Jump to content

Stargazers Lounge Uses Cookies

Like most websites, SGL uses cookies in order to deliver a secure, personalised service, to provide social media functions and to analyse our traffic. Continued use of SGL indicates your acceptance of our cookie policy.

sgl_imaging_challenge_banner_lunar_close-ups_winners.thumb.jpg.b5fb18580607a749e382266fe55a02a1.jpg

Blogs

Featured Entries

 

Connecting Gigabit Optical Cable - Pot to Router

Gigaclear have provided optical fibre cable to our village of Upottery in East Devon with full Fibre To The Property at 1Gb/s both download and upload.  We are the first village west of Bristol to be provided with this ultra-fast fibre broadband.  They provided connection to a pot (like a water D head) just outside my premises and I am arranging the fiber optical cable connection from there right into my house and to the router they have supplied.  This blog describes the process of digging a trench and laying the cable then running it into the house.

Gina

Gina

 

Corton Beach after Dark

Well last night, my partner's Aurora alarm app went off whilst we were having dinner - so pudding had to wait!  We loaded the tripod and camera bag into the family truckster and headed off to Corton Beach under cloudy but clearing skies.  Sadly, the street lights dont go out until midnight so Corton Beach, relatively close to our house, provides a dark site with a northerly view back over the cliffs largely missing the 'orange glow' that is Great Yarmouth. Whilst we were on the Beach the clouds began to clear and both of us thought we could see a green glow over the cliffs and just below the tail of the Great Bear. Anyway I took a number of photographs the best of which was taken whilst the app was telling us that photography would show the aurora from most of England. I have attached the image - 20 sec exposure - ISO1600 - F3.5 - tripod mounted Canon 600D DSLR - 18-55mm at 18 lens  which has had the following image processing : Application of autocolour at about 20% Colour saturation enhancement using LAB color and adjustment of channels by increasing contrast. Colour blurring using a gaussian blur. Saturation of red and yellow colours reduced to reduce the orange red glow of some 'low pressure' sodium street lighting that I could not avoid when taking a photograph looking north. General lowering of saturation across all colours and some repetitive luminosity layers to finish I think it shows some auroral activity. Looks very much like the low level auroral display that I photographed in Tromso several years ago. But as my partner says when I reach for the 'imaging software' - "Cheating again" - So who knows for sure ? A bit of a bonus was the very dark sky view east out across the North Sea.  Quite beautiful. We watched the Pleiades rise out of the sea and the Milky Way was absolutely marvellous. The dark lanes of dust could be traced with your finger and the Andromeda Galaxy was an easy spot with the naked eye. I took a sequence of images more or less centred on the Double Cluster in Perseus - 6x20 secs RAW-ISO3200 f=18 and F3.5- stacked in DSS - FITSwork etc.  I do like widefield astro photography and very much enjoy reading articles and viewing widefield images created by Professor Ian Morison - I have some way to go! It was very nice to see a couple of meteors - one was quite bright - and to capture the less than bright one shooting by and just under Messier 31 - an exposition in 'near and far'.    

Hawksmoor

Hawksmoor

 

The Beginning

So I started staring at the sky many years ago, I lived in the Black Country (no not Birmingham but if you don't know where it is I'll live with it's close) where the night sky is frankly a permanent orange glow. I was fortunate to move to Cornwall a few years back and........wow, a whole new world came to life so I decided to buy my first telescope last January, a Heritage 100P; why that model I here you ask? Well firstly I lose interest, I have the attention span of a goldfish, I knew I would need something I could grab at a moment's notice and after 9 months I can say that box is ticked, for a newbie this scope is perfect! I also need to point out that I have the finances of a Neanderthal cavemen before the conception of money......but then with huge good fortune a 200P drops in my lap for less than a couple of mid range eyepieces.......I am in heaven not just looking for it! Skip a few months and here I am, owner of two telescopes, a starting collection in equipment, a library of books, numerous software programs and passion for darkness and being outside just staring. I know some constellations, I've seen Jupiter and Saturn, some clusters and scarily a 747 (that was a shock!), oh and yes that small circulating satellite the Moon. I hope to regularly update on my journey whether I find a new planet or nothing because I can't see through the mizzle (look that up, wasn't in my dictionary either until I moved here

