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Thursday, March 25

New Solar activity

Finally there are signs that the sun is waking from its prolonged period of inactivity.

Sunspot 1057 appeared a couple of days ago and has already thrown a large Coronal Mass Ejection out into space (but not in our direction). The spot is still growing and as it turns to face earth we could be in for increased chances of aurorae.

Check out www.spaceweather.com for more.

Tuesday, March 23

Cloudy skies

Just thought I'd share my frustration with you all...Got up at 1.20am to do some observing, only for high cloud to roll in. Do I wait it out or go to bed?? That's twice in the last week this has happened!

Sunday, March 21

March CAS meeting

Hi all,

The March 2010 CAS meeting will be held on Tuesday 30th March with the following agenda:
  • Astronomy & Spaceflight Newsround by Chris Darwin


  • Introduction to Astrophysics by Dennis Kelly
    - Measuring the distance to the Galactic Centre
    - Calculating the earth's orbital velocity
  • An Alternative History of Astronomy by Ian Smith

The meeting starts at 7.30pm, hall open from around 7.15pm, in St Joseph's Church Hall Cockermouth.

Anyone who has done any visual or photographic observations over the last month is welcome to bring along pictures or talk about their experiences.

See you on the 30th.


Sunday, March 14

Sunspot 1054

Thanks to Robin, I've borrowed his Coronado PST solar telescope and mylar white light filter.

I couldn't resist a quick photo through the white light filter when the sun peeked through the clouds this afternoon.

Unfortunately I couldn't get a decent image through the h-alpha PST scope, although visually I could see some small prominences around the limb. Really great - first time for me.

Thursday, March 11

Jellyfish Close-Up

A crop of the previous image is shown below to bring out some more detail in IC443, which is the remains of a supernova with an age range of 3000 to 30,000 years.

Look here for a narrowband image of the "head" showing spectacular detail in the shockfront of the expanding explosion:


Take part in the Globe at Night

Each year there is a global campaign to check on the status of our night skies. The survey is carried out by volunteers (that could be you!) from around the globe and needs very little astronomical knowledge to take part in.

Basically it involves counting the number of stars visible with the naked eye in the constellation of Orion. All the details are at the Globe at Night website, where you also leave your results. We could also compare our local results at the March meeting.

As we seem to be having some good clear weather at the moment I'd encourage everyone to get out there and take part.


Tuesday, March 9

Cosmic Jellyfish

IC443, commonly referred to as the Jellyfish Nebula can be seen swimming to the right of the bright yellow star Propus in this image.

William Optics 80mm with 0.8x reducer
Canon 300D modified
Autoguided EQ6
12 x 10 minute exposures @ ISO800
I took the image last night (8th March 2010) in a brief 2 hour period of clear skies. I plan to take several more hours to bring out the depth of the surrounding nebulosity to the East of the Jellyfish.
The image processing consisted of dark (3), flat (10) and bias (10) frame calibration, Extended Addition and Digital Development (DDP) stretch. The image was tweaked for noise (NeatImage) and colour balance in Photoshop.

Tuesday, March 2

Institute of Physics Lecutre

"Searching In The Dark" - a talk on the ZEPLIN collaboration searching for dark matter particles in salt & pot ash mines in the North East of England.

The speaker is Alex Murphy of the University of Edinburgh.

The venue is the Samuel Lindow Building, UCLAN's Westlakes Campus.

The time is 6.30pm on the 23rd March.

If you're interested then email: WestCumbriaIOP@googlemail.com