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A bad week…

Yeah, the clue’s in the title.

Not been a good week for astronomers in Kendal. Last Saturday night the brightest, baddest fireball to be seen over the UK for a generation “thrilled observers from Scotland to the south of England”… but of course, Kendal was cloudy. I was at work anyway, so I would have missed it even if it had been clear, but that’s not the point! The fact that it was cloudy **again** just made missing it even more depressing.

(Bit of a laugh the next  day tho when I was contacted by my local paper, and asked about the meteor, only to be called an ‘astrologist’ in the subsequent report (( come on, that’s not even a word, that’s a made up wrong word!! )) which I had changed pretty quickly…!)

Then, through the week, the Sun has been going a bit nuts, firing off solar flares like chavs lighting Chinese lanterns at New Year, triggering major displays of the northern lights at high altitudes and allowing peopl at slightl;y lower latitudes to see them. Not here, of course, too much pigging cloud for that. Last night, looking at the various space weather plots, etc, I’m pretty sure we’d have seen *something* if it had been clear…

…but it was overcast and rainy through the evening, and when gaps started to appear in the cloud around 2.00am activity had died right down again, so nothing to see up there now folks, move along, move along…

And there has been one night – one night! – since the EAS meeting when I’ve been able to see Venus and Jupiter, closing in on each other very quickly now, and then it was only for a half hour, during a dash up to Kendal Castle to try and take some pictures. I managed to get a few, before the demonic clouds rolled back across Kendal and the South Lakes, but I was very pleased with them… if this crappy weather continues these might end up being the best pictures I get of the conjunction…

Now, some of those shots show Venus and Jupiter together, some show Mars shining close to the Moon, I’m sure you’ll figure out which are which!

Speaking of Venus and Jupiter, I’m really hoping that tonight is clear, because the forecast for Tuesday evening, when they’re at their closest, is not good at all. As I type this there are large areas of blue up there… well, milky white-blue, there’s a lot of high cloud, and that’s been preventing me from testing out my new toy – yes, finally, after all these years, I’ve taken the plunge and bought an adaptor that will let me fot a camera to my telescope. Why? Because I want to take pictures of al these gorgeous sunspots! I have been testing it today, but a lack offamiliarity with using one of the adaptors, and the milky sky has meant my first results are less than impressive, but I’ll share the best try here anyway…

Not exactly Earth-shattering, I know, but not *that* bad for a first try maybe… and now I have a better idea of how it works, I reckon that if I get a day that’s realy bright and sunny, with no haze dimming the Sun, I’ll be able to get some half-decent shots…

So, a very frustrating time. This weather really is – well, I won’t use the word I want to in case it offends anyone, but seriously, come on, enough is enough. We’re missing the best planetary conjunction in a decade, maybe more, and countless opportunities to see the northern lights, it’s soul-drainingly depressing, it really is.

But at least I had some company at the Brewery today while I struggled with and growled at my new camera gear…

You can’t be grumpy when you see that now, can you..? 🙂


4 Responses

  1. Sorry about the cloud. Just as a matter of interest where did you get the Aurora forecast graphic from?

  2. The aurora forecast was from the OVATION model website. It should be noted (if it’s any comfort) that during this period the Ovation model was damaged as the radiation storm, the protons from the Sun, overloaded the satellite sensors it uses to make it’s predictions. As a result, it tends to be overoptimistic at times like that.

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