Archive for June 2010

The longest day at Croft Hill

Posted by on June 25th 2010 in Celebrations, Great Escapes, Pics

To mark the longest day and the nth anniversary of our engagement we spent a few hours at the Croft Hill SSSI.

It's an odd place - the trig-column on the top of the hill is only 128m above sea level, the surrounding land is undeniably flat, and literally within a stone's throw of the top is Croft Quarry, claimed to be the largest man-made hole in Europe. Have a click on this pic and you might see what I mean:


Panorama from the top of Croft Hill


Just in case you didn't get a feel for the scale of the place from that, here are two more pics that should clarify the matter:


The hill

The hole


Impressive, eh?

Of course, it's not all about humps and hollows. There's plenty of flora and fauna to see, and a few other odd things too. Photographer and fellow blogger Colin Griffiths visits regularly and he takes some cracking pics of the place.

32 pics, click any of the above to view the lot.

Observing Report 24th-25th June 2010 (Tidy obsy, scruffy Jupiter)

Posted by on June 25th 2010 in Astrostuff, Observing Reports, Pics
Tags: ,

I managed to get out to the obsy last night, mainly to get the place tidied up and to oust the spiders that had invaded during the spring. The skies weren't really good enough for any deep-sky observing, as there was a persistent high-level moonlit haze that was ruining the contrast and which would have washed-out any images taken with the D50. Nevertheless it was a calm warm night so I stayed up to see Jupiter rise above the eastern horizon into a brightening blue dawn sky.

Not being one to pass up an opportunity, I decided to have a crack at imaging it with the mono DMK camera and some RGB filters even though the seeing wasn't really good enough.

Anyway, the resulting image from the first set of data is below:





I've got more data to process, some of which has Europa in the frame as well as Jupiter and Io. If the processing works out OK I'll let you know.

Observing Report 17th June 2010 (Daylight Moon bits)

Posted by on June 22nd 2010 in Astrostuff, Observing Reports, Pics

Observing the early phases of the Moon from my obsy is a bit of a lottery - due to the restricted western view the only way to get the scope pointing at the thin waxing crescent is when the Moon's high in the sky. At this time of the year, that means observing during the daylight a few hours before sunset, which in turn means that the seeing is always going to be a limiting factor.

Never let it be said that I'm one to shy away from a challenge - here are some images gleaned from webcam data grabbed at about 20:00...

(mouseover the pics for the annotated versions):

Neander (30 miles dia.), Rheita E (40 x 19 miles), Furnerius (76 miles dia.),
Rheita (42 miles dia.), Fraunhofer (35 miles dia.), Metius (53 miles dia.),
Brenner A (19 miles dia.), Young D (27 miles dia.), Fabricius (47 miles dia.),
Vallis Rheita (303 x 18 miles)

 Pitiscus (50 miles dia.), Vlacq (54 miles dia.), Hommel (76 miles dia.),
Rosenberger (58 miles dia.), Nearch (46 miles dia.)

Daniell (18 x 14 miles), Rima G Bond (91 x 2 miles), G Bond (19 miles dia.),
Luther (6 miles dia.), Posidonius (58 miles dia.), Chacornac (31 miles dia.)

Endymion (76 miles dia.), Keldysh (20 miles dia.), Hercules (42 miles dia.),
Atlas (53 miles dia.)

Piccolomini (53 miles dia.), Neander (30 miles dia.), Rothman (25 miles dia.),
Rheita (42 miles dia.), Stiborius (27 miles dia.)

Messala (75 miles dia.), Berosus (45 miles dia.), Bernoulli (29 miles dia.),
Geminus (52 miles dia.), Burckhardt (35 miles dia.), Cleomedes (76 miles dia.)

Madler (17 miles dia.), Theophilus (61 miles dia.), Cyrillus (59 miles dia.),
Beaumont (32 miles dia.), Catharina (61 miles dia.)

My UMapper Moon Map has been updated.

A Father’s Day Off

Posted by on June 20th 2010 in Celebrations, Just for fun, Thanks
Tags: ,

One happy Father, two generous kids, five well-chosen gifts.

The DVD just about completes my personal list of must-haves, and the kids loved every minute of it. Yet again, the scene with Rooney in the office handling two phone calls had me laughing so much that it hurt. Classic stuff.

I'm trying to conserve the consumables, but I never could resist a rusk.

Shorebreak Art

Posted by on June 19th 2010 in Blog on Blog, Pics

"Getting inside, over and under 30-40 foot waves is no small feat, especially with bulky camera equipment, and a goal of finding that perfect angle and lighting condition that makes a perfect shot."

Due to copyright restrictions I can't repost any of Clark Little's cool pics so you'll have to click this link to see exclusive samples of his seriously impressive photography.

Good stuff, eh?

The Horn of Africa

Posted by on June 19th 2010 in Just for fun, LMAO!


It begs the question as to what the preferred instrument of torture will be if we get to host the 2018 World Cup.

In such times of austerity it'll have to be cheap.

I'm guessing that it'll be either the kazoo or the trusty comb-and-paper combo.

World Cup Discrimination

Posted by on June 10th 2010 in In the News

All the moaning about the "Anglicisation" of the already-English Mars Bar pales into insignificance next to the blatant discrimination being shown by the team of Brazilian match officials assigned to England's opener against the USA:

"In anticipation of the Manchester United forward's customary fruity invective, the referee and his assistants for the Group C match in Rustenburg have each undertaken a crash course in English swear words with a view to clamping down on foul and abusive language in the fixture."

Now I understand that both teams will be speaking roughly the same language, so there's a balance there, but this comment by assistant referee Roberto Braatz speaks volumes:

"We can't do this in 11 different languages, but at least we have to know the swear words in English."

Now that's clear discrimination. You should either do it in all 11 languages or in none of them, Roberto. You're a FIFA official, you should be totally impartial, you should know better.

Will the officials in all of the other matches be so inclined? Time will tell.



Posted by on June 7th 2010 in In the garden, Pics

3 x 2

2 x 2

4 (Bob, just resting)

2 x 2

n x 8

Observing Report 2nd-3rd June 2010 Part 3a (M27 reprocessed)

Posted by on June 5th 2010 in Astrostuff, Observing Reports, Pics

Had another go at processing the M27 data, managed to drag out some more detail:

M27 (NGC6853) reprocessed.
Subs: 22 light @ 120s, 22 dark @ 120s and 20 flat @ 2s, all ISO200.
D50 and MPCC on the C8N, guided with PHD.

Observing Report 2nd-3rd June 2010 Part 3 (M27)

Posted by on June 4th 2010 in Astrostuff, Observing Reports, Pics

OK, here's the third and final couple of pics, the target was M27 (aka The Dumbbell Nebula, NGC6853), a planetary nebula in the constellation of Vulpecula. Again, you get one version with the diffraction spikes and another without. Click 'em for more bigness:

M27 (NGC6853) as processed.
Subs: 22 light @ 120s, 22 dark @ 120s and 20 flat @ 2s, all ISO200.
D50 and MPCC on the C8N, guided with PHD.

 As previous but with added spikes.

That's yer lot.

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