Sunday, 18 April 2010

Dusk til Dawn

I was alone in Earsdon cemetery when my mate Steve called and asked if I fancied a night up at Hauxley. Not as dodgy as it sounds. Well, not really. You see Steve and I share an interest, astrophotography. Hauxley, near Amble on the North East coast, has some okay dark skies which is why the Northumberland astronomical society have their observatory there. Tonight was also going to be the last completely dark night until the second week in August and one with no planes to spoil our imaging thanks to Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull volcano. Apparently some enterprising chefs have set up a restaurant near the volcano, selling lava-grilled lobster.

Anyhow, let's start at Earsdon cemetery. This is your stereotypical grave yard with Ivy in abundance, mature trees and gravestones reminding us just how lucky we are. The peace and tranquillity is wonderful as is the nature that has taken full advantage of the lack of disturbance.

A monument here remembers those killed in the 1862 Hartley Pit disaster. The bodies of the men and boys were found lying in rows, all quiet and placid, as if sleeping off a heavy day’s work. Boys were lying with their hands on the shoulders of their fathers, and one poor fellow had his arms clasped round the neck of his brother.

A pair of Great Spotted Woodpecker flew through the trees. 
This female just wouldn't pose for me.

Chiffchaff in the Sycamore

Fantastic vista over to St Mary's Lighthouse. A great spot to capture a sunrise.

By 7pm it was time to head to Hauxley. Arriving by 8pm I set about waiting for the perfect sunset but it never materialised. 

The fields to the east were home to several Greylag Geese, 
a couple of Pink-footed Geese and some Canada Geese.

Sunset over Northumberland

Once darkness fell the clouds cleared and conditions were spot on for taking some pictures of the night sky. All of the following images were taken with a Canon 350D (modified - IR filter removed), and a Canon 200mm F2.8L lens, tracking with an Astrotrac.

M13 - Great Globular Cluster in Hercules

M52 - Open Cluster in Cassiopeia and the Bubble nebula.

An area just below Cassiopea.

A close up of M52 & Bubble nebula courtesy of Steve Marshall

At dawn it was time to check the moth trap. Eureka, another new species!

2187 Common Quaker (Orthosia cerasi)

Also in the trap were 2 x 2190 Hebrew Character


  1. I meant to ask Tim, have you bought a new lens with the 7D?

  2. Alan, yes I got the Canon 100-400 IS.