Castle Point Astronomy Club
Castle Point Astronomy Club Diary
December 2009 by Dave Stratton
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Wednesday 2nd December 2009

Picture Round Up

Mike opened the evening by introducing Andy Turner who sadly reported that Ken Hallett, a member for some years, had died from cancer. Ken had a great interest in geology and gave us some splendid talks. He is fondly remembered by many of us.

Mike grabbed GEORGE first who had a nice set of images taken from his home in Billericay in a howling gale but using his new anti-shake lens for his camera. The resultant star fields were very good.

We then saw a wonderful image of the ISS taken from the Shuttle with the Earth as the background. It is currently the size of a football field! George claimed that this was a picture he had taken, but the club weren't being taken in by that one!... He also showed a pic of Enceladus showing lots of jet like eruptions from the surface. Amazing.

ED was up next with some sketches of M27 the Dumbbell and the Little Dumbbell M76. He also showed the Double Double and the Double Double's double.

To finish he had the ET Cluster also known as NGC457/C13. Without too much imagination it's ET. Ed finished a chart showing how to find them.

JIM showed us his image of Albireo, a lovely double, the spikes were wonderful but he admitted these had been contrived with two pieces of wood! Very clever stuff.

Next up was the Cocoon Nebula, the red set off by the dark lane that was the immediate background. The Double Double was swiftly followed by the Butterfly Nebula, IC1318.

We had M15 which is a very dense globular, M33 in Triangulem a spiral Galaxy Very good image. M57 the Ring Nebula was up next followed by M71 a cluster embedded in the Milky Way.

Jim finished with a series of pics of his new slide-off roof observatory showing the build process.

PETER had an image of a nova. He explained that this occurred when a red giant had a white dwarf star orbiting, which created an accretion disc, which when it got to a critical mass flares up in a nuclear reaction which makes it visible. And he shot it!

We then saw a movie centred on Polaris which showed, in case there was any doubt, that it is not precisely at the pole. Then we saw the star trail pic. Great.

Pete had a demo set of images showing the value of subtracting a flat frame from an image to greatly improve the result.

BRUCE showed us his moon shots acquired with a webcam.

MIKE then showed us his webcam efforts. The first was a movie of the moon showing the wobble caused by the wind. Then we saw a series of stacked images. Very good.

TED had some images from Kelling Heath. These were taken using a Canon 50D mounted on an AstroTrac.

First was IC405 the Flaming Star then M31 the Andromeda Galaxy. Then we had the North American Nebula, the Veil Nebula in Cygnus, IC405 in Auriga, also IC 410 and IC417.

DAVE SMITH had a splendid image of the Moon which really could be zoomed into. It was actually a whole series of images that he had taken using the stacking process then stitched together using ICE software which is a free download.

A post meeting report from George says it is as good as Dave said it was.

Wednesday 9th December 2009

Picture Roundup Of The Recent Visit To Patrick Moore's Home

Andrew opened with news of a possible visit to Greenwich this weekend with the good chance of a look through the 28inch refractor.

Also news of the Norway UFO - this was reported as green lights in the sky - watch this space.

Mike hosted us for this second group outing.

ALAN was up first with his pics from the recent fete for the church plus the PM visit. These included images of P's beautiful octagonal wooden Fullerscope.

Plus P being presented with a certificate from us commemorating his being appointed an honorary member of CPAC. How about that?

In addition a shot of a circular glass topped table which is supported by a model of a lunar lander.

RON showed us a lovely old refractor in first class condition plus lots of images of the well maintained gardens which a full of astro related stuff.

Also pics of the actual scope that P used to make his famous drawings of the Moon which were used by the Americans and the Russians to plan their missions.

TED showed a nice selection of images in and around the house and garden and a pic of P's 75th anniversary of being a member of the BAA.

BRIAN had an excellent range of shots in and around the house and garden. These included a shot of a fretsaw model of the scope that Brian had made himself and presented to P in 1979. This was to celebrate the club's 10th anniversary. (Yes we are 40 years old).

We also saw some wonderful pics of Brian's much praised Bicycle Telescope which he made from a bike including the wheels which are used as setting circles.

ED showed us a video made by his wife Ann on the first PM visit. This was quite stunning and included info from P and Trevor from Worthing, who looks after all the instruments, that the scope is probably unique in that only three were made and the location of the others is unknown.

Also a talk about the 15inch Fullerscope.

Wednesday 16rh December 2009

Christmas Social

There was nothing formally about astronomy this evening. Just a good old fashioned get together with nice tuck etc. About 20 turned up on a very miserable evening.

Just goes to show what a great club we have.

Andrew called upon unknown reserves of ingenuity to supply the scoff in Ted's absence. We enjoyed sausage rolls, pork pies, mince pies, crisps, cakes and salted peanuts plus soft drinks, tea and coffee as usual but free.

Ted is about to spend this special period in hospital - our thoughts are with him and his family.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to one and all.

Dave Stratton


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