Papilio machaon – March 14, 2018

Posted in Evenimente on March 14, 2018 by maxpho

Another species emerged today in my balcony. This time from a larvae found in September last year. The species name is Papilio machaon (Linnaeus, 1758). It is found in all of Europe but their numbers are declining due mostly to human activities…

Papilio 1.jpg


And a second individual…in a higher resolution shot.



Some Spring deep-sky objects – March 11, 2018

Posted in ASTRO on March 12, 2018 by maxpho

An imaging run in the Comana Woods with some astro-fiends. Good skies for this location, but some technical difficulties for my imaging gear. The hand-made dithering was rather poor for this session. Looking already for the next one 😉

Equipment: TS APO 115mm F/7 refractor, TS field-flattener, ASI 1600MM, no filter.

First targets: the Leo Trio of galaxies M-65, M-66 and NGC 3628. For this target I’ve hand-selected 350 frames from around 420, each a 20 second exposure at Gain 400 and Gamma 60. Again, the poor dithering almost ruined the shot completely…


And a colored version, with data from 2013.


And a few other less obvious objects found in the stretched image: four asteroids and the tidal tail of NGC 3628. A better view of this rather elusive detail will be my next session target 😉


And a short session with M 3 globular cluster. A lot of small galaxies visible also in the shot, despite being a very short total exposure (almost 7 minutes, in 40x10sec exposures).



Spring in the Comana Woods – March 11, 2018

Posted in Comana on March 11, 2018 by maxpho

Spring is unveiling and with it the hibernating butterflies and the newly born flowers…

The following shots were captured on a lovely clear and warm day.

Inachis io: tens of individuals were flying today, after spending so many months in hibernation.



Gonepteryx rhamni: another hibernating butterfly. And one of the very first species that start flying early in the year. Whenever you see this one, in March usually, you know Spring is here for good.


The lovely Crocus flowers. One of the very first flowers emerging from the ground in March.



And a stacked shot, showing the head of a Polygonia c-album butterfly.


Leo I dwarf galaxy near Regulus – March 7, 2018

Posted in ASTRO on March 8, 2018 by maxpho

Finally a night with some clear skies…

I’ve been waiting to take a better glimpse (photo-glimpse) at this object for some time. My earlier test-shot showed that with only a handful of frames and short exposures, the stars of this galaxy could be easily revealed. So it should be no problems for longer exposures. This time the camera was the ASI 1600MM, with its intrinsic bright-star artifacts.  I did manage however to get some more aesthetics into the frame by placing a home-made spike-maker in front of the objective.

Only 10 frames for this shot, but a lot of faint and small background galaxies are detectable…

Picture saved with settings embedded.

Window to Summer

Posted in Concedii, Plimbari on March 4, 2018 by maxpho

A shot from 2015 from the Danube Delta…


Eudia pavoniella – March 2, 2018

Posted in Canaraua Fetii, Evenimente, Experimente, Specii rare, Uncategorized on March 2, 2018 by maxpho

Spring is coming, and the first sign was observed in my balcony where I keep a few cocoons of a lovely medium-sized moth. A single female emerged today from one such cocoon. The species name is Saturnia pavoniella (Scopoli, 1763), a moth occurring in Europe. In Romania, I’ve found it in three locations already, in almost all the evolution stages: eggs. caterpillars and more recently as adults. It frequently comes to light during the colder nights of March-April, and sometimes in May, depending on altitude.

This species is not yet threatened, but it seems that its range is changing in recent years.

Eudia pavonia March22018.jpg

Also, the male. The following shots are of a freshly emerged male from March 10.




Magnetic art – February 23, 2018

Posted in ASTRO, Experimente on February 23, 2018 by maxpho

Just playing a bit with some magnets, iron filings, and a piece of paper. I’ve wanted to take a few shots of this practical experiment for some years now. Finally I had the inspiration to do it..

All shots are negatives of the originals, since to my eyes, the magnetic field lines show better this way.

MAG 1.jpg

MAG 2.jpg

MAG 3.jpg

MAG 6.jpg

MAG 5.jpg

MAG 4.jpg

And a comparison of some homemade magnetic field lines and the aspect of some sunspot groups in H-alpha light. Note the similarities. They might not be the best examples, but they are my only ones showing similar structures on the Sun.