Archive for April, 2012

Microlight Trial Lesson over Wellingborough, Higham Ferrers and Kettering.

by on Apr.23, 2012, under Astronomy Blog

Yahooo! The weather stayed fairly dry and allowed me to finally have my 1 hour trial flying lesson in a microlight at Sywell Airport.
Sue got me this for my 50th birthday present in January.

We took off from Sywell and flew over Wellngborough towards Higham Ferrers.
We made three passes of Higham to try and get a picture of our house.

Higham from the Microlight. Can you see my observatory?

We then flew northwards towards Kettering, passing Irthlingborough and Finedon.
You could really smell the Weetabix factory up at 2,000 feet.
We then circled round some friends house to try (successfully) to take a picture of that as well.

The we flew back to Sywell, flying right over the airfield, before coming in for a smooth landing.

The only trouble is that i love flying and it makes me want to do it all the more.


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Discovery’s final flight

by on Apr.17, 2012, under Astronomy Blog

The Space Shuttle Discovery makes it’s final flight today when it hitches a lift on top of a modified Boeing 747.
It is on its way to The Smithsonian Institute in Washington.
Such a shame to see the end of an era and these fantastic machines being mothballed.
But at least they will be on display for all to see.


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Light Pollution “Saturates” Night Sky. BBC News.

by on Apr.11, 2012, under Astronomy Blog

My Observatory with the lights shining on the dome and light pollution spreading up into the night sky.

I was surprised to see an article this morning on BBC Breakfast about a new report that told us that Light Pollution is ruining our view of the sky.

Well, surprise surprise! How we’ve known all about that for far too many years now.

I have been trying for over 4 years to do something to get a street light right across the other side of our road shielded which shines into our back garden the other side of the house and right into my observatory.

All my endeavours have so far come to nothing, despite sitting down with someone from our local street lighting company a few months ago to discuss the issue. 🙁
Seems that there is far too much bureaucracy about these days.

I will however keep trying, so watch this space…

For more details of the BBC report, see their New Page Here:



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An attempt at capturing the clouds on Venus & Mars

by on Apr.10, 2012, under Astronomy Blog

Using my monochrome webcam I tried to capture some of the cloud detail on Venus.

I used a purple filter and a UV/IR cut-off filter. I tried various exposures and settings, but no joy.

Oh well, at least I got a reasonable image of Venus showing a thick crescent phase.



I also had a go at Mars in colour as well while I was at it.



Maybe it’s now time to upgrade from the humble webcam?


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Venus saying “goodbye” to The Pleiades.

by on Apr.06, 2012, under Astronomy Blog

Unfortunately, I missed the main event when Venus was very close to this gorgeous open star cluster due to cloud.
Last night however was a perfectly clear night.
The first part of the evening was at the Nene Valley Astronomers meeting where my good friend Andy Green was talking about the Hubble Space Telescope. A great talk Andy, as per usual.
I then dashed home so that I could capture Venus as it is now starting to move away from The Pleiades Star cluster.
Despite the very clear skies, the frost and the almost full Moon couldn’t tempt me to stay out, so after taking my images I went in to bed.

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Venus Approaching the Pleiades

by on Apr.02, 2012, under Astronomy Blog

Don’t forget to look out for Venus as it passes the Pleiades Star cluster over the next few days.
Paul Money took this image as it approached them.
Will be at its closest on the 3rd.

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