Archive for the “News” Category

At this very moment I have the BBC2 Horizon programme about multiverses on.

They are taking complete and utter garbage to an entirely new level.

The lisping female narrator is really the icing on the cake.  Absolutely nothing wrong with hiring someone with a speech impediment BBC – but to narrate a science programme?  Come on, time to get serious, you are after all well on your way to losing the licence fee – this sort of Idiocracyformat is not going to do you any favours at all.

This isn’t dumbing down – this is the creation of a creature with a negative IQ.

Get a grip guys!

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In order to keep my hand in the HSF world, I will be making a batch of high-speed flash units that will be available early 2016.

Talking to a number of professional users I have decided that the specification for the new batch of units will be:

  1.  Light output power 75 Joules.
  2. Light pulse duration 25-microseconds (1/40,000th of a second).
  • Recharge time less than 5 seconds.

The units will be powered by a 12V dry battery pack (supplied with charger unit).  Estimated cost of a flash unit, battery pack and charger is £2,000 plus VAT at 20%, plus p&p.

Let me know if you have an interest in this equipment.

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Please look under the “Courses” heading for a brand new course available from today.

This is the “I have been given a telescope for Christmas and I don’t know what to do with it” course.

Get up to speed with one-to-one tuition from Prof. Greg Parker at the New Forest Observatory :)

 

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Another nice long 6-minute ISS pass tonight at 10:04 p.m.

As you can see, there was thin high cloud about which thickened considerably – so no imaging for me tonight :(

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Another 6-minute long ISS pass from last night.  The earlier 21:41 pass was completely clouded out.

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On the night of the blue supermoon (31st July) I looked out of the window to see the ISS passing over the Moon (so I missed a great photo-opportunity) around 10:00 p.m.

I hadn’t been keeping an eye on the ISS pass times lately so the same evening I took a look and was surprised to see that there were long 6-minute passes on just about every night of the following week :)

So on the evening of 01/08/2015 at 10:33 p.m. I was ready and waiting outside with the Canon 5D MkII and the Canon 15mm fisheye lens.  Beautiful long 6-minute pass.  Also there will be 2 tonight at 9:41 p.m. and 11:17 p.m. so I am hoping the weather will be kind.

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Taken at 8:25 p.m. on 26/07/2015 this image shows a double rainbow over the New Forest Observatories – and more.

This morning I pushed up the contrast and saturation of the image to take a better, closer look at the rainbows.  I was surprised to see a bunch of blue/violet mini-bows on the inner edge of the primary bow.  Knowing nothing about rainbows I looked this up.  Found out this is what is called a SUPERNUMERARY rainbow.  Live and learn :) :)

 

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I have just assembled this DNA model that comes from Cochrane’s of Oxford.  It is extremely well thought out and the instructions for assembly are quite excellent given the complexity of the thing being put together.  When I first saw this kit I thought that it was a little expensive for what was being offered – I now think it is very good value for money indeed!

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The Licence Agreement between Laserscribe Ltd. and Parker Technology was formally terminated on 01/07/2015.

If you wish to purchase custom built high speed electronic flash equipment contact Prof. Greg Parker at Parker Technology.

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You too can make your own full-colour, high-resolution, deep-space images, just like the Tulip nebula mega-mosaic below – and you don’t even need to own a telescope.

However, you do need a copy of Photoshop and a copy of Noel Carboni’s Astronomy Actions for Photoshop.

The first thing you need to do is get your hands on the data which you will process into a full-colour image – I have described this process in an earlier Astronomy Now article – so if you are an Astronomy Now subscriber, look the process up there.

You will grab the data from the SkyView Query Form site.  Put in the co-ordinates of the object you want a picture of (or the object name) in the box at the top.  Go down to where it says what datasets are available and click on DSS2 red AND blue data.  Where it asks for image quality data put in 6000 pixels and leave the rest unchecked – this will give you a 6000 x 6000 pixel image at the highest spatial resolution on offer.  Send off the query and it will download the images to your monitor.  Go to the bottom of each image and click download the FITS files.  You will now have the red and blue channel data for your chosen object.  Now we need to process the data.

Open up Photoshop – and in Noel’s actions click on “Construct RGB image from channel files”.  This process expects you to supply red, green and blue channel data – but as you only have red and blue channel data you need to put the blue channel data into the green channel when the program asks you for it.  Go through the construct RGB process and at the end you will have a colour image of your object – but in the wrong colours as you didn’t provide any green channel data – fear not – Noel’s actions will come to the rescue!  Now click on “Synthesise Green Channel from Red and Blue” and Noel’s Actions will create an artificial green channel for your image giving something that looks a bit closer to “real” colour.

Now all you need to do is tweak the image in Photoshop to get something closer to what you are looking for.  I actually take the image into Paint Shop Pro at this point as it has a couple of very powerful “one click” processes.  I use the contrast enhancement tool on Darker/Normal/Normal and the saturation enhancement tool on More Colour/Normal – to get the image looking more how I want it – I then take it back into Photoshop for further cleaning up and to put on any (Noel Carboni) star spikes if I feel they are appropriate.

And that’s it.  You can produce deep-sky images of a quality far better than you can grab from your back garden with mega-expensive kit, and do it in far less time than it would take you to get just the data.  Makes you wonder why we actually bother to do it the hard way!

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