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Saturday, 22 December 2007

SkyandTelescope.com - The Other Bright Comet of 2007/2008

SkyandTelescope.com - Observing Blog - The Other Bright Comet of 2007/2008
OBSERVING BLOG by Tony Flanders

The Other Bright Comet of 2007/2008

With Comet Holmes still blazing away nearly as bright as ever, it's easy to forget that another bright comet is crossing the far-northern sky.

Comet 8P/Tuttle will be approaching its maximum brightness as it crosses Cassiopeia in the next-to-last week of December. Click above for a printable PDF chart.
S&T Illustration
Although no match for Holmes, Comet 8P/Tuttle is now visible through 10×50 binoculars under dark skies. A telescope may be required in the suburbs.

To help you find the comet, we have prepared two printable finder charts in PDF format. Comet positions on both charts are shown for 0 h in Universal Time — equal to 7 p.m. on the preceding date in Eastern Standard Time.

Click here to see the comet's path before Dec. 25.

Click here for a chart covering late December and all of January.

S&T Illustration
The comet is predicted to peak in brightness around the New Year, as shown at right. And recent magnitude estimates indicate that the predictions are pretty much on target.

So far, the comet appears to be a modest-sized, medium-faint circular blob. But comets are famously unpredictable, as Holmes has just demonstrated in the most dramatic fashion. So Comet Tuttle bears watching too, despite its current rather bland appearance. Nobody can predict when or if it will sprout a tail — or even undergo a dramatic outburst like Comet Holmes.

Tuttle moves across the sky at a fairly sedate pace in early December, but it picks up speed as it makes its closest approach the Earth — just 23.5 million miles away — on New Year's Day. Despite the full Moon, the comet should be a fairly easy target by the time it crosses the W of Cassiopeia from December 20-25. And around 0 h UT on December 31st (7 p.m. Dec. 30 EST), the comet passes through the outer edge of Messier 33, the Triangulum Galaxy. (Think photo-op!)

The comet moves south quite rapidly during January, passing through Pisces, Cetus, Fornax, and then into the southern reaches of Eridanus. It will become a challenging target for northern observers around the middle of the month, when it's swallowed in the glow of the first-quarter Moon.

For more information on Comet Tuttle, see the January issue of Sky & Telescope. And don't miss the sidebar on the checkered career of Horace Tuttle: comet hunter, war hero, and embezzler.
Posted by Tony Flanders, December 12, 2007


Monday, 17 December 2007

Astronomy and Earth Science: Winter solstice and Christmas


Christmas marks the birth of Christ, and it is celebrated by Christians around the world. But this holiday has close ties to an older festival known as the "Unconquered Sun." The impact this Pagan tradition had on how Christmas was celebrated is one of the ways in which The Christian tradition changed as it developed through the ages.

The winter solstice is the time when the Sun reaches its southernmost rising and setting points in the northern hemisphere and the Suns apex at noon is at its lowest point of the year. The days are shortest and the nights are longest.

December 25th was the date of the winter solstice in the calendar Julius Caesar devised for Rome in 46BC. Today the winter solstice usually occurs on December 21st. Although Caesar used a 365 1/4 day year, a year is actually a little shorter, and this made the solstice occur a little earlier over the years. There was a discrepancy of 1 day in 128 years.

The pagans celebrated the winter solstice as the Unconquered Sun. After this day, the Sun would begin to stay in the sky longer each day, and there would be less cold, and less night; the Sun would win the battle of night and day. There would be feasts, evergreens would be brought into the house to be decorated and lighted with candles to pay tribute to the Sun.

There is nothing in the Christian Bible to specify the day of Christmas. Prior to the fourth century, Christs birth had been associated with Three Kings Day on January 6. But the pagans and the newly converted were being a major problem to the church because they were still celebrating the Unconquered Sun. Nothing the church did or said made a difference; the winter solstice was just too important a festival.

What the Christians did in this dilemma, was execute a move seen over and over in history. If you cant defeat them, and refuse to join them, at least make it appear that you defeated them. Sometime between AD 354 and 360 a few decades after Emperor Constantine?s conversion to Christianity, the celebration of Christmas was shifted to the day of the Unconquered Sun. But the tradition of the Sun god lived on a long time.

