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Monday, November 28

November Meeting

The next CAS meeting will be on Tuesday 29th November 2011 at 7.30pm.

Hope to see you there.

Wednesday, November 16

Leonids Meteor Shower

Don't forget that the next couple of nights is the time for viewing the Leonid meteor shower. This year there is quite a bit of interference from the moon so the best time for viewing is probably around midnight. Just go outside and look up. The meteors should appear to come from the constellation Leo, but you could see them from anywhere really. This is one occasion where a telescope or binoculars will hinder you. All you need is a nice, wide, clear view of the sky.

Good luck,


Tuesday, November 8

California Nebula over 5 hours

I took my longest ever exposure this weekend, lasting a total of 5.5 hours in an attempt to capture the NGC1499 (aka California Nebula) under bright moonlight.

The secret to this image is the use of a Hydrogen-Alpha filter to cut out all wavelengths bar a narrow band 12 nanometers (FWHM) in the region of 656nm wavelength. This effectively cuts out all emission from mercury and sodium lights and general sky (and moon) glow. The downside is that although it does transmit 97% of the h-alpha light, prolonged exposures are required due to a dimming of the image.

NGC 1499, California Nebula (central potion)
Skywatcher MN190
Canon EOS300D modified
EQ6 autoguided with a Toucam Pro webcam & PHD

20 x 15 minute H-Alpha subs
5 x 5 minute colour subs (in bright moonlight)

Processing of the image in ImagesPlus included flatframe, bias and dark noise reduction and a simple average stack, followed by Digital Development Processing (DDP algorithm).

Further image adjustment including H-Alpha/RGB combination to produce a "colour" image. Noise reduction, nebula enhancement, star reduction and diffraction spikes were applied using Noel Carboni's Astronomy Tools. Further contrast enhancement was applied with a high-pass filter of several iterations.

Friday, November 4

Dark Sky Observing in Ennerdale

On the weekend of 25th to 27th November the Low Gillerthwaite Field Centre in Ennerdale are holding an astronomy event to encourage people to take advantage of their newly awarded Dark Sky Discovery Site status. We have been asked to get involved by providing some talks and exhibitions on afternoon of 26th November and helping with observing on that evening.

So we need as many members as possible to come along and join in with this event. You don't need to be an expert, or do anything in particular other than join in. It would be great to get a few telescopes along for the evening, so if you have one that's portable please bring it along.

You can find details of Low Gillerthwaite Field Centre at www.lgfc.org.uk.

To help me give the field centre an idea of numbers it would be helpful if you could let me know if you can make it. If your not sure now it is fine to just turn up on the day. The event is open to anyone, and there is now charge for attending, so feel free to encourage friends and family to come along. More details will be available here, on the field centre website and hopefully in local press nearer the event.