Monday, 28 June 2010

New scanner purchased and some changes

I decided to risk it today and spend €79 on a new scanner without doing any tests beforehand. I would have wanted to test scan some of my drawings before buying a new scanner but there are not many places about where they let you do that and get away with it. So I decided to settle with the EPSON V30.

There is nothing particularly wrong with my nearly a decade old Canon scanner but quite often it fails to capture all of the detail I'm hoping it will. I did a little test run with NGC 2359 (The Duck Nebula / Thor's Helmet) and got some promising results. The new scanner shows more detail as well as a lot more smoother version of the nebulosity - like it is supposed to. Here's an example. Click the image for a larger version.

Also to another matter and that is the old IPS. This service provided me with 500 megs of disk space for my homepages but due to ISP changes at my parent's house the is closing down. If this is the case, the entire content of the homepages and of course the images, drawings and whatnot will no longer be available. As I have no interest in doing it all over again, this blog and all resources @ will close.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

100 galaxies everyone should see ready

I finally managed to write down all the details and missing coordinates for the latest part of the "everyone should see" catalog. The list features (like the name suggests) 100 galaxies from the northern hemisphere that everyone should see. The list is NOT simply a catalog of the most beautiful galaxies but also a list of "must" objects that every respectable deep sky amateur should take a look at. The full catalog can be located here.

The objects are included based on visual appearance - curious, lovely detail or just simply beautiful - using 8 inch and smaller telescopes as I've experienced them on the eyepiece. These objects are the base of the untitled book I'm currently working on.

Included but why?

1.) IC 10. Member of the Local Group and a lovely obscure galaxy in a rich field.
2.) NGC 4236. Very demanding galaxy but quite rewarding once you get it. More of a "status" object.
3.) NGC 6181. Lovely little galaxy and challenging for hunting the spiral arms.
4.) NGC 3753. Copeland's Septet. Definitely a group everyone should see.
5.) NGC 3172. Polarissima Borealis. Simply because it is the closest NGC to the north celestial pole. A must.

Not included but why?

1.) Messier galaxies. I'm assuming observers already have some experience in deep sky observing so they're not included. Most importantly adding 30 odd Messier galaxies to the list would make the whole list fairly uninteresting and same old same old.
2.) NGC 3384, NGC 3628, NGC 6207. All of these galaxies are next to a bright Messier object so I'm assuming observers have already seen these.

Friday, 4 June 2010

6000 sketches in the Deep Sky Archive

Earlier today yet another magical barrier was broken in our FDSS's (Finnish Deep Sky Section) Deep Sky Archive - 6000 sketches! Being an ass, I decided to be cocky enough to brake the barrier myself by uploading 13 loathly sketches. In my defense, I broke the 5000 sketch barrier too, so I felt that my deed was just! What makes the 6000 sketch barrier even more amazing is that the 5000 mark was broken just few months ago. The credit belongs to Toni Veikkolainen who has uploaded nearly 1000 sketches during the past few months from our old (paper) archive I hold out for many years. Yes, lazy me.

Looking at the statistics of the page it is great to see over 160 000 hits on the page. Number of registered members is still quite low: 213. Many of these are people who haven't even uploaded a single sketch! I was also (gladly) surprised to notice Iiro Sairanen has uploaded 1156 observations to the archive and this doesn't yet include his works from Australia. Surprised mainly because I thought Jere Kahanpää has more than 1000 observations in the archive but seems to have "only" 837. How about me? I'm at 529 observations but the archive has only a small percentage (~20%) of my work uploaded. Always have a good excuse ready!

Congratulations to the entire section. This is a great day. With love, the old director of the Deep Sky Section.