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About JohnMills

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    La Palma - Canary Islands
  1. Hi there Gingergeek, Yes, I do. I think Dave Shave-Wall is in the Basingstoke AS and been over with some other members to LP a few times. Another I recall was Bob Trevan. Was a few years ago when we last met up. However, I recently received an email from Dave regarding a visit next April. He mentioned about a villa he's used a few times which is at quite a high altitude on the NW of the island. As it happens, another 'Astro mate' and his wife arrived yesterday and is staying in the same place! They have been there a few times also. Its one of the few places on the island which is often above the cloud base with conditions similar to being up at the Roque de Los Muchachos (ORM) observatory... Very convenient ATB John
  2. Hi John, Sounds like you're a regular visitor also? I have kit here such as EQ6 mounts, some small APO's plus a Meade 10" LX200 which I hire out, so perhaps you may be interested to use some of the equipment I keep? Saves a lot on excess baggage charges which are very expensive these days, I know the restaurant you mean (Mirador El Time). Its a great place with magnificent views across to Los Llanos and El Paso. Been there many times. Regards JohnM
  3. Hi Ragnar, good to hear you enjoyed checking out my website. Yes, the ING was a great place to work. Before coming here I spent a few months at the Royal Greenwich Observatory , then still at Herstmonceux in Sussex - learning about the systems I would be looking after. I did 16 years full time up to 2002 and was then made redundant However, I then managed to work for them as a self employed part time contractor doing 2 days a week from 2004 to 2010. After that I occasionally did jobs for the Liverpool Telescope, but nothing recently. As for DIY astro related work... Not really. I helped a friend doing electronics jobs who had a well equipped observatory at Tacande on the west side of the island, but he sold up and moved back to mainland Spain. Interestingly, he sold his property and observatory to a guy in the UK who spends half his time between Cambridge and La Palma! So I go over and help him out occasionally when he's on island. There is also a remote observatory on the land which was set up by Kevin Hills - a BAA member who specialises in minor planets and comets - https://www.hills-observatory.org/ - If there are problems (and the new owner of the property is back in the UK), Kevin contacts me and I go over and hopefully can resolve the issue. So in some respects, doing this work is very similar to the time when I was a night duty engineer up at the ING and called out to fix problems. I just love being around telescopes and instruments and repairing them when they break down Regards John
  4. M27 - Dumbell Nebula in Vulpecula Here's an image I took back in 2013 using Ian King's remote telescope when it was located at 'Astrocamp' in Nerpio, Albacete, Spain. Telescope: Ikharus 10" R/C @ F/8 - Paramount MX Camera: QSI 583wsg - Cooler -15C - OAG with Lodestar Exposure: LRGB= Only one frame of 600sec and 3x 600sec averaged darks Taken: Astrocamp, Nerpio 23/06/2013
  5. Many thanks again for welcoming me into SGL. Today (for the first time in ages) I went up to the ING to show a visitor around. Unfortunately the weather was pretty grim and all the domes enveloped in thick cloud. Whilst in the 2.5m Isaac Newton telescope, a group of Dutch astrophysics students came onto the observing floor with their guide and I slewed it around for them and opened up the mirror petals. They loved all that standing up on the prime focus balcony taking photos and videos It was quite an experience for me also as it been at least 9 years since I worked there and that I still remembered how to do it
  6. Hi John, I can well believe you have some great skies on the Gold Coast. You probably know Eddie Trimarchi who lives in that area? I purchased a software package from him a few years ago for displaying FITs images in Win7... It works fine Sadly I've never observed from the southern hemisphere. It must be great with objects like the Carina nebula and the Magellanic clouds. Up on the mountain here its just possible to see the top 3 stars of Crux, but not the Coal Sack which is further south. We're at Lat 28.5 degrees north.
  7. Many thanks. Not sure how many nights on average are clear here. Probably up at the ORM (at 2,300 metres ASL) there are 200 a year or more. The Liverpool Telescope night reports (and archive) is a good source of info. Check out - http://telescope.livjm.ac.uk/Reports/ However, sadly that's not case at lower altitudes. More so on the east side of the island where I live Generally conditions are better on the west side. I have a friend who runs a remote observatory from the UK at Tacande (at 700 metres ASL) which is fitted with a skycam - http://www.hills-observatory.org/lpweather.htm but looks like tonight the humidity is high and he's closed up shop! Such is life
  8. Many thanks guys for welcoming me into the group. La Palma is certainly a great place for astronomy. Many who come here for the first time are so overwhelmed and impressed by the night sky, they become regular visitors. To go up to the 'Roque de Los Muchachos' and see so many stars, the structure in the Milky Way, etc it can be difficult to delineate the familiar constellations. If the 'seeing' is above 1 arcsec at the observatory, its considered to be a bad night Check out my website http://www.millseyspages.com/astro_pages/astro_index.html for more info about my astro activities and the 'Observatorio de Roque de Los Muchachos'. Its been a few years since I last updated it! ATB John
  9. Many thanks Nigella Yep, Its a pretty good place to observe from if one gets above the cloud base, but not always from my back garden! I'm getting too old these days to lug all my kit up the mountain
  10. Hi All, I'm John Mills - I've often dropped into this group over the years and thought it about time I joined in I have lived in La Palma since 1986. A former electronics technician and night duty engineer who worked for the Isaac Newton Group of telescopes, but now retired. One of the few who worked there where my job was also my hobby! Over the years I have met many amateur astronomers from the UK who have come over to observe or do astro-imaging. Notably Ian King and Nik Szymanek who first came to the island ~1995 and were once regular visitors, but not so much these days. We're good friends and still keep in contact. This last month has been quite busy with members from the Mid Kent AS and Vectis AS coming over and using some of the kit I keep here. So if any of you guys feel the need to escape the UK weather and do some imaging from one of the best astronomical sites in the world, it would be great to see you over here Regards John
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