DavidJM

DavidJM

 

Full Moon - early hours of the 6th of October 2017

I was so keen to use my new 'fixing plate' - piggy-backing my little 66 mm. Altair Astro ED refractor, that I defied the clouds, a rain shower and finally extremely bright moon light.  First of all and to test the seeing I tried capturing some video clips of Neptune using my 127mm.Meade Apo Refractor and a x3 Televue Barlow.  An absolute disaster ! - Neptune was quite low over my neighbour's roof and the tiny image was 'bobbling' about on thermally active localised air currents.  Further more and because the planet was so near the horizon, colour dispersion was a major issue. I eventually gave up and decided to use the little Altair scope to image the full moon which by about 1.00am was looking quite good and stable in a dark sky.  Using my QHY5-11 colour camera at prime focus provided an image size that was just too big for the chip - so a 2-pane composite image was the way forward.  I also used the 127mm. Meade  with the x3 Barlow to capture some video of Mare Crisium but the atmosphere wasn't stable enough to take this amount of magnification with any great success. The plate works quite well but the alignment with the main scope is a bit out - will give this a bit of thought and will probably make a few adjustments at some time in the future - I have a lot of projects on the go at the moment!

Hawksmoor

Hawksmoor

 

Observations by John Herschel ( Sculptor Galaxy, NGC 253 )

Observations of the Sculptor Galaxy ( NGC 253 ) by William and John Herschel ......... Part 2.  Observations of "Caroline's Galaxy" by Sir John Herschel,  1830's Sir John Herschel, the only child of Mary Baldwin and Sir William Herschel, was born in 1792 when his father was in middle age and already famous as one of world's leading astronomers.  Having excelled in school, and no doubt inspired by his famous elders, John Herschel decided upon a career as a 'man of science' and set out to pursue a wide range of interests; with one particular focus being a continuation of the study of the heavens commenced by his father and aunt, Caroline Herschel.    In 1820, with the assistance of his father, John Herschel supervised the construction of a new telescope at Slough in England.  As described in the extract below ( from a paper presented to the Royal Society in 1826, titled "Account of some observations made with a 20-feet reflecting telescope ... " ), the telescope had a polished metal mirror with clear aperture of 18 inches, focal length of 20 feet and was modelled on the same design created by his father. It is this telescope, in the 1820’s and early 30’s, following the death of his father and the return of his aunt Caroline to Hanover, that John Herschel used to 'sweep' the night sky and extend the catalogue of nebulae and clusters of stars that was published by his father ( see W. Herschel's  Catalogue of One Thousand new Nebulae and Clusters of Stars ). On the 1st of July 1833, having complied sufficient observations, John Herschel presented to the Royal Society an updated list of the positions and descriptions of the Nebulae and Clusters of Stars that he had thus far observed.  As noted in the introduction to the paper published in the Philosophical Transactions, he had planned to wait before publishing until he had complied a fully comprehensive general catalogue of objects visible from the south of England.  However, due to his expectation of “several more more years additional work” needed to complete the task and his assessment that he now was in a position to address, at least in part, the then current “... want of an extensive list of nebulae arranged in order of right ascension ...”, he elected to present his list, “ ... simply stating the individual results of such observations as I have hitherto made ... “.  It was not until October 16, 1863, some thirty years later, that Sir John would deliver to the Royal Society his General Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters of Stars. As well as introducing many objects that had not previously been recorded, Sir John’s list of 1833 included a re-examination of, and in some cases a small correction to, the positions of many of the deep sky objects observed by his father and noted down by his aunt.   One of these re-visited objects was, unsurprisingly, the large and bright nebula discovered by Caroline Herschel in 1783 and recorded in Sir Williams’s catalogue as V.1 / CH 10 ( object number one, of class five ( very large nebulae ) / Caroline Herschel #10 ). In total, John Herschel records around 2500 observations of nebulae and clusters of stars in his 1833 paper; with observation #61 being V.1, the “ Sculptor Galaxy “ . The measured position of V.1is given in RA and the angle from the north celestial pole ( all reduced to epoch 1830.0 ).  The description can be interpreted by reference to the legend in the paper. Thus, “ A vL mE vB neb “ becomes “ A very large, much extended, elliptic or elongated, very bright nebula “.  He also notes that in addition to this observation, #61, noted down from sweep #306, V.1 was also observed in sweep #292, “but no place was taken”.   The figure to which he refers , figure 52, is included towards the back of his paper and is a sketch he made of the Sculptor Galaxy.       to be continued ...  

