Thursday, June 22, 2006

GIS modelling for Gardeners and Astronomers

Right then,

Given that I have this passion for GIS and doing something for the people, here goes:

I have this wonderful garden and am glued to Gardeners World when the World Cup isn'T on.

It is two interests I am focussing on for this posting. Gardening has got into me deeply and I am keen as a mapping man to know if I can use soil and climate data to assess the conditions for my garden, maybe not only my own garden but gardens in Britain and Germany. Hre are the models I am poroposing:

Gardening

This model is intended to determine what plants will grow best in the given location.

The theory is presented thus:

Plant suitability = f(soil type, rainfall, date of first frost, date of last frost)

I intend to map the information by British postcode.

Astronomy

Clear skies mapping is the focus here.

Her is my GIS model:

Limiting magnitude visible = f(altitude, number of days cloud freeper year, population density)

The population density is related to light pollution.

Any ideas to comment on this?

Saturday, June 17, 2006

An Iridium flare and M13 in Hercules

I was out just now trying to find M3 in Canes Venatici but owing to lack of experience failed as usual.

However the eveniong was saved by the sight of an Iridium flare. One phenomenally bright object which faded to almost nothing left of Böotes. Checked it out with Heavens Above and yep, my first Iridium! Very Happy

Thanks for that tip about M13 in Hercules. I just went back out and after some seaqrching, found it! Problem with Hercules is that it has such low mag stars I have always thought it to be a bit of a dull constellation. But now I have seen M13 it has somewhat redeemed itself.

I should add that I am simply sitting out on the deck chair with a pair of 10x50s rather than setting up the ETX which I prefer to do in daylight as it is so fiddly. Was caught out tonight by the stunning skies here after last night's thunderstorm.

So for to have found Herc and Canes Venatici tonight alone is a privilege.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

A late evening in Bavaria with the ETX125

Right then,

Well I have spent ages trying to figure out this telescope, a mixture of the scope being badly documented and me being partlyx a bit clueless, never having any time owing to family pressure, and it was often too bloody cold as well!

So tonight we got the babies in bed early and daddy got busy!.

This evening I set it up in daylight with a spirit level and compass to get it bang on the alignment stars. The scope worked like a dream tonight!

Best system I have found is to write a list of what you want to see. I had a long list of stuff I had wanted to see for years.

Here is the roundup of the stuff I saw this evening. I have given them a star rating, pun intended.

Epsilon Lyra The double double. Saw the double but only one of the doubles of the double - i.e., I only saw three stars in total. **

M57 Ring Nebula Man! I have wanted this one since last year when I lived in the city but simply coudln't reach as it was behind a block of flats! This evening the scope slewed onto the unmistakeable nebula and god is it beautiful to behold! ****

M11 just off Aquila in Scutum - low on horizon and nothing to see. . nil.

Albireo in Cygnus Patrick Moore has raved about the beauty of this double star. How can two stars be beautiful I asked myself. Well when you see them, a bright orange primary and a bluish secondary...simply wow. ****

M29 and M39 Seen but was not stirred by these. *

NGC 5466 in Boötes nothing to see. nil

M13 Hercules nothing. nil.

M92 Hercules beautiful. ****

Ursa Major M81 and M82 - didn't see much

M27 Dumbbell Nebula in Vulpecula beautiful to see. Glad I bought this scope!

Jupiter - Not easy to resolve the two belts but checking the Castle Point AC website brought up the fact that only two Galileans tonight are visible, Calisto and Europa. Damn Red spot is on the other side! ***

So there it is. What fun can be had with such a toy.