ...
Pressure: 1031.8hPa ...
Notes:

Very clear, cool and breezy day. Took the Solarscope out to do a quick sunspot count.

Sun

From: 2006-11-02 13:00 UT
To: 2006-11-02 13:05 UT

Active area 921 appears to have developed even more when compared to yesterday. Today I counted 11 spots of varying sizes. The spot that I saw yesterday, that appeared to be developing a penumbra, now appeared to be two spots sharing a common penumbra.

Active area 922 appeared to have developed a little more and now contained 3 spots.

Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-11-02 19:30 UT
To: 2006-11-02 21:00 UT
Equipment: 10x50 Binoculars
Antares 905
Temperature: 3.6C ...
Dew Point: -0.1C ...
Humidity: 77% ...
Wind Speed: 1.5mph ...
Wind Dir: West North West ...
Pressure: 1032.1hPa ...
Notes:

Another clear night with an 82% waxing Moon. Despite the extra moonlight the sky actually seemed slightly better than last night. Decided to head out and have another look for comet Swan.

Tracking down comet M4 Swan

From: 2006-11-02 19:30 UT
To: 2006-11-02 19:37 UT

First I stepped outside with my 10x50 binoculars to see if I could find comet Swan. It took a minute or two of sweeping around the right area but I finally managed to find the comet. It was quite hard to see, just a small, faint fuzzy patch. When compared to M13 it looked to me like the comet and the cluster were equally hard to see and both about the same brightness.

Comet M4 Swan with the 905

From: 2006-11-02 19:40 UT
To: 2006-11-02 20:02 UT

At 19:40 UT I took the Antares 905 out into the garden to let it cool off for a short while.

At 19:52 UT I found the comet using the 32mm eyepiece. As with the view by the binocular the comet looked small, faint and fuzzy. I also found that it was almost impossible to see with direct vision. There was no sign of a tail.

I next switched to the 15mm eyepiece and the view didn't seem any different. It was just visible with averted vision but generally disappeared when using direct vision. I could no longer make out the central brightness that I could easily see a few nights back.

I switched to the 10mm eyepiece and the view seemed much better (but sill nowhere near as good as the previous views). The comet now withstood direct vision although averted vision still gave the best view. The best description was still that of a "faint fuzzy patch".

Finally I used the 6mm eyepiece. The view was pretty much the same as that via the 10mm. In all the different eyepieces there was no hint of the tail at all.

Given that conditions were far from ideal for the comet I decided to give up on observing it for this session and to take a short break.

Attempt at imaging the Moon

From: 2006-11-02 20:32 UT
To: 2006-11-02 21:00 UT

After the short break I decided to have a go at imaging the Moon, via the 905, using a little digital camera I'd recently purchased (an Olympus FE-115). I wasn't expecting anything spectacular but I was interested to see how well it might work using afocal projection.

I spent the next 25 minutes or so trying different combinations of settings on the camera and different eyepieces in the 905 and found that the 32mm eyepiece along with maximum optical zoom on the camera gave the best results. Sadly even these results weren't terribly good.

The main problem seems to be with the fact that the camera is auto-focus and it was failing to get useful focus on the Moon. I could see, as it was seeking focus, a nice sharp image and then disappear as it finally settled in the wrong place. Ideally it would have a setting that would force it to focus on infinity. To the best of my knowledge it has no such setting (I'll have to go and read the manual again to double check).

Sadly even the best image acquired is pretty terrible so there's little point in including any of them in this log.


2006-09-09


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-09-09 14:20 UT
To: 2006-09-09 14:25 UT
Equipment: Solarscope
Temperature: 21.6C ...
Dew Point: 10.7C ...
Humidity: 50% ...
Wind Speed: 5.2mph ...
Wind Dir: South East ...
Pressure: 1022.2hPa ...
Notes:

Pretty clear day, although a fair bit of thin cirrus cloud about. Took the Solarscope out to do a quick sunspot count.

Sun

From: 2006-09-09 14:20 UT
To: 2006-09-09 14:25 UT

Active areas 907 and 909 were both still visible with two small, faint spots each.

Active area 908 (the return of active area 904) was also still visible and appeared to look much the same as yesterday with a large umbra and a smaller umbra both sharing a common penumbra.

Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-09-09 16:25 UT
To: 2006-09-09 16:50 UT
Equipment: Naked Eye
Temperature: 20.9C ...
Dew Point: 13.3C ...
Humidity: 51% ...
Wind Speed: Calm ...
Pressure: 1018.2hPa ...
Notes:

Late on into the afternoon I noticed that a circumzenithal arc and a pair of sundogs had formed.

Circumzenithal Arc and Sundogs

From: 2006-09-09 16:25 UT
To: 2006-09-09 16:50 UT

While sat in the garden and admiring some cirrus cloud that was going over I noticed that a circumzenithal arc and a pair of sundogs had formed. I grabbed my small digital camera and took some images.

The circumzenithal arc:

Circumzenithal Arc

The circumzenithal arc, close up, and heavily processed in an attempt to bring the colours out more:

Circumzenithal Arc

The sundog to the left of the Sun:

Sundog

The sundog to the right of the Sun:

Sundog

I watched the display for almost half an hour, it was constantly changing as the cloud moved on.


2006-09-07


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-09-07 15:30 UT
To: 2006-09-07 15:35 UT
Equipment: Solarscope
Temperature: 19.3C ...
Dew Point: 8.3C ...
Humidity: 49% ...
Wind Speed: 4.9mph ...
Wind Dir: North East ...
Pressure: 1022.5hPa ...
Notes:

Quite a breezy and cloudy afternoon but during an extended gap I took the Solarscope out to do a quick sunspot count.

Sun

From: 2006-09-07 15:30 UT
To: 2006-09-07 15:35 UT

I could see three active areas (actually, I thought it was just two but later checked showed it to be three — two being rather close to each other). Active area 907 had two faint spots and, close by, active area 909 had three faint spots.

The spot in active area 908 (which is the return of active area 904) still looked pretty large, a penumbra was still visible. Also, the umbra appear to have a slight "tail" coming off one side of it.

Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-09-07 18:56 UT
To: 2006-09-07 19:44 UT
Equipment: Naked Eye
Meade 10x50 Binoculars
Temperature: 15.8C ...
Dew Point: 7.8C ...
Humidity: 59% ...
Wind Speed: 3.8mph ...
Wind Dir: North East ...
Pressure: 1025.1hPa ...
Notes:

A nice clear evening so a perfect chance to observe this evening's partial lunar eclipse. Given that the Moon wouldn't be visible from my garden so soon after it had risen I headed out to the east side of the village to get a clear eastern horizon.

Partial Lunar Eclipse

From: 2006-09-07 18:56 UT
To: 2006-09-07 19:44 UT

I got to my observing spot at just before 18:56 UT which meant that I managed to catch a view of the maximum phase. At this point I estimated that the Moon was around 1 above the horizon. The Moon had a nice visible "chunk" missing due to the umbra of the Earth's shadow. The umbra seemed very dark when compared to the rest of the surface of the Moon.

After a short while just viewing the eclipse I used a small digital camera to try and capture some shots. This was never going to work out that well as I hand-holding the camera and it's just a little "snapshot" device. Using full optical and digital zoom I did manage to get one image that more or less gives the impression of what the Moon looked like at the time (I finished taking these around 19:02 UT).

Partial Lunar Eclipse

Around 19:07 UT I used the 10x50 binoculars to have a better look, it was a very impressive view. The umbra still looked very dark when compared to the rest of the Moon and the features within the umbra were difficult, but not impossible, to make out. The rest of the Moon appeared to have a reddish colour although I assumed at the time that this was down to it still being quite low on the horizon.

By 19:22 UT I estimated that the Moon was about 2 above the horizon. In the 10x50 it was obvious that the area covered by the umbra, when compared to the previous view, was smaller.

Around 19:28 UT I finished taking a few more pictures. Again, they didn't turn out very well but one of them gives a reasonable hint of the phase of the eclipse around this time:

Partial Lunar Eclipse

I then had another look with the 10x50s and noticed that the earlier reddish colour had pretty much gone so I think this confirms that it was down to the Moon's distance above the horizon.

By 19:36 UT the eclipse wasn't that obvious to the naked eye any more and it was difficult to see in the 10x50s. If I hadn't known that an eclipse was still happening I probably wouldn't have noticed anything unusual.

At 19:41 UT I couldn't see anything of it with the naked eye any more and, even with the 10x50s, there was just a vague hint of a shadow visible.

At 19:44 UT I couldn't see anything in the 10x50s either so I packed up and headed home.


2006-07-16


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-07-16 09:00 UT
To: 2006-07-16 10:30 UT
Equipment: Naked Eye
Notes:

Sunny morning with quite a bit of cirrus cloud about. Managed to observe a partial halo around the Sun for the second time during the weekend.

Partial solar halo

From: 2006-07-16 09:00 UT
To: 2006-07-16 10:30 UT

At around 09:00 UT I initially noticed a bright and colourful partial halo around the Sun. I grabbed my mobile phone and, with the camera in it, took this image:

Partial solar halo

Over the course of the next 90 minutes or so the cirrus cloud seemed to get thicker and spread out more. During this time the halo appeared to lose colour but also to grow in size:

Partial solar halo

Partial solar halo

Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-07-16 12:00 UT
To: 2006-07-16 12:05 UT
Equipment: Solarscope
Temperature: 25.8C ...
Dew Point: 13.9C ...
Humidity: 48% ...
Wind Speed: Calm ...
Pressure: 1026.2hPa ...
Notes:

The cloud from earlier had cleared so I took the Solarscope out to do a quick sunspot count.

Sun

From: 2006-07-16 12:00 UT
To: 2006-07-16 12:05 UT

After a little bit of effort I noticed that active area 900 was visible. Within it I managed to count 5 spots. All were very small.


2006-07-15


Location: Imphal Barracks, York (North Yorkshire, UK)
From: 2006-07-15 15:15 UT
To: 2006-07-15 15:30 UT
Equipment: Naked Eye
Notes:

While attending an open day at Imphal Barracks in York I noticed a partial halo around the Sun.

Faint solar halo

From: 2006-07-15 15:15 UT
To: 2006-07-15 15:30 UT

I first noticed the partial halo at around 15:15 UT. It was very faint and had just a hint of colour to it. As with a previous observation of a halo I found that it was easier to see it while wearing my sunglasses.

I attempted to image it using the camera in my mobile phone:

Faint partial solar halo


2006-05-05


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-05-05 12:50 UT
To: 2006-05-05 12:54 UT
Equipment: Solarscope
Temperature: 22.8C ...
Dew Point: 8.8C ...
Humidity: 41% ...
Wind Speed: 7mph ...
Wind Dir: South South West ...
Pressure: 1018.2hPa ...
Notes:

Mostly clear, just a few clouds about, slight breeze. Nice and warm. Did a quick sunspot count with the Solarscope.

Sun

From: 2006-05-05 12:50 UT
To: 2006-05-05 12:54 UT

With the Solarscope I could only see two active areas (as best as I can tell they were 878 and 880). Could only see a single spot in each area giving a total of two spots for today.

Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-05-05 19:34 UT
To: 2006-05-05 21:45 UT
Equipment: Meade 10x50 Binoculars
Antares 905
Temperature: 18.3C ...
Dew Point: 8.2C ...
Humidity: 52% ...
Wind Speed: Calm ...
Pressure: 1019.1hPa ...
Notes:

A clear, warm and calm evening. The sky was still very light (the Sun hadn't long set). I decided to set up the 905 to have a session observing the Moon (which was just past first ). I also intended to observe Saturn and, if I was out late enough and the position was right, Jupiter.

All being well I also wanted to try and further observe 73P Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 although I didn't hold out too much hope given how bright the Moon was going to be.

Searching for Saturn in a light sky

From: 2006-05-05 19:34 UT
To: 2006-05-05 19:41 UT

Although the sky was still very light I did a quick sweep of the area to the west of the Moon with the binoculars to see if I could spot Saturn. Pretty quick I spotted it.

Having found it with the binoculars I tried to get it in the 905 but, even using the 32mm eyepiece to give me a fighting chance, I just couldn't track it down. I guess, if I'd persisted, I'd have got it in the end but I decided to give up and move on to the Moon.

Imaging the Moon with a mobile phone

From: 2006-05-05 19:51 UT
To: 2006-05-05 19:55 UT

I lined the Moon up in the 905 and, because I had my mobile phone in my pocket, I decided to try taking some shots. I knew they weren't going to be anything clever but I thought I'd have a try anyway. All attempts were using afocal projection while simply holding the phone in my hand.

I took a number of images but most of them were really terrible and were deleted on the spot. The following were the best of the bunch (which gives a good idea of how terrible the others were).

