Friday, February 27, 2009

20090207 Sun (follow up)

Yeah! My dream comes true, the cloud went away despite the sun is sinking low in the sky, anyway, I pulled out my C5/PST/BF10 based setup to take two shots. Extremely bad seeing like 1/10, transparency 4/10...

Celestron C5/PST/BF10 with Cheapy-ERF, DMK 31AF03.

1707 (GMT+8):-

1710 (GMT+8):-

20090113 Condensation tail

A snapshot taken with my Canon 200mm f2.8L and my Canon 450D. The original shot is resized, and the condensation tail is cropped from the original and then pasted on the resized shot.

20090227 Sun

Cloud never went away today, but we have some brief (within 1 minute) moment when cloud is free from the sun, seeing 3/10, transparency 6/10 (when cleared). AR1013 is still around, but it's going to disappear soon, I believe.

We got lots of prominence today! Too bad that it was so cloudy, or else I shall make more shots to create animations:

All taken with my Borg 45ED at prime focus, Solarmax 40 with BF10 using my DMK 31AF03.

20090225 A Evening Scene

Nothing special, just a snapshot from inside my usual observation local, i.e. what I always called Home@Walnut, it's nothing else but a small windows from an urban apartment indoor.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

20090225 Sun

We have a brand new active region! Transparency is 4/10 with many thin cloud around, seeing therefore, 2/10 at best.

Borg 45ED II is used, along with my Solarmax 40 and BF10, DMK 31AF03 on my LXD55, i.e. my usual indoor setup.

1334 (GMT+8):-

1335 (GMT+8):-

Next, several shots were taken with a 2x barlows on the active region.

From 1336-1355 (GMT+8):-

Finally, I pulled out my APM Herschel wedge to see if it's detectable in white light with my small setup.

1402 (GMT+8):-

And then I pulled out my 52mm IR-pass filter to see if there's anything special in IR? Of course, from my past experience, since it's not a narrow band IR filter, it's just a special case of white light so that it's less affected by poor seeing. Let's see how it turns out.

1404 (GMT+8):-

The new AR has a number of 1013 and it should belong to cycle 24.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Setting sun

It's taken today (i.e. 20090224), when the time is suitable, the sun will appear between two close-by buildings when setting from my home. Not exactly special in a cosmic setting, but interesting with respect to my location.

Taken with my Canon 200mm f2.8 and 450D.

Monday, February 23, 2009

20090223 Sun

Went to Shen Zhen (mainland China) briefly this morning, and on back home, the sun was hanging outside with some scattering cloud. Did two simple shots before it's too low in the sky. Seeing is 3/10, transparency 5/10 -- a miracle indeed since it's extremely foggy this morning.

1630 (GMT+8):-

1632 (GMT+8):-

Extremely silent, just a record.

Jupiter Lunar Occultation

It's just so foggy outside, transparency is like 0.1/10, only solar imaging is possible.

No choice but to call an end to this rare event.

Friday, February 20, 2009

20090220 Sun

Seeing 6/10, transparency 2/10. The sky is white, but there seems no real cloud. Low surface activity except a short QRF, but prominence activity is strong, and we have several of them all around the solar disc. The sun is on fire!!!

First two are taken with my Borg/SM40/BF10 based setup:-

1406 (GMT+8):-

1407 (GMT+8):-

Then, I pulled out my Cheapy-ERF/C5/PST/BF10 based setup:-

This is one of the most interesting one, 1415 (GMT+8):-

The same one at 13 minutes later:-

Next is another interesting one, this one is so special that I never saw something similar before, taken at 1418 (GMT+8):-

Yet another interesting one, 1419 (GMT+8):-

Finally, an interesting part of the solar disc surface, 1423 (GMT+8):-

A plastic refractor

I've a 70mm f=500mm surplus lens and a plastic refractor focuser, so why not make a simple refractor for fun?

