A future for Hubble?

The Bad Astronomer is reporting that the Hubble servicing mission is go.



More comet M4 Swan

Last Friday night was another clear night so I managed to get out and view comet M4 Swan again. This time I got the 130M out to observe with and was rewarded with a pretty good view. I even had the time to attempt a little sketch too:

The full log of the observing session is available online.


You could fill a book... Part II

Something I forgot to mention in my previous entry is the fact that last night's session saw me filling my second log book — it's taken since since January this year to do that.

Just another little arbitrary milestone that's worth remembering...

File Under: Logbooks, Milestones, Amateur Astronomy.

Comet M4 Swan

I had another clear night last night (it's so nice to be getting out and observing at night again, especially at a reasonable hour) so I made a point of heading out to see if I could catch Comet M4 Swan. I managed to find it without any problems and had a pretty good session observing it, the full text of the log for the session is now online.

It's at times like this that I wish I had some sort of imaging equipment. Given that I don't I can console myself with Pete Lawrence's excellent images and those that can be found in the SpaceWeather gallery.

File Under: Comet, Comet M4 Swan.



Last night was a first for me. For the first time ever I knowingly observed Uranus. The details of the observation can be found in my online log.

It was an interesting experience too. Unlike observing the likes of Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn this required a bit of preparation and plenty of checking and double checking during the session. Also, given the nature of my equipment (I first used 10x50 binoculars and then followed up with the Antares 905), the view itself was never going to be as rewarding as most of the other planets so I found that, in this case, the real enjoyment came from finding the planet and then spending time ensuring I'd really found it.

After having found it, and after spending some time observing, I found myself thinking of a particular house in Bath, back in 1781, when William Herschel will have first realised that he'd discovered something important.

Sometimes, in this hobby, the view isn't the reward, it's the chase and the thoughts it triggers.

File Under: Uranus, William Herschel.


I'll never complain again...

Via Astronomy Magazine, reporting on the earthquake in Hawaii :

The observatories atop Mauna Kea didn't escape entirely unscathed. The W. M. Keck Observatory, whose twin 10-meter telescopes are the world's largest, canceled all observing through Wednesday night. Some guiding and pointing systems were affected and must be repaired before observing resumes. Technicians reported yesterday that the primary mirrors of both Keck telescopes appear undamaged.
Okay, that does it, never again will I complain about having to collimate my 'scope.

File Under: Mauna Kea, Hawaii.


Royal Society Journal Archives

A friend has just pointed out to me that the Royal Society have opened their journal archives for free access (I'm told this will last until December).

So, anyone out there interested in a letter from someone called Mr Newton, going on about something to do with optics...

File Under: Royal Society, Isaac Newton.


SPA Convention 2007

I noticed something good in the forthcoming events section on the SPA home page the other day:

March 10, 2007. SPA Convention 2007, Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge. Details of the main speakers to be confirmed.
Excellent! I really enjoyed the first convention in 2005 so I'm really looking forward to this!

File Under: Society for Popular Astronomy, Astronomy Events.