Supernova SN 2014J

No photo unfortunately, but last night I successfully observed supernova SN 2014J – a new supernova in the galaxy M82 that was only discovered on January 21st – using my 8-inch Meade LX200 telescope and a 15mm Super Plossl Eyepiece.

I’m only just getting the hang of using the telescope, so finding M82 (the “Cigar Galaxy”) was tricky. The galaxy appeared as an elongated smudge, only just visible, but with a few stars around. I made a rough sketch of what I saw and compared it with a finder chart and Stellarium so that I could be sure I’d found the right place.

It’s pretty cool to see light from a dying star that’s travelled 11.5 million light years. :)

By Jove!

I took this using a normal point-and-click camera held up to the eyepiece of my telescope last night. No red spot on Jupiter, that would have appeared around midnight (Jupiter rotates completely in 10 hours – crazily fast) but you can see bands of cloud quite clearly. It might have been a clearer picture but for the thin cloud (on our planet) and condensation that formed and reformed every few minutes on the telescope.

Panshanger scenery for X-Plane

This is my first attempt at a scenery package for the X-Plane flight simulator, using only Sketchup, GIMP and WED (plus the library objects that come with X-Plane and OpenSceneryX). It covers my local airfield (Panshanger Aerodrome), which is home to the excellent North London Flying School.

The scenery covers most of the main objects on the airfield, although there is always room for improvement (in particular the main hangar needs remodelling from scratch). Bengeo water tower is included, as it is a prominent local feature that pilots sometimes use for navigation.

To download the scenery, or for more information, please click here.

I’ve shared the code on GitHub under a public domain license – improvements welcome.

Edit: I’ve also uploaded this to the official website.