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lukebl last won the day on December 29 2017

lukebl had the most liked content!

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About lukebl

  • Rank
    Red Dwarf

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Interests
    Norfolk Astronomer, bread-maker, bug and wine enthusiast. Come to Attleborough. At least it's not Watton.
  • Location
    Central Norfolk-ish somewhere, UK, 52°N 1°E ish
  1. Thanks for the comments, all. The full database which you can download for use in planetarium apps (I use Carte du Ciel) has around 700,000 asteroids! To look out for interesting close approaches between asteroids and other asteroids or DSOs, I check this site which list upcoming events: Minor Planet Info
  2. I captured this nice trio of Asteroids last night, close together in Pisces. Asteroids (493) Griseldis (mag. 14.2) and 2119 Schwall (mag. 16) were just 45" apart at 17:27. Here they are a couple of hours after their closest approach, along with another one (8178) 1992 DQ10 (mag 16.8). Despite their visual proximity, Griseldis was 1.67 au distant, whilst Schwall was 1.21 and DQ10 was 1.09. Here's an animation of all three over a period of about two hours. 2 minute exposures, Atix428ex, 250mm f/4.8 Newtonian. I ran the images through an photometric program called Muniwin to see if they had a measurable magnitude range to indicate their rotation. Griseldis and DQ10 didn't show a significant range, but Schwall showed a distinct curve with a range of about 0.2 magnitudes over a period of 2 hours, suggesting a rotation period of about 4 hours. Here's a different animation, this time centred on Griseldis, so that it appears stationary. It hurts my eyes a bit! But it nicely shows the relative dynamics of the three objects.
  3. I'd given up on Mars this season, with it being so low in the sky, but I captured a quick sequence this evening and was surprised to capture some detail. Not a patch on what I've imaged on previous oppositions, or what southern observers have achieved, but my best attempt this season. Here it is alongside a screen grab from Sky Safari Pro. The pole cap and Hellas Planitia are bright and conspicuous, and Syrtis Major is obvious. It's good to capture anything! c 1800 frames, IMG132e cam, 3x Televue Barlow, 250mm f/4.8 Newtonian (3600mm focal length). Mars @ 13.5" diam, 86.7% illuminated.
  4. Uranus and Neptune are very well placed right now in the evening sky. I always like to check the positions of Uranus's moons, as their positions change in three dimensions from night to night, unlike Jupiter's moons which primarily just move in one plane. The most I've managed to capture are these four, Oberon (mag. 14.1), Titania (mag 13.9), Umbriel (mag 15) and Ariel (mag 14.3). Miranda should be visible but is lost in the glare. I've included a screen grab from Sky Safari to show the orbits. 20 x 30s exposures, Atik428ex, 250mm f/4.8 Newtonian. Field of view c. 27.6 x 20.9 arcmin Here's Neptune and Triton (mag 13.5). I've never managed to see Triton visually, but I'm always struck how bright it appears in images. Like the Earth and Moon must appear from a distance.
  5. What a difference Mars has been this time round, compared with 2014! Back then, at least Mars reached an elevation of 35 degrees, whereas this time round I can only just capture it in a brief gap between trees and buildings at an elevation of 12 degrees, shimmering in the haze. Which is why I haven't bothered to try and capture it till now. But I thought I'd have one go before it moves on. These are two images I captured with identical equipment - 250mm f/4.8 Newtonian, 3x barlow, IMG132e camera. About 3000 frames stacked in Registax. Mars was approximately the same size in both images, around 14.5". Back in 2014 I could make out the four big volcanoes, plus distinct cloud/fog patches and a load of surface detail. This time, well you can just about make out a polar cap and some vague shading. Roll on 2020, if I'm spared.
  6. Just noticed this article in The Independent with their recommendations for the 9 best telescopes, presumably for beginners. 9 best telescopes Their 'best buy' is a 5" Celestron at £599. It's not even a GOTO, but can connect wirelessly to your phone. Let's face it, a beginner is going to be pretty disappointed after they've had reasonable views of the moon, maybe seen the Galilean Moons, just about made out Saturn's rings, and realise that they aren't going to see a wondrous array of colourful galaxies and nebulae after spending £600? That'll put off anyone new to the hobby. I wonder who writes these reviews. You could do so much better for a lot less than £600.
  7. I see that it's the peak of the Draconids meteor shower on 8/9th October. I was wondering if, as the parent of the Draconids is Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner and that comet it currently nearby and just passed perihelion, we might expect a more vigorous shower this year? Not seen any mention of it, so I guess not?
  8. Hi folks, this rather eerie (and frankly, pretty poor) image was a bit of an experiment with my IMG132e colour planetary cam on the Cat's Eye Nebula, NGC6543. I've seen images of this and other small, bright planetary nebulae captured in short exposures with planetary cams and long focal lengths. This is the result of 750 x 4 second exposures with a 3x barlow and my 200 f/5 Newtonian - 3000mm focal length - processed in Registax. In a way, it's exactly the same principle as imaging the actual planets. Seeing was poor, but despite everything, you can make out some of the structure, and even a hit of reddish colour on the upper right on the original. I'm sure a scope with a native long focal length, like a Mak/cass, plus more and shorter exposures to freeze the seeing, would yield better results. This is an animated gif of some of the individual frames, to show you what I was up against.
  9. Gorann beat me to it with his punny thread entitled 'Heart of The Heart', but here's my capture of the centre of the Heart Nebula, IC 1805, Sharpless 2-190. The fine details often get lost when one sees images of the whole nebula, and I felt this area looked interesting enough for my 1000mm focal length (actually about 910mm with the coma corrector) and small sensor. It's 14 hours and 40 minutes of 10 minute exposures captured in HA under a full moon. Atik428ex, 200mm f/5 Newtonian.
  10. lukebl

