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  1. This is based on the ZWO ASI1600MM-Cool CMOS astro camera and vintage film SLR camera lenses.  In particular the Asahi Pentax Takumar, Super Takumar and Super Multi-Coated Takumar lenses.  I plan to use this rig for LRGB and where I have only one lens of a particular focal length for NB imaging.  Between these is the ZWO EFWmini filter wheel.

  2. 59b740250ae52_NGC104-47Tucanae.thumb.jpg.c5380d2368e4919288fc10bfdf181e0b.jpg

    NGC 104 ( also known as 47 Tucanae ) and NGC 121 in the constellation Tucana

    ( Please click/tap on image to enlarge page )

    ------------

    Link to image on Flickr

  3. You could have knocked me down with a feather, when at 1.00 am. yesterday my partner said "why dont we go down to the seafront and see if we can spot the Aurora".  So off we went in the family truckster with tripod and camera box in the back.  We were originally going to set up base camp at the UK's most easterly point but the lights from the Birdseye factory were a problem. We ended up on Corton Cliffs with a fine view North towards  Great Yarmouth and the offshore wind turbines. Well after an hour we had both convinced ourselves that there was a green auroral glow hugging the horizon. I took a number of 30 second images at ISO1600 with the aim of putting together a panorama using Microsoft ICE.  Well here it is believe it or not?

    The red glow is light pollution from Great Yarmouth - those 'Norfolk Boys' dont turn the lights off at midnight like us ECO warriors in Suffolk.:happy7:

    We returned home for 3.00am and had some pea soup to warm up - nice.

     

    Aurora Watch 081_stitch best03small.png

  4. Following on from my abandoned original Giant printer project, this uses the same size printing platform of 400mm square but a much smaller frame.  The build height will be around 500mm.  It will use the Core-XY drive principle for the X and Y axes and the print bed will be raised and lowered to provide the Z axis.

  5. This is basically a mechanical perpetual calendar with 3D printed plastic parts but whether I drive it from a clock with hands etc. or simply from a stepper motor remains to be decided.  The display consists of drums with numbers and letters stuck on.  Each drum is driven from specialised gears and levers.  The mechanism is designed to be visible and show the workings.

  6. Gina

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    Gina
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    I'm new to blogs - never used them before so I don't know what I'm doing :D  I'll just experiment and see what happens...598b5ea6b4850_GearChain01.png.dd6b21a895f7895a24ca88dc76156518.png

  7. Three months ago I remounted the EQ8 in the observatory after my friend Chris made me a pier extension to raise the mount 15 cm. Unfortunately, a combination of cloudy nights, holidays, it not getting dark until early in the morning, and my lovely wife being ill has meant that it took until tonight to get the EQ8 re-polar aligned.

    SharpCap's polar alignment tool makes this pretty easy.  I used my Lodestar x2 mounted on a 60 mm finder/guider.

    IMG_20170806_243428479_HDR.thumb.jpg.bde0975ee10075c3bfbabb12e7641b07.jpg

    I'll aim to try to see if I can get this even closer with full drift alignment on another night, but my guess that'll be close enough for now.

     

  8.  

    It’s been a frustrating couple of weeks in the life of this (very) amateur astronomer. Of course, our old sparring partner the clouds have loomed large and thick, making viewing nights few and far between, and then, when a beautiful, visibility-for-miles kind of night did come about, Herschel said a firm ‘no.’ Try as I might, I could not get the power to turn on and stay on. I tried all the tricks in my arsenal, all the high tech stuff like swearing, switching it off and on again, swearing, changing the batteries, swearing, Googling, swearing, waiting 10 minutes, and of course, swearing. I managed to stop just short of giving her a damn good thrashing, but it was a close run thing. So, a day followed of getting in touch with Celestron and my local, very patient telescope dealer, and trying to ferret out the problem. Long story short, it turned out to be the notoriously fickle battery pack, which to be fair, looks to be held together only by the power of prayer. So, a power pack was duly ordered. leaving me with an out of a action scope for a few nights.