Moon with mobile phone

Moon with mobile phone

The Moon

From: 2006-05-05 20:14 UT
To: 2006-05-05 21:00 UT

After taking the images shown above, and after a short break from "proper" observing to show my wife the Moon via the 905, I stayed with the Moon to work my way along parts of the terminator and areas close to it.

The first features that really stood out were Ptolemaeus, Alphonsus and Arzachel. While Ptolemaeus was mostly fully lit by the sunlight (the floor looking very smooth except for a couple of small but obvious craters within it) Alphonsus and Arzachel both had their floors in shadow but with their central peaks lit.

Further south I could see (running east to west) Nasireddin, Huggins and Orontius. The latter was mostly in shade, in the night side of the terminator, but the "back" wall (in relation to the direction of the sunlight) was fully lit. I could also very clearly see a small crater in the wall (which is unnamed on the map I had with me).

To the north, on the eastern side of Mare Imbrium, I could clearly see Mons Piton casting a very long shadow which seemed to have a conical shape about it.

Over in the night side I could clearly see the peak of Mons Pico. Near it, just to the south, I could see another sunlit peak. The mountain in question is on my map but isn't named (I can see I'm going to have to get a more detailed map of the Moon some time soon).

The next thing I saw, clearly cutting a path through Montes Alpes, was Vallis Alpes. Although I've seen plenty of images of this feature I was still quite taken by how striking it was. This is a good candidate for further observations and possibly a good candidate for a lunar sketch at some point in the future.

The shadows from Montes Alpes were very striking — I counted 6 distinct shadows stretching out into the floor of Mare Imbrium. One of them appeared much longer than the others and I took this to be the shadow of Mons Blanc.

Other mountain ranges that stood out were Montes Spitzbergen (which could be seen just north of Archimedes and more or less on the terminator) and Montes Archimedes (which was also more or less on the terminator, south of Archimedes).

The next thing I noticed, in the terminator, was the eastern wall of Plato. Above it, in Mare Frigoris, I then noticed what looked like some sort of ridge running more or less east to west. I could see a hint of the feature on my map but no name is given. While the impression on the map is that it isn't a very distinct feature the view I had was one of a feature that was very significant (not very surprising really given its proximity to the terminator — the western end of it seemed to disappear into the terminator). To some degree the view I had reminded me of Rupes Recta, except this feature more or less runs east/west (unlike Rupes Recta, which runs more or less north/south). The "higher" side (the side that appeared to be sunlit) was the north side — the south side seeming to be in shadow.

At 20:52 UT the seeing suddenly deteriorated and for the first time this session there seemed to be a breeze about. Given that the image in the 'scope seemed to be getting worse I finally decided, at 21:00 UT, that it would be a good time to take a short break.

Assessing the viewing conditions

Time: 2006-05-05 21:10 UT

By now the sky had got quite dark but the moonlight was visibly causing problems — making the sky look quite washed out. Conditions were so bad that I couldn't actually make out the Keystone. Conditions didn't look good for viewing the comet.

Although it was hard to tell at this point there was a hint of some cloud moving in on the eastern horizon.

Brief look at Saturn

From: 2006-05-05 21:15 UT
To: 2006-05-05 21:25 UT

Had a brief look at Saturn with the 905 and the 6mm eyepiece. It wasn't anywhere near the best view I've had of it this apparition but I was still able to make out both of the shadows, a hint of handing on the planet's surface and, from time to time, the Cassini Division would pop in and out of view.

A quick hunt for Comet Schwassmann-Wachmann 3

From: 2006-05-05 21:20 UT
To: 2006-05-05 21:30 UT

Used the binoculars quickly hunt for fragments B or C of 73P Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 but failed to find them. I did note that M13 was only just visible so it didn't come as any surprise that I failed.

Assessing the chances of observing Jupiter

From: 2006-05-05 21:33 UT
To: 2006-05-05 21:34 UT

Wandered around the house looking for a possible vantage point that would give me a good view of Jupiter but couldn't find a location that would give a clear view with the 905. I did have a quick look with the binoculars and could briefly see a hint of the Jovian moons but the eyepieces misted up and put a stop to that.

