My Astronomy

 

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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.

 

My Recent Tweets
Tuesday
Feb192019

Museum of the Moon

On Tuesday 19th February this year I visited the Harris Museum in Preston to see the ‘Museum of the Moon” It is based around a 7 metre diameter giant Moon that was suspended from the ceiling in the Harris Museum which is an Art Gallery and Library in central Preston.

Monday
Feb112019

Comet C/2018 Y1 Iwamoto

The animation shows the rapid movement of the comet on Sunday morning 10th February 2019 over a period of 2h 20m.

The image below identifies two of the brighter stars


 

 

 

Sunday
Feb102019

Minor Planet HEBE predicted position on march 18th 2019 and image from 9th february 2019

Hebe is currently in the constellation of Orion. This wil be its position on 18th March as it approaches the constellation of Gemini.

I took an image from Spain using my 8-inch Ritchey-Chretien Telescope and ZWO 1600 Mono Camera on the 9th February when Hebe  was here:

This is the image: LRGB Image of Hebe 2 X 30s RGB 4 X 30s Luminance from Almeria in southern Spain.

 

The chart below shows its movement in April 2019

 

Monday
Feb042019

Amateur Night Sky - Week starting February 4th 2019

Wednesday
Nov142018

McNeil's Nebula Disappears

Where has it gone?

 

Friday
Oct262018

Back in Spain - PrimaLuce - Side by Side Mounting and thoughts on the pointing accuracy of the MYT.

I am back in Spain for a few weeks and reorganising my equipment in the observatory. The run off roof observatory I bought in Spain has proved to be excellent and has the advantage that it could be easily dismantled and relocated if I wished to do so as the roof and walls can be simply unscrewed. 

During my day on the stand for the Society for the History of Astronomy at the International Astronomy Show at Stoneleigh Park in Kenilworth near Coventry earlier this month I visited the stand of 365 Astronomy who are the main distributors for PrimaLuce Lab who are based in Northern Italy. I was interested in side by side telescope mounting for my 8-inch RC, my 80mm Skywatcher refractor with a ZWO Colour camera for guiding and planetary imaging , my modified Canon 40D attached to the OTA of my Meade ETX 90 and my un-modified Canon 40D with 50mm and 300mm Canon lenses - all to be mounted on my Paramount MyT. On the 365 stand I spoke to Filippo Bradaschia, the CEO of Primaluce who demonstrated their PLUS system Dovetail Bars and Clamps. I particularly liked the clamps that could take either Losmandy or Vixen Dovetails. to cut a long story short I flew back to Spain with a 49.5cm Primaluce Losmandy Bar, a large and a small clamp in my hand luggage. The large Losmandy Bar, fitting diagonally in my regulation size hand luggage caused some consternation at Manchester Airport Security. I could see no reason on the website security guidance not to take it but it took 3 people to finally agree to let me take it on board. A very difficult job for them. In future I will send any similar items by post. Primaluce has a number of  videos on their equipment presented by Filippo - this is the one about Dovetails and Clamps. Also this video. These are the items I bought.

Wednesday
Sep192018

This morning's imaging of Comet 21P Giacobini-Zinner

This morning I opened the observatory from my desk inside the house just before 6 a.m. Not having to go and set up the telescope and observatory makes it very easy to do some astronomy at unsocial hours. I usually wake up in the middle of the night to check the sky and if it is clear open the 'shed' and start up the telescope, set the filter wheel position, connect the camera and slew the telescope to an interesting target - all without having to move more than 3 feet from my bed!

This morning I captured the latest position of the comet 21P Giacobini-Zinner. I produced a gif animation in Photoshop to show its movement over 33 minutes.(05:57 local time to 06:30 local time.) There were intervening clouds from time to time resulting in various levels of star bloating!

 

Sunday
Sep022018

Day 7 of the new observatory

I have finally completed the roll off roof observatory, installed my telescope and camera and completed the wiring to inside the house. From my desk I can open and close the roof, watching it happen with the RING security camera in the observatory - and check the movement of the telescope. I can startup and home the scope and startup the camera, set the filter wheel position and switch a light on if necessary - all from my desk. I have not yet installed my focuser because I need an adaptor for my 8-inch RC. Of course since completion every day here s very warm and sunny with clear skies but s soon as it gets dark the clouds roll in!

Thursday
Aug022018

DAY 6 of the new observatory

I finally connected up the roof motor to test it - I still have to decide exactly where to control it from. At the moment I have located the control switch in the observatory. The roof opened and closed perfectly straight away after I set the upper and lower roof limits with adjusting screws on the motor.

 

Friday
Jul272018

Day 5 of the new observatory, Lunar Eclipse and Mars Opposition

The day started by getting the assistance I needed to get the roof on my new observatory. It took three of us to manhandle the three parts of the roof into the guiding slots. 

The observatory with its three roof sections in place.

The next stage is to add the motor and link the drive belt to the upper roof section.

 

The lunar eclipse seen from southern Spain was a stunning sight with a bright Mars just below it and to the west. This is the first time that , with the presence of a full Moon I could see the brilliance of the Miky Way. The Moon rose over the hills first and was hardly visible in its eclipsed state. 

The image below shows the Moon rising with Mars still behind the hills on the southern horizon.(iPhone)

 

 

The image below was taken with a Sony A58 DSLT and 75mm lens.

The image details are given below. Note that longer exposures would show trailing of Mars so I was unable to capture background detals in this tripod mounted shot.