Saturday, 27 August 2016
There was some forecast for aurora in the early hours of the 25th auugst, but, at the same time the weather forecast wasn't good either with cloud forecast. At 11pm on the 24th the sky was over cast so I decided to head off to bed. My setup is fully automated now, and so set it to start recording at 1am, 15 second consecutive exposures until the battery died on the Canon 350D. Well at 1.15am the clouds thinned just enough for the aurora to peek through, the gap was brief, as by 1.45am the clouds had returned. Still, when I got up the next morning to check what I had recorded I was pleased with this brief record of the northern lights. Fingers crossed there will be more to come in the week ahead!
Posted by Mark Townley at Saturday, August 27, 2016
Friday, 26 August 2016
I spent the evening of the 23rd of August watching online aurora monitoring stations and could see a huge auroral oval straight over Iceland where we are staying. Late in august though there is only still a few hours of darkness so I decided to get a few hours sleep and then get up around midnight. Initially I thought there was no aurora to be seen as the northern sky was empty apart from stars, but as I turned around to the south I could see the northern lights stretching brightly across from the east to the west but in the southerly sky as the auroral oval was so far south. This time lapse represents 3 frames a minute and spans two and a half hours, it was taken from the West Fjords of Iceland, with the lights in the shot being the ferry port at Brjanslaekur. Taken with the Canon 350D, Sigma 10mm f4 lens, iso800 and 15 seconds exposure. You can see at the height of it the entire landscape lights up green when it was easily bright enough to cast shadows. Throughout the aurora can be seen reflecting o the sea on the left of the image. It's taken me several years of solar imaging to master the craft of animations, but seem to be able to now, so, might have to go back and look at some of the data I have from previous Iceland visits. Fingers crossed for more clear skies for the rest of my holiday and more auroras!
Posted by Mark Townley at Friday, August 26, 2016
Wednesday, 24 August 2016
There's still not much true 'astronomical night' up here in north west Iceland in the last third of August and by 3am dawn is rapidly brightening up the sky, hiding not just the stars but also the aurora. This was taken between 2.50am and 3.15am and represents just over 4 frames a minute real time. This is the tail end of a G1 geomagnetic storm that was seen widely around Iceland in the early hours of the 24th caused by solar wind from a coronal hole. Taken with the Canon 350D 10mm f4 iso800 and 14s exposure time.
Posted by Mark Townley at Wednesday, August 24, 2016
Tuesday, 23 August 2016
I was really surprised to see an auroral display on the morning of 23rd august; all the data said there shouldn't be one - Kp1, northerly Bz and a slow solar wind. Never the less aurora covered atleast half the sky, and despite using the 10mm f4 lens on the canon 350D (iso800 20s exp) I just couldn't get all the sky I wanted in the frame. It was a really dynamic display changing very quickly, and very bright displaying colours easily to the naked eye despite the waning gibbous moon high in the southerly sky. The eternal twilight of the late summer in these high latitudes gave the sky background a blue colour, and mist danced on the mountains. The best aurora i've seen in Iceland since february 2014. Should have some more pictures to make an animation from, fingers crossed! This animation is 27 frames and covers about 18 minutes real time. Here's 2 more from different aspects at different times, all spanning the same sort of time 'real time'.
Posted by Mark Townley at Tuesday, August 23, 2016
Saturday, 20 August 2016
Taken with the Lunt 50 etalon at 40mm aperture with the PGR Chameleon 3 camera at 400mm focal length. A small crackle of a B class flare can be seen in the active region grouping. I need to get a LS50 telescope to maximise the potential of this nice 50mm double stack etalon.
Wednesday, 10 August 2016
I didn't think the frames I recorded for this were animation quality, but, they just about scrape through, and with so little sun this season it seems a shame to waste them! Same setup as in the previous post. 26 frames spanning 9 minutes real time makes up this time lapse.
