Had the chance last night to image. Since my last post, regailing the fine weather we’ve been having said weather has on the whole turned to rubbish again starting with the eclipse of the 27th July that was clouded out for much of the UK. As I’m on holiday this week I did not waste the opportunity to gather the OIII and SII data needed to finish off IC1318 in Cygnus, a relatively bright nebula near the star Sadr. Also the Perseid meteor shower is underway with bright meteors being seen now, the shower reaches its peak on the 13th August and the Moon will be near new so it should be a good show, weather permitting. So with this in mind I set up the all sky camera and started the Graves radar back scatter detector. Now this is going to sound odd but the best time for seeing meteors is not at night, this is because the Earth itself acts as a shield, so being on the night side of the Earth opposite its entry into the stream of debris from the comet Swift – Tuttle ( the source of the Perseids ) means you will see relatively few compared to if you could see them during the day. The best time is after 1am when your position on the Earth is turning into the particle stream and heading for dawn. The All Sky camera captured a few bright meteors and what looked like a series of wavy lines travelling together, something that caused me some confusion for a while, until I realised it was a flock of birds lit up from below by the stupidly bright LED street lights. Below is a composite image made from the nights captures.
The Graves radar back scatter detector is also picking up lots of meteors as they burn up in the atmosphere over the south of France, leaving behind a trail of ionised gas that reflects the radar signal from the graves space surveillance system in Dijon. To find out how this is done read the Meteor Detection with Radio section of this web site. This will be left running until the end of the shower.
The data is fed constantly into a program called Spectrum Lab that gives a visual 2D or 3D graph.
Whilst all this was going on, I was getting the data needed to finish of IC1318, going to bed at 4 ish and getting up a few hours later to process all the data gathered by the all sky camera, radar detector and main imaging scope then finish them in PhotoShop CS5. Phew.