Friday, 4 August 2017

Nearby.. a lone dog howls..

The Full Mackerel Moon will be upon us on Monday,  nearby I can hear a dog practicing its lunar howling!

Up above, the slow moving clouds give way for generous views of the almost full fat gibbous Moon.

Out came the tiny Jason refractor, and with the help of my ancient Samsung S2 android phone I  captured a couple of lunar images.




I also made a sketch of crater Shickard, it being the most prominent feature along tonight's lunar terminator.



Over the last two lunations I have only been able to spot the waxing Moon about three nights out of a possible 28..!

I'm hoping this pattern will soon break.

Looking forward to some more lunar sketching in the near future.

Return of the Pleiades

Tonight I am reminded of the Perseid meteor shower, which peaks this year on the 12th of the month.

The Moon is badly placed for this years Perseids, but it is always worthwhile venturing out to have a look. With any luck I'll be out there on the 12th, an hour each side of midnight.

The Moon may wash out a lot of the action, but it will be interesting to see what does show up.

No doubt I'll be sitting in a deck chair or lying on the lawn till the early hours making wishes..

Usually whilst out looking for Perseid meteors the familiar shape of the Pleiades can be seen way off to the east.. a gentle reminder to prepare telescopes for the darker nights.


Clear Skies

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Last night's Moon



Last night was the first time for a week that I've been able to drag the telescopes outside.

With a magnification of x50 and a bit of juggling with my simple digicam, I managed to capture a few lunar images.

June 2nd 2017 - 21h30m UT
Other celestial objects of interest included:  (with 300mm/f5 Newtonian)


Jupiter - various zones stood out, but no real definition or sharpness. I noted that the South Polar region is rather darker than the North Polar region, at the moment.

With the 80a filter in place the planet returned a much more pleasing image.

Arcturus in Bootes was shining in all its glory, whilst just below Arturus the asterism "Napolean's Hat" could clearly be made out at x50 magnification.

Peeping around the corner of the house was the constellation of Hercules, the obvious target of globular M13 was easily found at x50.

Though the contrast of M13 was somewhat diminished, maybe due to the gibbous Moon scattering that extra Moon glow.

Failed to find M51...  Standing with a twisted neck, whilst balancing tiptoe over the garlic plants in the garden probably didn't help!   Better luck next time..

Spotted the double stars Izar and Cor Coroli, plus a quick glimpse of Antares.

Spent a good two hours outside, the time flew....

After packing away the big Newtonian, I grabbed the 60mm refractor and had a quick peek and Saturn, which by midnight had risen over several houses at the end of the drive...

Despite a seeing of AIII it was still worthwhile dragging out the big Newtonian, especially for viewing the Moon. 

Thanks to the 12 inch mirror I noted that the "ink black" shadows of the Spitzbergen Mountains really stood out more than I've ever seen them before.

I'll have to make a sketch of my findings.


Can't wait to see what Saturday evening might have in store......


Clear Skies everyone.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

The Cat and the Moon.

Theophilus chain - 300mm Newtonian.


The rain and wind tonight put pay to any chance of observing the heavens.

Never mind....more time to catch up on some poetry.

Here's a favourite poem of mine by W.B Yeats, plus a sketch of a few craters from a recent observation.


THE CAT AND THE MOON
by: W. B. Yeats (1865-1939)
      The cat went here and there
      And the moon spun round like a top,
      And the nearest kin of the moon,
      The creeping cat, looked up.
      Black Minnaloushe stared at the moon,
      For, wander and wail as he would,
      The pure cold light in the sky
      Troubled his animal blood.
      Minnaloushe runs in the grass
      Lifting his delicate feet.
      Do you dance, Minnaloushe, do you dance?
      When two close kindred meet,
      What better than call a dance?
      Maybe the moon may learn,
      Tired of that courtly fashion,
      A new dance turn.
      Minnaloushe creeps through the grass
      From moonlit place to place,
      The sacred moon overhead
      Has taken a new phase.
      Does Minnaloushe know that his pupils
      Will pass from change to change,
      And that from round to crescent,
      From crescent to round they range?
      Minnaloushe creeps through the grass
      Alone, important and wise,
      And lifts to the changing moon
      His changing eyes. 
       
       -------------------------------------------------
       
      Fingers crossed for some clear skies soon.
       
       
      Mark.......
       
