I only managed to get 4 x 15-minute subs before the cloud rolled in (one of the 3 scopes was out of focus) – but hey, at least it’s another one off the list.

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Last night, 23/11/2014 was the first clear night in a month – and it was Moonless too :) :)

Gave the mini-WASP a good run, but packed up at midnight, which was actually a stupid thing to do – I should have carried on for at least a couple more hours.  Never mind.

Managed to grab 3 targets, one (Castor) was not a very clever or imaginative choice, but I am slowly learning.

Castor was 39 x 5-minute subs, P Cygni was 18 x 10-minute subs, and V V Cephei was 6 x 15-minute subs.

P Cygni is one of the most luminous stars in our galaxy and VV Cephei is one of the largest.  I wasn’t expecting to see the nice little planetary nebula NGC7139 in the V V Cephei image, so that was a great bonus.

All in all a very successful night’s imaging with the array.

Next outing – Carbon Stars :)

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Here is the bright star Mirach and the nearby galaxy named the “Ghost”.  A zoomed-in view of Mirach and the Ghost is shown in the insert top-left.

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This is what the latest incarnation of the mini-WASP array looks like – and it will look like this for some time to come.

There are 4 imaging systems on the array and one guider:

1)  Sky 90, filter-wheel with IDAS, H-alpha, H-beta, OIII, SII filters, M26C OSC CCD, Robofocus.

2)  Sky 90, filter-wheel with IDAS, H-alpha, H-beta, OIII, SII filters, M26C OSC CCD, Robofocus.

3)  Sky 90, IDAS filter, M26C OSC CCD, Robofocus.

4)  200mm Canon lens at f#4 with M26C OSC CCD, manual/electric focuser.

5)  Megrez 80 guide scope with SX guide camera.

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The solution to the Fermi Paradox is that there is no other intelligent life in the Universe.

Better start taking a little more care of this planet and the creatures we share it with people!

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You will have seen the headlines about the possibility of destroying the Earth now that we are able to provide such extremely high energies in our super-colliders.  Grief – the Large Hadron Collider at CERN is to be upgraded to give a collision energy of 14TeV (14 x 10^12 electron volts) what unbelievable destruction could such energy release upon us tiny humans?  Time to get things into perspective.

There is a beautiful line in “The Forbidden Planet” where they have just been attacked by a monster from the Id and it withstood a blast of a Billion electron volts – WOW!!  A billion electron volts (American Billion) is a thousand million electron volts.  An electron volt is equivalent to 1.6 x 10^-19 Joules, so a Billion electron volts is around 1.6 x 10^-09 Joules, or a nano joule.  How much energy is a nano joule?  Well if it takes 4.2 Joules to raise the temperature of 1 gramme of water 1C, then I guess you can work out for yourself that a nano joule ain’t gonna do much.

Let’s go back to the LHC as that is providing a LOT more energy – here we’re talking 14 x 10^12 electron volts!  So that is 2.26 x 10^-6 Joules or 2.26 micro joules.  Still not exactly knocking your socks off is it?  But hey, in electron volts it sounds pretty good doesn’t it!!  We are playing with energies we shouldn’t be playing with – surely?  Well not quite.  Nature as you might expect makes our greatest efforts look pretty puny.

Cosmic Rays – those high energy particles coming in to us from every direction in space.  What sort of energies have they been accelerated to?  Well the high energy Cosmic Rays come into the upper atmosphere carrying a very respectable Joule’s worth of energy, that’s 6.25 x 10^18 electron volts in Forbidden Planet money, or half a million times the energy the LHC might be giving out in 2015.  Our efforts are pretty pathetic.  Does it end there?  Of course it doesn’t.  On Tuesday 15th October 1991 the “Oh My God” particle entered our upper atmosphere carrying?  How much?  50 Joules!!  Yes that’s 50 Joules of energy in a single particle.  Now if that ain’t gonna create Black-Holes, rifts in space time or God knows what else – then what will?  It is estimated that several particles carrying this amount of energy hit our atmosphere EVERY DAY.  Oh and another thing – they have been doing this for the last 4 Billion Years.

So – can we please – give up this crap of destroying the Earth with our piddling inconsequential particle accelerator experiments and perhaps consider much more likely Earth destroying scenarios that have been around since the end of World War 2??

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And so far today it has been raining since before I even got up – it is now 2:30 p.m.

Great.

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It’s not looking good is it?  Last winter I didn’t get a single image in 6 months due to the never-ending rain and cloud.  Looks like we are getting a repeat again this year.  If it is ANOTHER 6-months with no imaging I think I’ll give this nonsense up.

 

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O.K. so the day has finally arrived and “they” are now replacing the Sodium street lights around here with white light LED lamps.

Isn’t it absolutely marvelous how “they” can get their act together AND spend a huge pile of our cash on something that nobody either wants or needs around here.

And yet – replacing the noisy Aluminium phone lines which are slugging Broadband speeds by a factor of 5 due to the error corrections needing to be applied – appears nowhere in “their” plans.

You gotta love this 3rd world country we live in.

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I have recently received a few inquiries from photographers asking where they can purchase the High-Speed Xenon flashguns I use in my high-speed photographic work.

The units are made by THIS company in Ely, Cambridgeshire.  Check out their prices, for a unique piece of kit that cannot be purchased anywhere else on the planet, I believe they represent superb value for money :)

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