2021-10-06 Neptune
Image exposure:
Best 10% of 300 video frames @ 2 seconds
Image date:

My second ever image of this, the eighth and outermost planet. The last time was back in 2010 with my trusty old Meade LX-90 reflector telescope, more of which I will mention below.

Neptune is a distant, mysterious planet. It’s high in the evening sky right now and at its closest to us but surface detail is not easy to capture in my amateur telescope. It has been visited only once so far, by the space mission Voyager 2 in 1989.

It’s a gas giant, weighing in at about seventeen Earth masses, orbiting thirty astronomical units from the Sun (the Earth-Sun distance is one astronomical unit) and reflecting sunlight back to us at magnitude 7.8.

Neptune takes 168 Earth years to orbit the Sun:

My aforementioned LX-90 200mm diameter telescope has been sitting in it’s container for the last four years since I bought a new refractor. “I’ll get it out again soon”, I kept saying. Well I didn’t.

It has its own dedicated alt-az mount, which made it good for eye-balling the Universe but unsuitable for serious astro-imaging. It had a GPS mounted on it.

I needed to use it on an equatorial mount.

2015-11-18: Macarthur Astronomical Society field trip – my Meade LX-90 telescope silhouette.

Today I finally took the plunge, de-forking it from its alt-az fork mount and fitting it up ready to attach to the equatorial mount which I also use with my current refractor telescope. I’ll be testing it soon and with its 2000mm focal length I’m hoping it will get me some better images of some of the tinier objects.

Here in Sydney, our covid delta variant lock-down began on 26th June and will finally end on 11th October.

On day number 107.

Yes I counted the days.

New South Wales has reached 70% second dose vaccination and 89% first dose so far. It’s looking good to perhaps even reach 95% but it’s the remaining 5% of self-righteous cave-dwellers I’m bothered with.

Lives depend on a fully vaccinated population. “It’s a disease of the unvaccinated now,” people say. Yes but it’s also a disease of the vaccinated vulnerable, the vaccinated elderly and those (including children) who cannot be vaccinated. The ‘five percenters’ just couldn’t give a toss about them. 😡

During this lock-down, I’ve been using my telescope from the safety of my backyard but with a very restricted sky. I found it darker out the back but many of the objects that I wanted to image were obscured behind a tree or a house. The objects which I did choose tended to disappear behind a tree or a house before I finished. 😕

So with the lock-down about to end, I’m now free to go back to my favourite spot out on the front driveway, street light and all….

…. and my Bride and I can go out on day trips again at last….

….but we probably won’t…..

Cosmic Focus Observatory

34° S

Above us only sky….

Telescope:SkyWatcher Esprit 120 mm apochromatic refractor; 840 mm f/l @ f/7.
Optics:Field flattener; Astronomik light pollution filter. Powermate 2X
Mount & Guiding:SkyWatcher EQ6-R Pro mount.
Imaging camera:ZWO ASI 071 MC cooled.

Images © Roger Powell
I’m one of the founder members of Macarthur Astronomical Society

It only takes a few seconds….


  1. So, that’s where he went! I lived by the ocean for a while, and never saw a trace of him. He looks different, and I don’ see the trident . . . maybe with the bigger telescope?

    As for the lockdown, did it work? I mean, that, combined with the high vaccination rate, should have really helped (unlike here, where people seem happy to die by way of misinformation and ignorance — as always). A rate that should be approaching herd immunity.

    And good luck with your renewed rig.


    1. Yes, the lock-down worked – but this time only to keep a lid on the rising numbers. For the most part, the lock-down was just in Sydney but eventually most regional areas of New South Wales had to be included too. It has been the steadily increasing vaccination programme during the same period which has been driving the numbers downwards.

      NSW and Victoria (the two most populated states) have both been hit hard since delta came along. Cases are rare in the other Australian states and territories because they have all closed their borders to NSW and Vic.

      New cases are still being detected here but now we are being told that the economy is more important and we will have to live with the virus as there will be no more lock-downs.

      The unvaccinated are still notionally in lock-down. That doesn’t seem to be stopping some idiots from causing trouble but there don’t seem to be as many here as you have to put up with.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s hard to find the words sometimes, but I’m thankful for the update. I’m glad you’ve managed well, as hard as it’s been, and that vaccination rates have gotten as high as they have.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Scott, thanks very much. I always appreciate your comments.

      Despite the ready availability of a number of very effective covid vaccines, I think we all still have a long way to go.


      Liked by 1 person

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