Archive for February 2013

Old Habits Die Hard

Posted by on February 25th 2013 in @ the movies

Last night we went to see the latest Die Hard offering. In parts it was somewhat reminiscent of Skyfall (indeed, there's even a James Bond reference thrown in for good measure) - plenty of car-trashing and yet another mil-spec chopper totalled in the final scenes - but it's still a fairly good movie in its own right with plenty of improbable action and a dubious storyline. In fact, it's just what we've come to expect of late from the DH franchise.

That said, there was something odd about the choice of end-credit music. "Doom and Gloom" by The Stones didn't really cut it, it seemed strangely out of place, tacked on as nothing more than a gratuitous extra.

IMO, it really needed this:

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p.s. We saw the trailer for Into Darkness, it looks like it'll be a brilliant "sprequel".

Glorious cacophony

Posted by on February 18th 2013 in Great Escapes, Video (YouTube, Vimeo etc.)
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It wasn't my idea, Chris suggested that it would be a good thing for me to get for her for Christmas.

It turned out to be a great night - Bellowhead are much better live than their recordings suggest.

Here, judge for yourselves:

Observing Report 15th February 2013 (2012 DA14 and the lights of Leicestershire)

Posted by on February 17th 2013 in Astrostuff, Observing Reports

Friday evening saw Me and Chris up on Croft Hill, armed with camera kit, binoculars and other such stuff. The intent was to see/image the fly-by of asteroid 2012 DA14 but the weather decided to confound us. Never mind, we got pics of cloud and light-pollution instead, and we got a couple of hours together without the kids.

The main images have been colour-corrected by Photoshop, run your mouse over them to see the horrendously light-polluted uncorrected versions:

Observing Report 14th-15th February 2013 (More galaxies)

Posted by on February 17th 2013 in Astrostuff, Observing Reports

Virgo's chock-full of galaxies, there are plenty to go around. Here's a small selection, help yourself!

M84 (aka NGC4374) and M86 (aka NGC4406) - both are lenticular galaxies - and a few other fuzzy things in the constellation Virgo.
Mouseover the pic for labels.
Subs: 17 light @ 300s, darks and bias frames, ISO800.
1000D on the 6" R-C, guided with PHD.

Observing Report 6th-7th February 2013 (Incoming at 140km/s)

Posted by on February 11th 2013 in Astrostuff, Observing Reports

Cribbed from Wikipedia:

"Messier 98 (also known as M98 or NGC 4192) is an intermediate spiral galaxy about 60 million light-years away in the constellation Coma Berenices. It was discovered by Pierre Méchain on 15 March 1781 along with M99 and M100 and was cataloged as a Messier object on 13 April 1781. Messier 98 has a blue shift and is approaching us at about 140 km per second."

Hmmm... "cataloged"... we Brits use the word "catalogue", so use it as a verb and the past tense is "catalogued". Surely the past tense of the verb "to catalog" should be "catalogged", as in "logged" and "blogged"?

Anyway, less of the Inner Stickler stuff. With the temperature down at -8C it was too damned cold to stand outside looking through the scope so the session was just a photo-shoot controlled from the comfort of the warm-room, replete with Jaffa Cakes and hot tea. M98 is one of the faintest objects in Messier's catalogue... I really wanted to be taking 60-second subs of it but a high background haze spoiled that idea - the best I could get away with was 300 seconds a shot, and I didn't get enough subs for a decent image anyway as a low mist rolled in and spoiled things. I'll try to get more subs when the weather improves, in the meantime here's the best I can do with what I've got so far. It's a tad noisy:

M98 (aka NGC4192), an intermediate spiral galaxy in the constellation Coma Berenices.
Subs: 20 light @ 300s, darks and bias frames, ISO800.
1000D on the 6" R-C, guided with PHD.

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