       

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Great Red Spot

07/05/2017
In awe, I watched the waxing moon ride across the zenith of the heavens like an ambered chariot towards the ebony void of infinite space wherein the tethered belts of Jupiter and Mars hang, for ever festooned in their orbital majesty. And as I looked at all this I thought... I must put a roof on this toilet. Les Dawson
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/l/lesdawson537829.html?src=t_jupiter

In awe, I watched the waxing moon ride across the zenith of the heavens like an ambered chariot towards the ebony void of infinite space wherein the tethered belts of Jupiter and Mars hang, for ever festooned in their orbital majesty. And as I looked at all this I thought... I must put a roof on this toilet. Les Dawson
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/jupiter.html
In awe, I watched the waxing moon ride across the zenith of the heavens like an ambered chariot towards the ebony void of infinite space wherein the tethered belts of Jupiter and Mars hang, for ever festooned in their orbital majesty. And as I looked at all this I thought... I must put a roof on this toilet. Les Dawson
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/jupiter.ht
The gibbous Moon was big and bright tonight, but my target for the evening was parked just under it, that being Jupiter.

For some days now I have wanted to capture the Great Red Spot,  tonight was the perfect opportunity to do so.

At x166 magnification the Great Red Spot stood out easily.

It seems to be much more of an orange colour these days, plus it looks slightly bigger than last year.

The seeing was terrible tonight, so I had to make do with just the two major equatorial belts and the impressive as always GRS.

No festoons or barges for me this evening.!

Hopefully the view will improve over the next couple weeks.


Clear Jovian skies

Thursday, 4 May 2017

The cry of the Cuckoo.


Jason looks to the Moon - 2016
Tonight I was out observing with the little "Jason" 60mm/f15 refractor. It's a lovely scope for a quick peep at the heavens, or in my case this evening specifically the bright gibbous Moon.

Whilst observing Clavius on the terminator, somewhere on the outskirts of our village I could clearly hear the cry of a cuckoo.

Since our move to Crymych this was the first cuckoo that I have heard from our back garden.

With the bright Moon above and the cry of the cuckoo,  I was reminded of the poet Basho. 

Moonlight slanting by Matsuo Basho
Moonlight slanting
through the bamboo grove;
a cuckoo crying.



Sketching the Moon craters. 

Here's a further sketch from last Monday's Beltane evening lunar observations.


01/05/17 - 300mm/f5 reflector "Oscar"

It was beautiful outside tonight, not a cloud to be seen. Lets hope it's the first of many this year.


Clear Skies everyone.



Monday, 1 May 2017

Beltane Moon

 “Sitting quietly, doing nothing, Spring comes, and the grass grows, by itself.”   Bashō Matsuo



Oscar & Mark

From the darkening Mayday sky the Beltane Moon was calling.

Helen and I dragged out "Oscar" the beast of telescopes, our 12 inch reflector.

The Theophilus chain (Theophilus, Cyrillus, Catharina) stood out well tonight, highlighted beautifully along the terminator.






After taking a few more photographs I sketched the three craters using Conte pencil and Ink.

01/05/2017 - A:III 300mm/f5 Newtonian


The five day old Moon
Shows south Theophilus chain 
three beautiful pearls

Helen Lee



Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Sketching the Grass Moon pt.2

From the "Atlas of the Moon" by Vincent De Callatay.

For the past week it has been raining cats and dogs here in Pembrokeshire. There has been little chance of catching any Moonlight.

Though last Sunday evening the sky was clear, and I caught a quick peep at dear old Selene.

I didn't feel like sketching that night, so I simply enjoyed the view.

So with one night in seven observable I wonder how the next week will fair.

Here are a few more objects to look for in the week ahead:


 
Moon 8 day - 05/4/17
Plato, Archimedes and Tycho.

Moon 9 day - 06/4/17
Clavius, Frau Mauro and Copernicus.

Moon 10 day - 07/4/17
Lansberg, Sinus Iridum and Hainzel.

Moon 11 day - 08/4/17
Aristarchus, Gassendi and Kepler.

Moon 12 day - 09/4/17
Wargentin, Rumker and Marius.

Moon 13 day - 10/4/17
Eddington, Grimaldi and Pythagoras.




Hopefully we will have better luck this week.


Clear Lunar Skies

Nearby.. a lone dog howls..

The Full Mackerel Moon will be upon us on Monday,  nearby I can hear a dog practicing its lunar howling! Up above, the slow moving clouds...