Archive for September 2013

(Late) Observing Report 26th-27th August 2013 (Another Moon Mosaic)

Posted by on September 15th 2013 in Astrostuff, Observing Reports, Pics

It was going to be a night for software-testing, there having been a new release of APT that needed checking out. The skies were clear but the heat of the previous day was still making its escape from the planet via the air, which meant that the seeing was marginal for any sort of imaging, therefore I wasn't intending to take any images.

And then I remembered the medium-bandwidth Hydrogen-alpha (H-a) filter that I'd bought on the cheap. In theory it would cut out the worst of the shimmer. It had to be tried.

It worked, and it worked better than I would have expected. I grabbed 22 .avi files of the Moon, and after a bit of stacking jiggery-pokery I stuck the resultant .bmps into PS's photomerge. That spat out a reasonably-good mosaic image which I processed with RegiStax, and the following image was the result. I'm reasonably happy with it, but there's room for improvement next time out:

Moon (27/08/2013 @ 02:00 approx). 22 panes stitched with PS CS3.
Each pane is 200/2000 stacked frames. DMK mono CCD camera with H-a
filter on the GSRC6M.

(Late) Observing Report 12th-13th August 2013 (Perseid meteors)

Posted by on September 14th 2013 in Astrostuff, Observing Reports, Pics

With one thing or another taking precedence, the processing of these was unavoidably delayed.

Perseid meteors - taster pic below - click it to see a few more.

Perseid meteor.


Posted by on September 12th 2013 in Illness and injury

Yup, I'm back on topic...

That piles op back in Jan 2012 - remember that, and the aftermath of it? Well, it's still giving me hassle. I've not been able to exercise properly since the op because it makes the rear-end swollen and dysfunctional. Yes, I've had the odd good day in the hills but I've always paid for it during the following week.

Eventually they sent me to a bum-physio who taught me how to retrain the damaged/wasted muscles down there. They needed to be sorted before the NHS would even consider any further corrective surgery. I won't list the number of times my appointments were bumped, suffice to say that I ain't happy about it and that my next consultation (to arrange the removal of the large skin-tags and the repair of the muscle-damage, both of which resulted from the original op) was to be on September 25th but they've already bumped that to October 30th.

So... consequences...

My inability to maintain a proper exercise regime for well over a year has left me seriously unfit. I didn't read much into the aching torso thing when I went up Moel Siabod in July, I thought I was just lacking in the oomph department, and an occasional minute or two of rest combined with a slackening of the pack-straps allowed me to keep going.

Fast(?)-forward to three weeks ago and I was struggling on the flat. We were at a wood-craft fair, it was a very hot day and again I didn't pay much attention to myself. After a beer and a sit down in the shade I felt better, I put the whole affair down to the unseasonal hot weather, my unfitness and the need for the hydrating effects of real ale.

A week later and it was clear that something was wrong. Cutting the hedges became a task punctuated by rests and cups of tea. I thought that the aching in the arms and chest was due to the efforts of wielding the not-so-lightweight electric trimmers, but I followed the advice of all and sundry and took it easy for a few days.

Aldi had some Blood Pressure Monitors on sale so we bought one, just so that I could keep an eye on how my ticker was coping. The first few days of readings were fine (112/65, 80bpm for example) but a few days later I took a reading after tightening-up while doing a bit of leisurely gardening and the pressure result was a bit of a shocker - 212/125!

I went to see my doctor ASAP. The prognosis wasn't good. The doc put me on aspirin and nitroglycerine spray, and put me down for treadmill and ECG tests at the local specialist cardiac unit.

And that's where I was yesterday. They didn't need to do the treadmill test, the effect of the walk from the car to the reception was enough to make the static ECG results conclusive: Stable Angina. Against all expectations the tests indicated that apart from the effects of Angina I'm in really good nick for a 51-year-old smoker, with no respiratory or weight/fat problems at all. After a chest X-ray and blood-tests I was sent home with a big bag full of meds and the promise of a coronary angioplasty with stent implantation(s) within a month.

Of course, cardiac problems always trump colorectal problems, so I doubt that my bum-doctor will do anything more until the ticker's sorted, which puts me in a Catch-22 situation where exertion is good for one end but not the other.

Of course, this might all have been avoided if they'd properly managed my recovery from the piles op nearly two years ago. I'd have been back in the hills keeping in shape instead of getting progressively unfit to the point where I've started to fall apart.

I tell you, getting up those last five Wainwrights is proving to be more of a challenge than the previous 209 ever were 😥

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