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Saturday, May 30

A successful CAS publicity event

Thanks to everyone who came along today to support CAS and spread the word about the society and astronomy in general. We managed to put on an impressive display in the church hall with plenty of pictures from previous society events, members images and information on the latest space missions.

Things got off to a slow start, with the good weather and a couple of football cup finals working against us, and keeping people away.

However, things started picking up after a while and literally hotted up once Robin and Peter arrived with telecsopes to allow people to look at the sun. We then switched to 'sidewalk astronomy' encouraging everyone walking past to stop and have a look. A much more succesful strategy as the pictures below illustrate . . .

It was really clear that many people just walking down the street were interested in astronomy and fascinated to see the sun through Robin's hydrogen alpha solar scope. That proved a real hit as we were lucky enough to have a solar flare several times the size of the Earth visible on the edge of the solar disc.

So we answered many varied questions on astronomy, space and sometimes vaguely related subjects, and people went on their way hopefully a little better informed. Perhaps we'll see some of those people again at CAS meetings.

So thanks again to all CAS Members who turned out to help and to everyone who spend a little of their sunny Saturday stopping to take an interest.

CAS event underway!

Just a reminder that we are down in Cockermouth today promoting CAS at the United Reform Church.

Come and join us if you get chance

-- Mobile post

Thursday, May 28

CAS Event on Saturday

On Saturday 30th May (this Saturday) we are taking part in an event in Cockermouth organised by the Probus Society to publicise local societies. The event is in the United Reformed Church Hall on main street in Cockermouth and will be open to the public from 10am until 4pm.

CAS will have a small display and members will be on hand to answer questions and give demonstrations.

If you are a member and can spare some time please turn up any time and lend a hand. If you are not a member then of course please come along and find out more about us.

I look forward to seeing you there.


Wednesday, May 27

May 2009 Meeting Report

It was good to see such a good turn out for our May meeting. We covered a lot of ground in the meeting, spending so much time debating the latest news and literally 'life the universe and everything' that we ran out of time for a refreshment break!

Following the news round up Jeremy gave us an update on the Hubble repair mission and some of the background to the amazing space telescope. After that Chris provided an update on ESA's latest missions Herschel and Planck.

Thanks again to Dennis for producing a comprehensive newsletter, I'll post a pdf version as a separate post.

Tuesday, May 26

Help needed on Saturday

I'll mention this again tonight but a quick request for help now. On Saturday we have a table booked at a Cockermouth Probus Society event in town to promote local societies.

We need people to turn up for an hour or two to man the stall and answer questions etc. We also need to put together some display material. I have quite a bit we could use.

If you can help please let me know ASAP and I'll put a rota together.



-- Mobile post

Monday, May 25

Veil Nebula

The Western portion of the Veil Nebula, also referred to as the Witch's Broom, or by its proper catalogue reference NGC 6960, is a large relatively faint supernova remnant in the constellation Cygnus.

The nebula emits primarily in OIII (doubly ionized oxygen) and without an OIII filter it is notoriously difficult to see visually or capture digitally. The following exposure is the result of 2 hours of imaging with my Canon 300D taken last night.

William Optics ZS80II
Canon 300D
24 x 5 minute exposures (ISO400)

Saturday, May 23

May CAS meeting

Don't forget that Tuesday is our May meeting. This month we'll be getting an update on some of the latest space missions including the successful Hubble servicing mission.

Don't forget to bring along details of any observations you been making.

See you there


Wednesday, May 13

Focussing with a Bhatinov mask

A couple of months ago I brought along a Bhatinov mask to the CAS meeting. I've started to use it to help with the sometimes tricky and always crucial task of focussing for photography.

You can download a mask specific to your equipment setup, print it, laminate it and away you go for about 50p!

The results of the mask are fantastic. It's incredibly easy to use and provides pin-sharp pictures.
The principle is that a diffraction pattern is created, with three (well six really) spikes. The central spike moves laterally between the two outer spikes to the left or the right as you move the focus. When you are in perfect focus the middle spike is centred between the other two as shown in the image below (taken last night).


I got a chance to shoot some pics of NGC7000 (North American Nebula) last night...The sky was really gorgeous until about 1.30am when the moon rose and spoiled any more deep sky work.

As you can see, I didn't get the framing of the shot right...and cut off the bottom of the nebula. Never mind, next time!

NGC7000 "North American Nebula"
William Optics ZS80II
Canon 300D
EQ6 Pro
7 x 10 minute exposures @ ISo400
Aligned and stacked with ImagesPlus using Adaptive Addition and DDP
Noise reduction with Neat Image and levels/colour balance in Photoshop

Tuesday, May 12

May 2009 CAS Newsletter

Dennis has kindly put together another comprehensive newsletter, which you can download by clicking the following link.

The newsletter gives a sky map for May and points to some highlights for the month, including Leo, Saturn and several Messier galaxies.

If you get the chance before the May meeting (25th May) then try and spot some of the objects mentioned in the letter and bring along your observations (oral, sketch or photo...) for discussion.


Monday, May 4

AGM report

Thanks to everyone who turned up for our AGM last week. After a quick news round up we progressed through the formal business of the day as quickly as possible.

We confirmed our constitution and approved the annual accounts. The new committee for 2009 was elected this now comprises;

Chair: Chris
Secretary: Jeremy
Treasurer: Dave

Plus other committee members;

Ben & Chris

Thanks to those people for stepping forward and to those standing down for all their support over the last few years.

After the formal business Robin gave us a report from a recent conference he attended including news of a new exoplanet announced at the event.