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  • 1. ISSN 2042-2687 Practical Astronomy The Alan Young Telescope November 2009 Reborn: The Alan Young Telescope Registax: New Version Astronomy Recipe Of The Month Observers’ Delights Sky View November
  • 2. Practical Astronomy November 2009 In this issue.. First Light This Is The Low Resolution Version For Fast Download. Welcome to the Get The Full Quality Version At November issue of Practical Astronomy. 3 REBORN: THE ALAN YOUNG TELESCOPE More features and more pages Refurbishment of this well-known large reflector this month.. Specially the Readers’ Image Gallery - the idea came from a 5 GUIDE TO THE AUTUMN NIGHT SKY fellow subscriber. So I hope you’ll help keep it going, by Observing bright stars and planets on the Ecliptic sending in a couple of your astro images soon. And as a keen chef myself, I’ve 8 READERS IMAGE GALLERY added an Astronomy Recipe of Your astronomy images (please send more) the Month. (Perhaps slightly weird.. bet you’ve not seen this before in an astronomy mag?) 10 ASTRONOMY RECIPE OF THE MONTH Also, I’m very pleased to publish our first guest article Regulus chicken and tomato (page 5). Contributed by the Deputy Head of the local Science School, it’s just been 11 SOFTWARE REVIEW: REGISTAX NEW VERSION used as the script for a Latest version of this popular image stacker beginners’ talk on the Autumn Night Sky. And it worked very well. 13 SKY VIEW - NOVEMBER Kevin Brown Maps of the Night Sky - East, South, North and West 15 OBSERVERS’ DELIGHTS Special observing sights not to miss this month Sponsored By Practical Astronomy magazine is Practical Astronomy November 2009 published monthly online. ISSN 2042-2687 Views expressed are not necessarily Editor: Kevin Brown those of the editor or publisher. May include errors and omissions. Advertising: Trademarks are the property of their respective owners. The publisher is not Website: responsible for the content of advertisements. Publisher: Structure Ltd ©2009 All contents copyright. No Telephone: +44 (0)1622 891151 reproduction without express permission. Practical Astronomy November 2009 2
  • 3. Reborn: The Alan Young Telescope Photography and text: Kevin Brown They’ve worked hard for the last three years.. After much restoration work, this well-known 22.5 inch reflector from the past, has been reborn. It’s now rebuilt and installed at the CADSAS (Cranbrook Astronomy Society) observatory in Kent, England. Having spent many years dismantled and stored in a private garage, the magnificent telescope is now operational and capturing astro images again. However, it’s not yet finished.. Further improvements to the motorised drive systems are planned for the near future. The Telescope’s History Built by Alan Young in the 1970's and housed in his observatory at Burwash in Kent, this was The Alan Young Telescope - October 2009 one of the largest amateur telescopes in the UK. He used it extensively in the 1980's and did important published work. A good example was successfully photographing the recently discovered supernova SN 1985H, at around magnitude 16. Photographic Achievement This was published in The Astronomer. The telescope's large diameter primary mirror, Other published photographic achievements together with use of specially sensitized include captures of Halley's comet in 1985, photographic film, enabled investigation of faint and confirming the existence of a distant deep-space objects such as supernovae. quasar (QSO 0716+332) in 1986, after initial Before the days of CCD imaging devices, this reports from the United States. was of course very difficult. As new discoveries were reported by observers Jigsaw Puzzle all over the World, Alan directed the telescope at these distant objects and tried to confirm their As you can see from the "before and after" existence, or otherwise. images here on this page, the dismantled telescope was in a poor state when acquired by CADSAS. Practical Astronomy November 2009 3
  • 4. Reborn: The Alan Young Telescope Photography and text: Kevin Brown Dedicated by Astronomer Royal Polar (RA) Axis Worm Drive Using just a single photo of the complete instrument from the 1980’s, the Society members have pieced the telescope back together, cleaning and fettling each component on the way. Purpose-Built Observatory With such a large telescope, a dedicated observatory is essential. Luckily, the CADSAS observatory was purpose-built to house it. It's new custodians now look forward to the Alan Young telescope doing good astronomical work again, in the very near future. BEFORE: “Jigsaw” Puzzle Of Parts More details on CADSAS and the Alan Young telescope may be found at Practical Astronomy November 2009 4
