Archive for May, 2014

A nice one in Bootes

I’m very sorry that you haven’t had too much from me of late, it certainly isn’t due to the fact that I have lost interest 😉
Anyhow, prompted as I often am by Owen’s superb selection of galaxy of the month here is my b&w inversion of my original sketch of NGC 5529 a beauty from Bootes, drawn using pencil and blending stumps on cartridge paper of the image delivered in psudeo real time by my 20″ F3.7 mirror and cooled Watec 120n+ deep sky video camera onto a b&w CRT monitor. 🙂
I hope you like it and I hope that you get a chance to enjoy it yourselves.

The stunning NGC 5529 and 'fuzzy neighbours'

Clear Skies, Dale

Time for Mars

Blog April 28th 29th & 30th


A run of Mars observing Monday the 28th saw some troubled and difficult seeing, however during fleeting steady moments I saw enough detail through the 6” refractor, Denkmeier binoviewer at 215x to attempt to record it in a watercolour painting some 4” across which is very large for me, but as I see it watercolours need space so I drew a large circle.

153mm OG 28-4-14 21.30ut, 215x


I was pleased to find the next Day that my friend Simon Kidd had produced an image at almost the same time and although I had failed to capture all of the detail I had recorded quite a bit of what Simon’s set up had revealed.

Simon image of 2014-04-28 2113ut


Tuesday 29th I again used the refractor to look at Mars, seeing was again difficult, and with Simon’s impressive image fresh in my mind I was reluctant to create painting for fear of adding features that I knew should be there but I could not actually be sure of seeing, and also of being accused of copying others images. I wish with hindsight that I had as the clouds which I believe form over high regions namely volcanoes were certainly visible readily that on the previous night, though little else in my opinion had changed much.


Wednesday the 30th saw me attempting another painting, seeing I thought was maybe a little better and I could make out more of the darker features around the small polar ice cap and at the other polar region I could see the brighter region which ran right along the edge, anyhow of course I painted it, again in a 4” format trying to record the overall impression I had of the planet, again working at 215x.

My Mars painting-2014-4-30-21.45ut-153mmOG 215x


The next day Dave Tyler a phenomenal imager from the UK posted some very nice images that he had taken in close time proximity to my paintings, so I complemented Dave on his great work as I often do and shared my watercolours. I was please to receive pay a couple of composite images he had arranged, good job as such a thing is well beyond my skills.

The first of Dave Tyler's composites

The 2nd of Dave Tyler's composites


Regards to all, Dale

A Friend to the rescue

Blog Wed 16th April 2014


Those of you who visit this blog from time to time may have read of my frustrations with my goto system throwing ‘wobblies’ where for no reason it decided it was in the southern hemisphere? Well after extended discussions with Alan Buckman I was faced with 2 options, invest in some ‘fix’ software driver that would smooth the interface between my planetarium software Sky Map Pro 10 at £50 or try freeware planetarium software called Carte Du Ceil which evidentially works well with the AWR controller. I’m not too good with ‘software’ full stop but my friend, fellow astronomer and work colleague Simon Fish came to my rescue. He was overdue a visit to the observatories anyhow, hailing from Bishops Stortford he only had a 20min or so drive to get over. He soon had the software loaded and working, although he recommended that I needed to increase the memory capacity.

After this was done we took a look at Mars through the 6” refractor, view was OK but the sky and seeing were both poor. Simon was keen to see how the 20” & Watec camera performed so after some fiddling we got M66 onto the monitor, the sky by then was milky but we managed to see detail that visually would be all but impossible through a telescope under 40-50”. I think Simon could see the merits of the set up even if there was too much fumbling with cables etc!

We concluded the evening by using the HST Calver to look at Mars, seeing was even worse by now, but Simon enjoyed associating with such a monumental and historic telescope. It was great to have him over and I was grateful for his expertise.



Come back soon Mate 🙂

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