The Romans got the idea of the sun god from the Syrians. Their Sun god, Deus Sol Invictus, became the chief god of the Roman State under Aurelian. The Fathers of the Church however, insisted that Christ was the true Sun God, and said that any celebrations for the Sun, were really in celebration of Christ.

Both the Sun worshipers and the Christians saw the solstice/birthday as a transition from darkness to light. Christ conquered the darkness, as did the Sun. Since the theme was similar, the traditions of one blended well with the other.

People have still carried over these traditions, though their earlier pagan roots have mostly long been forgotten. "Christmas" trees are still brought into the house. Colored lights and candles light the darkness. The Yule Log is lit.

In some Christian churches, on Christmas eve, the electric lights are dimmed. In the semi- darkness, the Christmas story is told, and near the end, a single candle is lit. It signifies the movement out of the darkness.


Yeah-always light a candle in the yule log at Christmas-cw..

A VERY HAPPY CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR 2008 TO YOU ALL FROM ALL THE MEMBERS OF LYRA AND FROM KAG-GOOD TIDINGS......

Thursday, 13 December 2007

The local Weather for Kessingland....

The local weather for Kessingland-a fantastic site run by Adam:

www.weatherforlowestoft.co.uk/

Monday, 10 December 2007

The Christmas 'Star' an omen or nova-or something else?

The star of Bethlehem was not a star, so what was it?
That astronomical puzzle is among the questions posed by a planetarium show put on this month by the York County Astronomical Society at the York Learning Center in North York.
The 25-minute, pre-recorded show prompts stargazers to imagine the sky as it might have looked the night the shepherds kept watch over their flocks in the hills surrounding Bethlehem at the time of Jesus' birth (thought to be between 10 and 2 B.C.).
For centuries, historians, astronomers, curious Christians and others have speculated on what manner of natural heavenly light led the wise men to the manger in Bethlehem.
Some scholars have argued the story, found in the second chapter of Matthew, was not meant to be read as fact.
Others, including many Christians, believe the star actually appeared over historic Bethlehem, leading the wise men (Magi) from the east.
After seeing the YCAS show Saturday, 24-year-old Denny Daugherty, of Dover, said he found the proposed theories intriguing-
"It's just another way to appreciate God's creation," he said.
So what could account for the Christmas star?
It has been identified as a comet, Halley's Comet, an exploding star, meteors, or the planets and how they sometimes move into alignment - a Mars/Jupiter/Saturn conjunction, a triple conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn and the occultation of Jupiter by Venus.
The script of the North York show was written in the 1970s by a pair of amateur astronomers and educators, George Reed and Gerald Mallon. It leaves the impression that a conjunction of planets - what would appear from Earth to be a gathering of planets in the night sky - is the most favored scientific explanation for the star.
Astronomers have calculated that in 7 B.C., Jupiter and Saturn appeared to come very close to one another, making the planets appear to merge (Saturn was, of course, millions of miles deeper in space). Mars moved in a year later and created a grouping of Jupiter-Saturn-Mars.
The timing works out as historians estimate that Jesus was born a few years before the end of the B.C. era, so it's possible the planetary conjunction was the beacon that drew the Magi to Bethlehem.
"But there's no confirmation that's definitely it," said Mike Smith, senior astronomy educator at the North Museum at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster.
"It might be an intriguing theory, but it's made of too much speculation."
William Kreiger, assistant professor of earth science at York College, listed simpler explanation: Perhaps the Bethlehem star was a twinkling planet.
"You've got to take into context what the understanding of stars and the heavens and the earth in general 2,000 years ago," Kreiger said.
At that time, people sometimes mistook planets for very bright stars, he explained.
But Kreiger's recollection is that scientists' most oft-mentioned claim is an exploding star (nova or supernova), which flares up thousands of times brighter than a regular star and would have lasted months before fading (long enough for the Magi to get from Persia to Jerusalem).
However, a supernova would have left debris that astronomers would have noticed, said Todd Ullery, a YCAS member from Shrewsbury Township.
Other theories, such as Uranus and ball lightning, have been largely discredited:
Because meteors recur throughout the year, they wouldn't have been seen as a remarkable phenomenon in the night sky, Smith said.
Comets are rarer and not always visible with the naked eye. In antiquity, they were often looked upon as an evil omen, so the Magi probably wouldn't have deemed a comet divinely inspired, Smith said.
And a comet doesn't fit the fleeting star reference in Matthew: A comet would not move in a southerly direction or stop over a certain city or house.
Greg Carey, a New Testament scholar at Lancaster Theological Seminary, interprets the star as a literary device - one used to explain why Jesus' birth matters.
"In the ancient world people frequently claimed that the arrival of a new king or emperor was signaled by a new star," he said by e-mail.
"Matthew is probably appealing to that tradition in his story, saying that astrological portents attended Jesus' birth, just as they do his death later in the Gospel."
An article in Sky & Telescope magazine this month by student Aaron Adair suggests any search for an astronomical star of Bethlehem is fatally flawed - a misguided attempt to force science on a faith-based story.
He compares the astronomical theories behind the fabled star and concludes none are plausible when examined against the description of the star's behavior in Matthew's original Greek.
"Essentially, today's authors and planetarium directors proposing an astronomical star are two centuries behind in biblical scholarship," wrote Adair, a show presenter at Abrams Planetarium and a math, physics and astronomy student at Michigan State University.
"A believer can posit that the star was a local miracle that the Magi alone could see. A historian can only regard the tale as fictional or at least not investigable. In either case, astronomy is irrelevant."


