Neil Wyatt is an environmentalist ecologist and a lifelong model maker – he had his first workshop at the age of about fourteen. He cut his teeth on Airfix models, but branched out into model boats and aircraft (that flew about as well as the boats).
In his lathe thirties he discovered married life and a pile of ageing Model Engineer magazines and decided to take up the ‘ultimate hobby’ – making working things entirely from scratch – and bought a lathe. Whilst not claiming any exceptional talent, he gets great satisfaction from creating unusual working models and making and modifying tools and workshop equipment.
His other hobbies include electronics, astronomy (especially astrophotography), playing guitar and bass and, when he has the energy, mountain biking.
He somehow manages to combine being a environmental consultant with editing the magazine Model Engineers’ Workshop. Neil lives in Staffordshire with his wife, family and a collection of small to medium sized carnivorous mammals.
It’s taken me years to see, let alone photograph, noctilucent clouds.
Luna the Lab decided two trips into the garden weren’t enough last night, despite being let out at 11:50 and 1:15. I wasn’t annoyed though as the first two let me test my SQM which gave readings of 19.22 and 19.40 which suggests it’s in the right ball park.
But a couple of hours later she woke me up again, she’s obviously being fed too much.
I took thr meter out and the sky was already starting to lighten and read 18.8sih, but I noticed a few tufts of promising cloud right in the north between the trees.
I got Luna back in, dressed enough not to be arrested and legged it up to the Waterpark.
Thanks to the miracle of image stabilisation, some of my images came out OK co0nsidering they were >1s exposures!
I’m sure these are the ‘real deal’ because the stars were still out and it was just after 3:00am, the clouds were due north across about 45 degrees of the sky.
I’m particularly pleased with this image. I’ve been wandering around the southern sky picking up ‘missing Messiers’ for my collection, but a few nights ago I though I would try and get some better data for M13.
The initial red subs were a bit poor due to the lack of real darkness, so I took about an hour of subs and chose the best. For green and blue I took about half an hour’s worth of 2 ½ minute subs.
My first process was a bit meh, so I re-did it focusing on bringing out faint detail and being incredibly careful with curves not to bleach the core. Even then on my final curve stretch I had to mask out the core but was rewarded by an extraordinary number of very tiny stars in the outer parts of the cluster. View the image full size and zoom right in, or just check out the inset at the bottom of this post!
Ages ago I wrote a simple BBC Basic for Windows program that slowly moves a single, white pixel across a blank computer screen. It uses the resolution, width and distance away of the screen to move the pixel more or less at sidereal rate, allowing it to be used to test tracking in daylight, even indoors!
I did post a link on SGL a couple of times then forgot about it, but I’ve just been asked if it’s OK to share it on a Facebook astronomy page.
The reminder made me think I ought to post the link here: