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About Andy69

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    Leyland, Lancashire
  1. Thank you for your comments, it's always nice to hear someone enjoyed reading these things. My other hobbies are pretty much as described. I have a couple of guitars and an amplifier that is really way too big and loud for home use. I doubt I'll ever be an accomplished guitarist but I do like to pick them up and play something every now and then. I have mastered Happy Birthday though and my son's 21st is coming up so may have to don a curly wig and climb onto the garage roof as a special surprise. Weather permitting of course. I do also have a selection of woodworking power tools which
  2. I originally wrote this one back in May last year and since it is time of the year relevant it make sense to post now. This one has a slightly nostalgic tinge to the usual mix of pop culture references and dubious facts wrapped around a vaguely astronomical theme. As we enjoy the longer days and the slightly warmer winter weather that here in the British Isles we optimistically call summer, it inevitably signals the end of what many would consider the astronomical observing season. Living so far north on our home world means we are fast approaching that period in our orbit when we don’t expe
  3. It's been a while since I posted anything here so to rectify that read on to discover why the moon is like Scarlett Johansson and along the way Galileo, Buzz Aldrin, ET and a drunken zombie all get a mention too. Any astronomer with any degree of experience will have a list of things they really want to see. Many, for example will have no doubt fantasised about seeing Betelgeuse going supernova perhaps while they happened to be looking at it. Or it might be watching a comet perform a death plunge into Jupiter and observing the resulting scars in its atmosphere, which would no doubt be an aweso
  4. This week the challenge of finding a good dark sky site is tackled. Unsurprisingly the answer is to meet up with your local astronomy group which in my case was CLASS. Whilst your group and members will have different names I imagine the cast of characters will no doubt be similar. Oh and Paul’s dog is actually called Tilly, the reason for pointing this out now will become obvious around the third paragraph but will only really make sense if you are familiar with certain works from Enid Blyton. There is something to be said for solo observing. Some nights you may just want to enjoy the peace
  5. Wow, not sure which is more impressive the £10k spent (so far) or the photo of the plane. Good work on both though :)
  6. This article considers the financial perils of astro-photography, because while a hobby like Astronomy can at times leave you financially challenged, nothing is quite so fiscally ruinous as deciding it would be a jolly good idea to fasten a camera to your telescope. There are many reasons you might consider taking up astrophotography. Perhaps, as your eyesight slowly declines from the hawk like clarity of youth to Mr Magoo myopia in your advancing years, astro-imaging appeals as a way of extending your hobby into pensionerhood. Or it might be that you’re fed up of seeing things like the Androm
  7. Originally I wrote this article in early January of this year so some bits may be out of date by now but I don’t think it really matters. Also if I were publishing these articles in the order they were originally written this one should be about astro-photography but given the recent comments by Brian Cox around his thoughts on the existence of extra-terrestrial life I thought while it was topical I might as well put forth my musings on the subject. The picture near the end of the article comes from wikipedia so I can’t say how accurate it is but I think it is close enough for the point it's t
  8. I totally agree. Personally I don't have a goto mount but I can certainly understand the attraction particularly in the UK when sometimes we're lucky if we get one decent nights viewing per month. I've found a laser pointer to be a big help in manual observing because if you shine it through your finder scope you at least have a good idea of where your telescope is actually pointing.
  9. There are a couple of things I’d better point out about this article. First off, I have no affiliation with Skywatcher or any other astronomy equipment manufacturer or distributor. While I’m doing disclaimers I should probably also say I have no connection to Argos or Ford either. Secondly, I appreciate that I have ignored a huge number of telescopes of various makes, models and technologies. Guilty as charged, but then this is not a particularly serious or comprehensive buying guide by any means. It is difficult to believe but there are people amongst us that will tell you quite seriously th
  10. I don't recall saying anywhere in this article that you won't learn the sky with a goto. I think you may have misunderstood the purpose of this post and my blog in general. In the intro to my first posting on Andromeda I tried to set the tone which is perhaps best summed up in the line "They are not meant to be a serious attempt to tackle any of the subjects with any sort of authority."
  11. Thank you for your comments. I wouldn't say I endorse GOTO mounts as such. There is an argument for them as much as against and it's really one of those things that is a personal preference. As a newbie astronomer there were times when it's been so frustrating trying to find something relatively easy (like Andromeda) that I really wished I'd had a bit of electronic help. But on the other hand when you do manage to find an object for yourself you do gain a degree of satisfaction from sticking with it. The other point is that GOTO isn't a magic fix for observing because even if you've set i
  12. You have gazed up at the night sky for years thinking one day I’ll buy a telescope. You’ve caught the odd episode of the sky at night and have the whole series of Wonders of the Universe on sky+. Finally after watching stargazing live you’ve decided this is the year you buy one. After doing extensive internet research you have settled on a telescope, the only decision remaining is do you buy the GOTO option or not? The answer to this is YES! Let’s face it, you bought a sat nav for your car and after the man at Halfords fitted it, you were secretly amazed when you followed its instructions to y
  13. Thanks for all of the comments. Much appreciated. I'll post the next article very soon.
  14. This is the first of a series of articles I wrote for my local astronomy society (CLASS) newsletter that I thought I'd post here. They are not meant to be a serious attempt to tackle any of the subjects with any sort of authority. I was aiming more for an entertaining series of articles on the kind of trials and tribulations that are common to amateur astronomers. Or as I recently introduced one of my articles "It's the usual mix of pop culture references and dubious facts wrapped around a vaguely astronomical theme" O Andromeda, Andromeda, wherefore art thou Andromeda? One of the first things
  15. It was good to see that the S@N had more of a tweak here and there rather a full on makeover which is what I think most people were worried about. As for the presenters, I agree some of it was a bit quirky but I liked that and we should remember that these people are professional scientists presenting a TV show which I think is much more preferable than the alternative of having professional TV presenters trying to be scientists.
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