Thursday, April 17, 2014

ISS photo sequence

This is a series of frames captured using my Skywatcher 130 and Philips Toucam Pro II webcam on April 15th. I have tried various ways of capturing close up images of the ISS with a video and stills, but it is so difficult to get right. I think it all comes down to luck at the end of the day with the equipment that I am using.

Got a lot of retweets on Twitter with this image!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Swedish Star Party

This week we have had our Swedish friends Birgitta, Kribban and Malva visiting us. After tea, I took my Skywatcher 130m telescope out into the garden to look at the Moon and Jupiter. sky was perfectly clear. It was fun to try to take photos with our smartphones.

Malva and Birgitta's smartphone photo of the Moon through my telescope.

Later, we watched the International Space Station pass overhead...beautiful!

Monday, March 31, 2014

LEGO Curiosity Rover

Time for some LEGO therapy, great for those cloudy nights!

I saw the LEGO Curiosity Rover in this month's 'Sky at Night' magazine. It looked good and was only £24.99! I decided to get one direct from LEGO.

Now, remember that I am not a LEGO person and have never built a LEGO model in my life, but I really enjoyed building this one. It has 295 pieces, some tiny, but the instructions are very clear and easy to follow. Took me five nights to complete, nice and relaxing!

My completed Curiosity Mars Rover.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Mars Compilation

Mars will be closest to us in the next few weeks, but it will be quite low in the sky. Mars is closest to Earth about every two years. A few years ago we had a particularly close encounter with Mars and high up in the sky. I was able to take some great photos as it gradually got closer.
Took these photos with my Skywatcher 130m scope with a Philips Toucam Pro II webcam attached. Stacked and processed with Registax 3.

I am going to try to capture some images of Mars again in April, but I doubt that they will be better than these.  

Thursday, March 13, 2014

International Space Station

Tonight I was looking at some older images that I took of the ISS from my back garden back in 2009 when I came across some close up images that I didn't think were good enough at the time. When I saw them and enlarged the images I was quite amazed, so I made an array of the images.

They were taken in September 2009 with my Skywatcher 80ED Pro and Canon EOS350D camera. I must have held the scope and camera on my shoulder to capture these images.

I have tried many times to capture close up images of the ISS, but these are by far the best ones!

On ITV4 there is a series of programmes running called 'Space Live', last night was a live programme from the ISS with astronauts talking about life in space. Tonight was live from the ISS control centre in Houston talking with previoes astronauts and what happens when there are problems on the ISS. Really interesting programmes.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Jupiter Moon Transit

This is a first for me, imaging a transit or rather, double transit on Jupiter. Last night was perfectly clear, so I set up my Skywatcher 80 ED Pro and Philips Toucan Pro II at about 8.15pm to witness the event. My first images show the shadow of Ganymede alone which transited Jupiter the day before leaving just the shadow. At around 8.40pm a second transit took place, this time the Moon Io. I'm sure that somewhere on the images I should be able to see Io as well as it's shadow, but it is difficult to see. It is also nice to have captured the GRS just above the Ganymede shadow on the right.

Here is a second array of images slightly larger.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Moon Mosaic 7th March


 I am very pleased with this mosaic. This was taken with my Skywatcher 130m and Philips Toucam Pro II webcam. When I captured the AVI's the atmosphere seemed very unstable and the image was constantly moving in and out of focus. In fact, I found it quite difficult to achieve focus while watching it on the laptop. After processing in Registax the images looked quite good. I then assembled the mosaic with iMerge.

Tonight I downloaded an amazing Moon Globe app for my ipad. I was able to compare my photo with the ipad by adjusting the time setting. An excellent app!

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Jupiter 3rd March

Jupiter on 3rd March 2014 showing the great Red Spot.

A beautiful clear evening with Jupiter almost at azimuth. I took a series of avi's on my Philips Toucam Pro II and Skywatcher 80ED Pro. These are taken with the 2x Barlow lens. I did take some with my 3x Barlow lens as well, but these are clearer after processing.

On the images you can see the 'Great Red Spot' on the left. An enormous storm that has raged for many years. I am really pleased to capture the Great Red Spot at last!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Aurora in Bolton

Image of the Aurora from my back garden last night.

Last night was amazing! Following a Solar Storm a few days ago the Earth was bombarded with particles from the Sun to produce the most incredible Aurora in England for many years. Although I tried hard, I couldn't see the Aurora from my house even though photos from North Wales, Wigan and Leeds were coming in in Twitter. We have a lot of light pollution to the North which doesn't help. I set up my camera and pointed it North in my back garden, the sky was clear with lots of stars visible. I then took some images at around 20 sec exposures and hoped for the best!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Moon and Venus

Had to get up very early today for this one, 6.30am to see the cresent Moon and Venus lying low in the South East with a clear sky and twilight. A beautiful sight.

