Author Archives: Neil Wyatt

About Neil Wyatt

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.


I use handwarmer pouches as a simple alternative to a dew strap from my refractor and guidescopes.

You just open the plastic outer bag and use a rubber band to hold it in position near the lens cell.

The best deal I have found is this:

That’s about £20 for 20 pairs, so 50p a pack.

The packs contain salt and iron filings, and when opened moisture in the air causes the iron to rust over about ten hours giving a gradual but worthwhile release of heat.

They are non-toxic, but beware – if your labrador east one the salt content makes it a very effective emetic…


My 2018 Solar System

I’ve been quiet for a while, largely due to car problems, hopefully behind me for now!

I’ve managed to image all the planets (except Earth and poor Pluto!) this year, although Uranus and Neptune were fuzzed up by poor seeing and Mercury is fairly random – I got a shot of it in the sunset above Barton under Needwood from the flyover on the A38! After darkening the background and resampling to three time bigger I was left with a red dot that is Mercury but I won’t pretend it’s ‘proper’ image.


Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.
Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.

Gigantic Moon Image from last night

Great conditions for moon imaging last night. I got 251 subs using my 150PL and Canon 450D at just 1/2000 exposure. The result was so good I drizzled it in AS!3 and gota lovely big image, but it deosn’t seem to want to upload (you can see it on Stargazer’s Lounge). Here’s an un-drizzled version that still benefits from looking at the full-res version.

A really nice moon :-)
A really nice moon 🙂



Posting Large Images

I suspect I may have a LOT slower internet connection than most RAG members, and one problem I have is that large photos take a very long time to load. The ‘latest posts’ page typically takes 5-10 minutes is there are lots of new pictures that my computer hasn’t cached.

I’m afraid Ken’s very nice rosette is taking a few minutes on its own – which is what has prompted me to post this!

When you insert an image into a post you can select ‘link to media file’ and choose a relatively small display size.

This means the post loads with a smaller version of the image, but if you want full resolution you can click on the smaller image to see it.

Once you have chosen a setting it stays as a default until you change it.

If you have 50MB/s broadband you are probably wondering what I am grumbling about, but believe me, with my 2.9MB/s it makes a big difference 🙂





I’ve Finished my ED 66 scope

A couple of months ago I brought my ‘work in progress’ scope along to an introducing astronomy night.

I’ve had to teach myself anodising to finish it, I’m quite pleased with it, although I’m going to have to do some more tuning of the speed reducer – the ball bearings are causing the grooved stainless steel rod to distort making it go loose. I have a plan but it means making or finding a specially shaped grindstone.

Expect cloud for along time…

Sliding Dewshield
Sliding Dewshield


The Skywatcher 66ED lens cell
The Skywatcher 66ED lens cell


WO scopes only have a thermometer :-)
WO scopes only have a thermometer 🙂

First Contribution to the HOYS-CAPS Project

I managed to submit 110 minutes of Ha data for the Pelican Nebula  to the HYS-CAPS (Hunting Out Young Stars) project. It was quite an adventure working out how to extract the red  layer from  my DSLR data to make an unstretched greyscale image and save it as a FITS image with the right header data!

I won’t upload the submitted image as being unstretched it is deeply underwhelming!

Instead, here is a processed version of the data. At some point I will try and combine this with the best of my RGB images. The target star is towards the top right hand corner:

Pelican Nebula and North America Nebula
Pelican Nebula and North America Nebula


Last night I got a similar amount of Ha data for the area around Sadr in the heart of Cygnus. Following some pretty detailed advice on the Stargazer’s Lounge forum I managed this combination with my RGB image from 4 August:

Sadr RGB with Ha
Sadr RGB with Ha