    Last night, now in possession of a fully charged power pack, a telescope which worked and the promise of a couple of clear hours, I headed out into the garden once more. I focussed my attention on the Moon, the planets are not easily visible to me at the moment due to trees in the way-I really must invest in a chainsaw-and it was not dark enough for any deep sky viewing, but the Moon was a lovely racing gibbous, and I decided to attempt to point my bridge camera down the eyepiece and get some lunar detail shots. At first, this went about as well as you’d imagine, and blurry grey smudges were the evidence to show for it, but with a little bit of practise and a fair bit of grumbling, I managed to hone in on some detail.

     

    fullsizeoutput_24bffullsizeoutput_24c0fullsizeoutput_24c1fullsizeoutput_24c3fullsizeoutput_24c5fullsizeoutput_24c7

  9. 3rd of July 2017 / 21h30 UTC+01:00 / Stargazing Conditions: 80%

     

    After much reading and hyping myself so much, I was pretty stunned by the early notification on my phone that yesterday night could potentially be a good evening with good seeing. So I went home after work (with my phone still showing 80% of potential seeing), sat on my desk and prepared myself. I chose to watch the Moon, since I never really observed it, Jupiter, Saturn and search for the Sombrero Galaxy!

    Last week I searched for a few good atlases and stumbled unto the Interstellarum Deep Sky Atlas. A promising atlas which should arrive this week, but still would let me be without a field atlas, since it is a desk edition... After cramming in the forums I mainly found three downloadable recommendations:
    1) The Deep-Sky Atlas
    2) Deep-Sky Hunter Atlas
    3) TriAtlas
    I downloaded all of them and browsed through them, noticing that only the Deep-Sky Hunter Atlas exists in a field edition. I printed the normal Version on A3 paper to look if it fits the need and, hell yeah, I really like it so far!! Only downside (for me) at the moment, is that the constellations are in black lines in contrary to the Deep-Sky Atlas. So I think I'll print both of them, laminate them and take them with me on my sessions. (I will have to inverse the colors on the Deep-Sky Atlas though)

    To round everything up, I figured that I'll need a software too, to plan my sessions a little better and just give me the right impressions on where I will have to search in the sky. A while back I downloaded Stellarum, which seemed to be a great free app, but it simply kept crashing on my laptop... Searching for alternatives I found SkySafari 5 and Starry Night 7. Given the prices of Starry Night 7 and the fact that it isn't to be found on the AppStore, I went ahead and downloaded SkySafari 5 Pro. It is a beautifully simple app which does the job just fine and gives me the needed input to satisfy my thirst for knowledge (at least for now). At this point, I was wondering if someone knows if Starry Night 7 was up-gradable? So let's say I buy the Enthusiast Edition and wanted to up-grade to the Pro or even Pro-Plus version one day. Do I have to buy the App entirely new or does it give the opportunity to up-grade for a few bucks to the next edition?

     

    Enough rambling an off to my stargazing site!

    I arrived well early before sunset, which gave me the opportunity to once check again, if my finderscope was well aligned with the 'scope. It also gave me the chance to let my 'scope acclimatize the same way as last time and so I sat back and waited a little until the moon gained a little on contrast as the sun was setting.

     

    The Moon

    The Moon, being a waxing gibbous, shone bright in the slightly dark blue night sky with literally NO clouds in the sky. I put my 15mm BTS eyepiece in and looked at the beautiful moonscape. It is defiantly the first time I've seen the Moon so up-close and I was in awe by it. I never imagined that it could be so nice to look at all these craters and I began to wonder where they all came from. It is simply a battlefield of craters and each and everyone has its own story to tell... after a good 30 minutes of switching between the 8mm and 15mm eyepiece and lots of "ohs" and "wows", I figured I could try and photograph the Moon with my phone through the eyepiece... what seemed to be a really stupid idea at first turned out to be a really great shot (I think?)! (very little photoshop-magic to increase contrast and sharpness)

    34872562754_71c255db04_o.jpg

     

    Jupiter

    Next on that nights list was Jupiter. I remembered the image last time I looked at it and I was thrilled to already clearly identify Europa from Io through the finderscope. I managed to see Callisto, Ganymede, Europa and Io. I think that Jupiter itself was a little less contrasty as last time BUT I think I could make out the Red Spot which really made me happy! I was so thrilled by the view I even can't write down how I felt...

