Archive for October, 2007

There will be a book signing for the Springer publication “Making Beautiful Deep-Sky Images” by Greg Parker in Waterstones bookshop on the University of Southampton campus [Highfield Road] in November 2007. 

Keep watching this page for the time and date 🙂

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The film “The Matrix” strikes a deep resonance with many people, so deep in fact that even respected scientists’ have asked the question, “Do we live in a Matrix Universe?” 

For those of you that haven’t seen the film, the Matrix is a computer generated reality, and humans go about their everyday lives without realising they are actually living in a computer generated world.  So compelling is this idea to some that this concept of a computer generated world has been given serious consideration. Read the rest of this entry »

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The time is 1.00 p.m. on Monday 15th October.  A small package arrives, too small to be the huge coffee-table book (Cosmos by Giles Sparrow) I am expecting. 

What can it be? 

Opening up the cardboard sleeve out slides a small paperback and a couple of extra covers – wooohooo – it’s my Springer “How to” book “Making Beautiful Deep-Sky Images”.  The first copy to arrive in the U.K. delivered straight from the Publishers in New York!

They’ve done a really nice job, the paper quality is excellent and the pictures have come out far better than I was expecting – thank you Springer! 

Should be available through all major booksellers in the next 3-4 weeks, keep an eye out for it, or pre-order on Amazon now.

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We didn’t even know about this!  Earth Science Picture of the Day (EPOD) have chosen our image of the reflection nebulosity within the emission nebula in Cygnus.  Here is what EPOD have to say:

The constellation of Cygnus the Swan, also referred to as the Northern Cross, is now nearly overhead for viewers in the Northern Hemisphere around 8:00 p.m. The stars composing Cygnus reside along the spine of our galaxy — the Milky Way. Surrounding the central star in Cygnus, Sadr (upper left center), is the massive emission nebula IC1318 (in red), also called the Gamma Cygni nebulosity. A sea of just the color red can be boring to the eye, but here notable blue gems, including the reflection nebula NGC6914, add substantially to the beauty of this image

This is a Sky 90 image taken using the old SXV-H9C camera.  This image represents approximately 4 hours of RGB data using 3 minute subs and 4 hours of H-alpha using 6 minute subs.  Just one tiny mistake in the description – Sadr isn’t in the image 🙂

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At the recent Starscape Exhibitions a common question was “how far away are these deep-sky objects?”.  I gave a rough answer in terms of Light Years, and the questioner would walk away satisfied, but it was clear that they really didn’t have a clue about the immensity of distance implied by the term Light Year – so here’s a very short piece just to try and put things into context.

Before going into the numbers, I would like to remind you of Arthur C Clarke’s “First Law” as I will be touching on this in what follows. Clarke says,

“When a distinguished but elderly scientist says that something is possible, (s)he is almost certainly right.  When (s)he says it is impossible, (s)he is very probably wrong.”

And with that, onto the explanation…
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It arrived this morning!! Practical Astronomer have published our latest image of Orion’s Belt on both the cover and centre page spread of this months magazine [October 2007].

Below are the words on the page just before the centre page spread picture, and a picture of the cover, and of course our own image.

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I can state without reservation that this is the most beautiful and informative astronomy book I currently own, and I own quite a few!

But, what are the Arps? 

In 1966 Halton Arp published an atlas of 338 “Peculiar Galaxies”, that is galaxies possessing very strange shapes far removed from the typical spirals and ellipticals we are more familiar with. 

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The imaging object of the month for October is the mass of emission nebulosity near Deneb in the constellation Cygnus: NGC7000 the North America nebula, and IC5070 the accompanying Pelican nebula, are both very large and very bright Hydrogen alpha sources emitting near 656nm in the red region of the spectrum.

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