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Everything posted by Tantalus

  1. If you've got a copy of Virtual Moon Atlas, go to the 'Ephemeris' tab, then click and hold down the '>' button to advance the time in 1hr increments, and you see the same effect.
  2. Weather forecast is not looking good here, but if it is clear i'll go down to the beach and watch it rise over the North sea.
  3. I want one. Do they sell 'em in Halfuds?
  4. 01:59 BST 25/05/11. Another Nanosail observation, through binoculars. This was not an easy observation because it was low in the west, where I'm looking out over the illuminated road, and hidden by housing for the start of it's pass. The prediction had it passing about 1 arcminute from Vindemiatrix, which just happened to be directly above the nearest and brightest orange streetlight at the time . Despite the annoying LP, I caught the Nanosail as expected near Vindemiatrix, and watched it tumble it's way across the sky for around 2.5 mins before it dipped back behind the houses towards the south. I could see it flaring at regular intervals. I could make out two flares in quick succession; one brighter flare followed by a lesser flare, in an asymmetric pattern that repeated about every two seconds.
  5. I don't do imaging and for me, nothing beats the thrill of seeing objects with my own eyes. But having seen some of the wonderful images produced on this forum, it's not hard to see the attraction, and I have plenty of respect for the skill and perseverance shown by those who image. And I also believe than anyone who observes the night sky is an astronomer - whether it's through an EP, computer monitor, bins, or naked eye; whether they're professionals, amateurs or hobbyists... Mick, If you feel that you're missing out on the bigger picture, then perhaps that little voice of doubt means it's time for a break, or prehaps get yourself another, visual-only setup and do both ?
  6. Ha Ha, I like the way you think. All joking aside though, If you could get the money would you go? I'd sell anything and everything just for the chance...
  7. Exactly... I've made a start. I've already got... erm, some money in the bank
  8. I'm having a whip-round... Space Adventures Wants to Fly You to the Moon The Space Adventures company, who have already flown space tourists to the ISS, say that they could be ready to send space tourists around the Moon as soon as 2015! As part of the flight you'd also get to spend 8-10 days on the ISS, then fly around the Moon to an altitude of 100km before returning to earth. If they can pull it off it'd put Branson's sub-orbital flights into perspective. If you had the money would you go? I most certainly would!!! ...though I probably wouldn't want to be on the first flight, I'd want to be sure they've got the technology right first. Imagine what it would be like... After the thrill of a rocket-ride into space, you then get to spend 8-10 days in the company of the astronauts onboard the ISS, a chance to stare through the cupola windows and look back at the Earth rolling past below, then gaze across the inky blackness of space, free of Earth's atmosphere. Then the flight to the Moon, and a chance to see the Lunar surface first-hand and close up whilst listening to 'Dark Side Of The Moon'. Watch the Earth rising above the Lunar surface, then watch it getting gradually bigger as you return... I only need around $100-150 million, so if anyone wants to sponsor me, all donations would be gratefully recieved. It's not a lot if you all chip in and you've got 4 years to get the money together, so get saving. In return, I promise to post a full and detailed obsy report, with pictures, on my return, Honest! :grin:
  9. As well as the above recommendations, Have you tried the astronomy magazines? The two British magazines are Sky at Night, and Astronomy Now. Both magazines have a monthly planetarium, information on which planets are visible, and suggestions for other targets for the current month. Why non pop down to your local newsagent and see whcih one you prefer...
  10. Tantalus


    You have my sympathy Stephen. I had a fire last year, and I know just how pervasive the soot and smoke can be - it gets absolutely everywhere. Hope you get it all sorted to your satisfaction soon. Sound advice. A neighbour heard my smoke alarm and called the brigade, limiting the fire damage done to the property..
  11. There' so may satellites up there, I see satellites almost every time I'm out observing. In one session last summer, I saw more than 20 (at which point I stopped counting) and several crossed the scope's FOV. So your experience is not that uncommon. I think I'm right in saying that you tend to see more as we move towards the summer months, because the Sun doesn't dip so far below the horizon. And at times they can be a distraction, especially when you're meteor watching...
  12. I don't see how anyone can call Stellarium a crutch more than any other sky-simulation software or even star-charts. You can't learn your way around the sky if you don't know what you're looking at in the first place. I wonder if this is some kind of snobbery because Stellarium is free? It may not have some of the advanced features of other applications, but I find it to be intuitive and easy to use, and I'd be lost without it. Maybe that's why it's always being recommended to newbies! Ignore the nay-sayers and carry on regardless.
  13. With the Shuttle launch now delayed 'til Monday (at the earliest), it's first pass over the UK will be in daylight. I know the ISS can be seen in daylight, so I was wondering if it might also still be be possible to see the Shuttle with the aid of a scope (120mm f/8.3 refractor). If it launches at 19:34 BST, then it should pass my location around 19:54. At that time, the Sun will still be 4 degrees above the horizon, and the Shuttle's magnitude will range from mag 4.8 to mag -1.0 at it's brightest (Alt 22 degrees). Of course, to stand any chance of seeing it I'd need accurate tracking details; but assuming I've got the scope pointing in exactly the right place, am I going to catch the Shuttle? Is mag -1.0 worth taking a chance on or would I be wasting my time? Any thoughts on what would be the limiting magnitude?
  14. :D I've done that many times. My bathroom window is big enough that I can sit on the ledge and lean right out - gives me a great perspective of the Eastern horizon. Who cares what the neighbours think?
  15. 120mm f8.3 Refractor 26mm Plossl (38.5x) Yes. Gotcha!... After weeks of updating TLE's and many unsuccessful spotting attempts, I've finally managed to catch a glimpse of this elusive beast. I only just managed to catch it for about 15 seconds at the end of it's 23:30 pass, passing east of Cassiopeia at 23:36:12 before dipping behind a neighbours house, and at around 7th magnitude. But at least now I know the TLE I'm using are accurate enough. Woohoo!!!
  16. I just managed to follow it with the scope at 100x and could make out the individual solar panels... by far by best view of the ISS so far.
  17. That's a very interesting feature. I've just done a quick google and it seems they're thought to be volcanic vents and collapse craters, and Hyginus crater a large vent. Apparently the dark patches around Hyginus could be pyroclastic. Thanks for the fab picture John.
  18. I just popped out to see the ISS pass. I didn't see the meteor from North Lincolnshire, but I did see the Progress 41 module just in front of the ISS.
  19. That's a beautiful sketch Roel. I love the subtle shading, and the textures in the crater walls... Well Done!
  20. Tantalus

    Basic Lunar Viewing II

    That's Cheating! :lol: ...seriously though, I've seen some fantastic Lunar images here on SGL, but for me, nothing beats looking at the Moon with your own eyes (and a 'scope, of course). Clear skies, and Thanks for reading Todd. :)
  21. Jeez that was a close thing buddy... Glad they didn't get the 'scope and lenses, and hope the police get a result form this.
  22. Another pleased viewer here... It was interesting to watch the evolution of the project, the many hours of hard work behind the scenes, and to see the faces and personalities behind the names of those involved. I remember seeing a programme back in the 90's about building and testing the impactor probe, though I don't remember which programme it was...
  23. Monday 11th April, 8-11pm (Now armed with a notepad and taking notes) - Tonight I started in the North with the just visible Scoresby, then Goldschmidt, which has a high wall to it's southeast, and the wonderfully-named Anaxagoras and Anaxagoras A, right on the edge of the terminator. Then Epigenes, and Birmingham which tonight it looked like a roughened triangular plateau. From there down to Plato, the eastern edge of it's smooth floor partially covered in long shadows. In moments of good seeing, I may have seen one of the craterlets, but right on the edge of the shadow, I couldn't be sure. Next the Alps and the unmistakeable Alpine Valley. Then into Mare Imbrium, where the peaks of Montes Tenerife, Mons Pico, Mons Piton and the Montes Spitzbergen shone brightly in the sunlight, casting shadows into the Mare. The Archimedes crater and the Montes Archimedes, with Aristillus and Autolycus to the East makes for another interesting area of observation. From here The Appenines lay to the south, terminating in the west at the Eratosthenes crater. Along the nothern ridge of the Appenines, the peaks of Mons Huygens, Mons Ampere and Mons Wolff glowed brightly. I could see prominent ridges at either end of the mountain chain, but unfortunately failed to spot Hadley Rille. Over in Mare Serenitatis I could make out feint rays extending above and below Bessel crater, Sulpicius Gallus punctuated the southwestern edge of the Mare, and a bright spot in Montes Haemus, near Sulpicius Gallus M. Moving south, a darker ridged region at the southeastern edge of the Mare Vaporum caught my eye (the Pyroclastic region?), thought it was difficult to make out any detail at this magnification. Just below I managed to tease out Rima Hyginus, with Hyginus crater at it's middle. Then crater Treisnecker, and in moments of good seeing I got a fleeting glimpse of parts of the Treisnecker Rilles. Back towards the teminator, and Schroter, Sommering, Mosting, and the Flammarion walled plain. Buried in the western edge of Flammarion is Mosting A, reputed to be the middle of the Moon's near-side. To the southeast the feint Sporer crater and the dark Herschel crater with a dark scar to it's east. The large triplet of Ptolemaeus, Alphonsus and Arzarchel dominated the south part of the terminator. Inside Ptolemaeus, I could make out the A, D and S craters, and possibly one other close to S. To the west is Davy and Davy Y, and I could just see a couple of the larger craters in the Davy crater chain - Catena Davy. In Alphonsus, the central peak was clear, with a ridge running southwards. Inside Arzarchel, it's high peak stood proud, and Arzachel A. Then Thebit and Thebit A. Then perhaps one of the most popular lunar features, (and I'm ashamed to say my first viewing) The Straight Wall - Rupes Recta. Nice to see it at last... To it's west is the Birt crater, and with averted vision I could just about make out Rima Birt. Continuing south is another triplet of Purbach, Regiomontanus and Walter, flanked to the east by a line of four - La Caille, Blanchinus, Werner, and Aliacensis, and further west is the cratered walled-plain Deslandres. Inside Deslandres the most obvious feature is a the dark crater Hell!,and feinter Lexell in the south. Almost at the bottom now with Oriontus and Saussure, Maginus, and the edge of Clavius was just beginning to come into sunlight. And finally an oblique Moretus, and just to the west of the Lunar south pole there was a detached bright spot. Tuesday 12th April, 10-12pm Starting from Anaxagoras - now clearly visible, then Fontenelle A and Fontenelle, and the now rhomboidal Birmingham. Plato, and in a line to the west Plato M, Y and B lead along the alpes to Condamine and Maupertius, with the top of it's central peak just catching the sunlight, right on the terminator. Down over the Montes Recti into Mare Imbrium, traversing ridges in the Mare to Le Verrier and Helicon, then Lambert. Between Lambert and Timocharis, two high peaks shone brightly. A ridge Northwest of Lambert lay on the terminator, with an isolated bright spot just beyond - the peak of La Hire?. Then Pytheas, and Draper just above the Montes Carpatus. Through a gap in the Carpatus to Gay-Lussac, and the mighty Copernicus! In Copernicus two of the central peaks caught the sun, and terracing could be seen inside the western wall of the crater. To the East, a feint Stadius crater, with a partial edge picked out by mountains. South of Copernicus is Fauth and Fauth A, and Reinhold. One edge of Lansberg could be seen right on the terminator. Walled plain Fra Mauro, with Bonpland to the south, and Parry to the east, with 'U'-shaped Parry M beside it. Below that is Guericke. Darney and Lubiniezky, then Bullialdus with Bullialdus A and B, in southern Mare Nubum. Then thin clouds threatened to spoil the view, and with the cold starting to bite I was eager to bring this session to a close, so I picked up the pace... The unusual shape of the Wolf crater lies a little further east. Down to Pitatus and Gauricus, and the Tycho. Ejecta rays from Tycho were already extending up the eastern Lunar face as far as Mare Nectaris. West of Tycho, on the terminator Montanari is squeezed between Wilhelm and Longomontanus plain, with detached peaks on it's western wall. Clavius is also descibed as a walled plain - Rutherford and Porter straddle the walls, and Clavius D, C, Y, N, J and T all visible. Close to the Moon's southern edge, Blancanus looked rhomboidal. Below Klaproth, the southern part of the rim of Casatus (I think), caught in the sunlight, hung off the bottom corner of the terminator. Tonight, I could see quite a few sunlit features hanging off the terminator, and so many ridges, craters, craterlets, mountain peaks, and other lumps and bumps close to the terminator - to try and identify them all in one night would be... well, Lunacy! :D
  24. You might like to take another look at Copernicus later in the month, Karen, when the tendril-like ejecta rays show brighter, and it takes on a different character... I'd also recommend you take a look at Virtual Moon Atlas 5.1 (download size of around 100MB) if you're going to be doing a lot of Lunar viewing. It's free and it's a bit like Stellarium for the Moon.
  25. I don't think it was the Nanosail - not at that time. The Nanosail's visibility is roughly similar to that of the ISS. It's first pass would've been after midnight on that date. I've also seen many satellite flares, and rotating satellites on a few occasions over the past few years, and they tend to 'rise and fall' in brightness rather than an instantaneous flash like the one I witnessed on the 6th. I think it's most likely cause was a piece of space debris that suddenly caught the sun.
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