Friday, July 31, 2009


After looking at LPOD I thought I'd have a go at this new piece of software called PlanetWarp.
It does a really good job of flattening Moon images to give an overhead view.
Here's a Mare Crisium before and after:-

Betelgeuse; she's gonna to explode captain!

Betelgeuse is already nearing the end of its life and is soon doomed to explode as a supernova. When it does, the supernova should be seen easily from Earth, even in broad daylight.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Imaging M31 last night.

Hmmm... I don't think 18 minutes worth of 30 second subs really cuts it. Clouds stopped play :-(
Still the set-up worked. The Tak is quite 'bouncy' sitting on top of the C9.25. But the vibrations die down quickly enough.
I've ordered a 7lb Losmandy weight as well, which I'm assured will fit onto the CGE counterweight bar. Two 25lb weights work, but are a tad heavy for this combination.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Animated Jupiter impact.

Looking out of the ISS window.

I was watching NASA TV this afternoon, and the camera was panning around outside looking at the Earth.
I wondered exactly where they were, and found this handy little site.
It shows you a simulated view looking from the US Destiny's lab window.

Here's a view from the simulated window, and below it the actual view from the camera outside.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Jupiter & dark impact - 25th July 2009



M27 & M57 - 25th July 2009

30 x 30second @800ISO, C9.25, prime focus.

45 x 30second @800ISO, C9.25, prime focus.

Hubble view of Jupiter dark impact.


Jupiter 25th July 2009 - in Red, IR & Green filters

Anthony Wesley's impact coming round the corner!



Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Land on the Moon in Google Earth

I'm a big fan of Google Earth, in fact the Google streetview car was taking photo's down my street a week or so ago.
But now you can streetview on the Moon ;-)
You can even overlay the latests LRO images onto the map, in 3D!

Jupiter 22nd July 2009

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Monday, July 20, 2009

Jupiter & Io 20th July 2009

Tell you what, it's rock steady on the CGE mount.

Jupiter, Io & impact 20th July 2009

I just managed to capture the impact mark on Jupiter, discovered by Anthony Wesley on 19th July 2009.
See also Cloudy Nights forum for details, and here for Sky & Telescope.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Mimas Against the Rings & Enceladus.

Just spotted these on the Planetary Society Blog, amazing images.


We're starting to get some hi-res images from LRO now.

Here is a portion near the Apollo 14 landing site in Fra Mauro that I've picked because I love those 'house sized' boulders. I think the crater is over a mile wide.

Below the Apollo 14 landing site.

Bottom two, Apollo 17 Spilt rock (Tracey rock) and Panorama taken at the time by the crew.

Credit NASA

Apollo 11 radio with Apollo 11 Flight Journal

This is good, I like this.
It's a stream of the Apollo 11 mission audio broadcast in real time.
We have one of those internet radios, that can stream things from the internet. I have this on and off all day.
Please beware; on the way to the Moon there's a lot of static and not much talking.
And of course to accompany this you have the Apollo 11 Flight Journal, by David Woods, Ken MacTaggart and Frank O'Brien.

Friday, July 17, 2009

OT; New guitar.

I bought a new guitar today. A re-issue of a 1950's Fender Stratocaster.
I used to own a Fender Strat back in the mid seventies (see pics below), but I sold it to fund a 1000-watt PA system for one of the bands I was in :-( ... those were the days.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

New CGE setup and align.

I'd just like to say a few words about the setup and aligning of my new CGE mount.
First I did a two star align with the recommended stars from the hand controller, then to correct the cone error I used three stars again from the HC.
I then did a polar align using the star Navi in Cassiopeia, with the All-Star Polar Alignment. I then proceeded to adjust the mount with the allan key and that was that, easy.
I then went to Jupiter, low on the horizon, and bingo it was almost dead centre.
After which, I thought that I would have a go at imaging, and guess what? there is almost no drift at all, except for maybe a bit of PEC.
I'm well pleased:-) I can leave the planet on the chip now without having to do those annoying tweaks and adjustments all the time.
All I need now is a clear night to sought the PEC out with Celestrons 'PEC tool' and I should be all set.

Just a quick note; I upgraded the Hand conrollers software earlier today to revision 4.16. This allows for all star polar align without having to re-align afterwards, neat eh?

BTW. I found out (thanks to the guys at CN :-) ) that the CGE manual is not up to date with 4.16 and you'll need to download the CGEM manual for instructions on this revision.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Published; Two for the price of One.

I have two images in this months (August) "Astronomy Now" magazine.
One of Jupiter and the other is of Saturn taken a while back, in an article about the Toucam Pro.
You'll have to excuse the rubbish scans, but my scanner is rubbish.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Nearly there... the new setup in situ.

As a compromise for the time being, I decided to set-up the new CGE mount inside my observatory using the tripod.
I chopped my existing pier off, leaving enough to act as a key for a new pier later on. I measured it all out and made some holes in the floor. I then placed concrete blocks under the holes for the legs to sit on. What a game that was phew!
It seems quite solid though, he mount weighs a ton, so its not going anywhere.
I then fastened one of the the tripod struts to the old pier stump with some large jubilee clips to stabilize it.

It's quite frightening to sit under those weights when the scope is on the other side. If one of those fell off and hit you, you're dead!

Just need clear night now to polar align etc.

BTW. these strange pics (first two that is) were taken with my Canon 50D using a 18mm lens and mosaiced/bent in CS4. Hence the strange fish eye appearance. See, don't need expensive wide-angle lenses, just very expensive software ;-)

Monday, July 06, 2009

Losmandy Dovetail.

Finally got my dovetail. Which I bought from OPT. No fault of theirs, really good service.
Cost me a small fortune in the end with import duty and postage :-(

Chunky old piece of metal (alloy) though. Its also quite tricky to mount on the scope as well. The dovetail has a very fine tolerance, and because of that, you have to offer the scope into the saddle from the bottom and slide it up!

I wonder what it's like to do this with a 14" :-0
I'll find out one day. I just need to re-mortgage my house, carry on working until I'm 75 and sell some of the grandchildren ;-)

Oh! BTW, I had to buy another 25lb weight to get balance as well.
Mass & inertia, I'm beginning to understand the meaning of these words now.

Saturday, July 04, 2009