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Mike JW

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About Mike JW

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    Proto Star

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  1. Hi Martin, I had been wondering when you might continue the Berkeley journey. Great to see some more and in colour. As you indicate some of them really do take a bit of convincing that they are clusters. Agree re Be 82 - wins the pretty cluster award for the outing. Mike
  2. Mike JW


    Thanks folk for your enthusiastic comments. I should really do the same with an asteroid or two - watch this space? Mike
  3. Mike JW


    Mark Stuart contacted me to discuss if using the EEVA technique it would be possible to show his friend Pluto, via the Zoom facility. The answer is Yes. Set up - STF 180 at f6.0, and the ultrastar camera mounted on an iOPTRON MiniTower Pro (v.2). Clear spell forecast for early hours of the 28th July, evening of July 28th and then again for the evening of July 30th. Charts prepared. Headed out at 01.00 hrs on the 28th. Sent scope to Pluto (having set it up,aligned.......). I just could not work out the star field (the disadvantage of the narrow fov of the camera). I double checked charts, re synced the scope twice and each time the scope came back to the same place but it just did not feel right. I also had no idea what would be the best time for the subs or how many to stack. I did not wish to get too many stars and thus loose Pluto in a multitude of stars. In the end I did a series of shots in and around where the scope kept going to each time I sent it to Pluto and gave up after an hour. During the day I poured over the charts and various shots and realised the scope had just been missing Pluto (I suspect internal co-ordinates in the handset are out). However in one of my shots I spotted a faint grey dot that was indeed Pluto. Having decided that it was better to use apparent co-ordinates for Pluto from Sky Tools 4 and also now familiar with the star field, it was game on for the evening. Mark organised the Zoom bit. That evening (28th) - I set up early (10.30 pm) and put in the apparent co-ordinates and there was Pluto but not where it was 20 hours earlier. At 11.15.pm Mark and friend came online via Zoom and we sat there musing on just what we were seeing. We all agreed that the dot had to be Pluto - the dot had moved compared to my earlier observation and it fitted exactly where charts said it would be. A very satisfying outcome. However I wished to be 100% certain that this dot was indeed Pluto so last night (30th), despite the bright moon I set up the same gear and put in apparent co-ordinates and there was the 'dot' again but of course it had moved. A 6 second sub was all that was needed to show Pluto and the stacking was simply to reduce the noise. What a thrill to find Pluto, especially as we now have the amazing close up images from the fly by............ Equally satisfying was enabling someone to 'see' Pluto as live as possible other than a direct view through a large Dob. Mike As an after thought. I was able to demonstrate what I was doing re stacking etc via the live screen share facility of Zoom - this idea could be really helpful to someone trying to sort out how to use a piece of software to get an image/view of an object - it really is an online, live tutorial facility..........
  4. I had not seen the FLO ones before. I like the simple means of attachment. I would go for one of those. Much easier than mucking about making one. Mike
  5. Totally agree. This sketch captures the drama of the comet. Thanks Marios for posting. Mike
  6. I never use a Bahtinov mask on my reflector. I locate a bright star and get it in the centre of the fieId of view and keep tweaking the focus until the diffraction spikes are as sharp as I can get them - normally works. (Don't forget to keep the collimation spot on ). (Keep camera settings down to about 1 second, no stacking and adjust the software so that you get clear diffraction spikes). For my other scopes I use a mask. This web site may interest you http://www.deepskywatch.com/Articles/make-bahtinov-mask.html I have made three homemade masks over the years and personally find them fit better than the bought one I have. Much to learn and have fun. Mike
  7. Good for you - you are underway and no doubt planning the next target. You should see my first attempt - went straight into the bin. Mike
  8. Using the ultrastar is not really the right camera. Need a high resolution camera to do anything worthwhile but it was fun to try. Much prefer binocular views. Mike
  9. Last night was my first serious attempt with the STF Mirage 180 and the ultrastar. Shots at f6. I was keen to discover what could be achieved with a small scope. At some point I shall test it out on the faint SHK galaxy groups. Mike
  10. Thought I would mess about with the 7" Mak Cas and take a closer look at the core. Results below. Hints of detail. Mike
  11. Hi Martin, I enjoyed this tour of the VV galaxies in Oph. As usual I had no idea what I might find. Agree that 537 and 617 are the best. I really should visit these again but they are setting and getting too low. VV 537 (NGC 6570) is SBm - the bar is easily visible in my shot. At the end of the spiral arm going off to the left is the galaxy it is interacting (decent images show a nucleus at this point) with and hence causing the disruption. My shot would suggest it is a two arm spiral. VizieR gives it a N classification = three or members in a tight group. Very hard to identify other possible galaxy nucleus. VV 617 (NGC 6240) is also given the N designation. It is a Seyfert 2 Galaxy (bright core and bright in the infra red - a powerful black hole lurks at the centre) and has a double nucleus. VV 778 (UGC10868) is classified as PDb = distant pair with a bridge (just got a hint of this) VV 820 are a PK = pair in contact. Both elliptical galaxies. VV 1795 are a pair of spirals in contact. (PK). VV 1821 are a pair of spirals in contact (PK). VV 1837 (UGC 10797) SB (probably) VV designation M = one satellite galaxy. Aladin shows a bridge between the two: should it now be classified as PDb? Noting my poor stars - need to double check collimation and I might as well clean up the corrector plate on the C11. Mike
  12. Hi Achim, the mould made pastel paper gives a very satisfying rendition of the sun's turbulent surface. A good choice. Mike
  13. July 13th whilst waiting for Comet F3 (Neowise) to clear some cloud I took a look at VV galaxies in Ophiuchus. Stars are a bit elongated. The camera cable got caught up and I forgot to check the focus after it got snagged. It made for a delightful tour.
  14. Hi, Enjoyed the sketch, here is my sketch from earlier this morning. At one point the comet was being passed by two satellites on a parallel orbit (likely to be some of the Starlink satellites). They neatly framed the tail. So my sketch records the natural wonder of a comet with humankind's contribution to the night sky. In my sketch through binoculars they are the two brighter 'stars' either side of the tail. Agree that the view through binoculars beats a telescope view. Mike
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