Astronomy, Photography and Weather

General Category => Astronomy & Space => Topic started by: martinastro on March 07, 2010, 11:46:08 pm



Title: Zodiacal Light From Glenshane - March 7th-14th
Post by: martinastro on March 07, 2010, 11:46:08 pm
Got my very first image of the Zodiacal Light Pyramid this evening, Canon 450D 18mm kit lens ISO1600 with 181 sec exposure. Seen it visually for more than 40 min's, but at it's most spectacular between 20.00 and 20.30 UT, could be seen stretching through the ecliptic for 40 degrees (80 Moons) between Cetus and Aries - amazing sight. Observed it from the very dark Glenshane Pass. John McConnell captured it on the previous evening also, I'm not certain but his could be the first ZL capture from N. Ireland as far as I'm aware of. If you haven't seen it before then now is the time to watch, you won't regret it!

(http://i47.tinypic.com/v5d1ec.jpg)


Title: Re: Zodiacal Light From Glenshane - March 7th
Post by: rjgjr on March 08, 2010, 12:57:14 am
Spectacular image Martin. I'm not sure if I have ever seen the Zodiacal Light let alone image it, but it's a beautiful sight. Congrats!


Title: Re: Zodiacal Light From Glenshane - March 7th
Post by: paulster78 on March 08, 2010, 01:02:12 am
Yes well done Martin thats looks brilliant, never seen it before either i might have a lookout for it tomorrow night if it stays clear.


Title: Re: Zodiacal Light From Glenshane - March 7th
Post by: martinastro on March 08, 2010, 03:44:34 am
Thanks very much Richard and Paul, it's an amazing thrill once you see it with the naked eye, a sight which is much better than most images show it. If you have a fairly dark location away from bright lights then you should see it readily enough with appropriate dark adaption. I'm very tempted to try a 5 min exposure next time, but that might be pushing it, that 181 sec exp already picked up orange glow from LP miles away, probably in the direction of Dungiven, or even further. Best of luck if your'e having a go for it. A fast wide angle lens would do a good job on it.


Title: Re: Zodiacal Light From Glenshane - March 7th
Post by: markt on March 08, 2010, 02:56:21 pm
Fantastic image Martin - congrats!  I don't think i'll manage itfrom where i am in the suburbs.  Looks like there's still some snow on the tops there too.  8)


Title: Re: Zodiacal Light From Glenshane - March 7th
Post by: martinastro on March 08, 2010, 03:58:25 pm
Thanks very much Mark, and well spotted!, there is indeed patchy snow still on the mountains here, it was VERY cold too, I had pins and needles in my fingers for 1.5 hours after I got home, although I think the cold conditions helped keep the thermal noise down.


Title: Re: Zodiacal Light From Glenshane - March 7th
Post by: brianb on March 08, 2010, 05:05:43 pm
Well done Martin!


Title: Re: Zodiacal Light From Glenshane - March 7th
Post by: Roman White on March 08, 2010, 07:33:02 pm
Good capture Martin!
I wish I could see the zodiacal light too, but no chances to get under the dark skies here at least until early/mid April.


Title: Re: Zodiacal Light From Glenshane - March 7th
Post by: brianb on March 08, 2010, 08:35:26 pm
Martin, about how bright would you say the ZL was? About as bright as the Milky Way in Cygnus?

The reason I ask is that I think I saw it from home this evening - difficult to be sure because of light interference but the shape & position seemed to be right - OTOH the unless the ZL is variable in brightness (why?) then I don't understand why I haven't seen it before.

Best way to make out the shape, by eye, is to scan rapidly across the area so you get a sense of contrast - the eye does a sort of "flat subtraction" against the scene if you stare in one place, making the subtle contrast gradients harder to see.


Title: Re: Zodiacal Light From Glenshane - March 7th
Post by: martinastro on March 08, 2010, 10:54:42 pm
Thanks very much Roman and Brian!

That's a good question Brian which I just confirmed tonight. From Glenshane this evening I noticed that the ZL was significantly brighter than the Milky Way in Cygnus!!, sounds like you seen it for sure!. Here's an image from this evening just after 20.00 UT. I could see it visually for almost one hour.