Hey, don't go away first, let's see the result here:

They are taken handheld with my Canon 450D! Minimal processing has been applied, and notice that the chromatic abberation is really low for this cheapy lens! This is to my surprise for sure!

The tube is from a bubble bottle, my kids used up all the soap inside and so I cut it to fit the lens and focuser there.

In order to avoid poor alignment, I flushed the lens cell all the way to the bottle, so you see how the lens cell sit inside the tube and there should not be "any" misalignment.

Similar strategy was used to fit in the focuser, again since it sits inside all the way to the "shoulder" of the bottle, "no" misalignment could be possible.

The visual view is not bad either, given a Tele Vue diagonal plus a high quality 82 degree eyepiece. :-)

An interesting and fruitful project.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

20090219 Sun

Cloud never went away, but during moments with thinner cloud, and after stacking, the moving cloud could be kind of averaged out. Seeing 1/10, transparency 0-1/10.

Prominence activities remained good, surface detail remain low.

1511 (GMT+8):-

1521 (GMT+8):-

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

20090218 Sun with an interesting prominence

Seeing 3/10, transparency 1/10. It's cloudy basically, and I've to push the exposure to 0.3s with nearly maximum gain to pass through the cloud! I couldn't comment on the surface detail since it could hardly be seen during cloudy moments, but I notice a big and interesting prominence immediately during the moments with thinner cloud.

1343 (GMT+8):-

1351 (GMT+8), close up with 2x barlows:-

Telescope: Borg 45ED II with Solarmax 40/BF10
Camera: DMK 31AF03
Mount: LXD55

Friday, February 13, 2009

20090213 White Light Sun

Cloud cleared up a bit finally when the sun was sinking low from my home window. Seeing very bad at 2/10, transparency low at 1/10 during the best moments (like 5 seconds windows).

Telescope: Borg 45ED II
Filter: APM Herschel wedge
Camera: DMK 31AF03
Mount: LXD55

Exposure used was 1/5000s but I could see the effect of the poor seeing. There's no sign of AR1012 before processing.

And there's no sign of it after processing, too.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

20090211 Sun

Seeing 3/10, transparency 3/10, low activity except a medium sized prominence.

Telescope: Borg 45ED II
Camera: DMK 31AF03
Filter: Coronado Solarmax 40 with BF10
Mount: Meade LXD55

1226 (GMT+8):-

1227 (GMT+8):-

This one follows the above two, the first frame and the last frame are seperated by around 15 minutes:-

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Monday, February 09, 2009

20090209 Penumbral Lunar Eclipse

There's a real time boardcast from HKAS:

And a while ago when I was outside with my elder daughter, we could see a yellowish and lovely lunar disk. If my kids could fall asleep early, I will try to take my DSLR out to take a few snapshots, and of course, my 10x30 Canon IS will be with me.


One of my kids were still having her eyes wide open, couldn't go yet. The helper was only able to take care of them after they fall asleep, she couldn't make them sleep yet... (22:21 GMT+8, around 10 minutes before the deepest moment)

The Observation Log:

Just back from down stair, my kids were sleeping peacefully. I didn't leave them alone, my helper is staying with them. I just took some shots down stair where we have plenty of lighting.

I took with my Canon 450D with a 200mm f2.8L and Kenko 2x. I also brought my Canon 10x30 IS with me.

The view is interesting to the naked eyes, it's very noticeable since the air is dirty, I would say the transparency is like 2/10 or at most 3/10. With my 10x30 IS, the view is just wonderful. You could say a gradual dimming effect from one corner of the moon. Despite the moon is nearly directly overhead, the IS function is superb, I feel like using it on a tripod. Very nice! The view through the view finder of the camera at 400mm effective focal length is also nice, and if I were lazy, this view is interesting enough, but then who will be that lazy to bring as little as a 10x30? This is what's so good about the 10x30!

