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  1. I don't know where, but I read that when he first came to publishing the catalogue it only had 41 objects. Apparently somebody else had published one with a couple more, so he added a 42, 43, 44 and 45, which are quite bright, to make sure he had more. I don't know if that's true, but I quite like the idea of it.
  2. I believe Venus should get better over the coming weeks. As you can see in the photo it is still gibbous. If you wait until it is a crescent then it should be easier to see the phase and of course bigger.
  3. If you take colour to be the wavelength of light then there is of course a 'correct' colour, even if it is what colour it looks like then most people will see the same thing. The problem is that the atmosphere's transparency varies with wavelength as does the sensitivity of any sensor, be it your eyes, CCDs or film. RGB images, or those taken with a DSLR are pretty close to the 'correct' colour. They may be a bit out, but does that really matter? The main point seems to be regarding false colour images. Some people may take them because they look good, it's their descision, but that isn't really the point of them. HubbleSite seemed to sum it up fairly well, but they are a combination of different narrowband images. Each narrow band image shows the distribution of a certain gas using one of its transitions, such as hydrogen alpha. If you want to see how these gases relate to each other you cannot use a black and white image because you wouldn't able to tell them apart, therefore you assign a certain colour to each gas. That way you can see how the density of each varies with position. As an unfortunate side effect you get pictures that look great that amateurs want to copy, even though the colours are wrong.
  4. I haven't seen Saturn yet this season, I'm looking forward to rings opening up more and hopefully seeing the Cassini Division. I was observing Mars a few weeks ago and found it very hard going. I thought I could see a polar ice cap, though it might have just been bluer because of atmospheric refraction. After looking at it for a long time I could even imagine a small darker patch near to the pole. I then took a picture using my webcam and it seems that I did indeed see both of these features. The details on Mars seem to have a really low contrast, especially compared to Jupiter.
  5. I got a t-ring and remote timer for my DSLR, a tripod and some solar film. Might have to wait a while to use the latter.
  6. Well, the other night I was up nice and late to try and observe Mars. I had only seen it a couple of times before and it had just looked like a reddish disc, with no detail. This time however, I thought I could make out a small white patch on the edge, an icecap? And after watching it for a long time I could even magine a small darker patch. To try and confirm I wasn't imagining these details I decided to image it using my webcam. As I don't hve any motors it was difficult to first centre Mars, then add a x2 Barlow and then add another to get a decent image scale whilst changing the focus each time to find it. Finally I had it in view with both Barlows and got the focus as good as I could. Anyway, this is the result, and the icecap and dark patch were both where I had seen them visually. Mars19_12_2011 02_03_00_pp.tif
  7. Visually, my UHC filter, as I finally got to see the Veil Nebula this summer. Overall though, it is hard to beat my webcam - So much more detail is visible on Jupiter and my Mum doesn't have to ask which bit to look through and then end up holding the eyepiece.
  8. Cheers for the link. I have filled in the questionaire giving them my view. Let's hope they actually go through with this.
  9. This is only my third attempt at Jupiter, so I'm quite pleased with how it's turned out. The seeing was the best I've tried to image through and Jupiter was the highest I've tried too. On the left is Europa, which has just emerged from behind Jupiter's disc, while on the right is Io. This was taken through my Skywatcher 150P using a Philips SPC900NC with two x2 Barlows to give f/20. Jupiter, Europa and Io by JAllen42, on Flickr
  10. Though it was a clear last night, the full moon meant I ignored deep sky observations and I focussed my attention on our solar system. There were two aims for the night – to complete the planets and to see my first asteroid. With this in mind, I opened Cartes du Ciel to get a star chart showing the position of Vesta, just past opposition at magnitude 6.5. Though almost due south, it was still low in the sky and once found resembled a star of the same magnitude, with no size discerned. With only one planet remaining unfound, I then looked for the location of Neptune and slowly tracked it down. Once again, it was stellar in appearance and I did not notice much colour, an unspectacular end to my quest to see every planet. With Jupiter too low to fully appreciate I decided to hunt down Ceres, the largest asteroid and a dwarf planet. It was only just rising and very close to the Moon, meaning that no stars could be seen through the finderscope, making it very difficult to locate. Once stars of a reasonable magnitude were found, the patterns could be compared to star charts to determine where the scope was pointing. Once this was done, I star hopped to the position of Ceres. Sure enough, after an inconvenient cloud had moved, there appeared to be a magnitude 7.7 star in the exact location predicted. A short amount of time was spent looking at the Moon while Jupiter was rising but when clouds swept across the field of view I turned to the King of the Planets. All four of the Galilean Moons were visible, along with the equatorial belts on the planet, with the difference in colour and width observed. Io was approaching the planet and its shape could be seen shadowed against the Southern Equatorial Belt. As I watched it transit Jupiter’s disc, clouds finally filled the whole sky depriving me of the chance to try and observe the moon itself pass in front of the planet.
  11. Well last night, just as darkness was setting in, I noticed it was clear with the Moon shining bright, so I got my telescope out to have a look. I then showed my girlfriend how to take pictures of the Moon using my webcam. Yes, I realise that has nothing to do with the supernova, but I live on a south facing hill and therefore can't see north and had given up all hope of observing it. But I went round to the side of the house and saw the handle of The Plough, this was my chance. I moved the telescope across the garden and opened Cartes du Ciel. I pointed the scope in roughly the right place and then consulted the map. Confident it was in the field of view I had a look, but all of the stars had disappeared - clouds! As the wind was so fast they soon cleared though, and I had a look and quickly found the star that wasn't supposed to be there. I showed my girlfriend and Dad, chuffed that I had finally seen a supernova, a lifelong ambition. I carried on observing and managed to see a few of the brighter objects including M31 and the Double Cluster before turning my attention to Jupiter. The seeing was pretty bad, but did watch Europa emerge after being occulted by Jupiter's disc, a nice way to round off a very good night.
  12. Really nice animation. Cheers for showing how it can be done in Gimp.
  13. These were my first attempts at planetary imaging, taken on the night of 1st September, it's taken me a while to process all of the AVIs. There was a shadow transit of Europa, which I took several images of to give a short clip, and the Great Red Spot appeared later, although this was only imaged through cloud. Overall the seeing didn't seem brilliant, with Jupiter relatively low, and I should have collimated my telescope beforehand. All images were taken with a Phillips SPC900NC through my Skywatcher 150P on an EQ3-2 with a x2 Barlow lens. AVIs were 3 minutes in length at 30 frames per second with the best few hundred stacked in AVI Stack. As these are my first images, any advice would be welcome on how to improve them. Shadow Transit of Europa by JAllen42, on Flickr Video - http://www.flickr.com/photos/64835179@N05/6113802269/ Great Red Spot by JAllen42, on Flickr
  14. Thanks for the advice. A couple of nights ago I found the Blue Snowball for the first time and tonight I looked at the Omega Nebula before it set. The latter was nice with its shape visible, it was definitely improved by the UHC filter. I also had a quick tour of the sky before the clouds set in. M31 and M13 were as nice as ever and I had another look at M27 and the Veil. The highlight of the evening was probably Garradd in the same field of view as M71 at x30.
  15. I play Ultimate Frisbee for the Newcastle Team, The Brown. The UK National Championships were at the weekend, where we finished the 14th best club in the country. After five 90 minute games over the weekend I was ready to sleep when I saw how nice it was out, it would have been a shame to waste the opportunity. What is Ultimate? | UKU Nationals
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