Microscopy stagnant pool Hopwas Woods (next to canal) 17/9/2019

My god-son Laurence and I went for a walk next to the canal at Hopwas Woods near Lichfield today and took a water sample from a stagnant pool next to the canal.

Images below with 100x oil immersion lens (with immersion oil), Bresser MicroCam SP 5.1 camera.

Stained with H&E stain, heat fixation.

I used Registax 6 to stack video files and GIMP to stretch the histogram – applying astronomy imaging techniques to microscopy!


We found this organism attached to a piece of vegetation – note the multiple linear structures along edge of its body – video below shows us changing focus through body of the organism – multiple blue dots are bright/dead pixels on camera – Oh what I wouldn’t give for a COOLED microscope camera!

Diatom skeleton showing structure in skeleton:

Cygnus Wall – Bi Colour

Over the full moon period we’ve had a couple of clear nights and I’ve taken the chance to get some pictures of the Cygnus Wall in Ha and Oiii. Back in February/March I had an attempt to do this on the Cone nebula but the results were not brilliant (suspect user error is to blame as usual). Here are my results from the same technique on the Cygnus Wall that have come out much better. Possibly part of it is understanding that the Oiii data is considerably weaker than the Hydrogen data and compensating a bit for that.

Anyway- below are the images- they’re 1 hr 20 of Oiii (I took 3 hours but most of them had to be thrown away due to moonlight and cloud) and 2 hr 40 of Ha (only had to reject 2 of these) plus the usual calibration frames.

Firstly – Ha:

Then Oiii (yes, I’m still not great at aiming the camera in the same place on two successive nights, but it’s tricky when you can’t see what it’s taking a picture of!)

Finally- the combination made from feeding the Ha into the Red Channel and the Oiii into the Blue and Green:




Lunar data mining and “Alexander’s beaded rim”

October’s “Sky at Night” magazine has quite a few lunar images. The regular “Moonwatch” article is about the crater “Alexander” and its environs. Alexander is a difficult to identify eroded crater. In particular it talks about “Alexander’s beaded rim” about which it says “The peaks that define Alexander’s western rim appear like tiny stars arranged in a beautiful arc”. I have to confess that from the images in the magazine, this clair-obscur effect totally eluded me.

So, as I now have quite an extensive set of window-sill based images (of varying quality!) of the Moon in a variety of phases a bit of data mining was indicated. I found the following image which I cropped and labelled the features to be approximately the same as that in the magazine;

Then, after a bit of contrast stretching in GIMP, we get this:

NOW I can see an effect, although whether it is the one they were talking about, I don’t know! It is pretty though.


While looking at this image set, nearby there was also a pretty good manifestation of the Lunar “V”.

For sale – Acer Aspire One 10.1″ nextbook £50

Hi Folks

I’m selling a nice little netbook if anyone’s interested.

The Spec is as follows:-

10.1″ display . 1024 x 600 resolution

148GB hard drive

1.33GHz Dual Core AMD CPU

2GB RAM (upgradeable to 4GB with Windows 7 64 bit, or Windows 10

Currently has Windows 7 64-bit installed, along with Sharpcap. It will happily run Sharpcap, iSpy, Stellarium etc. Obviourly it won’t handle much post-processing work, or rather it will but you’d have plenty of time to go and make a cup of tea. I was going to fit a SSD but I’ve bought another netbook

3 USB 2.0 ports

1 HDMI port

1 VGA connector

LAN connector

Mains charger

I’m asking £50 for it

I’ll bring it along to RAG on Friday