Archive for January, 2011

Simon Parkin used a New Forest Observatory image of the Orion nebula on last night’s Meridian Weather programme.  As you will know, Orion is crossing the southern horizon now and is due south around 9:00 p.m.  It won’t be too long before it has disappeared into the West for another year – and I haven’t had much chance of imaging in this region this year due to the atrocious weather 🙁  Lucky we U.K. deep-sky imagers have almost infinite patience!

See the video here:

Video footage Copyright Meridian News & Weather.

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Yet another day of rain.  Ye Gods – will this ever end?  I have a horrible feeling that Lovelock has got it spot on.

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It shows how bad the weather is, and has been, I am reduced to looking at number theory 🙂  I am not a Mathematician by any stretch of the imagination, so my basic question may already be well known, but I’ve come across an interesting problem when looking at infinity (I think lots of people have come across interesting problems when looking at infinity, including a good few who have gone bonkers while doing so – I think I can see why).

There is a beautiful simple little proof that shows that any number that has a repeating decimal sequence – NO MATTER HOW LONG THE REPEAT SEQUENCE – is a rational!  This immediately begs the question: “Is there any such thing as an irrational number?”  This depends entirely on the following: “Is there any proof that the irrationals do not repeat at infinity?”  There is of course the proof that irrationals (such as the square root of two) cannot be expressed as a rational fraction, so the rational fraction will be infinitely long.  Question is having got to the “end” of our infinitely long fraction, does it repeat?

Don’t think about this too much – it didn’t do people like Cantor much good 🙂

Update:  I have just been told by a famous Mathematician that “repeat at infinity” is meaningless.  Well that’s one good way out of the problem I guess 🙂

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The beginning of this year has seen a rush on the specialist DSLR courses we offer (I have no idea why) and unfortunately there are no spaces available now until June 2011.  Please check out the range of courses offered on the main menu bar at the top of this page – and if the course you’d like to attend is not listed, then please E-mail me at greg@newforestobservatory.com with your requirements, customised courses are our speciality 🙂

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Around mid day today this guy came wandering down the street as bold as brass.  Saw him through the study double-glazing, and fortunately he stopped off in the neighbour’s garden to grab a bite to eat.  This gave me enough time to get the camera off the desk, remove the lens cap and snap off 4 frames before he disappeared.  What’s very strange is that the same thing happened around this time last year as well – spooky 🙂

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Here is my son’s old TV monitor together with the 4 x 24″ Prolite E2407HDS IIYAMA monitors that are the heart of the New Forest Observatory control room.

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Happy New Year to you all – and what a way to start the New Year!!  Just got back from the morning dog walk and snapped off a few frames of this bird about half a mile away.  Sorry the picture isn’t too good but it was hand held with the 400mm zoom and a fairly slow shutter speed as it’s a dismal morning.  Can you see what it is?  Only a male Hen Harrier – that’s all – mega!  What a great way to start the New Year 🙂

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Happy New Year to you all – I hope the hangover from last night’s celebrations isn’t too bad 🙂

The imaging object for this month is one of the most famous supernova remnants, and the first entry in Messier’s catalogue – it is M1, the Crab nebula in the constellation Taurus.  This tiny object, only measuring 6′ x 4′ (that is arcminutes note, 1/60th of a degree) is also labelled as NGC 1952 and lies around 6,500 light years away.  Firstly, being so small, you really do need a longish focal length to do this object justice.  My 400 – 500mm using either the Sky 90 or the Hyperstar III is simply too short.  It has amazing colour and detail and would do well with narrowband imaging – the incredible Hubble image of this object is I believe one of the highest resolution images taken of any deep-sky object – and it shows!  Although we cannot possibly compete with Hubble on this one, we can get as many narrowband subs as we can at high sampling (I would suggest you sample at around your local seeing limit).  You can see from my image below that you can still get quite some impressive detail even with short focal length imagers, and you have the added bonus of seeing the Crab in context – a lonely object in a fairly barren region of space.

So we start the New Year with an astronomical bang 🙂  The last few months of 2010 were amongst the worst (weather-wise) that I have known at the New Forest Observatory – let’s hope we get some better luck at the beginning of this New Year.

Until February – clear skies to you all!

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