Welcome to the Cockermouth Astronomical Society website. Hopefully you'll find all the information you need about our society and astronomy in West Cumbria here. If not contact us.

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Saturday, October 27

Amazing pictures by Robert Gendler

If you want to have a look at some stunning pictures, visit Robert Gendler's home page (http://www.robgendlerastropics.com/).

The level of detail is incredible and shows how the processing and combination of many hours worth of data can bring out the true size of familiar nebulae.

Wednesday, October 24

Naked eye comet suddenly visible !

A surprise naked eye comet is apparently visible in the northern skies at the moment. Up until yesterday Comet Holmes was magnitude 17, yesterday it apparently brightened unexpectedly to magnitude 3 (that over 400,000 times increase in brightness!). Astronomers have no idea what is going on, the comet was closest to the sun back in May and is moving away from the sun now.

Stuart has all the details and finder charts over at Cumbrian Sky. Have a look and see if you can see anything.


Tuesday, October 23

Supernova remanants

A more elusive jewel in the sky is the large and faint expanse of the Veil Nebula in Cygnus. This comprises of NGC 6960 (close to the bright star 52 Cygnus), NGC6992/95 (the brighter eastern region) and NGC 6974/79 (the fainter upper central portion).

This is the remnants of a supernova event that occurred between 5 and 30,000 years ago, depending on who you believe.

It is located approximately 1,400 light years away and covers approximately 3 degrees of sky.
This image is a composite of 19 exposures, ranging from 60 seconds to 5 minutes each at ISO1600. The image was taken using a 200mm f/5.6 telephoto with a Canon 300D.

Perseus Double Cluster

Currently well placed for observing is the beautiful double cluster in Perseus, properly known as NGC 869 & 884. This area is rich in open clusters and wonderful chains of stars, well worth a browse with binoculars or a low power eyepiece.

They also come out incredibly well on relatively short exposure photos, such as the one below taken on the 18th October 2007. This is an average of 4 x 2 minute exposures at ISO 400, at prime focus of my 6" f/5.

The clusters are a few hundred light-years appart, at a distance of over 7000 light years from us. They are both quite young at 5.6 and 3.2 million years old.

Monday, October 22

October CAS Meeting - Look ahead

Our next CAS meeting is on Tuesday 30th October, that's next week. Our October meeting is traditionally given over to an 'equipment night'. Over the past few years we have concentrated on a beginners guide to telescopes and binoculars. This year we are trying something a little different.

The theme of the evening will be observing equipment & projects. The idea is that as many people a possible bring along some equipment to either show others or ask others about, if you have new equipment you need advice on.

Examples might be; a photography set up you are using, a new telescope you are struggling with, some DIY upgrades you've made to your kit etc. The more the merrier.

Please give it some though an if possible email me ( chris@cockermouthastronomy.co.uk ) to let me know if you are bringing something.

Of course we will also have the usual news round up and refreshments.