  • 5. Practical Observing: Guide To The Autumn Night Sky By Rod Smith This is the script for a guided Autumn observing session for astronomy beginners, The second brightest thing in the sky is the starting at dusk. Times given are for late-Oct/ Moon, shining in reflected sunlight. Again its early-Nov. brightness makes it difficult to see some of the stars, but if it is in its first or third phase it Guide to the Autumn Night Sky - Looking cannot cause too many problems. South The Moon orbits the Earth at a distance of The aim of this exercise is to help you learn nearly 400,000 km, meaning that light (and the names and positions of a few of the radio messages) from the Moon take about objects visible on the Ecliptic. 1.25 sec to reach us. Mentioned here are solar system objects and Before we go any further, if the Moon is visible first magnitude stars, which are the brightest in the sky you should make a mental map of and so the first to be seen after dusk. Thus if where it is right now. you begin your study of the sky shortly after sunset during the evening, you will be able to Of the planets visible to the naked eye: locate the objects mentioned here. Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, only Mars,Venus and Jupiter are visible in the You will need a location fairly free from light sky at present. Jupiter will be the first object and atmospheric pollution, and with an you will see, Venus and Mars will be visible in unobstructed view to the South. the early hours of the morning if you care to wait that long, or get up early enough. The first thing to remember is we live on the surface of a sphere, which means that we Look South. Notice where the Sun has set cannot see all of the stars at the same time. (just South of West) and trace an arc from that bit of the horizon, up about 50 degrees when In fact, some we can never see from the looking due South and then back down Northern hemisphere, one must move South (passing the Moon if it is in the sky) to the of the equator. eastern horizon. The line you have traced is called the Ecliptic and is the path followed by the Sun, Moon and all the planets. They are The second thing to remember is that we live always on or close to this line, as are the very near to a star. Our star is the Sun, so constellations of the Zodiac. close to us that its light takes only about 8 minutes to reach us and from where we live, it seems to be very bright. So bright that Moving along the Ecliptic from West to East, when it is in the sky, it is impossible to see the there are few easy objects to recognise. Very other stars even though they are there. The low in the West is the constellation Sagittarius. Sunʼs light swamps them. This contains no really bright stars, but a group of 2nd magnitude stars can be seen close to the horizon as it becomes dark. Itʼs now dusk and the Sun has just gone These soon slip down below the horizon and down; as the minutes tick by, the sky will are hard to see. gradually get darker and stars will become visible. Practical Astronomy November 2009 5
  • 6. Practical Observing: Guide To The Autumn Night Sky (cont.) You will soon find Jupiter quite low in the sky to the South. With binoculars or a small telescope you will easily see some of the Jovian moons Pleiades and maybe even the bands of gas on the planet Taurus, Aldebaran and Pleiades, rising in the East Jupiter in Capricorn, to the South above the Eastern horizon. Train your telescope or binoculars onto this cluster of stars and you will be amazed to see just how many surface. Successive nights of observing will there are. convince you that the Jovian moons are orbiting the planet, as their positions will shift. Just below the Ecliptic you will see the Red Giant Aldebaran, the eye of the Bull, Taurus. Jupiter is the most obvious object and is in Aldebaran is 65 light years away and is one of Capricorn. Watch it for several weeks and you the brightest stars in the sky with a magnitude of will notice that it has changed its position 0.87 relative to the other stars around it; by Christmas it will have moved from Capricorn into the next zodiac constellation - Aquarius. Later on, around midnight, below Taurus you will find the constellation Orion, not on the Ecliptic but easily recognizable as it contains more The Moon is the next easy object. Towards the bright stars than any other constellation in the end of October, it will be seen moving between sky. Most noticeable is Betelgeuse (top left), the constellations Aquarius and Pisces; neither like Aldebaran a red giant, and Rigel (bottom of these constellations contain any bright stars. right). The Moon is waxing and gibbous (i.e. between first quarter and full). On the 31st October, it will be almost full and seen slap in the middle of Again train your binoculars or telescope onto the Pisces. belt and sword of Orion and you will see an amazing sight of stars and vast dust clouds filling your field of view. To see these properly it At about 9pm, the constellation Taurus will have is best to wait for later in November, when the risen and the bright star cluster The Pleiades, Moon is no longer visible in the evening sky. commonly known as the Seven Sisters, is visible just above the Ecliptic still low in the sky Practical Astronomy November 2009 6
  • 7. Practical Observing: Guide To The Autumn Night Sky (cont.) After midnight the brightest star Sirius (the dog objects, stand out clearly as most other stars will star) rises. This is several degrees below the not be visible early in the evenings. Ecliptic but is unmistakable as it is so bright. On a dark frosty night, Sirius can be a Once it gets truly dark, with so many stars spectacular object as its scintillation flashes the visible things can be more confusing. spectral colors at you. You remember the mental map you made of Next to rise, just before 10pm is the where the Moon was? Go back and look at the constellation Gemini with its two 1st Magnitude Moon; you should notice itʼs in a slightly different stars, Castor and Pollux, then the constellation position. Cancer appears and sitting in it, is the planet What has happened is that because the Earth is spinning on its axis, our viewpoint has changed and we are actually looking in a new direction, but as we think we have stayed still, it seems to us that the sky has moved above us carrying the Moon and stars with it. Also the Moon has moved slightly against the background of the stars due to its motion around the Earth, movement which is very noticeable by marking the position of the Moon on a daily basis. Mars and Regulus, rising in the East Another thing to notice is that as the year Mars, bright and reddish, with a magnitude of progresses, the stars here rise progressively 0.44 and so brighter than Aldebaran. earlier in the evening and by midwinter the constellations of Leo, Taurus and Orion will dominate the Southern sky. Around 2am you will see the 1st magnitude star Regulus, slap on the Ecliptic and then around 5am Saturn appears with a magnitude of about Good luck. I hope that you can find the objects 1, still quite dim for a planet. mentioned. Finally, just before dawn, Venus rises shining brightly at magnitude -4, but soon to be swamped by the light of the rising Sun. By Rod Smith These are the objects you should learn to recognise in the Autumn. You will then be able to use these as signposts to guide you around Times given are for late-Oct/early-Nov. Objects rise earlier each evening, as the year progresses. the sky. In general, learn to find stars as darkness falls as the bright ones, being first magnitude Practical Astronomy November 2009 7
  • 8. Readers Image Gallery We welcome your images for publication. Beginner, advanced or expert, just send to: Two Comparison Images Of The Bubble Nebula By Mitch Fry Bubble "A" is a summed (averaged) image (100 x 30sec) taken unguided with a 80mm Williams Optics doublet apochromatic, F4.48 (field of view is 79.4 x 105.9min); M52 (lower left) can be seen in the same field of view. Bubble "B" is a summed (averaged) image (3 x 10min) taken autoguided with a 132mm Williams Optics Flourite triplet apochromatic, F5.6 (field of view is 41.2 x 55min). Image A: The Bubble Nebula (NGC7635), and M52 In both cases, the camera is an SGIB ST2000XM, the mount a Celestron CGE, and both employed an H- alpha filter and 0.8 reducer. Other than an automatic dark frame subtraction, neither image has been further processed. Mitch comments.. “Aesthetically I prefer Bubble A, a sharper "faster" image with the additional interest of M52, but Bubble B has great potential and awaits further data!” Mitch offers access to the FITS files. Email the editor and your message will be forwarded. Image B: The Bubble Nebula (NGC7635) Practical Astronomy November 2009 8
  • 9. Readers Image Gallery We welcome your images for publication. Beginner, advanced or expert, just send to: M13 By Herbert Fritsche M13, captured in Zwettl, Austria on 19 August 2009 Equipment: Syntha ED80/600, HEQ5, Canon EOS350D unmodified. Exposure time 3 min., focusing with DSLR-Focus. Guiding with a second Syntha-70/500 telescope and Guidemaster. Image processing with IRIS. Herbert comments.. “My first try to guide the telescope, but I think it worked well!” I think so too! Globular Cluster M13 (NGC 6205) in Hercules December Issue Out 17 November Next Month... • Christmas Present Ideas • Binocular Observing Challenge - 12 Objects, 12 Days • Plus much more... Practical Astronomy November 2009 9
