Archive for June, 2013

Just ten minutes ago I had one of those “hair raising on the back of the neck” moments.  I am reading Arthur C Clarke’s book “Astounding Days” and on page 186 I come across this bombshell sentence.

“I am tempted to link these mysteries with the theory that some kind of universal field of information may exist, and that a part of what we think is memory is not in the brain at all, but somehow outside it”.

So good old Arthur C Clarke pre-empted my idea of the “Mind Field” by at least a good 10 years. Wowser Arthur – you were good!!

 

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In this month’s National Geographic magazine there was a pretty unpleasant reminder of the destructive nature of man.  I won’t go into the unsavory details but it basically spelt out how morons in several European countries are decimating the migratory bird population.  Now this is nothing new of course, but it is still a jarring wake-up call to be reminded, yet again, that this wanton destruction of our bird life is still going on unabated.  We also still have the idiots who climb mountains with their shotguns in order to blast migrating birds of prey out of the sky too – this has also been going on for decades with no concerted effort by the Governments concerned to put pay to this brainless carnage.  This led me to some further thoughts along the same lines.  How long will it be before we see the last wild Leopard killed?  The last Lion?  The last Tiger?  The last Snow Leopard?  The last Rhino?  The last Elephant?  The last Orang-Utan?  Not too long at all the way things are going, and very little is being done to prevent this catastrophic loss of the planet’s invaluable gene pool.  How long will it be before ALL wildlife has been killed off and all that we are left with are domesticated animals and domesticated livestock?  And then how long eventually before those too are gone?  I think in terms of human-generation timescales, we are not talking about many generations at all.  There has been an effective moratorium regarding the destruction of the great Whales which must be applauded, but what use is such a moratorium if we continue to pollute the seas to the extent that they become nothing more than great stagnant ponds with iridescent waves of filth breaking on our shores?  You have no idea how pleased I am that I won’t be around long enough to witness these final stamps of success of the Idiocracy.

I don’t believe it is actually a Cree Indian saying, but whoever said it first, they certainly understood where we were heading.

“When the last tree has been cut down, the last fish caught, the last river poisoned, only then will you realize that one cannot eat money”.

Of equal import, one that is an Indian saying.

“Who speaks for Wolf ?”

God help this planet’s wildlife – but right now we have next to nobody speaking for Wolf.  What an indictment!

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And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by.

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You can see a full colour image of the California nebula processed from DSS2 data here.

The nebula extends to quite a way below the leftmost part of the image – it’s VERY big!

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I carried on adding some new frames to the mega Tulip nebula DSS mosaic until the computer gave up.  So this is it for now, the computer can’t handle any more 🙂  Note the ultra bright red S-type star AA Cygni near the top of the star and nebula panorama.

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The Earth Science Picture of the Day for June 21st 2013 is Avebury Stone Circle.  It was a beautiful day at both Avebury and Stonehenge last month during the Bank Holiday week.  Never seen so many people before at Stonehenge.  Thank you Jim at EPOD headquarters for continuing to publish my work 🙂

 

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I am building up a big panorama around the Tulip nebula in Cygnus by downloading and processing DSS red and blue datafiles.  Simply fantastic data to work with.

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I gave my talk about the New Forest Observatory at the Webb Deep-Sky Society AGM in Cambridge yesterday, 15/06/2013.

I had a great time there and would like to say a big thank you guys and I really appreciate the hospitality 🙂

The talk before mine was by Larry Mitchell from the Texas Star Party – yes he had flown in from the States to talk to the Webb Society.  Absolutely mind blowing stuff (even though it was for observational people and not imagers 🙂 )  These guys go out to visually observe the really faint stuff right at the limits and way off the catalogues.  Plenty of objects I’ve never heard of before (certainly not seen), and a really inspirational talk for imagers as well as observers.  Thank you for a really great talk Larry!!!!  Next time maybe we will get the full 1 and a half hour’s worth 🙂

 

 

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Not having the day job has given me a new imaging experience – the ability to image during June 🙂  With the day job I used to give up imaging half way through May (if not earlier) due to the shortening evenings.  Last night I started setting up at 11:30 p.m. and finished imaging this region in Cygnus at 2:00 a.m. just as the clouds started to roll in from the SW.  Also had a good view of the ISS and ATV4 earlier on in the evening – so a pretty good night all round.

This image shows a region in Cygnus with a nice pair of Carbon stars, some nice faint nebulosity (hard not to find some emission nebulosity in Cygnus) and the stars 30, 31 & 32 Cygni in the centre of the frame.  I took 13 x 10-minute subs using all 3 scopes and M26C cameras, but this is just the Sky 90 data.  Excellent seeing conditions last night.

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Managed to grab 7 x 10 minute subs on all 3 mini-WASP cameras before the cloud I had been watching finally arrived from France.  Glad really as it meant I could have an early 12:30 a.m. night.

This is open cluster NGC 6971 in Lyra – very faint as you can see.  Why bother imaging such a faint cluster?  See the nice bright red star at the 1 O’Clock position?  Yep – another Carbon star, U Lyrae 🙂

 

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