This is the first time that I really observed a penumbral lunar eclipse. I didn't even dare to take a look before. Now, I know that I had missed something.

I did a series of exposures at f/5.6 from 1/4000s, 1/2000s, 1/1000s, 1/500s, 1/250s all the way down to 1/30s at ISO 400. Of course, I tried some other exposures as well.

The Images

Under-exposure, 1/4000s at f5.6, ISO 400, this shows the dimming effect rather nicely:-

Over-exposure, 1/125s at f5.6, ISO 400, I love this one most, all the lunar disc is overexposed except the eclipse portion:-

This is an auto-exposure, by using spot metering, auto-ISO (ISO 320 which I found later), and P mode, this one reflects the reality nicely:-

Finally we have a HDR (high dynamic range) shot which is a combination of exposures from 1/4000s to 1/125s:-


One more shot is added here after the eclipse, to compare with the overexposed one above, notice that the illumination is uniform:

20090209 Sun

Transparency 4/10, seeing 3/10, low activity again except a "pair" of medium sized prominence.

1438 (GMT+8):-

1439 (GMT+8):-

1442 (GMT+8), with a 3x barlows:-

If the transparency keep on like this tonight, I might be able to take a few shots of the penumbral lunar eclipse from somewhere near my home. I guess that I won't even stay outside, but instead, go down stair occassionally to take some sample shots on a tripod with my DSLR.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

20090207 Sun

Seeing 3/10, transparency 2/10. Low activity.

1259 (GMT+8), there're two extremely small active regions:-

1301 (GMT+8):-

Additional Remarks:

They should be called ephemeral regions, which are basically small magnetic dipoles that could develop into true active regions. Thank David Knisely for pointing out.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Pocket Sky Atlas by Roger W. Sinnott

Before this pocket sized atlas, I've a DeepMap 600 as my field guide and I've a SkyAtlas 2000.0 for planning at home. Frankly, DeepMap 600 is kind of too simple and due to the aspect ratio, the shape of the constellation is not that intuitive; on the other hand, the SkyAtlas 2000.0 is too complicated with too much detail, way more than my instruments and I could manage, and of course, it's huge to use in the field.

So you know what I'm going to say about this Pocket Sky Atlas... yes, it's the best for both world. If you have only moderate equipments like 5-8 inch aperture telescope under light polluted sky, that's what you will want. More detailed charts are not going to be very useful.

Technically speaking, it's more like a scaled down and dumbed down version of the SkyAtlas 2000.0. However, given my situation (equipment + sky), it is just even making it more useful by removing unwanted detail. Of course, it still contains some stuff which I could never see from my sky, but they're always good for me to try in case the sky got darker due to weather changes, or when I travelled to darker places.

Each page is covering a good portion of sky, and each pages have sufficient overlapping so that you could move across the pages easily without being lost among the dots. There are four close up charts for interesting areas.

In short, this is currently the only chart which I will use both at home and in the field. Of course, but if you have better sky and better equipments, you need a more detail chart.

Having said that, I think this book can be made a little bit bigger, say like the size of a notebook, or at least A4 size. You know, we usually bring along a computer and it's nice to have a book which can be sneaked under it. Bigger page is always desirable, and I believe A4 or around the size of a notebook PC should be great. And it would also be nice to have a few more pages of close up charts.

20090206 Sun

Seeing 6/10, transparency very low at 1-2/10. Low activity except a long prominence.

1612 (GMT+8):-

1613 (GMT+8):-

Thursday, February 05, 2009

20090205 Sun

The sun is virtually very inactive, lack of active regions or bigger prominences. Seeing 3/10, transparency 5/10. Taken with my Borg 45ED II, Coronado Solarmax 40 with BF10 and DMK 31AF03 all on a Meade LXD55.

1404 (GMT+8):-

1405 (GMT+8):-

But on closer look, there are several small active regions here and there. Here's a representative corner taken with a 3x barlows.

1408 (GMT+8):-