Sunday, July 26, 2009


This is Jupiter from last night (2am Sunday morning). Need to sort out settings on webcam etc - couldn't reach focus with barlow so this was only at f10.
Not sure if Jupiter's new (impact site?) is just leaving bottom right but there are some prominent blue plumes.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Volcanic sunset

Space Weather has an alert for volcanic sunsets caused by worldwide aerosols from Sarychev Peak in Russia- eruption June 12th. Not quite the "Pinatubo purple" but still a very nice sight.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Noctilucent Clouds -the movie!

I missed any NLC displays in 2008 so I'm glad to have caught a couple of displays(so far ) this month. I have to go about 400yds N of my garden to view the North horizon. This time lapse movie is a series of 3second exposures every 30sec. 11PM GMT 17th June.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

M27 The Dumbell Nebula

Stayed up late to see the interesting side of the sky again.
M27 The Dumbell Nebula in Vulpecula et Anser (The Fox and the Goose)
A little trailing (!) again but it's nice to have colour in the images again.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


A picture of a bright star in it's field can look good- specially when there's a little colour.
In fact this pic is the result of some autoguider tweaking.
Unlike Pete R I haven't been changing the PHD settings, (yet) just tightening any mechanical flexure I can think of.
1 10 minute frame @ 800iso

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Dust Bunnies Galore

This is a lesson stating that you shouldn't get your dslr sensor in as bad a state as this one.
I know it's a picture of the daytime sky at f22 but those shadows still show through the scope or fast lens. I did get it commercially cleaned, and will probably do it myself next time.
The trick is not to leave the camera sans lens for too long, and when it is - point in down so the dust doesn't fall onto it.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Thinking aloud

For some of my deep sky shots I have been taking dark frames (should be for them all) and although I have just had my sensor cleaned, I really should do flat frames as well. There are various designs for these on the web from bulky boxes to laptop screens.
My thought is to get a (cheap) digital photo frame and load it with a "white" photo. should work - shouldn't it? Anyway I think that's the plan.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Lunar badlands

This shows the Hippalus Rilles concentric with wrinkle ridges on Mare Humorum.
Also seen are Hesiodus and Ramsden rilles. See Rukl 52/53.
This was mostly shot through thin cloud so I'm pretty happy with it.
120ED refractor + meade 2.8x barlow f21
mosaic of 5x60 second avi captures
click on image for larger view

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Closer to home

With a bright moon in the sky I turned my attention to our neighbours.

I'm fairly pleased with this effort from a 60sec avi sequence.120mm aperture @ f15 (using 2x barlow) Registax 5

Monday, March 30, 2009

Lost in the realm of galaxies

Here's M100 in Virgo. Lovely face-on spiral.
I'm off to search for something bigger and with a bit more colour (may have to turn the dome north!)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Butterfly galaxies

The central pair of galaxies are Arp 270 or ngc 3395-96 in Leo Minor, and off to the left (east) are ngc3430 and 3424.
Halton Arp (maverick astrophysicist) compiled a list of interacting galaxies which include tidal interactions between comparatively nearby galaxies and presumably very distant quasars. These distances are deduced from red shifts, and Arp questioned that the red shift was always an indicator of distance.
This small scale pic is from 4x4minute subs and rhe 350D was set for fairly small JPEGs instead of RAW.
(I have senior moments in the cold and dark!)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

M3 with little neighbour

M3 in Canes Venatici.
Quite a good night (when I eventually got out - after a visit to the theatre)
This is 5x3minutes at 1600iso with auto dark removal (a 3min exposure takes 6 minutes)
Interesting to spot tiny ngc5263 to the west. This is about m13.5 I was pleased to capture this with 120mm aperture and not ideal location

Friday, March 27, 2009

What a shiner

M64 The Black Eye Galaxy.
A little tracking error but I blame that on the breezy night.
(Can't really use that excuse now. I've just viewed Pete R's view of the same object probably done at the same time. Brilliant [we could combine our two views to make a stereo pair])-joke!!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Lulin - on the move

Hope this plays. It's a video fromthe 20 or so pics from Sat 28th Feb. 90sec exposures


I had a little success with Comet Lulin over the last couple of nights. The pic shown was on Sat28th/Sun 1st and is a stack of 5x90sec exposures at 300mm f4.
I know that DSS can stack comet pictures but I must be doing something wrong. This was done in Registax 4 (I see that v5 beta is available).
Last night 1/2 March was a wonderfully clear night but I was plagued with hardware problems. My Canon TC-80N3 intelligent release was sticking. At times I was shooting off rapid fire 1/1000sec exposures and later I had no control at all. I fear it may be terminal!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Comet Kushida emerging from the Hyades

Quite a faint comet, but good practice for Lunin in a week or two.
The left frame is 50mm f1.8 for 25s and the right is 300mm f4 80s (both single frames)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Near and far

Talk about depth of field. you have nearby stars, the Owl Nebula in the middle distance and galaxy M108 quite a few miles further away - and all (more or less) in focus!
Pleased to get this one because the SkyShedPod with a GEM can't see the whole sky. There are always areas out of view and I had to wait for this view.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Leo 1 (just)

According to Wikipedia - Leo I is a dwarf spheroidal galaxy in Leo. At about 820,000 light years distant, it is a member of the Local Group of galaxies and is thought to be one of the most distant satellites of the MilkyWay. It was discovered in 1950 on plates from the Palomar 48" schmidt camera. It is only 12' N of Regulus which makes it easy to find, impossible (for most) to see and very difficult to image.
I know this is a rough image but I'm just happy to capture it. 4x300s

Friday, January 30, 2009

needs no introduction

As Pete says, It's hard not to get a half decent image of M42. Like all the others it's a work in progress.

deep red

This shows the kind of stuff (The California nebula) which with an H alpha enhanced camera and an Astronomik cls filter you can start to image from bright skies.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Holiday snap

Just to put some astro content in- here is a pic of Lower Tresmorn farm in Crackington Haven,Cornwall. I used a Zenitar 15mm and combined two exposures.


In the last year I downsized (apparently they now say rightsized) from a 12" LX200 to a Skywatcher 120ED on an EQ6 goto mount.
This is on a steel pier in a Skyshed Pod dome.
Camera is a Hutech modded EOS350D.
Guide camera is Starlight Express lodestar
"Guidescope" is 300mm f4 telephoto. I also use this for imaging.

Where are we now

This blog will show my ups and downs in the astrophotographic universe. I'm in Haversham on the Northern outskirts of Milton Keynes, UK. On a good autumn night I can just about see the milky way, using averted imagination!
One purpose of blogging is to encourage me to go out and achieve something - ie if I see no posts for ages I will hopefully feel v. guilty (or the weather has been as normal)