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PracticalAstronomy_200910_Oct09

PracticalAstronomy_200910_Oct09

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Practical Astronomy

Herstmonceux Astronomy Festival

ISSN 2042-2687

October 2009 “Fly By Wire” Orion Imaging Herstmonceux Astronomy Festival Observers’ Delights Sky View

Practical Astronomy October 2009 2 .com Publisher: Structure Ltd Telephone: +44 (0)1622 891151 Practical Astronomy magazine is published monthly online. dark skies and history 4 “FLY-BY-WIRE” ORION IMAGING Remote imaging with a digital SLR 6 8 SKY VIEW . astronomy events. South. 3 HERSTMONCEUX ASTRONOMY FESTIVAL Clear. Each issue will contain a mix of review articles (to inform and hopefully entertain). No reproduction without express permission. 2 FIRST LIGHT AND CONTENTS Welcome to the first issue October 2009 First Light Welcome to the first issue of Practical Astronomy.PracticalAstronomy. my address is below. This first issue is fairly short . Please let me know what you would like to see here.com Website: www.Practical Astronomy In this issue. imaging. My intention here is to publish a regular magazine to help you do more practical astronomy (just like the title says!) So it’s going to be all about amateur topics such as observing. plus maps and notes on forthcoming events in the Night Sky or on Earth.OCTOBER Maps of the Night Sky . North and West OBSERVERS’ DELIGHTS Special observing sights not-to-miss this month Practical Astronomy October 2009 Editor: Kevin Brown editor@practicalastronomy. The publisher is not responsible for the content of advertisements. societies and equipment. Trademarks are the property of their respective owners. My name is Kevin Brown and I’m a keen amateur astronomer from Kent in the UK. May include errors and omissions. clubs.I hope to add more pages to future issues.looking East.. ISSN 2042-2687 Views expressed are not necessarily those of the editor or publisher.. ©2009 All contents copyright.com Advertising: ads@practicalastronomy.. Send me an email.

So as well as looking AT the old instruments. you can actually look through them too! Many visitors chose to make a weekend of the event by pitching tent and motorhome. I recommend it. it was equipped with a collection of large telescopes. People reported excellent observing and imaging experiences. Herstmonceux Observatory was established after the Second World War. clearer skies of Sussex. Jupiter.Herstmonceux Astronomy Festival Photography and text: Kevin Brown The annual Astronomy Festival took place at Herstmonceux Observatory. Built as a world-class astronomy facility. As usual. there’s also so much history to see on the observatory site. with its moon Io transiting and casting a shadow on its surface. visitors. although this was moved to La Palma in the Canary Islands. in 1984. The event is large enough to be interesting. Herstmonceux Observatory Main Building And Domes A and B Adjoining Camping Ground Had A Dark Clear Night Plenty Of Telescopes To Inspect Herstmonceux was also home to the newly-made. set amongst this historic astronomical site. on the adjoining camping area. very clear night. trade stands and astro societies. Astronomical Society Stand Practical Astronomy October 2009 3 . Most of the other telescopes remain today. giant 98-inch. speakers. over the weekend of 12-13 September. such as the 26-inch Thompson refractor made in 1897. modern displays and trade stands selling the latest telescopes and gadgets. If you have never been before. Isaac Newton telescope. when the Royal Greenwich Observatory (RGO) moved from Greenwich in London. was a particular favourite. such as this Festival. mostly housed in the domes you can visit today. As well as informative talks. to the relatively cleaner. while still feeling compact and friendly for visitors. At least three of the telescopes have been fully restored and are regularly used on open viewing occasions. including historic instruments moved from Greenwich. it was a large gathering of presenters. Those that stayed over. were rewarded with a very dark.

. to the telescope on its mount outside. Of course. because it’s live. to the garden where the telescope was set-up.. When you want to start capturing an image. then you can connect camera and computer using a USB wire. ample to stretch from the table in the sitting-room. the exposure time is short and you can’t immediately see faint astronomical objects. such as exposure time and sensitivity.“Fly By Wire” Orion Imaging Photography and text: Kevin Brown Having recently purchased a Canon 1000D digital SLR camera. Nevertheless. you can see the brighter stars and this helps you line-up on the area of the sky you want to image. so I went back to my old favorite constellation of Orion. the image the camera is actually seeing. I was using two extension USB wires. in real-time. I attached the camera to my refractor as usual. I was keen to try out the Remote Live View facility.   So what images did I capture?  Well this was a new experiment. This is a wonderful facility of the camera and the supplied software. but also connected it with the USB wire to my laptop PC in the sitting room. This obviously opens-up all sort of possibilities for remote operation. you just click the computer mouse and it opens the shutter. making the total length around 10 feet (3+ meters). This lets you display on the computer screen.  You load the software onto your PC. You can also control the camera settings Skywatcher 80ED refractor with Canon DSLR attached remotely.   Laptop showing live view. The wire passed through a slightly open window (it was cold outside). using the computer. connected Canon (see usb wire) Practical Astronomy October 2009 4 .

moon and planets” appearance. to the South of Alnitak. Orion was excellently positioned for observing. I am very pleased with this image.. captured in one exposure. To the right is a wide field image of Alnitak..   Through binoculars it looks like a double star. Hope you find this inspiring. seeing what can be achieved using relatively modest equipment almost straight “out-of-thebox”.“Fly By Wire” Orion Imaging (cont.) At the time of year in the Northern hemisphere. Flame Nebula And Sigma Orionis Orion Nebula M42/43 Using Remote Camera Control Practical Astronomy October 2009 5 . showing the Flame nebula at its side. but with a decent telescope (or this wonderful DSLR camera) you can clearly see the “star. from the comfort of your home indoors!! Alnitak. given it was captured in a single frame. They have lightly processed using the free image manipulation software GIMP. without the use of filters. is the multiple star Sigma Orionis. the left-most star of Orion’s “belt”. so as to bring out details present within the capture. You can even see a suggestion of the Horsehead nebula. I also went to the great Orion nebula M42/43 and did a quick image… All these images are single frames.  To the lower right of the image.

Sky View Mid-October (lat. 51N) Looking East Looking South Practical Astronomy October 2009 6 .

Sky View Mid-October (lat. 51N) Looking West Looking North Practical Astronomy October 2009 7 .

Observers’ Delights MOON Full 4th Oct (“Harvest Moon”) New 18th Oct October/November 2009 Full 2nd Nov ORIONIDS METEORS Peak 20th Oct 16-26th Oct Very Favourable JUPITER Very bright in the South evening sky (Capricornus) Close to Neptune.PracticalAstronomy. www. As soon as the next issue of Practical Astronomy is published...3 deg north of MERCURY 8th Oct VENUS Bright before dawn. Practical Astronomy October 2009 8 .com/subscribe Simply visit our website and subscribe for FREE. SATURN Possible before dawn. you’ll get a short email to let you know it’s ready to download. Brightening throughout the rest of 2009 DEEP SKY “WINDOW” Starts ~ 10 Oct 2009 Ends ~ 23 Oct 2009 Make the most of it! Don’t Miss the Next FREE Issue Get Priority Notification. but becoming lost in dawn twilight MARS Rises around midnight. 0.

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