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


It’s the Final Countdown

Don’t forget to pack a jumper. In America they turn the air conditioning units onto “fridge”

Tomorrow is our last bake sale.

The passports are all in and labelled, student help cards are ready and laminated , our travel lists are organized and all paperwork is up to date phew! It’s just a pity the staff are now so exhausted that they can’t begin to think of the midnight start.

One of the parents sent me this gif file and I think it fits perfectly! It’s just how I feel.

Only AH and H tests to complete and mark and the October break is upon us.

I will post on here giving you an daily update where possible. Find instant messages on Lockerbie Academy’s FB page.

As on our previous trip, I will note everything in one long post so that it reads in chronological order.  I’m afraid, for avid readers, you will need to scroll through to the bottom on a daily basis.

Don’t be late between Saturday night and Sunday morning: kick off 00:50 that’s ten to one in our time. (For the older ones that is in our non-inertial frame of reference).

Hope you parents have planned an exciting break and Higher students, don’t forget your revision!