Ed Mann

‘Almost’ Supermoon last night

HI Folks

*Update – sharpened the picture very slightly in PS ***

Last night was pretty clear for a while so I thought I’d do some prep work so I could get some good images of tonight’s Supermoon (21st March).

Well, as we can all see outside, that’s not going to happen (100% cloud here)

Anyway I got this nice one last night, with the SW 102 and the ZWO 174 camera, stacked in Registax 6 and tweaked slightly in PS

Enjoy !

T2 to 2″ adaptor

Hi Folks

After buying my nice new shiny UHC filter from Astrofest, when I got home I realised I hadn’t actually got any way of using it with my DSLR. If I attached it to my 2″ diagonal, I couldn’t get enough back-focus and if I connected the DSLR via a T2 adapter, I couldn’t connect the 2″ filter.

After a bit of digging, I found this T2 to 2″ adaptor on eBay for the princely sum of £4.99. It arrived in 12days from China:-


Here was my original DSLR to T2 to 2″ connection:-


Here’s the new version with the adaptor:-

I haven’t tried it yet but I can’t see why it shoudn’t work. I’ll let you know


If the cap fits …….

A couple of days ago the sun was shining nicely (that’s the big yellow thing that hangs in the sky occasionally) so I though I would try some more solar observing. I was just slewing my scope tound when it suddenly occurred to me that my guide camera was about to get fried as there was no cap on the guide scope.

I looked around my junk box for an old binocular cap but of course none of them fitted.

Rather than going into full-blown Blue Peter mode I thought I’d look on eBay for a cap, and I came up with this. It’s like a DSLR lens cap but slightly smaller (52mm)


It works a treat and was only £1.79 from a UK source. It clips in very firmly and even has a string attached so you cant lose it

Nice solar flare today

FIrst time I’ve had the solar gear set up for a while, and it was a lovely clear day so I caught this nice flare

Skywatcher Startravel 102 F/5 + Quark Chromosphere and ZWO ASI174 MC camera. I seem to have picked up a slight Newton ring artefact in the processing so I’ll have another look at that. Strangely too, the PNG image here looks more blurred than the TIFF


My Astrofest shopping – 2″ UHC filter

Hi Folks
After hearing all the rave reviews about UHC filters I thought I’d buy one at Astrofest. I bought this one from 365Astronomy as their kit is usually good quality . Very reasonably priced at £52 (show price).
Here’s an interesting article on light pollution filters:-
See you on Friday

Astrofest 2019 Day 2 – 9/2/2019

See also:

European Astrofest Day 1 – 8/2/2019

Video from European Astrofest 8-9 February 2019

Day 2 – 9/2/2019:

Started today by docking the Soyuz onto the International Space Station. Last year I fluked a successful docking in the same simulator (I gave up in disgust when I could not get it to dock, got up and walked away to shouts of “You’ve done it!” – it drifted on to dock successfully when I let go of the controls!!) This year I buried that ghost, by successfully docking the aft hatch in both easy and hard modes and also successfully docking into one of the side hatches – not sure what changed the year to turn me into a mean docking machine….

I then did an interview on this new Rotarion automatic telescope turret – perhaps the most exciting innovation seen at thus year’s Astrofest.

Then Ed and I went into lecture theatre for the start of today’s series of 8 talks.

Stuart Clarke and Lucie Green, who are chairing the sessions today:

David Eicher started the lectures today with a talk on galaxies. Yesterday, when David presented with Brian May on Moon 3D, Brian did most of the talking,  so today’s talk was the first time I have properly heard David speak – and he was VERY good! Here is one of Edwin Hubble’s plates from his presentation. I think David said it was one of Hubble’s observations of M31:

The next talk was on the Hayabusa 2 mission. Another brilliant talk – clearly today was going to be something exceptional!

The following link is to the webpage for live webcam feed for landing of Hayabusa 2 on its asteroid at the end of the month.

After coffee, Paul Able and Allan Chapman will be giving talks. Can you imagine attending a better conference than this? Perhaps it is possible, but it would need to be some conference to be so!

Brian May and Andrew

And with Paul Abel from BBC’s Sky at Night:

Other highlights and photos:

I did not realise Mercury has x-ray aurorae – there is no atmosphere and the solar particles coming down magnetic field lines hit the surface which gives off x-ray.

Andy and Paul Money:

Ed showed Paul photos of the new Peter Bolas Observatory at Rosliston Forestry Centre.

Lucy Hawking speaking about her father, Stephen Hawking:

The final two lectures were on dark energy and the leader of the team investigating the Kuiper Belt object Ultima Thule with the New Horizons probe.

This has been another fantastic conference! Shame have to go home now.



European Astrofest Day 1 – 8/2/2019

See also:

Astrofest 2019 Day 2 – 9/2/2019

Video from European Astrofest 8-9 February 2019

Day 1 – 8/2/2019:

Ed (Mann) and I stayed overnight at the Copthorne Tara Hotel before arriving at Astrofest at 8:45am on 8/2/2019 ready got the first day of European Astrofest 2019.

We come along for our annual trip to this conference, which advertises itself as the biggest and best annual European amateur astronomy conference. This may have been true in the past but now it has a run for its money with the International Astronomy Show held near Coventry each October/November.

It was great to meet many folks that we have met at previous Astrofests – after several years we know each other by sight with folks from Edinburgh astronomy soc, Bakers Street Astronomers, Leicester astronomy Soc, University of 3rd age astronomy groups, etc.

First impression was a mixture of positive and negative – on the negative side the number of vendors purchasing stand space in the exhibition has gone down for another year runnnig with significant spaces and stalls spreading out to fill gaps. Some big names are not here and I did not find any bargains that stood out as we wondered around the exhibition before the first talk.

In the positive side, all but the first session of talks are sold out and even the first is largely full. As always the range of topics in the talks is quite exciting and I am sure will kep us enthralled for both days. I also noticed that the Soyuz capsule/ISS docking simulator is back and I would to try it again to see if I can dock it successfully without having to fluke it as I did last time!

I have already purchased a copy off Brian May and David Eicher’s new book “Book 3D” and David Eicher was there to sign it for me and Happy to allow me to have a photograph taken with him. David is the editor of Astronomy magazine.

Purchases planned otherwise? I am looking for a Sky Watcher finder base but otherwise not expecting to buy anything.

The second talk of Friday stood out as a serious discussion of strategies to search for life starting on another planet, with emphasis to sort of things can put on probes to other planets to allow them to identify likely life. I was very interested in the speaker’s ideas on information processing indicators on planets that suggest that a planet has life.

NB There was only one thing I wanted to buy – a Sky Watcher finder base – the little bit the finder attached to…could I find one? Could I, heck!


Ed and Andy in the lecture theatre:

David Eicher, editor of Astronomy Magazine, and Andy: David is holding the new book he has co-authored with Brian May of Queen: