Posts tagged 'Croft Hill'

Observing Report 15th February 2013 (2012 DA14 and the lights of Leicestershire)

Posted by on February 17th 2013 in Astrostuff, Observing Reports

Friday evening saw Me and Chris up on Croft Hill, armed with camera kit, binoculars and other such stuff. The intent was to see/image the fly-by of asteroid 2012 DA14 but the weather decided to confound us. Never mind, we got pics of cloud and light-pollution instead, and we got a couple of hours together without the kids.

The main images have been colour-corrected by Photoshop, run your mouse over them to see the horrendously light-polluted uncorrected versions:

Observing Report 6th June 2012 (Transit of Venus)

Posted by on June 6th 2012 in Astrostuff, Observing Reports, Pics

Late last night I went up Croft Hill to get ready to observe the 2012 Transit of Venus. I managed to get all the kit up there in one haul and was soon sitting in the pop-up shelter and looking at the thick low clouds that stretched across all of the sky. The forecast of rain was wrong but they got the cloud-cover about right, things weren't looking good. Still, it was a good place to be - almost 360-degrees of visible horizon and I had them all to myself, apart from the rabbits and the foxes which came surprisingly close to the shelter. And it was warm, almost tee-shirt weather. With a couple of hours to go until sunrise I grabbed some shut-eye, hopeful that the cloud would clear before the celestial performance began.

Of course, when the sun broke the horizon at 04:45 I couldn't see it due to the 8/8 cloud cover. I set up the kit anyway and waited for nearly an hour before the cloud started to break. It cleared overhead but the trailing edge of the pall was still making its way slowly towards the north-east where all the action was going on unseen. It was going to be a close-run thing - would the clouds clear the sun before Venus did? The critical time was 05:53 - "Fourth Contact". After that the show would be over.

The clouds refused to part but there was a reasonable thinning in just the right place at 05:49 so I stated to rattle off frames like a madman for the next four minutes, continuing even after the thinning had closed up. Talk about cutting it fine!

And then it was over. I went up to the trig-point for a brew and a smoke, it took me a while to notice that the sky was almost clear and all around was bathed in sunlight. Typical.

I was soon hauling the kit back to the car, cursing the weather. I cursed all the way home and cursed even more when I first looked at the pics on the laptop. It took me ages to realised that I did actually have four really poor frames which showed Venus crossing the Sun's limb.

Those four frames were dim and noisy but I've managed to drag this piss-poor result out of them:

 

Transit of Venus 06/06/2012 @ 05:49 BST - Venus crossing the upper-right section of limb.
Nikon D50 with 2x Powermate on the C80ED-R.
Baader Planetarium AstroSolar™ Safety Film (neutral density 5.0).
Hand-held shot, 1/100s exposure @ ISO200.
And plenty of clouds.

This has to be the worst solar image I'll ever post but I suppose it's better than nothing.

Although Croft Hill SSSI has well-trodden footpaths and access is encouraged, the land is privately-owned and permission to be there "out-of-hours" or for "irregular purposes" should be sought. My thanks go to Phil Jackson (Biodiversity and Restoration Advisor (North), Aggregate Industries) for granting me permission to access Croft Hill for this observing session.

Summery summary

Posted by on September 11th 2010 in Pics
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An evening stroll around Croft Country Park

The longest day at Croft Hill

Posted by on June 25th 2010 in Celebrations, Great Escapes, Pics

To mark the longest day and the nth anniversary of our engagement we spent a few hours at the Croft Hill SSSI.

It's an odd place - the trig-column on the top of the hill is only 128m above sea level, the surrounding land is undeniably flat, and literally within a stone's throw of the top is Croft Quarry, claimed to be the largest man-made hole in Europe. Have a click on this pic and you might see what I mean:

 

Panorama from the top of Croft Hill

 

Just in case you didn't get a feel for the scale of the place from that, here are two more pics that should clarify the matter:

 

The hill


The hole

 

Impressive, eh?

Of course, it's not all about humps and hollows. There's plenty of flora and fauna to see, and a few other odd things too. Photographer and fellow blogger Colin Griffiths visits regularly and he takes some cracking pics of the place.

32 pics, click any of the above to view the lot.

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