Increasing cloud — end of session

From: 2006-05-05 21:35 UT
To: 2006-05-05 21:45 UT

Just after checking on Jupiter I noticed that it was starting to fade and, shortly after that, it totally disappeared. I quickly became obvious that a bank of cloud was moving in from the east. Within a couple of minutes it was almost overhead and I could see no stars all the way down to the eastern horizon. Because it looked like there wasn't going to be a break in this (and the forecasts for the evening had it clouding up with a chance of rain) I called an end to the session.


2006-04-22


Location: Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge (Cambridgeshire, UK)
From: 2006-04-22 14:00 UT (approx)
To: 2006-04-22 14:30 UT (approx)
Equipment: Naked Eye
Notes:

The following observation was made while sat on the grass out the back of the Hoyle Building at the Institute of Astronomy, while attending Astroblast. Reasonably sunny day with lots of thin, high-level cloud about.

Partial halo around the Sun

From: 2006-04-22 14:00 UT (approx)
To: 2006-04-22 14:30 UT (approx)

Sometime between 14:00 UT and 14:30 UT (I failed to make an exact note of the time) I noticed a "rainbow" effect in the sky. Thinking back I'm not sure I can make a good estimate as to its altitude but I would have said that it was reasonable close to the zenith. It appeared to be a small arc of what could have been a halo around the Sun.

I suspect it was a partial 22 halo although there is the chance it might have been a partial 46 halo. Given that I was busy with other things at the same time I didn't really think to figure out its angular distance from the Sun.

Over a noticeable period of time it appeared to "rotate" around the Sun slightly which would suggest that the clouds responsible for the effect were slowly drifting and that the effect was rather localised.

The colours were faint but obvious and I found that I could see them better with my sunglasses than with my normal glasses.

I took the following two images of the display with the camera in my mobile phone:

Image of partial Sun halo

Image of partial Sun halo

Location: Stamford (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-04-22 16:15 UT
To: 2006-04-22 16:45 UT
Equipment: Naked Eye
Notes:

On the way back from Astroblast I stopped off in Stamford for something to eat and, from the park in the middle of town, managed to catch an even more impressive display in the atmosphere.

Display of atmospheric phenomena

From: 2006-04-22 16:15 UT
To: 2006-04-22 16:45 UT

While sat having a bite to eat in the park in Stamford I noticed that there was an even more impressive atmospheric display. At the time I made some short notes and a quick sketch of what I saw; the following is a version of the rough sketch that I made:

Atmospheric display visible from Stamford

The sketch is rough and isn't supposed to show anything to any sensible scale, the angular distances are probably quite off too. The intent was to record the shapes and general locations of what I saw.

Checking with the Atmospheric Optics website it appears that I saw was, starting at the top: a circumzenithal arc with a parry arc below it. To the left and right of the Sun was a pair of sundogs. Both sundogs displayed a tail pointing away from the Sun and the sundog to the left was far brighter than the one to the right. Also, the one to the left had a very obvious vertical arc running through it.

Using the camera in my mobile phone I attempted to image each of the things I saw but all that came out were the following images of the sundogs:

Sundog from Stamford

Sundog from Stamford

Sundog from Stamford

Sundog from Stamford

Unfortunately the images don't really do justice to what I saw, the sundogs were much more obvious than they are in the above images and were also more colourful.


2006-03-29


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-03-29 09:45 UT
To: 2006-03-29 11:20 UT
Equipment: Naked Eye
Solarscope
Temperature: 12.4C ...
Dew Point: 3.5C ...
Humidity: 56% ...
Wind Speed: 1.3mph ...
Wind Dir: West ...
Pressure: 1003.5hPa ...
Notes:

Attempt to observe the partial solar eclipse (which was total in parts of Africa, Asia and Europe). Weather was less than ideal. Despite the day starting totally clear conditions were more or less overcast by the time of first contact.

Partial Solar Eclipse

From: 2006-03-29 09:45 UT
To: 2006-03-29 11:20 UT

At the time of first contact the Sun wasn't visible. I got my first glimpse of the Sun, with the naked eye via a pair of eclipse shades, at 09:51 UT. At this point I couldn't make out any hint of the Moon in front of the Sun.

At 09:54 UT I managed to catch a better view of the Sun and, this time, the Moon was visible. The cloud was starting to thin out a little so at this point I got the Solarscope out and set it up ready in case I could get a view through it.

Around 10:00 UT I finally got a good view of the Sun via the Solarscope and I managed to take a quick image with the camera in my mobile phone:

View of the partial eclipse

Around this time I also noticed that active area 865 (which I first noticed yesterday) had appeared to develop a second spot and that there was another spot visible, further away towards the trailing limb of the Sun, and that this appeared to be part of a different active area (later checking confirmed that this was a separate area with ID 866 ).

By 10:10 UT I'd lost any view of the Sun and could see that the cloud was getting thicker all the time. At 10:15 UT I packed up the Solarscope and table but kept them close to hand on the off chance that a hole might appear. It never did.


2005-09-12


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2005-09-12 12:21 UT
To: 2005-09-12 12:35 UT
Equipment: Solarscope
Naked Eye
Notes:

First clear day since I last looked at sunspot 798. Took the Solarscope out to see how it looked now. Sky wasn't too bad although there was some whispy cloud about and some general thin haze.

Sunspot 798

From: 2005-09-12 12:21 UT
To: 2005-09-12 12:35 UT

Sunspot 798 looked much bigger and more spread out than my last look at it. The main change in its appearance is no doubt down to the fact that it's now more face-on than it was when I last observed it.

Made the following sketch:

Sketch of Sunspot 798

I also took the following image on the camera in my mobile phone to give an impression as to what my view looked like:

Image of Sunspot 798

Also noticed that Sunspot 809 was no longer visible.


2005-09-09


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2005-09-09 07:57 UT
To: 2005-09-09 09:10 UT
Equipment: Solarscope
Naked Eye
Notes:

Read that sunspot 798 was coming back around the limb of the Sun so decided to view it with the Solarscope.

Sunspot 798

From: 2005-09-09 07:57 UT
To: 2005-09-09 08:25 UT

Sunspot 798 stood out the moment I got the Sun projected in the Solarscope. Quite close to the limb. It appeared to be made up of one large spot with at least five smaller spots around it.

Had a couple of goes at imaging what I was seeing with the camera in my mobile phone (sadly the only instant imaging device I've got to hand at the moment) but failed miserably.

Instead, decided to try and draw a sketch of what I was seeing:

Sketch of Sunspot 798

Sunspot 798 with naked eye

Time: 2005-09-09 08:51 UT

Using a pair of eclipse shades I noticed that sunspot 798 was just about visible to the naked eye. If I'd not known where to look I probably would have missed it due to it being so close to the limb.

Another Sunspot and some images

Time: 2005-09-09 09:10 UT

While having another look with the Solarscope I noticed that not too far from 798 there was another very small spot visible. At first I thought it might simply have been some dust on the lens or the mirror. I rotated both of them to be sure and it didn't move.

Subsequently found out that the sunspot mentioned above now has a number: sunspot 809.

Also had another go at taking some images with the mobile phone. This time they didn't come out too bad. While there's no real detail to them you can at least get an impression of what 798 looks like in the Solarscope:

Image 1 of Sunspot 798

Image 2 of Sunspot 798

Image 3 of Sunspot 798


2005-05-19


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2005-05-19 18:39 UT
To: 2005-05-19 19:06 UT
Equipment: Meade 10x50 Binoculars
Naked Eye
Notes:

Moon very close to Jupiter but cloud rolling in so decided to give it an early look while I had the chance.

Moon and Jupiter

Time: 2005-05-19 18:39 UT

Jupiter was about 1 degree from the Moon this evening. At the time of first viewing the sky was still very light. First looked to see if I could see Jupiter with the naked eye but couldn't make it out. Took a look with the 10x50 binoculars and saw it easily. Once I knew where it was I looked again with the naked eye and saw it with no problems.

With the binoculars I couldn't make out Jupiter's moons but the planet did have a very elongated look so I suspect I was seeing two or more moons but was failing to separate them.

Moon and Jupiter — Pictures via Mobile Phone

From: 2005-05-19 19:00 UT
To: 2005-05-19 19:06 UT

With the 10x50 binoculars mounted on a tripod I thought I'd try something silly and attempt to take some pictures via it with the camera in my mobile phone. No surprise that the pictures aren't very good but, at the same time, a couple of them turned out better than I'd expected. Here's one of the best:

Image of Jupiter and the Moon

Around this time the cloud started to really roll in so that was the end of the session.


Page last modified: 2013-04-09 09:19:19 UT
Dave Pearson <davep@davep.org>
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