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A good day…

Amazingly, my weekend off has coincided with a spell of beautiful weather, so I’m making the most of it by leaving my computer, books and “stuff” behind and going up to Kendal Castle, to drink in the sunshine and get to know our local star a bit better, before Venus, Jupiter and the Moon emerge from the twilight glow and put on another beautiful display.

Yesterday afternoon I hauled two big bags of telescope gear, plus my camera, plus my small tent, plus food and drink, and assorted other bits and pieces up to the Castle, the idea being to spend most of the day there, observing the Sun, showing it to any interested passers by – if there were any – and then taking more photographs of Venus and Jupiter, now joined once again by a crescent Moon, after sunset. I wanted to try to get to grips with my t-adaptor too, that lets me fix my camera to my telescope and, hopefully, photograph sunspots, etc. It was quite a hike, weighed down like some kind of astronomer-paratrooper, and I was on the receiving end of a lot of puzzled/sympathetic/amused/incredulous looks as I walked through the park, crossed the river and trekked up the steep pathway that leads to the Castle. It was quite a relief to dump my bags on the ground, I can tell you…

…but after a little more hefting and huffing I was ready to declare the Kendal Castle Soar Observatory open…!

On the left we have my trusty and trusted 4.5″ reflector, with its home-made solar filter on the front. Ok, so it’s not very glamourous-looking, essentially a small square of mylar solar filter material mounted inside a plastic storage container covered with black masking tape, but it does the job, and gives me brilliant views of the Sun. Beside it, the Eddington AS Coronado solar viewing telescope, which gives great views of prominences and the like but is, as Coronado owners will agree, a bit of a pain to use. So, I was set…

It was a gloriously sunny day, and there were lots of people up at the Castle, and many of them came to see what I was doing. They were all impressed and excited by their views of the Sun, with a few small sunspots near the limb, so I feel like I did some useful Outreach up there yesterday too! I’d love to be able to show you what the Sun looked like through my telescope, but I couldn’t get the ***** image in focus using that t-adaptor, I just couldn’t, but I’ll try again today, I think I know what I’m doing wrong… 😉

Eventually, after countless views of the Sun and its sunspots, and visits from probably 40 or so people (and almost as many dogs, one of which was determined to nick my sandwiches!) the Sun sank towards the horizon, and I wondered if I should go home – the sky to the west, where the Moon and planets would appear, looked very murky…

…but I decided that after spending so long up there looking forward to seing Venus and Jupiter it would be a bit daft to go home without even trying to see them, so I stayed. I was soon very pleased I did…

The mist and haze and crud piled up above the western horizon soon cleared enough to let Venus and Jupiter peep out, and soon the very thin crescent Moon was visible too. I spent another hour or so taking pictures, and here are the best ones…

I know that light pollution looks HORRENDOUS, like Kendal was used in the opening sequence of Bladerunner or something, but it’s not that bad. A combination of all that mist and haze and long exposure times meant the light from town is exaggerated. It’s still pretty bad, but nothing like downtown LA, which is what it looks like on these pics!

Tonight the crescent Moon will be shining close to Jupiter, so I’ll try for some more pictures. Hope you do, too!


One Response

  1. […] oben sowie hier, hier und hier, aus Österreich, Indien und Australien, vom 24. März aus dem U.K. (mehr, Indien und diversen Orten, vom 23. März aus Deutschland (mehr), vom 20. März aus Norwegen […]

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