26 Feb 2011

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Discovery docks at international space station

Discovery, the US space shuttle, has docked at the international space station for the last time. This is the 13th time it has flown to the space station, where it is to deliver a new store room and a humanoid robot. Now only two more flight are scheduled, which are Atlantis and Endeavor, they will happen in the next few months. Discovery started its 11 day mission on thursday, and was launched from the Kennedy Space Centre.The entire orbiter fleet is set to be retired to museums. Didn't they do a good job? :)

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Cool M51 optical illusion!

I was just surfing the internet and came across this, its a optical illusion some person has put together. It also contains some pretty useful information. ENJOY! : optical illusion oh and it has to be set to full screen for the illusion to work :)

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18 Feb 2011

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Extra viewing session - coursework


Sky Object Name: m61 Taken By: Uplands Community College When taken: Feb 18, 2011 15:27:29 UTC RA: 12h21'55" DEC: 4°28'20" Filter: RGB Exposure time: 100 secs. Instrument: EM03
The Ghost of Jupiter (also known as Caldwell 59), a planetary nebula
Sky Object Name: ngc3242 Taken By: Uplands Community College When taken: Feb 18, 2011 15:17:55 UTC RA: 10h24'46" DEC: -18°38'38" Filter: RGB Exposure time: 0.500 secs. Instrument: EM03
Sombrero Galaxy
Sky Object Name: m104 Taken By: Uplands Community College When taken: Feb 18, 2011 15:12:56 UTC RA: 12h39'59" DEC: -11°37'23" Filter: RGB Exposure time: 45 secs. Instrument: EM03
Southern Pinwheel Galaxy
Sky Object Name: m83 Taken By: Uplands Community College When taken: Feb 18, 2011 15:06:10 UTC RA: 13h37'00" DEC: -29°51'55" Filter: RGB Exposure time: 10 secs. Instrument: EM03

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16 Feb 2011

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Video of Solarscope

New sunspots since Monday:



Our new Solarscope shows three things very clearly:

  1. There are two groups of sunspots now visible (on Monday only the top group could be seen) now the sun has turned
  2. The apparent movement of the sun across the sky can be seen by the movement of the sun's disc, even in this short video
  3. the clouds crossing the sun


video

15 Feb 2011

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Solarscope (new toy)


Yay, my new solarscope's come!

It felt like Christmas! I opened the box with Miss Brett and, together we assembled the parts ( it didn't take long, the instructions were quite straightforward). Luckily (amazingly!) the sun was shining and it took even shorter time to work out how to use it. Having struggled with getting a good image with the binoculars (which was quite a lot of faffing around covering one eyepiece, clamping it in a stand and trying to line it up with the sun without looking through it [warning: you should never, ever look at the sun either with or without binoculars/telescope, as you could blind yourself or severely damage your eyes!]

So, here's the solarscope set up and ready to go:



So, what's a Solarscope?


A Solarscope, like a Sunspotter, allows you to look at features of the sun safely. For instance, you could look at planets (Mercury or Venus) transiting (crossing) the sun's disc, or you could watch the progress of a solar eclipse. What I most wanted it for, though, was to look at sun spots - small, slightly cooler spots on the sun's surface, which appear to move as the sun turns.

We quickly found that the Solarscope gave us a good image of the sun, and I saw my first ever sunspots (whenever I'd looked before I hadn't seen any)



The sun's rays travelled through the telescopic part on the front, hitting the small concave mirror at the back, to be focused inside the box:



We saw what appeared to be three sunspots (but were probably four, with the middle two looking like one big one, since they usually come in pairs):



Light clouds came over at this point, but we were still able to see the sunspots:




A few hours later (13.44) we took another photo to compare the sunspots, and they seemed to have shifted a bit...(they don't seem to line up on such a slant...)



Although a proper Sunspotter is quite expensive, and difficult to find in this country, we have asked Mr Chantler, technology, if he might have a go at making us one...so possibly we might have one of those in the future. But, in the meantime, this solarscope will keep us going... :-)

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14 Feb 2011

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GCSE coursework 14th Feb observations

Sky Object Name: M83
Taken By: Uplands Community College
When taken: Feb 14, 2011 11:58:35 UTC
RA: 13h37'00"
DEC: -29°52'04"
Filter: Bessell V
Exposure time: 10 secs.
Instrument: EM01


Sky Object Name: Sombrero Galaxy
Taken By: Uplands Community College
When taken: Feb 14, 2011 11:55:05 UTC
RA: 12h39'59"
DEC: -11°37'23"
Filter: RGB
Exposure time: 30 secs.
Instrument: EM01


Sky Object Name: NGC 3926
Taken By: Uplands Community College
When taken: Feb 14, 2011 11:48:38 UTC
RA: 11h51'27"
DEC: 22°01'39"
Filter: RGB
Exposure time: 30 secs.
Instrument: EM01


Sky Object Name: NGC 3926
Taken By: Uplands Community College
When taken: Feb 14, 2011 11:43:23 UTC
RA: 11h51'23"
DEC: 22°01'39"
Filter: RGB
Exposure time: 30 secs.
Instrument: EM01


(what happened here?)
Sky Object Name: Sombrero
Taken By: Uplands Community College
When taken: Feb 14, 2011 11:35:59 UTC
RA: 12h33'35"
DEC: -11°40'39"
Filter: RGB
Exposure time: 10 secs.
Instrument: EM01

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