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Captain Magenta

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About Captain Magenta

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    Star Forming

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    Middlesex & SW Ireland
  1. Captain Magenta

    M31 Skyeye Obesrvatory

  2. I also have a 300p - it's like a very large dustbin - and am planning to try to use it on my AZ-EQ6 - I'm glad to have found someone else who has managed it on a similar mount. Hopefully it's just a breaking sweat affair, as opposed to breaking mirror . It's currently in Ireland and I'll be there in August...
  3. Captain Magenta

    Hale-Bopp Easter 1997 - What do you remember?

    I vaguely recall Hale-Bopp, being 34 at the time, and found it interesting but didn't do anything more about it. In contrast to the Total Solar Eclipse of August 1999, for which I took a day off work and drove from London to Falmouth-ish, arriving at a map-selected random field around 0330 in absolutely pitch darkness, so dark I fell into a bush going for a pee a little later. When dawn came up the area was full of like-minded cars. But sorry, not Hale-Bopp, I wish I had now. Magnus
  4. Captain Magenta

    An application to help learning star names

    ... and if/when you move on to the planets, this was indispensable: http://astro.if.ufrgs.br/trigesf/position.html
  5. Captain Magenta

    An application to help learning star names

    I had exactly the same conundrum a few months ago. I took the programming route, starting off by simply listing in a spreadsheet the main "asterism stars" from the best-known constellations: Cassiopeia, Big Dipper, Cygnus, Orion plus Polaris and a few bright others and worked out a way to be able to plot them on my own personal star-map. I just copied their RA & Dec coordinates from Wikipedia and progressed from there. It's been a huge learning experience, both the maths involved and the sky. I've kept adding stars and deep sky objects, and have added features such as adjusting for precession of the Pole since 2000, and the positions of our Planets. It's now become my essential tool for planning an evening's viewing, and it's quite fun telling people where and when they took a particular photo without prior knowledge. My programming basically involves writing C++ functions for use within MS Excel - I'm sure given your qualifications your coding will be much more sophisticated. Good Luck, Magnus
  6. Captain Magenta

    Total lunar eclipse 27th of July

    Ah yes thanks, I hadn't considered the penumbra. Magnus
  7. Captain Magenta

    Total lunar eclipse 27th of July

    does your club have access to a very high point, as by the time it emerges from the shadow the Moon will on the horizon, and Mars a further 5 degrees down?
  8. Captain Magenta

    Total lunar eclipse 27th of July

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/red-blood-moon-when-total-eclipse-uk-europe-21st-century-a8417736.html The last section suggests that "Experts at EarthSky predict the total lunar eclipse will begin at 19:30 and end at 21:13 ... the south of England will be able to see the total eclipse for the longest period of time, an estimated 1 hour and 23 minutes, whilst those in the Scotland will see it for an average of 40 minutes." From where I am, SW London, it seems the Moon will still only be 2 degrees above the horizon by the time it emerges from eclipse. So no chance for us, basically Magnus
  9. Captain Magenta

    Last night's moon and Mars ?

    Mars would have been 11 degrees below the horizon at 2230 on 24/06/18 from Leicester, whereas Antares would've been 10 degrees up, so yes highly likely Antares, which is itself very orange. There should also have been a rather bright white dot at that time about 12 degrees "left" of and a bit lower than Antares - that would've been Saturn. Magnus
  10. Captain Magenta

    Best Grease for Gears?

    in my experience, ironically, I've found it not that great for bikes*, but I can see that it'd be perfect for slower-moving parts like this * I realize I'm on dangerous ground here, especially if you're a cyclist. This topic is akin to religion and politics amongst that community
  11. Captain Magenta

    Synscan goto speed change?

    I can give an answer from my own viewpoint, as i share his concern. I guess the more support for something like this the better? I have an AZ-EQ6 GT, and am planning to use it with a newly-acquired 2nd-hand Skywatcher 300p Newt. This scope will use at least 100% of the Mount's (visual) payload capacity, and I'm a little worried that the acceleration towards "slewing at max", especially if not perfectly balanced, will put undue stress on the system and potentially cause the power-supply voltage to drop enough for the Synscan controller to switch off. This has happened to me using the 8xAA battery pack as originally supplied with only a modest load. As for desired speed, I would suggest having it as a user-selectable setting. Sorry for the hijack, I'll let @ebdons give his reasons now Magnus
  12. Captain Magenta

    Qualifications in Astronomy?

    Surely by now this should have become an MA? Funnily enough I'm in the same position, I have a degree, but still only BA, in Engineering from same, I wish it had been Natural Sciences in retrospect. (note - the Cambridge system is such that you only have to keep breathing for a year or so after graduating BA and you automatically get your MA, as long as all outstanding College debts have been settled. I failed on the latter at the time and have still not got around to claiming the MA). My job has meant I've had to keep up with the maths and coding ever since, so whenever I increase my hobby-count I generally find myself curioisitizing about any physics behind it as well - I find this aspect hugely increases my pleasure. So no direct Astronomy qualifications, but never say never... Magnus Edit: ... and to answer your other question ("should I study Astronomy at a very good university?") - the answer is ABSOLUTELY. If you have that much interest in something as commendable as this subject at a pre-university age, then yes yes yes. I wish I'd had the same level of interest at that age.
  13. Captain Magenta

    does jupiter get any higher

    The following 2 charts back up what Stu said. You can see that now, around June, shows Jupiter at more-or-less its current highest (based on Doncaster at 2300 each night). The other chart shows altitude against compass heading at 2300 each night, with each pair of "stripes" representing a different year. Jupiter is currently heading "down" in that chart. You can see that Jupiter (red dot above "180") is nowhere near its best, which is 60-ish degrees, but that won't be for a long while. Magnus
  14. Captain Magenta

    Fixed Height Tripods - Opinions Please..

    I've just taken the plunge in very similar vein - I'm not impressed at all with the tripod that came with my AZ-EQ6, which I believe is either the same or a scaled-up version of the EQ5 tripod. It's very springy, and the accessory-tray-tripling-as-spread-limiter-and-head-securing-platform is to my mind a dead-wrong design. I use it on a hard surface, and it regularly "jumps feet" even when I've thought I've been thorough in stabilizing it. As I write I await delivery of a Berlebach Planet, which I admit is adjustable, but shares the good features of the one you picture of being wooden, huge, and possessed of a proper spread-limiter. Plus it'll take 130kg!! Magnus
  15. Just Wow https://phys.org/news/2018-06-image-fireball-moon-venus.html

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