What I learned moving to West Yorkshire

When I originally move to West Yorkshire, I wasn’t entirely sure about it. I was dubious about the area, although one thing that really tempted me was the obvious awesome areas that would be available for astronomy. A decade after moving here, it’s probably one of the best decisions that I’ve ever made. And here’s why.

Hebden Bridge

Although I live just outside of Hebden Bridge, it’s one of the nicest places that you’ll ever have the fortune of visiting. All you have to do is go and check out their (very dated) website and see what kind of place it is. It’s the kind of place where everyone is friends with each other and you don’t need to worry about any sort of drama – a massive change for me from living in the city.

So, one of the best things about moving to West Yorkshire has been the village itself. But what else has been great since moving here?

Rent prices

One of the best things about moving to West Yorkshire has been the massive decrease in rent prices and house costs. Whilst I’ve been living here, I’ve actually managed to save enough to buy a house – something which was impossible whilst I was living in Birmingham City! So, this is definitely another major bonus of moving to West Yorkshire. Generally, the rent prices are about 40% lower than Birmingham, and they’re probably considerably cheaper than other cities like London.

National Parks

As I said, I knew when I was moving to West Yorkshire that I’d love the scenery in the area, especially moving there from the inner city. However, this has had more of an effect on my life than I’d anticipated, and it’s definitely ended up being one of the best moves I’ve made. There’s a ton of different national parks in the area, which are awesome for just spending the day walking around.

Conclusion

So, these are just a couple of the reasons why I loved, and am still loving, my move to West Yorkshire. So, if you’re thinking of making the move (or you’re in the area!), pop by the Astronomy club and say hi.

Recommended Astrophotography Equipment for First Timers

If you’re thinking of coming down to HB or you’re just curious about getting involved in astronomy in some way, then it can pay to know exactly what stuff you’re going to need beforehand.

For complete beginners, the list of things you’re going to need is far less than if you’re an advanced astronomer. So, it will be cheap to start if you’re completely new to the hobby. But, if you’re looking to get into more advanced stuff like Astrophotography, then you’re going to need to get more equipment.

For Astrophotography, there’s a list of things that you’ll want to ensure that you have to make sure that do it properly. Here’s a list of stuff that you’ll need if you want to get involved in astrophotography.

Beginners Astrophotography Equipment

For beginners just starting astrophotography, you’ll need to get:

Telescope

The first thing that you’ll need to get for astronomy is a telescope, of course. You might choose to opt for something else, like a set of astronomy binoculars, but for the most part a telescope is the first thing on your list.

Recommended Telescope – Anything made by Orion! Check out this list of telescopes for viewing planets if you want some more detail.

Mount

Another one of the most important things that you need to ensure you have if you’re wanting to get started with astrophotography is a mount. Although you might think it would be cheap, an astrohptography mount can actually be extremely expensive. So, make sure that you’re willing to invest a decent budget into this.

Recommended Mount – Celestron AVX.

Camera

A camera is a must if you’re looking to take your astrophotography seriously. You don’t need anything amazing – any good DSLR should do the job nicely. Whilst you can get away with using an iPhone for a little bit, after a while you’ll want to start using a DSLR to get a good image. At higher levels, you might want to try using a CCD, but for most people a Nikon or Canon is best.

Recommended Camera – Any DSLR you have on hand will do the job.

Camera Lenses

With your camera, you’ll want to make sure that you get the right lenses to go with it. For me, it’s a good idea to pick up a 50mm lens because this is one that you can use for pretty much anything.

Recommended Lens – 50mm for Beginners

Remote Time Shutter

One of the most annoying things that can happen if you’re new to astrophotography is that you get blurred images. Often, this is because your camera isn’t still when you’re taking the photograph itself. Getting a Remote Time Shutter is a must if you’re trying to get a good quality photo.

Recommended Remote Time Shutter – A Cheap One from Amazon

Conclusion

Overall, this is just some of the equipment that I’d recommend you pick up if you’re looking to get started with astrophotgraphy. You’ll need a bit more than just a telescope, but astrophotography can be a lot more fun if you want to get some images. But for the basics of astronomy, you can just pick up a telescope and get started!

The 4 Most Popular Soviet Astronauts of All Time

We’re all aware of Neil Armstrong and the Buzz Aldrin – they’re two of the most famous American astronauts of all time. They’ve been depicted in some of the best astronomy movies of all time. But, what do you know about soviet astronauts, who are as important, if not more important to the development of the knowledge of space?

