British Astronomical Association
Supporting amateur astronomers since 1890

Secondary menu

Main menu

BAA Community Member pages

Grant Privett

In 1969 I saw the Moon through a friend's 50mm refractor and have been an enthusiast ever since. After 47 years its probably not going away.

Astronomy has changed and over time my interests have shifted from planetary observing, into meteors, through variable stars and, finally, to the deep sky. These days I'm especially interested in imaging of various sorts, but find pretty pictures imaging increasingly dull. Its not a challenge anymore. 

I use a 250mm f4.3 Newtonian on an EQ6 and Starlight SX694 camera from a site in Wiltshire near the Dorset border where the sky is mag 21.

Fortunately, given the UK weather, I like programming and so write my own MS VB6 code to run a Starlight camera and interface it with TheSkyX software. Its a worthwhile skill for when I finally retire and get the chance to observe more - I want to make the most out of every night.

My current software project is writing code to automatically locate asteroid/NEO trails on large field of view imagery, while my observing interest is in seeing how far a 250mm can be pushed.

2017 Feb 6

00:31 UTC

Three simple images created with a decent Starlight camera, a GRB Griturn lens adaptor, a Nikon 20mm lens and a tripod. Unlike some lenses I can think of, the Nikon lens I had borrowed did not totally lose the plot with very red stars and focus was quite easy really. Went for a series of 3s frames and after stacking the images had to crop them a tad because of field rotation.

Have given the lens back but will keep an eye out for one, kinda, sorta.

2017 Jan 7

21:52 UTC

Managed to get outside for the first time in a while - I seem to spend my spare time sorting out stuff/writing code for work or doing things around the house. Ah well, at least its warm indoors. The night of the 4th-5th Jan 2017 was -5.5C - though didn't feel too bad as the wind was very light. Moon was around until around midnight (which was a pain) and I didn't start until 21:00, but I did sneak in V900 Mon, Hinds Variable Nebula and McNeils/M78. Finally gave in at 02:05 when even industrial grade coffee and Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd and Rammstein wasn't keeping me alert. 

On Boxing Day night I had a go at a mag 20.7 asteroid, but failed as I misidentified the field of view. Ho hum. That's 2hours wasted then. A useful reminder to always have a good quality Skyview printout to hand. Shame to waste a night but at least I spent time under the night sky again.

2016 Nov 6

21:41 UTC

I've been messing about with a Paramount MEII recently. I got it set up and TPoint  set up (error distribution odd but around 140arc sec RMS - mount advising no further tweaking) and then found that following updating to a daily build that it couldn't find a thing - literally. It didn't even get its "Home" site right.

Solution was to nuke the TheSkyX Pro build and go back a year or two to an older build and start again. Working my way forward, but worried about installing an update that breaks it again - lost 3 nights sorting it out last time.

Anyone else encountered this sort of problem?

Copyright of all images and other observations submitted to the BAA remains with the owner of the work. Reproduction of the work by third-parties is expressly forbidden without the consent of the copyright holder. For more information, please ask a question in the Website Help section of our Forum.