Archive for September 2008

Andromeda reworked #1

Posted by on September 29th 2008 in Observing Reports
Tags: ,

Had another go at processin' the Andromeda frames, here be another version:


Andromeda Galaxy (M31).

(Nikon D50 at prime-focus on C8-N, ISO 200, no filters, 22 x 30s colour exposures stacked wi' DSS, reprocessed in PS CS3)

Observing Report 26th-27th September 2008 (Andromeda)

Posted by on September 28th 2008 in Observing Reports

After what seems t' be many weeks o' overcast skies, Friday evenin' were bein' clear enough t' get out an' test the new focuser setup. Prepare t' be boarded, an' a bucket o' chum! After a delayed start due t' a mucky secondary mirror, the scope were bein' recollimated an' set up in the back yard. I did a few visual checks o' random bright stars t' confirm that all were bein' OK, then decided that it were bein' time t' grab a few images fer analysis later.

I slewed the scope around t' the faint blur that be the Andromeda Galaxy (Messier 31), then slapped on the D50 fer some prime-focus shots. This were bein' t' be me first semi-serious foray into takin' this sort o' shot, an' I just wanted t' get a few images t' stack an' play wi', nothin' too difficult.

Anyway, focusin' were bein' a lot better wi' the new setup. After transferrin' a few shots from the SD-card t' the laptop t' confirm image acceptability, I rattled off a series o' raw files (NEFs), all at 30s, just t' see what could be achieved at such relatively short exposures.

After a quick look around t' see a few double-stars, the dreaded dew started t' form an' it were bein' time t' pack away an' start photo-processin'.

The individual frames di'nae seem too bad - focus were bein' just a tad out on the later etchins, it looks like there were bein' some minor focus-drift o'er time, we'll keel-haul ye! The stars at the corners o' the etchins be distorted due t' coma (typical o' Newtonian optics - correctable wi' optical hardware, at a price) but the central stars be hardly trailed at all, which means that the initial polar-alignment o' the mount were bein' either very good, or just plain lucky!

Anyway, I plugged 'em all into various bits o' software an' , much later on, it spat out the followin' etchin'. There's a definite hint o' spiral structure there, an' the centre's nae burned-out too much due t' o'er-exposure or drastic levels/curves adjustments. Not bad fer a first attempt wi' a basic set o' frames, an' I reckon I could drag more detail out o' the data, given enough time. Load the cannons! That said, I'm quite chuffed wi' it as it be.

Next time I'll go fer much longer exposures, an' more o' 'em.


Andromeda Galaxy (M31).

(Nikon D50 at prime-focus on C8-N, ISO 200, no filters, 22 x 30s colour exposures + 1 dark frame stacked wi' DSS, processed in PS CS3)

Hinckley ablaze

Posted by on September 26th 2008 in In the News

There's a big fire in town, an' rumour has it that the town-centre's been closed off. Ahoy, an' a bucket o' chum! Luckily fer us, the huge column o' black smoke be goin' north-westwards. The helicopters from the emergency services be dwarfed by it. Stow that bilge, Bos'n! This rovin'-reporter has decided t' stay at home an' watch from the garden.


It's been burnin' fer well o'er an hour now, an' 'tis showin' no signs o' goin' out. The neighbour reckons that 'tis either B&Q or a tyre-fittin' yard that's burnin'. If that's the case, they're about 100m from the fire-station.



Posted by on September 23rd 2008 in Just for fun, LMAO!

Received in the mail today from me good matey Dave:


If only they’d been pirates…

Posted by on September 19th 2008 in Just for fun

Ahoy there, me hearties! Here be a few great speeches from history, fer yer readin' pleasure.

Let’s see what the text-filter does t' 'em:


Queen Elizabeth I:

My lovin' scallywags, we be persuaded by some, that be careful o' our safety, t' take heed how we commit ourselves t' armed multitudes, fer fear o' treachery; but I assure ye, I do nae desire t' live t' distrust me faithful an' lovin' scallywags. Load the cannons, I'll warrant ye! Let tyrants fear; I have always so behaved meself that, under God, I have placed me chiefest strength an' safeguard in the loyal hearts an' good will o' me subjects, we'll keel-haul ye! Shiver me timbers, ye scurvey dog! And therefore I am come amongst ye at this time, nae as fer me recreation or sport, but bein' resolved, in the midst an' heat o' the battle, t' live or die amongst ye all; t' lay down, fer me God, an' fer me kingdom, an' fer me scallywags, me honour an' me blood, even the dust. I know I have but the body o' a weak an' feeble wench; but I have the heart o' a king, an' o' a king o' England, too; an' think foul scorn that Parma or Spain, or any prince o' Europe, should dare t' invade the borders o' me realms: t' which, rather than any dishonour should grow by me, I meself will take up arms; I meself will be yer general, judge, an' rewarder o' every one o' yer virtues in the field. I know already, by yer forwardness, that ye have deserved rewards an' crowns; an' we do assure ye, on the word o' a prince, they shall be duly paid ye. In the mean me lieutenant general shall be in me stead, than whom ne'er prince commanded a more noble an' worthy subject; nae doubtin' by yer obedience t' me general, by yer concord in the camp, an' by yer valour in the field, we shall shortly have a famous victory o'er the enemies o' me God, o' me kingdom, an' o' me scallywags.