The Star of Bethelehem:





3 Wise Men following the Star:



GOOD CLEAR SKIES HAPPY CHRISTMAS AND A GOOD 2008......

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Christmas Astrononomy....

The Winter Solstice Sunrise (this year on Saturday 22nd December 06.08 Hours)


Comets at Christmas and the warm fireside



Pluto and Charon the ice worlds



The Christmas Comet

Spudnik.....


Spudnik-LOL

Friday, 16 November 2007

Comets and Meteors 17P/Holmes

Information and pictures on this Comet at:

C&MS: 17P/Holmes

Friday, 9 November 2007

Comet 17P/Holmes


Kessingland Astronomy Group Project (K.A.G.P)

Lyra and Kag hope to establish a community observatory in the grounds of Kessingland Community Center now we have complete backing from the playing fields commitee as well as the Parish council, we hope to improve the area and put in a small nature reserve with hopeful backing from the community, businesses and schools as a whole and company funding from Adnams or other companies within the area-I hope within the next few months or into next year 2008 we can make some progress on establishing this project to go ahead-we may also approach pparc on funding as well.

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Thursday, 1 November 2007

COMETS I HAVE SEEN.....

Comets I have since since I started Astronomy and Skywatching back in 1996:
 
COMET HYAKUTAKE [C/1996 B2]
COMET HALE-BOPP [C/1996 01]
COMET LINEAR [C/1999 S4] (Disintegrated) 
COMET MCNAUGHT-HARTLEY [C/1999 T1]
COMET LINEAR [C/2001 A2]
COMET LINEAR [C/2000 WM1]
COMET IKEYA-ZHANG [C/2002 C1]
COMET SWAN [C/2002 O6]
COMET HOENIG [C/2002 04]
COMET KUDO-FUJIKAWA [C/2002 XC5]
COMET NEAT [C/2002 V1]
COMET JUELS-HOLVORCEM [C/2002 Y1] 
COMET BRADFIELD [C/2004 F4]
COMET MACHHOLZ [C/2004 Q2]
COMET POJMANSKI [C/2006/ A1] 
COMET SWAN [C/2006 M4]
COMET MCNAUGHT [C/2006 P1]
COMET LINEAR [C/2006 VZ13]
COMET LONEOS [C/2007 F1]
COMET HOLMES [17P]
 
20 in all-GOOD CLEAR SKIES....

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Drawing of Comet 17P/Holmes by John Perring (Lyra treasurer)


Major comet outburst by Comet P/Holmes

Astrocomet
 
Comet 17P/Holmes....  

What a sight up there in Perseus-magnificent, does this Comet have a reactive core that when it gets close to the Sun the chemical composition inside it flares up and throws out or vents more gases-the same thing happened in 1892 which led to its discovery, if it is 1.62 au from the Earth (245 million km/further away than the Sun) the whole Comet from the core as well as venting gases must be almost as big as the Moon to reports that have put it at 3 quaters of a million miles across to the outer nebulous regions, there are reports that the total brightness is unsure but at its flare up on the 24/10 estimates put it at Magnitude 10 although this has now stabilised to around Magnitude 2.3 to 2.5 and how bright it will get now is also unsure, Observing it through my 20X100 binoculars the central Coma looks like it is under some drastic changes venting out gases to cause the almost circular nebulous outer region-it looks to me vaguely a yellowish colour with a slight hint of orange but this could have been the streetlighting interferrence in my area causing this, an amazing sight even with small Binoculars and much worth going out to have a look at.
 
