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

Astronomy Blog Index
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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Galaxy Selection

I have started a new library of reference images based on their recession velocity and thus distance. Galaxies that are too far away will have supernovae that are too faint to image in 30 second exposures. Using a maximum recession velocity of  13000km/s and a Major Axis of at least 2 minutes of arc I have compiled an initial list of galaxies( that I call group A ) which works out at 1666 galaxies. I have ordered the list by increasing Right Ascension and have manually produced a text file (after much fiddling with Excel) and imported this into Orchestrate. This means that I can start an imaging session at any RA value depending on the Local Sidereal Time and the RA range visible. I am in the process of generating other lists based on the same and smaller Major Axis Values(MA). One advantage of Orchestrate is that it is possible to cut out chunks corresponding - for example - to a particular hour of RA for MA > 2 minutes - and combine this with - for example- the same hour of RA and a smaller MA - or other combination if required. The source catalogue for the data is the 3rd Reference Catalogue of Bright Galaxies by De Vaucouleurs otherwise known as RC3 so I started with a list of 23000 galaxies from which I am generating my imaging session scripts. I had initially hoped to do this using the Sky6 Data Wizard but that could only be used with databases already in the Sky6 catalogues. Self generated Sky Databases could be produced but they did not work with Data Wizard so I could not filter galaxies by recession velocity. SkyX evidently will do this and I note that an earlier (RC2) catalogue is included (less galaxies). I recently purchased SkyX but am struggling to work out how to use the renamed Data Wizard for my purpose. Thus the manual production and filtering of RC3 for Orchestrate.