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darditti

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About darditti

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    Star Forming

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    http://www.davidarditti.co.uk/observatory.html
  1. Well Astrofest Day 1 in Kensington Town Hall was very good. Apart from the gent's toilets hardly having one working cubicle with a lock. And half the lights in there not working. And the door to the ladies toilets being virtually stuck. And the big screen in the hall flickering in response to every word the speakers spoke into the mic. And one of the power sockets on the stage not providing power, with the result that one of the presentation laptops nearly ran out of power mid-show. If I were the organisers (i.e. Astronomy Now), I would be looking very closely at my contract with the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea, considering the standard of the facilities provided. On the positive side there were many nice people to meet, plenty of interesting products on display, and I did get a a few modest discounts and a small freebie. David
  2. 've been asked by Sky News if anybody managed to photograph any Geminids from the UK. On night of maximum I presume, but other nights would probably do as well. If you have, and wouldn't mind them showing your photo on Sky News, with attribution, could you send it to me at this address please? David
  3. Great. We don't see this one often. Nice round stars. I would take the background down a bit. David
  4. The leaden skies cleared on Wednesday afternoon and I was able to image the low Sun in H alpha. Reasonable conditions, and quite a lot of activity. This is a 2-pane mosaic at a single exposure. Processed in AVIStack 2 and Photoshop CS4. David
  5. That's nice to know Nick. I'm sure it will be a great success. And thanks for making me aware of this Google Sketchup tool. Very useful. David
  6. On Feb 25 it was reported as mag. 15.9, on this page: Supernovae 2011B in NGC 2655 So it has faded by 2–3 magintudes since I took these.
  7. Well-done. The plans look attractive. I've not heard of anyone persuading their spouse by this method before! Question 1: Yes, a deck with some kind of soft flooring is a good idea, keeps you warm and protects equipment that falls. Make it with boards screwed to joists that are at least 3" thick and no further apart than 18". The joists need to be kept off the ground by bricks or concrete, but an observatory like this doesn't need major foundations. Question 2: Conventional dehumidifiers fail in observatories as they don't work when the temperature gets to around freezing, which is exactly when they are most needed. There is a type I saw advertised in Astronomy Now that does work at all temperatures, but I don't know exactly what it is. Having tried various dehumidifiers in the past and found them very unreliable, I have now given up on them and instead leave the dew heaters on all the time, powered by a transformer. This is effective at keeping the observatory quite dry and slightly warm. Question 3: You need mains to the shed. You have to get it done by a professional electrician, or, if you do it yourself, it has to be certified by the planning authority and you have to know the regulations. Don't mess about with batteries, or try to route 12v to the shed, it won't work, power losses will be too great. I hope this is helpful. I'll take this opportunity to plug my book that covers all this stuff: Setting-up a Small Observatory. Best of luck, David
  8. This is a relatively bright supernova (mag. 14) discovered in January in a very accessible galaxy, as it is circumpolar. Here are shots from the 3 Feb, in colour, fairly wide field taken with a 10" Newtonian, and 8 Feb, in monochrome, close-up with a C-11, longer exposure. Though in the first image the object appears to be outside the galaxy, the longer exposure shows it to be within the spiral arms. In the close-up image, though collimation looks to be a bit off, the galaxy shows interesting structure, with a dark swirl emanating from below the nucleus. The spiral arms go out to at least 3 times the nucleus–SN distance. David
  9. Thanks all. Nice to meet you at Astrofest, Sheri, and thanks for your work for the BAA there. David
  10. A bit behind the times with my processing here. At the end of January I took my first solar images of 2011, somewhat late in the day at 14:30. Here is a full H alpha disk and a corresponding white light disk. The Sun was quiet with the small group AR 1150 the only white light feature. Processing in AVIStack 2 and Photoshop CS4. David
  11. Olly, the only adjustments I am making post-stacking are to levels and curves. I pull the curve up a bit to bring out the proms. I have gone off the artificial method of trying to blend separate exposures, which always involves some arbitrary alterations to the data to try to make it look seamless. I have modified my LS60 as well....
  12. Thanks Sheri etc. I like this one too, been keeping it on my desktop for a long time – only sun I have seen for weeks!
  13. West of London Astronomical Society (WOLAS) have two public observing sessions arranged, tonight (Saturday 8 Jan) and tomorrow (Sun 9 Jan) in conjunction with BBC Stargazing Live. Unbelievably, the forecast is now for both to be completely clear! Do come if you are in the area. We will be there 5pm to 7pm (at least) at Ruislip Lido, by The Waters Edge pub. We will be showing the public Jupiter, the Moon, and other objects. We also have a Watec camera which I hope to get going to show DSOs on screen. Bring binoculars & telescopes if you like. Bring family & friends. Ruislip Lido is off Bury Street, Ruislip. Entry is via the gate adjacent to the free car park at the end of Reservoir Road, HA4 7TY. You can get there on the H13 bus. There is no admission charge. Further enquiries: David Arditti (WOLAS Publicity Officer) 020 8204 3999 Mob. 07866 456390 David Stargazing Live final.pdf
  14. Yes, though, in fact, I have a scan of a better print from Common's original negative than the one reproduced on Wikipedia. I can't put it on a website for copyright reasons, but I included it in my talk. When I showed it, it produced a gasp of amazement from the audience. David
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