Category: Blog

A Rare Deep Sky Imaging Session. 16th November 2017

On the way home from work a strange sight beheld me. Looking towards the north-east, it looked like the shutters were being rolled back.

A clear night, with no Moon looked to be promised.
It’s been quite a while since I did some serious deep-sky imaging (Good grief, was it really the 20th of January!).
As I didn’t have work the next day, I decided I just had to get out and give it a go.

So early evening I got some of my next astrophotography workshop written, before venturing out into the dome.

I also took time throughout the night to stand out to see if I could see any Leonids.
Fat chance!
Didn’t even see a faint one.

The first target was NGC 891, a beautiful edge-on galaxy. The dark dust lane and a hint of structure.

A bit lower in the sky was comet C/2015 ER61 PANSTARRS.
The colour image wasn’t that good, but making it mono and inverting the image shows quite a long dust tail, going off the the right hand side of the image .

Next, I went over to visit an old favourite, The Pleiades Star Cluster.
The initial image looked good, but while I was processing this, more subs were being taken.

The image is definitely improved with the extra data.

While I was on the bright stuff, I thought I’d try the core of M31.
The galaxy was almost overhead, so the auto-guiding was struggling.
I gave up, but got 4 subs to make an image.
Some dust lanes can be clearly seen, so I moved on to a fainter Messier object.

M1 is the much studied supernova remnant, the Crab Nebula.
This is the remains of a star that was observed by Chinese astronomers to go supernova in 1054.

From there, it was adventure down south into Orion.
M78 was my first target.
A challenge in the light pollution, but the lack of stars visible due to the presence of dark obscuring dust shows quite well.

Further South, the Horsehead Nebula and Flaming nebula close to the left hand belt star Alnitak.

A visit to Orion must involve a look at M42, the great Orion Nebula.
The colour didn’t look too good, but the image itself contained a lot of detail.
So I overlaid the image taken tonight as a luminosity layer on top of a much more grainy image that captured the colour much better.
The result was finally very pleasing.

Last object in northern Orion was NGC 2174, The Monkey Head Nebula.

By this time I was getting cold and tired. So my last two objects were M81 & M82.
It was getting a little bit murky by this time, so I did as best I could and used the two images to build a wider field mosaic.
You can see how there are less stars in the M82 half of the image as the sky was getting worse.

 


Coventry & Warwicks AS – 10th November 2017

On Friday the 10th of November, after meeting the real thing a couple of weeks ago @Flat_Tim and Buzz will be taking me out once again for my penultimate presentation of the year.
This time we will be re-visiting Coventry & Warwickshire Astronomical Society.

Once again I will be presenting my extremely popular audience-participation evening: “Celebrate Tim Peake’s Principia Mission”.

CelebrateTim

I am looking forward to being made very welcome once again as they did on my two previous visits to them.

I wonder how keen this group will be in having selfies taken with Tim.

Like all my other visits out with this presentation, I’m really looking forward to having a lot of fun with them during the audience participation bits.
I’m sure that, like the other groups I have done this with, they will really enjoy the evening I have planned for them.

All are very welcome, so if you are in the area, come along and say “Hello”.

Their meeting starts at 7:15pm.

Venue:
Earlsdon Methodist Church Hall,
Earlsdon Road South,
Earlsdon,
Coventry,
CV5 6NF


Wolverhampton Astronomical Society – 6th November

On Monday the 6th of November, after meeting the real thing a couple of weeks ago @Flat_Tim and Buzz will be taking me out once again. This time we will be re-visiting Wolverhampton Astronomical Society.

Once again I will be presenting my popular audience-participation evening: “Celebrate Tim Peake’s Principia Mission”.

CelebrateTim

I am looking forward to being made very welcome once again as they did on my previous visit to them.

But I wonder how keen this group will be in having selfies taken with Tim.

Like all my other visits out with this presentation, I’m really looking forward to having a lot of fun with them during the audience participation bits. But I’m sure that they will really enjoy the evening I have planned for them.

All are very welcome, so if you are in the area, come along and say “Hello”.

Their meeting starts at 7:30pm.

Venue:
Highfields Environmental Centre,
Boundary Way,
Penn

Wolverhampton,
WV4 4NT 

+ Google Map

 


Sky Diary for November 2017

My monthly sky diary for November showing the events of the night sky visible from the UK is now available in pdf form to download and print.
Click here, or on the image below to download the pdf.

It is also available to share on Google calendars.
Click here to go to my Google calendar.

More sky events will be added to the live Google calendar as more information becomes available.


Bedford Astronomical Society – 25th October.

On Wednesday the 25th of October, @Flat_Tim will be taking me out once again.
This time we will be visiting my home astronomical society in Bedford.

I will be presenting my audience-participation evening: “Celebrate Tim Peake’s Principia Mission”.

CelebrateTim

I am looking forward to presenting on home territory amongst good friends.

