Archive for the “News” Category

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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I have been putting together a full-colour mega-mosaic of the Tulip nebula region in Cygnus using the wonderful DSS2 data.

As this is a pretty huge mosaic you can imagine the dataset was getting a bit unwieldy – and in fact my computer was starting to fall over – it couldn’t handle all the data.

So for now, until I get my hands on a Quantum Computer – this is it.  Won’t be adding any more to this one.

Printing out right now at A1-size on the HP Deskjet 130 6-colour printer.

Enjoy :)

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Just a reminder that you can see most of my Astronomical images on Flickr.

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If you need to hire high-power high-speed Xenon flashguns for your next photo-assignment then check Xenon Flash out :)

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I don’t have enough spare time to replicate posts on Astronomy forums and on my New Forest Observatory web site.

So, if you want to see the latest images or the latest developments at the New Forest Observatory, from today onwards you will only see these on this site.

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I can prove that we live in a Matrix Universe.  Trouble is – if I explain my proof the program will terminate.

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The New Forest Observatory is run by Prof. Greg Parker from Brockenhurst in Hampshire.  Do not be misled or confused by others using a similar name.

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