Several of us attended IAS – talks were good, reduction in the range of exhibitors but generally 10% and sometimes 20% off goods on sale. Still worth the trip and hope it continues long term!
Patrick Moore’s old car was present.
Many members of RAG turned up with scopes and filters to watch the planet Mercury transit the sun today.
The Met Office predicted variable weather and there was even an icon on their website showing simultaneous sun, cloud, rain and and rainbow – never seen that before! However, they were absolutely right because at one point we did indeed see all those things in the sky at the same time.
Due to cloud, we missed those few minutes when Mercury crossed onto the sun, but at various points in the afternoon were able to view it on the solar disc together with a solar prominence through gaps in the cloud. The sky improved towards the end of the afternoon but Mercury dropped behind trees at about 15:45 which meant further observations were not possible. Of course, it was followed by a clear night…..why couldn’t that have been 8 hours earlier?
The ICOM IC-PCR 1000 computer-controlled radio receiver used to be a stalwart of radio astronomy a few years ago – here is a link to a ZIP folder containing a range of resources for this receiver.
With a bright Moon, photography was limited last night – cloud over some of sky limited choices of target. However, having just demonstrated that Polemaster works on my scope, I opted to have a go at taking a photo of these two objects.
QHY10, Sky Watcher Equinox Pro 80mm, EQ6.
Sky very bright and Eastern Veil was difficult to observe with the 30 x 60 sec subs I took last night ==> I have needed to rather over-process the image below to demonstrate the nebula.
Eastern Veil Nebula:
First Light for my EQ6 astrophotography setup on homemade mobile wooden base on carrots. Worked very well worth Polemaster to polar align scope – once I’d worked out which was RA axis! 20 mins of embarrassment when I turned the declination axis instead during the Polemaster routine!! Photographed Eastern Veil and to lesser degree Pleiades (lot lesser) whilst Damian came around about bought that wonderful Bord refractor he purchased recently. It is a great little scope with wonderful views and quite a bargain! Damian is quire critical of this little scope but then he is comparing it to his Takahashi 104 which he describes as “snapping onto focus” but I think it is brilliant and, for the money he paid, a great investment. He wouldn’t have got a Takahashi for that price and been prepare to use it as a travel scope either. It delivered great views of Auriga clusters and Double Cluster and M81/82 amd Ring Nebula and seemed well matched his 20mm Pentax 70 degree AFOV eyepiece.
Attached photo is me taking flat frames on my setup.l – QHY10 + Tele Vue field flattener + Sky Watcher Equinox Pro 80mm OTA ON sky watcher EQ6 mount.
Polemaster attached to my EQ6 mount:
Damian’s Borg refractor:
Taking flat frames with my astrophotography gear:
Now I am in the business of taking astrophotography, this means my favourite laptop is sittong outside in the cold and damp.
Hence, the need to create a heated computer mat to keep it comfy! Also stops it turning off in the cold.
Composed of two x vivsrium heating mats and one of those plastic mats with lots of holes for putting pots on when you take them off the stove – the mats produce vs. 13W each and the holey mat covering them allows heat through and any moisture to drain away as well as ensuring plenty of ventilation for bottom of laptop.