Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Mount Doom....
Last week we were walking through the fields in our hometown. As you can see on the image below, about an hour before sunset we were treated on a very special sight, the Sun “touching” the top of a big cloud. The view instantly reminded us of Mount Doom, the big volcano in Mordor (from The Lord of the Rings). Hmmmm….. maybe finally something happening in Landgraaf, Netherlands tongue wink

Click to enlarge

Posted by Math on 06/26 at 11:16 AM | (1) Comments | filed in: Solar scraps | Print
Monday, June 18, 2007
Venus disappearing behind the Moon
Today has been overcast for most of the day, but around 4 o'clock it started to clear a little, and I could witness Venus disappearing behind the Moon. It was a wonderful sight to see this amazingly bright little sphere of light vanish behind something that is almost invisible, the darker part of the crescent Moon. I used my 85mm Zeiss spotting scope, equipped with the zoom eyepiece for visual observation. I also shot some images right before Venus disappeared with the Coolpix 4500. Enjoy the views, and I hope it will still be clear when Venus reappears!


Posted by Math on 06/18 at 07:28 AM | (1) Comments | filed in: Solar sytem scraps | 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 02:03 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!

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Posted by Math on 04/28 at 08:14 AM | (0) Comments | filed in: General | Print
Monday, April 23, 2007
Venus and the Moon, a nice pairing!
On Thursday April 19th their was a pretty pairing of Venus and the Moon in the evening sky. I shot a few images with the Nikon Coolpix 4500 mounted on a tripod. On the first image you see the crescent Moon hanging to Venus's lower right, right over our neighbours house. On the second image you can see the earthshine on the part of the moon that is not illuminated by the Sun. On the third image you can see a close up of Venus and the Moon. Click on the thumbnail images to enlarge!

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Photo data: 
Posted by Math on 04/23 at 02:00 AM | (0) Comments | filed in: Lunar scraps | Print
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
First light(s) for my 300mm Orion Optics UK Dobson
It has been quite a while since you heard from me but finally I managed to find some time to give you an update on the performance of my new telescope, the 300mm Dobson from Orion Optics UK. I have been using it on several nights during the last few months and in this article you find a summary of the results of these more or less short observing sessions.
Posted by Math on 04/18 at 08:54 AM | (6) Comments | filed in: Deepsky log | 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 03:01 PM | (2) Comments | filed in: General | Print
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
My new 300mm dobson from Orion Optics UK
I have been observing the deepsky visually for a few years with my 8-inch TAL 200K mounted on a Synta EQ6. What I didn’t like about this setup were two things: it was a lot of work to take it apart for transport when I wanted to go to a dark sky site and the aperture was just a little too small for deepsky observing from my light polluted backyard. A lot of objects just stayed out of reach.

So I wanted a telescope that could be setup and taken apart quickly and I wanted a telescope with a little more aperture. Set-up should only take a minute or two. I also wanted to be able to put it into my small family car without any help and carry it around on my own. My lower back problems limited the weight of each component to 20 Kilograms maximum. Because of these back problems, I also wanted a telescope that allowed sit-down observing. I decided to buy a closed tube Dobson with the largest aperture I could manage on my own.
Posted by Math on 12/19 at 01:02 AM | (2) Comments | filed in: Equipment | Print
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