Archive for November, 2012

Jupiter and Ganymede – 21st November 2012.

by on Nov.24, 2012, under Astronomy Blog

A clear night beckoned, so I missed the meeting of Bedford AS (Sorry Folks!) so I could get out and image Jupiter as it approached opposition.

Jupiter looked absolutely wonderful, with Ganymede and its shadow in transit at the start of the observing session.
The Red Spot was just coming onto the disk as well adding to the drama.

I used my £8 webcam to take some images of the planet.
Although the images didn’t come out as good as I had hoped this time, there was an unexpected bonus at the end of the evening. I kept imaging until the Red Spot reached the other side of the disk before calling it a day. (I hope to put the resulting images into an animation once I have finished processing them all). If I hadn’t had to get up for work I would have probably made a night of it.

Right at the end of the session I also took an exposure that was more favourably exposed for Ganymede after it had left the disk of Jupiter.
So I put the two images together to make this composite.

When I looked closely at the image of Ganymede I thought it looked like there was a bright spot and a possible light band running across it. Trust the cheap camera and wobbly seeing conditions to give such awful artefacts!

Anyway, after a lot of thought and deliberation, I did a simulation using Stellarium.
This did show in fact that Ganymede was presenting a bright spot and a number of features, that give the impression of a light band across it, towards us at that time as shown below.

I never thought I’d be able to distinguish any features on another Moon, even vaguely.

So as you can imagine, I’m well chuffed!


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Wymington School Outreach Event with Bedford AS.

by on Nov.24, 2012, under Astronomy Blog

Bedford Astronomical Society held an outreach event at St Lawrence School in Wymington on the 23rd of November.
Linton did four talks in the hall while a collection of members (including me) stood out in the car park with a large collection of telescopes for people to look through.

Very soon a string of parents with their children formed orderly queues at all of the telescopes.
I guess there was close to 200 people attending.

Lots of gasps, “oohs!”, “Ahs!”and “Wows!” and excited faces when they saw the Moon, Pleiades and various other objects made the whole thing so enjoyable and rewarding.

The image of the Moon above St Lawrence’s Church at the top was taken by BAS Member Dawn.
Picture of telescope below taken by Peter Truscott.


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Pitsford Scouts – Northampton. 21st november 2012.

by on Nov.23, 2012, under Astronomy Blog

As part of Northampton Natural History Society I did a talk to the scouts at Pitsford last night.

Despite torrential rain and wind, there were about 20 scouts who enjoyed a slide show from me and chatted to the rest of the guys about their telescopes they had bought in.

Unfortunately, the nasty weather meant we couldn’t show them the sky properly. 🙁

But it was nice to talk to a very enthusiastic bunch of scouts, who asked lots of questions.
At least 3 said they would take the Astronomy badge.

A great night out.


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International Space Station Solar Transit 11th November 2012

by on Nov.18, 2012, under Astronomy Blog

Just got round to processing the images of an ISS solar transit taken last weekend.

White Light filter with a Skywatcher ED80 and 2x converter using a Nikon D5100 in HD video mode.

The ISS was just above the North coast of France when I took these images, so it looks extremely small.

Event took almost one and half seconds to traverse the disk of the Sun.


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Solar Eclipse In Australia

by on Nov.13, 2012, under Astronomy Blog

Observers in Cairns have had a great view of a 2 minute solar eclipse.
Some bright prominences were visible during totality.

See Harry Hamill’s (Member of Nene Valley AS) account of his experience on the Nene Valley Blog:

The Telegraph Web site has more details.

It was even captured from a hot air balloon.




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