Having already had an interest in Astronomy,it was an obvious place to bring my telescope to take advantage of the stunning night skies. However,the challenge here on the island is the almost continuous sea breeze that causes the telescope to shudder and spoils the view.I managed to get permission to install a small observatory dome behind the farm that now enables me to use the scope even when there's a breeze.
Some of the fainter sights of the heavens can better be seen by taking long exposure photographs,which I have been having a go at and include here some of the results...so far.
The image below is the Horsehead and Flame nebulae. These are 1,500 light years away in the constellation Orion. In fact the bright star in the shot is the left hand most star of Orion's belt,Alnitak.The Horse's head is a large cloud of interstellar dust outlined against red ionised hydrogen gas.
This is the core of the Andromeda galaxy,just over two million light years away. You can see this with the naked eye on a good night.Apparently it's about twice the size of our own galaxy and contains 300 billion suns! The smaller fuzzy object is another,smaller galaxy.
This next one is the Triangulum galaxy. It is only one third the size of Andromeda but of similar spiral shape,though we see it more face-on than Andromeda.
Next,in black and white,is the Whirlpool galaxy,or M51 by it's Messier catalogue number. This galaxy is 15 million light years away and sits just under the tip of the handle of the Plough. There are two galaxies here,the larger one gradually pulling the smaller one apart through gravitational forces.
The Great Orion Nebula ,located in Orion's sword,is a large area of glowing hydrogen gas and dust.The nebula is being illuminated and blown apart by a grouping of stars at it's heart called the Trapezium. This is quite an easy object to see with the naked eye or binoculars.
Finally,the Rosette Nebula. This is the largest nebula in our galaxy,about three times the size of the Orion nebula,though appears of similar size because it is also three times further away (4,900 light years).