    I switched from 15mm to the 8mm eyepiece and focused in... I kept focusing and focusing and focusing but nothing happened... As I looked up in the sky I was shocked... the beautiful cloudless sky had turned into a thick carpet of Cumulus Cumulonimbus... I immediately looked at the horizon on my right to see if there was a slight possibility of clear sky but the enemy had invaded the sky... To make matters even worse at that moment, I met my locations' neighbor, which is no other company then Arcelor Mittal... The sky with the clouds lit up in a bright orange from the molten metal... At that moment I knew it was over for that night...

     

    Thanks for reading

    Abe

  10. Yesterday I was bitten by kernel update (to 4.10.5) on my main computer (I use Fedora 25). The boot process would at some point just stop, with nothing suspicious in the last visible boot messages; the machine was responsive, though, and Ctrl-Alt-Del reboot was possible. Booting using the previous kernel was fine. After reviewing the boot log (where -1 means second-to-last boot, -0 would be the last (successful) boot etc.):

    journalctl -k -b -1

    it turned out there was a problem uploading firmware blob to my Radeon R7 370 (I use the standard open-source driver):

    kernel: [drm] radeon: 2048M of VRAM memory ready
    kernel: [drm] radeon: 2048M of GTT memory ready.
    kernel: [drm] Loading pitcairn Microcode
    kernel: radeon 0000:01:00.0: Direct firmware load for radeon/si58_mc.bin failed with error -2
    kernel: [drm] radeon/PITCAIRN_mc2.bin: 31100 bytes
    kernel: si_fw: mixing new and old firmware!
    kernel: [drm:si_init [radeon]] *ERROR* Failed to load firmware!
    kernel: radeon 0000:01:00.0: Fatal error during GPU init

    Indeed, for my particular Radeon model the newer kernel tries to upload si58_mc.bin, but the file was missing.

    The solution was to get the file from https://people.freedesktop.org/~agd5f/radeon_ucode/, put it in /usr/lib/firmware/radeon and regenerate initramfs images:

    dracut --regenerate-all --force

     

  11. Filroden
    Latest Entry

    Another short clear window in the early evening let me practise set up and alignment of the new AVX mount again. I ran through my new alignment process, including calibrating the StarSense to the OTA. I then repeated the process and the handset reported a final PA accuracy of 30" in Dec and 3' in RA. However, (and with clouds rapidly moving over) I managed to take another sequence of 30, 60, 90, 120 and 180 second shots to test tracking. Here's the 180s (which is heavily affected by high clouds), which is consistent with the others but shows the trailing best:

    NGC2239_H_180sec_2017-03-09_193100_1x1_-20C_fpos_5773_g300o50_0001.thumb.jpg.b72de33ed591a812a2ed86e81dd03f68.jpg

    Q1. I roughly measure the trail to be 14 pixels, or 26.6" at my pixel scale, so 0.15" per second. If correct, my maximum unguided exposure would be 13 seconds to stay within my 1.9" pixel scale. Would a PA error of 3' give this sort of trailing?

    Q2. I also noticed (or believed I noticed) that the mount seems to move when tightening the mount bolt. I think that this further tightens the accessory tray which pushes on the legs more. I noticed this when I calibrated the StarSense on Betelgeuse. Normally, my goto would then be bang on centre but when I slewed back to Betelgeuse it was a little way outside my crosshairs (using SGPro). I wonder if this is causing me problems and whether I need to attach the accessory tray at all?

    Q3. I also use anti-vibration pads beneath the tripod feet. Could they also slip when adjusting the mount?

    Q4. Whilst the length of trailing seemed proportionate to the exposure time, the direction was not always consistent, particularly in the shorter subs. I'm assuming this could be the affect of many things: PEC, wind, seeing. Is that right?

    I did get reasonable 120s exposures the previous night, so I know it's possible. However, I'm quickly concluding that having tested unguided I now need to quickly move onto a guided set up (skipping over drift aligning though I probably should learn how!). I have a ZWO OAG and ZWO ASI224 so time to bite the next complexity bullet. As it's likely to be cloudy until Monday at the earliest I can start working on that now.

    Spacing

    I think I've just got my spacing right for the ASI1600MM-C.

    IC0443_H_120sec_2017_03_08_202514_1x1_20C_fpos_5829_0001_c_mosaic.thumb.jpg.45fa105eb0038e619b47ed0f918aaeea.jpg

    Which for my reference was 66mm for the Skywatcher field flattener plus an additional 1mm for the filter (1/3rd of the 3mm filter thickness on the Astrodon 3nm HA).

    I achieved this spacing with:

    IMG_1354.thumb.JPG.c05975250ff2d2165dcbd26c913d4e01.JPG

    The OAG has a spacing of 16.5mm and comes with a M48 adaptor so I'm hoping I can just swap out the 9.0mm FLO M48 to M42 adaptor and the 7.5mm Baader T2 extension tube.

    How good does a polar alignment need to be for guiding? Would it be happy with the sort of accuracy I was achieving above or would I need to drift align and improve it further? I'm hoping that a single StarSense alignment routine will get me close enough that guiding will take over (having also read that guiding seems to like an error in PA so that it only has to correct in one direction). Tune in next week for what I expect to be a frustrating first attempt :)

  12. Jim

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    Jam_70
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    Cold clear night tonight, finally got to see a few planets as a first.    Northern lights around 9 pm and Mars and Uranus came through pretty clear but the cold got to me after about a hour observing. Came out after 11 pm to watch Jupiter rise from the east.  Stayed for another hour before fingers dropped off.  I'm still learning the sky and how to use my equipment but overall I had a good night.    Hot chocolate then bed lol 

  13. M106
    Latest Entry

    i have been waiting for tonight all week, clear skies predicted and virtually no moon, slept all day so i could stay up all night, only to wake to cloud and clearskies changed from green to orange, and red for the rest of the week

    :crybaby2:

    and my pentax adapter just arrived too. sigh...

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    Chris’s Backyard Astronomy.  January 2017.

     

    A view beyond Earth’s lifetime

     

    Happy New Year to everyone.  This month I am going to concentrate upon one topic only; something that came to my attention at New Year.  The item in question is described as a QUASAR and makes a year in my life appear extremely insignificant.

     

    Eyewitness report:

     

    “Almost Older Than Time. Would we be able to see it?

     

    On Monday the 2nd of January we gathered in Chris's back garden observatory to spot a tiny pinprick of light that had been travelling 8 billion years, yes that's right 8 BILLION YEARS to reach us!

    Chris had done his homework, mapped out its position and identified a few pointer stars to help us in our search. The bright moon and lovely Venus stayed handily behind the house so a reasonably dark, clear sky helped us in our search.

    Our luck was in, the pointer stars in the shape of a triangle were in the (telescope) field of view and using averted vision I spotted our faint target, impossible to grasp the enormous distance through space and time the photons from this QUASAR had travelled. Once spotted it was easier to see it again as we all took turns to look at this black hole in action; a successful night, thanks Chris.”

    Susan Feist

     

    Quasi Stellar Radio Sources (QUASAR)

     

    The name was adopted originally because such objects were first observed by ‘seeing’ their radio waves and so they were assumed to be stars.  Remember, telescopes are not just available to see things with your own eyes but some are capable of detecting lots of other forms of energy.  The Jodrell Bank telescope near Manchester for example was once the greatest radio telescopes in the world.

     

    Jodrell_Bank_Observatory_MMB_11.jpg

     

    Jodrell Bank Radio Telescope: Image credit mattbuck

     

    Up until the 1960s a multitude of radio wave sources out in the sky were listed and catalogued.  Critical to identifying these objects were to accurately log their precise position and then try and get identification too with a powerful visual telescope.  This proved possible in some cases and as a bonus it was possible to catch the light and determine the spectrum of the object (see my previous column).  Once you have the spectrum you can find out a lot of important information.

     

    However, visual recognition and thus scientific interpretation of some of these QUASARs eluded astronomers.

     

    3C 48

     

    I quote a lot of numbers and acronyms but really it’s not that complicated. QUASAR 3C 48 was the 48th entry in the 3rd Cambridge catalogue of radio sources.  In 1960, using a huge 200 inch telescope, astronomers Sandage, Matthews and Bolton finally pinned this particular radio source to a 16th Magnitude star.

