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.

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!

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!