Author Archive

SpaceX & Dragon pass over the UK just after launch.

by on Apr.18, 2014, under Astronomy Blog

I watched the launch of the SpaceX and Dragon Rocket from Cape Canaveral online.
20 minutes later, I was standing out in the garden.
They had already traversed across the Atlantic and the craft were passing over the UK.
You could clearly  see the SpaceX vehicle and the first and second stages of the rocket with the naked eye.
I took a few pictures but it was very difficult with such a light sky.

This image shows the movement of the vehicle below Leo.

The other fainter objects don’t show up as well, but you can see trace of at least another one in the close up view below.


Leave a Comment more...

Moon & Mars – 7th April 2014.

by on Apr.08, 2014, under Astronomy Blog

It cleared and some much needed astro-therapy was called for.
Jupiter looked fabulous, but it wasn’t good enough to get clear enough images.
I took some of Mars which showed some surface detail only a couple of days from opposition, when it will be at its biggest and brightest.

I then took some shots of the Moon.
Area around Plinius & Dawes.

Shadows of The Montes Alpes and Piton, close to the crater Piazzi Smyth.


Ptolemaeus and long shadows within Alphonsus.


Area around crater Walter.

The crater Archimedes.


Leave a Comment more...

Errata for Stargazer Book.

by on Apr.05, 2014, under Resources

I’ve got a couple of mistakes to point out in my book:
From Casual Stargazer to Amateur Astronomer.
Oh the shame!

Figure 4.2 Comparing eyepiece field of view at different magnifications.
This is how the figure SHOULD appear with all the field of views the same size:

Page 92. Exercise 6A. Estimating the Distance of a Type Ia Supernova.
Of course the absolute magnitude of a Ia type supernova is a fantastically brilliant -19.3.
(Yes that’s a minus 19.3).
However, the calculation is set out correctly in the book and uses the difference between the supernova’s absolute magnitude and the magnitude as seen by the observer.

Page 250. Fig. 14.2.
The title should read: An Observing day organized by Bedford Astronomical Society for the 2008 Venus transit.


Leave a Comment more...

The Rosetta Lander Philae is awake.

by on Apr.01, 2014, under Astronomy Blog

Rosetta’s comet lander, Philae which is due to touch down onto the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on the 11th of November is responsive after its long sleep.
After Rosetta was woken up in January and reported back successfully this second response from the lander, means that so far all systems are go for the comet encounter later in the year.
For more details click here to go to the Rosetta Web pages.

Follow the mission on the Rosetta Blog.

Leave a Comment more...

Sky Diary for April 2014

by on Mar.30, 2014, under Astronomy Blog


My Sky Diary for April 2014 is now available for free download from my Web site.

Click here to download it.



Leave a Comment more...

Talk to North Essex Astronomical Society

by on Mar.24, 2014, under Astronomy Blog


I did my newest talk about the Cape Crusaders (The American Manned Space Missions) on Weds. the 19th of March to North Essex Astronomical Society.
The talk seemed to go down well, with lots of questions afterwards, so well worth the two hour journey there and back to deliver it. A very nice group to talk to.
Pity about the road closure on the way back that set me back a bit wandering aimlessly around Braintree when the diversion signs suddenly ran out.
But it was a welcome astro-therapy boost to what has been a very stressful few weeks.
Let’s hope things settle down a bit now.


Leave a Comment more...

Jupiter Double Shadow Transit & Moon. 09/03/2014

by on Mar.09, 2014, under Astronomy Blog

A nice clear night after a glorious almost spring-like sunny day.

Went out to capture the double transit of Ganymede and Io’s shadows both going across the planet at the same time.
This was two hours before Io’s shadow appeared on the disk. Io can just be seen  to the left of the planet.
At around 8:00pm, the two shadows were visible.
Video004 JupiterMoonShadows

Then I did some Webcam imaging of the just past half Moon.
Rupes Recta, The Alpine Valley and Plato.
RupesRecta AlpineValley Plato

Wrinkle ridges near Erastophenes and three long shadows near Crater Davy.
~WrickleRidges Video069  

1 Comment more...

Sky Diary for March 2014

by on Mar.01, 2014, under Astronomy Blog


My Sky Diary for March is now available to download from my Web site.


Let’s hope for clear skies and more auroral activity.


Leave a Comment more...

Talk to Kettering Natural History Society.

by on Feb.28, 2014, under Astronomy Blog

I did my talk on “Whales, Wildlife and the Quest for the Green Flash” at Kettering Natural History Society tonight.

The talk seemed to go down really well, with lots of questions afterwards.

I love doing these talks. :-)

Made a real change from a pure astronomy presentation.

Leave a Comment more...

Moon & Venus. 26th February 2014.

by on Feb.27, 2014, under Astronomy Blog

While dashing around to get ready for work, I couldn’t resist leaning out of the spare bedroom window to capture the beautiful sight of the thin crescent Moon close to the extremely bright planet Venus.
Both visible in the eastern sky before dawn.
A fantastic start to a day that very quickly went downhill, but I won’t bore you with the details.

The Moon & Venus. 400mm lens using a Nikon D5100.

Leave a Comment more...

Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:

Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!