Abraham Lincoln:

Fourscore an' seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty an' dedicated t' the proposition that all men be created equal. Now we be engaged in a great civil war, testin' whether that nation or any nation so conceived an' so dedicated can long endure. We be met on a great battlefield o' that war. Ye'll be sleepin' wi' the fishes! Break out the biscuits 'n weevils! We have come t' dedicate a portion o' that field as a final restin'-place fer them there who here gave their lives that that nation might live. Ye'll be sleepin' wi' the fishes! Shiver me timbers! It be altogether fittin' an' proper that we should do this. But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. An' swab the deck! Yo Ho Ho! The brave men, livin' an' dead who struggled here have consecrated it far above our poor power t' add or detract, I'll warrant ye. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can ne'er forget what they did here, to be sure. It be fer us the livin' rather t' be dedicated here t' the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. Have ye seen the size o' the cabin-lad's hornpipe? Yaarrr!! It be rather fer us t' be here dedicated t' the great task remainin' afore us - that from these honoured dead we take increased devotion t' that cause fer which they gave the last full measure o' devotion - that we here highly resolve that these dead shall nae have snuffed it in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth freedom, an' that government o' the scallywags, by the scallywags, fer the scallywags shall nae perish from the earth.


Sir Winston Churchill:

I have, meself, full confidence that if all do their duty, if nothin' be neglected, an' if the best arrangements be made, as they be bein' made, we shall prove ourselves once again able t' defend our Island home, t' ride out the storm o' war, an' t' outlive the menace o' tyranny, if necessary fer years, if necessary alone. At any rate, that be what we be goin' t' try t' do. That be the resolve o' His Majesty’s Government-every lubber o' 'em. That be the will o' Parliament an' the nation. The British Empire an' the French Republic, linked together in their cause an' in their need, will defend t' the death their native soil, aidin' each other like good comrades t' the utmost o' their strength. Even though large tracts o' Europe an' many auld an' famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip o' the Gestapo an' all the odious apparatus o' Nazi rule, we shall nae flag or fail, avast. We shall go on t' the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas an' oceans, we shall fight wi' growin' confidence an' growin' strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landin' grounds, we shall fight in the fields an' in the rivers, we shall fight in the hills; we shall ne'er surrender, an' even if, which I do nae fer a moment believe, this Island or a large part o' it were subjugated an' starvin', then our Empire beyond the seas, armed an' guarded by the Flyin' Dutchman, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, wi' all its power an' might, steps forth t' the rescue an' the liberation o' the auld.


If ye find any others that ye want translatin’, just let me know afore the end o' the day an' I’ll see what I can do.


Swabbin’ the decks

Posted by on September 18th 2008 in Just for fun, Site update

Been doin' a bit o' tidyin' up:

  • All unused tags (created by an auto-taggin' plugin that I used fer a while) be deleted;
  • Quite a few new links be added t' the blogroll dropdowns;
  • Some other bits an' bobs be added t' the sidebar;
  • All dead links in posts be repaired or deleted;
  • Hell, I've even cleaned the screen an' removed all o' the cookie-crumbs from under the keys!

See ye tomorrow, but only through me one good eye!



Extended coverage

Posted by on September 16th 2008 in Shiny new kit

Spurred on by our efforts t' use a tarp t' extend the comfy space around our tents while site-campin' on holiday, an' frustrated by the scarcity o' Exped Arc Tarps on the market, yesterday saw the acquisition o' a new bit o' kit - a Khyam Atrium, which be in the current Yeomans sale at £20 below RRP.

It's a tent extension/porch/canopy affair wi' webbin' straps an' an elasticated an' toggled drawcord t' allow a neat an' secure fit o'er the openin's o' most small/medium tents, an' the poles be adjusted fer height/width by means o' a tension-band system betwixt the pole-ends. If that's nae enough versatility, the "middle" pole be adjustable in length so that ye can get the height/width just as ye want it. There be plenty o' guyin' an' peggin' options, an', as ye can see, there be plenty o' room under it:



2 etchins above: width = 3.5m, height = 1.5m



2 etchins above: width = 2.8m, height = 1.8m


Above: pole-end spacin' = 1.5m


Above: elasticated an' toggled drawcord etc..


Above: length-adjustable pole.


Specs from the Khyam website:

Poles: Fibreglass - 9.5mm

Flysheet: Polyester 185T - 68D / 5000mm - Flame-Retardant - Taped seams

Height: Adjustable

Weight: 3.9kg

Dimensions: As the Atrium be fully adjustable it be nae possible t' list or show all dimensions.

Packed size: 64x12x12cms

Colour Options: Castle Rock / Paloma

Just in case you were wondering…

Posted by on September 14th 2008 in New tricks for an old dog

Those crinkly rin's in the previous post have quite a few uses:

  • Stick one around a water-bottle or similar when campin' - it makes it easier t' find in the night, no need t' fumble about fer the torch an' ruin yer night-vision;
  • Put two around yer SLR/dSLR spyglass when takin' night-shots (one on the zoom-ring, the other on the focus-ring). This way, I can adjust the zoom in the dark wi'out movin' the focus by accident;
  • They're useful fer markin' various bits o' the big spyglass setup - the focuser, the auto-focus control box, the ends o' the tripod legs etc..

They're currently on offer at Lakeland.

Crinkly rings

Posted by on September 13th 2008 in New tricks for an old dog

.., on a dead man's chest! The sharks'll eat well tonight! can it be true? That I hold here, in me mortal hand, a nugget o' purest Green?


Still worried about the LHC?

Posted by on September 12th 2008 in In the News

Chasrle found a great weblink where ye can check t' see the effects o' the collidin' hadrons:

Has the Large Hadron Collider destroyed the Earth yet, avast?

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