The Comet is visible in the North East after dark about halfway up in the sky-much better to locate with Binoculars-it looks like a small white spot in the sky but unmissable- 

GOOD CLEAR SKIES......

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

[BAA 00313] Superoutburst of Comet P/Holmes (17P)

======================================================================
BAA electronic bulletin No. 00313             http://www.britastro.org/
======================================================================

In the past 24 hours, a spectacular event has taken place involving the
periodic comet P/Holmes (17P).  Its predicted brightness is about magnitude
17 however last night it was discovered by the Spanish amateur, Juan Antonio
HenrĂ­quez Santana to have undergone a tremendous outburst having attained
magnitude 10 at that time (Oct 24 0h UT).  It was a similar outburst in 1892
that led to its discovery.

Latest reports (Seiichi Yoshida, Oct 24 13h UT) indicate that it is stellar
in appearance and 3RD MAGNITUDE in brightness: so bright in fact that it is
readily visible to the unaided eye.  That's almost one million times
brighter than normal !

Fortunately for UK-based observers the comet is well placed for observation
and is visible throughout the entire night.  Its position at 0h UT tonight
(Oct 24/25) will be:

R.A . 03h 53.0m,   Dec.  +50 08'

Its appearance will probably be that of a fairly bright naked-eye star
moving at an apparent rate of close to 10 arcmin per day at PA 298 deg.  It
is currently 1.63 AU (245 million km) from the Earth.

Observations are strongly encouraged and should be reported to Jonathan
Shanklin, Director of the Comet Section.

Clear Skies
Richard Miles

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

CLOCKS BACK ONE HOUR AT 02.00HOURS 28TH OCTOBER

Try this site for all the updates to this weekend of the change from Summer back to Winter: http://wwp.greenwichmeantime.com/timezone/europe/uk/
Yes the clocks go back one hour from 02.00 hours Sunday morning and the cold grey sky days will be back with us once again-basically I get all my radio clocks that I've got in the house and put them together to see this happen, a little "s" in one corner of the LCD for BST and a Sun shape in another that dissappears when the time signal arrives to herald the start of winter-oh well it'll soon be Christmas lol-
GOOD CLEAR SKIES........

Saturday, 13 October 2007

LYRA AND KAG COMET REPORT AND UPCOMING EVENTS FOR OCTOBER AND LATE 2007.....

COMETS:
There are around 11 Comets visible for Professional Astronomers at the
moment with Magnitude ranges 6 to 14 with Comet Loneos (2007) F1 being the best one to observe for now although a bit close to the Sun for amatures like ourselves to see, it is around Magnitude 6 and should be visible for half an hour after sunset and around 50 minutes before Sunrise so I will spend the next few days looking for this one as its the best one to look out for at the moment, 29P/Schwassmann Wachmann is around Magnitude 12 and is a little out of reach for us Amature Astronomers-if I do see Comet Loneos I will send out Emails of where to look for it and any other Comets that may suddenly appear.

