Astronomy event in Hven

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Lecture about variable stars
Lecture about variable stars

Came back after an amazing weekend in Hven, a little isle between Denmark and Sweden where astronomer Tycho Brahe once was the head of Europe’s top astronomy researches, trying to resolve problems around the heliocentric model by observing the parallax between stars. We arrived there at Friday morning by car together with Sara and another member of the Tycho Brahe astronomy society.

Sara and I decided to camp by assembling our tent close to the beach on the north-east side of the isle and by the time we were done, we attended our first workshop which was dedicated to Astrophotography. To my disappointment both course leaders were talking 2½ hours about their own telescopes and their old telescopes but nothing about astrophotography… Apart from a slide in their powerpoint presentation with around 30 terms in Astrophotography. During that time Sara had difficulties to keep herself from sleeping, so we decided to abandon this workshop and go for lunch.

Lecture in spectroscopy
Lecture in spectroscopy

The coming days we explored a bit of the isle, eating in most of the restaurants, attending workshops, looking at books, filters, telescopes and talking to professional and amateur astronomers. This event is the first of its kind in Scandinavia partly because we got many participants, but also because it was filled with lectures from professional and experienced amateur astronomers bringing up things about dark matter, exoplanets, variable stars and the cooperation between amateur and professional astronomers in matters of observational data and common research areas.

Within a few days I will post a few links on videos from these lectures and workshops but apart from one lecture in English, the rest was in Danish and Swedish. Unless you understand Danish or Swedish I really recommend you to watch the lecture in variable stars given by Christopher Allen.

Astronomy vendors
Astronomy vendors

One thing that really brought up my curiosity was a lecture in Spectroscopy by Køge Bugt. It is amazing what amateur astronomers got in their hands when it comes to advanced equipment but also their enthusiasm on this kind of homemade research!

The event days came to an end by a few lectures from professional astronomers and a few words from the head of the board from Tycho Brahe Astronomy Society. This event went beyond my expectations thank to all effort, enthusiasm and energy that came from all the participants and people behind the scenes. I will get back with more photos soon!

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Weather is stopping Christer Fuglesang from launching

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Weather is effecting each one of us in different ways and for the space shuttle mission ST-128 received another canceled launching countdown based on bad weather circumstances this early morning, 0720 CET. Fortunately there will be more chances to go and another attempt is already taking place tomorrow 20 minutes prior to the initial launching schedule today. Let us hope the weather will be more forgiving and for more details please visit the links below:

As about myself, there are 3 days left before my astronomy meeting (Astronomidagarna i Hvén) together with other astronomy enthusiasts on the isle of Hvén outside Landskrona scheduled for Friday. So far we have more than 100 attendees registered. During the astronomy meeting between Friday 28th of August to Sunday 30th of August there will be lots of workshops together with experienced astrophotographers from Denmark, Sweden and Norway, but also workshops regarding techniques on telescopes and also for beginners. We will finally enjoy lectures in astronomy from people in Lund’s university and Denmark. For a few days ago I was worried about transferring my telescope but finally I came in contact with a board member from my association Tycho Brahe. It showed up that he is going to transfer all telescopes for the people living in nearby regions including mine one! He also offered a ride which is mostly appreciated.

Other than that, my daughters are excited because their favorite program is shown again in SVT which is called “Tillbaka till Vintergatan” (The return to Milky way). The program can be viewed by younglings in the SVT children area of the website and is on air every Friday and Saturday.

Time for Jupiter again

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Jupiter by Niklas Henricson
Jupiter by Niklas Henricson

Finally! The weather allowed me to bring out my telescope. It was about time to run some tests with my Celestron NexImage camera. There were many attempts trying to adjust several parameters such as brightness versus contrast, frame rates, quality, shutter speed and so on. I finally found out what to do and was able to record a short movie of Jupiter and then process it in RegiStax 5.

Programs used:

  • RegiStax 5.0
  • Celestron AMCap
  • Adobe Photoshop CS2
Jupiter by Niklas Henricson
Jupiter by Niklas Henricson

The trick is to capture a planet by recording an AVI-movie, process it through Registax, do final adjustments in Photoshop and voila!

Celestron NexImage Solar System Imager

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Celestron NexImage
Celestron NexImage

Last night I finally received my Celestron cam! After some adventures between Amazon.com, my bank and VISA, because of warranty & delivering issues towards me as a European customer it’s finally in my hands. I’m eager to start working with this camera as soon as possible whenever weather circumstances allow me.

The installation worked smoothly on my Windows XP service pack 3 for both my PC and the laptop. This cam is used to record a planetary object such the sun, moon or the planets. The software that follows with the camera assists you to filter out blured and badly exposed images due to atmospheric conditions. I’m giving you a couple of examples on the results below.

For details related to this product visit Celestron website at: http://www.celestron.com/c3/product.php?ProdID=354

Be aware of the sound:

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Play chess with Christer Fuglesang

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schackChrister Fuglesang  challenge in chess towards Dagens Nyheter has started. It is now possible to vote for the best chess move against Christer Fuglesang. The moves are analyzed by the Swedish chess master Richard Wessman and by publishing three possible counter moves for the news readers, you can vote on one of them. The winning move (with most votes) is then finally announced to Fuglesang.

The following link takes you to NASA’s live web TV. In a few days we will be able to follow the launch:

An exhausted Christer Fuglesang

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An exhausted Swedish astronaut answering questions to reporters representing different Swedish newspappers.

Godspeed Christer! Good luck with your mission! It truly means a lot for Sweden to have a representative out in space.

To follow STS-128 visit one of the NASA links bellow. NASA put some effort in reporting the progress for the 30th ISS mission and I would think they will air the launch live by streaming it through their website on the 24th of August. I will get back with more links.

Links:

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Object casts shadow over Saturn’s rings

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Foto: NASA
Photo: NASA

Since the time Galileo pointed his telescope toward Saturn, every observer has been fascinated about the rings. They are mainly made of ice, grain and rocks of different sizes and shapes – some as big as cars – moving around Saturn and colliding with each other constantly causing them to be torn apart into smaller pieces. The rings are what remain from a moon in the past. Gravitational forces between the two objects (gas giant and its satellite) caused the object to be ripped into smaller parts during the ages. Today the remnants left from that moon are an astonishing beautiful sight that appears to us as rings.

The same kind of “war declaration” is claimed between Jupiter and its moon Io. Moons too close to these extremely large gas giant planets will cause them to slowly be torn apart over time. Currently Io has violent volcano and moon-quake activities ripping it slowly from the inside. One day Jupiter may have as beautiful rings as Satun. Who knows?

Photo: NASA
Photo: NASA

Rocks orbiting Saturn sometimes fall out of their orbits due to large collisions between the rocks, causing the shadows we see on the image, before they fall back again into orbit. Aftonbladet reports this news as mystical as in “Mysterious object in Saturn’s rings“, which it actually is not. Sometimes I admit that they add a little bit of a spice in their news with overdramatized titles.

Aftonbladet article: Mystiskt föremål i Saturnus ring ( http://www.aftonbladet.se/nyheter/article5641347.ab )

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