My Pozible Campaign has been launched.

Dearest Readers – today I launched my Pozible Campaign to help get me to the Faroe Islands. I hope you can help me fund this extraordinary trip to photograph the Total Solar Eclipse over the Faroe Islands and Aurora over Iceland.

Here’s a map of where The Faroe Islands are –

Faroe Map

You can make a pledge by clicking right HERE

Thank you!

Here’s a new Moon pic to celebrate!

96% full moon over Noosaville on 7th Jan 2015 By Danny Widdicombe

96% full moon over Noosaville on 7th Jan 2015
By Danny Widdicombe

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Partial Solar Eclipse – Mt Coot-tha, Brisbane 29th April 2014

Totally spoilt for cosmic activity in April 2014. A stunning Total Lunar Eclipse, followed by this Partial Annular Eclipse as seen from Mt Coot-tha, Brisbane.

Drove around with my daughter trying to find a location – the look out up at Mt Coot-tha was overloaded with tourists and locals all trying to catch a fleeting glimpse – they were all looking in the wrong direction. I can’t stand crowds anyway, so we hightailed it around the mountain until we found our spot. There was an opening between the Eucalyptus trees, so I set up my home made Baader Solar film filter, Canon Powershot and tripod and set about trying to capture it all.

My bad luck with solar eclipses and clouds continued but they gave way for long enough to get a couple of shots.

Partial Annular Eclipse

Partial Annular Solar Eclipse 29th April 2014 Pic by Danny Widdicombe

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Partial Annular Eclipse through trees Pic by Danny Widdicombe

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Eclipse Light Pic by Danny Widdicombe

Danny trying to take photos

My Daughter captured me trying desperately to get a shot of the eclipse

Lunar Eclipse from Sunshine Beach 15th April 2014

On holiday with the family and my new (second hand) Canon DSLR. I bought a 1000D very cheap online and still had no idea how to use the bloody thing. I was determined though, to capture the Total Lunar Eclipse.

It was a stunningly beautiful night. Perfect. A friend and I drove to Sunshine Beach and set up with about 30 others at the cliff just to the north of the surf club. I pulled out my tripod, only to realise that I’d left the mount at home in Brisbane… So I had to shoot freehand at night – with very little experience behind a real camera. The pics turned out ok but you can see camera shake in the stars and Moon – but what a memory!

Total Lunar Eclipse

Total Lunar Eclipse, Sunshine Beach 15th April 2014 Pic by Danny Widdicombe

 

Approaching dusk before Lunar Eclipse

 

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Total Lunar Eclipse without Tripod Pic by Danny Widdicombe

 

Annular Solar Eclipse 10th May 2013

I teach music at TAFE – so when the annular eclipse of the Sun was hapening I took my students to check it out from the campus carpark.

I brought along eclipse glasses so everyone could check it out. To see the annular eclipse in its entirety, you had to be up above Cairns so I had to be content with this partial experience.

The students loved seeing the sun with the protection of the eclipse glasses – it’s not something you see everyday. I find it incredible that the Sun is roughly 150 million kms away but has the same ‘apparent’ size as the Moon. I told the student that this is because although the Sun is about 400 times than the size of the moon, it’s also 400 times further away.

The Annular eclipse happens when the moon is just a little further away from the Earth as it passes in front of our view of the Sun.

All I had this day were the eclipse glasses and my iphone – so I just held the phone lens up to the glasses and got this. Not really that impressive – but I still got a rush from being able to see it happen.

Annular Eclipse

Annular Eclipse 10th May 2013

 

Moon Detail

Once I’d caught the bug for observing bodies in space, I had a hell of a lot of catching up to do. I became almost single minded about trying to capture what I was seeing through my little telescope. The Moon is such an easy target and always so beautiful to watch. I’m slowly getting to know the names of the craters and seas that give the moon it’s characteristic face.

These shot were taken from a balcony in Broadbeach, Queensland, just after dusk.

This is the Tycho Crater, named after the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe (1546-1601)

The rim of this crater was chosen as the target of the Surveyor 7 mission. The robotic spacecraft safely touched down north of the crater in January 1968.

It’s thought that an asteroid from the same group as the one that created Tycho could be responsible for the Chicxulub Crater on Earth that is thought to be the cause of the extinction of the dinosaurs.

 

The Tycho Crater

IMG_2795 The Tycho Crater

 

The Transit of Venus

This was a once in a lifetime event and there was no way I was going to miss out. The Transit of Venus was everything I was hoping for.

This rare happening has involved such an array of historic figures trying to discover more about the universe over the centuries. Captain Cook was sent on a mission to Tahiti to witness a Venus transit to help calculate more accurately, the distance from the Earth to the Sun. From there he went on to ‘discover’ New Zealand and Australia – although of course our traditional people had beaten him to it by tens of thousands of years.

It’s mind boggling to think that Johannes Kepler predicted a Venus transit in 1631. I just have to check NASA’s website on google.

Venus Transit 2012

The Transit of Venus June 6 2012

 

A film crew from channel 9 interviewed my kids and I while we watched the transit through my very basic telescope set up. I had to convince the reporter that this was not just some speck in front of the sun and that it actually holds a deep significance in our understanding of our place in the cosmos.

I took pics of the event just by holding my iphone up to the telescope lens and it worked surprisingly well.

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A Cloudy Eclipse

 

Eclipse from Cairns November 2012

Total Solar Eclipse 12th November 2012 Pic by Danny Widdicombe

 

Talk about frustrating! I flew my family up to Cairns to witness the 2012 total eclipse of the Sun. I had my solar filter made, my eclipse times memorised, the family were all excited…

We stayed with an old family friend right near Cairns central. Lovely pad with a view out to the east from his high back deck. There were people everywhere, from all over the world, gathered to share this astronomical phenomenon.

The morning of the eclipse arrived and we awoke early to drink coffee and to see the sun covered by rain clouds…

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Eclipse behind clouds, Cairns 12th Nov 2012 Pic by Danny Widdicombe

But Wait! The clouds shifted and we finally had a fleeting glimpse of the eclipse in process.

Total Solar Eclipse - Danny Widdicombe

Total Solar Eclipse – Cairns 12th Nov 2012 Pic by Danny Widdicombe

Such an awe inspiring sight. The only noise around us now was the birds – all the human activity that had been going on previously had stopped. Soon there was to be total silence. I took this picture of a plane flying past the event

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Total Solar Eclipse Cairns 12th Nov 2012 Pic by Danny Widdicombe

 

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Plane above Cairns Danny Widdicombe

The moment of totality was fast approaching but alas… The clouds had drifted back over our view…

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Cloudy Eclipse Cairns 12th Nov 2012 Danny Widdicombe

The moment of totality only lasted a couple of minutes – the whole town had come to a standstill. The birds, once chattering away were silenced, nobody spoke and the stars stated appearing in the sky as darkness took over.

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Totality covered Danny Widdicombe

It was beautiful. I am definitely going to The Faroe Islands in 2015 to experience this again.

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Misty Eclipse Danny Widdicombe

 

 

Trying to Capture the Planets

Here’s my first attempt at capturing Saturn. I use a 90mm refractor and pointed my iphone into the eyepiece (talk about amateur). Such a wonderful experience to see this beautiful planet – from the backyard of a light polluted inner city house. These are from 2012.

Saturn from the backyard

Saturn from Red Hill, Brisbane, AustraliaDanny Widdicombe

Saturn through with iphone camera

Saturn from the backyard, Red Hill, Brisbane, Australia.