Archive for March, 2012

Moon From Wednesday night

by on Mar.30, 2012, under Astronomy Blog

Finally got around to process this one from Weds. night.



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Mars – One of my best webcam images of the Red Planet yet!

by on Mar.28, 2012, under Astronomy Blog

It all came together nicely for this one tonight.
8″ Newtonian, 5x Powermate and a 2x Barlow.
Phillips Webcam.

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More conjunctions of the Moon and bright planets.

by on Mar.28, 2012, under Astronomy Blog

The crescent Moon, Venus and Jupiter, still putting on a great show in the evenings.

These two pictures were taken last night showing the Moon between The Hyades and Pleiades star clusters.

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Conjunction of Venus, Jupiter and the Moon.

by on Mar.26, 2012, under Astronomy Blog

Looking wonderful tonight.





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Stargazers Lounge SGL7 Star Party – Hereford.

by on Mar.26, 2012, under Astronomy Blog



(More Pictures to follow).
Packed up for the weekend to do a talk at The Stargazers Lounge Star Party Near Hereford.

Drove after work on Friday, and had NO HOLD UPS! Got to be a first for a Friday evening.
Arrived in time to set up my bed in someone else’s tent (Thanks Mike) and set the Dobsonian telescope up ready for a nights observing.
My camping companion arrived just as it was getting dark and we exchanged greetings and he set his imaging rig up ready to go.

Friday night was relatively clear, although misty conditions threw some light pollution from Hereford up into the sky.
It was still much darker than being at home.

Venus and Jupiter hung in the western sky after dark, with Mars rising in the east. These three looked fabulous in my 10″ scope as the atmosphere was very steady. Mars showed a very small polar cap and some faint surface features. There appeared to be a dark ring around the polar cap as well, but it was difficult to see if it was a contrast thing and we were seeing things. Did a bit of deep sky observing looking at some faint galaxies and some of the bright favourites, before retiring as the skies were getting very misty.
Awoke on Saturday morning to mist. The ducks were foraging around the campsite making a noise and the woodpeckers were hammering away in the distance. What a great way to wake up.

After a walk by the river, I had a hearty full English in the cafe, my talk (The reason I had gone in the first place) was cancelled due to a problem with the room. But I spent a great day mingling and chatting to like-minded amateur astronomers, one of whom had driven all the way from Germany.
The day finished with a Hog Roast before the skies darkened once again. As the Sun sank a beautiful sun pillar was seen.

It was then a race to be the first to find the thin crescent Moon before the sky darkened too much.
Once it was found I just had to get some images.


As the skies darkened it seemed a much clearer night than the previous one, although the planets images weren’t quite as steady.

Lots of deep sky observing was done in the 10″ scope and the Astrotrac was set about imaging some faint galaxies using an 80mm refractor (Images to be yet processed). I also spent some time pointing other people to show them what their telescopes were really capable of. Very rewarding.

Finally got to bed just before 1am, and left for home at about 7:30 Sunday morning.

Photo showing Markarian’s Chain of galaxies in Virgo.
And below the Triplet of Galaxies in Leo.

All in all, a fabulous weekend. Well done to Darren from Stargazers Lounge for organising it.





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Supernova 2012aw in Messier 95, Not far from Mars

by on Mar.21, 2012, under Astronomy Blog

My first image of the supernova, 21st March 2012.

A supernova (Now known to be a type II) has been discovered in the bright barred spiral galaxy M95 in Leo.
The galaxy is very close to the position Mars occupies at the moment.
The supernova is around 13th magnitude at the moment, so it will require at least an 8 or 10 inch telescope to spot it at the moment, but it could get a bit brighter.
Considering the galaxy is about 38 million light years away, that’s one heck of a bright star!

More details here.

Oscar Martin Mesonaro captured it near the glare of Mars using an 80mm refractor, two days after discovery.

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Delapre Abbey Observing session. – Northampton Natural History Society

by on Mar.20, 2012, under Astronomy Blog

A dozen or so of us gathered together with a wide variety of telescopes at Delapre Abbey for a practical observing session.

Members of the public were invited as well.

We had about 35 members of the public turn up, as well as society members.

The skies were a little bit murky, but Venus and Jupiter were bright beacons on the western sky as it got dark.

Despite the thin cloud, and light pollution from town, and a keep fit class who set up floodlights in the adjoining field, we were still able to show everyone quite a few objects, including some nice open clusters and the Orion nebula.

By the end of the session, Mars had cleared the trees, so we had a look at that too. Many people being able to see the small polar cap and some faint shadings on the planet.

All in all a great session was had by all and everyone seemed to enjoy the event.

For details of NNHS astronomy section, visit their Web Page:

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Venus & Jupiter Conjunction.

by on Mar.14, 2012, under Astronomy Blog

Due to clouds, I missed seeing these two bright planets at their closest last night.

But tonight was fairly clear, but damp and the orange street lights were thrown well up into the sky.
I managed to take a number of pictures of the planets above my observatory, the best two shown here.

The second image shows the interior of the dome, and looks like a transparent bubble by rotating the dome while taking the exposure.







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More Aurora from Iceland

by on Mar.13, 2012, under Astronomy Blog

Well, despite all the hype and media coverage, unfortunately we didn’t get any Northern Light activity from the UK.
My good friend Andy Green is in Iceland leading some aurora groups and he has posted these images of the aurora taken from there.

Luck Fella!

The Sun is now continuing to be quite active, so keep on the look out as it’s only a matter of time before we do see some from here.


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Possible Aurora – 7th March 2012

by on Mar.08, 2012, under Astronomy Blog

Two recent solar flares have sparked an aurora alert.

This could mean that we MIGHT be able to see some aurora from our latitudes sometime today. Let’s hope that if the particles do reach Earth the activity continues until it’s dark tonight.

Unfortunately, the full Moon will wash out a lot of the faint details, but keep an eye out towards the north to see if you can see a strange green or pink glow.
The Aurora From Iceland by Andy Green.



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