Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Ring Nebula M57

At last! A clear night...

Tonight I set up the Skywatcher 80ED to try to image the Ring and Andromeda galaxies. Still trying out the new equipment and it did take a while to get the focus right.
M57 looks beautiful and can be seen clearly with a wide angle eyepiece on the 80ED. I managed to take about 30 exposures of M57 with the Canon 350d set to iso 800, stacked with DeepSky Stacker and processed in Photoshop.
Although I captured Andromeda, I didn't have enough exposures to bring out the detail, unfortunately, the camera moved when I changed the battery and couldn't get it right again.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Indian Summer?

Today was wall to wall sunshine all day!

The first since May!

Today everyone was smiling and happy, it really does make a difference.

As we move into Autumn I am suffering from a distinct lack of SUNSHINE. This has been the worst Summer I can remember! Rain, cloud, storms and floods thats all we have had this year and now at last, as we move into Autumn we have glorious weather. Clear skies tonight, but very hazy so still not ready for the scope.

I remember an Indian Summer somewhere around 1980 when it lasted from September right through to November. Wall to wall sunshine and clear nights...I wonder...will it happen again?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Big Bang Day!

"Scientists have hailed a successful switch-on for an enormous experiment which will recreate the conditions a few moments after the Big Bang.
They have now fired two beams of particles called protons around the 27km-long tunnel which houses the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).
The £5bn machine on the Swiss-French border is designed to smash protons together with cataclysmic force.
Scientists hope it will shed light on fundamental questions in physics."

I must admit that I had never heard of the 'Higg Boson' particle until this week. Apparantly, this 'God Particle' will explain how mass and gravity are explained. It's all a bit complicated and over my head at the moment. The CERN LHC (Large Hadron Collider) took 13 years to build at a cost of £5bn thats about the same amount that taxpayers money put in to support Northern Rock!!!
I wonder which is the best value for money?
Seriously though, the LHC is a state of the art machine that will open new dimensions on Physics and give us a better understanding of the 'Big Bang' and how the universe was born.
It's pity that the media and tabloids have tried to 'scaremonger' by saying that the world will end and the machine will produce tiny black holes that will swallow the universe. This morning many children went to school scared out of their wits with little understanding of the technology thinking that there really was going to be a 'Big Bang'.