Last weekend I talked at a special meeting of the British Astronomical Association, celebrating 75 years since Patrick Moore joined. It was a fun day. I’d never been to the Royal Institution before. It has nice looking but horribly uncomfortable seats, and is very atmospheric. Paul Murdin and myself were the token professionals in a vast sea of keen amateurs. Some of them really do wear anoraks, but golly gosh they do some impressive stuff these days. Not only do they use CCD cameras, but they employ what IOA wizard Craig Mackay calls Lucky Imaging; they take thousands of short images, keep the best ones, and re-align them with Regi-Stax software.
The results, from small telescopes in people’s back gardens in the UK, are stunning. Possibly the two best known practitioners are Damian Peach and Nick Szymanek.
So … which of these pictures was taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, and which from Damian Peach’s telescope in Buckinghamshire ? Vote now. Results later.