Wednesday, July 16, 2014

45 years ago Apollo 11 launch.

45 years ago today I was 14 years old at Hayward Bilateral School in Bolton. I sat in the sunshine with my friends on the grass banking at the side of the gym listening to the Apollo 11 launch on a transistor radio...



I followed the commentry and listened out for the command words like 'Mode One Bravo' (Roll) and  'Mode One Charley' (staging) My friend Pete had bought a pack from W.H. Smiths which had the whole fight schedule of the mission. I always regretted not buying the pack.

This is an amazing video that I have never seen before:

http://vimeo.com/4366695

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Light Moon Mosaic








Quite a tricky one this...it is 8.00pm in the evening, the Sun is still shining and also the Moon. So I attempted to make a mosaic of the Moon in almost daylight.
It is easy to take the images, but it is also getting darker, so sticking together the separate images in i-image and keeping the background blue colour constant was tricky.

Not bad really for my first attempt.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Buzz Aldrin





My friend Tracy sent me this photo of Buzz Aldrin at the airport in Chicago on route to Florida. Tracy and her family where going on holiday to Florida and had to change planes at Chicago. Then Buzz Aldrin arrived in an orange fight suite to board the same flight.

Must be such an honour to share a flight with the second man on the Moon!

Colin Pillinger



Sad to hear about the death of Colin Pillinger today. A great guy with tons of enthusiasm!

He took a big risk with Beagle 2 sending it to Mars, but he had the drive to take risks and explore. Imagine what would have happened if the signal arrived at Earth and Beagle 2 began to function...well done Colin, it was worth a try!

I met Colin back in the 1980's at Summer School when I was studying with the Open University. I remember watching his programmes on BBC 2 at 6,00am in the morning when I was doing my degree. A great guy!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Very spotty sunspots


The Sun with yellow filter.

It looks like we have have finally hit the sunspot maximum! These images were taken yesterday April 18th 2014. The poor thing looks like it has the measles!
Some nice images taken with my Skywatcher 80ED Pro, Baader solar safe filter and coloured filters. A lot of activity on the Sun at the moment, the Aurora has reached K6 tonight.


Sunspots today with the blue filter.



Sunspots today showing the boiling surface of the chromosphere.


 
Sunspots today in natural white light.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

ISS photo sequence




This is a series of frames captured using my Skywatcher 130 and Philips Toucam Pro II webcam on April 15th. I have tried various ways of capturing close up images of the ISS with a video and stills, but it is so difficult to get right. I think it all comes down to luck at the end of the day with the equipment that I am using.

Got a lot of retweets on Twitter with this image!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Swedish Star Party



This week we have had our Swedish friends Birgitta, Kribban and Malva visiting us. After tea, I took my Skywatcher 130m telescope out into the garden to look at the Moon and Jupiter. sky was perfectly clear. It was fun to try to take photos with our smartphones.


Malva and Birgitta's smartphone photo of the Moon through my telescope.

 
 Malva and Birgitta's photo of Jupiter and it's moons with the Smartphone.
 


Later, we watched the International Space Station pass overhead...beautiful!

Monday, March 31, 2014

LEGO Curiosity Rover



Time for some LEGO therapy, great for those cloudy nights!

I saw the LEGO Curiosity Rover in this month's 'Sky at Night' magazine. It looked good and was only £24.99! I decided to get one direct from LEGO.

http://shop.lego.com/en-GB/NASA-Mars-Science-Laboratory-Curiosity-Rover-21104

Now, remember that I am not a LEGO person and have never built a LEGO model in my life, but I really enjoyed building this one. It has 295 pieces, some tiny, but the instructions are very clear and easy to follow. Took me five nights to complete, nice and relaxing!


My completed Curiosity Mars Rover.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Mars Compilation



Mars will be closest to us in the next few weeks, but it will be quite low in the sky. Mars is closest to Earth about every two years. A few years ago we had a particularly close encounter with Mars and high up in the sky. I was able to take some great photos as it gradually got closer.
Took these photos with my Skywatcher 130m scope with a Philips Toucam Pro II webcam attached. Stacked and processed with Registax 3.

I am going to try to capture some images of Mars again in April, but I doubt that they will be better than these.  

Thursday, March 13, 2014

International Space Station



Tonight I was looking at some older images that I took of the ISS from my back garden back in 2009 when I came across some close up images that I didn't think were good enough at the time. When I saw them and enlarged the images I was quite amazed, so I made an array of the images.

