Clear skies again
The weather over the last two nights has been truly fantastic. The skies have been superb and I've actually had the camera out on the tripod. Normally I might try the odd picture with the digital camera, but this was worth getting out the SLR for. The telescope controllers are really useful people to know sometimes - when I've run star parties they are always happy to turn off the flood lights which normally illuminate the telescope throughout the night (the floods are not there to cause light pollution and annoy the locals, as some people seem to think, the telescope is a very large, very heavy and very expensive scientific instrument, if something goes wrong, the controllers need to see what is happening), so I surprised them on the last two nights when I asked them to turn on a few lights. I wanted to try the shot from a few weeks ago with a proper camera and a few extra lights on the structure shows it up quite nicely from a distance. Don't worry, they were turned off again about an hour later (as soon as I'd gone numb and decided to call it a night!). Last night the temperature reached a chilly 19.4 degrees Fahrenheit, about -7 degrees Celsius, and today has been fairly chilly too so that a lot of the ice that formed last night is still there. And now it is snowing outside my window too!
All of the above images were taken with a small digital camera (a Nikon Coolpix 2100) with minor postprocessing in the Gimp. The one that needed the most work was the image of Perseus and Cassiopeia which is a sum of several frames. This is done to artificially create a long exposure as the camera is not designed for that sort of thing! Click on them to see larger versions.