Archive for February, 2009

The Sun 21/2/09 – Still Quiet!

February 21, 2009 Leave a comment

Managed to image the sun this morning. It is still very quiet up there with only a couple of small prominences and a very short filament. There was a hint of a new active region on the eastern limb, but it looks like it will be small and very short lived again.

Categories: Solar

Comet 2007/N3 Lulin – 20/2/09

February 20, 2009 1 comment

Unexpected clear night tonight! Comet Lulin makes its closest approach to Earth on the evening of 24/2/09 and with the weather prospects looking cloudy for the next week I figured it was now or never if I wanted to observe and image the comet. Looking east into the light pollution from Shrewsbury at 11pm I could make out the faint grey smudge that was Lulin via the 8×50 binoculars just to the left of Leo’s hind leg. I had work the next day but had to take the chance offered so I set the alarm for 2.30am. Never managed to really fall asleep and got up at 2.30am to set up the EQ6 plus Canon 350d and 70-300mm Tamron zoom. By 3am Leo was high in the south and Lulin could clearly be seen naked eye using averted vision. I had all sorts of disasters setting up including knocking the mount after I had perfectly polar aligned it !! The headtorch decided it would pick tonight to run out of battery life too. Took ages to achieve satisfactory focus and then the zoom lens misted over and I had to waste time heating it with the dew heater. I eventually got a few short sequences run off at 1 min and 2 min exposure duration for 13 and 16 mins, but by 5.30am the sky was noticeably brightening in the east and the exposures were washed out.

I processed the images with Deepskystacker (DSS) and Photoshop CS2. It was my first time using DSS but it is very easy to learn. I stacked the comet shots to trail the stars and to leave the stars as normal . Not really expecting much from such short overall exposure times I was pleasantly surprised to see the comet and its tail quite clearly. Here are the results………..

Categories: Comets

The Sun – 7th February – Almost Too Quiet!

February 7, 2009 Leave a comment

Almost didn’t bother today as a quick visual through the PST showed that there was very little activity, but curiosity got the better of me so I hauled out the imaging stuff and took a few shots. Seeing was very unstable and watery, but there was a nice short filament on the north limb with an arching prom in the NE and another small group of proms in the SE. I could see one small dot of plage in the SE quarter. Its been quiet like this for two months now and it still feels like the sun is stuck firmly in the trough of solar minimum……. PST/DMK21/DMK41

Categories: Solar