Sunday, 12 November 2017

"LEST WE FORGET"


James was born on 10 March 1890 in Wolverhampton, the son of James Ambrose and Mary J. Hancox. In 1891 they were living at 10 Victoria Terrace, Coleman Street, Wolverhampton, alongside his sister Elizabeth and brother Edmund. They were at 6 Stanhope Street by 1901, by which date the 11-year-old James was already a station assistant. On 20 November 1905 he started working for the Great Western Railway. In 1909 he married Mary Jane Pengelly at Devonport, and they had a child. By 1911 he had enlisted in the 1st Battalion of the South Staffordshire Regiment (number 8116).
He disembarked on 4 October 1914, but was killed in action on 29 October the same year. He is commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) memorial, as well as on the roll of honour for Wednesfield Village.
This photograph of James Ambrose Hancox appeared in the Midland Counties Express on 20 February 1915.


Saturday, 11 November 2017

Aurora Forecast

Aurora Forecast
Loch Doon Spitfire P7540
On Sat Oct 25th 1941 a lone Spitfire from 312 Czech Sqdn RAF Ayr on a training flight was seen to crash and be lost in the deep dark waters of Loch Doon. Recovered on 15th May 1982 when discovered by divers after a three year search . It is now almost fully restored and on display at the Dumfries & Galloway Aviation Museum
Loch Doon Spitfire P7540
Dalcairney Falls Dalmellington
Dalcairney Falls Dalmellington

Volunteering at The Scottish Dark Sky Observatory


I have been a volunteer at the Scottish Dark Sky Observatory in Dalmellington since its opening in 2012.
I thoroughly enjoy the experience meeting other from around the globe with an interest in astronomy including Russia, USA and more.
I learned to open the observatories scopes, the 20” Planewave with 5-meter dome and the 14” Planewave in the roll on roll off roof observatory, I have also been shown how to set them up for observing and show the wonders of the night sky to guests
I help direct guests to park and show them around the observatory. From time to time sitting in on the presentations.
I also get involved in maintenance of the equipment, building and grounds.
On clear nights the sky is amazing seeing meteors, Satellites and aurora on occasion as well as visual observing through the scopes at the end of a night I can set up my camera or telescope and do some imaging and viewing.
The greatest thing is to see the wonder and awe on the faces of some of the guests seeing the Milky Way for the first time or viewing objects through the telescopes for the first time.
We also promote the local area like Loch Doon, The Roundhouse and the Ayrshire Railway Preservation Trust amongst other things in the area with 100’s visiting the observatory each week this has to be a good thing for the area and I feel worthwhile being involved in. You are made to feel welcome and valued supporting this amazing charitable trust.
I am no expert but an amateur astronomer who enjoys sharing his hobby and promoting the area I live in.
The SDSO are always on the lookout for volunteers whatever your skill/trade or knowledge level you would be made welcome. I have met and made new friends from all backgrounds and hope the observatory continues to go from strength to strength.
Its not the amount of times you volunteer it’s the enthusiasm when you do that counts.

 If you are interested contact  info@scottishdarkskyobservatory.co.uk

Facebook Scottish Dark Sky observatory



Tuesday, 28 April 2015

2015 Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower

2015 Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower

Main Activity Dates Apr 19 to May 28
Peak Rates May 5 - 6
Peak ZHR 50 - 70 
Best Observed Rates Pre-dawn on May 6
Visibility each night (UK) Very limited visibility - radiant doesn't rise until near dawn
Moonlight issues at Maximum Significant - Moon is 2 days past full, though low in the southern sky


Approximate radiant from Dalmellington. With a a 90% waning moon and dawn creeping in we only need the weather to conspire against us now. Fingers crossed.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Noctilucent Cloud 2015

Noctilucent Cloud 2015

Nlc's usually appear from mid May to mid August.
They are a very interesting subject to view in the night sky and a great subject for photography.
There is a specific range of latitude they are visible from normally 50-65° North and about 82km in height

Early in 2014 the Earth may have past through the dust trail from Comet Ison it is thought this may enhance the NLC's this year we will have to wait and see.

Noctilucent (Night Shining is a loose Latin Translation)

An indication of the formation of NLC's is when the Mesosphere temperature drops to about -140°C at about 82KM altitude
.

Example:NLC's over  Dalmellington, Ayrshire Scottish Dark Sky Observatory 2013 
 ( http://www.scottishdarkskyobservatory.co.uk/  )








Types of NLC's Clouds

Type 1: Veil – A simple structureless sheet, sometimes as background to other forms.

