Bode’s Galaxy

Bode's Galaxy (Messier 81) - a fuzzy blob and some bright speks against a dark background
Bode’s Galaxy (Messier 81)

Another year has flown by with not as much time for astronomy and astrophotography as I’d like. Light pollution is terrible from my observing location in East London, so only the brightest deep sky objects are really suitable targets for me (at least until I get a decent filter, or go for narrowband imaging £££).

Earlier this year I tried to image M81, but managed to miss the part of the sky they were in. I ended up with two hours of imaging on a fairly blank area of sky. Yesterday I decided I’d try again. With the galaxy nicely placed in the sky and due to get higher and better for imaging as the night progressed, I set up and started collecting images. I ended up with 45 x 240s exposures, excluding those with satellite and aircraft trails, and star trails I used 39 exposures to make the imafe above.

It’s not perfect – the stars are slightly tear-drop shaped, suggesting there’s some misalignment  between the telescope and camera. This means the galaxy itself is also not as sharp as it should be.

I’m also still very much a novice when it comes to processing the image to bring out the best in them.

I’ll revisit this galaxy many more times over the years, but this is my starting point. Here’s hoping i can improve upon it.

Christmas 2019

Christmas is always a bitter-sweet time for me, I’m not one for big family get-togethers and my family seem to enjoy dying at the end of the year too. Over the years at least four have popped their clogs between Xmas Eve and New year. Let’s hear a hearty FUCK CANCER here too.

This year we house sat for a friend in West Norwood, meaning we got to look after a cute cat and have a quiet Christmas after a busy and stressful year.

Iceland served up a fine selection of nibbles and a marmalade glazed ham. Marmalade made another two appearances as we watched both the Paddington films, they were much better than I expected them to be.

Good Omens was excellent.

A small grey cat
Clover the Cat

Not to be outdone by the Cat, the Dog also appears.

The Dog at Christmas

Birthday 2019

Not a big birthday, but it coincided with a holiday to the Cyclades.

I flew a kite on Atlantis. Not sure I have a photo of that, so instead here’s a photo of kite flying on the Disneyland of the gods island of Dilos.


I always get anxious about air travel. It’s not the flying so much, it’s everything else. Getting to the airport, killing time while there, the unintelligible announcements. The whole kit and kaboodle.

That said, I also find it impossible to be less than two hours early if I’m traveling alone.

I’m writing this sitting in the sun at Chopin airport in Warsaw a good three hours before my flight leaves.

The museum I had planned to visit to kill some time was mostly closed, a fact that Google maps was unaware of.

Time for some Tea.