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Everything posted by Jim-a

  1. Have to agree with the sentiment here - SGL is one of the most friendly and helpful online places I've ever come across. Theres always someone who will help (even if they have heard the question a million time before).
  2. Hats off to Nick for taking his bins to the pub. It was great to see his tweets and pictures last night and it sounds like a good night. When we had the idea for AstroPub we'd seen it as an informal meetup (with some beer-garden observing thrown in if the sky was clear) of people already interested in Astronomy. A pub seemed like a good venue because its relatively easy to find a quiet country pub in a dark-ish spot and it meant that we could pick a date and still meetup even if the weather wasn't good enough for observing. Nick's trip to his local last night has made me also think about the "outreach" possibilities (there must be a better word) - Maybe pub astronomy is our UK parallel to the US Sidewalk Astronomy thing?. Looks like Nick was able to introduce a few folk to some things they hadn't seen before, which is great. Those people probably won't go as far as taking astronomy up as a hobby, but maybe they know of a secure dark site; or maybe they would be more supportive of anti-LP campaigns etc; I guess as we start experimenting with these pub meetups, we will get a sense of how much curiosity is generated by what we are doing and see where it takes us. (by the way we're still gathering postcodes / email addresses of interested people here. We've started scouting some pubs near Reading - where I'm going to organise a meetup, but the idea is that anyone can organise their own meet-up and we will put people interested in organising an evening into contact with people near by who are interested in attending an evening. We'll then share around everyones experiences and lessons-learned and tips etc to help the all the organisers)
  3. Awesome Astronomy is pretty good http://awesomeastronomy.com/
  4. Thats an encyclopaedic knowledge of country pubs around Reading James ... Misspent youth??? Seriously, thanks though - will add them to our list of pubs to check out over the next week or two.
  5. thanks for the enthusiasm everyone - the signups are starting to trickle in, so maybe theres something in it after all... Carl - no franchise here - just go ahead and set something up near you... looks like astropub.se is free Great to hear venue suggestions - also interested in coming up with a list of what people think would make a good venue... e.g. able to block lights out, shielded from car headlamps in the car park, power etc what else?
  6. Sim - Haven't really thought through venues yet - for the one Mike & I are going to organise we were going to get the maps out for south or west of Reading - you have anywhere suitable in mind?
  7. D.C - good idea about B&B's - perhaps we could favour pubs that also do rooms? LOL re double stars... especially all eight stars in epsilon lyrae - the double double double
  8. Thanks Capricorn - stupid me, should have properly checked it - not sure how to edit a post the right link is this one.
  9. A friend of mine and I have been talking about organising an Astronomy-in-a-pub-garden event, somewhere near where we live in Reading. Its not an original idea, but it seems like a good one - We'll pick a date and a country pub in a dark-ish spot with an amenable Landlord, then if it's clear people can use the beer garden for some informal observing... If it's cloudy (surely not) then we still meet and chat about astronomy over a pint. While we were talking we wondered how easy to would be to help other people set up similar events in other places, so in a fit of enthusiasm I got hold of astropub.co.uk and set up a site that will register peoples interest in either attending, or organising an event. Here's where we could do with some help.... obviously if you would be interested in either going along to something like this (or if you would fancy having a go at setting one up near where you live) then go the the site and sign up. Our plan will be to plot all the interest on a map and cross-fingers that will result in a some informal beer garden astronomy in other parts of the country as well. I threw the site together yesterday and it hasn't really been tested thoroughly yet (especially on Windows with Internet Explorer), so if you hit any problems then I'd be super grateful if you could let me know and I'll fix them. Its early days yet, so if anyone has any experience of doing similar, or has any ideas, tips, or can think of any gotcha's then please share them. If we get enough interest our aim would be to make an info-pack type thing for potential organisers to help them get something off the ground, and we would build some tools into the website to help organisers promote and manage their events. What do you think?
  10. James - Planet Christmas Baubles - what a brilliant idea - I want some!!! Obviously if they were made to accurately reflect the relative sizes of the planets then you would need a pretty hefty Xmas tree branch to support Jupiter
  11. We watched the Curiosity blast off, and the landing together... Mine and his names are encoded on one of the rovers chips (NASA ran a website where you could enter your name and it would be put onto some spare capacity they had), so he does have a vested interest in not blowing it up!
  12. Occasionally my 8 year old will show an interest in looking though my scope, but I've never really worked out if its because he's really interested in Astronomy or if its just a bedtime delaying tactic. However, something must be sinking in - last night was his school's parents evening and looking through his workbooks, in a section titled "If I ruled the world" I found this... ... not sure I completely agree with his destructive plans, but maybe the ring nebula is worth it
  13. Unfortunately my comet-virginity remains intact. Clouds rolling in now and during the brief time I got, Pegasus was in the most light polluted part of my sky - with the naked eye I could only see the four main stars in the square. One thing I hadn't really though about before is that (in my cheap eyepieces anyway) due to the coma, pretty much everything that sweeps into view looks like a 'suspect' until its in the centre of the field of view. Oh well... next time.
  14. Given that it looks like it will be clear here tonight I'm hoping to catch a glimpse of P168 - it will be my first attempt to view a comet, so does anyone have any tips?
  15. thought people might be interested in this article. 55 Cancri is a binary star in cancer about 40 light years away. Estimates are that around one third of one of its planets (55 Cancri e) mass is made up of diamond.
  16. Apparently this morse code flashing micro satellite was deployed from the ISS earlier this month... has anyone spotted it? Part of me thinks its a great little experiment... but does it count as Light Pollution?
  17. Im in Caversham - so not far from you. There's a small group locally who meet informally to observe (Farside is the ring leader ) but I've not yet managed to co-incide diaries / clouds etc to meet up with them. So far I've only observed in my back garden on my tod - so would be good to meet up with anyone local.
  18. For planetary stacking the main mac app I've used is Lynkeos. I've also tried Keiths Image Stacker but found that less intuitive.
  19. works for me - there are also quite a few freely downloadable sets of telrad maps - I use this one
  20. Sorry that link just points to the advert that was before the video (maybe a mod can edit?) Heres the right link
  21. Really enjoyed this 4minute youtube explanation of why the sky is dark at night - http://youtu.be/E0qDrRJT4zE - covers formation of the universe, expansion and red-shift, and a bunch of other concepts in a really accessible way.
  22. Jim-a

    Just joined SGL

    Welcome along - everyone on here is so helpful - just ask away. One tip is to download Stellarium - its free planetarium software and great for planning a nights observing. And if it stays clear tonight you should definitely point your scope in the direction of Jupiter - an awesome sight.
  23. Of course the other thing to do while waiting for clear skies is to obsess over the weather forecasts - here are four good astro-weather sites for spotting potential gaps in the clouds... TWO - gives you a 14 day cloud coverage, pressure and windspeed forecast for your location Meteoblue sky - 3 day forecast - includes a prediction for how good the seeing is going to be 7Timer - 3 day forecast with seeing and transparency (note the 7timer site wasnt responding when I made this post - so the link may not be quite right) Of course those three dont always agree with each other! For on-the-day cloud predicting then Sat24 gives you an animation of the last couple of hours of satellite pics - you can put your location on the map and get a really good sense of how fast the gaps in the clouds are moving and in what direction and when (if) they will be over you. Hope those help while away the time waiting for clear skies... all of them seem to be predicting cloud-free skies this evening where I am - so fingers crossed!
  24. Hi Paul - welcome along - everyone on here is very helpful - just ask away... no such thing as a stupid question
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