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No NLC yet, but…

…there are a couple of (hopefully!) clear nights coming up over the next week, so fingers crossed. Actually, to be honest, I have a bad feeling about this year’s NLC Season. I think we’re heading for another 2012. That year, you might remember, there were some decent displays, but here in Cumbria we missed all of them because of our crap weather. Last year, amazingly, the best displays occurred when the Cumbrian cloud cleared, allowing us great views. But so far in 2014 clear nights have been NLC No Show nights, and displays have happened when it has been cloudy in Cumbria… I might be wrong, I might just be having a Pessimistic Astronomer episode, but… well… just saying… I have a “feeling” about this year.

So, since the 2014 Season began at the start of the month, lured up there by beautiful clear skies, I’ve spent hours up at the castle, waiting for something to kick off, but I haven’t seen a hint of NLC. Not a whisper. Which is very disappointing, obviously, but hey, that’s something British – and especially Cumbrian – astronomers are used to. So what we do is make the best of things, and enjoy what’s up there instead, and this past week I’ve been able to take some *fantastic* photos of the International Space Station crossing the sky above my town and, at the end of last week, was treated to the magical sight of an almost Full Moon blazing above the castle with an enormous, beautiful halo around it. So, definitely a frustrating week, but a very rewarding one too. And made all the more enjoyable by having some great company up there, too – namely Stella, my great observing mate Carol, and keen local photographer James Kirby. Here’s a stunning pic Carol took of all of us together, silhouetted against the bright lights of the Auld Grey Town at silly o’clock in the morning…


Anyway, here are some of the pictures I took during the past NLC-free week, proving that even if you don’t get to see what  you wanted to see, if you’re patient, and willing to do a bit of work, the universe will always offer you a compensation. (And yes, it does help if your backdrop is a drop-dead gorgeous ruined castle, I know. Hard to go wring with that!)


The “bright lights” of Kendal…


Moon peeping out from behind a cloud bank…

ISS Kendal June 8-9 2014s

The space station dropping down towards the horizon after a beautiful pass…

ISS Castle Jun 8-9 2014s


ISS soaring over Kendal Castle…



dWIqOsm - Copy

Late night/early morning at Kendal Castle…

And now, those “Moon plus halo” pics…

moonbow jun  12-13d

moonbow jun 12-13sm

moonbow jun 12-13b sm

moonbow jun 12-13c

No, no NLC, but pretty pleased with what I got!

Clear sky forecast tomorrow night, so fingers crossed for a killer NLC display to get stuck into. Last year I still had a very basic DSLR, but now I have a much better one, and lots of different lenses, so really looking forward to seeing what I can do with it.


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