Farewell NLC, welcome back dark skies…!

Well, I think the 2014 NLC season is now over, although there’s always a chance of a last display before August begins. And after a weak start it was a good one, with several big displays and a few more smaller ones. I hope you all managed to see at least one, I’ve been banging on about NLC for MONTHS!!! 😉

Now August is almost here the late night sky is actually dark again, and the Milky Way is really starting to look good. I was out the other night/morning taking photos, and here’s what I managed. This is a composite of three separate pictures but they were all taken with just a camera on a tripod, no tracking, no following, just a high ISO setting and a short enough exposure to ensure no trailing. A bit of enhancing afterwards – contrast, levels etc – but nothing no-one reading this couldn’t do. You don’t need Photoshop – I primarily use a free image processing package called “FastStone Viewer”. Anyway, here’s what I managed to get… click on it to enlarge it, as usual.

Milky Way Kendal b ss

We also have a comet in the sky, Comet Jacques. Around magnitude 6 at the moment, but expected to brighten as it slides up through Auriga, past the Double Cluster and then into Cassiopeia. I took this pic the other night…

2b crop labels

As I said, not much to write home about yet, but *this is how most comets look*, only very rarely do they become naked eye bright with a tail, so get out there with your binocs and take a look.

There’ll be full details about this comet, and more, at our next meeting, when we’ll also have a guest speaker so I look forward to a good turnout for that. Finally, if anyone is interested in the observing weekend up at Ennerdale but hasn’t contacted Carol about it yet, can you get a move on? Thanks!


NLC Displays seen from Kendal

In the past few days there have been two – yes, count them, TWO! – big displays of noctilucent clouds visible from Kendal and right across the northern UK. I hope some of you saw them, seeing as I’ve been banging on about these for months now! 🙂

Anyway, illustrated with a gazillion pictures there are full reports on my blog…


…but here are a couple of the pictures I took for you to see just why I’m prepared to lose so much sleep over these strangely beautiful clouds…



cockrel best s


Vesta and Ceres meet in the sky…

Saturday night Stella and I headed up to Helsington Church to try and catch two asteroids (well, strictly speaking one asteroid and one “dwarf planet”) meeting in the evening sky. EAS Treasurer Simon White was already there, set up with his telescope and camera gear, and we had to wait a while for the sky to darken enough to track down our prey, but eventually we did…

ceres vesta wide s

vesta ceres wide s

ceres vesta july 5 2014

Not very dramatic, I know, but a shot I really wanted to take 🙂

I also tried some shots of the Milky Way, but the light pollution from Lancaster ruined the effect… really can’t wait to get to a proper dark sky again…

m way ss

NLCs shine over Kendal

The 2014 NLC Season is now at its half way point, and although we’ve missed some because of the weather (same old story, I know) there have been a couple of pretty good displays visible from Kendal, which I managed to get photos of from the Castle. First, a display seen June 19/20th…


waves sm


Then we had a display the other night, July 6/7th… which was spectacular from further north, and the east, but from here in Kendal my view was ruined by lingering cloud (which followed the NLC as it drifted east!!)…





…and I had a fleeting moment of fame when the “Good Morning Britan” weather presenter, Laura Tobin, retweeted one of my pics to all her Followers and recommended my NLC blog page, too…


Hopefully there are a few more good displays to come between now and the end of the month, but oh, the weather has to buck its ideas up…!!!