Saturday, 9 August 2014

Persieds Meteors August 2014

SPA Meteor Section - Prospects Dates and Guide

If your going meteor watching don't forget to take warm clothing a flask a camp chair is also good with a blanket to sit back and enjoy any meteors you see in comfort. The Moon will affect this years shower but you should still see meteors.

IMO Link above is updated every 15 mins showing Persied Observations. Happy Hunting.

Meteorscan Live View -

Listen to meteor radar echos -

Monday, 7 April 2014

Astronomy Imaging Session - Dalmellington -07/04/2014

Taken from Back Garden Dalmellington with my Ascension 102mm ED Triplet - Qhy8l Cam conditions not great. I was hoping to capture Comet C2012/K1 Panstarrs but it misted over. Focus could have been sharper processed in Adobe PS7 - Hopefully future pictures will be better quality. Nice to keep a record and hopefully see improvement in the future.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Moon 11th March, 2014

Moon 11th March, 2014 a video by Dave Hancox on Flickr.

Moon Vids with QHY5-11 Mono and stills processed in Registax 6 and Adobe PS7

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

M41 Feb 2014

m41a copyIMGP1712graphic

M41 Feb 2014, a set on Flickr.

M41 Widefield (pentax K30) and through 102mm Asension, QHY8L

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Meteor Showers April to May 2014 Northern Hemisphere

Active between April 16 and April 25 – Max 22/23
ZHR 18
Radiant Constellation Lyra  
Moon about 39% illuminated

Eta Aquarids
Active between April 19 and May 28 – Max 5/6
ZHR 55
Radiant Constellation Aquarius
Moon about 46% illuminated

Possible New Shower – Camelopardalids
24 May
Radiant Constellation Camelopardalis
Moon about 20% Illuminated

We are expected to pass through the dust trail from 209P/Linear for the first time.

More info by

ZHR = Zenithal Hourly Rate of a meteor shower is the number of meteors a single observer would see in one hour under a clear, Moon less dark sky.
Radiant = Is the constellation meteors appear to come from if you trace back a meteor trail.


Get away from light polluted areas to an area with dark skies.
Meteor observing doesn’t require special equipment you can observe with the naked eye.
Worm clothing and footwear is recommended take a blanket or a chair with you so you can sit back and view the sky without getting a crick in your neck.
Meteor observing can be a waiting game and be a bit hit or miss that’s part of the challenge-
Check the weather and moonrise and moonset timings for your location before you leave, and plan your viewing around it.
When it pays off you will be treated to a celestial firework show.

I use a Pentax K30 DSLR tripod mounted with a 2 sec shutter delay to remove camera shake. F3.5, ISO 1600 or more, 30 secs exposure I have a standard lens 18mm but if you have a wider angle lens all the better. A remote cable and timer. As with all astrophotography test shots pay off until you get the right setting.
I now have a 180° camera which I can use with software to hopefully detect meteors automatically which I will hopefully have set up for these showers leaving me to use my DSLR hopping to catch a Fireball.

I hope you find this post useful I am an amateur astro-photographer you will find
A wealth of expert information on the subject online
Happy Hunting

Dave Hancox Volunteer Scottish Dark Sky Observatory

Come and Visit us at the  

Monday, 10 February 2014

Astro Software I Use

I am often asked for the links for software I use and mention in my talks on cloudy nights at the Scottish Dark Sky Observatory. So thought it would be nice to post them here for those interested.
Dave Hancox Volunteer @ SDSO (Photo's posted have all been taken with a mid range DSLR except the Moon shot)

Scottish Dark Sky Observatory -

SKY CHARTS (Free Versions)

Both the above produce sky charts which have options to customise for your home or area of observations they can be updated as new events come to light i.e. Comets. Extra information on the objects you are interested in are available via the links the programs provide. They can also be used for telescope guiding.

To find you own Longitude, latitude and altitude worldwide the following link will help

Star trail Photography

The above program uses your time-lapse photo’s to make great star trail pictures and also gives you the option to make time-lapse video.

