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John McConnell Astrophotography

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Stars, 23/09/2000, film Kodak 200ASA, standard 50mm lens,15 seconds taken at 03.20UT. The constellation visible is Taurus,with Saturn and Jupiter, Jupiter is the lower with Saturn above higher up.Visible are the Hyades and Pleiades centre, John C. McConnell


Total Solar Eclipse August 11 th 1999

The morning started very cloudy and at one time actually rained a fine mizzle! Maximum eclipse in Northern Ireland was at 11.11UT and the image shown was taken at 11.14UT. My Meade ETX 90 was used at prime focus and an exposure of 1/125 of a second was used on ISO 100 slide film. No filter was used for this image as the clouds acted as the filter, (something that should only be attempted in extreme circumstances and by experienced observers!).

In the second image below, the same equipment was use but it was taken earlier at 10.30UT. For this the Thousand Oaks 2+ Solar Filter was used and 1/60 of a second. (Notice the bird in the top of the image, which was not noticed at the time!).


Nova Aquila II/1999

These images were taken showing Nova Aquila II/1999 (arrowed) on two consecutive nights, the 3rd and 4th December 1999. They were taken almost exactly twenty-four hours apart and show how the Nova dimmed in that time. Image one was taken on December 3 rd 1999 at 18.35UT and image two 18.47UT on December 4 th. Both were two-minute exposures on ISO E100S-slide film, Canon A1 50mm 1.8 lens mounted on a home made clock drive. The Nova reached peak brightness on the 3 rd at mag 4.1 so was easily visible to the naked eye. Although I noticed no colour, some other observers said they noticed a strong orange hue.

The second image, that taken on the 4 th shows how the Nova had dimmed about ¾ of a magnitude by the following evening. Owing to its position, it was estimated to be out in one of the spiral arms of our galaxy, which means that the star in “trouble” was probably around 16 th magnitude, as it rose about 12 magnitudes in brightness! Only a few images were taken, as in the end I was defeated by cloud and the cold!

Altair is the bright star left of centre, with Delphinus upper left. Notice the star fields in this area made up of “young” blue stars!

I was grateful to Terry Moseley of the IAA for confirming the magnitudes, and to Melvyn Snelgrove of CPS Laboratories for professionally scanning the slides. No other alterations were made.



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