Dark Matter Day and new camera

On Halloween, someone somewhere decided it was dark matter day.  That’s fine by me, I spend a lot of time worrying about dark matter and anyway, it had been a long time since we had done any outreach activities, so we arranged an evening talk.  Myself, John Ellis and Chris McCabe spoke about Why we need dark matter, What it might be and How we might detect it.  The talks went well and there was a really good question and answer session at the end where there were excellent questions.

The picture on the left is John explaining the different symbols on his tank top, (it is the standard model of particle physics).

Then we got a new camera for the telescope.  I got pretty frustrated at having to fight against the weather and the mount and the dome AND the CCD so I just wanted something where we could get pretty pictures for the UGs (and for me) from time to time.  So I bought a second hand DLSR on ebay, a Canon EOS 600D.  I went up there last night with four undergrads, Alexandra, Evan, Francesca and Jamie and we got it working (Evan and Francesca turned out to be photography people so they were very helpful).  The weather wasn’t great, so we had to look for really bright things, so unfortunately, as usual, we went for the very easy Orion Nebula M42, but we were happy with our first attempt…