I took this image with my Canon EOS350D and 300mm zoom lens sat on a small tripod on the window ledge.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Super Moon

Apparently, January 2014 had a 'Black Moon' followed by a 'Super Moon' ... sounds a little complicated, but certainly worth looking at.

To capture this image I decided to use my Skywatcher 130m Newtonian scope. I have not used it for a while, so I spent some time assembling it again and checking that everything was alright. Then I used the Philips Toucam Pro II webcam and SharpCap to take about 30 avi images of the almost full moon. After stacking the AVI's in Registax I then proceeded to make up the jigsaw puzzle of producing a mozaic with the images using iMerge.

It is fun to do!

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Cresent Moon

Taken with my Skywatcher 80ED Pro and Philips Toucam Pro II webcam. Moon mosaic of five images with iMerge.

This photo was taken between the rain storms of a beautiful cresent moon on 2/2/14. The UK is experiencing a battering of storms which have been constantly feeding in from the Atlantic. There has been flooding in some areas since before Christmas and no end in sight!
Needless to say that there are not many clear nights. This month has a 'Super Moon' so it should be interesting to see if the Moon is brighter or bigger this month.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Jupiter 2014

Here is a combination of images of Jupiter on 23rd January 2013.

Not many clear skies here at the moment lots of rain and clouds. These taken with my Skywatcher 80 RD Pro and Philips Toucan Pro II webcam.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

78% Moon

It has been a while since I took my telescope outside. I tried on Sunday night, but the clouds rolled in and couldn't see anything. Tonight I thought that I would try to make another Moon Mosaic.
The problem with Moon Mosaics is that I use an Alt / Az mount which means that when you take images, especially with a webcam, there is a certain amount of rotation. The result is that the individual images don't fit together exactly leaving parts that are a bit blared.

This image was taken tonight with the alt /az mount and Skywatcher 80ED Pro. Maybe next time I will try again using my Skywatcher 130m on it's EQ2 mount.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

ATV on it's way to the International Space Station

The ATV captured from my garden with Canon EOS 350D about 10 sec exposure.

Had some fun over the last weeks with some really bright passes of the ISS over England and the ATV following to try to catch up!
I watched the launch live and then a couple of days later watched it passing over about 30 minutes behind the ISS. The ATV is quite bright and also on the same trajectory as the ISS, but much faster.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Sun 4th May 2013

During a wonderful May weekend it gave me an opportunity to image the Sun in all it's glory along with a great display of sunspots. These images taken with my Skywatcher 80ED Pro and Baader solar filter. I used my Canon EOS 350D camera.

The Sun imaged with blue filter fitted.


The Sun in white light.


Friday, April 26, 2013

Moon Mosaic 23/4/13

I really wanted to capture a full moon, but with the Moon being quite low and lots of clouds I opted for the only clear night. So here is an almost Full Moon!

I captured 29 separate avi's with my Philips Toucam Pro II and Skywatcher 80ED Pro. First stacking the avi's with registax, then stitching the best images together using iMerge. I did try out for the first time Microsoft Ice, which is a very impessive app, it did a fine job of stitching the images, but you could see the brightness variations. 

Friday, April 05, 2013

Comet Pan-Starrs at last!

After a few night Comet hunting I finally managed to capture this little beauty! I think it is because it is so low down that it is difficult to see with the atmospheric 'blur' and light pollution. Now that the comet has got feinter, but at the same time moved up towards the Andromeda Galaxy it has become easier to find. I used my proven method of following the the two stars from the W of Cassiopia to find Andromeda and then set up the camera to look in that general area.

I used my Canon EOS 350D and 200mm zoom lens on a tripod sat on top of my garden table to get the height and see over the fence.

I'm really pleased with these images!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Spot Comet Pan-Starrs

After days of cloudy evenings finally we have some fairly clear, but very cold nights. I have had several attempts to image Comet Pan-STARRS which has been lying low in the West / Northwest sky.
The problem is that I can't find it! I know where to look, but maybe it has gone feint now. I can't even see it with my binoculars. On Wednesday 27th March I took my Canon EOS350D out at dusk to a good location to finally nail this comet. I got some beautiful sunset photos...but NO COMET!!

I'm sure that somewhere on these images is Comet Pan-STARRS can you help?

I can see plenty stars...but where is the comet?