Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Goodbye 2008!

Here is my best image of 2008. The Dumbell Nebula.
Well, 2008 has to go down as the worst weather on record along with the worst economic downturn, thanks to the behaviour of our banks!

Summer was a wash out, cloud, rain and waterlogged gardens. We are now having the harshest Winter that we have had for years, heavy snow well before Christmas and now in the grip of Artic conditions.

Gloom and Doom aside, I did manage to capture some good images around March time and later when I got my Skywatcher 80ED Pro. Since buying the Skywatcher the weather went downhill and I have not really had chance yet to go after some good DSOs. I want to image M42 again and the Horsehead Nebula, Crab Nebula and Triangulum Galaxy with the 80ED Pro. Lets hope that next year things will improve.

The trouble is that it is easy to loose interest if you don't get chance to try things out.

I now have three scopes, Skywatcher 130m reflector, Skywatcher ST80 and Skywatcher 80ED Pro along with the SLT computerised mount.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas in space

Probably one one of the most famous photos ever!
The Earth rising over the Moon at Christmas in 1998. On Christmas Eve the crew of Apollo 8 sent a live TV broadcast from the Moon. Everytime I see this photo it gives me the feeling of lonleyness, our Earth is so insignificent, a beautiful blue ball in space.

The words of Genesis in the broadcast really come to life!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Apollo 8 Launch

Forty Years ago today three astronauts did the unthinkable!
Apollo 8 was launched to orbit of the Moon and return. The year was 1968.
I was 14 years old at the time and remember and followed the whole mission, especially the live broadcast from the Moon on Christmas Eve and the reading of Genesis from the Bible as the pictures were shown. I have a DVD of the broadcast and brings back many memories of that Christmas in 1968!

After launching on December 21, 1968, the crew took three days to travel to the Moon. They orbited ten times over the course of 20 hours, during which the crew made a Christmas Eve television broadcast in which they read the first 10 verses from the Book of Genesis. The crew timed this reading to coincide with a full view of planet Earth hanging in the empty blackness of space while clearly showing the rich diversity of the living planet as indicated in Terran colors, seas, landforms, and weather patterns, rising over the dull gray horizon of the lifeless Moon. At the time, the broadcast was the most watched TV program ever. Apollo 8's successful mission paved the way for Apollo 11 to fulfill U.S. President John F. Kennedy's goal of landing a man on the Moon before the end of the decade.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Moon, Venus and Jupiter

A lovely view tonight of the Moon, Venus and Jupiter.

This morning we had heavy snow so the ground tonight is freezing with deep snow on the ground, not ideal for setting up equipment!

These images taken at twilight with my Canon 350D and 200mm zoom lens. Last night Venus went behind the Moon, but it was cloudy so couldn't get a shot of it.

Here a zoom image of just Venus and Jupiter as they are close together.