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ASTRONOMICAL EVENTS FOR THE LATTER PART OF 2007
21st October sees the peak of the Orion Meteors with a possible ZHR (Zenith hourly rate of 50 to 60 either side of That Sunday and over that weekend although a Gibbous Moon may interfere slightly with observing until the early hours, a week later the clocks will go back 1 hour at 02.00 Sunday October 28th and I think by then the Summer will be well and truly over, A day before that happens though on the 27th October there will be an Occultation of the Pleiades starting around 23.00 hours U.T or around midnight in Laymans terms when 5 of the bright stars in the cluster will re-appear or emmerse from the dark limb of the Moon-for timings see http://www.popastro.com/sections/occ/lunocc2007.htm
In November this year the Leonid Meteors should peak on Sunday 18th of November around 03.00 hours U.T and this year should be favourable although another one day past first quarter Gibbous Moon will be in the way until the early hours interfering with observations.
Into December and on Friday 14th December the Geminid Meteors should peak with a possible ZHR of 120 around 16.45 hours U.T worth looking out for over that weekend and the Ursids will peak around 21st to 22nd December with a ZHR of 10 and on very rare occassions reaching up to 50, Friday 21st December sees another Occultation of the Pleiades this time starting earlier in the evening at 21.22 hours U.T and ending at 21.51 hours U.T, The following morning on Saturday 22nd December sees in the winter Solstice at 06.08 hours U.T and on Christmas eve Monday 24th December sees a graze of Mars (at Opposition) along the full Moon and will have the Red planet almost touching its Limb-well worth looking at with small binoculars if you have them-on to Christmas and the new year and I wish you a peaceful and quiet one.
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PLANETS:
Mercury-will be Difficult to view during October and will be very difficult to locate low on the Horizon at Sunset with Inferior Conjunction occurring on the 23rd October, it will only start to re-appear again in the early morning November skies around the 8th shining at Magnitude 0.5 close to the star Spica in the Constellation of Virgo, Mercury should reach 15 degrees before sunrise around this time and will swiftly move back to the Sun reaching Superior Conjunction on the 17th December returning to the Evening skies but once again going back to an unfavourable apparition.
Venus-Now shines in the early morning dawn skies at Magnitude -4.5 and is a glittering white Diamond for early risers at the moment looking at the Eastern sky, on the 28th October Venus will be at 46 Degrees West of the Sun and shining at Magnitude - 4.4 when it will also be close to Saturn and Regulus in the Constellation of Leo making a small triangle, at the end of 2007 Venus will rise more than 3 hours before the Sun,
Mars-is now well placed in the early morning skies And as the winter approaches will be an unmissable site for observers
Jupiter-now only visible in the early evening South Western twilight and will gradually be consumed by it during November and into December, Conjunction with the Sun will occur on 23rd December
Saturn-Now emerging out of the morning twilight and will have a better showing in 2008.
Uranus and Neptune-are now observable this Quarter-Uranus is at
magnitude 5.9 still in Eastern Aquarius and Neptune is still in Eastern Capricornus
at Magnitude 7.9-worth looking at if you have finder charts.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
THE MOON:
First quarter Moon will be on the 19th October, it will be full on the 26th, last quarter will be on 1st November and new Moon will be on the 9th of November, first quarter will be on the 17th and full Moon will occur on the 24th November as well as the 24th December.
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Lighting up times:
20th October 18.27 hours U.T, and Astronomical Twilight ending at 19.00 hours U.T
1st November 17.04 hours U.T and Astronomical twilight ending at 18.25 hours U.T
1st December 16.25 hours U.T and Astronomical Twilight ending at 18.00 hours U.T
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Websites:
http://www.heavens-above.com/
http://www.popastro.com/
www.britastro.org/baa/
www.bbc.co.uk/science/space/spaceguide/skyatnight/
www.nasa.gov/
http://hubblesite.org/
http://www.skyandtelescope.com/
www.spaceweather.com

GOOD CLEAR SKYWATCHING FUN...

Sputnik:




Comet Loneos 2007 F1

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

OCCULTATION OF THE PLEIADES

Occultation of the Pleiades early in the morning of 7/8/2007:

Quite mild early this morning looking out of my open bedroom window with my
20x60 Russian mounted binoculars at the re-appearance from behind the
dark limb of the Moon (which was earthshine lit and I could see some
of the seas or Mare in the Brownish yellow colour of it) of some of
the stars of the large open star cluster-the pleiades (M45) the sky
was reasonably clear and with a gentle cooling breeze as well as a bit
of peace and quiet to do my observing, I think Magnitude +4 stars
could just be picked out with the naked eye and seeing conditions were
quite good. I did some timings of the re-appearances and this is what
I got: (all times are universal time U.T)-
>>>
Eletctra-re appeared at 00:48:05 sec
Celaeno-re appeared at 00:57:38 sec
Taygeta-re appeared at 01:08:10 sec
Maia-re appeared at 01:22:53 sec
Asterope-re appeared at 01:24.44 sec
>>>
A good 40 Minutes or so of observing done and I enjoyed it very much-I
wish things like this took place more frequently-lovely and peaceful-
GOOD CLEAR SKIES ETC.........

