Last week I managed to find myself in Kielder around the time of the Kielder Forrest Star Camp which is held twice a year in the spring and autumn. On the Thursday night the UK was graced with a fine show of aurora – however (as is usually the way with these things) most of the evening we covered by cloud and rain.
I did manage to get a few shots though, and the above one is the first (not focussed!) photograph I took of the sky to try and work out if I could pick anything up – and I could! However you can already see the clouds starting to come in.
Even though cloud covers most of the sky, you can really see the colour shine through the gaps in this photo. I only managed to get a few more shots before the rain kicked in, and unfortunately the next day there wasn’t a sign of anything green in the sky.
This was my first experience of the aurora, and I was thrilled to be able to capture it.
I must admit I haven’t taken too many astronomical photos recently, but when I was driving home last week I spotted this view and I couldn’t resist getting my camera out as soon as I stopped.
I woke up around half five this morning to see a nice view out the window.
Jupiter was just to the left of the moon, providing a lovely and familiar sight that I hadn’t spotted for a while.
Here is a close up of the moon itself. It is too bright to make out much in the way of surface features, but you can easily see the earthshine lighting up the rest of the surface.
And here is a close up of Jupiter from the same photograph. You can even make out the moons around it. (Just!)
You can see the full picture on my Flickr page.
Last weekend saw another Supermoon – a happy coincidence when the Moon is both full, and the closest to Earth. As is usually the case with these things, the weather was not ideal for me.
However some people were a little more lucky – Emma Alexander managed to get this rather splendid photograph on Monday night. Using just a Canon PowerShot SX260 HS (not an SLR!) zoomed right in, you can see quite a lot of contrast as well as colour in this shot. (It certainly looked very yellow near Leeds!)
With another Supermoon gone, it seems like the same cloudy weather is now all too familiar. Guess we will just have to keep our fingers crossed for August 2014 when it is due to happen again!
This weekend Jupiter, Mercury and Venus were nice and close together, so I decided to try and get a photo just after sunset. While the quality is not the best – it was great to get the opportunity to capture this event before the clouds set in.
A few members of The York Astronomical Society had the good sense to go out and enjoy a (rare) clear evening this week. On Tuesday the 2nd of April, I took these photos of the comet C/2011 L4 (Pan-STARRS) with my Canon 7D.
As you can see from this photo, the great galaxy in Andromeda is also visible, even with a standard digital DSLR camera – and no telescope.
Above is a slightly closer view of the comet in the early evening sky.
While my personal aim is always to try and capture these things with my camera, other members of The York Astronomical Society brought their telescopes and charming wit for all to enjoy.
If you live near York and are interested in astronomy then check out YAS on Facebook.
Another March brings another Spring Kielder Forest Star Camp – supported by the Sunderland Astronomical Society. Unfortunately, this year I was unable to camp due to other commitments, but I did travel over to spend the day with members of The York Astronomical Society who were visiting.
As per usual, the weather was not very good while I was there, missing clear skies both before I arrived and after I had departed. In fact, the cloud cover was so bad that I didn’t even get around to taking my camera out of its bag!
The fantastic company and the beautiful surroundings made it all worth while, and I’m now looking forward to the next Kielder Star Camp in October.
Here’s a picture I took after getting home on Christmas day 2012. You can clearly make out both the moons around Jupiter and the halo around our own moon. The photo is not optically perfect because it was taken out my window, but I thought it looked rather nice.
Last weekend a few members from The York Astronomical Society travelled up north to Kielder Observatory for the peak of the Leonid Meteor Shower.
As soon as I arrived at the observatory I got my camera out and started taking photographs of the night sky. While it may not have been the clearest I’ve ever seen the sky at Kielder, it certainly was more impressive than the recent Autumn Star Camp which ended up being a bit of a washout.
Gary Fildes had a quick chat to us before we all set off to look through the instruments – including their 14″ Meade LX200 and 20″ Split Ring Equatorial telescopes. Both of which provided very impressive views of various deep sky objects including Jupiter and Andromeda.
Talking of Andromeda, I had to do my usual dark sky test to see how well it came out in a 30 second photograph using my Canon 7D. As you can see, there are a lot of stars in this photo.
As per usual I pointed my camera around Cassiopeia to get a nice picture of the Milky Way including Andromeda to the right.
As you can see, Andromeda is visible even when zoomed out, and at full size you can make out even more detail than previous attempts back home in Thorner or light polluted Scarborough.
I just goes to show how impressive the dark skies at Kielder Observatory really are. You can also see the full resolution photographs on Flickr.
At the weekend myself and a few other members of The York Astronomical Society journeyed over to Scarborough for an evening of astronomy and good times. As well as looking through my friend’s telescopes – I also positioned my camera skyward to see what the dark skies of suburban Scarborough had in store for me.
As you can see there are still a large amount of stars that are visible by using a 30 second exposure, even tough there is a distinct orange glow when compared to roughly the same photographs taken from the dark skies of Thorner – my home village.
With Andromeda being my new favourite benchmark for dark skies, I performed my usual routine of pointing my camera towards the bright stars of Cassiopeia – here marked with the green lines. Andromeda is just to the right located inside the green circle.
In the full resolution picture you can see that Andromeda is clearly more than just a regular field star, even with the increased amounts of light pollution when compared to the streetlight-free Thorner image below.
I think this really goes to show the difference that street lights and other forms of light pollution has on astrophotography. Thankfully, it’s dark enough back home for me not to need an expensive filter for my camera.