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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

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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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Camille Flammarion on Amateur Astronomy - Comet ISON


Using my Kindle I have been reading a bit of "Astronomy for Amateurs" by Flammarion published in 1910. This is how he  sums it up:

"What greater delight can be conceived, on a fine spring evening, at the hour when the crescent moon is shining in the West amid the last glimmer of twilight, than the contemplation of that grand and silent spectacle of the stars stepping forth in sequence in the vast Heavens? All sounds of life die out upon the earth, the last notes of the sleepy birds have sunk away, the Angelus of the church hard by has rung the close of day. But if life is arrested around us, we may seek it in the Heavens. These incandescing orbs are so many points of interrogation suspended above our heads in the inaccessible depths of space.... Gradually they multiply. There is Venus, the white star of the shepherd. There Mars, the little celestial world so near our own. There the giant Jupiter. The seven stars of the Great Bear seem to point out the pole, while they slowly revolve around it.... What is this nebulous light that blanches the darkness of the heavens, and traverses the constellations like a celestial path? It is the Galaxy, the Milky Way, composed of millions on millions of suns!... The darkness is profound, the abyss immense.... See! Yonder a shooting star glides silently across the sky, and disappears!..."

On the subject of Comets Flammarion says:


"Glittering, swift-footed heralds of Immensity, these comets with golden wings glide lightly through Space, shedding a momentary illumination by their presence. Whence come they? Whither are they bound?

What problems they propound to us, when, as in some beautiful display of pyrotechnics, the arch of Heaven is illuminated with their fantastic light!"

There is an image of the Great Comet of 1858 in the book.


Of course we were all waiting for the "Great Comet of 2013" - otherwise known as Comet ISON

However in reality it was the great disappointment of 2013 as it did not perform as we hoped.

I took this image remotely of ISON in 2012.

This shows its movement over 2 hours:

This is a very brief ISON video of Comet ISON from Hubble.

and this one shows it passing the Sun

NASA Description:

Published on 29 Nov 2013

"Continuing a history of surprising behavior, material from Comet ISON appeared on the other side of the sun on the evening on Nov. 28, 2013, despite not having been seen in observations during its closest approach to the sun.

This movie shows Comet ISON orbiting around the sun -- represented by the white circle -- and covers Nov. 27, 2013, 3:30 p.m. EST, to Nov. 29, 2013, 8:30 a.m. EST. ISON looks smaller as it streams away, but scientists believe its nucleus may still be intact."