Swansea Astronomical Society Blog

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

 

Solar activity today

A DBK31 camera was placed at the prime focus of an 80mm refractor fitted with a Baader solar filter. AVIs were captured of two overlapping halves of the Sun and the two images combined in Photoshop Elements to produce this mosaic:


Keith Davies


A remounted Opticstar PL-130M 1.3Mp CMOS camera fitted with a neutral density filter and an IR/UV cut filter was placed at the prime focus of a Solarmax ll 60 BF15. A 3,200 frame AVI was captured at a resolution of 1280 x 1024. The AVI was processed in Registax 6 and the resulting image colourised to represent the 656.3nm wavelength used by the scope. Click on an image to get a larger view.


A DNK21 camera was fitted with an IR/UV cut filter and a 2.5x barlow. A 5000 frame AVI was captured and processed in Registax 6. A second AVI of the same region was captured at a higher exposure to capture the large prominence. The two resulting images were combined in Andrew Sprott's Solar Layers program:


A large filament that recently snapped was imaged with a 5000 frame AVI:

Before it snapped, this filament reached over the limb and formed a magnificent prominence there. As it snapped, it flung a huge mass of plasma into space, but not towards the Earth.

Steve Wainwright
 

Bonfires and telescopes at Llanmadoc

On Sunday night it went well at Llanmadoc. The weather was quite poor, with thin cloud and a strong wind blowing across the site.
The organizer Mark Cutliffe runs an outdoor activity sort of youth club called the "Eco Tribe." There were around 15 youngsters and 9 adults. It was Marks intention to get the youngsters away from the TV and involve them in gardening, looking after live stock (chickens/pigs), camping, walks etc. They are located at the St. Madoc Christian Youth Camp, Llanmadoc.

As I mentioned earlier the weather was not great but I was able to set my 120mm refractor on Jupiter and after using a 2.5x barlow with a 20mm eyepiece good images of the planet were seen by all.
They were very enthusiastic and after speaking to the parents a few said they would be coming to the Botanical Gardens Star Party on Friday.

Keith Davies

Sunday, November 13, 2011

 

91% full waning gibbous Moon

A Pentax K-x DSLR fitted with a UV/IR cut filter was placed at the prime focus of a 5", f/10 Maksutov. Two overlapping images were captured and stitched together with Microsoft ICE.
Click on the image to get a larger view.


Steve Wainwright
 

SAS Meet and Greet at Waterstones in Swansea

On Saturday November 12th between 9-45am and 4-45pm a Meet and Greet with the Swansea Astronomical Society was held at Waterstones on Oxford Street with Brian Stokes and Mavis Morgan talking to members of the public.
A number of people expressed interest in the Astronomical pictures projected, the Society, Star Parties, Talks at the Waterfront, and also depleted our stock of Society information/handouts.
A tiring but worthwhile day.
Thank you Brian and Mavis for raising the profile of the SAS and its activities.
 

A visit to the Spaceguard Observatory at Knighton in Powys

On Saturday November 12th fifteen members of the Swansea Astronomical Society traveled by minibus to the Spaceguard Observatory in Knighton. The bus was skillfully driven by Gaynor Thomas.


Lunch was taken in The Horse and Jokey Pub restaurant where a fine selection of food and excellent service was provided.






Gaynor's driving skills were tested as she negotiated narrow lanes, muddy patches and awkward sharp turns into gateways. We arrived without a scratch and with no stress.




The Observatory was opened by Sir Patrick Moore in 1995

A profound and enigmatic proclamation on the inaugural certificate reads :'Ex stellis venimus ad stellus imus' ; 'From stars we came to the stars we go'.

A guided tour of the facilities and the work that is done there on the tracking of Near Earth Asteroids was provided.


Including a very interesting interlude in the planetarium


A visit to the observatory revealed the refractor and the substantial structures associated with it:




A fascinating feature was the elevating floor to make for comfortable and safe manipulation of the equipment without the use of ladders.
Gaynor did the honours of driving the observatory floor back to its home position:


Outside the main buildings excavations have begun and foundations laid for a new observatory.

The new observatory will house a large Schmidt Camera that will eventually be used to discover new Near Earth Objects. The Centre will then be able to perform both parts of their important task: to discover and track potential threats to the Earth.
All agreed that this was a successful and enjoyable excursion.

Steve Wainwright

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