Comet C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy) with M79 2014 December 28

I’d been trying to get this comet for some nights, desperately cutting down vegetation in my neighbour’s garden (with permission) to get low enough. I managed to capture it on the 28th, the same night as several other amateurs in the UK achieved the same, at an altitude of 14 degrees above the horizon, much affected by the London skyglow to the south of my observatory.

The single 30s exposure best shows the globular cluster M79. The stack of 17 images (stacked on the comet) shows the comet best; this image has been subjected to several stages of non-linear stretch and also had gradient and colour cast removal with GradientXterminator and noise removal with NeatImage. Also given is an inverted mono version stretched further to show the tail better. Click any image to enlarge.

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The Sun 2014 October 21

Here’s my take on the giant sunspot AR 2192.

The features I find striking here are the linear streakiness seeming to emanate from a point W (celestial) of the group, manifested in its upper part, and the slightly lighter bridge running right across the main umbra. I used to think sunspots were only bi-tonal, but they are not. (Click twice to enlarge)

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Sun in H alpha 2014 September 26 and October 03

Here are some large images I produced in the process of writing an article on ‘Imaging the Sun in Narrowband’ for the December 2014 issue of Astronomy Now.

The first  is a 3-part mosaic taken with a 100mm f/9 telescope, a vertical slice of Sun. Lack of IR blocking of this image has reduced the H-alpha contrast and put the sunspots back in. I was avoiding using the Lunt blocking filter, which has the defect known as ‘rust’. (Kudos to Lunt that they have offered to replace it free, though it is an old piece of equipment, but I haven’t got the replacement yet.)

The second is a three-part mosaic with the Lunt LS60T, which gets the whole disk in. I hit on a very successful IR blocking method here. This was to use a 2″ Baader 35nm H alpha filter,  that I sometimes use for deep-sky imaging, in the imaging train as a blocker.

Click once or twice to get images full-size. The first won’t fit on most screens.

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Lunar images 2014 September 09 & 11

On the 9th seeing was not too good, but this image does show up some of the clefts in Hevelius and the irregular dome in Grimaldi. The vague gash extending from Riccioli away from the terminator is known as the ‘Miyamori Valley”. It is not really a valley at all, but a conjunction of shadows.Moon2014-09-07-2349-DLASeeing was better on the 11th and the image of the Messier twins shows their structure clearly. As Bill Leatherbarrow, BAA Lunar Section Director comments, the multiple west wall of Messier A is probably responsible for most of the historical anamalous observations of this pair.Moon2014-09-11-0142-DLAMoon2014-09-11-0142large-DLAMoon2014-09-11-0138-DLAMoon2014-09-11-0149-DLA


Comet 2014 E2 (Jacques) 2014 September 01

I thought I should take Jacques with a longer focal length than I used on August 05 with the Hyperstar, so I imaged it here with my 100mm f/9 refractor at prime focus with a Canon EOS 400D (as it’s inconvenient to remove the QHY8 CCD camera from the Hyperstar).

A couple of things went wrong with this image. Firstly the exposure I chose was too long:  there is noticeable drift of the comet in 2 minutes at this image scale, so it is not as round as it should be. Secondly, it clouded over after I had only got 6 subs.

I have tried stretching the image and inverting it, as I did before, but there is no evidence of a tail here at all (though this is a much better calibrated image than the Hyperstar one).

Processing was in Nebulosity 2, and Photoshop CS4 using GradientXterminator and Neat Image plug-ins.

(Click to enlarge)