Damian

Solargraphs – Summer>Winter Solstice 2018

All from Baked Bean cans within a 10 mile radius, using Ilford Multigrade B&W paper. Scanned and played with in Photoshop.

Andy’s first one, slightly different angle to his usual version.

And his second – massive amounts of water damage (was still a few mm of rain in the bottom of the can), but love the effect it’s created. This is his usual angle (so can be compared to previous attempts). Can just make out the house bottom right of centre and the tree to the left.

Mine, screwed to the house, SSE facing.

Sister’s from her new home. Was surprised at the very upper sun trace, but it can be matched to my own above. Thought at first it must have moved or have been a reflection from the inside top of the can. The cans are painted black inside and any movement would have created a double image of the houses – there isn’t anything to suggest that.

One I made up for a lady at my new workplace.

Damian

Saturn V – is go!

Last year’s Christmas present (to myself)!

Had already got a good half-way through and Andy had helped earlier in the year.

Thought it was about time I finished it, so got Julie involved as she had Lego when little as well (but nothing like this !)

Something different to do together over the Christmas break – makes a change from a jigsaw!

Very cleverly designed to make an internal rigid structure – that can be pulled apart into the three main stages for display purposes.

And ‘1969’ pieces – the little figures included are roughly to scale.

Loved making it, would be quite nice to do the new (7,500 piece) Millennium Falcon next… but perhaps not at… £585 !

Damian

The beautifylly illustrated instruction manual…

The last bag to do…

Ready for lift-off !

I don’t think I shall ever grow up!

Damian

 

 

Dr Who Themed 60th Birthday Party!

Friday 28th Dec… a birthday invite from one of J’s friends.

Was thinking there could be plenty of ‘doctors’ present and considering the general age – probably the ‘Baker’ variety.

Couldn’t think of an easy to produce idea until the day before (and no access to large format printers anymore). On a walk I had a brainwave, so we took a detour to Tescos and purchased a pack (5 pairs) of ladies knee length tights for the grand sum of £2 ! Then stuffed them with tissue paper and held together with a couple of elastic bands.

All in-keeping with the good ole days of Dr Who monsters / Blue Peter card and sellotape!

Not forgetting something black to wear and a sigma graphic cut from a piece of silver card.

Add a ‘Moon desk light’ (watch battery powered), plus a USB extender cord, stuck together with a foam sticky pad for one prop, then a Christmas battery powered Christmas decoration – with addition of a cable tidy for the second prop…. and voila!

Ood do you think we are!

 

A hand-made K-9 made a surprise appearance also…

 

We were something of a hit with the kids!

Loved this – a Tardis, painted onto an (empty) Jack Daniel’s whisky bottle (plus Weeping Angel !)

The kids liked their (chocolate) rocket…

And we took a few bottles of some space themed drinks for the adults too…

Damian

(Another!), Moon and Venus from Tuesday 4th Dec

My works Nikon D7000DX (APS-C) and my own (full frame) Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G ED, hand-held out the bedroom window.

 

Jpegs straight off the camera.

 

7.09am ISO125 1/20 f/2.8 84mm (Focal length in 35mm)

 

7.34am ISO100 1/50 f/3.2 82mm (Focal length in 35mm)

 

7.35am ISO100 1/60 f/3.5 70mm (Focal length in 35mm)

 

7.35am ISO100 1/60 f/3.5 82mm (Focal length in 35mm)

Damian

An ‘Astronomy’ related day – plus… I met an astronaut!

I started my working day photographing ceramics at Richard Winterton Auctioneers (you might have seen him on daytime telly – Bargain Hunt and David Dickinson’s Real Deal), ready for the next sale later in the month.

One of the early lots was this pair of Lorna Bailey limited edition ‘Celestial’ vases…. very much a space theme in evidence:

Later in the day I found Jon, our resident toy expert looking through some old newspapers, he’s here, hiding behind this one!

and..

