Archive for March, 2011

Just a reminder to send your very best deep-sky images into the Starmus Festival imaging competition.

Wish I could enter this!  Prizes include a paid trip to Tenerife and time on the biggest (optical) telescope on the planet – WOW!!!!

Also talks from famous Russian and American astronauts PLUS a concert performed by Tangerine Dream.

This promises to be an amazing once-in-a-lifetime occasion – be there.

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The New Forest Observatory image of the Markarian Chain of galaxies made an appearance on Simon Parkin’s Weather programme on Meridian TV both last night at 6:20 p.m. (I missed that one) and today at 3:55 p.m. (caught that one as you can see here).  Video footage Copyright Meridian TV.

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Apparently Simon Parkin showed the Markarian Chain of galaxies (now crossing your southern horizon) acquired at the New Forest Observatory, on his weather slot on Meridian TV tonight.  Unfortunately I didn’t see it – damn!!

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Managed to grab 4-hours of data last night on the Leo Trio region with the bright star Chertan (Theta Leonis) in the field of view.  This is a very quick and nasty process by yours truly – Noel will do a much better job.  One piece of good news – I managed to rid the optical train of a mess of dust bunnies which had accumulated.  Turned out they were on the face of the CCD chip itself and luckily I had some proprietary polymer lens cleaner to hand to remove the little bu***rs 🙂

I should mention that in all these recent Sky 90 images I am using the CCD in portrtait mode – so north is to the right in these landscape mode portrayed images.

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I imaged this object last night and Noel Carboni processed it today.  Three and a half hours exposure time using 10-minute subs on the M105 region in Leo.  Apart from the 3 Messier objects, there are quite a lot of background galaxies to find as well.

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Here’s an image of tonight’s so-called SuperMoon taken just an hour ago as the Moon was about to clear the tree-tops down the road.  Didn’t look any different to a “normal” Moon to me 🙂

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And here is Jupiter and Mercury again – this time sunset on March 18th 2011.

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Got phoned up by Radio Solent this morning to make a few comments on UFOs – aired live about 10:40 a.m.

Well what can I say?  To quote Arthur C Clarke “You haven’t seen a UFO unless you got the Mars Licence number”.  I saw TONS of UFOs when I lived in Dartmoor National Park, the skies were so dark (when it was clear) – but although they were unidentified as far as I was concerned, this doesn’t make them extra-terrestial craft.  And it seems odd that the thousands of amateur deep-sky photographers (like me) that are out imaging every clear night have nothing to report – lots of satellites, plenty of planes, and even the odd asteroid – but sorry – no UFOs.

This isn’t too surprising, as (read below) space is BIG.  The Universe could be teeming with life and we would simply never cross paths – the probabilities are just too small.  And if there are life-forms similar to the Borg out there, maybe this is for the good 🙂

Don’t get me wrong – I would LOVE to see a real UFO – but as far as I am concerned we have never (yet) been visited by an intelligent extra-terrestial, and given the vastness of space and the probabilities involved – we never will be 🙁

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If you look into past posts you will see that a number of years ago I came up with the Golden Solid Angle that nobody seems to have considered before.

Playing around on Wolfram Alpha (it comes back with a great answer for “Does God exist?” by the way) – I input Golden Angle as my question.  I got an answer I was not expecting, namely that the Golden Angle was equaly to 2Pi/Phi2 where Phi is the Golden Ratio.  I hadn’t seen the Golden Angle expressed in this way before, but of course it is quite correct.  So I decided to have a look at what the Golden Solid Angle looks like expressed in a similar way.  In fact you can guess the answer from the Golden Angle result, but I found it stunning all the same.  The Golden Solid Angle turns out to be 4Pi/Phi2 – what a nice result!!

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Simon Parkin showed the recent Jupiter and Mercury close encounter image on his Weather slot on Meridian TV recently.  Video footage Copyright Meridian TV.

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