Last Night’s Eddington Society meeting roundup

It was member’s night at the Kendal Astronomical Society last night and there were a few interesting programs on show. A couple involved variability of stars (not including exoplanets but transitting ones can be measured in the same way). David Allen, the Treasurer, mentioned a free program called IRIS. This program looks at a photograph of the sky and assigns an intensity number to each point of light in the photograph (does photometry – well, it does lots more, but for the project it was used for here, photometry was enough). Comparing the intensity to the known magnitudes of points of light in the image can then be the basis of identifying the magnitudes of remaining objects, including variables.

Also mentioned were the free programs Hallo Northern Sky and ASCOM, the first a rather complete planetarium program and the second is a program for driving a telescope via a computer. Get the right cable to hook one up to the other and this is the software needed. Ken Hough, the society Chairman who presented this also had a wireless game pad to run the computer with and intended to add CCDs to the eyepiece and maybe a webcam to the red dot finder, maybe even motorised focusing, then a wireless hub later and he never need leave the house to do astronomy.

Don’t say I never give you anything…

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