Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy Christmas To Everyone

I was out taking photos of M42 (no no not the blooming motorway, the nebula in Orion!) when I noticed a structure that as far as I know has gone unreported so far.
I was thinking of calling it the Ho ho nebula.....
I present it here for some of my younger readers.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Somewhere down below the seventh circle of hell there is a special spot with a name on it. A name I know not in its entirety but the little badge behind which the shiny happy face smiled out at me proclaimed that in began with ….. ah but care ….if he reads this he may go into a religious order and atone. I wouldn’t want him to get away with it.
You see my phone was playing up. I took it along to the smiley happy phone shop assuming that the children that worked there might have some crumb to offer that would have escaped some duffer like me.
After a slight pause for tooth sucking as he had seldom seen such a model as mine outside a museum the scamp pronounced that he would back up my phone, and give me a new memory card which we could unload everything on to and it would then be as right as ever such an antique could be at the cutting edge of the end of the noughties.
He then proceeded to loose my phone contacts.
I didn’t hit him.
Now I am not such a fool that I cant see this sort of thing coming entirely. I do back my phone up to the interwebby thing from time to time. The trouble was that he lost the settings for this as well.
I didn’t hit him.
I am now trying to download a csv file that I can blue tooth to a second pooter and then restore via outlook excressence.
So if you havent heard from me before Christmas......
I may have to go back and hit him.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Yet More Dark Arts

The pairing of Venus and Jupiter in the sky to the west just before sunset has been too good to miss out on. I have been snapping away after dark again.
At the risk of making Trixie even more envious this is just down the road from where I live.
But hey anyone that reads this is welcome to come and see for themselves. There is always a free bed on Hallett's mountain.

Monday, December 01, 2008

More Dark Arts

Now I don’t want you to think that the words are not so important but this is a time of year when I do a lot of looking up and around the sky for a picture.
I noticed this one begging to be taken a few nights ago and hoped it might work. Its not right yet I know. Nevertheless I hope I can give you a flavour of the chase.
There is a photographer working down on the Isle of Purbeck whose combination of landscape and astronomy I have admired for some time (I see he has stopped selling them though, a pity).
I have long felt that there ought to be a chance or two round North Wales to recreate in a modest way some of the drama he seems to extract from the sky.
I sort of imagined that it might be easy to get a suitably dramatic picture of the moon against Snowdon… .
The thing is though you need a lot of time, luck and specialist knowledge to get this sort of thing right and so in over a year of trying seriously I have really only managed a handful of pictures that measure up to scrutiny. Getting the angles right and knowing when they will occur is part of it. Making sure that the light is right, hah, there is a quarter of an hour every day when you can take this picture. Dodging the traffic and the clouds. Making sure your fingers aren’t so numb that you can’t work the buttons in the dark. It all makes for a little bit of a challenge. A certain stoicism is needed to say the least.
I noticed this close pairing of Jupiter and Venus last week as I was driving home from work. On Friday I lugged the camera and tripod to a suitable spot along the Conwy estuary, tied the dog to a post and set to. The sky was clear as a glass of water and the light was just right. The two planets seemed to hang in just the right spot and were polished to perfection. Inevitably the bitter cold made a small plastic part of the tripod quite brittle and it snapped between my fumbling fingers. Then as quick as you like the battery on my camera announced that it needed changing after one wobbly shot. Bugger.
I went back better equipped to the same spot on Sunday and got several shots, one of which you see above but the cloud in the picture muddled it a little. It was only later that I noticed the thin crescent moon just over the right end of the castle had snuck out of the cloud for a moment. There may be a couple more nights to try this one but its gone cloudy again tonight so this is probably the best I will get. Until the next time.
(I stuck a couple of full size ones in the flikr gadget if you fancy)