MikeODay

MikeODay

 

Observations by William Herschel ( Sculptor Galaxy - NGC 253 )

Observations of the Sculptor Galaxy ( NGC 253 ) by William and John Herschel The very large and bright 'nebula' discovered by Caroline Herschel in 1783, that we now know as the Sculptor Galaxy, was observed a number of times by her 'dear brother' Sir William Herschel and by her 'beloved nephew' Sir John Herschel, Baronet.  Some of these observations were recorded and published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society and, with respect to those by Sir John in South Africa, in the book of Astronomical Observations at the Cape of Good Hope. ......... Part 1.  Observation of the 'class V nebula', H V.1, by Sir William Herschel, 1783 In 1782, with the fresh patronage of King George III, William Herschel, together with his sister Caroline, undertook the not inconsiderable task of transferring his astronomical equipment from Bath to Datchet ( near Windsor ) in England.  Shortly afterwards, in 1983, Sir William began a "sweep of the heavens" with the very large Newtonian telescope of his design and construction.  With this mighty telescope's twenty foot focal length and clear aperture of a little over eighteen and half inches, William was able to see fainter objects and smaller detail than any other astronomer of that time. ( source: The Scientific Papers of Sir William Herschel, Vol.1 )     ...... On the 30th of October, 1783, in the course of one of his "sweeps" with the twenty-foot telescope, Sir William Herschel observed Caroline's 'nebula'  and noted down ( or perhaps more likely, dictated to Caroline )  a description of what he saw and a reference to its position relative to a 4th magnitude star in the Piscis Austrainus constellation, #18 Pis. Aust. ( with reference to Flamsteed's Catalogue (  or HD 214748 , HIP 111954 as we might call it )).   Over the course of the next three years, Sir William would go on to view the Sculptor Galaxy a total of seven more times; as recorded in his paper "Catalogue of One Thousand New Nebulae and Clusters of Stars", presented to the Royal Society on the 27th of April 1786. ( Source ) Sir William's somewhat cryptic notes can be translated by reference to the key provide in his paper and doing so reveals the following: Class:  V. ( very large nebula ) Number: 1 Observed ( by WH ): 30 Oct 1784 Reference star:  18 Piscis Austrainus ( Flamsteed's Catalogue; the best reference for the time - we might use epsilon Pis. Aust. or  HD 214748 / HIP 111954 ) Sidereal direction rel. to star ( following or leading ):  following star Sidereal time rel. to star: 128 min 17 sec Declination direction rel. to star: north of star Declination amount rel. to star:  1deg 39min Observed: 8 times ( up until April 1786, the date of the paper ) Description:
- cB:     "confidently bright"
- mE:    "much extended"
- sp:     "south preceding"
- nf:      "north following"
- mbM:  "much brighter middle"
- size:    50' x 7 or 8' " CH" denotes that it was discovered by his sister Caroline Herschel The note he refers to expands on details of Caroline's discovery ...   ...............................................  