(http://i45.tinypic.com/14bqdys.jpg)


Title: Re: Zodiacal Light From Glenshane - March 7th
Post by: paulster78 on March 08, 2010, 11:33:52 pm
I drove up to Pigeon Top tonight and had my first viewing of the Zodical light, a great sight when you know what your looking for otherwise you could very easily miss it. Very dark skies in this location especially in the west although the horizon was slightly obscured. I didnt try to image it as I need a remote shutter and the 28-100mm lens I am borrowing isn't really wide enough, but I was happy to have seen it for now :)


Title: Re: Zodiacal Light From Glenshane - March 7th
Post by: martinastro on March 08, 2010, 11:44:55 pm
Congratulations Paul!!, it's a great thing to tick off the list, not many can say they seen it from N. Ireland. Sounds like you got to a great location, the 28mm lens might pick it up depending on the FOV. A remote shutter or cable release is essential although you could just hold the shutter button down for a min or two, even if the stars are shaken you would still pick it up.

Congrats again!  :)


Title: Re: Zodiacal Light From Glenshane - March 7th
Post by: markt on March 09, 2010, 07:31:34 am
From Glenshane this evening I noticed that the ZL was significantly brighter than the Milky Way in Cygnus

Congrats Paul and Brian, I may well have a look myself as can just about make out the milkyway where I am with averted vision...  ::)


Title: Re: Zodiacal Light From Glenshane - March 7th
Post by: jjb on March 09, 2010, 09:12:46 pm
Well done Martin.


Title: Re: Zodiacal Light From Glenshane - March 7th
Post by: martinastro on March 09, 2010, 10:48:38 pm
3rd night in a row watching the Zodiacal Light, this time shared the experience with Dr. Andy McCrea and his wife from the IAA up on the Glenshane Pass. We watched the ZL for 1hr 10min's, Andy confirmed it was brighter than the Milky Way. Fantastic session. Will post images shortly


Title: Re: Zodiacal Light From Glenshane - March 7th
Post by: brianb on March 09, 2010, 11:02:20 pm
I saw it again this evening (9th) though not as well as yesterday, the sky is hazier which accentuates the light dome from Portrush to my west.


Title: Re: Zodiacal Light From Glenshane - March 7th
Post by: markt on March 09, 2010, 11:46:42 pm
3rd night in a row watching the Zodiacal Light, this time shared the experience with Dr. Andy McCrea and his wife from the IAA up on the Glenshane Pass. We watched the ZL for 1hr 10min's, Andy confirmed it was brighter than the Milky Way. Fantastic session. Will post images shortly

Superb Martin, I look forward to the pickies :)

I've just not had clear skies at the right times since the weekend. Lovely and clear in the morning when I have to go to work, then cloudy by hometime.  I will look though next time it is clear on an early evening from the loft window.  How long is the zodiacal light favourable for viewing from our latitudes?


Title: Re: Zodiacal Light From Glenshane - March 7th
Post by: brianb on March 10, 2010, 03:29:08 am
Quote
How long is the zodiacal light favourable for viewing from our latitudes?
Sttepness of the ecliptic, the bit we're getting at the moment is about as steep as it gets but it should be reasonable until the moon gets round to the evening sky, and then in the next moonless period ... but not into May.


Title: Re: Zodiacal Light From Glenshane - March 7th
Post by: martinastro on March 10, 2010, 04:31:37 pm
Nice work again Brian!.

Mark, I hope you get to see it, look to the W from 20.00 to 20.30 along the ecliptic and you should see it. Best of luck.

Some images from the 9th with Andy, ZL, stars and Milky Way. ZL is on images, 2,3, and 4.

(http://i41.tinypic.com/r70vip.jpg)

(http://i43.tinypic.com/3538awp.jpg)

(http://i39.tinypic.com/24fd79v.jpg)

(http://i40.tinypic.com/r2t006.jpg)

(http://i43.tinypic.com/2enrpm9.jpg)

(http://i41.tinypic.com/mu8hup.jpg)


Title: Re: Zodiacal Light From Glenshane - March 7th
Post by: markt on March 10, 2010, 06:03:33 pm
Lovely shots Martin, will take a look tonight if it remains clear.


Title: Re: Zodiacal Light From Glenshane - March 7th
Post by: martinastro on March 10, 2010, 06:05:13 pm
Thanks Mark, best of luck. I was going to give it a miss tonight but I'm very tempted to go back out again...


Title: Re: Zodiacal Light From Glenshane - March 7th
Post by: rjgjr on March 10, 2010, 07:30:59 pm
Love these shots Martin, looks like you had a great time!


Title: Re: Zodiacal Light From Glenshane - March 7th
Post by: martinastro on March 10, 2010, 10:41:15 pm
Thanks very much Richard, I had a fantastic time.

