Author Archives: Ross

Lunar Eclipse 8-Oct-2014

The evening of Wednesday 8th October 2014 promised a Lunar Eclipse, accordingly the monthly meeting of “Sydney City Sky Watchers” was delayed by two days and plans were made for a combined meeting and observing session. The meeting was at the usual venue: Sydney Observatory.

The equipment I prepared was my compact Celestron 4GT telescope, Canon 5Dmkii camera and a whopping 56cm (22″) video monitor. This is the second public astronomy event where I have used this setup, the plan is to show on screen the event of interest, many people can watch the same event and being able to point at the monitor is very helpful in talking about the event.

If that was the plan, then the reality was that once again we were competing with clouds to get the odd peek of the eclipse, this time the cloud was on multiple levels, all travelling in different directions. Still the viewing was a modest success, many people did get to see various stages of the eclipse. Having a live feed from Los Angeles (Griffith Observatory) was also helpful. Here are some photos from the event, also some more pics taken after the event from home of the partial end stages of the eclipse, please realise that photographing the moon presents an impossible range of contrast, some of the moon is in full sunlight, other parts are in diffuse shadow.

This photo represents the best views we had of the early stages of the eclipse:

C7689

Occasionally the clouds parted and we saw this:

C7694

C7696

While these are a series of photos of the latter stages of the eclipse, taken at various exposures:

D0504

D0514

D0517

Posted in Astronomy | Tagged | Comments closed

Preparations for Transit of Venus

Despite a dismal weather forecast for Tuesday, I took this photo of my setup for the transit tomorrow.
While testing the setup I snapped this photo of the Sun, hope for clear skies tomorrow.

Posted in Astronomy | Comments closed

Partial Lunar Eclipse

At Sydney Observatory on the evening of Monday 4th June 2012. Partial Lunar eclipse.

Posted in Astronomy | Comments closed

Extreme Moonrise

A stunning Moonrise on 6th May 2012, occurred when the moon was very close to Perigee (closest to Earth) and hence was a little larger than usual. This photo from McMahons Point grazes the Harbour Bridge approach (note the railway wiring) and includes the ridge line at Dover Heights. Note the distortion caused by refraction of the Moon’s shape and the left ascension also a degree of vignetting (edge darkening).

Photographed at 17:10AEST with a Canon 5d mk2 on a Celestron 4GT (1325mm) 1/50 sec ISO 200

Posted in Astronomy | Comments closed

South Pacific Star Party, quick photos

Just back from the South Pacific Star Party (SPSP) run by the ASNSW 19-22 April 2012. Here are some quick photos, the others will take a while to process.

Photo by James Butcher.

Someone looking through a big dob with the milky way in the background.
Foreground enhanced in photoshop to show the figure on the ladder, resized.

While walking from the camp to the observing field I took this quick snap of the southern cross and pointers through a opening in the trees, Canon 5dMkii 50mm 15s f1.8 ISO h2, resized in photoshop.

Posted in Astronomy | Comments closed

Sun Dog seen in Sydney

On 16th April 2012 at Sydney’s Royal Easter Show, I saw this unusual phenomena in the western sky. It is a Sun Dog, they occur when sunlight is refracted by ice crystals, they are always 22 degrees from the sun. Despite the dark appearance of the photo, the sky was really quite bright, the Sun and sun dog are much brighter than the sky, the extremely short exposure indicates this. Camera was a Canon 5d mk ii, ISO 200, f20 1/2700 sec, taken 16-Apr-2012 16:21AEST.

Posted in Astronomy | Comments closed

Helicopter eclipses the Moon

On Thursday (5-Apr-12) I was both prepared and lucky to get this photo of a helicopter passing in front of the full moon. Uploaded to on 6 April 2012, 9 minutes after sunset, a helicopter passes infront of the full moon.LunarPhotoOfTheDay and spaceweather.com.

Posted in Astronomy, News Flash | Comments closed

Rescue of Holiday Photos

A traveller (name withheld for his own protection) unwisely set the language in his digital camera to English even though his native language was French. As a result instead of deleting some photos he formatted the whole memory card!

This distressed him immensely, but not knowing that recovery was possible continued to take photos for what was left of his holiday. Upon his return I was told this tale of woe, and offered to intervene on the basis that there was nothing to lose.

Back in my office I did a whole media read of the camera card, identified the start of each image and recovered the following data into a files, most of these files displayed as photos, and only a few were scrambled.

The end result was that I was able to recover over 100 of his ‘lost’ holiday pictures.

An amusing postscript is that when the partner of one of his friends heard about how I had recovered his erased photos he said “Keep him away from ours”. Makes one wonder.

Posted in Recent Projects, What I do | Comments closed

Four planets in the Eastern sky

During May (2011) we saw the unusual spectacle of four bright planets rising in the East before dawn.

I assisted at the special pre-dawn viewing session at Sydney Observatory on the 13th, here are some photos:

A few days later at McMahons Point I setup my Canon 1000d and took a frame every 20 seconds, I created an animation of these at a rate of 12.5 per second and added a title frame. The resulting movie can be seen on youtube HERE.

Posted in Astronomy | Comments closed

Bogus EMail Disclaimer

IMPORTANT: This email is intended for the use of the individual addressee(s) named above and may contain information that is confidential, privileged or unsuitable for overly sensitive persons with low self-esteem, no sense of humour or irrational religious beliefs. If you are not the intended recipient, any dissemination, distribution or copying of this email is not authorised (either explicitly or implicitly) and constitutes an irritating social faux pas. Unless the word absquatulation has been used in its correct context somewhere other than in this warning, it does not have any legal or grammatical use and may be ignored. No animals were harmed in the transmission of this email, although the yorkshire terrier next door is living on borrowed time, let me tell you. Those of you with an over whelming fear of the unknown will be gratified to learn that there is no hidden message revealed by reading this warning backwards, so just ignore that Alert Notice from Microsoft: However, by pouring a complete circle of salt around yourself and your computer you can ensure that no harm befalls you and your pets. If you have received this email in error, please add some nutmeg and eggwhites and place it in a warm oven for 40 minutes. Whisk briefly and let it stand for 2 hours before icing.

Posted in Internet Gems | Comments closed