Thursday, 29 December 2011

George & Mildred and Windy Wet Wales..



This is a view I never get tired of, the Seven Sisters as seen from the comfort of a folding chair, viewed with a pair of 7X50 binoculars...

Unfortunately for me Santa forgot to drop of my 7X50's this year. :0(

But I do have two really nice sets of  field glasses and each of them  give a wonderful X3 magnification!!! 

I assume it's X3 magnification.... ...I may be wrong....

I even have names for them.....!!!!

George
Mildred

Even if I had a pair of 7X50's I don't know when I would get a chance to use them. The weather in Pembrokeshire has been diabolical for weeks, even months.....

We have more than our fair share of cloud cover here in Pembrokeshire, as this small video shows....

video


On my next post I'm going to show the results of how many clear nights we've actually had since September.....

Clear Skies please for 2012


Mark 

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Pembrokeshire Flu and the tiny Tasco 40mm

I'm just getting over a larger than life dose of Pembrokeshire Flu.

I never get the flu...but this year it hit good and proper...It's been over a fortnight since I was outside in the cold of the observatory. And at least a fortnight before that without any real observing.... courtesy of our wonderfully clouded out skies.

So with that in mind I have been trawling around our pc's hard drive and found this video of my last attempt at solar astronomy from the observatory.

video

The Sun as we all know is still heading South, and as such my possible window of viewing from the observatory is maybe limited to approximately an hour, thanks to the trees at the end of our garden.

I love the trees and so do the birds, especially the magpies who have bought a home in a nearby tree...

I will just have to wait a while until the Sun heads North once again...........  No hurry!!  :0)


Whilst digging around in the countless photo CD's I found this photo of my first telescope, the mighty 40mm Tasco refractor.

This picture was taken back in 1981. By then my trusty Tasco was already a couple of years old, and well battered and worn.

That little scope went everywhere with me, and gave me wonderful views of the night skies....everything from the craters on the Moon, Jupiter's satellites, Solar projection (as in the photo), in focus (and out of focus) stars.

Especially I fondly  remember seeing Albireo for the first time with this telescope...

The Pleiades, The Sword Handle, The Beehive, and many many more celestial wonders were snagged with this tiny Tasco.

I know many complain about small refractors..... especially small Tasco refractors...!!!, but I will always thank the makers of my 40mm Tasco.....

An excellent introduction to the night sky...

I only wish I had it now, it finally fell apart a couple of years after this photo was taken.

Maybe one day I will find another one like it in the back of a junk shop....... :0)

Monday, 5 December 2011

Dreaming of Barsoom

"As Mars is once again upon us, I thought I would post one of my log entries that I made back in January 2010......" Pembs Astronomer 

23rd January 2010  Observation of Mars....

I set up the telescope in the front garden and decided to have a good long look at Mars.
It's nearly at it's closest at the moment, shining brighter than Betelgeuse, and slightly dimmer than Sirius.

At first the red planet revealed nothing just the usual blank expressionless ruddy red, no detail, no imagination not a hint of any possible Martian detail.

But persistence I am told will reward, and definitely tonight persistence paid off.

Tonight Mars opened up and allowed a glimpse of its often hidden beauty.

The dust storms on the planet were obviously having a good well deserved rest, and I saw for the first time in over six years the Martian surface with it's tell tale mottled patterns.


This dreamer once again was transported to the  Mars of  H.G. Wells and Percival Lowell. The Mars of vegetation and wonderful canals, and possible highly intelligent creatures living on a dying planet.

I spent several minutes at the eyepiece and slowly but surely an image appeared, the more I looked the more was revealed...like a 3D magic holographic picture.

And like one of those magic holographic pictures ...suddenly I saw it, the white tell tale spot..!!

Percival Lowell Canal system.
As I looked at the Martian disk a snow cap was visible at the 5 O'clock position.

The snow cap stood out....  a sight not seen by my eyes since the August opposition in 2003.

Even though Earth probes have visited Mars, not one creature from our beautiful blue world has ever set foot on Mars......NOT YET!

Several probes have landed on Mars, relaying valuable information and data. But only in the realms of fantasy and imagination have we touched the lands of this red planet of Barsoom.

The Viking 1 Lander 
The view through my telescope was breathtaking...

Slowly I wandered off to thoughts of poetry....yet unwritten..

I was here....
Tonight I sit upon Barsoom.
I think of a time when the Earth was my home.

What matters now is the Martian dust reflecting in my human eyes.

And starlight falls... but not a photon do I detect 
I gaze only at the Martian soil and reflect..

Poem by Pembs Astronomer, sat on a park bench just outside Mars City - 5th December 2089AD.  :0)

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 Post Script  
05/12/2011
 
Last night I looked out towards the east and noticed Regulus hovering just above my neighbour's rooftop. 

Sadly Mars which is in the vicinity of Regulus was obscured by a slowly moving rather large gloomy cloud. 

It was too cold outside last night, and I have a bad case of the man flu at the moment, so back to the warmth of the fire for me..

I haven't as yet had a decent look at Mars since I wrote the above entry in my observation book, back in January of  2010..

Nearby.. a lone dog howls..

The Full Mackerel Moon will be upon us on Monday,  nearby I can hear a dog practicing its lunar howling! Up above, the slow moving clouds...