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Everything posted by Andymarrison

  1. Just come in after about two and a half hours - my dew controller has just packed up, and my feet are freezing! It's about -5 degrees, but the skies are beautifully clear. Spent most of the session on the open clusters M3,36,37 and 38 in Auriga and Gemini, and then wrapped-up with M42 (it wouldn't be right to end a winter session without a look at M42!) and, finally, Jupiter. The view of Jupiter was the best I've had to date, with the GRS clearly visible through the 8.5mm Pentax XF together with some lovely whirls and eddies in the South equatorial band. Warming up indoors now, and hoping that the dew controller will recover when it too has warmed up and dried out.
  2. The folks at 7timer! had it spot on! It's beautifully clear here tonight, for the first time in weeks! Scope's cooled; dew heater's turned up (boy is it cold!); observing list's at the ready - just a question of how long my fingers and toes hold out...I'm guessing Galloway's even colder, though - good luck Jonathan!
  3. Well it will be a little bit chilly, I grant you, but then again it's almost -273 centigrade out there in interstellar space, so it will make me feel that little bit closer to the stars I'm looking at!
  4. If the nice people at 7timer! have got it right, then I'll be a very happy (and cold) observer for the next few nights!
  5. Nice scope and mount! Good luck with the skies, and also with the snow!
  6. Yes, I found that side of it a bit awkward, too, but I guess Mark Lawson was just doing his job as a good interviewer, and to be fair didn't push all that hard. Sir Patrick batted all the questions deftly for six, in any case! It was really nice to see a long interview with SPM - he came across as a true gentleman, passionate about his subject. To my shame, I hadn't realised he'd written an autobiography until I watched the interview, so I ordered it straight away - really looking forward to learning more about his fascinating and full life.
  7. You're a lucky man! The astro forecast for here says it will be "mostly clear" by 7pm, but at the moment it's wall-to-wall cloud...fingers crossed though.
  8. News about the strange "solar system type" orbits of dwarf galaxies around Andromeda - interesting stuff! http://keckobservatory.org/news/surprise_pancake_structure_in_andromeda_galaxy_upends_galactic_understandin
  9. This wouldn't work for me - my ex-wife doesn't have a soul
  10. I use a Mac, and unfortunately Sharpcap doesn't run under MacOS, so I used a free webcam app called Debut - seems to have only the simplest level of control (brightness, contrast and "gamma") - I guess the obvious thing is to fiddle with the brightness control? Perhaps I should hunt around for a more sophisticated bit of capture software, as well?
  11. Hello all you seasoned imagers! I tried out a bit of planetary imaging for the very first time last night using a modded Microsoft Lifecam HD. Managed to get Jupiter's disk focused OK on the laptop screen, but none of the recorded frames showed any detail at all - just a white disk. I briefly tried aligning and stacking 20 or so frames using a bit of MacOS software called Lynkeos, but this really didn't make any difference. Do I need to adjust the sensitivity of the CCD using some software (if this is possible); should I be using a filter to reduce the brightness; or am I just expecting too much? Lots of dumb questions - as you can see I'm a complete imaging novice.
  12. I think they are interested in what the "nothing" of interstellar space actually is, I.e. it's not really nothing, and they want to understand what's there and its chemistry.
  13. There are some real gems tucked away on the Royal institution's website, including Carl Sagan's lectures on "the Planets". Well worth a look (you might need to register to get full access, but it's free): http://www.rigb.org/contentControl?id=00000004959&action=displayContent Happy Christmas!
  14. ...I've just come across a piece of software called Debut, which has some extra webcam controls and appears to be free. I'll give it a go when the clouds clear, some time in 2013...
  15. Success! Quick Time and Photo Booth both work, so at least I've got the basic ability to capture some video images - thanks TziuRiky! I'll have a look at some of the other suggestions as well to see if there's anything that works with Snow Leopard and allows me to adjust the settings - maybe macam.
  16. Thanks everyone - I'll try a few of these tips tonight and will let you know how I get on.
  17. Just finished modding a Microsoft Lifecam, plug it into the MacBook (a 2008 MacBook Pro running Snow Leopard) and realise I've no way of actually seeing or capturing an image from the webcam? Does anyone know what bits of software/settings I need to start capturing images?
  18. Foolishly, just signed up for the Loch Ness marathon, two weeks before PSP 2013. If it goes badly I'll be looking for someone to help carry my scope (and maybe me) from the car
  19. ...but I can't fit my SCT in the dishwasher...
  20. Sap from nearby trees? There's a sycamore in our garden and it chucks out all sorts of tat that ends up on the collector of my SCT.
  21. Just awaiting delivery of a Pentax XF 8.5mm from FLO, and hoping that will deliver some good views of Jupiter, seeing permitting (235x). Had a cracking view a few nights ago with the 17.3mm Delos and 2x Barlow, so thought I'd go for the equivalent focal length in a single EP. I'll report back when I've had a chance to try it.
  22. Shane, if you want to delve a little deeper into the weirdness of quantum mechanics, and how it relates to "real world" observations like light reflecting off a mirror or refracting through a lens (important to all of us on here!) then there's a brilliant little book by Richard Feynman called "QED - the strange theory of light and matter".
  23. Massive PHD down jacket; woolly hat; and one of those neck warmer fleecy things for me - I can't really get on with gloves, either (the Jack Pyke hunter's mitts mentioned above look pretty snazzy, though...)
  24. The PHD kit is absolutely top notch - incredibly warm and incredibly light. Sir Rannulph Fiennes has just set off for his stroll across the Antarctic in their stuff, so I guess that's about as good a recommendation as it gets! A bit pricey, but there's not much out there that's better.
  25. That is very sad news. He inspired so many people.
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