Archive for May, 2011

I have just hung the 5-foot wide framed image of the Cocoon nebula region in the dining room.  It looks awesome 🙂

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Does have its advantages 🙂  This is the best time of the year for me with all the new foals, and the garden full of newly fledged birds.

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I have finally found someone that will build the 12 foot diameter octagonal wooden deck for the mini-WASP array at a price that doesn’t require me to take out a second mortgage.  Clearly the economic climate isn’t so bad that builders haven’t given up giving stupid quotes – yet.  So, hopefully, the deck build will proceed first week of June with 2.2m dome delivery to follow later.

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As always it is a very pleasant surprise to open up the Earth Science Picture of the Day page and find a Parker/Carboni image on the screen 🙂  Today it is the large widefield version of the Leo Trio taken quite recently at the New Forest Observatory and processed with some additional old Leo Trio data (taken with the original Hyperstar) by Noel Carboni.  Thank you Jim for continuing to publish our work 🙂

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Noel Carboni has just processed this data from a few days back.  Almost perfect imaging conditions that night and Noel had requested a Sky 90 image of Mizar and Alcor in Ursa Major – so that’s what I did 🙂

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Why would immortality be granted to jellyfish of all things?

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Today I removed the Sky 90 from the C11 and replaced it with a little Celestron refractor that I use as a guide scope.  The Hyperstar III has once again been fitted to the C11 for some phenomenally fast (f#2) Hyperstar imaging.  Just need to focus up the guide scope, teach focus using Focusmax on the Hyperstar and we’re off again.  The Sky 90 goes to meet his brother on the mini-WASP framework.

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Huge thanks go to Terry Platt and Michael Hattey of Starlight Xpress Ltd who made me a deal I simply could not refuse on imaging cameras, a guide camera, and filter wheels.  Thank you for sponsoring the mini-WASP project guys I just hope I get the order of magnitude improvement in Parker/Carboni images I’m hoping for.  If I don’t it will all be down to the user – not the cameras 🙂

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The imaging object of the month for May 2011 is a Messier object, Spiral Galaxy M106 in Canes Venatici.  I particularly like this galaxy and have imaged it several times – it looks to me like a piece of celestial “Mother-of-Pearl” – quite beautiful colouring if you manage to get deep images of this one on a clear (good seeing) night.  M106 is about 22 million light years away and shines at magnitude 8.3 with dimensions 18.6 x 7.2 minutes of arc – so reasonably large.  Even so – this one is better imaged with much longer focal lengths than my 405mm using the Sky 90 with reducer-corrector.  I would recommend focal lengths in excess of 1000mm and sub-exposure times of around 10-minutes with the usual minimum of around 50-60 subs.

The evenings are now getting shorter and this is the last month of imaging (for me at least) for a few weeks now.  Make the most of any clear Moonless nights we get this month – we’ve got a while before we can grab some deep-sky photons again.

Until June – clear skies!!

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