I left work early as Julie had got us both tickets to Lichfield’s Guild Hall to see a talk by retired NASA astronaut, Winston Scott.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winston_E._Scott

It was a 5.30 opening for a 6.00pm start. We arrived just after the doors opened and I was surprised to see the back of a man in a blue jump-suit… the main man himself !

Considering Winston and his wife had only just flown into the UK and had been travelling most of the day, he had a big smile and seemed genuinely happy to meet and greet us (and everyone else) on our arrival. Julie and I had chance to talk with him before his presentation and I said I was a member of a local astronomy group. He asked about us and I told him about the new observatory. He didn’t just politely listen (as you might expect), but asked what sort of scope we were going to put in it, etc.

His talk lasted about half an hour. He told us about his childhood, education and how he finally joined the US Navy – becoming a fighter pilot, flying F14 Tomcats. As he explained for those that didn’t know their planes, that was the one made famous by Tom Cruise in TopGun – although he quipped that he had actually ‘flown’ the things! The picture below was taken after he had received notification that he was off to NASA for astronaut training…

He explained that he trained to become a helicopter pilot flying anti-submarine machines in the Vietnam war, before applying to NASA.

His talk continued about the training involved to become an astronaut and his two missions, which included early experiments for construction in space – what would become the ISS. One of the most important things he did (yet hadn’t practised for), was after the Shuttle had released a SPARTAN solar observation satellite that malfunctioned. It was decided that he (and his Japanese colleague) should try and manually rescue said satellite (because it was slowly spinning out of control, the Shuttle crew could not use the robotic arm). Instead the two astronauts strapped their feet into position and over a 3.5 hr EVA, Winston guided the Shuttle pilot ever closer to the satellite so the two astronauts could physically grab it and load it back into the Shuttle cargo bay!

 

The satellite in question:

A link to him talking about catching the satellite:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1tcA8GnPCj_xzMDYiKJ4X82BPtfpUyuUh/view?usp=sharing

He then explained the re-entry and landing procedure for the unpowered Shuttle and the extraction of the crew. He made an interesting comment… that you never see the crew leave the Shuttle as that is always done in isolation, “because some don’t cope with the return to Earth too well”, which is unlike the footage we see when they are being pulled / carried out of the Soyuz craft… had never occurred to me, that fact.

After concluding the main talk, the floor was opened for a half hour question and answer session which covered questions relating to travel to Mars, his training, pre-flight feelings and expectations, the private sector and space tourism, the future direction of space travel… and even his Navy ‘Call-Sign’… no, it wasn’t Maverick.. or Ice Man!

At the end Julie and I both went up separately to thank him. J got chance to ask a few more questions (!), one was about languages (as you might expect from a modern languages teacher!!!) and the other was about how they decide which way is ‘up’ in space – he’s answering that question below… (it depends on the craft).

We left with a signed photograph having had an absolutely super evening. We couldn’t have met a nicer and more down to earth guy. If intelligent life ever visited Earth, he would make a great ‘First Contact’ ambassador !

Damian and Julie

 

North America and Pelican in Ha

First Image in more than three years…. just a screen grab as it’s not good enough for a full size jpeg.

A quick process to re-learn what we’ve forgotten in that time!

7x 600seconds taken at 385mm f/3.6. Dark and flat frames applied.

Calibrated and stacked in Nebulosity. Processed in Photoshop CC 2017.

Been out a few more times since then to try and sort out issues with guiding, mount control and the Robofocuser having stopped working – we’re slowly getting there!

Think now I have a total of 17 subs on this to sort. Then I’ll process again with a bit more care and attention to the finer details and stars. That should (hopefully) be the Ha sorted.

Next year we’ll try and get the SII and OIII to make up a false colour image.

Damian

How to turn iPad screen red for observing sessions

Thanks to Damian for these instructions

Andy

 

  1. Settings
  2. General – accessibility shortcut on right at bottom
  3. Colour filters – tick on
  4. General – display accommodations
  5. Colour filters tick on
  6. Choose colour tint
  7. Touch finger on red crayon
  8. Increase intensity right up

Once set up the red colour can be turned on and off by clicking home button 3x in quick succession.