  • 10. Astronomy Recipe Of The Month From a co'ection of recipes, specia'y created to inspire you for observing sessions this month! “Regulus” Chicken And Tomato 3. Add the chicken and ground sea salt. Fry for 2 mins Ingredients - 250g chicken, boned and diced - 1 can chopped tomatoes - 2 medium onions, sliced - 1 large carrot, diced - 1 clove garlic, finely chopped - black peppercorns, cumin seeds, sunflower seeds, turmeric - olive oil, mixed herbs, sea salt 4. Add the tomatoes, 1/2 tsp dried mixed herbs (serves 2 - double quantities for 4) (or fresh herbs, if you have them) and 1/4 tsp turmeric. Preparation (35 mins) 5. Bring to boil, cover with a lid and simmer for 20 mins, stirring occasionally. Add water if it 1. Heat a cast iron casserole pot for 1 min. Add 1 tsp fresh ground black peppercorns, 1/2 tsp cumin seeds and 2 tsp sunflower seeds. Dry fry gently for 2 mins. 2. Add 2 tbsp olive oil, then the onions, garlic and carrots. Fry gently for 5 mins (to release sugars from the vegetables). becomes too thick. 6. Taste to check seasoning, adding salt if necessary. 7. Serve with plain, boiled rice of your preference (I like brown rice), and a salad garnish. Practical Astronomy Magazine Websites UK Astronomy Equipment Supplier Astronomy Blog I got good service and prices recently (ed) First Light Optics YouTube Channel Please mention “Practical Astronomy Main Site Magazine ” Practical Astronomy November 2009 10
  • 11. Software Review: New Version Of Registax Graphics and text: Kevin Brown What Is Registax? It's a free software to align and stack a number of images of the same object, combining them into a better-quality composite, final image. What Images Can Registax Work With? Registax is designed for stacking and processing, Lunar and Planetary astro- images. You can load two types of images: Registax main screen, showing a single alignment box set over Moon crater 1. Collections of single Theophilus frame sub-images (eg jpg, bmp, fits, raw 3. Aligning format files from a single-shot ccd device or digital camera) 4. Optimizing 2. Files containing many frames (eg AVI video 5. Stacking files from a webcam). 6. Processing with wavelets (to adjust quality) 7. Saving the final image For the demonstration images here, I used a couple of webcam AVI files of the Moon, There is good news for new users... once you captured with a Philips Toucam. have done steps 1 and 2, Registax can do steps 3 to 6 AUTOMATICALLY, if you choose. (This is what I used for this test) How Do You Use Registax? As you get more proficient at stacking and There are 7 steps.. optimizing, you'll find there's a huge wealth of 1. Loading images manual settings and controls to adjust, to 2. Setting align points (for this test, I used just a produce that perfect final image. single align box, as you can see in the screenshot above) Practical Astronomy November 2009 11
  • 12. Software Review: New Version Of Registax (cont.) Graphics and text: Kevin Brown How Can You Get The Software? Simply download for free from.. A detailed user manual is also available. What's New In Latest Version 5? There's quite a few useful enhancements, but notably: • Supports RAW format, digital SLR images • Handles large (over 1GB) AVI video files • Up to 500 alignment points and user-defined align boxes Stacked and optimized crater trio - Theophillus, Cyrillus and Catharina Summary Excellent software that will improve and inspire your astro imaging. And you can’t argue with the price! Think of all the fun you can have reprocessing those old image files, with this latest version of Registax. Mare Criseum area of the Moon Moon crater Copernicus and the Appennine Mountains Practical Astronomy November 2009 12
  • 13. Sky View Mid-November (lat. 51N) Looking South Looking West These maps show the sky view looking in different directions at 20.00 GMT in mid-November, for an observer at latitude 51 degrees North. Further South? Objects are higher above your local horizon, but patterns are the same. Local time zone not GMT? The view will be much the same at 20.00 hrs, in your local time. Practical Astronomy November 2009 13
  • 14. Sky View Mid-November (lat. 51N) Looking North Looking East These maps show the sky view looking in different directions at 20.00 GMT in mid-November, for an observer at latitude 51 degrees North. Further South? Objects are higher above your local horizon, but patterns are the same. Local time zone not GMT? The view will be much the same at 20.00 hrs, in your local time. Practical Astronomy November 2009 14
  • 15. Observers’ Delights November 2009 MOON Full New Full 2nd Nov 16th Nov 2nd Dec Very Favourable LEONIDS See METEORS Peak 17th Nov Date Range 15-20th Nov soon for details JUPITER SATURN VENUS MARS Still very bright in Possible before Bright before dawn, but Rises around the South evening dawn. Less becoming lost in dawn midnight. sky (in Capricorn) than splendid twilight Brightening Close to Neptune throughout the rest of 2009 DEEP SKY Starts ~ Ends ~ “WINDOW” 11th Nov 2009 21th Nov 2009 Make the most of it! Don’t Miss the Next FREE Issue Get Priority Notification... Simply visit our website and subscribe for FREE. As soon as the next issue of Practical Astronomy is published, you’ll get a short email to let you know it’s ready to download. Practical Astronomy November 2009 15