Wow, that was a good Eddington Astronomy Society of Kendal observing session – probably 15 people learning about the night sky from Simon and looking through several different telescopes with different capabilities. Sky got hazy about 21:30, so we packed up. I must admit, the pint in the New Union, only a few minutes from home, afterwards was excellent.
Lots of Messier objects, i.e. faint fuzzies, seen through my 8″ scope – M42, the Leo Triplet of galaxies M65, M66 and NGC 3628 in the same visual field – nice to see them naked eye after imaging them last Monday night – M51, M101 [both difficult] and the spectacular doublet of M81 and M82.
The star of the night must be Jupiter which was spectacular – all 4 moons put on a show although two were being rather shy and hiding. I managed to connect a webcam – Philips SPC900NC – and demonstrate video image capture. The stacked image [Registax] is much better than I expected – probably because I tweaked the scope collimation on Monday night. Pleased with that. Couldn’t see the Great Red Spot trough the eyepiece but it is clearly there in the processed image.
I also pointed a camera at the Pole Star and captured a series of 144 15 second exposures with 15 second gaps between them over approximately 90 minutes. I removed images with aircraft in them or light from torches of people wandering about! The remaining images I combined using the free Startrails software http://startrails.de/. There is an interesting object occurred about 19:14 which may be a satellite flaring or a meteor at approximately ‘7 oclock’ on the image. No Iridium flares were predicted around that time.