Posted by Mark Townley at Wednesday, August 10, 2016
Tuesday, 9 August 2016
The active regions that have passed over the limb over the past couple of days form part of a huge group, so large that they won't fit in the field of view of the Airylab HaT. These 2 spot regions were fairly static, but the small proms on the limb were very dynamic and would suggest more active regions on the way round in the days ahead. I tried for an animation but the seeing was all over the place, and with passing clouds meant there weren't enough usable frames. Taken with the 203mm scope at 5.6m focal length with a Daystar Quark and a PGR Blackfly GigE IMX249 camera.
There are several active regions that have rotated round the suns eastern limb over the past couple of days, and, should give plenty to look at if clear skies remain! Taken with the Tal at 80mm and 1400mm focal length with the homebrew CaK filter and the PGR Chameleon 3 camera.
Monday, 8 August 2016
Even with a small scope like the 80mm Skywatcher and a Daystar Quark it is very easy to see just how dynamic our star is. This active region as it approaches the limb is quite lively as can be seen in this 15 frame animation spanning 7 minutes real time. The jet prominence on the limb is quite static in comparison. The camera used was a PGR Blackfly GigE IMX249.
This animation was taken over 12 minutes and represents 24 frames, and shows what a dynamic little active region this is. My favourite part is just to the left of the active region where a whorled loop of plasma snakes its way off the solar chromosphere. Taken with the Daystar Quark, Skywatcher ED80, a 1.4x barlow lens and the PGR Blackfly Gige IMX249 camera.
AR12571 and AR12572 seem to have developed from nowhere really over the last week, however on sunday they were framed with a lovely jet prominence on the suns limb. While not the largest active regions they have been showing signs of activity over the past couple of days. The image above was taken with a Daystar Quark, Skywatcher ED80, the Baader Solar Telecompressor and a PGR Blackfly GigE IMX249 camera.
There was a lovely set of filaments and a hedgerow prominence on the limb on sunday, a really exciting bit of sun! The seeing was all over the place but I got some pretty decent views with the Daystar Quark on the Skywatcher ED80 refractor, Baader solar telecompressor and the PGR Blackfly GigE IMX249 camera. In the days ahead the prominence on the limb should rotate around to be another filament on the disk. Need to get my tilt reduced on the camera as the bottom right of the image is drifting out of focus a bit.
Sunday, 7 August 2016
The sun came out for long enough for me to have a play around with the Daystar Quark on the back of my Skywatcher ED80 scope, this is a combination that really works and delivers excellent results. I used the Baader solar telecompressor to reduce the overall focal length by a factor of 0.7x. Some high cloud was drifting around when I was taking the latter panes for this mosaicas can be seen by the glow around the limb, but, overall I am pleased with the result. Camera used was the PGR Blackfly GigE IMX249 CMOS.
Saturday offered the first day with proper clear blue skies as a transient ridge of high pressure toppled over the British Isles. I eagerly set up the 8" Airylab HaT however the seeing conditions were some of the worst i've seen in some considerable time. I knew the only way I was going to salvage anything from the day would be to drop the aperture to slide under the seeing radar. Opting for the 40mm scope at 400mm focal length with the PGR Chameleon 3 camera I set about recording a time lapse animation, with 1 frame every 30 seconds. I was hoping for a bit of something to happen on out star, but the Sun was sleeping on saturday afternoon, and nothing of note happened typically. Never the less I got a good record of the supergranulation that is visible in CaK wavelengths. Lasting over 2 hours and comprising of over 300 frames this took some computing power and time, and as I eluded to in a previous post this is currently the next hurdle to improving solar images.
Tuesday, 2 August 2016
Given the awful summer we've been having so far with it's virtual lack of sunshine, I decided to turn my hand to developing some skills in Photoshop. I've always enjoyed doing animations but always wanted to be able to pan and zoom, rather than have a static animation, well after a couple of days playing around I finally seem to have a work flow that is successful. Here's an animation from may 15th that I reworked with a bit of zoom, pan and rotation. All I need now is some sun and something interesting to happen on the sun so I can present it with a slightly different perspective...
Posted by Mark Townley at Tuesday, August 02, 2016