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My Main Telescope - C14 and Paramount ME

My new Paramount MyT and 8-inch Ritchey-Chretien Telescope

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My Meade 12 inch SCT on a CGEM (Classic) Mount

My 4 inch Meade Refractor with Sky Watcher Guidescope and ZWO camera on a CGEM (Classic) Mount

Skywatcher Star Adventurer Mount with Canon 40D


My Solar setup using a DSLR and Mylar Filter on my ETX90

DSLR attached to ETX90. LiveView image of 2015 partial eclipse on Canon 40D

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 I try to log my observing and related activities in a regular blog - sometimes there will be a delay but I usually catch up. An index of all my blogs is on the main menu at the top of the page with daily, weekly or monthly views. My Twitter feed is below. I am also interested in photograping wildlife when I can and there is a menu option above to look at some of my images. I try to keep the news feeds from relevant astronomical sources up to date and you will need to scroll down to find these.

The Celestron 14 is mounted on a Paramount ME that I have been using for about 10 years now - you can see that it is mounted on a tripod so is a portable set up. I still manage to transport it on my own and set it all up even though I have just turned 70! It will run for hours centering galaxies in the 12 minute field even when tripod mounted.


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Day 5 - R Corona Borealis - Identifying Galaxies in Andromeda - ARP 113 and Halton Arp.


A short walk this morning with my camera. The image below shows my truck next to the Cabrera Arch with my current residence opposite (yellow dome and round window).

Although the day started well by 6pm clouds had moved in and no astronomy possible. Spent a lot of time on twitter and gained 10 more followers all interested in astronomy. I spent some time setting up my Canon 40D DSLR for when my telescope equipment is set up.

I was going to use the AAVSO VPhot software to solve and do some photometry on some of my historic images but it seems to have an error tonight. I diverted off on the AAVSO web site and was looking at the variable star R Corona Borealis. This star seems to have a "continuous" magnitude of around 6 but then fades rapidly at random intervals. It normally recovers fairly quickly. In 2007 it suddenly faded and has not recovered, still hovering around the mag 12.5 area. (I will image this when I can!) It is a supergiant star that is low in hydrogen - rich in carbon and it is thought that the light from the star is being dimmed from the "sooty" carbon being expelled. After a while radiation pressure pushes the sooty dust away and the star should return to normal brightness.

Unable to do any practical astronomy I looked back at an image I had taken of a group of galaxies in Andromeda and decided to work out what they all were.

They are all close to NGC 70. The image was taken with my usual setup and is a 30 second image taken on 18th October 2012. I have seen a reference somewhere to this group lying at 300 million Light Years distance but would need to check that. There are more galaxies in this group - the image goes to about mag 16 so they are in the 17 to 18 mag region so not detected by my 30s image! The group is known as ARP 113. Halton Arp died just weeks ago in December 2013 - read all about him in the Wikipedia Halton Arp page. Also look at the Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies Wikipedia page.

 The details of the image are givien in the plate solution below obtained using SkyX software.

Having said that I used my usual setup  for this image I realise that as this was taken in 2012 - prior to my changing to a 0.8X focal reducer - it was in fact taken with the 0.63X reducer resulting in a 14.75 minute square image. For more detail on this group and NGC 70 in particular go to the Nasa/Ipac Extragalactic Database.