Me and the Faulkes

I got an email today from Alison Tripp from the Faulkes Telescope saying “We wondered who had been promoting us as we’ve had a few people sign up recently” So as I’ve been promoting it, I suppose I ought to be telling people how I use it and what it’s all about.

What a 40th Birthday present!

When a group of teachers met in a outdoor centre for a weekend of snoring, laughter and resource sharing we got a talk about a project called the Faulkes Telescope. This appeared to be a great new project for Mrs Physics to try, so I signed up, found out about it and Mr and Mrs Physics did our first trial run on my 40th Birthday (no more details given!) This was my first image. Since then I’ve had a love/ hate relationship with the telescope, but I can vouch that it has a massive impact on the students astonishment about Science and the wonders of our beautiful world.

The telescope has undergone huge changes since 2004 when it opened (and before I was 40!) and the changes just keep on going. I was taken aback on Thursday 5th November 2020 when armed with my list of 6 potential targets (quite high for one session, but unusually involving lots of short exposures) I found that the telescope was no longer needing to change each filter, red green and blue, to image each part of the sky as 3 individual images but that it could take these images simultaneously. So my 6 targets and 2 back ups weren’t enough for my 1/2 hour session.
However, when processing the images it was certainly more tricky with different images not quite aligning, but the technical Mr Physics came up with the solution.

In this post I’ll go through a few of my favourite images from the last 13 years, (whoops I’ve given that away) and then over time I’ll build up some posts about how I go about preparing for a session and analysing the images. Hope you like what you see and feel free to use the pictures, although a credit would be nice!

M16- Pillars of Creation, The Eagle Nebula. I think this is taken in the H-alpha which isn’t possible now
Another M16, we spent one session just imaging M16 in different filters from O, H-alpha and RBG
My first image of the “hamburger galaxy” NGC 3268
NGC 7293