Archive for March, 2015

Am I the only one who can clearly see a Meerkat in Simeis 147?  He sits there, curled up, with his tail coming round in front from between his back legs.

Since Simeis 147 only has the common name “The Spaghetti nebula” which implies a random structure – I propose the more endearing “Meerkat nebula” for Simeis 147 – a supernova remnant in Taurus/Auriga.

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Blazing Moon last night so I spent a little time getting a good focus on the 200mm lens and then imaged both the Zosma region (with the Leo II dwarf galaxy) and the Virgo/Coma galaxy cluster region.  This was done with a 62mm UV/IR cut filter on the front of the 72mm diameter lens and the lens wide open at f#1.8.  The front aperture did not stop the lens down far enough to get good quality stars right into the corners – but the result isn’t bad at all.  Next outing I will check out the star quality using a 52mm diameter UV/IR cut filter.

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Well – you can tell from the lack of pictures that I didn’t get any solar eclipse images as we were totally clouded out here in the New Forest.  I guess if I’d taken this job half seriously I would have driven down to Plymouth the night before – but I was too lazy.

So after being clouded out all morning on the 20th it was then crystal clear from around 1:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. – it then clouded over again to make sure I couldn’t image that evening.

Next morning (21st) crystal clear ALL morning.

It really does feel like a conspiracy 🙁

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Earlier in the evening, before imaging La Superba, I saw a stunning crescent Moon/Venus photo-opportunity in the West.

Grabbed the Canon 5D MkII and a 50mm lens and started snapping away.

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I managed to get 4-hours worth of 10-minute subs on La Superba last night using the mini-WASP array.  I composited this with around another 4-hours of data from a Sky 90/M25C combo – so around 8-hours in total using 10-minutes subs on La Superba and friends.  I consider this one now done 🙂

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Can actually see the Sun today – first time in 3 days!  So I got the Solar imaging rig out – TS80 refractor, Canon 5D MkII, Baader Solar film, and a 5x Powermate – and took a few shots.  The 3 faint dots middle-right are actually for real and not dust on the sensor as confirmed by an SDO image downloaded at the same time 🙂  Whoopee – I’m ready to go – now all we need are some clear skies on Friday morning.  What are the chances of that do you reckon?

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I had one hour last night to get a 2-framer of the Merak region before thick heavy cloud came over.  As it was, many of these subs were taken through thin high cloud which put a great glow around Merak.  Merak is the brightest star and to the right we have the Broken Engagement Ring.  To the lower left we have Messier 108 and Messier 97 (The Owl nebula) – in the background there are dozens of faint fuzzies.  Only 18 subs at 4-minutes per sub for each frame using all 3 scopes and cameras – so managed the job in the hour, and got a half reasonable image at the end of it which was very surprising 🙂

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Earth Science Picture of the Day (EPOD) today is my Carbon Stars of Kemble’s Cascade image 🙂

Thank you Jim for continuing to publish my work.  Must say, that one came out particularly sparkly 🙂 🙂


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I got an uncalled for e-mail from a Press Office today – I get plenty of these, but today I was a little shorter than usual on the phone.

Is it possible for them (the Press Office) to take some photos inside an observatory, they can let me know more about it. So I reply, yes it is possible tell me more. They then reply back – can I ring you? I say yes, and the main part of conversation goes something like this:

Me: So what’s in it for me exactly?
Them: Nothing
Me: So why would I want you round here disturbing my work and making a nuisance of yourself in my observatories then?
Them: <Silence>
Me: Thank you for your call. And I hang up.

I should have said, “Well if there’s nothing in it for me then there’s also nothing in it for you I’m afraid.”

I am sick to death of these parasites (B-ark candidates) who want something for nothing from me all the time. Maybe if they meet enough people like me they will slowly get the message.

The message is this:


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I only need 300 more hits to take me up to the half million mark 🙂

Take a browse through my Flickr  images today and let’s see if we can get there:


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