Perseid by day

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Watching the Perseid meteor shower in broad daylight

Astronomers and computing enthusiasts joined forces at The National Museum of Computing last weekend to see the stars, planets and the Perseid meteor shower in broad daylight.

As part of the Summer Bytes Festival that runs throughout August at TNMOC, the Museum invited visitors to star gaze in daylight -- during the many periods when clouds did not intervene.

Sheridan Williams, TNMOC Tour Guide and a Director of the Royal Astronomical Association, led the event: "Today we can get better photos in Milton Keynes light-polluted skies using computerised amateur telescopes than we could with the largest Mount Palomar Telescope of the 1970s.

"At TNMOC on Sunday, we used Radio Astronomy together with modern computer techniques to watch many individual events from the Perseid meteor shower. Using computers and free software we can now combine thousands of digital video images -- the clarity is startling."

Amongst many images taken, three of different meteor trails were taken by Paul Hyde and a team from the British Astronomical Association's Radio group on Sunday afternoon. Time is along the horizontal axis and frequencies are on the vertical axis. Signals at lower frequencies mean that the trail is moving away from the observer, whilst higher frequencies are reflections from plasma that is moving towards us.

The event which was free to Museum visitors, brought together computer experts, solar astronomers and radio astronomers -- many of them meeting each other for the first time, so the event is likely to become a regular one. Talks, to capacity audiences, included included radio astronomy for beginners and advanced, solar observing, planetary observing, and how to process the images you capture.

The Summer Bytes Festival continues this week with demonstrations and talks on the latest in 3D printing and with an opportunity for Museum visitors to try out LEGO's brand new EV3 computer-controlled technology which goes on sale next month.

Sponsors of the Summer Bytes Festival include:
IP Cortex
Bletchley Park Science and Innovation Centre

Notes To Editors

About The National Museum of Computing

The National Museum of Computing, located at Bletchley Park, is an independent charity housing the largest collection of functional historic computers in Europe, including a rebuilt Colossus, the world’s first electronic computer and the WITCH, the world's oldest working digital computer. The Museum enables visitors to follow the development of computing from the ultra-secret pioneering efforts of the 1940s through the large systems and mainframes of the 1950s, 60s and 70s, and the rise of personal computing in the 1980s and beyond.

Funders of the Museum include Bletchley Park Capital Partners, CreateOnline, Ceravision,, Google UK, PGP Corporation, IBM, NPL, HP Labs, BCS, the Drapers' Foundation, Black Marble, and the School of Computer Science at the University of Hertfordshire.

The Museum is currently open to the public on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 1pm, and on summer Bank Holidays. During the Summer Bytes Festival, 24 July until 1 September, the Museum will be open Wednesday to Sunday, 1-5pm. Guided tours are also available at 2.30pm on Tuesdays. There are often additional opening times for the public -- see the website or the iPhone app for updates. Educational and corporate groups are very welcome and may be on any day or evening by prior arrangement.

For more information, see and follow @tnmoc on Twitter and The National Museum of Computing on Facebook and Google+. A TNMOC iPhone App is also now available from the iPhone App Store.

Media Contacts

Stephen Fleming
Palam Communications for TNMOC
t +44 (0) 1635 299116

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