     

    P200_Dome_Open.jpg

     

    Mount Palomar 200-inch telescope. Image credit: Coneslayer at English Wikipedia

     

    A refresher on magnitude

     

    Remember, the magnitude scale works counter-intuitively in reverse. Each step is a change of about 2.5 times in brightness.  For example, to us the full Moon looks about 60,000 times brighter than the bright star Vega. On the other extreme QUASAR 3C 48 is about 10,000 times DIMMER than the dimmest star we can see with the naked eye!

     

    Object

    Magnitude

    Brightness we see on Earth

    The Sun

    - 26

    Midday Sun

    Full Moon

    - 12

    Moonlit sky

    Venus (now)

    - 4

    Bright evening ‘star’ (now)

    Jupiter

    - 2

    Yellowish star like

    Vega (bright star)

    0

    5th brightest star in the sky

    Yildun

    + 4.5

    Star just visible with your eye

    Neptune

    + 8

    Farthest planet appearing reasonably bright in a 10 inch ‘scope

    3C 48 QUASAR

    + 16

    At the limit of a very large amateur ‘scope

     

    Capturing the light from the QUASAR to enable a spectrum to be examined was some feat in those days but they did so.  Sandage though was quoted describing the spectrum as “exceedingly weird”.  What followed was a 3-year period of doubt and false reasoning because the spectrum just could not be interpreted within the range of known objects.

     

    In 1963 two other scientists, Schmidt and Greenstein, re-examined the spectrum of 3C 48 from 1960.  Schmidt had previously examined a spectrum of a similar object (3C 273) and was thus experienced in these matters.  What he immediately concluded was not weird but that object 3C 48 showed a “redshift of 0.37”. So, now we need a recap on redshift.

     

    Hearing an ambulance

     

    Recall the last time you stood by as the ambulance sped towards you and then away from you.  We are all familiar with characteristic change in pitch of the siren.  As it approaches you the pitch gets higher then as it leaves you the pitch gets lower.  The lowering of the pitch as the sound source moves away from us is due to a ‘stretching’ of the wavelength caused by the speed of the ambulance relative to us. This is the Doppler effect and applies to all types of radiation including light.

     

    Redshift_horizontal.png

     

    Normal spectrum above and red-shifted spectrum below.  The tell tale absorption lines are moved to the right.

    Credit: Georg Wiora (Dr. Schorsch) via Wikimedia Commons

     

    So Schmidt was saying that the spectrum of QUASAR 3C 48 told us that it was (and still is) moving away at truly phenomenal speed! As we have discussed before, the painstaking work of Edwin Hubble in the 1920s enabled a connection to be made between the speed that an object is receding and its distance.  On doing the maths 3C 48 was located at 4 BILLION LIGHT YEARS distant.

     

    Ancient photons hit Bishop Monkton

     

    This dramatic distance estimation created disbelief in the astronomical community.  Knowing how bright the object looks to us (Magnitude +16) and also knowing its distance, enables us to quite easily determine its true brightness close up and thus its power.  The calculation for most QUASARs shows they have the luminosity of 10 Trillion (10,000,000,000,000) Suns, easily one of the most energetic objects in the Universe!

     

    As you may imagine this stimulated a decade long argument as to whether the observations were true or were these QUASARS just objects in our own galaxy that demonstrated weird physics?  In more recent times, advancements in technology have enabled astronomers to study ‘normal’ galaxies in the region of these QUASARS and confirm that indeed they are very distant objects.

     

    On the 2nd January 2017 a group of villagers and friends congregated in my humble shed known as the Observatory and eventually, one by one caught a glimpse of light that has taken 8 BILLION years to get here.  I stumbled across a reference to QUASAR 4C 11.69 also known as CTA 102.  It is in the constellation of Pegasus looking west from the village at the moment.

     

    IMG_0288.jpg

     

    The old 9 inch SCT telescope used to spot the QUASAR

     

    This particular QUASAR was originally falsely classed as a magnitude +17 variable star.  Variable stars are quite common but are usually quite regular in their variability.  Not this one!  Recently its magnitude has changed from +17 to nearly +11, which is an increase in brightness of 250 times.  Think about this for a moment.  This is an object that is TWICE the age of the Earth, more than half the age of the entire Universe as we know it and visible in my 9 inch telescope.  Surely this is the most powerful and most distant visible object any of us will witness.

