EAS / CAS “SkyWatch” at Low Gillerthwaite Field Centre

Last weekend members of the Eddington AS and members (well, a member!) of the Cockermouth AS gathered at the Low Gillerthwaite Field Centre for a weekend “astronomy retreat”, organised by Carol (EAS) and Jeremy (CAS), the aim being to combine socialising and informal astronomy workshops and discussions with some serious stargazing and astrophotography at one of the darkest sites in the county – a secluded valley at the end of Ennerdale, absolutely miles away from anywhere.

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Sadly the weather didn’t co-operate (that’s a polite way of saying it was ******** rubbish! Again! We’re cursed!) but it was still great fun, and a great opportunity to just chat about astronomy over great food, and sit beside a roaring fire while the wind howled outside and the rain pattered down.

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There was a two minute gap on one night, when I managed to sneak out a single photo before the clouds obliterated everything (Cassiopiea), but that was it…

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With no stars to view, members found other things to do, and there was no shortage of local wildlife to get to know…

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…and I know that the EAS members who “attended” Jeremy Hunt’s astro-photography workshop found it extremely useful, so thanks Jeremy!

It was a shame more of our friends from Cockermouth couldn’t join us for what was a very enjoyable weekend, despite the weather. Maybe next time. LGFC is a great place with great facilities…

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…and on a clear night – such as the night immediately before we got there and on the night we left, ********** typical!!!! – the sky is strewn with stars.

Thanks to everyone who made the effort to go to the weekend – quite a trek from Kendal – and a special thanks to Carol and Jeremy for organising it. Look forward to the next time!

Northern Lights

I’ve just returned from Iceland where we were lucky enough to have a couple of clear nights with quite active aurora display. The whole sky was lit up with the aurora but not quite as vivid as in the photos. We were staying near Hella in southern Iceland and took these photos between 11pm on Saturday 15th and 2 am Sunday morning.

I was using a Nikon D7000 with an 18 mm lens set at 1600 ISO; F4.0 and exposed for 15 seconds.
Much of the time the aurora was moving so it was impossible to get a crisp image but I was pleased that the stars in the background are quite sharp.

I’ve not yet had time to tweak the images – this will have to wait for a wet day.
I can thoroughly recommend a visit to Iceland as it’s a fascinating country and very welcoming.

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Very high ISO’s

Last week I bought a new camera, it’s the Canon 7D Mark II and it’s got ISO’s like i’ve not seen before. So last night the sky was clear so I bagged some locations that could be found in the EAST sky.

The images are black and white as I had not got the correct white balance set up.

Apologies for not being at the astro meetings, the last few months have been really busy. I hope to get back and find out about what’s to look out for in the night sky. It would be good to go aurora and comet watching this winter.

Andromeda Galaxy ISO 16000
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Pleiades ISO 16000
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Orion Nebula ISO 8000
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My friend has created an iPhone App you might find useful Astro Locator