Finding Pluto – An adventure in time and space

After noting Rob’s attempt at observing Pluto, I tried to image it myself, with a similar lack of success.

The only option, then, is to visit the pesky (non-) planet.

So visiting York today, and noting this sign:

I employed a trusty British electrically-driven starship

As well as 3 levels of assistance to the impulse drive (aka pedals), it has a secret “warp” button. So after imbibing Captain Picard’s favourite Earl Grey tea from the thermos – er – replicator, and uttering “Engage” and “Make it so”, I pressed the button. We soon arrived at Pluto, where fortunately it had been re-instated.

The last time here someone, probably Romulan, had stolen it. (

I was then intrigued by this sign:

So pressing the “warp” button again, off we went.

We soon overtook Voyager,

and crossed the Yorkiopause into the outer darkness, also known as Selby.

Here a mysterious wormhole crossing sometimes known as the “Selby rail swing bridge” was observed, where a transport vehicle suddenly de-cloaked, and thundered across the wormhole.

It was now time to return to normal space. So we re-entered the normal solar system domain at Neptune,

Pluto, of course having been relegated to the second division.


If anyone is interested here is the route pointer.


You might “get your kicks on route sixty-six” but you can “stay alive on route sixty-five”!

More Saturn and Globulars 05-06/07/2019

Here is another image of Saturn, with the PD this time. Not brilliant, but at least you can see the Cassini division in the rings this time.


Also observed 3 globulars, NGC6284, NGC6235 and M22. The first 2 were difficult but the real find was M22, which I didn’t know anything about! Its brighter and larger than M13! See for a comparison under similar conditions. M13 was alot higher up of course.

“M22 is a very remarkable object. At 10,400 light years, it is one of the nearer globular clusters. At this distance, its 32′ angular diameter, slightly larger than that of the Full Moon, corresponds to a linear of about  97 light years; visually, it is still about 17′. It is visible to the naked eye for observers at not too northern latitudes, as it is brighter than the Hercules globular cluster M13 and outshined only by the two bright southern globulars (not in Messier’s catalog), Omega Centauri (NGC 5139) and 47 Tucanae (NGC 104) – this is the ranking of the four brightest in the sky.”


Observing (from outside!) 03-04/07/2019

Went outside with the 8″ SCT for a change!

Jupiter had disappeared from my view but Saturn was still there, although very low. This is what I got with the Toucam.

Not very good, but quite pleased with it given its low elevation and the fact that I didn’t deploy the ADC.

Then switched to the PD to get this composite of Saturn with some of its moons.

Given the sky wasn’t really dark, thought I would image some clusters, starting with globular M75.

This one is a small very distant one, apparently difficult to resolve into stars visually.

Then NGC6716, a nearby open cluster


Then on to the “Wild duck” cluster, M11.

While in the neighbourhood, I tried for M17, the “Swan” nebula.

This was very low, but again quite pleased with it given it was from a stack of only 20 X 10 second exposures (200 sec in total). The “swan” is upside down.

Finally, another nearby open cluster, M26.

Snatched from the Jaws of Failure

Last night I discovered my guiding disaster at Rosliston was because my laptop woudln’t work with my camera any more. Sorted today by removing and reinstalling the ZWO drivers.

For last night, I had to spend nearly an hour getting my Touptec Mono to guide for me.

Then this morning, really struggled to process my data, in the end I found putting the autosave.tiff file into Astra Image worked. 1hr 35 minutes of 5-minute subs, 130P-DS, 450D, modded and cooled. HEQ5, guided.

North America Nebula in Ha
North America Nebula in Ha


Star Trail Image from field near Streethay, near Lichfield, Staffs, UK, 3/7/2019 @ 23:02

My first ever star trail image – Damian and I went out into a field @ Streethay, near Lichfield.


Photo taken using my Sony A58 DSLR camera, 50mm prime lens F1.9, 10 min single exposure:

Following Damian’s advice, I took multiple 30 sec exposures 50mm prime lens, F2.2, using my Sony A58 DSLR on Damian’s tripod, and stacked them using GIMP2 to produce the following image of star trails around the Pole Star:

Above image, brightened a bit in GIMP2 below: