Archive for May, 2012

Venus – Just over a week until the solar transit.

by on May.28, 2012, under Astronomy Blog

Clouds were building! But that didn’t stop me getting out there. I managed to get the webcam set up and focussed but I quickly took the avi before the clouds came rolling across to hide it.

It was only 13 degrees away from the Sun.
Registax couldn’t handle the file properly due to the light background, but I cribbed this frame and made the background dark.

The planet looked absolutely fantastic through the scope when viewed directly though.

Let us hope that the skies are clear next Weds morning.


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Irthlingborough Lakes and the Wildlife Trust

by on May.24, 2012, under Astronomy Blog

We attended a public meeting about the proposed plans for the Wildlife Trust to purchase Irthlingborough Lakes and improve the area to increase the wildlife, which has been in decline for a number of years due mainly to human disturbance and neglect. Their plans sound really good, still keeping access for people, but bringing in some restrictions for dog walkers in certain areas to least disturb the wildlife they will be encouraging back into the reserve. Amazingly, there were quite a few voices obviously objecting to their plans. How can people be so negative when the Wildlife Trust will improve the area, clean up the awful mess some people leave down there and encourage some wonderful wildlife to return. They need to raise money to do this, so if you can spare any in this cash-strapped recession, please give something. Wildlife Trust Irthlingborough lakes Appeal. Every little helps.


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Venus – Getting a lot thinner as it approaches the transit.

by on May.22, 2012, under Astronomy Blog

A view of the thin crescent Venus tonight at 17:25 BST.

Here’s the very thin crescent Moon and Venus setting tonight.

The Moon a bit closer.

Venus is now rapidly approaching the Sun for its transit on the 6th of June.

On that date it will be in transit across the Sun at sunrise for us in the UK until about an hour later.

Just two weeks to go and counting.


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Annular Solar Eclipse from Monument Valley.

by on May.22, 2012, under Astronomy Blog

My good friend Andy Green is currently on a tour of  The States taking in some of the great observatories and witnessing the annular eclipse.

Nice pictures Andy.

I’m not jealous at all…

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Lunar Reconnaissance Mission – Zoomable Map

by on May.20, 2012, under Astronomy Blog

Awesome! I just discovered an online map that you can use to zoom in on lunar features using images from the Lunar Reconnaissance Mission.

I have picked out the Apollo 16 landing site here where you can still see the tracks they left:

Hours of fun when the skies are cloudy.


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NNHS – Astronomy Section meeting

by on May.15, 2012, under Astronomy Blog

Another great meeting of the Astronomy Section of Northampton Natural History Society last night.

Sheridan Williams FRAS spoke about Eclipses and his travelogue to India for an eclipse convention and to observe a Lunar Eclipse last year.

A very interesting and entertaining evening.
Lunar Eclipse image montage taken by Dave Eagle.


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Venus – Getting thinner.

by on May.14, 2012, under Astronomy Blog

As Venus approaches its conjunction with the Sun on the morning of the 6th of June, the phase is getting much thinner. But the planet is getting much bigger and brighter.
This is a webcam image of the planet I took on Saturday the 12th May, under awful seeing conditions.

I also tried taking a CCD image of the Whale Galaxy that night as well, but it turned out to be awful, so unfortunately I won’t be publishing that!


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The Sun – Finally got to see it properly.

by on May.12, 2012, under Astronomy Blog

HHow good to see the Sun out at the weekend for a change.
So out came the webcam’s to see if I could capture that huge active region AR1476 on the surface.

Here’s a close up of the active region:
Success!!! Yes!!!


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Mid-Infrared Instrument ready to ship.

by on May.11, 2012, under Astronomy Blog

The MIRI “first light” instrument built by Astrium in Stevenage, Hertfordshire is all ready to ship to the US.

This instrument plays a crucial role in detecting what could be the first starlight in the universe for the Jame Webb Telescope due for launch in 2018.

Congratulations to all the team for an excellent job.

More Details here on the BBC New Pages


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Clouds, Clouds and more clouds…

by on May.10, 2012, under Astronomy Blog

What with the time of year, giving no real dark skies and the seemingly persistent clouds we have been having (The wettest drought on record, it seems), I haven’t been able to do much astronomical observing. I even missed the mega-moon last weekend!

It looks like this weekend MIGHT be clear though!

With the Moon now well out of the way, I’m going to keep my fingers crossed.

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