Thursday, 24 May 2007

KAG MEETING ON FRIDAY EVENING AND LYRA MEETINGS REGULARLY........

KESSINGLAND ASTRONOMY GROUP (KAG)
I will be doing my usual (KAG) Friday evening Skywatches starting at 20hrs onwards at Kessingland community center playing field tennis courts, clear skies and weather permitting-come and see Jupiter and hopefully some deep sky objects that are on view now the weather is improving-you are very welcome to come along if you wish to just bring yourself or any observing equipment you have be it Binoculars or a telescope-there is NO COMMITMENT, there are also Lyra skywatch meetings at Kirkley Observatory and the Sunrise Inn on Corton Road in North Lowestoft clear skies and weather permitting-ALL WELCOME,

GOOD CLEAR SKIES FOR EVERYONE................




--
Colin James Watling
Astronomer and head of the Comet section for LYRA (Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Regional Astronomers)

Monday, 14 May 2007

REAL SKYWATCHING FUN (THE MOST INTERESTING PLACE ON EARTH).......

I thought I would send the talk I did on the 10/2/05 you may like to read this one as well.... 

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There is nothing more awe inspiring than to look up into the night sky on
any clear night from a dark location and see the vastness and array of stars
from horizon to horizon
as you might know I have been doing astronomy for a number of years now and
with being part of my local astronomical group Lyra I have multiplied my
understanding of this very rewarding science
my equipment that I use is a 4.5 inch Tal reflector telescope and a pair of
20x60 binoculars, both pieces of equipment are Russian made and are very
sturdily built, before I start a nights observing I will firstly have a look
out of my front and back upstairs windows in my house to check the weather
and see if the sky is clear, the main reason I do this to look for any
distant cloud(s) that could quickly sweep in and ruin a nights observing
this has happened to me before and on one night I had all my equipment
climatised outside and ready to settle down for a nights observing when
suddenly a cloud appeared over the rooftop followed by another and so on,
within 5 or so minutes the sky was totally covered from horizon to horizon
with thick cloud and all I could do was put the kettle on and forget about a
night under the stars, an hour later it was raining but I had got my
equipment indoors and re-climatised long before then
after I have checked the skies from the upstairs windows I go out into the
garden to check the amount of dampness around because sometimes with a lot
of dew falling it can cover the lenses on the binoculars and this also has
happened to me before
the conditions outside that are ideal for me is a dry clear night cold but
bearable and no wind or dampness (dew) but the thing with really clear crisp
nights is that they are extremely cold and usually with a frost
so the thing is to wrap up warm with several layers of clothes 2 or 3 pairs
of thin socks and thermal underclothes if you have them, a thermal hat helps
as a lot of body warmth is lost from the head, a good idea is to wear many
thin layers of clothes to trap body warmth
fingerless gloves are an invaluable thing to have for changing lenses,
operating the focus mount and switching on the torch as well as the kettle 
I also have a thermal waistcoat which goes over my feather filled jacket for
extra warmth, do not forget to fill the kettle with water and have it pre
boiled so when you come indoors feeling cold it does not take so long to
boil again, I prefer packet cup "a" soup but tea and coffee are just as
good
I rarely drink alcohol when observing as this is a diuretic and can make you
feel opposite (colder)
after I have checked out the back garden and had a good look around the sky
for the ideal conditions I go back indoors to start getting my equipment
climatised, the coldest rooms in my house is the toilet or the kitchen so I
turn the heating down and open the windows in either of these rooms to take
the temperature down, alternatively I could leave them in the outside shed
I usually climatise my equipment for about an hour to an hour and a half and
I have rarely had any dewing problems with my reflector
I enjoy using my telescope it has a very sound mounting and would probably
keep upright in a strong gale, these mountings were used by the Russians to
test small amateur rockets because of the stability and strength of them,
in fact the telescope is so well made, strong and heavy I have to take it
outside in 2 pieces although it is worth it
when the equipment is all climatised including the lenses for the telescope
which I put on the windowsill near the open window to climatise as well I
pre boil the kettle get into my warm clothes and switch on a small red light
above my door so I can see to take my equipment outside, I wait about 5 or
so minutes to get dark eye adaption but this can take up to an hour to
become fully dark eye adapted, in the 5 minutes i switch the radio on or go
outside to check if the climatisation is right on my equipment and it is not
dewing up, I use a flashlight torch to look down the barrel of the telescope
to check the main mirror and check the 4 lenses of the binoculars mounted on
a tripod
even with the heat from your face or if you breath on the lenses they can
mist up but moving away from it for a minute or so it will return to normal
viewing
the trouble with standing on solid concrete is that your body heat is soon
conducted away so it is a good idea to stand on an old rolled up carpet or a
block of wood if you have one, I sometimes put my equipment on the grass in
my garden if it is not too wet
when everything is set up and ready to go and I am comfortable I will begin
observing and basically I will look at anything and everything whatever is
on show for the time of year although my main subject is comets
I have seen roughly over half the messier objects but I am still looking out
for more as my equipment is capable of this
I get a lot out of astronomy and being part of Lyra and some of my nights
observing the sky have gone right through to the early morning twilight
when the stars fade into the morning sky, during the warm summer evenings I
use a sun lounger with arm rests which lies right back and I watch the sky
flicker by with my 8-20x24 zoom binoculars, it can be interesting to see
what messier objects that can be picked out in the azure blue summer sky
from late may to late august the deep sky objects become just about
impossible to see but there is still the planets or the moon to observe
usually low in Sagittarius around this time of year
there is always something happening and always something up there to look
out for-and I am very sure I will be for many years to come.
Colin James Watling 20/1/2005
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GOOD CLEAR SKYWATCHING FUN...

