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SlyReaper

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Everything posted by SlyReaper

  1. Not yet they're not, but as soon as I finish designing my telescope-mounted cloud zapper, I'll make millions selling them to frustrated astronomers.
  2. Patience. You'll get clear skies sooner or later. And you live in Scotland, which is an excellent place to avoid light pollution. Wait until winter, the nights will be long, some of those nights are bound to be clear, and you'll have epic views that a southerner like me can only dream of. By the way, your dog looks awesome. I have a springer myself. Totally loopy, but brilliant.
  3. http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/news/society/patrick-moore-probably-going-to-be-remembered-an-astrologer-2012121052555 I don't like to get annoyed at people who don't know the difference, because there are bound to be things in their lives I don't understand. Better to keep cool and just be like "yeah, I'm into astronomy; astrology is a completely different thing".
  4. I get the distinct impression that most of my friends are just humouring me.
  5. This is the first year I've owned telescopes, and I haven't been too disappointed. Been out a good dozen or so times since I got my first scope in April.
  6. I don't know if we'll find life in our solar system or not. Just saying that if we do, if we find life having started independently in wildly different environments, it would give us a good deal more confidence that life is abundant in the galaxy.
  7. The trouble with speculating about the existence of extraterrestrial life is we still don't know exactly how it got started here. It was probably random chance - hundreds of millions of years of carbon-based chemicals swilling around in the water, forming, breaking, constantly creating new random patterns, until one of those random interactions stumbled across a self-replicating form. Then evolution took care of the rest. But we don't know how rare that random self-replicating form was. It could have been a once-in-a-galaxy fluke. I'd like to think it wasn't, but there's no way to know until we actually discover alien life. Titan, Europa, and Enceladus seem good places to look. If we find life there and confirm that it had completely independent origins (none of this panspermia stuff), then it would indicate that molecules randomly finding self-replicating forms isn't rare.
  8. It's generally accepted by anyone who knows their science, but the news media sure loves giving equal time to the deniers, and trying to make it look like there's a debate to be had. My view is anthropogenic climate change is real, and is dangerous, and the "debate" among scientists was settled decades ago. But even if there was still doubt, we might as well try reducing emissions anyway. In the words of a comic I recently saw "What if it's all a big hoax, and we create a better world for nothing?"
  9. Thing is, I did use sunblock. The sun-scorched field was in the midlands, and the thing is, "midlands" and "sunblock" are not two thoughts that sit closely together in my head, so I didn't pack any. One of my colleagues had some, and I used that, but I didn't note what the factor was. Probably factor 2 or something, given the state of my face, neck and scalp. It was entirely ineffective, whatever it was. The point is, I prayed for clear skies, and the weather gods granted it. The weather gods are a fickle and capricious bunch.
  10. So long, I have moaned about clouds. Beseeched the weather gods for clear skies. Well, this week, they answered my prayers. On two days when I had to spend the entire day standing in sun-scorched fields to observe equipment trials for work. I'm a ginger. I'm sun-burned. I had weeping sores on my forehead, which have still not healed, and the skin on my face is peeling. I need to be careful what I wish for.
  11. I got a pretty good high magnification partial moon shot last week. Rather pleased with it - next time, I'd like to create a mosaic of the entire thing.
  12. Any tracking at all is accurate enough for planets, fortunately. Tonight's Saturn: Finally, got a clear view of the Cassini division.
  13. Yep, about as hot as your average oven. Certainly, if there's life that can live and evolve in that, it would be unlike anything we've ever seen, and the organic chemistry would be... interesting.
  14. Not even close. Think you might be confusing Kelvin with Celsius.
  15. Maybe a little hope. A planet that massive probably has a very dense atmosphere. Maybe dense enough to keep water liquid at 485 Kelvin? That temperature is well short of the critical temperature of water. And that's an average temperature, it may be cooler at the poles. However, if the atmosphere is a greenhouse gas, that could make it too hot for organic chemistry to work.
  16. I don't blame them. Scientists are almost always catastrophically underfunded (unless you're working for a cosmetics company or something), so anything they can do to attract a few more dollars to let them continue their research, the temptation must be quite strong.
  17. Just over 3 times as much as you do on Earth. It's surface gravity is expected to be approximately 30 m/s^2. Probably survivable in the short term. What's not survivable is the surface temperature of 485K. That would be quite uncomfortable.
  18. Saw this last night. Hard to imagine how such a beastie could form. Perhaps via the collision of several smaller planets?
  19. That's a new one on me. Why would the tracking be inaccurate? I get that it has to track on two axes, but why is that hard? It's just maths, which computers are good at.
  20. Wasn't using the barlow, but I may use my 2x barlow for future attempts in better conditions. I think any images I captured would have completely disintegrated if I tried using the barlow last night. The camera was a ZWO ASI thing. Has a "120MC" in the name. Was fairly happy with Mars - I was never able to capture any surface features on Mars with my old 5 inch reflector (at least, never clearly enough to convince myself it wasn't just an image processing artefact), but you can clearly see some dark albedo feature there, which I reckon is Syrtis Major. It took me a while to figure out why it was slightly egg shaped, then I realised some of the night side would be showing. Saturn, I'm less happy with. It's slightly better than what I've achieved with the 5 incher, but not hugely better. Not as big an improvement as I'd expect from a telescope with four times the light collecting power. Right now, I'm seriously considering a holiday to Spain, for the sole purpose of getting clear dark skies. I just don't trust the airlines not to smash my telescope...
  21. You had a better time of it than I did. I managed to catch a cloud band on Saturn, and the barest hint of the Cassini division in post processing (which, frankly, could well just be a processing artefact). I did get Syrtis Major on Mars though. That was the best Mars I've ever had, but I was hoping for much better given the new equipment.
  22. I've been having similar issues. This is the first time I've had a chance to try out my new ten inch telescope, and the views I'm getting are hardly any better than what I've achieved with my cheap five incher.
  23. First captures of Mars and Saturn with the new scope. Was hoping for better from a 10 incher, but I'll blame the seeing.
  24. Same here! Wasn't able to image it, but was certainly able to view it with my 25mm and 10mm eyepieces.
  25. Had a brief moment of partially clear skies, enough to get a two star alignment on the new ten inch dob. But the seeing wasn't great - the view of Mars was no better than what I've been able to achieve with the 5 incher. But I'm loving the Synscan Goto mcguffin. Select M3 from the M catalogue, it automatically slews round to view it (though I had to correct it slightly, as it wasn't perfectly centred). It appeared as nothing more than a fuzzy blob, but I'm hoping that'll improve later once the twilight disappears. It's gone overcast again, but the Met Office website promises the sky will clear at 1AM. Maybe 2AM.
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