Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Space Shuttle 30 years old!

April 12 saw not only the 50th anniversary of the first human space flight but also the 30th anniversary of the first flight of the Space Shuttle Columbia. Now we are looking at an end of an era as the Space Shuttles are retired and sent to museums across America.

Two of the shuttles didn't survive, Columbia and Challenger.

The space shuttle programme played an important part in space travel, even if there seemed to be lack of interest...until something went wrong of course!

The big question is ...what will replace the shuttle? It will be years before there is a new replacement and all we can do is look at the cutting edge of technology in a museum...sad!

Happy Birthday Space Shuttle Flight STS-1 30 years!

Click here to see the flight!

Yuri Gagarin 50 years!

OMG...I remember watching this on television in black and white when I was 6 years old!

I didn't really understand what was going on, but my Dad told me all about it. I have always remembered the name Yuri Gagarin because I couldn't pronounce it when I was 6 years old but my Mum and Dad helped me to say it.

An amazing flight!

Since then we have learned more about it since Russia has opened it's doors.

It seems that after the momentous space flight, Yuri's capsule came down in a farmer's field and had to knock on the door to ask to use his phone to contact the space centre!


The capsule from the Vostok 3KA-3 rocket carrying Yuri Gagarin.
He even came to Manchester!

See the videos http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/space/solarsystem/astronauts/yuri_gagarin#p00fxdql http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-12895822

Monday, April 11, 2011

April Moon

While doing some Deep Space on Saturday night, I also took outside my Skywatcher 130m to have a good look at the Moon.

I can't image with the Canon 350d on the Skywatcher 130m, so I just used it to look closely at the Moon. I took photos with the Skywatcher 80ED and this time I got the focus right!

This is a beautiful image of the Moon on Saturday, you can see the craters very clearly.

Whirlpool Galaxy

For the first time for quite a long time I set up my Skywatcher 80ED and Canon 350d camera to try to image some deep space objects. On Saturday night the sky was clear and it was warm outside as well. A lovely night!

At first I tried to image with the Orion Nebula as Orion was sinking into the western sky. Next I pointed the scope at M51 Whirlpool Galaxy. This was very high, almost at azimuth, so I wasn't sure if the mount would allow it to track at such a height. Surprisingly, it tracked without a problem.

I then took 30 subs at 30 seconds each. I think I needed more subs really, but the battery on the camera began to die. The image was stacked with Deepsky Stacker and processed in Photoshop. I think that I may be able to improve the image with some patience!

Monday, April 04, 2011

Tycho in Colour

This image was taken 5 years ago on the 10th April 2006. It is an amazing image of Tycho with the ejecta rays from the huge crater. With some patience I managed to bring out the colour using Registax, Photoshop and Paint Shop Pro. I used my Skywatcher 130m and Philips Toucam Pro II modified webcam. I have never been able to capture anything like this since!