MikeODay

MikeODay

 

Fixing a plate where the rain gets in and stopping my mind from wandering.

Bodging around with aluminium off-cuts in my shed I thought it would be useful if I could piggyback my cameras and smaller scopes on my 127mm. refractor mounted on a NEQ6 Pro. The weight would not exceed the maximum load and I already had an extension bar which would enable me to balance the different set ups.  I had some bits of aluminium in the shed and time on my hands. Now, I know the workmanship is bit ‘here and there’ but I do not possess a pillar drill or much patience. I do however; have lots of nuts and bolts from Poundland and gallons of Gorilla Glue.  The fixing-plate cost very little and kept me amused for a couple of days - so as of this moment, I’m pleased with it!  Whether it works imaging wise remains to be seen and looking at the clouds overhead it might be sometime before I get to find out.

Hawksmoor

Hawksmoor

 

Discovery by Caroline Herschel - 1783 ( Sculptor Galaxy, NGC 253 )

The Discovery of the Sculptor Galaxy by Miss Caroline Herschel in 1783 On the 23rd of September 1783, sitting before her telescope in the field behind the house she shared with her brother William in Datchet near Slough in the south of England, Miss Caroline Herschel "swept" the sky searching for new comets and never before seen star clusters and nebulae.   On this occasion, way down in the sky, not far above the Southern horizon, Miss Herschel saw and noted down a very bright and large nebula where one had never before been recorded and that was later recognised by her brother, Sir William, as the discovery by Caroline Herschel of the nebula he listed in his catalogue as H V.1.  ( circ. 1825-33, Sir John Herschel, beloved nephew of Miss Caroline Herschel )  Today we know this 'nebula' to be, not as some thought then, a swirling mass of stars and gases within our own galaxy, but rather, a galaxy not unlike our own but way more distant than the outer reaches of of own Milkyway galaxy.    Given various names, Silver Dollar Galaxy, Sliver Coin Galaxy or simply by its number in the New General Catalogue, NGC 253, it is most commonly called the Sculptor Galaxy and we owe its discovery to the first female professional astronomer.  Caroline Herschel ( 1750 - 1848 )   ...  ( link )   ( 1782 - 1783 ) ... ...   ... H V.1
Observed ( by WH ): 30 Oct 1784
128 minutes, 17 seconds following and 1 degree, 39 minutes north of  referenced star 
Description:
- cB: "confidently bright"
- mE: "much extended:
- sp: "south preceding"
- nf: "north following"
-mbF: "much brighter middle"
- size: 50' x 7 or 8' from:  ( link ) ...............................   The location reference to H V.1 ( NGC 253 ) in William Hershel's catalogue is in relation to a star found in Flamsteed's Catalogue, 18 Pis. Aust., which is #18 in Piscis Austrainus or Epsilon PsA, the 4th magnitude star HD214748 ( HIP111954 )  ( source ) ( Plate from "Atlas Coelestis" by John Flamsteed, 1646-1719 )   -------------------------------------   William Herschel found favour with the King and was granted a position as Royal Astronomer to George III in 1782.  Shortly after, William and Caroline moved from Bath to Datchet ( near Windsor ) and took up residency in a rented house which, whilst somewhat delapadated and damp, had ample accommodation and fields for William to construct and deploy the large telescopes he wished to build.  It was in these grounds that Caroline set up her "Sweeper" to look for comets and doing so also discovered a number of 'nebulae' including ( in 1783 ) what was later to become known as the Sculptor Galaxy. ( The Herschel house at Datchet near Windsor )   ( The Lawn, Horton Road, Slough ( Datchet ) - Google Maps )   .............   Caroline Herschel's "Sweeper" was a 27" focal length Newtonian telescope that was supported in a kind of altitude-azimuth mount consisting of a rotating table and a small gantry and pulley system that was used to effect altitude adjustments by sliding the tube up and down against a board used to provide stability.  There has been some conjecture as to the exact details of the construction, however the image below, even if perhaps not the actual instrument, gives an indication of the overal design philosophy.  Late in her life Caroline Herschel recorded details of her telescope in a booklet titled "My little Newtonian sweeper": In her memoir, Caroline Herschel describes the performance of her observations as the conducting of "horizontal sweeps"; from which one might assume the task consisted of setting the altitude in accordance with the plan for the night's observing and then slowing rotating the top of the table in azimuth as one observed and noted down the objects that passed across the view in the eyepiece.  However, with the arrival of this new "telescopic sweeper" in the middle of 1783, Caroline Herschel added the new method of sweeping in the vertical, as noted below in an extract from her observing book ( source for both extracts: "Caroline Herschel as observer", Michael Hoskin, Journal for the History of Astronomy, 2005 )   ....   The achievement of her discovery of the 'nebula' in the Sculptor constellation was remarkable in so many ways; not the least of which being the low path in the sky that the Sculptor galaxy follows when observed from Datchet in southern England - which on the night of her observation would not have exceeded 12 degrees or so above the horizon. Today, 234 years later, and blessed with 21st century luxuries and conveniences, I write on my IPAD and flip over to my planetarium application, SkySafari, and model the sky as it was seen by Caroline Herschel from near her house on the 23rd of September, 1783 ...   ( SkySafari by Simulation Curriculum )        

