Astronomy Blog

Open University – Philae Treat

by on Sep.02, 2015, under Astronomy Blog

My astrophotography demonstrations went down really well at the Open University Astronomy Club yesterday evening.
But a real treat for me was to see a full-scale model of Philae sitting just inside the entrance.

Flipping marvellous!



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Open University Astronomy Club – 1st September

by on Aug.31, 2015, under Astronomy Blog

Tomorrow on Tuesday the 1st of September I will be re-visiting
The Open University Astronomy Club.
Picture saved with settings embedded.I last visited them in January where I demonstrated some of my astrophotography processing techniques.

They were a very friendly society and it was a great success, hence being invited back. Tomorrow I hope to be able to show them further imaging processes to help and inspire their budding astrophotographers even more.

I am looking forward to meeting them all again and hearing how my last visit helped them.

So if you are in the area, come along and say “Hello”. I’m sure their society will welcome you along.


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Sky Diary for September 2015

by on Aug.31, 2015, under Astronomy Blog

Dear All,

My Sky Diary for September 2015 is now available for free download in two pdf file formats from my Web site. There is a short printable version and a longer version with full graphics and maps.EclipseMontage


It gives full details of a series of occultations of the stars within The Hyades star cluster on the 5th as well as the total lunar eclipse on the 28th.

Keep Looking up!

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Rosetta Evening – Bedford Astronomical Society.

by on Aug.27, 2015, under Astronomy Blog

On the evening of Wednesday the 26th of August I did my ever popular multi-media presentation on Rosetta & Philae to my local group Bedford Astronomical Society.

It was a really good evening. My talk and Septembers sky diary went down extremely well.
As an added Bonus Johanna Jarvis bought along some fantastic Philae articles from The Open University.
Very many thanks Jo. They really added to the evening.

Me holding a model of Comet 67P.

There was also a small model of Philae, plus a full-scale model of the Ptolemy instrument on Philae, as well as a flight-ready part of the Ptolomy instrument.

Jo and I next to the Ptolemy model and me holding a part that just could have flown on Philae.

PtolemyBASWebClose up of the Ptolemy model.


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Two Morning Comets 67P & 141P

by on Aug.25, 2015, under Astronomy Blog

I couldn’t sleep, mind was far too active, so I took a look out the window just after 3am. It looked like a rare clear morning! So I couldn’t resist the temptation of getting out and trying for the two comets, 67P C-G and the nearby 141P Machholz. The two comets are approaching one another. Just after I finished taking 141P, the sky clouded over again.

Comet 67P. Now much easier to capture in a much darker sky and now well above the neighbours garage roof. Now about magnitude 12.9.


Comet 141P. Although quoted as being about the same magnitude as 67P, this comet certainly looks much fainter with its light less concentrated and spread out into a huge fuzz.
141P Machholz-20150825-0310

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Bedford Astro Soc. Weds 26th August

by on Aug.23, 2015, under Astronomy Blog

On the evening of Wednesday the 26th of August I am looking forward to presenting my popular talk: Rosetta & Philae: From Concept To Reality to my home group Bedford Astronomical Society.

It reviews the mission and really captures the excitement of the day Philae “landed” on the comet’s nucleus last November. There’s loads of  really good stuff now starting to be published from the mission, after the comet passed perihelion on the 13th and I will try and include as much of the new data and images as possible.

So, if you’re in the area, come along, say “Hello” and enjoy my presentation.

Meeting starts at 8:00pm at The Resource Centre, at The Piazzi Smyth Community Observatory at Bedford School. Park in Pemberley Avenue.


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Hydrogen Alpha Sun – 22nd August 2015

by on Aug.23, 2015, under Astronomy Blog

The Sun, especially around Active Region 2403 was looking very active that very hot Saturday morning. Just before starting my jobs, I grabbed a few images.

AR2403 – So bright around it with potential flare-like activity.

The “small” prominence.

The larger prominence.

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A Plethora of Planetaries and a couple of comets.

by on Aug.22, 2015, under Astronomy Blog

The first clear sky for a long time. It was a bit hazy, but that wasn’t going to stop me.
Once the Moon went down I wanted to get some images of the many planetary nebulae in and around Aquila, as it was so high up.

The plan was to do a few comets finishing with comets 141P Machholz and the much admired 67P Chryumov Gerasimenko just before dawn, so staying up all night. Well, that was the plan!

Not likely to win any competitions, but here’s the results:

Moon. Just above the neighbours house.
Composite of 5 webcam  images.

Here’s one of the 5 images to show the quality.


Saturn (Very low down in very poor seeing).
Planetary Nebula IC 3568 – The Lemon Slice Nebula.
Doesn’t look much like a slice of lemon on my image!

Planetary Nebula NGC6751 –  Now that really typifies what a planetary nebula “should” look like.

NGC6772 – Fainter as light is somewhat spread out across its larger size, and a little bit more distorted.
h, it

NGC6804 – Faint frill just starting to show around the outer edge.

NGC 7009 – The Saturn Nebula. The sticky out “ears” showing quite nicely and a hint of structure in the centre.
Comet C/2014 F4 Jacques now way up in Lyra.
And last but not least Comet 88P Howell.
I set I set everything up to capture 67P and Maccholz, as they came out from behind the neighbours house, and it clouded over. So I went to bed at that point.
Not a bad night after all

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The Sun at last – 21st July 2105

by on Aug.21, 2015, under Astronomy Blog

Crikey!! After what seems like ages, the Sun once again came out after I got home>
It looks very much like it will be a clear night tonight, so an all-night session is planned.
I’ll be very tired tomorrow, but it should all be worth it.
So here is the result of the solar images I took.
Two very nice prominences and active area 2403 looks extremely active.

Full Disk.


Smaller prominence.
2015-08-21-1714_7-L-10_g3_ap321P2And a really big arching prominence.

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Winterfest Astro Star Party

by on Aug.19, 2015, under Astronomy Blog

Birmingham Astronomical Society have organised a new much-needed star party.
This is to be held at Kelling Heath, where the very successful Spring & Autumn Equinox Star parties are held.
The skies will be dark and the glorious winter skies will be on view.

Main event days are the 12th – 15th of November.

For more details see their Web site Winterfest.co.uk

Or E Mail them on: info@winterfestastro.co.uk

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