Archive | June 2009

Wast Hills Telescope Movie

Whilst observing the other week I grabbed some images taken by the webcams out at Wast Hills with the intention of putting together a short animation of the telescope observing. I’m pleased to say that it came out quite well (though some work could be done – i.e. taking a longer dataset and move rapid images.. but its a start), see below:

(if you can’t see the above the see the youtube page directly [here] or try the higher resolution (15mb) version [here] – it looks considerably better).
How was this made… in short using imagemagick on Ubuntu. To annimate the image and to decide what frames to junk I used:
animate -delay 45 -loop 2 *.jpg
But if you want to save the resulting animation you have to use:
convert -delay 30 *.jpg -loop 1 playme.gif
To stick it on youtube I wanted to make an avi file from the gif, so I used ffmpeg (well I used convert first but of course this is not necessary):
convert test.gif test%05d.jpg
ffmpeg -r 5 -i test%05d.jpg -y -s 4cif -b 5000000 -an test.avi

Clear Skies and nebulae

On Tuesday I took Astrosoc out to the University of Birmingham Observatory at Wast Hills for a BBQ (pictures from the social side later) and a night of observing. It was a fantastic night with probably the most clear skies I’ve ever seen at Wast Hills, for the visual observers they claim to have had the best view of the Milky Way ever at Wast Hills (to even see it is a almost a shock given we aren’t too far out of the city).
Since the title of the post includes nebulae lets start with them. We managed to get some decent images of some lovely nebulous regions. We started off the night, well it was still fairly light when we got this image, with the Ring Nebula (M57, 2x30s BRV):
Ring Nebula
We also observed the Lagoon nebula – M8 ( 2x10s BRV ) is a giant interstellar cloud in the constellation Sagittarius. It is classified as an emission nebula and as an H II region.
Lagoon nebula
The Veil Nebula, also known as the Cygnus Loop or the Witch’s Broom Nebula, is a large, relatively faint supernova remnant in the constellation Cygnus (2x30s in BVR).
The Veil Nebula
We took a quick view of IC5070 – Pelican Nebula (30s BRV) – I’m pretty sure we can do much better than this quick snapshot but it does show some nice dense gas clouds:
Pelican Nebula
M97 – Owl Nebula (30s BRV) showing the eyes and maybe a bit more – slightly deeper required:
Owl Nebula
M27 – Dumbbell Nebula (30s BRV):
Dumbell Nebula
IC 5146 – Cocoon Nebula (30s BRV):
Cocoon Nebula
A close second to the Veil nebula in my favourite image of the night, M20 – the Trifid Nebula is an H II region located in Sagittarius (2x30s BRV):
Trifid Nebula
We weren’t so successful with the North American Nebula, NGC7000 – North American Nebula (30s BRV) taken at Wast Hills – clearly no nebulosity can be seen (thus we either didn’t observe deep enough or in the wrong patch of the nebula as it is fairly large):
North American Nebula
Star Clusters:
Wild Duck cluster (M11; 30s BVR)
Wild Duck Cluster
NGC6760 – a globular cluster in the constellation Aquila (30s BRV):
Moving a bit further away… M63 – the Sunflower Galaxy (30s BVR):
Sunflower Galaxy
M108 (30s BRV):
Stephan’s quintet – 4 of which are part of a compact galaxy group (30s R):
Stephan's quintet
M31 – the centre of the Andromeda Galaxy (30s BRV)
Andromeda Galaxy
M51 – The Whirlpool Galaxy (2x30s BRV):
The Whirlpool Galaxy
NGC 6822 – Barnard’s Galaxy is in this field though not very clear, it is probably the faint nebulous region (30s BRV):
Barnards Galaxy

Barcelona 2009

Last week we took a week off to explore fantastic Barcelona… I’ll get round to putting together a proper post about this later in the week (after [Download]..) but for now here are some pictures that can be found on my flickr account (basically this is a test to see how pictobrowser works):