It’s no secret that the United States and the USSR participated in a massive race in the 60s to see who could reach space and the moon first. And whilst the American’s ended up putting a man on the moon first in the late 60s, this was long after Russia had already put hundreds of men into space itself.

So, it’s clear to see that NASA isn’t the only space company out there, and there are some Soviet astronauts who deserve recognition.

Yuri Gargarin

gargarin

Gargarin is known as one of the more famous Soviet names – if you’re interested in astronomy, then you’ll have undoubtedly have heard of him. But if you’re not, then the chances are that the younger generation may not have heard of him at all.

This certainly isn’t the case for the older generation, as in the early 60s Gargarin was known as the first man to be launched into Space. Due to his extensive training and charimatic nature, as well as his small stature making him ideal for being launched into space, Gargarin was launched into space on the 12th of April 1961.

Gargarin was heralded as a celebrity upon returning home to Russia,but also became a global icon too due to his accomplishments and personality (which wasn’t common for a Russian in the West).

Gargarin was unfortunately killed in a routine training session in 1968. It wasn’t until 2013 that we discovered that this was down to poor error to one of the other pilots and not a freak accident, which is what was originally assumed.

Valentina Tereshkova

Unsurprisingly, the Soviets didn’t only launched the first man into space – they also launched the first woman into space, too. In 1963, two years following Gargarin, expert parachuter Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman to go into space.

One of the main reasons why Tereshkova became one of five women to enter space was due to her parachuting skills, which she’d be practising intently since childhood. Her father was also a war veteran, which is said to have contributed to her being chosen the first woman into space.

The Vostok 6 took off in mid 1963, and Tereshkova took many still images which helped increase our understanding of atmosphere.

Aleksei Leonov

It seems like Russians may not be as dreary as stereotype would have you believe – another charismatic Russian is Aleksei Leonov, known for being one of the most popular Russian astronauts.

Leonov is known for being the first man to spacewalk – Leonov left his aircraft and spent over 10 minutes alongside it pulling all sorts of different manouvres and tricks.

Valeri Polyakov

Going into space for 240 days just into enough for some people. This is especially true for Valeri Polyakov.

After spending 240 days in space in the early 90s, this just wasn’t enough for Polyakov. In 1994, he then went and spend an amazing 437 days in space, which is a world record that still hasn’t been surpassed.

Conclusion

This is just a short list of some of the most famous and acclaimed Soviet astronauts, though as you might expect, there are a ton of other astronauts out there worth mentioning.

 

How to get into Astronomy | Career Advice

Recently, a few of the younger members of the society have asked me just how they can get into astronomy as a career. And as someone who’s spent the majority of their life as a science teacher, and then an Astronomy lecturer, I feel like I’m in the perfect position to give some advice to the younger generation.

A career in astronomy is one of the most rewarding things that you can look for in life if you have an interest in astronomy. It’s a blessing to spend your career involved in something you have a genuine interest for, so it only makes to consider a career in astronomy if it’s something you’re interested in.  So, let’s consider some of the things you’ll need if you want to maintain a career related to astronomy.

Passion and Interest

I’ve been interested in astronomy from a really young age. When I speak to fellow members of the society, they’ve all had a deep interest in astronomy since a youngster. In my opinion, having an interest in the science is the most important thing that you’ll need to carve out a career within this field.  If you don’t have a strong interest in the topic, then it’s going to be much more difficult to keep up to date with astronomical discoveries.

Degree

It doesn’t matter how much passion and interest that you have in astronomy. If you don’t have a science related degree, then you’re not going to be able to get a traditional job within the industry. There are a ton of good universities in the UK which offer courses in astronomy, and it’s worth checking them out – Liverpool John Moores University have an awesome astronomy course you might want to take a look at.

Dedication

For me, I started teaching astronomy because I had a passion for teaching. But after I graduated, there was a plethora of different opportunities available to me within the astronomy field. Astronomy jobs are usually divided into two different fields – theoretical and observational. And whilst theoretical astronomers deal with predictions and creating computer models, I was more interested in observational astronomy (which deals with collecting and analysing data.

Conclusion

Overall, there are many different ways that you can get involved in astronomy but generally you need to take the same route by getting a traditional degree. Concentrating in school is the first step to getting a good career within astronomy.