Saturn makes an appearance

In a bid to get a clear southern horizon with hopes of seeing Saturn, I drove out to Bobbington and parked opposite the small airport of Halfpenny Green. I don’t like taking the telescope out to public places, I don’t think any amateur astronomers do. With my camera attached, there’s over £1,000 worth of gear at the roadside. But I was desperate to get a sighting of Saturn.
I waited for half hour before it appeared above the trees at about 11.00pm. It’s been a hot day, and through the haze, with the cooling down of the air, the turbulence was so intense at times, I could hardly see the ring system. It was dancing about like a fish on a pole. Also, the planet appeared redder than I’d ever seen it. Why was this, I wonder?

I fear Saturn won’t be well placed for UK views for a few years. I did manage to get a picture, and I’ve not changed the colour, so you can see the ruddiness. Next week, hopefully, I’ll get in some proper late-night sessions when the planet’s higher.

saww
I’d have also liked to have taken some constellation photos of Saturn’s position, but the Fuji camera I use (which gives me a nice wide aperture), is needing to be sent for repair.

So, one fuzzy shot of a beetroot Saturn is all I came back with. But it was a lovely night, the first balmy evening of the year I think.

Two-planet Tuesday

It’s been a month since I updated. Hard to believe there’s been no astronomical activity in that time. I tried to find Saturn with a view to filming/stacking a couple of weeks ago, but things didn’t go to plan. I did get some imaging done last night though, and with Jupiter higher than the last time I imaged it, I got quite a pleasing shot.

jup3

Yea, I’m pleased with this shot, although it isn’t too sharp, but it does nicely capture what you’ll see through an 8 inch mirror on a still night. You can just make out the (out of focus) moons – Io on the left, Ganymede on the right, (and a reminder that http://www.shallowsky.com/jupiter/ is Johnny on-the-spot for Jovian transit predictions and moon placings).
The above image was converted to AVI with Pipp, stacked with Autostakkert and tweaked with Registrax, though I don’t think I’ve got the best out of the programs yet. Especially Registrax, because I’m just changing the wavelet settings willy-nilly. But it’s better than the last effort, so I’m heading in the right direction.
Venus disappeared in the sunset earlier this year, so I took a trip out of the city an hour ago and caught the lovely planet around 4.30am, just before sunrise, (which is Wednesday, thus making the title of this blog-post a falsehood).
You can just see it above centre, about to succumb to the daylight.

Venusbest

Next week I’m hoping to get some decent astronomy done, though I suspect the moon might scupper any decent dark-sky observations. But at least out in the wilds of Shropshire, I’ll get a chance to image the splendour of Saturn – weather permitting!