Observing - what did you see tonight?

With what did you observe?

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Re: Observing - what did you see tonight?

#161  Postby felltoearth » Aug 21, 2019 12:37 am

Sweet!
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Re: Observing - what did you see tonight?

#162  Postby theropod_V_2.0 » Jun 07, 2020 8:14 pm

Before the moon came up and washed out the sky I saw 21 of the recently launched SpaceX interweb birds fly by. Counting from when the lead satellite would cross very near a bright star and the next in the chain would do so was about 13 seconds. Each of the satellites was very close to exactly spaced to cover this distance. I actually observed the star crossing point change with the rotation of the earth. The last in the train nearly occulted the bright star I picked when the first few were a finger width away. 21 X 13 = 273/60 4.5+ minutes then works out pretty close to what I saw. 15° per hour is the constant rate of rotation, over 5 minutes that’s about 1.25°. The point being that these little bright specks were lined up like mad. I was imaging the northern skies and missed catching the little shits.

I did manage to capture a tiny little spark of meteor about 15 minutes before the moon put and end to things. With our air air supercharged with gulf moisture all the way up the sky turned to a milky soup when our moon rose. It was too hot and muggy for fire flies! Air traffic has been reduced by an order of magnitude!

RS
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Re: Observing - what did you see tonight?

#163  Postby theropod_V_2.0 » Aug 08, 2020 11:26 pm

0039B259-C96B-4FD7-9FF1-CB3206E85F8E.jpeg
August 7, 2020 Early Perseid Meteors
0039B259-C96B-4FD7-9FF1-CB3206E85F8E.jpeg (173.62 KiB) Viewed 327 times


My wife and I sat out watching the sky last night. Seeing was about 8 out of 10, which is a small miracle for this time of year. Very few bugs were out, and cool. Sky is looking pretty clear again this evening, but it is much more warm and humid. Air from Texas has been pushing into the region since before daylight.

Naturally we saw several nice meteor falls just out of the phone camera frame. Still, there are 4 small streakers in this 5 minute exposure. This is looking northeast around 11 pm.

RS
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Re: Observing - what did you see tonight?

#164  Postby theropod_V_2.0 » Aug 10, 2020 12:14 am

Last night was very special. We saw 4 fireballs that couuld only have been part of the alpha Capricornid shower. These were bright golden high speed meteors that came in from the west on shallow angles. One had a particularly bright head and persistent train. We saw several Perseids, but most were just bright streakers. One, however, was a beast that lasted nearly 4 seconds, covered 3/4 of the sky and the train changed colors several times. A very special meteor fall indeed. None of these ancient fireworks fell where my phone was pointing. Clouds may spoil tonight, but I’ll have my tracker out just in case.

RS
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Re: Observing - what did you see tonight?

#165  Postby Macdoc » Aug 10, 2020 2:07 am

Cool ...bit too moist tonight but might run up to the flying field one night during the week as it peaks.
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Re: Observing - what did you see tonight?

#166  Postby theropod_V_2.0 » Aug 11, 2020 1:00 am

Storms are drifting towards us very slowly from the west southwest, and I’m going try to squeeze in a couple hours before they anvil tops block out the sky. Maybe I’ll get lucky.

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Re: Observing - what did you see tonight?

#167  Postby theropod_V_2.0 » Aug 17, 2020 1:03 pm

I didn’t manage to photograph any meteors last night, but the sky was amazing. No moon and very dry air with no wind to speak of all combined for a special night. The Perseids are thinning out rapidly.

After fighting my iPhone 6s plus to work with the app NightCap Camera for months I made a small breakthrough. One of the capture modes called “Long Exposure” didn’t work well with my old 6 plus, but with the higher megapixel count in this phone it just pops. With my old phone this setting just returned muddied smudges, and artifacts grew with the length of exposure and ISO settings. I was able to crank the ISO and shoot 5 minute tracked shots with much better results. I wish I had ran the same tests ahead of comet Neowise. I might have actually got a decent shot instead of the grainy mess with which I was left.

80F44F7A-39DF-4CDB-B472-2B7B0C79C2D5.jpeg
Jupiter, Saturn and the Milky Way
80F44F7A-39DF-4CDB-B472-2B7B0C79C2D5.jpeg (250 KiB) Viewed 263 times


In the lower left the two bright “stars” are Saturn (leftmost) and Jupiter, with a faint smudge of the Milky Way. While the noise and artifacts are pretty bad in this shot it is a vast improvement over my efforts to catch Neowise. Still, working around the limitations Apple put into the camera control firmware in the 6s is a royal bitch.

Hopefully I’ll be back out under the stars pretty quickly after the knives come out, and if this surgery doesn’t break the bank a shiny new DSLR with find a home at my house, along with that iOptron CEM25P goto equatorial mount. I’m sick of trying to pull off cell phone miracles.

RS
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