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Paul M

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About Paul M

  • Rank
    Trailer Trash
  • Birthday 29/09/64

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Interests
    Astronomy, Scuba Diving and walking my daft Labradoodle.
  • Location
    Fylde Coast (Home), or Rural Cumbria (Away)

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  1. I'm there but not been up the Tower since the wind farm construction started. But I think it would just prove, as per my earlier post, that the sea just gets deeper the further you go off shore. If the earth was curved all that water would slosh off over the horizon, which it does twice a day.....
  2. Well, I've only ever heard it/them called Orion's Belt or by their given names. I was just impressed that the MD had noticed the sky! I think it was a stab at the Seven Sister, a term she has heard me use. But plainly there were only 3 of them, so thinking on her feet.... I'm sorry if I've opened marital or sub-marital wounds. It is a cross we have to bear.
  3. I just compared the positions for 41P on Stellarium and SkySafari for 11:30 tonight and they were both in very close agreement! At least visually relative to field stars. I didn't compare computed coordinates though and I've go to go out now. I'll have a look at that later.
  4. Venus will be just about at conjunction on the 25, even though it will still be 8 deg north of the Sun it's setting at about the same time from our latitudes. From the high arctic Venus will remain above the horizon all night. I suspect other than for Inuit observers, Venus at conjunction will be daylight affair. Quite risky for visual sweeping of the sky so close to the Sun. I'm sure it's not beyond an intrepid and cautious observer though!
  5. So, the long suffering, non-astro MD just let the dog out for her bed time ablutions and came in to excitedly tell me that the "Three Sisters" are bright tonight! I guessed what she meant but went to confirm anyway and show some enthusiasm for her effort - only about the third time in nearly 28 years of marriage! But yes, Orion's Belt looked lovely. Sat almost perfectly horizontal over the neighbours garage roof. As I waxed lyrical about Beetljuice (small steps..) and other bright stars, I looked round and realised I was talking to myself. The more things change, the more they stay the same!
  6. I mentioned on another thread very recently that Stellarium mobile is not developed by the same excellent team that develop Stellarium for desktop. I've given up on Stellarium mobile because of it's quite limited functionality. The desktop version is still constantly developed and just keeps getting better. I would be very confident of comet positions given by Stellarium (desktop). For mobile (I'm sounding like a broken record now!) it's SkySafari for me. It's price is on a sliding scale depending on what functionality you want. I'm still on 4 Pro, version 5 is now the current release. I've compared SkySafari with Stellarium for comet positions in the past and found them to be excellent agreement.
  7. Hi and welcome. That there 150P is what many of us dreamed of in the days when such things were difficult to come by and were expensive. It's a great work horse and should serve you very well for many years. Mine did and still does! The only advice I would give with regards to observing DSO's is get out to your preferred dark sky site and get stuck in. Above all don't expect too much. The brilliant images posted on here don't represent any reality that is visible with the eye at the telescope. They are computer generated lies!! Just take your time. The ability to see subtle detail is governed by a number of interplaying factors. Sky conditions, distance above the horizon, telescope size, age of the observer and not least, skill. Skill is acquired by patient observing. Making sketches at the eyepiece is a great way to get to know an object but I've not done that for many years myself. Comets can be very tricky. Their advertised magnitudes are for their total light output and when spread over a diffuse fuzz ball can be unexpectedly dim and difficult. You need a good planetarium program or mobile app loaded with the up-to-date orbital data for comets. That way you can identify a star field and star-hop to the exact location of the comet you are looking for. It's very satisfying when you finally succeed. Just keep an ear to the ground on here for news of what comets are visible at any time. Stellarium (not the mobile app) is as good as it gets for desk-top/lap-top and my choice by a country mile for mobile is SkySafari. Both will get you all the comet info you'll ever need. There are a couple knocking round just now but not easy targets. This one is currently near Merak in Ursa Major but it's going to be tricky visually: The good news is that we are getting over due for another good one!
  8. At conjunction Venus will still be 1% illuminated, some 8 deg from the Sun. From the high Arctic, Venus will be circumpolar right through conjunction. Anyone up for an imaging or observing challenge? Only got 4 days to get there though.
  9. Hi Alex, I see you added that user selectable search period for the Iridium Flare calculations as discussed above! Works well for me. Many thanks for the fast responses
  10. I read on one of the Stellarium update threads here that Stellarium and Stellarium mobile are totally independent entities now. So functionality is not comparable. They may use different sources or update frequency for comet orbital elements. Which one of the positions is correct I don't know but if either agrees with SkySafari I'd trust that one.
  11. So, taking your exact list: -favorite telescope : my old 60mm Prinz refractor from Dixon's. I discovered the Universe with that 40 odd years ago. No other scope will ever come near! -favorite accessories : Goto, I got lazy -favorite planet : Earth, I've studied it since my earliest thoughts and I still don't know it. -favorite star : Albireo, the first time I saw it through that 60mm frac taught me everything I know about star colour. -favorite Nebula : M1 The Crab. Took years to find it but when I did it was the best. Not impressive but the best! -favorite galaxy : I don't know. That one there! that one, hold on... -favorite cluster : M13. Incomprehensible. -favorite observing site : My dark site in Cumbria that is sadly being eaten away at by the urban sprawl of Penrith I'll add another: -favourite astronomical event : Total solar eclipse. Seen two in perfect conditions. The ultimate human experience?
  12. For some reason a comet discovered by an amateur seems far more interesting. I know he's at the top of his game but it's still nice to think that advanced technology and automated surveys can still be beaten by skill and dedication. Let's hope it's a good one
  13. That's a great image. What a marvelous elongation this has been for observing Venus close to the Sun. I don't remembers ever seeing so many ultra thin Venusian crescent images!
  14. Steady on! I'm a beginner too, I began in 1975 and still don't have much more kit than that !
  15. We have an extensive wind farm offshore from here. The nearer turbines are visible for their full height. As they get progressively further away less is visible of them. The furthest ones I've seen through the bins are only visible when a blade swings through the upper arc of it's rotation. They'll be 20 miles away maybe. It's obvious therefore that the sea gets deeper the further away from shore you go. Yes, I Know. Totally stupid. I'd have put taller masts on the further ones myself... Edit: This shows how silly they are: