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About Mognet

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    Star Forming

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  1. blast from the past

    Another former ZX81 owner here. And I remember the RAM pack wobble well! Caught me out a few times before going for the BlueTak solution I started out programming on that, before moving on to a Texas Instruments TI99/4a, a Commodore 64, then an Atari ST520. Some gaming, mostly text adventures as I liked the problem solving, but usually for programming in Basic, Z80 and 6502 assembler, and C. Fast forward a few years and I became a professional programmer in IBM zSeries assembler (OS/360) and Cobol (both with CICS and DB2 for those who know what they are!). These days I'm an automated software tester doing mostly manual testing I still get to dabble in Java sometimes though I'm too young at 50 to have dealt with paper tape and punched cards, but I've worked with people who did. I've dealt with 3.5", 5.25" and 8" floppies, and dot matrix and daisy wheel printers. USB sticks and laser printers are just not the same, nor is having to consider the speed vs size tradeoffs when coding on limited systems.
  2. Ready For Action........

    You're even more covered up than I was for Iceland last week!
  3. Imaging in the Netherlands

    Reminds me of the weather in Ireland, which I was warned about with the description "We have two seasons. There's the wet season, when it rains all the time, and the dry season, when it doesn't rain all the time"
  4. I've downloaded the latest version, and the images are now appearing in colour even when looking at a single unprocessed image. I had assumed it was an issue with the source images as some other stacking programs had also displayed them in monochrome. Still waiting for that elusive clear sky so I can get some suitable images to test properly with
  5. ANSVR works for me. Now I just need some decent subs for stacking. The 35mm lens is too wide for plate solving, so I'll try with the 18-55 kit lens at 55mm
  6. Thanks Han I've installed AstroTortilla and PlateSolve2, but it may be that the subs I have taken at longer focal lengths are not of good enough quality. There are clear skies forecast here for tonight, so I will try to get some better ones. I will try solving with ANSVR too. Astrometry.net has an API that might be worth investigating. There are some details at http://nova.astrometry.net/api_help
  7. Thanks. I'll download the new version and see if I've got anything with a longer focal length I can test with. Most of what I have is wide field so far
  8. Sample files sent. Occurs with files converted with PIPP, and another program
  9. Have a look at Stackistry https://github.com/GreatAttractor/stackistry/releases and Fitswork http://www.fitswork.de/software/softw_en.php I've managed to get results out of both. For planet and lunar photography, there's AutoStakkert http://www.astrokraai.nl/software/latest.php
  10. I gave it a quick try after seeing your other post earlier, and I just get an access violation when clicking the stack selected images button. Does it output a log file I can send to you so you can see what's causing it?
  11. Can you guess...

    Thermals are definitely an essential! I bought today snow boots with a thermal lining as wellies and thick socks are just not good enough in the cold and damp. Hoping the are up to my Iceland trip too
  12. Can you guess...

  13. Ariel view of local light pollution

    Looks quite bad there, and that even without the light dome in the distance
  14. A not quite observing report

    Thanks everyone I've just bought a thick but lightweight yoga mat just for that purpose. Skies are clear again tonight so I'll do that soon and give it a try Definite bonus. As far as I remember you have good skies in that area. I've been out that way a couple a couple of times, and I don't think there was much around apart from Colchester, Ipswich and Harwich Not quite in sync, but that was self inflicted last night. I can cope with going to bed at 4, but add in the clock change and it goes awry again! That's the spot. Head down East End Road from Bradwell and it takes you straight there. On Google Maps it's https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Car+Park+to+Dengie+National+Nature+Reserve/@51.7333156,0.9298082,17z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x47d919b81c0bcf31:0x8f7ea9872bc8988e!8m2!3d51.7327945!4d0.9298843
  15. On Friday night I decided it was time to pry myself off the sofa and brave observing from somewhere other than my garden. Just for once it was decently clear on something other than a school night, but neighbours had left lights on, and LED light pollution from a nearby town seems to be ruining my view to the south, so I thought it would be a good time to pack a scope into my car and drive out to the dark skies of Dengie Nature Reserve near Bradwell-on-Sea. It's a good spot there, being one of the darkest places on this side of Essex, and from the car park it has a wide view of the horizon to the south east that, with the exception of Clacton some five miles away to the north east, has no visible lights. The rest of the view is over farmland and sea. To the north of the site a row of trees and bushes partially obscures the lights of Mersea and the nearby power station. After some necessary food and sleep, and a quick check of both the weather forecast and the skies at home, I packed my SW mak 127 and other bits into bags and headed out. As appropriate time keeping was never my strong point I didn't get to there until 11:50, and as I pulled into the car park I saw a car and a van parked up already. It wasn't until I was almost level with the first of these that I spotted a small white scope behind the car and something large and wooden looming behind the van that I realised I wasn't going to be observing alone. I parked up quickly, set up and aligned my kit, and then paused to look at the skies. Conditions weren't too bad as there were plenty of stars overhead, but a haze on the horizon extending up to some 25 degrees ruled out anything low down. It was certainly better than my first visit there when the moon and a general haze washed everything out. This time I could see the dust lane of the Milky Way overhead and had trouble getting my sky bearings as there were more stars visible than I'm used to! It was just after midnight when I was set up and ready, and my two fellow astronomers had started talking, so I went to introduce myself. They were Nick and Pete. Nick was using his astrophotography setup, and Pete had his 20 inch dob. We spent some time looking through Pete's scope at Andromeda, Mirach's Ghost, Bode's and Cigar galaxies (both in the same view, and an incredible sight!), and various other objects. Most of the time we spent talking rather than observing, and just generally looking at the stars with naked eyes. 2.30am rolled around and Nick and Pete decided it was time to pack up. Dew had got to my mak (next make/purchase, a dew shield for it), so I switched out the OTA for a camera to do some experimental DSLR astrophotography. All in all is was a good night, even if we spent it not quite observing, but chatting lots and sharing scope views. For me it was the first time observing with anyone else, and finding that decent skies are just thirty minutes drive away. Not so good was going to bed at 5.30am after being up since 7.15 the previous morning! I've written off today, but that's no surprise. A trip to dark skies makes it all worthwhile This is the result of my DSLR and SW SynScan alt-az mount experiment while I was out. 18 minutes (36x30 seconds with a Nikon D3100 and 35mm prime lens, at f4 ISO1600). The gradient is from haze rather than light pollution. The Orion Nebula is visible, there's a glow from the Flame Nebula, and a hint of the Rosette too And I believe this is Pete's 20 inch dob