My Astronomy


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My New Book May 2018My previous e-book


My Telescopes

My Main Telescope - C14 and Paramount ME

My new Paramount MyT and 8-inch Ritchey-Chretien Telescope

MyT Hand Controller

My Meade 12 inch SCT on a CGEM (Classic) Mount

My 4 inch Meade Refractor with Sky Watcher Guidescope and ZWO camera on a CGEM (Classic) Mount

Skywatcher Star Adventurer Mount with Canon 40D


My Solar setup using a DSLR and Mylar Filter on my ETX90

DSLR attached to ETX90. LiveView image of 2015 partial eclipse on Canon 40D

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About the Site

 I try to log my observing and related activities in a regular blog - sometimes there will be a delay but I usually catch up. An index of all my blogs is on the main menu at the top of the page with daily, weekly or monthly views. My Twitter feed is below. I am also interested in photograping wildlife when I can and there is a menu option above to look at some of my images. I try to keep the news feeds from relevant astronomical sources up to date and you will need to scroll down to find these.

The Celestron 14 is mounted on a Paramount ME that I have been using for about 10 years now - you can see that it is mounted on a tripod so is a portable set up. I still manage to transport it on my own and set it all up even though I have just turned 70! It will run for hours centering galaxies in the 12 minute field even when tripod mounted.


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Day 3 of new observatory

I had to wait for the wind to die down to allow me to manhandle the sides of the observatory which delayed my start until about midday. You know what they say about englishmen and the noon day sun -although I was born in Scotland!  The temperature was in the mid 30's,  as it is every day, and insects were homing in on me. I applied the insect repellent but obviously missed a few areas so I am writing this with bites on my ears, face and elbow! I managed to put the basic structure together but am waiting until tomorrow to sort out the motorised roof. 

Here is the sequence of the structure going up.




Day 2 of New Observatory

Today I put together the two halves of the observatory metal base in the correct location. Obviously there will need to be some courtyard tree trimming!

They were secured together by two bolts on the east and two bolts on the west side. One of the bolts on the east side is shown below.

 Then I drilled an M10 hole through the tiles into the concrete below on each corner. I used an M10 through bolt (concrete anchor) to fasten down the base as shown below. See the you tube video here. I made sure tht the top of the bolt is below the level of the floor ledge on each corner.

 I made sure that the metal base was level in east-west and north-south directions. The east west level is shown below

The north -south level is shown below


New Observatory Arrives at my Spanish House

My new observatory has arrived at my place in Spain in the province of Almeria today - delivered from Albacete. The pieces are all stacked against the wall of my courtyard where I am going to assemble it.

Half of the heavy metal base is shown in the image which was taken from the south side of the courtyard.



Tuesday 12th June 2018 Midnight.

Midnight - My first night observing the sky here in Spain since I arrived two weeks ago. As always the Pole star seems very low in the sky at this latitude of 37 degrees in Andalusia in comparison with my usual 53 degrees in Lancashire. The great bear is standing on its head with its tail in the air and the pointers show me the position of Polaris just over my northern courtyard wall, allowing me to roughly polar align the CGEM mount with the polarscope. The chart below shows the situation. (Courtesy of Software Bisque)


My single story villa lies to the south of the courtyard and I can see the Scorpion rising with the bright red Antares visible just over the roof. Higher of course is the brilliant planet Jupiter and one by one I begin to recognise the constellations. Overhead the brilliant star Arcturus immediately catches the eye.  Lyra is there with its bright star Vega and Cygnus is off to the east with the axis of the swan lying parallel to the hills that lie in that direction. The three readily recognised stars of Aquila help me to identify the bright star Altair. The latter 3 stars of course form the Summer Triangle which will become much more evident in the night sky in a month or so. The bowl shaped Corona Borealis is visible overhead. The chart below shows the view to the south. (Courtesy of Software Bisque)






Back to Spain - Open Cluster NGC 6791 remotely imaged

I arrived in Spain last night after a 2 night voyage on the Cap Finistere from Portsmouth to Bilbao and a 12 hour drive down the length of Spain to Andalucia. I have yet to extract the Celestron 14 and the Paramount ME from the back of my truck.


I connected to a New Mexico telescope to take an image of the open cluster NGC 6791 in Lyra.


The size of the square image is 47' 4". The position angle of the original image was 179 degrees 25 minutes from North but this has been rotated to put North at the top in the above image.




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Comet 62P Tsuchinshan


IC 4628 - The Prawn Nebula (Gum 56) in Scorpius 

I took the remote image on Saturday March 31st 2018 at 05h 44m 12s Australian Time from Siding Spring in New South Wales. It is a 300 second exposure using Telescope T13 which is a Takahashi Sky 90. The image has been rotated to put North towards the top. The position angle of the image taken was 177 degrees 44 minutes from North, i.e. the image below is 180 degrees  - 177 degrees 44 minutes = 2 degrees  16 minutes from North. If it is rotated clockwise by that amount it will be north at the top.

IC 4628 lies at a distance of 6000 Light Years. 


 The negative image below identifies some of the objects in the field. 

Three stars that appear orange in the colour image are identified on the negative image.

The angular size of the nebula can be determined. 



Location of my new Observatory Site in Spain

I am in the process of setting up an observatory in Spain near the town of Albox in Almeria. It has a clear view to the east, south and west although the town of Albox is to the wet with some light pollution. From the proposed observatory location at (exactly) 500m altitude the sky will be very dark in most directions.

A closer view - showing that the 500m contour passes directly through the property

 View to the southwest from the roof terrace



Venus in the West at my new Observatory Site in Spain

The west and south west have most light pollution. The low level lights from the property next door (bottom left) are not a problem. There are  few isolated bright lights coming from the direction of Albox which is a little further to the south (left) than in the image. There are no lights to the south or east visible at all!