Friday, 11 May 2007

Sky At Night 50th Anniversary Party

What a friend of mine Tommi Worton sent to me in an Email and told me at the meeting last night when I see him-I wish I'd have been there...

Hi

Had another fantastic couple of days with the Sky At Night crew down at Patrick's place for the 50th Anniversary filming. Two days of partying until 4am each day. Caught up with a few old friends and made some new ones, what an awesome couple of days. I will be writing a full report and posting some images on my web site some time this week after I have caught up on some sleep. Here are a couple to be going on with me and my Mate Terry Pratchet, and me and my other mate Brian May.


Cheers

Tommi

Tommi Worton: (his websites)
Broadland Aikido:








Tommi and Brian May:

Tommy and Terry Pratchet:



Tommi and Patrick:



Weather Vane at Sir Patrick Moores house:




50th birthday party cake:






Cutting the cake:

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Regional Astronomers

LYRA GOES TO THE MOON: Members of Lyra (including me in the grey jersey) looking at Moon samples brough back from the Apollo Missions

ANYONE OUT THERE INTERESTED IN JOINING OUR SOCIETY?

Honorary President: Jim Kaler Professor Emeritus of Astronomy Phone (217) 333-9382
Chairman: Leonard Brundle Telephone 01502585916
Secretary: Richard Chilvers Email: goodgoat@tiscali.co.uk
Treasurer: John Perring Email: jonpy@tesco.com
Committee members: John Meadows: 01502560923
Colin Watling: 01502741875 Email: astrocomera@googlemail.com (KAG and head of the Comet section)
Kevin Wright: 07821626669 (mobile)

Lyra is Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Regional Astronomers based in Lowestoft Suffolk U.K and we have frequent Monthly meetings at the Sunrise Inn on Corton Road in North Lowestoft, Lyra also has a purpose built observatory containing a 10 inch reflector telescope situated in the grounds of Kirkley high school in Kirkley run Lowestoft, this Observatory was originally opened by Sir Patrick Moore and has recently been renovated and restored, the telescope is now operational and will soon be motorised for star tracking, you do not have to own a telescope or have a great knowledge about Astronomy to enjoy the awesome beauty of the night sky, knowledge comes with time and much can be seen by the naked eye or with a pair of binoculars before progressing to an astronomical telescope, we have professional Astronomers give lectures to its members and these meetings are also open to the public, anyone is welcome to join the Society and if you wish for more information just call:

Richard Chilvers (Lyra Secretary) on 01502574010
John Perring (Treasurer) on 01502563670
Colin Watling is head of the Comet section for Lyra and KAG co-ordinator (Kessingland Astronomy Group) which is run on a Friday Evening for more information contact 07979928710 (mobile text only) to be put onto the text messaging service for Astronomy info and texts also Email: astrocomera@googlemail.com or telephone 01502741875 evenings preferred-
GOOD CLEAR SKYWATCHING FUN.......