I’m in the process of moving the site to a new server. So you may find that I forget to update here as often as I should. That probably means that all the fun is going on over at the new site. Eventually the www.spacepilot.scot address will take you directly there but, in the meantime, you can click on this old Space Pilot logo to go to the new site and see what’s going on.
A Happy New Year, folks.
I’m experimenting with a new kind of web site, hosted by Spanglefish. If it works well I’ll be redirecting spacepilot.scot to it in February. In the meantime you can find my new year message there at this address.
I hope 2017 is good to you and you find a new hope to inspire you.
I had a lot of fun this weekend taking my mum to the 50th Anniversary Destination Star Trek. Mum and Dad always encouraged my interest in science fiction and Mum is still very much a Star Trek fan. We finished our day on Saturday with the very entertaining Shatner’s World show starring Captain Kirk himself, William Shatner.
I’ve just rejigged our Ayesongs Bookshop which has its own website now. Just click on the menu item above and you will be whisked away there.
At the present there is just the one book on sale which you can buy digitally from Amazon’s Kindle store or physically from our own Etsy store. This is a wee trial. If nothing sells the Etsy store may have to go. So tell your friends and get some Christmas orders in and we’ll keep it going.
I plan to add more books in the coming weeks and months, including my own comics. So keep an eye on our bookshop and you may get a bargain.
Having got the webcomic updated after a whole year, I also noticed that the blog is a bit behind. I’ve been sharing mostly on Facebook and Twitter over the past few months and that’s been useful in the political sphere as things change on a weekly basis. However I’ve been getting some more astronomy done recently and this was sparked off by more enquiries to Dumfries Astronomy Society about which telescope to by.
I’ll not go into the full answer to that question here. I’ll just point you at the post I put on the Astronomy Society site which answers all your questions on this subject.
Anyway, one of the telescopes I recommended was the Celestron AstroMaster 130. For a classic German mounted Newtonian reflector this is a very accessible telescope for a keen beginner who really wants to learn some astronomy. It also is a telescope that will keep your interest as your knowledge develops and so it makes a nice little scope for an experienced amateur too. The big surprise was that prices have really come down on these things. So I found myself looking at this good quality affordable telescope and then looking at my old sewage pipe Dobsonian that is needing an overhaul and thought I could really save myself some work here. So I took my own advice and bought an AstroMaster.
It turned out to be as easy to use as I’d expected and produces wonderful images with the supplied eyepieces. It’s stable enough to take a photo through the eyepiece with my iPhone, too. The first clear night I got after the telescope arrived was Tuesday 14th June and there was a nice gibbous moon in the sky. This is ideal for lining up the sights of the telescope before moving on to small fiddly things like planets and nebulae. So I lined things up and got a lovely image of the moon and snapped it with my phone. The green colour is due to the moon filter I was using. When you are sitting in the dark in your back garden with dark adapted vision, the last thing you want to do is look through a telescope at a landscape in full daylight. As the moon is exactly that, you put a filter on the eyepiece that acts as sunglasses for viewing the sunny lunar landscape. The same night I got a good look at Jupiter and some of its moons, but the smaller bright objects against a starry background defeated the iPhone’s camera. I’ll work on a better method photographing planets for a later post.
I had another couple of goes at recording the moon in later weeks. On the 18th June I snapped it with a little digital camera but that was a bit more fiddly than holding the iPhone to the eyepiece. It was also a full moon which tends to wash it with too much light.
On the 5th July, I added Saturn and Mars to my observing bag. I’ll see if I can get you some picks of them too another time. Saturn is especially beautiful when you see it down the eyepiece against the background of stars.
So – I’m looking forward to the longer nights ahead and I’ll bring you the best of the piccies that I gather on the way.