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Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition 2009


Trevor
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I have been invited by Caltech to spend 5 days imaging and/at Mount Palomar. I am taking the Atik 314L, 11002 and the Skynyx as well as my micro imaging laptop. It may be cloudy, we may focus on some science objects rather than the pretty Hubble like shots, but I am immensely thrilled to have received the invite. I shall hopefully blog, send some pics from site whilst I am there..

Caltech as you know run and manage the Keck, Big Bear Solar Observatory, Palomar, and a few others.

I promise I will NOT submit any images taken with any humungous telescopes to the competition, as it's really not fair :-)

The CCD array they have is one of the largest in the world, and is responsible for the worlds largest astronomical photograph (AFAIK)...

Edited by NickH
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I am already smuggling half of WIltshire Astro society in my suitcase Mike...

It may turn out very different to people expect...who knows...all I can say is they have asked me to bring some cameras with me.. and tell them what the fittings are... :-)

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Bet they are happy to include an article on the visit though....

Remeber to take a Nikon D90 though as its the best Astro DSLR... although the Canon 1000D is 14 bit and a lot cheaper...... I am still waiting for my extra 2 free bits to come for mine perhaps they are in next months issue... :)

Peter

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Sorry...wrong mag... ;-)

To be fair to S@N, Pete knows his stuff probably better than most people I know...we all make the odd faux-pas when it comes to products (I've tested a few, which got out the door, even though I said don't release it), but I liked the D90 myself. Being in to Solar, it would have made (had I not now been eyeing the new Canon), a great one stop solution for the eclipse, being HD film capable (okay so it's comped, but still..better in some respoects than dragging a laptop/skynyx etc).. and it was innovative in that respect.

It's not for me to comment on another magazine's reviews or reviewers aside from knowing Pete a bit, he is a really decent guy, whom I speak to often on Solar stuff, Will is a thoroughly decent chap too.. and Ninian...well he saved my C11...

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I love the D90 and want one desperately for terestrial work as I haev a reasonable investment in Nikon system kit.. unfortunately my boss saw through my plan.... and guessed where the camera would live every night and weekends.... I was offering visiting rights to my Nikon fit macro gear in return so I thought it was a fair deal....

I suppose eventually nikon may start to be supported in the cheaper astro apps..

Pete definitely knows his stuff... Will's cool... just wonder who checks the "factoids"...

Ah SW in the afternoon yuk....

Peter...

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Well, I am here, currently on the Caltech campus, have a series of meetings tonight with some of the post docs and then meetings tomorrow, which I can't say much about...

Driving up to Palomar tomorrow, and then I am staying at "The monastary" at another site :-)..

The cams are in my room , doing dark frames and some quick sanity checks before they get attached to ...something quite big... :-)

Oh...and Richard Feynman's old building is up the road....and anyone who knows me, knows that is like my Mecca

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Wow, you really must've made an impact on someone Nick, then again I've always highly recommended yours and petes solar imaging and am always using you as an example to friends and colleagues :icon_rolleyes: Good luck at Palomar, its a fantastic opportunity that I'm sure you'll use to its fullest extent, I can't wait to see the images and hear about your experiences.

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Nice trip Nick - I went up there 4 years ago - my team in the US are based in San Diego, so its not too far. Only as a visitor though, so I wasn't allowed in to play :icon_rolleyes:

And as for the original point about this topic - I spotted Nick's post on Flickr a while ago, and I am afraid I misinterpreted it based upon the reply you got Nick - my apologies, but until I read your posts here, I thought you were wanting images from Robotic telescopes to be eligable for submission.

I think that unfortunately, the competition has become a bit of a farce because of the decision to allow images captured away from the UK.

Here is me sat on the front of the 200 inch Hale dome:

post-14845-133877370362_thumb.jpg

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I thik personally it is unfair to include robotic images in the competition. I have access to FT South and North, and , as Nik says in his replies, whilst there is a lot of planning work, etc, as well as compositing and post processing involved, to me..... it's just not right.

Images taken with a DSLR in a good dark site in the UK, can be just as beautiful to look at as ones taken with a 24" RCOS from Namibia, the point with both of those, is that they would be yours, with your effort in setting it all up, your frustration in having the autoguider go funny, your tears when the clouds rolled in, and your pride when the sub frames get stacked in DSS to make the image of a lifetime.

The mission here at Caltech is not prettty pictures, it's obviously part of what they can do, but it's real cutting edge science (you have to see the transiting exoplanet work they are doing!!)..I for one will absolutely not post any images I do take here (If I get to take any good ones that is), in to any competition, even though according to the S@N rules, I probably could. I will happily just keep submitting, images from my 80mm refractors back home, my 80mm PST, my 50mm Solarscope or the C11, and hope, fingers crossed, like all of us, that the judging team are kind enough to think they are ok.

I admire Nik's work so much, it's always inspired me, and he's been a great help through the imaging courses and chats to what I aim for... but his work from a WO66 to me is just as good as anything he does on FT

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Wow, you really must've made an impact on someone Nick, then again I've always highly recommended yours and petes solar imaging and am always using you as an example to friends and colleagues :icon_rolleyes: Good luck at Palomar, its a fantastic opportunity that I'm sure you'll use to its fullest extent, I can't wait to see the images and hear about your experiences.

Thanks Reggie and from the conversations I had last night...it seems so. The Solar stuff in particular was the key here..

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Currently sitting in the control room, of the 200" scope. The imaging team here are working on a brand new camera/spectroscope, and doing galaxy imaging...I can say no more... but it's just the best time ever. I am staying in "The Monastary" at Palomar Observatory..had a personal visit to the prime focus cage of the 200" and on the roof of the 200" by Dan Mckenna, the site manager, and have the keys to the 200" and the 60" domes... :-)

The tech here is so familiar, they are using an AO system which you would recognise, the imaging software is vastly more complex than anything the amateur domain in terms of UI (python command line scripts etc), but it's spitting out FITS files which are just the same (need massive data reduction), as we use,..

More to follow...and it's potentially amazing... but not just yet

Imaging tomorrow if it's clear...not sure what yet...or if it will be "petty piccies" or follow on detections of mag 19 transient events :-)

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They saw your book today Steve... :-)

The team are doing some data reduction now on Coma CLuster galaxies...

Helped a bit with a QT issue (Trolltech framework...), which felt nice... but generally I am just watching tonight...

It's a lot of command line feeds..and the control room staff, setting up the AO and moving the dome (which you really don't need to occur when it's pitch black (ish...moon is up) and your on the catwalk) :-)

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Hi Nick.

Sounds like your having a great time with the guy’s.

A image of Enceladus would be very useful doesn’t matter about the rest of Saturn as long as a bit of the rings are included in the image, no chance I know but I thought I would ask lol.

Done any Solar yet?

Trev

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My whole being is aching with envy Nick. I once dreamed of getting a job there just keeping the floor clean.

What a wonderful experience for you, and I hope we get reports and piccies when you get the time. Enjoy it to the Max.

Ron.:icon_rolleyes:

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