They were taken in September 2009 with my Skywatcher 80ED Pro and Canon EOS350D camera. I must have held the scope and camera on my shoulder to capture these images.

I have tried many times to capture close up images of the ISS, but these are by far the best ones!

On ITV4 there is a series of programmes running called 'Space Live', last night was a live programme from the ISS with astronauts talking about life in space. Tonight was live from the ISS control centre in Houston talking with previoes astronauts and what happens when there are problems on the ISS. Really interesting programmes.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Jupiter Moon Transit

 
 
This is a first for me, imaging a transit or rather, double transit on Jupiter. Last night was perfectly clear, so I set up my Skywatcher 80 ED Pro and Philips Toucan Pro II at about 8.15pm to witness the event. My first images show the shadow of Ganymede alone which transited Jupiter the day before leaving just the shadow. At around 8.40pm a second transit took place, this time the Moon Io. I'm sure that somewhere on the images I should be able to see Io as well as it's shadow, but it is difficult to see. It is also nice to have captured the GRS just above the Ganymede shadow on the right.
 


 
Here is a second array of images slightly larger.


Saturday, March 08, 2014

Moon Mosaic 7th March

 

 I am very pleased with this mosaic. This was taken with my Skywatcher 130m and Philips Toucam Pro II webcam. When I captured the AVI's the atmosphere seemed very unstable and the image was constantly moving in and out of focus. In fact, I found it quite difficult to achieve focus while watching it on the laptop. After processing in Registax the images looked quite good. I then assembled the mosaic with iMerge.

Tonight I downloaded an amazing Moon Globe app for my ipad. I was able to compare my photo with the ipad by adjusting the time setting. An excellent app! https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/moon-globe/id333180321?mt=8



Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Jupiter 3rd March


Jupiter on 3rd March 2014 showing the great Red Spot.

A beautiful clear evening with Jupiter almost at azimuth. I took a series of avi's on my Philips Toucam Pro II and Skywatcher 80ED Pro. These are taken with the 2x Barlow lens. I did take some with my 3x Barlow lens as well, but these are clearer after processing.

On the images you can see the 'Great Red Spot' on the left. An enormous storm that has raged for many years. I am really pleased to capture the Great Red Spot at last!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Aurora in Bolton


Image of the Aurora from my back garden last night.

Last night was amazing! Following a Solar Storm a few days ago the Earth was bombarded with particles from the Sun to produce the most incredible Aurora in England for many years. Although I tried hard, I couldn't see the Aurora from my house even though photos from North Wales, Wigan and Leeds were coming in in Twitter. We have a lot of light pollution to the North which doesn't help. I set up my camera and pointed it North in my back garden, the sky was clear with lots of stars visible. I then took some images at around 20 sec exposures and hoped for the best!


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Moon and Venus


Had to get up very early today for this one, 6.30am to see the cresent Moon and Venus lying low in the South East with a clear sky and twilight. A beautiful sight.

I took this image with my Canon EOS350D and 300mm zoom lens sat on a small tripod on the window ledge.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Super Moon



Apparently, January 2014 had a 'Black Moon' followed by a 'Super Moon' ... sounds a little complicated, but certainly worth looking at.

To capture this image I decided to use my Skywatcher 130m Newtonian scope. I have not used it for a while, so I spent some time assembling it again and checking that everything was alright. Then I used the Philips Toucam Pro II webcam and SharpCap to take about 30 avi images of the almost full moon. After stacking the AVI's in Registax I then proceeded to make up the jigsaw puzzle of producing a mozaic with the images using iMerge.

It is fun to do!

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Cresent Moon


Taken with my Skywatcher 80ED Pro and Philips Toucam Pro II webcam. Moon mosaic of five images with iMerge.

This photo was taken between the rain storms of a beautiful cresent moon on 2/2/14. The UK is experiencing a battering of storms which have been constantly feeding in from the Atlantic. There has been flooding in some areas since before Christmas and no end in sight!
Needless to say that there are not many clear nights. This month has a 'Super Moon' so it should be interesting to see if the Moon is brighter or bigger this month.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Jupiter 2014


Here is a combination of images of Jupiter on 23rd January 2013.

Not many clear skies here at the moment lots of rain and clouds. These taken with my Skywatcher 80 RD Pro and Philips Toucan Pro II webcam.