     

    Its brightness currently varies quite substantially on a daily basis so what is it?  CTA 102 was discovered in the early 1960s from its varying radio source but was laughingly thought to be signals from an extra terrestrial intelligence and American folk rock band The Byrds wrote a song about it in 1967 called ‘Younger Than Yesterday’.  It is in fact a giant black hole at the centre of a distant elliptical galaxy and its brightness is determined by what it is currently consuming.  So the recent huge increase in brightness is a burp of cosmic proportions quite possibly as it gulps in stars or even other galaxies.  I write this in the present tense but it is highly likely this object ‘died’ eons ago and no longer exists.

     

    600px-Black_hole_quasar_NASA.jpg

     

    A QUASAR; a disk of stellar material feeding a huge black hole and artist’s depiction of data via NASA’s Spitzer and Chandra telescopes. Credit: Nasa JPL

     

    The village group found it a challenge to observe but with careful attention to excluding all other light sources and using averted vision I believe all present witnessed the 8 BILLION year old photons.  Retiring to the kitchen to consume a well earned cuppa, some of us had another peek about an hour later and it had significantly increased in brightness in that time so obviously it had done similar to us.

     

    What next?

     

    A few days later, from the observatory I captured a star field image to show the QUASAR CTA 102 here in the centre of frame against known reference stars.  This is a stack of 20 x 30 second exposures.

     

    CTA 102s.jpg

     

    QUASAR CTA 102 approximately Magnitude 12. 8th January 2017; Chris Higgins

     

    CTA 102 is now going out of reach. If it is still belching at the same rate in the Autumn we should check back then to see if it has satisfied its hunger.  Feel free to join me. 

     

    Follow my Twitter feed for regular updates on this and new topics from the backyard observatory.

     

    Twitter: @owmuchonomy

    Astrophotos:

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/blue5hift/sets

  14. From the beginning of the human race, to nearly only 400 years ago, everything we knew about space would be observed from the naked eye. Then Galileo came up with his telescope, and the world awakened. We learned Saturn had rings. Jupiter had moons. Within just a few years  of that, our entire understanding of the Universe changed. In the next few centuries, telescopes became more complex, of different sizes, lengths, and powers. Hubble is up in space, the ultimate viewing spot. Unhindered by weather, light pollution, or any other inconveniences, it is used by scientists to study the great cosmos.

    hubble_earth_sp01.jpg

    For 26 years now, the HST (Hubble Space Telescope) has been enthralling us with its spectacular images of nebulae, galaxies, and other space phenomena. However, the telescope does more than just take pictures all day for us to enjoy. The HST was a combined NASA(National Aeronautics and Space Administration) and ESA (European Space Agency) project, which went up with tons more scientific instruments than just a powerful camera.


    heic0206a.jpg


    Since being put in orbit, over 4000 astronomers have used it to publish ~13000 scientific papers on various topics. The HST is truly a marvel of civilization. When Hubble went up, it had a flawed mirror, which was sending back blurry images. After a 1993 servicing mission, the flaws were rectified, and from then, it's been taking pictures of all the amazing things we know it for. It's been used to look at other planets, their moons, further galaxies, and nebulae.

    It's been used to find water on planets, moons, and other asteroids. It's been used to map Pluto, the furthest planet from us (now a dwarf planet). NASA's New Horizons mission will rival the HST, but it will take 9 years to get close enough to Pluto to give any challenge to the HST.
    It's been used to calculate the lifespan of the universe, Hubble helped astronomers nail down the age of the universe with an accuracy of about 5 percent. Our Galaxy, the Milky Way is set to collide with the Andromeda Galaxy, speeding towards us at the speed of a bullet. We know this all thanks to Hubble.

    Quote

    "When massive stars reach the end of their lives, they explode in a fiery death known as a supernova. These violent blowouts may leave behind black holes or supercompact neutron stars even as they blow the heavy elements that form in the heart of the star through their galaxy. Hubble has helped scientists to better understand the supernova process." - Space.com

     
     

    Check out the gallery below to see what kinds of amazing pictures the HST has taken over the years, and also check out my original blog over at http://hridaysabir.blogspot.in/ to keep up with the latest topics I write on.

