Lovejoy Q2.

2°C, light wind and clear.
Best chance to see this comet this week. Twice I rode to work in the week. On the return trip, I stopped in a gateway to look up. First a thin veil of high cloud covered the wrong bit of sky. The next one was clear, despite trying, no smudge could be seen.


This photo, not mine, shows the comet’s location. With binoculars, it’s easy to find. I looked from a field in this city, so light pollution covered most fainter stars. That also means the tail is impossible to see.
Nevertheless, I am satisfied to see it.

Pulsar visualised

6°C, gales from SE. Some dry patches too.

3DS Max 8: I don’t often find the time to play with 3D software, but here is a still from a longer render that I ran overnight. As I write, I am attempting to upload the clip to YouTube.

Visualisation of a pulsar using 3D animation software. Inspired by the book- Clocks in the Sky: The Story of Pulsars by Geoff McNamara.
To make the job easier, this pulsar spins at only 2 times per second. There is a particle system for each pole and a volumetric light. If I have the right idea, then there is a gas jet from each magnetic pole and an electromagnetic beam too. With a rapidly spinning source, those two would not be colinear some distance from the object.
The particle system doesn’t show clearly; a feature that needs some work. Also, an introductory distance shot would work well. 3D animation takes a long time and only produces a few seconds of video each day. Some shots can be re-used, stills can be overlaid in the video editor.


ISON- a glimpse from England.

Comet ISON seen by the University of London Ob...

Comet ISON seen by the University of London Observatory (Photo credit: UCL )

2°C,still, clear.
Barely visible– even in 8×40 binoculars. Scan just up and right of Spica in Virgo, immediately before sunrise; in my case- 05.50.
It was only a fleeting glimpse, with eyes slightly averted. Just a smudge.

Posted from a mobile.

How many…

4°C, clearing. Light wind.
How many comets have you seen today? I have only seen one.
As if to repeat yesterday, I walked up to the Gazebo immediately at sunset to hunt with binoculars again.
It took, maybe twenty minutes before I found it, or the light fading revealed the comet at that time. Maybe both.
Remember that I was on a viewpoint above the city, but the comet was small. Very small. In fact, I could not see it without binoculars. Still, the thrill was strong. It has been about 12 years since last I saw a comet. That time it was Hale-Bopp, a much bigger, brighter phenomenon.
Some articles is the media have suggested that 2013 could be the year of comets. I’m looking.

Comet hunt.

-2° ~ +4°C, strong NE.
It was 12 years since Hale-Bopp and Halley’s was hidden by cloud.

This image was selected as a picture of the we...

This image was selected as a picture of the week on the Malay Wikipedia for the 36th week, 2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rushed home to get out to a good viewpoint tonight. Comet Pann-starr is grazing the sun today and should show a decent tail for the next few days. Awkwardly, it is very low on the horizon just after sunset. That means there is short time between pale twilight sky and and the object setting.
I knew where to look, I had binoculars, but there was still a problem.
A narrow bank of cloud lay over Cannock Chase. I knew where it was, and there were a few gaps in the cloud but not where I wanted one.

M101 blows

Light cloud in complex layers. 19°C & less wind. CR:35 miles after school.

The brightest Type-A supernova is at it’s peak tonight. It’s hidden under some thin high stratus cloud right now, which is a bit of a problem. The object is faint anyway, you’d need binoculars at least, so the slightest cloud renders it invisible. I’d really like to see a supernova sometime in my life, even if it’s faint & non-descript; it’s the thought, that’s all.

Supernova type 1a

Rode after school tonight. The shower is still out of action so I left promptly and hit the road on two wheels at 5pm. I got two hours in and still arrived home ½hr. before sunset. Feel-good.