Friday, March 1, 2013

February 2013 Full Report

This is the last full report, as I will be doing one large monthly report from now on.


I reprocessed a full disc lunar photo from August 24th 2011.


My first observation of the new month was a binocular scan of the Sun showing a single large sunspot.

At 1245GMT I viewed and photographed the Sun with my PST, having been reunited with it following my business trip to Lisbon. The standout features were the sunspot, some prominences and a large filament.

I decided to have a go with the webcam and Startravel 80 from 1930 GMT to 2000 GMT when a dizzy spell ended the session. The main idea was to try using a focal reducer with a webcam to get more of the Pleiades. It didn’t work due to focus travel problems and I thought of a potential workround later.

The Pleiades looked superb through the eyepiece and I took several shots at various exposure settings and areas of the cluster.

I also took some runs of Jupiter with its moons. 3 were visible and the best run showed some background stars.


A morning solar bin scan showed 2 sunspots.

I nipped out to do a quick zenith shot at 2200 GMT. This is a simple shot that involves pointing a camera straight upwards for as long as it will expose (8 seconds for my compact digital camera), then fetching it in when ready. A little but of tweaking using Paintshop Pro and GIMP brought out rather more detail.


There was thin cloud about, so I wasn’t able to do a pre-work photo shoot. It cleared enough for a bin scan for me to pop outside for a minute and see the sunspots had moved.

It cleared for a while at lunchtime. As I had to go out to pump up a car tyre, I took 2 digital cameras out to photograph the Sun in hydrogen alpha light at 1215 GMT. The Sun was much quieter than at the weekend, with only a sunspot and prominence the stand-our features.

The full disc shot showed some prominences and some minor surface details.


I reprocessed a constellation shot of the Plough taken on August 26th 2011. Ursa Minor is visible near the top.


 I reprocessed a full disc hydrogen alpha shot from August 28th 2011.



I reprocessed the first quadrant photo of August 28th 2011.


I reprocessed the second solar quadrant from August 28th 2011.


I reprocessed the third quadrant from August 28th 2011 and found a nice filament near the limb that didn’t come out in the original processing.


The final quadrant from the Sun on August 28th 2011 revealed a nice prominence.


 I combined 9 images from August 28th 2011 to form this picture of Perseus.




A further 6 shots were used to obtain this shot of Andromeda, also showing the Square of Pegasus, Aries and Triangulum.


Clear sky at last! I binned scanned the Sun during a break in class and saw just a single sunspot.

At 1125 GMT I checked the Sun in hydrogen alpha light with my PST. The surface was rather bland, apart from a prominence, a filament and the sunspot I had seen in “white light”. Viewing and photography was difficult because of moving cloud.

At 1740 GMT I did some full disc shots of the Moon using my Skymax 127 and compact digital camera. The idea was to take several frames and combine them, as I usually do but only one frame was usable. On the other hand, the result didn’t look too bad.

At 1810 GMT, I snapped the Moon with Jupiter but Aldebaran also came out in the photo.


I bin scanned the Sun before work and saw that the single sunspot had apparently shrunk from the day before.

I checked the Sun in hydrogen alpha light with the PST at 1235GMT. There was some haze about (that dissuaded me from trying the Moon as well) but I could see a nice prominence, the sunspot and a filaprom (filament joining up to a prominence) clearly.

At 2315 a patch of sky cleared around Jupiter. I’d been itching to try out a new method of webcamming at F/2.5 (yes, I mean F/2.5) by using the Startravel 80 and Antares focal reducer. I started off doing Jupiter’s moons then moved on to the Pleaides until the battery ran out at 2340 GMT. On stacking the images, I found that Registax 5 worked better on the longer exposures than Registax 6. The Pleaides shot was composed of about 11 imaging runs.


An alternative processing method for the Pleaides from 15th, showed more stars but no colour.


The final shot from August 28th 2011 shows Pegasus. I tried to combine it with the Andromeda shot but it failed.

I bin scanned the Sun with small binoculars (7x30) (from Brest, France) especially taken for travelling at 1630 GMT but didn’t see any sunspots.

I popped out at 2015 GMT before dinner to do a quick photo shoot. I caught the Moon with Jupiter and Aldebaran.

I also snapped Auriga, directly overhead.


I did a photo shoot of the Moon and Jupiter at 2045 GMT, after a lot of fiddling.

I stacked four frames of Orion to produce this image.


I snapped the Moon with Jupiter at 1800 GMT (1900 local time) in twilight.

At 2001 GMT, I attempted to snap the Plough but only caught the handle! Still, it made a nice sight with the foreground trees.


Conditions were much more hazy than the day before, so I just snapped the Moon with Jupiter. The faint traces of Aldebaran and Betelguese can also be seen.


My first session after my dad’s accident was a quick shoot of Orion and Jupiter in Taurus.

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