I can prove that we live in a Matrix Universe.  Trouble is – if I explain my proof the program will terminate.

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Here is a CCDInspector result from one of the 200mm lenses with an M26C Trius OSC CCD from last night:

 

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Last night I used the two Canon 200mm lenses and M26C Trius OSC CCDs to image the left hand half of Corona Borealis – the idea eventually to make a 2-frame mosaic showing the whole of the constellation.  When I processed the image this morning I was very surprised to see that R Coronae Borealis was blazing away (relatively speaking) at magnitude 8.  Why was this such a surprise?  Because when I imaged the same star in August 2013 with the 3 x Sky 90s for quite some time I was really disappointed to find that I could hardly see the thing.  Looking it up on Wikipedia I saw that it was not only at its minimum, but it had also been down there for the longest period in its (recorded) history.  So at that point I forgot all about R Coronae Borealis – until this morning :)

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The New Forest Observatory is run by Prof. Greg Parker from Brockenhurst in Hampshire.  Do not be misled or confused by others using a similar name.

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I have reproduced below an e-mail conversation from a rather persistent fellow representing a very well known Publisher.  For obvious reasons the Publisher’s name is crossed out as is the guy I’m having the conversation with – but all the same I think you’ll get the gist of it.

 

Urgent Image Request Dear Sir,

I am XXXXXX XXXXX, Picture Researcher with XXXX.

XXXX publishers (part of the XXXXXX Group) would like to use an image of Gamma Cas on one of our spreads of our educational children’s book XXXXXXX.

We have really liked your image on NASA website http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap091224.html. It would be great if you could give us the permission to use the image in our upcoming book.

XXXX always clears images for world, all language, all edition rights including E-books and Digital Spinnoffs of this book.

We have a very tight schedule so it would be great if you could get back to us on this as soon as possible.

Thanks and Regards
XXXXXX XXXXX

 

Dear XXXXXXXX,

My New Forest Observatory http://www.newforestobservatory.com/ does provide deep-sky images, non-exclusively for publication purposes.  The images are not available for free.

Regards,

Prof. Greg Parker

 

Re: Urgent Image Request Thanks a lot for your urgent reply but we are interested in using the image in the link I have provided earlier. If you can provide us that image at A4 size at 300dpi we are happy to pay you 20GBP as this is what we have been paying to the well known agencies we are registered with.

We will also give you a credit in the book. I hope you will give us a chance to work with you and agree to our rights and rates.

Also, we might get in touch with you again for other images we like from your collection.

Thanks and Regards
XXXXXXX

 

Thank you – I understand what image you require, it is the one I provided from the NFO to APOD.

Your rate I’m afraid is insufficient for an A4 size at 300 DPI.  Thank you very much for your interest.

Regards,

Prof. Greg Parker

 

We wish to use the image at 1/4th size. It is not the final rate we can surely negotiate the prices. This is the rate we have been paying to our agencies. Please let me know what rate you want to give us the image at if it suits our budget we can use the image. The size of the book is really small and we have a really low budget on this project.

Thanks and Regards
XXXXXXX

 

Books are always “really small” and budgets are always “very low” but the images that are requested take many hours to acquire with very expensive equipment and very expensive programs (and computers) – so it looks like we will always have an impass here :) :)

Yesterday I sold a photomicroscopy image (about half the size of the image you are requesting) to Harvard Medical School for £196.  They considered this a “low” budget.  I think you can see that you will not be able to afford my image for your book, but thank you for your interest.

Regards,

Prof. Greg Parker

 

And finally, thank goodness, this totally pointless conversation mercifully came to an end.

Please can I ask you – if you want some “free” or “cheapo” deep-sky images, to kindly go elsewhere

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Last night I managed to finish off setting up the 2 x Canon 200mm prime lenses and their M26C Trius OSC CCDs.  The new Trius just needed a tiny tweak to get it perfectly flat to the imaging train.  That took about an hour – then I was off imaging.  I tell you – this setup is the business.  Massive FOV at reasonable sampling and a fast f#3.8 optical system with no star-spikes from the lenses.  I am going to be making a great deal of use of this rig every clear night we get :)

