At around 2am this morning, I decided the comet must be high enough for me to have a quick peek at. The skies had turned crystal clear after a completely blocked out evening. I headed to my usual spot, a back lane with a good dark northern view, and saw something I didn’t expect – Noctilucent Clouds putting on a good show.
The clouds were brighter than previous ones of this season, but more closely clustered in the north. This allowed me to take an image last year denied me, which was one that showed the cut-off in the sky with NLCs and that without. Once I had taken these pics, I returned for the cup of tea I’d left behind, expecting to be out for just a moment to see the comet.
Reassured that the tea had forgiven me, I headed out to Castle Howe once again to photograph the 2:30am NLCs and have another look for the comet. Both were in evidence, though both were a little dimmer than previous observations.
The NLCs had spread out more, covering more of the sky, but at the cost of appearing dimmer. They were still happy to pose for photos though and were showing some nice structure.
I took a series of images which I hope to turn into another timelapse video at some point, but sadly the number was limited by the camera batteries giving way in the cold. I headed back home with Jupiter risen to the East, put the batteries on charge and uploaded the photos to my flickr account.
The previous night, I had been observing and attempting to photograph Jupiter, but was defeated by cloud. As I packed away, I noticed the sharp glow of the International Space Station travelling through the sky. Checking the listings on Heavens Above for Kendal, I noticed the times suggested it would do the same again this morning.
I took out my small Greenkat spotting scope and took a moment to watch Jupiter and the Moons. I tried some snaps through the telescope but found chromatic aberration to be very strong (it looked like a red a yellow and a green Jupiter were in loose congress). So I stuck to just shooting the ISS as it went by.
Someone a little further south would’ve got the shot of a lifetime had they the equipment, knowledge and opportunity to shoot an ISS Jupiter transit. Still, they may well try again as the long hours of twilight mean loads of bright ISS passes per day during next week. Along with the Chinese Lanterns that seem to track every clear night, this should keep the strange lights in the sky people busy.
So there I left it, a clear, crisp morning scene with almost not a cloud in the sky asides from an occasional wisp. The sort of thing that summer is all about. As the sun rises it is finally time for me to set.