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~ Copyright © Chris J Berry 2007 ~
http://www.chrisjberry.co.uk

ASTRONOMY

Space has always been a source of interest for me, but only over the latter part of my life have I had the resources to do something about it. Gazing up into the heavens one evening during the winter of 1995/96 I decided to invest in a telescope. At that time I didn't own a computer and thus no access to the Internet to assist me in my search.I eventually purchased a Russian 'Tal-2' six-inch reflector, although it appears fairly agricultural in its finish, the optics are superb. Unfortunately one of the drawbacks of living in our part of the world is the weather. Though it is conceded that weather cannot be predicted accurately, an indication as to how obscure ours is can be revealed from the generalized comment put about relating to a past eclipse: i.e.: 'we just won't see it for cloud!'; how true that was. Undaunted however, I keep prepared in case nature is kind to me. Random searches over the net has revealed some ingenius methods of imaging various aspects of the cosmos. One particular article related to the mounting of a simple webcam onto the eyepiece of the telescope which was connected to the computer. The images could then be downloaded to the VDU display where they were edited and printed. The results on the web examples were stunning, considering the financial outlay involve. I intend to research this method further and should any new techniques reveal themselves I will post them on my website.
telescope
sun
My other interest is the study of our sun. This however, can be dangerous and it is pertinent to mention at this point, and we are constantly warned that no cameras, telescopes or binoculars should be directed towards it without the appropriate protection; scorched retinas are irreplaceable. With this understood, there are filters available which remove the harmful rays of the sun and have been tested and approved to conform to "EU norm 89/686" and certified with the CE symbol. The particular filter I use is "The Baader-Planitarium's AstroSolar-tm" distributed by "David Hinds LTD of Tring". It is streak and blister free and though only 0.0012mm thick is strong and easy to handle and comes with full instructions and advice on how to use it safely; ideal for viewing eclipses if you are lucky enough to be near one. I was introduced to a net magazine run by NASA. This is a free service which is downloaded directly to your email facility and updated frequently with a wide variety of stories arising in the astronomic world. I asked NASA if I would be impinging on any rights by displaying any of the pictures they published in their online mags to me, and as you can see, it is with grateful thanks to NASA I am able to do so. The picture on the right was taken by SOHO the solar probe that is currently orbiting the sun to study its activity. Here in this short animation the solar outbursts are clearly seen as the sun blasts matter out into space some of which is regularly directed towards Earth
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