     

    heic0206c.jpg

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  15. What is the best I can expect to see through my skywatcher 1114p telescope and the best way to see it, i.e how to combine lenses etc

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    So I've recently purchased this little gem. It is so good! Surprisingly showing me Venus and Mars in great detail.

    The scope boasts a 4" aperture with a 400mm focal length(quite short tbh) but gets the job done with messier objects.

    it has this beautiful red finish which I shouldn't include as a feature but it sure does look gorgeous. Unfortunately it has only seen the sky once

    due to the bad weather here :clouds1::clouds2: but the views were worth it.

     Zrh8q3R.jpg

  16. My EQ-2 mount is nearing the end of its useful life. It has suffered a screw shear on the Dec. Slo-Mo controls, and now the handle of the main mount bolt has disintegrated. Although I would like to repair the mount, and keep it in operation, unfortunately, it is getting left behind in my astrophotography journey, and a replacement was due within a year or two. The recent disasters have only highlighted the need for this, and so a replacement is on its way! More next week....

     

    ===========IN MEMORIUM============

                                     EQ-2 (2012-2016).

                            A Wonderful Telescope Mount.

          Who Passed Away While Drift Aligning On The Front

              Path, And Who Will Never See The Stars Again.

                                    WE WILL MISS YOU

  17. 11 / November 18, 2016 / Home / 1955-2035 JST / Cold & clear / 15x70, 8x42

    I went outside before moonrise to find The Golfputter, and I succeeded. I saw a shooting star pass from south to north just below M31. The last 10 minutes were consumed by a conversation with the next door neighbor, who'd stepped outside for a cigarette.

    CONSTELLATIONS:          And / Ari / Aur / Cas / Cep / Per / Tri

    DEEP SKY OBJECTS:

    Kemble 1 (As/Cam)             -

    M31 (SG/And)                     -

    M33 (SG/Tri)                       Same hazy patch

    M36 (OC/Aur)                     -

    M37 (OC/Aur)                     -

    M38 (OC/Aur)                     -

    M45 (OC/Tau)                    Naked-eye only.   I doubt I'll ever resolve more than two points of light.

    Mel 20 (OC/Per)                 -

    NGC 752 (OC/And)           I liked it! It appears as a widely distributed patch of stars; I pictured them as grains of sand being disturbed by the Golfputter.

    Golfputter (As/And)          First sighting! It's distinct, but unlike Kemble's Cascade, doesn't suffer when viewed through lower magnification. 

  18. It is a premise of the Galilean principle of relativity that every reference frame behaves mechanically like an enclosed compartment at rest.  As a consequence of this premise it is presumed to be mechanically impossible to discern the motion of any reference frame by observing experiments conducted within that reference frame.  Material objects in flight within an enclosed compartment will manifest a particular velocity that arises from momentum transfer through physical contact with the compartment walls.  Objects in flight outside of the compartment will exhibit essentially the same behavior via contact with the external physical structure of the moving compartment.    However, a sound wave in flight through an enclosed compartment where the air has no wind currents in it will manifest one particular velocity while a sound wave propagating through the still air outside the compartment will manifest some other velocity — in a moving enclosed compartment the contained air’s velocity is the same as the compartment’s velocity and would add to or subtract from the sound wave’s propagation velocity.   There is then a difference in the mechanical behaviors of material objects and sound waves when they are moving through any particular medium based on whether that medium is within or outside of a moving enclosed compartment.  Under certain conditions an observer in a stationary or moving reference frame may not have to apply the principle of addition of velocities from the Galilean or Lorentz transformation equations to the propagating sound wave.  Not every reference frame is an enclosed compartment.

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    Testing

  19. Igor - it lives.. again.

    Apple have just replaced the MBP's complete circuit board for the failed GPU under the GPU repair scheme. Free to me.. but if it hadn't been covered it would have been at least £800. However my battery snuffed it during the time under the desk so that was replaced too. The Apple bods noted my hard drive was also on the way out - I'd known this for a while.. so I've fixed a replacement myself. In short the screen, keyboard, and case are about all that remain of the original MBP... 

    However I now have a working graphics chip again :D bring on the deconvolution fun again.... and the laptop that means I can now use the telescope in the garden again for astrophotography!

