Monday, 27 October 2014

Featured Object - The Flame Nebula

The object we'll be looking at this time is the Flame Nebula. This little know nebula is very easy to observe, in terms of its brightness and its size.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

New Image Viewer Now Live

I am excited to present the very latest version of our online FITS editing tools, now live on the site for you to use. While other sites either provide a static jpeg or (sometimes) give you a FITS file, which you need specialist software to open, we are unique in offering a simple-to-use interface for editing your data, right in your web browser. Our newest, third generation FITS viewer is going to push the boundaries of what you thought was possible in a web page, and the first stage of the release is now live.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Object of the Month - Veil Nebula

The Veil Nebula is not an object that has traditionally been popular with the users of the BRT. I can only assume that this is because it's not very well known. With the right settings this object can produce quite nice images.


Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Master Dark and Bias Frames

In order to get a good image back from a CCD on the back of a telescope, there are a number of processes you have to put the image through to account for discrepancies and errors. These include applying bias and dark frames as well as flat fielding. We handle these for you automatically, but for those that like to do things by hand we are now producing master dark and bias frames for more advanced users to use.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

A Guide to Filters

There are a wide range of filters available on our cameras. Different cameras have different filters. These filters have strange names, which may be confusing if you've never seen them before. I dedicate this post to explaining what these filters are and when to use them.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Object of the Month - The Milky Way

Our telescope is pretty uniquely capable of capturing images of the milky way in all its splendour thanks to the wide field cameras you are able to request images from. The only difficulty is working out what to point at, as the milky way takes up quite a lot of the sky. (Or all of it you could argue).

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Object of the Month - Trifid Nebula

There is a lot of gas and dust in space. Most of it we can't see because both the dust and the background of space are very dark. Generally speaking, there are three different reasons we might get to see this dust. The Trifid Nebula (Messier 20) is a great showcase for this as it demonstrates all three in a single object. This also makes it an interesting object to try and image.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Fun with Domes (PART 4)

The dome pointing algorithm has so far been improved a good amount but there are still some things that can be done; things that require much more than merely tweaking some parameters.

Fun with Domes (PART 3)

This is where I start delving deeper into the mathematics behind the dome control algorithms. After all this it was a good week before I stopped having dreams about spherical polar coordinate transforms.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Fun with Domes (PART 2)

In my last blog post I talked about how I had started to investigate the positioning of the dome and I had found some areas of the sky where the galaxy camera was being obscured by the top of the dome.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Fun with Domes (PART 1)

Over the last week or so I have been doing some investigating into the algorithms that control the positioning of the dome throughout the night. It has been a long journey full of pitfalls and surprises but it might be leading to better dome positioning from now on.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Some thoughts on schedulers

Over the years we have had many people present their views on how the telescope's scheduling system isn't working fairly. It's an interesting point for discussion so here I want to share my two cents on scheduling systems and how they work.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Object of the Month: NGC 2903

There are a few galaxies around the skies of the Northern Hemisphere which Charles Messier somehow missed when he was compiling his famous Messier Catalogue. One of these is the galaxy NGC 2903. Discovered by William Herschel 15 years later, this bright spiral galaxy has an unusual textured core.

Clear image of the galaxy (cropped)

Friday, 14 February 2014

Happy Valentines Day

What better way to show your affection to your nearest and dearest than with a personal image of IC1805?

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

A survey of Galaxies

Galaxies can be very beautiful objects to image. They are all unique, can often have very intricate spirals, and don't take much work to get a good picture of. The tricky part is knowing which galaxies to take images of, as there certainly are a lot! Over the past 18 months I have been taking images of some promising galaxies and here I present the results of that endeavour.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Supernova in M82

There is an unusually nearby supernova in the Galaxy M82. It's bright and easy to observe, and M82 is a brilliant target at this time of year.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Object of the Month: The Crab Nebula (Messier 1)

On the 4th of July 1054, a bright new star appeared in the sky. Astronomers is China, Japan and across the Arab world took notice and of course it was heralded as an omen of great importance. This new star was a supernova explosion and while the initial glow faded long ago, the aftermath of this explosion is easily seen with a telescope: the crab nebula.
A BVR+Halpha image of the Crab Nebula