Natural world

The Joys of RAW…

Never got time this year to build my RAG Aurora talk… it’s nearly a year since we were preparing to head to Alta, Norway….

But work is nearly finished and so I decided to have another play.

This is the jpeg off the camera – way too dark and the aurora far too green – this was a very fast moving teal green, multi-band wave that stretched across the sky. It was far more vibrant and illuminated the scenery…. which is much bigger than it looks here – width wise, this combination captures 114 degrees (84 high, so with the camera angled, the top of the pic is around the Zenith) !

22nd Dec around 6.30pm – I only managed another 10 shots of this outbreak before the battery finally died (that was after eeking out some last shots by warming it up under my armpit!) Thankfully I’d captured the majority of this performance and it was fading out. It was then back to the lodge for dinner, a fast battery re-charge and then headed back out for our final evening….

Tripod mounted, (old) full frame D3 (only 12Mp) and the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 lens. Cable release and using mirror lock-up to reduce internal shaking.

800 ISO, 14mm,  f2/8 at only 6 seconds – shows how bright and fast it was moving when you consider what the camera recorded (and the blurring of the bands….) Keeping to 800 ISO keeps dynamic range at the expense of shutter speed. I could have pushed to around 1200-1600 ISO as the cold would have kept the noise down, but that’s how it goes…

6th Dec 2017: NEF RAW file processed in Adobe LightRoom Classic CC (2018) and finished in PS CC 2018. I’ve cropped it down to a more pleasing composition and tried to depict what we saw (although this is more saturated).

The moral of the story is… always shoot RAW!

 

For orientation – the diamond of ‘Delphinus’ can be seen to the lower left just past the tree. Coming out of the top of the same tree is the (Summer) Milky Way, that bright white star just clearing the branches being Deneb in the tail of Cygnus. The bright orange star in the upper left of the photograph is Scheat – if you examine your star atlas, you’ll find it as the top right star in the ‘Square of Pegasus’ !

Plus a short movie, made from 13 files (pre Photoshop) put together in iMovie (the shot above was the third in the sequence)…

Damian

Ophelia and Red Sky /Sun 16th October 2017

We were in Sunny Gloucestershire on the 16th when the skies and sun turned red, see first two images.

The state of the car after overnight rain suggested what the culprit was , see image 3, this was confirmed by a lecturer at Nottingham university, see image 4 and checkout this link http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-nottinghamshire-41654436

The actual air movement in the atmosphere had been tracked by NOAA, see image 5, the blue track at 2000m shows the movement over the Sahara and on towards UK courtesy of Ophelia( thanks to Stephen Burt of Reading Univ for this ) The final image shows Ophelia over Ireland and the trail of smoke from the fires in Portugal, which may or may not have also contributed to the gloomy atmosphere on Mon 16th.

Pete H


 

Rosliston Science Discovery Day 7/10/2017

The sun decided it didn’t want to come out to play this time round….

Despite the wishful thinking of Pete….

I think the ‘special filters’ he was referring to, were unfortunately… CLOUDS!

Instead I had a play with Andy’s new ‘toy’ – a polarising microscope and some purchased pre-prepared ‘rock’ slides, great fun!

Had a go at imaging with the iPhone hand held to the eyepiece. Below a selection of slides at none and fully polarised settings – I think I’ve got the samples in the correct order!

Passed a happy hour or two…

Damian

Huddlesford Heritage Gathering 2017

Forgot this was on the phone!

Sunday 24th Sep, J and I took a leisurely walk on the towpath towards Whittington and came across this ‘biennial gathering of Historic Boats’.

What’s that I see….a…

‘Star’ling…  😉

Why a painted urn above you ask..?

Well.. ‘Lisa’ – The Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) the first space-based gravitational wave observatory of course!

Apart from the fantastic coachwork on display, I’m always on the look out for anything ‘astro themed’, turned up a few!

Like the boat ‘Lyra’!

Link to the site: http://www.lhcrt.org.uk/hhgnews.htm

Here’s Jules… what is the astro link then with this… look carefully…

On the tiller, a beautifully polished brass…

Pegasus!

 

And a Leo theme below…

Damian

Tenuous Astronomy Links From Bordeaux!

J and I are enjoying our cruise around Bordeaux after winning it in a photography competition last year!

Second place photo  – featuring the sun and the ‘Cocktail of the Day’.

We arrived on Sunday and with an hour or so spare before getting together for the ‘meet and greet’, I ‘marched’ Julie off to see the German 12th Flotilla submarine pens!

We come back to Bordeaux to visit the old town and historic sites, so thought she wouldn’t mind a walk down the promenade….!

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/12th_U-boat_Flotilla

An imposing site…. Although not a Nazi ‘Superweapon’, there were plans for advanced submarines that the Germans never got the chance to build, including ones with revolutionary air-independent propulsion and fully electric boats designed to operate completely submerged, unlike their diesel counterparts that mostly saw action from the surface – where they were more vulnerable to Allied counter-attack. Of course the most infamous ‘Wunderwaffe’ (Miracle Weapons) were the V2 rockets that eventually lead to man stepping foot on the moon with the Saturn V…. can you see the link below…?

We have been following one of those ‘Super Yachts’, never quite able to get close enough to see its name or registration marks…. until we moored up at Pauillac (at one of the street junctions we came across this earthenware sundial dating back to 1815).

Back to the ship…

Although ‘military’ looking, some of the people on our boat had spotted folks waving back at us, plus she flies the civilian ‘defaced Red Ensign’, registered in the Cayman Islands.

Turns out after some web searching, she’s the 75 million US$ – Skat:

Owned by Charles Simonyi, a former Software Engineer from Microsoft (responsible for the Office Suite) and the fifth…….. space tourist!

Sunset from Monday evening…

In yesterday’s (25th July) ship’s newspaper, I found this news snippet:

And whilst walking around Bourg on the River Dordogne, Julie came across this flyer in the Tourist Information Centre:

‘A Night With the Stars’ – a local town’s own Science Night, with planetarium, exhibitions and the like (plus the graphic fits in quite nicely with Rhys’ weather balloon experiments that Andy has been posting…

We had a cruise further down the river during the day before returning to moor overnight at Bourg. Julie and I went for a walk after dinner and came across a local chap feeding a…. ‘Castor’ (link Castor and Pollux being the stars in Gemini)….. so, what is a ‘castor’ in French….?

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…..

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Yep, I’m that close to a wild beaver – spent a good half hour with him and his two relatives, plus the ducks and enjoyed a lovely sunset before heading back to the vessel…

On our return we found another boat moored alongside us – Americans doing the came cruise, but in reverse! We had a fun chat with them and enjoyed a New Moon…

All taken with with the iPhone!

Damian and Julie

When will it end? Welcome to the zettabyte

Hi Folks

I had a conversation with some friends about a year ago about the units of data storage and that I’d just seen petabyte used for the first time, Well, the clock has ticked on, and I was reading an article on the plane yesterday that mentioned a zettabyte (see photos)

1 PB = 1000000000000000B = 1015bytes = 1000terabytes.

What’s a  zettabyte?

A zettabyte is one sextillion (one long scale trilliard) bytes. The unit symbol is ZB.

1 ZB = 10007bytes = 1021bytes = 1000000000000000000000 bytes = 1000 exabytes = 1million petabytes = 1billion terabytes = 1trillion gigabytes (from Wikipedia)

That’s a lot of zeros

That’s also an interesting comment about the fact that every 2 days , we create as much data as was created from the beginning of time until 2003

Cheers

Ed