Managed to get the mini-WASP array set up early last night, imaging by 6:10 p.m., just as well as clouded out by 8:10 p.m.

Set up on Carbon star SAO 77516 in Taurus, was going to do M1 but then saw there was a Carbon star nearby and went for that instead.

30 x 10-minute subs – plenty for a star field shot :)

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Here is the full frame C W Leonis image with a magnified insert.

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Managed to get 12 x 20-minute subs on this one from the mini-WASP array late last night.

This is possibly the brightest star at 5um wavelength in the galaxy – so I wasn’t actually expecting to see ANYTHING at visible wavelengths.

But there it is :)  Carbon star C W Leonis or IRC +10216 – a pretty unimpressive looking image, and possible the one I am the most pleased with.

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There is a 4-page article in the February 2015 issue of Astronomy Now on the mini-WASP array at the New Forest Observatory.

To save trawling through the last 2 years of development on this site, buy the Feb 2015 issue of Astronomy Now and get the whole story in one place :)


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Got today’s EPOD with the recent Lunar Halo image :)

Thank you Jim at EPOD for continuing to publish my work.

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Taken on the evening of 16/01/2015 using the mini-WASP array and 2-minute subs (around 90 in total).

Not very impressive and I won’t spend any more valuable imaging time on this one.  I was lulled into a false sense of security with my earlier Hyperstar work on comets where a 4-minute sub brought out even the faintest detail.  With the array at f#4.5 it is asking a bit much to see the extent of the very faint tail with only a 2-minute sub.  The comet is moving quite quickly so I didn’t want to use longer subs as there would have been more comet movement in that time leading to a soft image.  Also – the VERY long comet tail means a multi frame mosaic if I were to use the Hyperstar III.  Not out of the question, but a bit of a pain to organise.  I may leave it at this for comet Lovejoy C/2014 Q2 and enjoy other people’s better efforts.

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Managed to get 12 x 20-minute subs on this one before total cloud cover last night – nice Moonless conditions – but a ton of water vapour in the air (seen using the standard torch test).

Glad I got something at least, only reason for dropping in on this one was that it was in a good region of the sky for me.

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This is not only the worst comet image I have ever posted – it is also the worst image I have ever posted.

Still last night was a clear night – even if there was a blazing Moon up – and as beggars’ can’t be choosers I grabbed the chance to image C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy.

Only 4-minute subs and only 13 of them as well, but this was a good dry run IF we get a clear Moonless night when I can do the thing properly.

Some things to note.  I put the camera in portrait mode (long axis vertical) thinking this would be the best way to get the whole tail.  Problem was the tail was so far away from north that I would have been better off leaving the camera in landscape mode where the tail would have easily fitted along the diagonal.  So – the camera has now been returned to landscape mode.

Next – I used 4-minute subs in order to try and get the faint tail – trouble is the comet moves a fair bit in 4-minutes leading to a non-sharp looking image.  Next outing I need to drop to 2-minute subs.  Clearly I don’t want any Moon about if I want to get that faint tail.

Finally – that tail!!  Look at it!!  That is over 5-degrees long – WOWSER :) :)

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Sorry – another non-astronomical post – if you don’t like seeing this stuff stop here.

But I have reached an age where I don’t have to suffer crap anymore because for the first time in my life I answer to no one – and let me tell you it’s like being reborn.  Retirement – bring it on!!

I have had to keep the vomit bowl within easy reach these past few days as the Conservative and Labour dements spout their crap, trying their hardest to keep a straight face and look as if they actually mean what they say.  I swear they amaze themselves at how they don’t break down in tears of laughter during one of their moronic diatribes.

And if I feel like that I KNOW that millions feel exactly the same way too.  So what can the “hard working British people” (give me strength) actually do to teach these morons a lesson they have never been dealt before?  Now on this one I do not agree with Russel Brand that not voting is a good idea.  That is a passive response to the insulting and provocative behaviour of our politicians.  No – what I would like everyone to do is vote for UKIP.  This has NOTHING to do with agreeing with UKIP’s policies (whatever they are) or philosophy (whatever that is) – but it has EVERYTHING to do with sending a message to Labour and Conservatives alike, in a language that even these morons can understand.  I have not mentioned the Liberal Democrats at all as they completely lost all credibility the moment they backed down on the Student Fees issue – shame on you, you lily-livered plebs!!

O.K. everybody – this is YOUR chance to show “those in charge” that you haven’t just got off the boat.  Are you going to just sit there and do nothing – or are you going to upset their whole year?


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O.K. so there appears to be some more Idiocracy-based garbage that needs to be put to bed.

Killer planet Nibiru – it ain’t there people, sorry but your quick life cop-out isn’t just around the corner – not with non-existent Nibiru anyway.

However – if you are dead keen (pun intended) on killer scenarios, how about dealing with some straight facts rather than pure fiction.

Remember that massive Russian meteor/meteorite that came crashing in unannounced around a year or so ago?  That would have ruined your day if it had arrived more intact in your location. And around a year or so before that we got a near Earth asteroid the size of an Olympic swimming pool (to put it on scale that the Idiocracy can appreciate) that shot past us at a distance that put it inside the orbit of some Earth-orbiting satellites – so that was REALLY close – and I got a picture of that one too :)  And again if that had come down near you, you would have noticed it.

And do you have any idea why you are actually still here to read this stuff I’m writing, at all?  No of course you don’t.  You can actually thank a Russian submarine commander who disobeyed orders and didn’t set his nukes off as he suspected the order was a false alarm.  Thank you my man for engaging your brain and not ending our world in such a pointless fashion.

Then of course we have the possibility of a nearby (in galactic terms) Gamma Ray Burst that would instantaneously sterilise everything for cubic light years around – no life whatsoever remaining – except perhaps for the odd Deinococcus radiodurans or two.

So why get yourself all upset and agitated about the fictions of an over active imagination (nutter if you prefer)  – when there’s so much more really mundane stuff out there ready, willing and waiting to snuff you out, before you even saw it. And let’s go back to our Russian mate just for a moment and remember – it is pure good luck, and an unexpected act of bravery from a virtually unknown man – that you’re still around today.

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