Deep Sky Photo Stacker

A program used for stacking a number of astro photo’s to obtain more detail from the data it come complete with instructions and is quite easy to use in default mode and has plenty of online tutorials

Registax 6

A program used for editing webcam video footage of Planets and the Moon. It processes video footage into single pictures and allows you to stack the best images to provide a highly detail final shot. Again it come with instructions and tutorials are easily found online. Again its easy to start using in default mode.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Interesting Comets and Earth Impacting Asteroid 2014

Comets In 2014 - http://www.fallofath...ts-in-2014.html

Comet Holmes (17P/Holmes)

The Polish scientists believe that Comet Holmes (17P/Holmes) will likely explode on its next orbit near the Sun. If so, many on Earth may be treated to a rare celestial show.

Perihelion is defined by Miriam-Webster as "the point in the path of a celestial body (in our case a comet) that is nearest to the Sun."
27 March 2014

Comet Siding Spring (C/2013 A1)

There is currently a 1 and 120,000 chance that Comet Siding Spring (C/2013 A1) will hit Mars on October 19, 2014

This Comet will be visible in the Sourtern Hemisphere but will be interesting to follow. NASA are going to try and capture it with The Mars Rovers and also try and capture a possible meteor storm on the planet.

Asteroid 2014AA From first observation 1st Jan 2014 to impacting Earth 31 hours.
Read the story here. http://minorplanetce...teroid-2014-aa/

Holmes caught on 300mm lens Pentax K200d from my front garden in 2007 Dalmellington.
Attached thumbnail(s)
Attached Image: Holmesoct07a.jpg

 Found this one of Comet Holmes 17/P last pass in Oct 2007 taken with Pentax K200D and Tamron 300mm lens in Dalmellington.

Noctilucent Cloud 2014

Noctilucent Cloud 2014

Nlc's usually appear from mid May to mid August.
They are a very interesting subject to view in the night sky and a great subject for photography.
There is a specific range of latitude they are visible from normally 50-65° North and about 82km in height

Early in 2014 the Earth may have past through the dust trail from Comet Ison it is thought this may enhance the NLC's this year we will have to wait and see.

Noctilucent (Night Shining is a loose Latin Translation)

An indication of the formation of NLC's is when the Mesosphere temperature drops to about -140°C at about 82KM altitude

Example:NLC's over  Dalmellington, Ayrshire Scottish Dark Sky Observatory 2013 
 (  )

Types of NLC's Clouds

Type 1: Veil – A simple structureless sheet, sometimes as background to other forms.

Type 2: Bands – Lines or streaks, parallel or 
crossing at small angles.

Type 3: Waves – Fine herring-bone structure like the sand ripples on a beach at low tide. Very characteristic of NLC.

Type 4: Whirls – Large-scale looped or twisted structures.

Type 5: Amorphous – Isolated patches of NLC with no definite structure


ISO 200-400, 10-20 secs F2.8/3.5

The above settings are a rough guide only and experimentation is recommended

Below is a time-lapse also taken from the SDSO in June 2013


Meteor Smoke Makes Strange Clouds - NASA Science -

Explanation from the Atoptics Site -  

NLC Observations Site 2013 -

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Moon Shots January 2014

23-36-20-85b 10114moon23-10-46-633abST23-40-43-820a mmm23-19-16-168aty23-32-2-374ff

Moon Shots January 2014, a set on Flickr.

Taken at the

Taken with Ascension 102 ED Triplet. QHY5 - Registax 6

Cold and frosty but a good night.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Ascension 102 mm Triplet - QHY8L - NEQ6Pro

M42221113 - M31m31221113 - M31m92221113 - M92

After getting an interest in Astronomy through night shoots with my DSLR(Which I won't be giving up). I decided to delve into Astro-Photography. I am using an Ascension 102mm Triplet - NEQ6 Pro Mount & QHY8L Camera. EZCAP software PS2, PSE7 and Deepskystacker. After many hours struggling with Polar Alignment a new type of camera software, balancing the scope etc and watching numerous videos on the subject hours spent in the freezing conditions head fit to burst. With The help of my Ayrastro friends and Rob at the Scottish Dark Sky Observatory. Tonight was wonderful and clear and i set up hoping to improve my alignment and everything clicked so much so i even got the camera out and managed some imaging. Woohoo!! Maybe not award winning pictures but my first. :). I will be writing more on my blog about my future trials and tribulations and on this night in more detail soon. (I just need to learn how to do them in colour now ;) )