Archive for December, 2008

Noel has just worked his magic assembling this mosaic Star Vista of the Ruchbah region of Cassiopeia.

This small image is unable to do the original 20 Megapixel monster justice, but as you can see the whole area is jam packed with stars and open clusters.  This is part of an on-going giga-project which is a sky panorama of the whole of Cassiopeia at high resolution!  Last night I managed a 4-framer of the Gamma Cassiopeia region and tonight I hope to make a start on Shedir.  I guesstimate that this will be at least a 7 x 7 frame mosaic, and possibly an 8 x 8 mosaic which would translate to a 320 Megapixel deep-sky image 🙂

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It is the first clear day in ages – makes a great change from the dull, dark, grey, completely overcast days we have been experiencing for quite a while now.  This is the view towards the West from the New Forest Observatory.  You can see a prime example of the wooden optical obstacle course I have to negotiate on my imaging sessions sitting right behind the observatory.

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Well the roll of good luck continues!  Today Noel & I managed to get the Belt + Horsehead image published on the Earth Science Picture of the Day (EPOD) website.  Thank you once again Jim 🙂

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There hasn’t been a huge amount of progress since the last report.  The only change to the array is that I’ve now added the second Sky 90 to the frame as I now use the lightweight Celestron 80mm refractor to guide the Hyperstar on the C11 as the Sky 90 was a bit too heavy and led to poor tracking.

However, this Christmas break I have decided to try and get some funding to put the rest of the observatory together for the mini-WASP array – so retailers are currently being pestered for their best prices.  I hope to be able to submit the grant proposal early in the New Year and will keep you informed of any developments.

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We’re on a roll!!  The Parker/Carboni double-team have just got the Astronomy Picture of the Day for 23rd December 2008 with our Coathanger cluster image 🙂  This one is a personal favourite of mine and was my desktop for many months.  Look down the postings and you will see our last APOD was just five days ago – so although 2008 has been very lean on APODs for us – we seem to be leaving the year on a high.

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Last night there were some breaks in the cloud and it was also unusually mild.  So I took the 40D outside on the tripod (I should have taken the TT320 as well but I wasn’t thinking straight yesterday for reasons that will become clear on the 23rd December 2008 – come back to the NFO then 🙂 and I took some frames of the dome and Orion.  ISO 800, 10-second exposures, 28mm focal length, f#5.6, about 15 stacked frames.  As I did a manual 2-star lock on the stars when stacking, the dome (and tree behind it) are blurred – but what this image does show is the nicely Sodium illuminated dome courtesy of about half a dozen close-by street lights!!  Needless to say lights stay on blazing away all through the night when the only thing they are doing is showing the way home to the foxes.

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The good news continues!  Noel & I have just got the Astropic of the Week on the International Year of Astronomy website.  It is the iconic Belt region of Orion.  Thank you Steve for putting our image onto a well-viewed site 🙂

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Great news for Greg & Noel – our image of La Superba has made it onto the  APOD [Astronomy Picture of the Day] site for December 18th 2008!!!!!!  This image was taken over 2 evenings using the Sky 90/SXVF-M25C combo, and the picture is square because I changed from portrait mode to landscape mode between the two imaging sessions.

I have always been fascinated by La Superba and when I saw it was as red on the monitor as described in the literature – it became an even more awe-inspiring object!

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To start off the International Year of Astronomy we are really pleased to announce that our 2-frame mosaic of the Belt region of Orion made a 2-page spread in the January 2009 edition of Astronomy Now 🙂

Covering pages 24 and 25 there is a huge one and a half page picture of the Belt region of Orion [great job done reproducing the colour there Keith – thank you!!] in the “Picture this” section of the magazine.  We also managed to get an image of the Cave nebula in the “Picture Gallery” section – so a really great start to the New Year for us.  Let’s hope Star Vistas continues the 2009 excitement for Parker/Carboni.

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Greatly missed, Sir Arthur C Clarke, who wrote a Foreword for Star Vistas, would have been 91 today.  We miss you and will continue to look for you “out there” 🙁

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