Archive for March, 2008

Noel reprocessed the Veil nebula data making the stars less obtrusive and sharpening up the nebulosity a little to emphasize the filaments.  It’s a personal choice as to which version you prefer – I like the down-played stars myself.

Tags: , ,

Comments No Comments »

The last Egogram to be sent out by Sir Arthur came to me on the 30th January 2008.  As you can see he was anticipating the next big milestone – 2010 – the year we make contact.

Sir Arthur Clarke                                                                          

EGOGRAM 2008

Friends, Earthlings, ETs — lend me your sensory organs!

I send you greetings and good wishes at the beginning of another year – and we’re getting closer to 2010, ‘the year we make contact’ (according to the book and film 2010: Odyssey Two). Read the rest of this entry »

Comments No Comments »

I have just heard the terrible news that Sir Arthur C Clarke died today.  Sir Arthur transformed my life at age 19 when I started my first job at Harwell and began reading his mind-expanding Science Fiction.  As I told Sir Arthur in our e-mail discussions – his “Lion of Comarre” and “Against the Fall of Night” made a huge impact on a young impressionable mind, and I still get shivers when I read the closing line of “The Nine Billion Names of God”.

I feel cheated that I never met Sir Arthur in person, although I have been planning a Sri Lanka trip for just that reason for the last couple of years, and like most things, I didn’t get round to it.  I felt there was still plenty more time.

You will see the tribute to Patrick Moore’s 50 years on the Sky at Night on this site and in Astronomy Now written by Sir Arthur in honour of his long-term friend.  Sir Patrick and Sir Arthur shared many life-coincidences, and they also shared authorship of the book “Asteroid” which was published to raise funds for the tsunami appeal.

 Today is a very sad day – we have lost a visionary and in my opinion the greatest Science Fiction writer of all time.  Is it full of stars I wonder?

Comments No Comments »

Today is a landmark day for the New Forest Observatory.  After a marathon processing session involving a lot of blood, sweat, tears, and a hallucination-inducing lack of sleep – Noel Carboni has just finished processing the Summer 2007 mega-project, the Veil nebula in Cygnus!

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: ,

Comments 4 Comments »

Sir Patrick Moore threw a party at Farthings yesterday – St. Patrick’s day!  We even saw a few moments of clear sky after a week of being totally overcast – I think Selsey is famous for being able to see the stars when the rest of the country is in gloom.

It was great to meet up with fellow enthusiasts and to make some new friends.  Patrick was on good form, and Terry Pratchett was there as well having a really enjoyable time like the rest of us.  Thank you Sir Patrick for making us all so welcome 🙂

Comments No Comments »

The last few days Noel has been working right through the night to get the images sorted for Star Vistas.  As I write this, Noel is working on the mammoth Veil Nebula data set.  In a previous post you can see the upper region of the Veil, and Noel just sent me a “taster” of the lower Veil region.  This is going to be a classic!  Keep viewing this site – it will be posted soon 🙂

Comments No Comments »

The accompanying image shows the Rosette nebula in the infrared (720nm – 1,000nm) part of the spectrum.  The image is composed of 7 subs at 1600 seconds per sub, just over 3-hours total exposure time – and – there’s virtually nothing there!  You can just about make out some of the core region of the Rosette, and that’s about it.  Amazing that there is so little near infrared emission from this object when I got plenty from another HII region – M42 in Orion.

Tags: ,

Comments 2 Comments »

The first image where I carried out multiple re-focuses during the imaging session was with this image of Abell 1367, a galaxy cluster in Leo.  This image was taken on the night of Tuesday 4th March 2008 using the IDAS filter and 900-second subs.  Total exposure time 4 hours and 45-minutes, and I used the Robofocus to automatically refocus 3 times during the imaging session.  Noel has just had a quick process of this one whilst in the middle of sorting out all the images for Star Vistas.  Just as well as this looks like another one for the book to me 🙂

Comments No Comments »

I used the Robofocus for the first time last night.  Beautiful clear Moonless night, not what you usually get when you are trying out a new piece of astro gear.  There is an auto Wizard jobby that comes with FocusMax that does everything for you.  It says to click on the “go” button and “sit back and watch the show” 🙂  It really is a great show and the setting up was effortless using the Wizard.  I can “fine tune” the system manually later.  What are the results?  Well after manually focusing for a few years now I think I can probably do as good a job as the Robofocus, but not as quickly.  Also, once you’ve calibrated your system, then clicking on “focus” will let Robofocus loose to focus your system which it will do in less than 90 seconds (in my case).  And that for me is where the power of the Robofocus lies!  I don’t think it can focus a great deal better than me, but I used it to check focus after each hour of imaging – and that is something I certainly wouldn’t consider doing with manual focusing.

Comments No Comments »

Last night I PEC trained the Celestron Nexstar 11 GPS (wedge mounted altazimuth) mount for the first time.  The Celestron software made a 5-average learning run very easy to carry out.  Since a worm-gear rotation is around 8-minutes this exercise took around 40-minutes to complete.  I did a bit of imaging before the clouds rolled in with the PEC program running, and to be honest I couldn’t see much of an improvement in the tracking.  Read the rest of this entry »

Comments No Comments »