Like my other visits out with this presentation, I’m really looking forward to having a lot of fun with them all during the audience participation bits.
Little do they know what to expect, but as this talk is going down so well, I’m sure that they will really enjoy the evening I have got planned for them.

All are very welcome, so if you are in the area, come along and say “Hello”.

Meeting starts at 7:30pm.

Venue:
The Resource Room.
Piazzi Smyth Observatory.
Pemberley Avenue
Bedford.
MK40 2LE


Comet ASAS-SN 01 brightens.

Over the next few weeks Comet ASAS-SN01 gets brighter and moves further northwards.
This fresh comet from the Oort cloud was discovered on the 19th of July 2017, from Cerro Tololo, Chile

It passed close to the Pleiades around the middle of September and is currently in the constellation of Perseus.

The comet reaches perihelion (closest to the Sun) on the 14th and passes 67 million miles from Earth 4 days later.
It should reach a maximum magnitude of around +8, so should be visible in binoculars or a small telescope at this time.

By the end of October it will be found in the constellation of Camelopardalis, heading almost directly towards Polaris.
What it’s brightness will be at this time is difficult to say, as comets are notoriously difficult to accurately predict.

By the end of November the comet will be close to Polaris and its motion would have slowed down as the distance from Earth increases. It should be very faint by this time.

 

 


2012 TC4 buzzes Earth – 10th – 12th October

A small asteroid (Do they still call them that these days?) is due to buzz past the Earth over the next few days. It is likely to reach the giddy heights of magnitude 12.5 (or there-about), so will be a real challenge to spot as it passes us, moving south west as it goes.

It will not hit the Earth and will pass by at about 30,000 miles above the Earth’s surface at closest approach on the  12th.

On the 10th it will be in Aquarius a little below the Water Jar asterism.

On the 11th it will be in Capricornus, within the main body of the constellation when dark in the UK.

On the 12th it will be in Sagittarius and virtually lost in the multitude faint milky Way stars and very low down in the south western evening sky after dark.

If you’re going to give it a go. Very good luck.

More details here on the Sky & Telescope Web Page

Dave

 

 

 


Walsall Astronomical Society – 5th October 2017

On Thursday the 5th of October, @Flat_Tim and Buzz will be taking me out once again.
This time we will be re-visiting Walsall Astronomical Society.

We will be presenting my audience-participation evening: “Celebrate Tim Peake’s Principia Mission”.

CelebrateTim

I am looking forward to being made very welcome once again as they did on my previous visit to them. I know that they will probably be surprised to see Tim, as I don’t think they are expecting him (Unless they read this blog, of course!). But, I’ll bet you this for nothing, they’ll all be wanting to take selfies with him at the end of the evening.

Like my other visits out with this presentation, I’m really looking forward to having a lot of fun with them during the audience participation bits. But I’m sure that they will really enjoy the evening we have planned for them.

All are very welcome, so if you are in the area, come along and say “Hello”.

Their meeting starts at 8:00pm.

They meet at:
Rushall Olympic FC,
Dales Lane,
Rushall,
Walsall,
West Midlands
WS4 1LJ


Sky Diary for October 2017

My monthly sky diary for October showing the events of the night sky visible from the UK is now available in pdf form to download and print.
Click here, or on the image below to download the pdf.

It is also available to share on Google calendars.

Click here to go to my Google calendar.

More sky events will be added to the live Google calendar as more information becomes available.

Now last weekends Kelling Sky Party is behind us, the observing season is well and truly open.


New Workshops for 2018

Dates for my astronomy workshops for next year have now been confirmed.

Although I have had people travel as far afield as Sheffield and Hampshire, if these workshops are too far for you to travel, if your club or society would like me to organise an astronomy workshop closer to your location, do get in touch.

So below is my list of workshops currently available for booking.

Click here for full details and Paypal booking on my Workshop Web page

LUNAR AND PLANETARY IMAGING
25TH NOVEMBER 2017 – HIGHAM FERRERS HOPE METHODIST CHURCH, NORTHAMPTONSHIRE

BEGINNING ASTRONOMY
17TH FEBUARY 2018 – CHELVESTON VILLAGE HALL, NORTHAMPTONSHIRE

ASTROPHOTOGRAPHY AND WEBCAM IMAGING
24th March 2018 – HIGHAM FERRERS HOPE METHODIST CHURCH, NORTHAMPTONSHIRE

SOLAR OBSERVING AND IMAGING
9th June 2018 – HIGHAM FERRERS HOPE METHODIST CHURCH, NORTHAMPTONSHIRE

ASTROPHOTOGRAPHY PHOTOSHOP ESSENTIALS
29th September 2018 – HIGHAM FERRERS HOPE METHODIST CHURCH, NORTHAMPTONSHIRE

ASTROPHOTOGRAPHY AND WEBCAM IMAGING
27th October 2018 – CHELVESTON VILLAGE HALL, NORTHAMPTONSHIRE