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It was a beautiful clear Moonless night last night (we don’t get very many of those in a year) and instead of imaging I was setting up :(  These things unfortunately need to be done, shame it was under almost perfect conditions though.  Never mind.  So I was working on the two Canon 200mm lenses and their Trius M26C cameras last night.  Both lenses are now aligned with the Sky 90s so everything on the megawasp array is pointing to exactly the same point in space – great.  Next was focus training.  Tom How not only built a second autofocuser unit for the second 200mm lens, he also swapped out the original stepper motor I had for one with much finer steps.  The result is that I now get great V-curves from both lenses and I only now need to click on “Focus” in FocusMax for both lenses to come to a very good focus.  Excellent!!  So the last job to do is to flatten the new Trius M26C to the optical train using CCDInspector.  It’s now 12:30 a.m.  CCDInspector running, camera downloading images for inspection – yes it is a little bit out (the other 200mm lens and M26C is almost perfectly flattened) so I just need the Allen keys to adjust the second camera.  I can’t see them.  They aren’t where I usually leave them.  There’s been a big tidy up in the observatory especially as there is now yet another computer in there (making 5 in all) and I know I put them somewhere safe and obvious – but I can’t see them.  O.K. it’s 1:00 a.m. now and I’m just going to break something if I carry on, so I shut down for the night and come indoors.  Brushing my teeth before bed, of course, I remember where the Allen keys are – I put them in a clear plastic bag and stuck them to the side of the pier where they would be obvious!!  Go out this morning and check – yep of course that’s where they are.  Very annoying I didn’t get EVERYTHING set up and ready to go for the next rare, clear, night – but that’s the nature of this game.  Pure frustration and annoyance for 360 nights of the year for the joy of 5 nights of great imaging.

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The money from the Post Office Savings Account is now finally back in my Lloyds Bank account having spent 1 week and 3 days in limbo.

This was not resolved by the Post Office finally seeing sense and getting their act together – it was resolved by my son, who is a photojournalist getting onto the Post Office’s Press Office and rattling a few cages.  Nice to know my son has more clout than the old man :)  But that’s by the by.

Although the Post Office needs to take a fair portion of the blame here, this episode of serial nonsense was not entirely their fault – in fact you could say it was not their fault at all, but the fault lies with Experian!  Experian are a bunch that have got together to stick their nose into your monetary matters and they have a credit report on each and every one of you.  Now, when I was on the phone to the Post Office and I was about to reactivate my account – it was Experian that put the kibosh on things.  How?  Well the Post Office, before it actually reactivates your account does a quick check with Experian and Experian will get back with a yes or no for immediately reactivating the account.  This is a purely automated process, there are no people talking to one another or anything sensible like that – oh no.  So of course in my case the word that came back from Experian was NO!  And THAT is why I have spent 1 week and 3 days trying to get my hands on my own money.

So what did Experian, this faceless wonder, have a problem with?  I don’t know, but they are looking at it for me right now.  How very kind of them.  In fact I just have an e-mail from “The Customer Relations Team” telling me this.  Great isn’t it – one person would have written the e-mail, someone who presumably has a name – but the e-mail comes from a faceless “team”.  Do you see what I’m getting at here?  Let’s carry on.  I asked the Post Office guy at the time what could possibly have led Experian to give a “no” answer to reactivating my account.  The only thing he could come up with at the time was a possible recent change of address.  As I have been at the present address for over 25 years I didn’t think that could be the cause.  The P.O. man of course didn’t have any idea what the problem was because THERE WAS NO COMMUNICATION WITH A PERSON AT THE OTHER END just a “no” automated reply.

There is a bunch of people out there, working for this “Experian”, who can make your life unpleasant, financially, and not just by malice, but by basically screwing things up with duff information.  I have heard of this before from other people, but it’s something else when you experience it for yourself – maybe that’s why they call themselves Experian?  The next installment of this monumental cock up will be what Experian has to say on the matter.  They will get back to me withing 4 weeks – wow – quickly as that – amazing, when you can actually close down someone’s account instantaneously.  Bit of a disconnect here don’t you think Experian??

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Tom How has lots of variations of camera synchronisation software for budding mini-WASP imagers.
Check out details here: http://astro.neutral.org/software/multiple-camera-sync-ccdSoft-TheSkyX.html

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So did the Post Office finally come to their senses and sort things out to my satisfaction then??

Did they hell. This is what happened.
Last week I wrote a letter to the local newspaper spelling out the sick joke that is Post Office Savings.
My son works for said newspaper as a photojournalist.
The Editor put my son onto the case and he got through to the Post Office Savings Press Office – all this happened this morning before lunch.
Now at 4:15 p.m. I get the first phone call during this whole episode from the Post Office Customer Services bunch telling me my money had been transferred to my Bank account and the PO account closed.
Isn’t that amazing?
Thank you son – great job done, clearly you carry far more clout than your old man!!

Why am I not saying it has been completely sorted yet?  Because the money has not appeared in my Bank account yet.  Funny how in this age of digital money transfer it doesn’t appear straight away in my account – NOT!!!

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