Archive for October, 2010

The NFO made another appearance on tonight’s ITV Meridian News and Weather with Simon Parkin:

Video clip Copyright Meridian TV

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Now here’s a really annoying one you may have been putting up with for quite some time with no apparent solution.

As you know on my super-duper-computer system I run 3 screens (one via an adapter which seems to create its own problems – but that’s another story), thing is I had a one-inch unused black border around the edge of two of the screens that I couldn’t shift with any of the screen controls or resolution settings or refresh settings.

The graphics card is an ATI Radeon HD 5700 series, the Catalyst Control Centre software is the latest 10.9 version, and the screens are IIYAMA Prolite E2407HDS.

You will see tons of useless garbage on the Internet on how to “cure” this problem – and none of them work (of those that I’ve seen anyway).  Here’s how to fix your annoying unused black border problem!

1)  Go into the Catalyst Control Centre

2)  Go into Desktops and Displays

3)  At the bottom of the D&D screen you will see your monitor setup.  Click on the black downarrow associated with the monitor you want to fix.

4)  Click on Configure.

5)  Go into Scaling Options.

6)  Drag the scaling options marker to 0%.  Miraculously you will get your (almost) full screen back.

Why on Earth this stupid bit of nonsense has been put into the software and made so difficult to find I have absolutely no idea.

Hope you enjoy your “new” screen 🙂

Update!  I take it back – in the 6 months or so that I’ve had this problem I now see there’s a number of correct solutions posted up.  Great!  Just needs a little more widespread publicity now so that it becomes common knowledge.  I still have no idea why this totally useless option is made available though.

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I was in Bristol yesterday opening the Star Vistas Exhibition at the Photo Gallery on Baldwin Street.  Just round the corner, up a flight of stone steps, is THE most amazing market I have been to in a very long time.  John Morris owns a fantastic Mineral, Rocks and Fossils stall which has some of the most superb specimens I have ever seen – and believe me I have been to a lot of places, all over the planet, buying this stuff.  You can see John’s web site here.  At another stall I purchased the fascinating toy you can see in the video below.  A Celestial sphere rotating within a plastic globe and powered by Sunlight.  What’s the real mechanism behind this?  There is some blurb on the instructions which is clearly almost complete nonsense – anyone out there know how this thing really works??

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Just to remind you that the Star Vistas deep-sky images Exhibition opens at the Photo Gallery in Bristol tomorrow evening.  I will give a PowerPoint presentation on the work carried out at the New Forest Observatory over the past 6 years at some point during the proceedings.  There will be only 4 signed copies of Star Vistas (the book) available for sale – so if you’d like one of these I suggest you move quickly on the night.  If you bring your own copy of Star Vistas I am happy to sign it on the night 🙂  So that’s it – opening tomorrow evening and runs until November 3rd 2010 – hope to see you there.

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Having put the filter-wheel together it is too heavy, big and bulky to piggyback with the Sky90 on the C11 🙁  I will wait to fit this to the Sky 90 when it is in the mini-WASP frame early next year.

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I have just been looking at the equipment section of Steve Cannistra’s web site.  This section has proven so useful to me over the years (thank you very much Steve!!) that I thought I would give a “running commentary” on putting together some of the “finer detail” stuff needed for the mini-WASP array.

I have been flitting around with the final configuration for the array, but as I have a True Technology slimline filter in the bottom drawer it makes sense to test out one of the ideas with the Sky 90 still piggy-backed on the C11 – and that is connecting a Sky 90 and one-shot colour camera to a filter-wheel.  I have taken narrowband images with the one-shot M25C and they added valuable data and contrast to the standard one-shot colour image.  Images where narrowband data greatly enhanced the RGB image include the Rosette nebula (OIII added), the Jellyfish nebula (H-alpha and SII added), M31 (H-alpha added), and the Veil nebula (H-alpha and OIII added).

Below is the True Technology slimline filter wheel with fiitings to go to the f#4.5 reducer/corrector on the back of the Sky 90 and to the M25c/M26c one-shot colour camera.  There is just one niggle with this setup (there’s always at least one niggle isn’t there!)  The M25c/M26c cameras have the collimation screws on the front face of the camera facing the filter-wheel face plate!  Now the bigger H35/H36 mono cameras have the collimation screws BEHIND the CCD faceplate, so they are on the camera side of the CCD so you can get at them easily.  Not so the M25c/M26c – why not – I have absolutely no idea, but Terry it isn’t a good place to put the collimation screws on the front face of the camera 🙂  There is just about enough of a gap however for me to get at the screws if I can cut down a couple of Allen keys to allow me to do the job – or it might be filing them down, I know how very tough Allen keys are!

So next part of the process will be to fit the filter-wheel to the Sky 90 (when the Allen keys have been sorted) and go for some RGB/narrowband data, almost certainly I will make a long-awaited return to the CTB1 supernova remnant in Cassiopeia, this object is NOT going to beat me.  Keep visiting NFO for the latest mini-WASP developments.

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I mentioned a while back that I would be posting details of an AstroFest event to be held in Tenerife in March 2011.  It looks like this is going to be a truly superb event – hope to see you in the sunny Canary Islands early next year 🙂

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Another clear Moonless sky tonight so I’m taking a second data set of the Soul nebula.  I did intend imaging the comet – but as it wasn’t clearly visible through the finder scope I have decided not to bother with it.

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Great day today – met one of my literary heroes 🙂  Went up to London with my son Adam and met up with an old school mate Dick Jude – who actually used to run the Forbidden Planet book shop.  Why were we there?  William Gibson was due to sign his new book Zero History.  Below are a couple of photos from the event.

1)  Neuromancer arrives 2) Count Zero is ready for action 3) William Gibson signs Greg Parker’s copy of Zero History 4) William Gibson and Greg Parker.

A great day was had by all 🙂

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Nice clear Moonless night last night – up until midnight that is when in rolled the high cloud and imaging ended.  Got just over 3 hours on the Soul nebula IC1848 in Cassiopeia.  Looking at the data I probably need another 4 hours or so on this one for a quality image – that’s the Sky 90 lack of speed for you 🙁

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