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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
James Pallant & Alice Clifford

Dad takes 'awe-inspiring' space photos with 'middle of the road' telescope in garden

An amateur astronomer has captured a series of incredible photos of stars, planets and far-away nebulas thousands of light years away all from his back garden.

James Flanagan took the outer-space pictures of Jupiter, Mars and a lunar mountain range from his home in Tankerton, Whitstable, using a telescope he says is “middle of the road”.

Mr Flanagan, who used to be a city councillor, also snapped the Orion and Dumbbell nebulas, the second of which is 1,360 light years away.

A nebula is a huge cloud of dust and gas in space.

Dad-of-three Mr Flanagan said: “I’ve seen the rings of Saturn, the icecaps of Mars and mountain ranges on the moon, all from my back garden."

James has said that the 'furthest thing I’ve observed is Markarian’s Chain, which is a set of galaxies about 55 million light years away' (James Flanagan/ SWNS)

He went on to add that: “The furthest thing I’ve observed is Markarian’s Chain, which is a set of galaxies about 55 million light years away - so the light that formed that image left just after the dinosaurs went extinct.”

The former politician’s love of stargazing began as a child after receiving a telescope for his birthday, but the interest was rekindled four years ago.

His telescope is fitted with two cameras - one for viewing planets, and another for looking further away at nebulas and galaxies.

James has also snapped the Orion and Dumbbell nebulas (James Flanagan/ SWNS)

Mr Flanagan insists that anyone can take up astronomy, as many parts of space can be seen without a pricey kit.

He said: “Astronomy is a pastime that can be enjoyed even without a telescope.

“If you’ve just got a pair of binoculars, you’ll be able to see the four main moons of Jupiter, and if you have a good pair you might even be able to make out the rings of Saturn.

The dad says that he uses a 'middle of the road' telescope to take the incredible pictures (James Flanagan/ SWNS)
James says taking the photos is "awe-inspiring" (James Flanagan/ SWNS)

“And as you go through each month or season there’ll be something new to see in the sky.

“For example, on the 8th of December there will be a period when Mars will appear to be very close to the Moon there are certain events that I’ll be looking out for.

He added: “Seeing things like that is so awe-inspiring, it always raises the question of what is our place in this universe?”

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