Category: General

Tuesday, October 19, 2010
The 100 meter radiotelscope in Effelsberg
On Saturday the 16th of October I visited the 100-meter radio telescope from the Max-Planck-Institute in Effelsberg, Germany. With this giant telescope it is possible to map large parts of the night sky in different wavelengths. Objects in our own galaxy, but also other nearby galaxies can be studied.

What I found very impressive was the speed with which this giant disc can be turned into different directions. The 100-meter large disc is simply impressive to see! Here are a few images of the telescope. Just click on them to enlarge.

Posted by Math on 10/19 at 06:32 PM | (0) Comments | filed in: General | Print
Tuesday, June 02, 2009
Star Observer is online!

Today I launched my new website, Star Observer, a website dedicated to the observation of stars and open clusters. I created this website to have a more structured way to present my observing reports from my favorite objects: stars and open clusters. At the core of Star Observer you will find a new and growing collection of visual observing reports. There is a separate page for every object observed. On an object's page you will find my personal observing report, a sketch (or image) and some notes and background information about the object. The observing reports can be found in the top bar menu under "Single and multiple stars" and "Open clusters". In the section "observing stars" you will find some information about the equipment and resources I use for planning, executing and evaluating my observations.

In the future new observing reports will be added on a regular bases. I am also planning to publish a few articles about stars and clusters, and the method I developed for planning, executing and evaluating / publishing my observations.

You can navigate through using the different menus or the sitemap. If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to contact me, using the contact form.
Updates on will be announced in this blog. Follow this link to go to the homepage of Star Observer.

Clear skies

Math Heijen
Posted by Math on 06/02 at 06:34 AM | (0) Comments | filed in: General | Print
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Star party at Bel Any
Last weekend we had a small star-party in Any Rieux Martin in the northern part of France. The weather was just wonderful and on Friday and Saturday night we could observe through the night. I had a lot of first time viewings of some fantastic objects like the Flame Nebula and the complete Rosette Nebula. I also had the chance to observe a few Messier objects near the southern horizon (M 79, M 41 and M93). A detailed report will be logged later on this month, but here are a few images that were taken on the first evening. Click on the images to enlarge.





Posted by Math on 02/13 at 06:16 PM | (1) Comments | filed in: General | Print
Sunday, May 06, 2007
Caldwell images on stamps
The Royal Mail (UK) celebrates 50 years of the BBC's Sky at Night television programme with the issue of 6 stamps that show 6 different Caldwell Objects. On the stamps you see 6 wonderful colour images of 4 planetary nebulae, a galaxy and an emission / reflection nebula.
Data on the different stamps / images:
1. 1st Class : Caldwell 55, the Saturn Nebula, planetary nebula in Aquarius
2. 1st Class : Caldwell 39, the Eskimo Nebula, planetary nebula in Gemini
3. 50 pence : Caldwell 6, the Cats Eye Nebula, planetary nebula in Draco
4. 50 pence : Caldwell 63, the Helix Nebula, planetary nebula in Aquarius
5. 72 pence : Caldwell 31, the Flaming Star Nebula, an emission / reflection nebula in Auriga (image by Robert Gendler)
6. 72 pence : Caldwell 53, the Spindle, a lenticular galaxy in Sextans
So if you are an amateur astronomer and stamp collector, this set of six celestial gems might be of interest to you! For more information and ordering the set of stamps, follow this link to the website of The Royal Mail.

Click on image to enlarge
Posted by Math on 05/06 at 06:03 AM | (0) Comments | filed in: General | Print
Saturday, April 28, 2007
Two sunsets and the Moon
The last few weeks the weather has been very good, and every night an hour before sunset, we took a long walk through the fields just down the road where we live. It's amazing what you sometimes can see when taking your time. Every evening we noticed not only different animals and plants, but also different celestial sights. Most of the time we carry a small digital camera with us, to record some of the things we encounter on our daily walk. Here are a few images we shot last week, two of a sunset and one of the Moon which is visible through the branches of a huge tree. Hope you enjoy the pics.

Please click on the images to enlarge!

image image image

Posted by Math on 04/28 at 12:14 PM | (0) Comments | filed in: General | Print
Monday, April 16, 2007
I'm back
Well, after a turbulent five months I am glad to be back again. During this period my father became very ill, and a few weeks ago he sadly passed away in hospital after a 10-week stay on an intensive care unit. As you can imagine I had other things on my mind than maintaining my blog and site.

It is not easy to go through such dark times in your life, but luckily, there is always someone or something that helps you to forget everything for a little while, like being with your family and friends. And every now and again, I also found a little comfort being outside under the stars, alone or with Leo, a fellow observer. I didn’t log any of these short observing-sessions but simply tried to enjoy the views and forget all the troubles for a few minutes. Sitting under the stars one night, I thought about Frodo (Lord of the Rings) who gets a most wonderful gift from Lady Galadriel: the light of Earendil’s star caught in a small crystal bottle filled with water from her fountain. She presents this gift to Frodo saying:

“May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out”.

And that’s how I felt about the stars that night. They were lights that somehow guided me trough a dark period of my life.

Just after my father died, we went outside one evening, and in the western sky we saw a very bright Venus. My girlfriend said to me, think of this bright light as being your father, shining for us. This thought somehow was very comforting, so maybe that’s an idea for anybody who loses a dear one. Give him or her a place in the starry sky, so that when you’re under the starry sky, you have the feeling that he / she is with you. I still miss my father very much, but when I go out tonight and see Venus shining in the twilight, I will do this with positive feelings, thinking about the good times we had together. That’s what he would have wanted me to do.

Clear Skies and bright stars to all of you!
Posted by Math on 04/16 at 07:01 PM | (2) Comments | filed in: General | Print
Sunday, November 06, 2005
During my short holiday in Drente (Netherlands) I visited the Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope, one of the observing facilities of ASTRON. It was quite an impressive sight to see the telescopes lined up in the field.

The Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope is one of the most powerful radio observatories in the world. It enables astronomers to study a wide range of astrophysical problems: from pulsars to kinematics of nearby galaxies to the physics of black-holes. The WSRT is an open user facility available for scientists from any country. It is also part of the European VLBI network (EVN) of radio telescopes. This allows the astronomers to obtain some of the sharpest and more detailed images possible in astronomy. (Text from ASTRON Website)

I took a few snapshots from the radiotelescope for my astronomy journal. Click on the images to enlarge.

image image image

Posted by Math on 11/06 at 09:11 PM | (0) Comments | filed in: General | Print
Saturday, September 17, 2005
Deepsky, Herschel and Tirion

Observing the deepsky
This weekend is packed with astronomy. Last night I enjoyed a few hours of stargazing with Leo, a fellow astronomer. We toured Cassiopeia, Cepheus, Andromeda and Perseus using big binoculars (15x80 and 20x90) and the Sky Window / Sky Mirror. Occasionally we used Leo's 10-inch Dobson. We visited a few of old friends: Stock 2, the double cluster, ET (NGC 457), Herschel's Garnet Star, M 31, The hockey stick, Alpha Persei Moving Cluster, Algol, and later that evening a nearly full Moon. The seeing was not to good, but it felt good to have a few hours of deepsky observing after two weeks.

Posted by Math on 09/17 at 07:44 PM | (0) Comments | filed in: General | Print
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