Contrail spotting videos

Since the time of writing this blog there has been a advance in DSLR and superzoom Bridge cameras with the emergence of Full HD video added. I am just mastering the art at the moment with the Nikon Coolpix P900 20-2000mm superzoom (which goes up to 4000mm with digital zoom), and the Canon EOS 500d attached to telescope. In the meantime i’ll leave you my Contrail Spotting Youtube Playlist and channels that have inspired me to upgrade my equipment.

My Youtube Contrail Spotting playlist

Ečo Marin from Slovenia (Nikon Coolpix P900)

artoftheskys from Canada (6″ Dobsonian & Maksutov 180/2700, 2x 2″ Revelation Barlow & Canon EOS 550d)

p.Tamás from Hungary (Maksutov 180/2700 Telescope, 42mm 2″ Eyepiece, 2″ 2x Revelation Barlow and Sony HDR CX 570 handycam)

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Homemade Dew Shield

Here are two links I used to make my Dew Shield to prevent dew formation on mirrors and to prevent stray light entering scope tube

http://www.cosam.org/astronomy/equipment/dewshield.html

http://stargazerslounge.com/topic/69413-best-material-for-diy-dew-shield/

Here is Camping Mat I used

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Highlander-Nato-Roll-Sleeping-Camp-EVA-Foam-Mat-5-Season-Black-Ultra-lightweight-/290626591441?pt=UK_SportingGoods_SleepingMats_Airbeds_CA&hash=item43aab1dad1

(And got roll of Unibond Duct Tape from Asda for £2.99 (you can use Velcro if you prefer))

Cut to circumference of scope, tape at the seam where edges meet leaving a tape width at bottom of shield that goes over end of scope, overlap and tape so its tighter than rest of seam this will make nice tight fit and prevent any light from escaping

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Balborough Links Golf Course

Hi there

Clear conditions were forcast for Saturday morning so loaded scope Friday night, set my alarm for 4:15am to check on Flightradar24.com what airway transatlanic traffic was on and made the journey 40 miles south to Balborough Links golf course just off jct 30 M1 Chesterfield/Newark for Airway UM16 (All shots taken between 6-7:30am)DAL238 N808NW A330 36000FT Heading 98* ATL-AMS-BOM

KLM670 PH-AOH A330 39000FT Heading 99* DFW-AMS

KLM18 PH-AOC A330 40000FT Heading 101* IAD-AMS

CPA3222 B-HKH B747 35000FT Heading 100* Highlight of the morning

EIN60A EI-CPH A321 36950FT Heading 99* DUB-AMS

EIN630 EI-CVD A320 Heading 100* 37000FT DUB-BRU

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Scope Setup, Tips and Helpful Links

Best scopes for this type of photography are Skywatcher Skyliners 8″ 10″ or 12″ Depending on your budget

Your Dslr will need a Canon/Nikon etc T-ring and generic T-Adaptor

You will also need a 2x Mag Barlow lens Revelation ED 2X or Televue Powermate 2X (gives 2400mm/3000mm focal length in winter conditions) depending on your budget

It looks like a lot to buy but i bought 12″ scope (New), Canon T-ring and T-adapter, Revelation Barlow and it all came to less than what a Sigma 50mm-500mm Lens would cost

Telescope set up can be found here
Contrail telescope setup

Telescope Shooting tips can be found here

Contrail Pictures

You have to be prepared it takes practice you have to learn how to collimate scope, cooling time of the scope and image manipulation in Photoshop and Camera software, but the help and tips i’ve received from members of contrail spotting forums were a great help and with their help and tips I was shooting as good as the best within 8 months (would have been quicker if i hadn’t bought the Skywatcher 2″ 2X Barlow which on advice sold it and bought the Revelation (GSO) 2″ 2X ED Barlow).

There is a big contrail spotting contingent in Poland who started the Extremespotting forum but now operate mostly on the RNAVspotters forum they were pioneers in this type of photography and their (and jpro747/contrailwatcheruk’s) pictures around 2008 were outstanding and the reason I wanted to pursue this great hobby.

Most contrail spotters from the UK post on Luchtzak Contrail Spotting forum
Notable members who have helped me improve my shots and set up are:

Skystef

a330a340

jpro747
(contrailwatcheruk)

Sergey Kustov
(bushman787)

Also with help from Skystef, the members from Luchtzak and Extremespotting/RNAVspotters and myself some other members have mastered to art and are producing some outstanding shots themselves:
Mike (radiostationx)

Nick Preston

Rob in Newcastle

And other superb UK based contrail spotters add to the forum regularly showing that this hobby is growing all the time.

So if you yourself would like any advice at all there are plenty of help at hand.

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Upper Airways Over UK

Here is some info on upper air routes over UK, also flightradar24.com to obtain aircraft registrations

EG_ENR_6_3_2_2_en.pdf

EG_ENR_6_3_2_1_en.pdf

www.flightradar24.com

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Perfect Seeing Conditions

I found these articles most helpful in predicting best weather conditions for contrail spotting

http://www.cloudynights.com/item.php?item_id=555

http://www.ukweatherforecast.co.uk/jetstream-forecast/?variable=jet (jetstream forecast)

http://chptools.decc.gov.uk/developmentmap/ (UK heatmap)

http://www.forecast.co.uk/pressure/

Checklist I usually go by

1. Clear Blue Sky (No Cirrus)

2. High Pressure (1010mb or above)

3. Winds that have come over grass or water

4. No jetstream winds on forecast map

5. High Hill

6. Location near grass or water away from the heat radiating from houses

7. Location where sun is behind you giving you lighting

8. October-March all day shots as sun low in the sky

9. May-September 2 Hours 40 Minutes after sunrise and before sunset as sun low in the sky

10. Ventilate Scope with small fan so air passing inside the scope is the same temperature  as outside air (Skywatcher Instructions below as Revelation scopes come with fan already fitted)

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Fitting a fan onto back of Primary Mirror

Hi there

For a fan to blow air up the tube you will need

Uniross power adaptor 3v-12v

Universal Car Adaptor (for trips out)

Outdoor 12v cable (Per 2 metre i bought 8 metres to lead out into the garden and also from car when out)

80mm Fan

Here are intructions on how to mount the 80mm fan

I have mounted my fan onto a cardboard disc covered in electrical insulation tape with a 80mm hole in the middle and some holes for 3 elastic bands to hook onto tube i’ve used a disc thats 235mm so i can still access collimation screws. I’ve worked out your disc would have to be 157mm approx. The Fan is held on by blue tack you could also used superglue or stick on Velcro

To hook disc to the tube you will need to swap three of the six screws holding primary to the tube with three small thumb screws, I’ve used ones from my spare focuser and my barlow

To power the fan firstly cut the plug off and strip to wire

(Also repeat this step for Car Adaptor)

Connect wires from Adaptor to Outdoor cable (wire with white stripe from Adaptor to wire with writing on outdoor wire and other one Black to Black)

Connect wires from Outdoor cable to Fan (Wire with writing on outdoor cable to Red wire Fan and other one Black to Black

I run it at 12V all the time and turn it down to 3V when a Plane comes over to take pictures

All the best
Leedeagle

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Holme Pass

Hi there

Made a trip out to Holme Moss yesterday here are my results

All the best

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