You will have seen the headlines about the possibility of destroying the Earth now that we are able to provide such extremely high energies in our super-colliders.  Grief – the Large Hadron Collider at CERN is to be upgraded to give a collision energy of 14TeV (14 x 10^12 electron volts) what unbelievable destruction could such energy release upon us tiny humans?  Time to get things into perspective.

There is a beautiful line in “The Forbidden Planet” where they have just been attacked by a monster from the Id and it withstood a blast of a Billion electron volts – WOW!!  A billion electron volts (American Billion) is a thousand million electron volts.  An electron volt is equivalent to 1.6 x 10^-19 Joules, so a Billion electron volts is around 1.6 x 10^-09 Joules, or a nano joule.  How much energy is a nano joule?  Well if it takes 4.2 Joules to raise the temperature of 1 gramme of water 1C, then I guess you can work out for yourself that a nano joule ain’t gonna do much.

Let’s go back to the LHC as that is providing a LOT more energy – here we’re talking 14 x 10^12 electron volts!  So that is 2.26 x 10^-6 Joules or 2.26 micro joules.  Still not exactly knocking your socks off is it?  But hey, in electron volts it sounds pretty good doesn’t it!!  We are playing with energies we shouldn’t be playing with – surely?  Well not quite.  Nature as you might expect makes our greatest efforts look pretty puny.

Cosmic Rays – those high energy particles coming in to us from every direction in space.  What sort of energies have they been accelerated to?  Well the high energy Cosmic Rays come into the upper atmosphere carrying a very respectable Joule’s worth of energy, that’s 6.25 x 10^18 electron volts in Forbidden Planet money, or half a million times the energy the LHC might be giving out in 2015.  Our efforts are pretty pathetic.  Does it end there?  Of course it doesn’t.  On Tuesday 15th October 1991 the “Oh My God” particle entered our upper atmosphere carrying?  How much?  50 Joules!!  Yes that’s 50 Joules of energy in a single particle.  Now if that ain’t gonna create Black-Holes, rifts in space time or God knows what else – then what will?  It is estimated that several particles carrying this amount of energy hit our atmosphere EVERY DAY.  Oh and another thing – they have been doing this for the last 4 Billion Years.

So – can we please – give up this crap of destroying the Earth with our piddling inconsequential particle accelerator experiments and perhaps consider much more likely Earth destroying scenarios that have been around since the end of World War 2??

Comments No Comments »

And so far today it has been raining since before I even got up – it is now 2:30 p.m.

Great.

Comments No Comments »

It’s not looking good is it?  Last winter I didn’t get a single image in 6 months due to the never-ending rain and cloud.  Looks like we are getting a repeat again this year.  If it is ANOTHER 6-months with no imaging I think I’ll give this nonsense up.

 

Comments No Comments »

O.K. so the day has finally arrived and “they” are now replacing the Sodium street lights around here with white light LED lamps.

Isn’t it absolutely marvelous how “they” can get their act together AND spend a huge pile of our cash on something that nobody either wants or needs around here.

And yet – replacing the noisy Aluminium phone lines which are slugging Broadband speeds by a factor of 5 due to the error corrections needing to be applied – appears nowhere in “their” plans.

You gotta love this 3rd world country we live in.

Comments No Comments »

I have recently received a few inquiries from photographers asking where they can purchase the High-Speed Xenon flashguns I use in my high-speed photographic work.

The units are made by THIS company in Ely, Cambridgeshire.  Check out their prices, for a unique piece of kit that cannot be purchased anywhere else on the planet, I believe they represent superb value for money :)

Comments No Comments »

A few posts below I gave a procedure on collimating your imaging camera to a Hyperstar III.  On reflection I thought that this could be considered as so much “hot air” without results to prove the procedure actually works.  So a few nights ago I fired up the Hyperstar III and ran through the collimation procedure with a nicely flattened M25C OSC CCD.  I flattened the M25C chip using the procedure described on the Starlight Xpress web site.  The results of around 45-minutes of collimation adjustments are given below, and the results speak for themselves :)

A larger view of the results can be seen here:

Comments No Comments »

Here is second light for the 3 x Sky 90 mini-WASP parallel imaging array.  This is open cluster NGC7789 near Caph in Cassiopeia.

The image is 18 x 15-minute subs or a total data time of 4 and a half hours with only 1 and a half hours of actual imaging time.

Comments No Comments »

On the evening of the 27th October 2014 I spent the first two hours of darkness aligning the 3 Sky 90s to look at the same region of sky, and then focus training Sky 90(2) and Sky 90(3).

After the initial set up (a little more still needs to be done to get the chips on cameras 2 & 3 nicely flat) I managed to get some imaging done.

Due to its position in the sky, the Tarazed region was looking pretty good so I grabbed 15 x 15-minute subs on Tarazed and Barnard’s “E”.  Below is the result.  75-minutes of real imaging time or 3 hours and 45-minutes of effective imaging time.

Comments No Comments »

The missus kindly held up a piece of A4 paper this lunch time outside in a howling gale so I could project an image of the Sun onto it.

An 80mm refractor with a 5X Barlow was used.  Yes the image is upside-down just as it came out of the refractor :)

Comments No Comments »

On the evening of the 19th October I got a couple of clear hours before it clouded over.  Enough time to set up the Hyperstar and get an hour (4 x 15-minute subs) on the California nebula.  I had forgotten just how fast the Hyperstar is – a total of 1-hour’s exposure time only, but that is equal to five hours on a Sky 90 at f#4.5 I suppose.  Still, the Hyperstar is FAST :)

Comments No Comments »