Archive for December, 2010

I have just put out a pair of FLAT pinhole cameras to track the Sun’s path across the sky.  They should have gone out on December 21st but plenty of things got in the way – including Alan Sugar’s autobiography – and I’ve just got round to doing it now.  This time instead of the beer can camera which takes the photo paper rolled up inside, I have used a pair of tea bag tins which are actually a perfect size to take the photo paper flat!  In addition – the hinged lid makes it very easy to load and unload the photo paper.  The final bonus is the the image you get will look like the actual path of the Sun across the sky instead of the deformed (compressed) image you get from the cylindrically shaped photo paper rolled up inside a beer can.  So it’s patience time again and a long wait until June 21st 2011 before we can see what’s been going on inside the tea bag tin 🙂  Fortunately there hasn’t been any Sun worth talking about for days – so I don’t think I’ve missed many tracks since December 21st.

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O.K. so this might not have a great deal to do with deep-sky imaging – but I must share with you the “Book of the Year”.  Every page is a gem and it simply gets better and better as you work your way through the rather substantial 609 pages.  What is it?  It is Alan Sugar’s Autobiography “What You See is What You Get”.  You think you’re an entrepreneur?  Read this book and think again!!  Great stuff 🙂

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Today’s EPOD (Earth Science Picture of the Day) is a 16-frame mosaic of St. Nicholas’ church in Brockenhurst taken during the recent snow fall.  This mosaic was stitched together using the amazing PTGui software package which does a great job of assembling (and blending) large mosaics (including deep-sky mosaics).  Camera used was the Canon 5D MkII full frame DSLR and the amazingly sharp 50mm prime lens (possibly the cheapest and sharpest lens in the Canon range!).  I was lucky enough to capture this image just a day or two before scaffolding was erected all around the church.  Why scaffolding?  Because some extremely low-life form decided that in order to fund this Christmas they would steal the lead off the church roof.  Is nothing sacred?  Apparently not in U.K. 2010.  Thank you Jim for continuing to publish my work 🙂

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On this Christmas Day I present to you the most intricate icing pattern you have ever seen.  This is the Mandelbulb (3-D Mandelbrot) only recently discovered.  What an amazing structure!  Happy Christmas 2010 to you all.

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You can see a short Video from last night’s Meridian Weather on here – copyright Meridian ITV – after a bit of experimentation I managed to get the video properly rendered 🙂

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The 6-month pinhole camera image shown below made an appearance on last night’s Meridian Weather with Simon Parkin.  Actually came out well on the TV – congratulations to the technical team there at Meridian – and thank you Simon 🙂

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Today the two pinhole cameras on the south-facing wall were opened up 🙂  The image below is a 6-month sub-exposure of my southern horizon showing the Sun’s path across the sky.  See how low it is in Winter!  You can see trees in the background – and lower centre you can clearly see the white fibreglass dome of the New Forest Observatory.

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Well there’s not much imaging getting done at the end of 2010 that’s for sure!

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Sales of Star Vistas are rising rapidly as we approach Christmas 🙂  Get your copy ordered in time before stocks run out!

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Saw some beautiful Geminids last night between 9:00 and 11:00 p.m. when it decided to cloud over.  Too lazy to go over to a New Forest dark site to photograph – I worked from the back garden – big mistake!!  The Sodium street light pollution seems to be getting worse year on year and quite simply the Geminids couldn’t compete with all the background yellow 🙁  Great shame as it was one of the best meteor displays I’ve ever seen – slow, long and very bright trails stretching out from Gemini towards Orion mostly.  A missed photo-opportunity all down to laziness!!

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