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Paul M

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Paul M last won the day on September 13 2013

Paul M had the most liked content!

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About Paul M

  • Rank
    Trailer Trash

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  • Gender
  • Interests
    Astronomy, Scuba Diving and walking my daft Labradoodle.
  • Location
    Fylde Coast (Home), or Rural Cumbria (Away)
  1. As is often the case, a thread here on SGL started me on a train of thought... A discussion about a tour to this year's Total Eclipse in South America got me thinking about the next deep solar eclipse as seen from home. I knew there was one in the next decade and researched it here (an excellent resource): http://xjubier.free.fr/en/site_pages/solar_eclipses/TSE_2026_GoogleMapFull.html?Lat=54.73640&Lng=-2.75216&Zoom=8&LC=1 On 12th August 2026 a deep eclipse will be visible before sunset. I further investigated my local circumstances with Stellarium and got to thinking about making a script to showcase the view from my location. I know nothing about scripting so looked at the scripts that come packaged with Stellarium to see if they made sense. Some of the script was self explanatory, some less so. The scripting editor within Stellarium can be accessed by pressing F12 . Given a lack of Stellarium scripts I see being proffered on SGL I'm thinking it's not a popular pastime but it's something I've been threatening to have a go at for some time. I decided that re-engineering an existing script would be the best bet and chose solar_eclipse.ssc written by Matthew Gates, who deserves full credit for my limited success! I changed the stuff I could work out and also borrowed some lines from a number of Alex Wolf's scripts (as included with Stellarium). My method wasn't pretty! I hacked and hacked and cut and pasted and ran my script a million times (when it would run). It was rather like pouring a bucket of amino acids in a pond and waiting for an ape to emerge There is a guide: https://stellarium.org/doc/0.19/scripting.html , which maybe makes much sense to experienced coders but it's very, very hard going for my poor old brain. Anyway, after some hours I got what I was looking for and I'm pleased with the result...so far. I decided it would be nice to make a video of it but to do so I had to employ a Google Chrome plug-in that uploads video captures to my Google Drive (the XBox video capture feature in W10 requires hardware that my computer doesn't have). I don't have a YouTube channel and don't want to start one. So, here is the world premier of my Stellarium Script. It won't hot-link so it's hopefully a clickable link. Let me know if it doesn't work!! https://drive.google.com/file/d/1YH53mSRVxluV4iACKElftIFMcqEaVQny/view?usp=sharing
  2. The downtime flew by. I used it to chat with the wife. She seems quite nice....
  3. I tuned in just in time to watch that launch. Unfortunately it got scrubbed at about T-12 due to issues with the drone ship off shore.
  4. Sticking with the specifics of telephone apps, it's my understanding that the Stellarium Android app (don't know about iOS) is separate from the Windows Stellarium package. The development of the app was taken over a long time ago by other persons and it evolved separately. I'm not sure if it even exists on Android now but last time I tried it it was a shadow of the Windows version.
  5. I think Sky Safari is now the definitive app for Android devices. Had it for years and use it frequently. I've used Heavens Above Pro app for some time too but its origin is as a satellite/event prediction and mapping tool and that's what it's best at. Also on my Android devices I currently have: Satellite Safari - rarely used, ISS onLive - ocassional use and ISS Detector - handy tool for a quick look at what's up tonight, quite like it.
  6. I was thinking the same. Only months from a proposed manned flight. Accidents happen but the fault that caused this wasn't contained at all. That's what's so shocking. No fail safe. It didn't just fall off its pedestal or misfire. Mercifully, no one died but as system failures go, this one is bad.
  7. It's interesting, and I'd say it proves my belief that the Shuttle was a technological cul de sac, that the two new kids on the block are retaining the Apollo stylee. A DGR (dirty great rocket) and command/crew module. My personal preference of style is Space X. I thought the Crew Dragon looked great during its encounter with ISS. I'd love a go in that (once they sort out this nasty business of self destruction!). Unfortunately manned spaceflight has been stagnant for decades. The testing now underway is actually just returning to basics. Learning to walk again instead of going somewhere. I read somewhere that although on its most recent outing the Falcon Heavy center core did land on the drone ship, it eventually fell overboard and is probably a total loss. It's not rocket science, it's seamanship!
  8. Boeing are hoping to steel Space X's thunder now, although they are some way behind in testing and readiness. Space X have rekindled my interest in manned spaceflight and they've delivered some breathtaking performance. In view of that, I really hope this isn't a huge or even terminal setback. At least it happened on the test bed without persons aboard.
  9. What we need is an all electric launch vehicle. Rocket fuel seems so primitive
  10. "Nominal" seems to underplays success in the same way that "anomaly" underplays disaster; as in the Crew Dragon suffering an "anomaly" during test firing on the ground on Friday: Space X won't confirm the severity of the incident but all reports are of catastrophic failure The next flight was going to be manned I think.
  11. I tend to agree. Aesthetically I like the wider scale of the older image with the background fuzzies.
  12. I'm no astrophotographer but for visual a rule of thumb is stick with the scope you'll use! The step up from a 130 to a 150, not withstanding issues beyond simple aperture, is almost not worth the bother. A 200 is a worthy scope and back in my early days it was most amateur's dream scope. I could only afford a 6.25in newt but it was great. Took me 30 odd years to step up to the 10in. I know imaging is a standalone subject now but there is nothing wrong with learning and appreciating the sky visually first. Some would say it's preferable to do so Imaging shouldn't be seen as a required progression, wait until it calls you, if ever Anyway, I see I'm waffling in the challenge thread so best not distract from the Terminator too much... hasta la vista, baby!
  13. Big! I mount it on the EQ6 with the standard tripod and, man, can that eyepiece get to some awkward positions! Still, it's a dream to look through and the EQ6 holds is well enough for trouble free visual. I keep threatening to Dob it and get a Mak or frac for the EQ.
  14. I'd say it was worth your effort! A nice, natural image.
  15. I'm not a big fan of automation for the sake of it. It costs jobs and lives. But I was yet again gobsmacked by Elon Musk's adventures on Friday. For the first time in many years I feel that space flight is getting back on track. Falcon Heavy and the new Crew Dragon are what should have been instead of the Shuttle. ISS has also been little more than a place holder For the US space program. Yup, there could have been a McDonald's on Mars by now. Now that'd be progress
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