Archive for July 2012

Observing Report 26th July 2012 (Sunspots)

Posted by on July 27th 2012 in Astrostuff, Observing Reports, Pics
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Managed to get a few sunspot shots during a short break from trimming the hedges yesterday.

I used a less-dense solar filter (ND 3.8 as opposed to the ND 5.0 that I've used before) which lets through more light allowing much shorter exposures in order to "freeze" the seeing. I also had a play with various magnifications - 1x (prime focus), 2x (Powermate) and 4x (Powermate + Barlow).

All 50/4000 stacked frames, DMK mono CCD camera on the C80ED-R, Baader Planetarium AstroSolar™ Safety Film (ND 3.8) with #58 Green and IR-cut filters.

There's a reference image at the end in case you're wondering what's where:

Active Regions 1528, 1529, 1530 & 1532 (26/07/2012).
1x (prime focus).

Active Regions 1529, 1530 & 1532 (26/07/2012).
2x (Powermate).

Active Region 1532 (26/07/2012).
4x (Powermate + Barlow).

Active Region 1530 (26/07/2012).
4x (Powermate + Barlow).

Active Region 1529 (26/07/2012).
4x (Powermate + Barlow).

Active Region 1528 (26/07/2012).
4x (Powermate + Barlow).

Active Region 1531 (26/07/2012).
4x (Powermate + Barlow).

Active Region 1526 (26/07/2012).
4x (Powermate + Barlow).

Reference image from SOHO.

The long and the short of it

Posted by on July 16th 2012 in Just for fun, Pics

Abbreviated catfood:

 

Face/Off

Posted by on July 15th 2012 in Illness and injury, Just for fun, Pics
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Compare the Meerkats:

 A sad victim of last month's hailstorm

Observing Report 12th July 2012 (Sunspots)

Posted by on July 14th 2012 in Astrostuff, Observing Reports, Pics
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Thursday morning was surprisingly clear and sunny - an odd period sandwiched between countless hours of incessant rain. I managed about half an hour of solar observing before it all went claggy. The seeing wasn't that good but I managed to get fair views of Active Region 1520 and its satellites. Apologies now for the poor-quality images, I might have another bash at the stacking to see if I can get the noise levels down a bit without losing any detail:

Active Regions 1519 - 1521 (12/07/2012).
50/6000 stacked frames.
DMK mono CCD camera with 2x Powermate on the C80ED-R.
Baader Planetarium AstroSolar™ Safety Film (ND 5.0) with #58 Green and IR-cut filters.

The largest spots in AR1520 are even bigger than those in AR1504 which I imaged last month!

Past the sell-by date

Posted by on July 9th 2012 in A bit of a rant, On the box, Video (YouTube, Vimeo etc.)

You've probably seen this ad on yer telly:

 

 

If so, you might have wondered what it's all about.

On the face of it, it's an ad about how National Lottery funding has helped one K. Edwards to represent GB in the 2012 Olympics as an 800m runner. It's oddly anachronistic and we still can't figure out why her mum looks so old at the end of it, but I suppose that only the nit-picking few would be bothered by that.

Of course, K. Edwards doesn't really exist. The ad is based on the story of Team GB athlete Jenny Meadows and her mother Barbara, who was also an athlete, but unable to compete in the Olympics because of a lack of funding. The Meadows are played by actors and the story is narrated by the mother, looking back at their lives.

Here are a couple of clickable quotes from the world of the meeja:

The National Lottery is launching the second phase of its "life-changing" campaign with an execution highlighting its funding of Great Britain's athletes and London 2012.

The National Lottery is repositioning itself as a "genuine supporter" of London 2012 and is rolling out an ad campaign to highlight the £2.2bn it has contributed to the Games.

The ad was first aired on June 11th, is still on the box today and is scheduled to run until July 13th.

Admirable stuff.

Until you consider the fact that on July 3rd Jenny Meadows was omitted from Team GB...

Jenny Meadows was struggling to come to terms with the mixed emotions of being crowned European Indoor 800 metres champion and omitted from the British Olympic team for a home Games on the same day...

Selectors gambled by picking Lynsey Sharp for the 800m despite her recording only a B qualifying time this season. The selection of the European silver medallist meant four other athletes who have run faster times in the past two years, including the 2009 world bronze medallist Jenny Meadows, missed out and two places went unfilled under International Association of Athletics Federations rules. UK Athletics' head coach, Charles van Commenee, has said he will take ultimate responsibility and fall on his sword if his 77-strong team fail to meet expectations at the London Olympics.

So, lots of funding yet no possibility of an 800m result for Jenny Meadows. Or for Marilyn Okoro, Emma Jackson and Jemma Simpson.

Surely the National Lottery folks should stop peddling this ad. It has become so detached from reality that it could be considered a lie.

More Fat

Posted by on July 6th 2012 in Uncategorized

Just add lard?

 

Striking out on a new bearing

Posted by on July 5th 2012 in Illness and injury

It was way back on May 18th that the consultant's secretary at that Leicester hospital told me that she'd contact me within a week concerning the follow-up appointment needed three months after my April 23rd consultation. Needless to say, since that conversation in May I've heard nothing from her, her boss, the Admin Managers or the appointments personnel. No letter, no email, no phone-call. It's an appalling, deceitful and shameful way to run a public service.

Here in the real world we've not been so idle. On June 16th I saw my GP again and at my request he was happy to refer me cross-border to a Coventry hospital for a second opinion. A mere four days later I received a letter detailing the consultation arranged for me and advising me that if surgery is required then it would be "within the NHS 18 week pathway".

I attended that consultation today and after examining me the new consultant decided that he would need to perform another flexible sigmoidoscopy, looking specifically at the areas that are painful and/or dysfunctional. Fearing that I'd be on the waiting-list for a long time due to the 18 week pathway, I asked for some estimate of when the procedure could be done. I was gobsmacked when the consultant checked his diary and offered to do the procedure on July 19th! He didn't involve an Admin Manager, a secretary or an appointments clerk, it was all agreed and arranged between us then and there, even before I'd risen from my seat!

I might email that Leicester hospital to let them know just how simple and easy such things can be, but I suspect that they couldn't care less.

Tonight I'm genuinely happy for the first time in many months. I'm beginning to believe that the light at the end of the tunnel is more than just the illuminating tip of a butt-probe...

Ice-storm #4 – around the village

Posted by on July 2nd 2012 in Weather
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Had to go to the Post Office today, the route took me along the track of the storm.

As you can see, fixing the pub and the adjoining property has been made Priority No. 1.

Click the pic to access further images of destruction.

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