    The Tardis Observatory gets a refurb

    No immediate plans for that type of upgrade!
  11. Some of you might recall my Tardis Observatory. It was my first construction job on moving to my new home 3½ years ago, even though rebuilding the leaky roof and crumbling chimney stack were probably more pressing requirements. Anyway, the Tardis has never been quite right. It leaked everywhere and the doors never shut properly. So I've just done a big refurbishment: Thoroughly sealed the roof with black bitumen paint, double-glazed and sealed the windows, sealed all the gaps in the timber, repainted it and re-hung the doors, and put a black DPC skirt around the base to conceal the wheels. We had a fair bit of heavy rain last week, and it was bone dry inside for the first time since it was built. The lighting was all corroded due to the damp, so I've replaced all the lighting. Even the blue 'Police Box' panels on the side and the flashing lamp on the top all now light up! Here's the result. I know the finials on the corners are't really authentic, but I think they look nice, and they help keep out the damp. As you see, it's quite near the house and the west and north-west views are blocked, but south and east are good. In action:
  12. It's a GPSBOXSPRITE2, from Black Box Camera Company. It will also overlay the precise Latitude and Longitude of your position, although I had that turned off in this instance.
  13. This is my first attempt at an occultation capture using my new RunCam Night Eagle Astro camera. The RunCam is a much cheaper alternative to the other cams around and I acquired it with the aim of using it for timing asteroid occultations. Asteroids are my main area of interest, but every potential occultation at my location for the past few months has been clouded out. However, the 3.7 magnitute star Gamma Capricornis was going to be occulted by the moon tonight, so I set the gear up to try it out. I attached the camera to my 200mm f/5 Newtonian It seems to work ok. Here is an animation of the frames around the occultation. The bright moon causes the huge gradients and glare on the images. The camera operates at a rate of 25 frames per second, and I have a GPS time stamper to insert the time to 1ms accuracy on each frame. Not sure if it's significant, but Calsky predicted that the occultation would occur at 20:29.0m, but my GPS timestamp says it occurred at 20:28:43.3547, a full 16 seconds difference. Animation: Individual frames. 20:28:43.3147 40ms later: 20:28:43.3547
  14. lukebl

    Witches Broom NGC6960

    Hi folks, Despite strange problems with my camera (described here) I have managed this mosaic of the Witches Broom Nebula NGC6960. I say mosic, but it's acually only in two halves, but it's the first time I'm managed anything like a DSO mosaic. Each half had around 2 hours each of 5 minute exposures in HA and OIII. Synthetic green channel using Noel's Actions in Photoshop. Atik428ex, 200mm f/5 Newtonian, SW coma corrector.
  15. lukebl

    Strange lines on images

    The darks look fine, with no apparent lines. Power supply seems fine too. This is a single 300 second exposure heavily stretched, followed by an image of the detail area showing the streaking.

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