My small printable Sky Diary and Eagleseye Google Calendar showing all the coming celestial events are now available below:
Any questions, comments or have I made a mistake? E Mail me: (Dave@eagleseye.me.uk).
All times UT (BST) Unless otherwise stated.
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Dave Eagle FRAS
Eagles Eye On The Sky.
Eagleseye Observatory. Higham Ferrers, UK.
Keep Looking Up!
After installing the pier recently, I didn’t have to wait too long for some clear skies to test everything out. So best get out there and make sure everything works as well as I hoped. It’s quite amazing how much more room you get in the observatory without the tripod legs getting in the way.
The thick crescent Moon was visible, so I started with that. Thin cloud tried to spoil the image, but I pressed on regardless. It was quite low in the sky as well only just above the neighbours rooftop. As the Moon got lower I started to concentrate on some deep sky objects. I started with some nice open star clusters and bright star portraits, which should image reasonably well even in the Moonlight.
First target was M71 located in Sagitta.
This lovely open cluster lies about 12,000 light years from Earth.
Next target was the lovely double star Albireo in Cygnus. The contrasting colours of the two stars so pronounced in the eyepiece. Always a spectacular object to show to people and get them to tell you what colours they see.
The next target was the beautiful open cluster in Cassiopeia NGC 457, The Owl Cluster.
The next object was the planetary nebula M57, The Ring Nebula. This favourite Messier object looks just like a smoke ring frozen in space. Pity it is such a small object.
Last but not least I turned my attention to another planetary nebula, M27, The Dumbbell Nebula. Located in the constellation of Vulpecula, it lies 1,360 light years away from Earth. Showing a distinct apple core shape, the central star producing the bubble of gas is extremely difficult to observe directly, unless you have a very large telescope.
During this series of exposures a northbound plane tried to photobomb the Dumbbell.
All in all a great evening, but I had to shut up fairly early as I had work the next morning.
The pier and all the equipment seems to be working extremely well, so I now feel I am ready for the coming observing season. Bring it on.
After almost 12 years of negotiating tripod legs in a cramped observatory, I felt that the time was right to make the step of getting a pier installed in the observatory. I commissioned Brian Brooks at Astroparts to build the pier. And what a fantastic job he made of it as well. Just four drill holes and bolts later it was installed nicely into the dome and bubble levelled. That evening also gave me an hour of clear skies, so I also managed to get it all polar aligned that night. Now I’m all ready for the coming observing and imaging season which is almost upon us. Thankfully I didn’t have to wait too long to test it all out.
I have now received printed copies of my first astrophotography booklet.
A Guide to Stacking Images in Deep Sky Stacker.
This A5 sized guide takes you step-by-step through the technique of stacking deep sky and comet images shown during my highly successful astrophotography workshops earlier in the year.
The guide costs £7:00, plus £1:50 postage and packing (UK Only).
Please contact me if overseas.
Click on the Paypal link below to order your copy which will be sent to you by first class post.
The guide is also available in Kindle format:
More guides are being planned, so watch this space.
Following on from my very successful astrophotography workshop earlier this year, I have been busy writing guides to support the techniques covered that were covered during the day.
The first edition A Guide to Stacking Images in Deep Sky Stacker has just been published in Kindle format:
Printed copies will be available very soon.
It’s not often I get very excited by clouds, but today I made an exception. It was the usual bank holiday weather, grey, dark and raining on and off. No chance of any day time solar or late night astronomy this weekend, again! After all the nice weather we’ve had, you’d think it could hold off for when we’re having a break from work. But no!
So there I was sitting in the study tweaking some of my presentations when the weather made a dramatic turn for the worse. Much darker clouds rolled in and the rain started. Luckily, I looked out of the window and saw these amazing cloud formations. They looked positively weird, just the sort of thing you see portrayed in films depicting Armageddon. So what can I do but get the cameras pointed out of the windows and take some pictures. Once the clouds returned to normal the heavens opened their floodgates and for an hour it absolutely poured down. They were Undulatus Asperatum clouds apparently.
On Saturday the 10th of September I have had the pleasure of being asked by Paul Money to give my “Rosetta & Philae. From Concept to Reality” presentation at his long running and highly successful Horncastle Astronomy Weekend in Lincolnshire.
I am really looking forward to giving them all my favourite presentation and catching up with Paul as it’s been a long time since I went to his weekend (sorry Paul, life’s just been too eventful!).
I am also looking forward to meeting up with other attendees, some of which I already know from online social media.
With a great selection of speakers, (well I would say that, wouldn’t I), it should be a fantastic weekend.
On Saturday the 20th of August I attended a masterclass on Imaging Comets, by the one and only Damian Peach.
His comet images are just as spectacular as his planetary webcam images.
On arrival I was shown around Steve Knight’s observatory, perched on the side of the canal.
After this great start to the day it was onto the main course itself, watching a master at work.
Damian uses remote telescopes such as iTelescope to take his images.
He demonstrated how, using various imaging software, he composites the raw comet images to produce his wonderful masterpieces.
A great day. And I think I learnt a lot.
So when I got home, I just had to have a dabble using some of the techniques he showed us to see if I had.
I used an image of comet Lovejoy C/2014 Q2, taken on the 6th of February 2015.
This was my original image I obtained from the data.
Note how the stars have trailed as the comet moved across the sky.
Using the technique Damian showed us I composited a comet stack and a star stack together.
This produces an image where both the comet and the stars are still, so no movement is discernible.
Although not quite perfect, it shows that, even at my age, you can still learn a heck of a lot.
And there is still a heck of a lot more to learn.
I am looking forward to being made very welcome once again and if my previous visits to them are anything to go by, it should be a fun evening.
They meet at:
Stanion Village Hall,
Old Brigstock Road,
Meeting starts at 8pm.
Email them at: email@example.com
After a bit of a rest from doing talks, on Wednesday the 27th of July I will be taking Bedford Astronomical Society on a wild trip across to the very edge of our observable universe.
I will be giving my Whistle-Stop Tour of the Universe (Hitch-Hiking on a Ray of Light) presentation to them.
So let’s hope that they strap themselves in and get ready for a journey that really is out of this world.
(Of course, it’s really just a good excuse to show some beautiful images of our wonderful universe).
The society meet at Bedford School at the Resource Room at The Piazzi Smyth Observatory in Pemberley Avenue. Meeting starts at 7:30pm.
So if you’re in the area, come along, say “Hello” and enjoy the ride.