Monday, April 30, 2007

Managed to complete most of the End of Course Assessment (ECA) for the OU Introducing Astronomy course and get it submitted on time! I think I might scrape a pass, if not I will give up this course of academic study and stick to observing!

Found the time just now to nip outside with my monocular and take a peek at Venus and Saturn. I can't remember Venus being on view for as long as this, but then I haven't been following all of this for a long time.

It looks like the new garden should be better than than the previous one for skies. But I will have to wait until I can build a shed for the scope before it sees any action. The thought of hauling it all down the stairs and back up hill to a suitable spot is not very appealing!

But I'm looking forward to some summer evenings lying back in a deck chair and taking in the whole sky. Last summer I had one evening in particular when I could see M31 with the naked eye, that was my best ever observinf session!


Thursday, April 26, 2007

Well, it's been 4 weeks tomorrow since we moved house, what a nightmare! I'm still surrounded by boxes in my new study including the Skywatcher which has yet to be unpacked.

My first priority is to build a base for a new workshop at the end of the garden and also a shed in which to keep the scope. I don't want to build an observatory yet as I need to think about where to put it based on views of the sky.

We have fine views to the south and east from the garden which is elevated from the house which in turn is elevated from the road. On a clear day I can see Cannock Chase and in particular a tranmitting tower at Pye Green which is 20 miles away! So I reckon I have my own "barometer" for checking seeing conditions, if I can see the tower then the air is pretty clear.

Anyway, after all the house moving etc I'd forgotten to do my assignment for the OU short course on Astronomy! I had 6 months to do this but only started it yesterday and it has to be in by next Monday!

I was a bit phased to start with by some of the questions but I think I'll have a reasonable stab at getting a pass. I'll try to post an overview of the course once I've finished the assignment.