Dark skies and new standards

On 18 April, I drove out to a new location near Tebay to the east of Kendal, in search of higher altitude and darker skies.  I had been keen to try this spot for some time, and conditions were just right.  With reasonable elevation above sea level, and hills providing shelter from the lights of the only nearby town, it was as good as expected.

My first objective was the comet C/2012 K1 (PANSTARRS) which has been exciting the astronomy community.  I have been very keen to get the new kit up and running in order to join the amateur and professional astronomers contributing observations, photographs and measurement data for this comet.

20140418_C/2012_K1

I could not be more pleased with this, my first serious contribution.  You can see that I have added a Photoshop layer of information, showing the angular scale of the capture and various technical details.  This and others in the same vein will be part of my regular submissions to CIOC, the NASA-sponsored collaboration between professional and amateur astronomers which has evolved from the earlier collaboration prompted by observations of Comet ISON.

Once the comet is in the bag, I have to catch another target to exercise my processing skills.  This time I choose a globular cluster in the constellation of Hercules, catalogued as M13.  This cluster measures about 145 light years across, is about 25,000 light years away, and contains hundreds of thousands of stars.

18 April 2014: Globular cluster M13 from Tebay Road. Altair Wave 115/805, ISO 1250, 8 minutes. 16 frames of 30 seconds.

18 April 2014: Globular cluster M13 (Mag 5.8) from Tebay Road.
Altair Wave 115/805, ISO 1250, 8 minutes.
16 frames of 30 seconds.

I had known there would only be a short gap between the end of dusk (where the Sun is 18º below the horizon) at 22:47 and Moonrise at 00:12 and, sure enough, about half an hour later the Moon hoves into view over the hills in the East and brings the session to a close.

The Moon rises and brings activities to a close at about midnight. Nikon 300mm f/8, ISO 1250, 1/125 sec.

The Moon rises and brings activities to a close shortly after midnight.
Nikon 300mm f/8, ISO 1250, 1/125 sec.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s