HiOptic view of my Observatory

 Observatory  Comments Off on HiOptic view of my Observatory
Apr 292012

My good friend and brilliant photographer, Jamie Cooper, paid me a visit in the dreadful wet and windy weather yesterday to take some aerial shots of the house and observatory. The rain spotted the lens, the wind blew the camera about and the light was poor, but the results were still brilliant! Jamie’s website is here 

 Posted by at 11:17 am

Olympus Mons pokes out through the clouds

 Mars, Planets  Comments Off on Olympus Mons pokes out through the clouds
Apr 232012

Here is another image of Mars taken on Saturday night. Mars is receeding rapidly and will soon be under 10″ (10 arc-seconds) in diameter. Consider that the moon is about 30 arc-minutes across which is 1800 arc-seconds, meaning that the current disc of Mars would fit across the Moon 180 times!

All the more amazing that we amateurs can capture things like Volcanoes on Mars. Admittedly a big one! Olympus Mons (which was known as Nix Olympica) is the tallest known volcano in the Solar System. It stands about 21km high – that’s 3 times higher than Everest! In this image it stands out dark as it juts out from the cloud (just right of centre).

 Posted by at 4:06 pm

BBC Sky at Night 55 year party

 General Astronomy  Comments Off on BBC Sky at Night 55 year party
Apr 172012

What a great event! I was very honoured to be invited to the party at the BBC Broadcasting House to celebrate 55 years of the Sky at Night. The remarkable Sir Patrick Moore has been presenting this excellent programme since it first aired on 24th April 1957 – an achievement unparalleled in broadcasting history, and the longest running TV programme ever.

Patrick is the greatest communicator of astronomy in history – fact! Forget the web, twitter, facebook and the rest, (says he on his blog!), this man has inspired more people to become astronomers, or to simply love the subject more than any other influence.

The party itself was brilliant. It was great chatting to the likes of Sir Tim Rice, Brian May, Jon Culshaw, Sir Terry Pratchett along with plenty of dedicated astronomers, both professional and amateur. I have shamelesly included some celeb pictures below! Thanks also to Pete Lawrence, Damian Peach and Ninian Boyle for your excellent company and banter during the trip up from Selsey.

 Posted by at 8:58 am
Apr 052012

A glorious sight in my 75mm APO refractor telescope last night. The night of April 3rd was cloudy when Venus was nicely in the main cluster, but I was still able to get both Venus and the Pleiades in the same field of view last night.

Venus is massively over-exposed here, but I like the effect of the burn-out and spikes it causes. You can just see the faint nebulosity around the main stars in the Pleiades. This image is the result of stacking 20 exposures each of 20 seconds using my ATIK 383L CCD camera and a white luminance filter – through the Pentax 75 APO.

 Posted by at 7:18 am