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My Main Telescope - C14 and Paramount ME

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

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

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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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 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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Last Night's Observations of Pluto - a clear night in Spain

It is 2.43 a.m. (Friday morning 24th)and I have just finished a night of observing. What a night - no humidity - reasonable seeing - no wind - clear skies. I started by imaging Pluto - I am keeping an eye on that in case it turns back into a planet again - then reimaged some potentially suspect SN candidates - carried out a run of about 300 galaxies in Vulpecula, Cygnus, Camelopardalis and others and imaged some interesting star clusters. When I am back in the UK in the winter I can look back at these images and investigate them - too late for SN searching then - that has to be tomorrow - but plenty more interest in those images. When I closed down the telescope I realised that Orion was already high in the sky- the Pleiades overhead  - Aldebaran and the Hyades, Orion then Sirius blazing away in the East. I went in to get my trusty 8 X 30 binoculars and looked at the Pleiades, the Great Nebula in Orion, the kids in Auruga then M36, M37 and M38 - it is a wonder that I ever get any sleep. Tomorrow (well today)  first thing - produce the daily astronomy newspaper, a trip down the mountain for tea bags, a 30 second dip in the pool - getting chilly now -  and start checking the imaged galaxies for supernovae.  Oh and look at the biggest sunspot group for 10 years - a fantastic sight through my (Mylar filmed) Swarovski birding scope!

Pluto first - here is the chart of the position of my Pluto image - the small square is in the exact position of my image - generated automatically by solving the plate to match the stars on the image with the stars in the chart. 


Now the image itself - Pluto is marked

Plate Solution Details


Center RA: 18h 47m 09.55s

Center Dec: -20° 40' 18.6"

Scale: 1.44 arcseconds/pixel

Size (pixels): 512 x 512

Angular Size: 0° 12' 15" x 0° 12' 15"

Position Angle: 179° 36' from North

RMS: 0.67 (X: 0.42 Y: 0.52)

Number of Stars Used in Solution: 21 (100%)

FWHM: 2.79 pixels, 4.01 arcseconds


Image Details

Object Name: Pluto

Object Type: Pluto

Altitude: +23° 14' 21"

Constellation: Sagittarius

RA (Topocentric): 18h 48m 02s

Dec (Topocentric): -20° 38' 58"

RA (2000.0): 18h 47m 10s

Dec (2000.0): -20° 40' 08"

Azimuth: 216° 13' 59"

Magnitude: 14.17

Phase (%):  99.98%

Rise Time: 13:51

Transit Time: 18:47

Set Time: 23:43

Hour Angle: 02h 21m 56s

Air Mass: 2.53

Earth Distance (au): 33.06

Sun Distance (au): 32.75

RA Rate (arcsecs/sec): 0.000682

Dec Rate (arcsecs/sec): -0.000058

Rise/Set Notes:  Rise: 12:50:39 DST_NOT_SET on 23/10/2014

 Transit: 17:46:40 DST_NOT_SET on 23/10/2014

 Set: 22:42:41 DST_NOT_SET on 23/10/2014

Date: 23/10/2014

Time: 21:08:13 DST

Constellation (Abbrev.): Sgr

Heliocentric Longitude: 282.7°

Heliocentric Latitude: +2.4°

Heliocentric Radius: 32.7485

Geocentric Longitude: 281.1°

Geocentric Latitude: +2.4°

Geocentric Radius: 33.0597

Geocentric Mean Longitude: 281.1°

Geocentric Mean Latitude: +2.4°

Geocentric Mean Radius: 33.0596

True RA: 18.8h

True Dec: -20.7°

Altitude w/Refraction: 23.7343

Apparent Magnitude: 14.2

Apparent Angular Diameter:   0° 00' 00"

Sidereal Time: 21:09

Julian Date: 2456954.29738021