Went back up again tonight since the weather is expected to turn cloudy after this so thought I would have one last go for the ZL. Turned out to be a good decision, it was the best view I've had yet, spotted it early at 19.40 UT and watched it until 20.30 UT. It was remarkable, incredible shape, and 45 degrees tall, even noted subtle blue-green colours within at one stage. Again, it was brighter than the Milky Way in Cygnus. This might be my last session with it until the next dark period, but who knows. Four nights in a row is a personal record for me. I'm glad I made one last effort to enjoy it all by myself. Here are two images, the last is 7 min's long at ISO400.

(http://i43.tinypic.com/66lmr6.jpg)

(http://i43.tinypic.com/sfdp9s.jpg)


Title: Re: Zodiacal Light From Glenshane - March 7th
Post by: Paul on March 10, 2010, 10:57:09 pm
Saw it tonight! This from the Antrim Hills above Cairncastle - some LP from Ballymena but not bad - very clear visually - brighter than the Milky Way but much less distinct, and that makes it harder to identify as a specific feature of the sky....

(http://paulni.co.uk/images/zl100310.jpg)


Title: Re: Zodiacal Light From Glenshane - March 7th
Post by: martinastro on March 10, 2010, 11:42:27 pm
Excellent Paul, well done on the ZL capture, that must make 7 people now who have seen it from NI in the last few nights, that's a great success!. The ZL will remain visible until April so plenty of time to get shooting. I can see it very clearly on the image!


Title: Re: Zodiacal Light From Glenshane - March 7th
Post by: brianb on March 11, 2010, 03:32:02 am
Quote
that must make 7 people now who have seen it from NI in the last few nights
::)

Out of the 700,000 who've actually seen the sky.

When did we vote to allow light pollution to get this bad?


Title: Re: Zodiacal Light From Glenshane - March 7th
Post by: markt on March 11, 2010, 07:32:00 am
Great shots martin and Paul, it was cloudy again for me at ZL time - so I went out for a curry instead...  ::)


Title: Re: Zodiacal Light From Glenshane - March 7th
Post by: martinastro on March 11, 2010, 03:55:16 pm
Thanks Mark, keep watching, you will see it for sure.

Brian, I know how you feel, the LP in NI is dreadful, it seems one can't escape from it at all, often I have found a good dark spot in the country only for it to be destroyed by one single house security light left on all night long destroying any photo opps, people are so inconsiderate, why must an outdoor light be on all night for?. That's nothing compared to the football pitch I saw a few nights ago, it was closed - nobody here- but the huge flood lights remained on for a long time, the light was going straight up into the sky - an absolute disgrace. Something needs to be done about it before it's too late.

I believe the ZL does vary in brightness due to the variation in density of dust particles in the disk. It really does look slightly different in brightness each night.


Title: Re: Zodiacal Light From Glenshane - March 7th
Post by: martinastro on March 15, 2010, 12:53:23 am
Zodiacal light was incredible tonight from Glenshane, best I've ever seen it, can't believe I have observed it five times in a week. It had a blue colour and passed directly over the Pleiades, so well defined, large, and bright...amazing. It was fun taking images up there, the wind was so strong it rocked the car!, however it helped produce a great sky with no gunge.


Title: Re: Zodiacal Light From Glenshane - March 7th
Post by: martinastro on March 15, 2010, 05:02:38 pm
Here's an image from March 14th just as twilight was slipping away below the mountains.

(http://i39.tinypic.com/1zh1vkn.jpg)


Title: Re: Zodiacal Light From Glenshane - March 7th-14th
Post by: markt on March 16, 2010, 08:33:08 am
Great image Martin!  8)


Title: Re: Zodiacal Light From Glenshane - March 7th-14th
Post by: Roman White on March 16, 2010, 08:54:09 am
Great captures Martin! I like the last one with twilight colours.  :)


Title: Re: Zodiacal Light From Glenshane - March 7th-14th
Post by: martinastro on March 17, 2010, 07:26:40 pm
Thanks very much for your comments Mark and Roman.

I've just completed an image account of those five nights of ZL observing for anyone that's interested....

http://www.nightskyhunter.com/Zodiacal%20Light%20From%20Glenshane.html


Title: Re: Zodiacal Light From Glenshane - March 7th-14th
Post by: markt on March 17, 2010, 09:27:44 pm
Brilliant report Martin, really enjoyed reading it!

The moon is back in the evening sky now so I guess the ZL is going to take a bit of a hammering from it.  Still, you chaps have had some superb views of it - I hope to see it myself one day :)