NASA Mars student challenge




Watched the Mars Perseverance landing with the boys on Thursday, both very excited!

Luke has made a solar rover and (thanks to Heather’s suggestion) we emailed a photo to NASA and they have put it on the children’s page, together with his question, ‘Is there a faster way to get to Mars?’ He is really pleased!



Moods of Rosette. Rosette Nebula 16/2/2021 – processing attempt 2 on 18/2/2021 – Lum-HA-OIII-OIII

I have now added luminence data – to creat Lum/H/O/O image (mapped to Lum/R/G/B channels).

This gives quite a different take on the nebula.

I then layered this image with my previously processed HOO version to create different moods of the Rosette. Which do you prefer?


LumHOO Image:

LumHOO/HOO layered image, different moods:

For comparison here is my HOO version from yesterday (same as previously posted):

What’s in a name? Surely, all filter wheels are the same?

I feel that my role in RAG is to do all the stupid things that make people laugh of cringe – whether it is my history of dropping Ethos eyepieces (and getting away with it), walking into my French doors with my scope and denting dew tube because I didn’t realise the door was closed (yes I really did that) or watching as someone else’s scope topples and falls off my Equatorial platform (got away with that too without damaging scope boy was I lucky!)
My latest experience has occurred this week – you may remember that on Wednesday night I had a fruitless few hours trying to take any photo in that very clear and very cold weather. Although there are probably several contributing factors, one particular aspect really annoyed me at the time – which was that my filter wheel would not work. For some reason APT had dropped the automatic selection of the filter wheel which it did normally, so I had to choose the wheel again and the Atik driver would not connect to the EFW2 filter wheel. I decided to tackle this problem this morning…….and realised my filter wheel is a ZWO one! No wonder the Atik driver didn’t work! Selecting ZWO has sorted the problem out…….


Observing with Dob-Mounted SW250PDS

Wednesday night (3rd February 2021) was the first opportunity for 4 weeks that the sky has been clear enough for long enough at a reasonable time (I am fussy) to get in some observing. It was due to cloud over later so decided on the 10″ SW on the Dob. My target in January had been globular cluster M15, but it’s now too low in the murky West towards Burton on Trent. Orion was well placed so I focussed on multi-star system sigma Orionis, about 45 arcminutes south of zeta Ori, Alnitak, at the eastern end of Orion’s belt.

This is a 5 star system but I learned later only 4 are visible in amateur telescopes, that’s a lesson in planning that could have saved me a few eyepiece changes! The bonus with this target is that you get a triple star system in the same view, Struve 761. The image below was obtained using a Canon 60D 1/8s @ iso3200.

Auriga was high above, so I had a go at finding 1 of its 3 open clusters and found M37, the most impressive of the 3, suprisingly quickly, as I last observed it over a year ago using a GoTo mount. I do like star clusters and this was a real jewel, that was best at magnification of 100X. My image from 2020 below does not do it justice, of course.

Just time to slew over to Perseus to check out Mirfak and the Alpha Persei Cluster, using the 9×50 finder to view it all before the inevitable high clouds rolled in. Overall, I was pleased with what I had seen in just over an hour during only my 2nd session of 2021.