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Nick James

I'm the Director of the Comet Section and the former BAA Papers Secretary and have been interested in astronomy for as long as I can remember, certainly since the age of 8. I joined the BAA when I was 12 (in 1974) and still have the letter from Rossie Atwell.  I am also an Assistant Editor of The Astronomer Magazine. Over the years I have written many articles for magazines and books, and co-authored "Observing Comets" which was published in 2003 as part of Sir Patrick Moore’s Practical Astronomy series.

Professionally, I am an engineer in the space industry, leading a team responsible for implementing highly sensitive and accurate systems for receiving and processing signals from deep-space spacecraft. I am also a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) ambassador and am keen to encourage more young people to consider science and engineering as a career.

In addition to all of this I spend quite a bit of time and money travelling around the world, often to see astronomical phenomena. As an eclipse chaser I have seen 15 total solar eclipses and have led trips to see the northern lights under dark skies.

I have a Youtube channel here where you will find a lot of my eclipse videos and other stuff. I also post photos on my Flickr site here. I also operate a couple of meteor cameras and the data from them is here.

2019 Jul 16

2019 May 27

00:56 UTC

Youtube video of the Starlink pass is here.

2019 May 26

23:11 UTC

I had a video running for this evening's 2130 UTC pass of the Space-X Starlink train. The sky was bright and cloudy but I recorded 14 of the Starlink spacecraft. I was using a Sony A7s with an 85mm lens at f/1.4, 1/25s, ISO20000 pointed just left of Spica. The first one came along at the time predicted but the rest were strung out over around 3.5 mins. Limiting mag of the video was around 7.5. The spacecraft were all around mag 5.5.

2019 Mar 26

2019 Feb 27

08:02 UTC
 Very unusually for Chelmsford I have had four clear nights in a fow. C/2018 Y1 is moving less then one field width per night so I have put together this composite showing its motion: http://www.nickdjames.com/.../2018Y1/2018y1_sequence.jpg

2019 Feb 24

2019 Feb 23

 12  

2019 Feb 11

17:59 UTC

The faint tail of C/2018 Y1 (Iwamoto) needs a really dark sky. It is visible in the timelapse taken from Siding Spring, Australia.This consists of 10x60s exposures using iTelescope T09. The images were obtained just after 16:00 UTC on February 10. The FoV is 3 deg square and this is binned 4x4. There are lots of high-altitude, near equatorial satellites in this part of the sky!

2019 Feb 9

2019 Feb 3

20:21 UTC

Having seen David Swan's timelapse of C/2018 Y1  from this morning I've done the same thing with my images here. These are 60s frames running at 12.5 fps so a speedup ratio of x750. The comet was moving at 7 arcsec/sec in PA 304 deg and the FoV is around 2.5 x 1.5 deg. It's sky motion will accelerate over the next week as it gets closer to the Earth. The comet should be around mag 6 on Feb 12 not far from Regulus.

2019 Jan 29

 3  
07:22 UTC

Last night was one of those rare nights when I got home early and the sky was clear and transparent from dusk until I had to go to bed just after midnight. Both telescopes ran without any problems and collected images of multiple different objects. The night started with a nova search in M31 and I still have multiple comet images to process. My meteor cameras also picked up some nice events so all-in-all a very productive night.

2019 Jan 28

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