Type 2: Bands – Lines or streaks, parallel or 
crossing at small angles.

Type 3: Waves – Fine herring-bone structure like the sand ripples on a beach at low tide. Very characteristic of NLC.

Type 4: Whirls – Large-scale looped or twisted structures.

Type 5: Amorphous – Isolated patches of NLC with no definite structure

Photography

ISO 200-400, 10-20 secs F2.8/3.5

The above settings are a rough guide only and experimentation is recommended

Below is a time-lapse also taken from the SDSO in June 2013






Links


Meteor Smoke Makes Strange Clouds - NASA Science - http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2012/07aug_meteorsmoke/


Explanation from the Atoptics Site - http://www.atoptics.co.uk/highsky/nlc2.htm  





Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Geminids Meteor Shower Dec 7-16 Maximum 2014





Geminids Meteor Shower Dec 7-16 Maximum Dec 14d 11h UT Peak ZHR 100-120

The annual Geminid meteor shower peaks this year on Dec. 14th when dark-sky observers around the world could see as many as 120 meteors per hour. The source of the display is "rock comet" 3200 Phaethon.

Good detailed info here http://www.popastro.....php?id_pag=233

Live Radar http://www.meteorsca...eteor-live.html

Good luck. The cloudy skies haven't been good to us so far this year.
ADVICE
Get away from light polluted areas to an area with dark skies.
Meteor observing doesn’t require special equipment you can observe with the naked eye.
Warm clothing and footwear is recommended take a blanket or a chair with you so you can sit back and view the sky without getting a crick in your neck.
Meteor observing can be a waiting game and be a bit hit or miss that’s part of the challenge-
Check the weather and moonrise and moonset timings for your location before you leave, and plan your viewing around it.
When it pays off you will be treated to a celestial firework show.

Photography

I use a Pentax K30 DSLR tripod mounted with a 2 sec shutter delay to remove camera shake. F3.5, ISO 1600 or more, 30 secs exposure I have a standard lens 18mm but if you have a wider angle lens all the better. A remote cable and timer. As with all astrophotography test shots pay off until you get the right setting.


Thursday, 27 November 2014

Dalmellington Astronomy Group


Hi I am posting this to see what interest there would be in forming an Official Doon Valley Astronomy Club, Society. (Name to be discussed)
As Dalmellington is the “Village in the stars” thought it would be good.
We have the Dark Sky Park on our doorstep and the Scottish Dark Sky Observatory and Loch Doon Roundhouse but no official club.
If you would be interested in forming the group or being a member a meeting could be arranged to see what form it takes sort out its aims and the complicated bit of sorting
Out whether it would be an unincorporated group, public liability insurance and sort out a constitution etc. I am a keen astrophotographer with DSLR and Telescope and think it would be an asset for the community

to have a local group. I would also start a club FB page and hopefully post events of interest’s meteor showers etc. and observing sessions that take place locally i.e. the Dark Sky Events and lectures/events at the Scottish Dark Sky observatory and our clubs observing sessions. I would  be keen for the group to support local youth groups/Schools and other clubs with some public outreach.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Leonids - November 17-18th (Mon-Tue)

Leonids


Active: November 6—30; Maximum: November 17-18th (Mon-Tue)

ZHRs of 10-15

Waning crescent Moon at last quarter on the 14th

Leonid radiant (see the chart below for its location) doesn't rise until after 22:30 UT  Nov 17-18 (Mon-Tue).


http://www.popastro.com/meteor/activity/activity.php?id_pag=311

http://www.meteorscan.com/meteor-live.html

ADVICE
Get away from light polluted areas to an area with dark skies.

Meteor observing doesn’t require special equipment you can observe with the naked eye.
Worm clothing and footwear is recommended take a blanket or a chair with you so you can sit back and view the sky without getting a crick in your neck.
Meteor observing can be a waiting game and be a bit hit or miss that’s part of the challenge-
Check the weather and moonrise and moonset timings for your location before you leave, and plan your viewing around it.
When it pays off you will be treated to a celestial firework show.

Photography
I use a Pentax K30 DSLR tripod mounted with a 2 sec shutter delay to remove camera shake. F3.5, ISO 1600 or more, 30 secs exposure I have a standard lens 18mm but if you have a wider angle lens all the better. A remote cable and timer. As with all astrophotography test shots pay off until you get the right setting.
I now have a 180° camera which I can use with software to hopefully detect meteors automatically which I will hopefully have set up for these showers leaving me to use my DSLR hopping to catch a Fireball.