My Astronomy


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My New Book May 2018My previous e-book



My Telescopes

My Main Telescope - C14 and Paramount ME

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

MyT Hand Controller

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

Astronomy Blog Index
About the Site

 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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APASS Update

I received an email this morning from the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) telling me that the AAVSO Photometric All Sky Survey (APASS) catalog had been updated yesterday so that it now contained 50 million stars with measured photometric magnitudes. In the past it has been difiicult for amateurs wishing to measure the photometric magnitude of a new or variable object because of the unavailability of comparison and check stars in the same field as the target object. APASS greatly increases the chance of being able to do that so is potentially a major step forward in advancing science. I was working on the open cluster  NGC 2477 and imported APASS stars within a 3 degree diameter around the cluster. I set up database using these APASS stars and added this to the SkyX software. The result was over 8000 APASS stars and the resulting image with a 3 degree diameter of these looked like this!

The individual APASS stars are labelled and a path is shown in blue to move the telescope from APASS 1 to 8177 - if I wanted to do that. This illustrates the vast number of comparison stars that are now available to the amateur photometrist.