Archive for August, 2016
It’s not often I get very excited by clouds, but today I made an exception. It was the usual bank holiday weather, grey, dark and raining on and off. No chance of any day time solar or late night astronomy this weekend, again! After all the nice weather we’ve had, you’d think it could hold off for when we’re having a break from work. But no!
So there I was sitting in the study tweaking some of my presentations when the weather made a dramatic turn for the worse. Much darker clouds rolled in and the rain started. Luckily, I looked out of the window and saw these amazing cloud formations. They looked positively weird, just the sort of thing you see portrayed in films depicting Armageddon. So what can I do but get the cameras pointed out of the windows and take some pictures. Once the clouds returned to normal the heavens opened their floodgates and for an hour it absolutely poured down. They were Undulatus Asperatum clouds apparently.
On Saturday the 10th of September I have had the pleasure of being asked by Paul Money to give my “Rosetta & Philae. From Concept to Reality” presentation at his long running and highly successful Horncastle Astronomy Weekend in Lincolnshire.
I am really looking forward to giving them all my favourite presentation and catching up with Paul as it’s been a long time since I went to his weekend (sorry Paul, life’s just been too eventful!).
I am also looking forward to meeting up with other attendees, some of which I already know from online social media.
With a great selection of speakers, (well I would say that, wouldn’t I), it should be a fantastic weekend.
On Saturday the 20th of August I attended a masterclass on Imaging Comets, by the one and only Damian Peach.
His comet images are just as spectacular as his planetary webcam images.
On arrival I was shown around Steve Knight’s observatory, perched on the side of the canal.
After this great start to the day it was onto the main course itself, watching a master at work.
Damian uses remote telescopes such as iTelescope to take his images.
He demonstrated how, using various imaging software, he composites the raw comet images to produce his wonderful masterpieces.
A great day. And I think I learnt a lot.
So when I got home, I just had to have a dabble using some of the techniques he showed us to see if I had.
I used an image of comet Lovejoy C/2014 Q2, taken on the 6th of February 2015.
This was my original image I obtained from the data.
Note how the stars have trailed as the comet moved across the sky.
Using the technique Damian showed us I composited a comet stack and a star stack together.
This produces an image where both the comet and the stars are still, so no movement is discernible.
Although not quite perfect, it shows that, even at my age, you can still learn a heck of a lot.
And there is still a heck of a lot more to learn.
I am looking forward to being made very welcome once again and if my previous visits to them are anything to go by, it should be a fun evening.
They meet at:
Stanion Village Hall,
Old Brigstock Road,
Meeting starts at 8pm.
Email them at: firstname.lastname@example.org