    I'm tempted to switch over to a ODroid based INDI installation, simply because it's less hassle having a completely designated controller. How well Kstars and INDI work.. hmm will have to see.

  20. hi everybody im looking for help bought a c 10 with cg5 advance mount at christmas for daughter with motor board not working it had burned out so i replaced today connected new board up and it burned stright away the chip on the board burned is there anybody that knows what connections go where and has anybody got pictures really need help with this as the first board cost me 190 dollars and as i live in ireland it took some time to recive part  and part very costly thanks regards johnisabelle

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    I guess its going to be another cloudy night. I feel like I haven't used my telescope in ages! Good to be back though after so long. 

    I got some good images of Uranus, The moon, a few star clusters, and Jupiter, but other than that, wasn't that eventful of a night.

    Comment what you saw!

  21. Hello!

    Welcome to the most intuitive guide on beginner astronomy  ever!

    First of all, if you are even the greatest astronomer ever, please show this to beginner astronomers as this may help them get a good start. I will also post in the description a video explaining everything I just said a bit easier. Other than that,  enjoy!

     

    Getting Started

    Welcome to the great hobby of astronomy! First off, I would like to say three things about your new hobby!

    1st: Don't expect what you see in pictures!

    This is a picture taken by NASA using the Hubble telescope of the Orion Nebula:

     

     

    orion-nebula-michael-tompsett.jpg.276263

    Credit: NASA

    And here is a photo that you will see through your telescope:

    imageproxy.php?img=&key=bdf8b2134cef9d8b56cfad2cc3e4a_OrionNebula.jpg.6991f71ad2

     

    It is way down in the lower-center part of the image. My point basically is that you aren't going to see those big beautiful pictures you see on NASA's website. So now search your brain, and think if this is what you want to do. If you aren't as interested, still stay, as you may not have to lose hope yet!

    2nd: Think if you are ready

    The biggest problem you hear in astronomy is that someone got a big 1000 dollar telescope and hated it and stuck it back in his/her closet. So this is probably the most important step. You will be donating a lot to this new hobby, and the time, money, and regret can cost you if you are not careful. I will get into this more in the choosing your first telescope section of this post.

    3rd: Calm down, and remember...

    Do not buy a telescope and fancy camera just so you can take pictures! I hear about this, and always think to myself that these people are losing all the fun that you have while stargazing because they're just trying to take the perfect shot! calm down, as you can get into astrophotography later if you like it.

     

    Now to the main part of beginner astronomy...

     

    Buying Your First Telescope

     

    This is something that worries a lot of people. They always think that if they don't get the best they will die.(I did this as well, but calmed down and got a cheaper telescope. It worked for me until I felt it was time to level up) But to tell you the truth, if you don't dig astronomy, then you will only have spent 800-1000 dollars of well-spent money on nothing.  I included some great choices for beginners on which telescope to get:

    (I am assuming a price range of about 200 dollars)

    Astromaster 70AZ Telescope- $149.95

    Travelscope 70mm Portable Telescope-$ 89.95

    The Celestron Cometron series-$59.95 to $179.95

    60LCM Computerized Telescope-$259.95

    (Note: I am not a representative of Celestron, but rather find Celestron a good start-off point for newbies)

    Now many people want to get a computerized scope, and I find those scopes great AS long as the are not EQ mounts, our equatorial mounts, as these are harder to deal with. I would also not recommend Reflector Telescopes, as these are hard to manage. I would also not recommend Cassegrain Telescopes, as these are hard to manage. Trust me.

    you will only need two eyepieces, which come with all these telescopes

    First Observation Night

    Yay! First observation night has arrived! here are my tips:

    --since you may not know enough about the constellations, make sure you have something to see what is out with. Celestron's SkyPortal app for Ipad and Iphone is a great place to start, as it is easy to use and free.

    --Be prepared for average views depending on air pressure, and always be ready for light pollution if you live in a large city.

    --Note: Always find a spot without streetlights or trees to use, though rooftops are also good if you live in and apartment building

    --Carefully maneuver the telescope

    --Never get angry, as this could cause chaos and ruin your experience

    --As always, have FUN!!!

    Final Note

    Have fun with your newfound skills, and recommend this forum to others!

    Please leave comments about questions!

    happy stargazing,

    MountainSkies

     

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