MikeODay

MikeODay

 

Overview

This is my progress in buying, modifying and making 3D printers. Velleman kit UP Plus 2 - Proprietary 3D printer "GinaRep Pilot" created from the Velleman kit with variations and new parts "GinaRep Titan" - a larger printer with 300mm cube print capacity "GinaRep Giant" - larger still with over 400mm cube capacity "GinaRep Mini" - a replacement for the Pilot with improved accuracy and printing speed  

Gina

Gina

 

Widefield Single Imaging Rig

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.

Gina

Gina

 

Cover Page

A blog by Mike O'Day ----------------- When I show my astrophotography images to my friends and family they invariably want to know what they are looking at.  This led me to wonder if there was a way I could display my images on a single page together with a few notes on the target object as well as few technical details of the capture for those who might be interested. What I came up with a "scrapbook" like page that combines all of these three elements in a single PDF sheet ( or jpeg image) that ultimately I might combine together to form a PDF book that I can share online or send to friends and family. In the meantime, I thought I might create this blog to share each page of my work-in-progress towards volume 1 of my Astrophotography Scrapbook. Any and all comments, observations, suggestions and constructive criticisms will be warmly received. -----------------     ----------------- Higher resolution versions of the images in the scrapbook can be found in following galleries Mike's Images or flickr.com/photos/mike-oday       500px.com/MikeODay      photo.net/photos/MikeODay

MikeODay

MikeODay

 

Oh no it isnt - Oh yes it is - Aurora Borealis - well is it?

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

Hawksmoor

Hawksmoor

 

Widefield Narrowband Dual Imaging Rig

This is a dual imaging rig using two ZWO ASI1600MM-Cool CMOS cameras and matching vintage SLR film camera lenses.  There will be no filter wheel and there will be one fixed filter per camera.  These will be Astrodon 3nm Ha and OIII.  A common 3D printed dew shield will be used.  This rig will be fully remotely operated with remote focussing and mount control using INDI/KStars/Ekos software and a Raspberry Pi to operate the rig.

Gina

Gina

 

Setting up a Raspberry Pi for Astro Imaging and Hardware Control

This is a tutorial explaining how to install an operating system and software into a micro SD card to use in a Raspberry Pi for astro imaging and control of the relevant hardware.  I have copied relevant posts from a thread in the Discussions - Software forum :- Tutorial :- Setting up a Raspberry Pi for Astro Imaging and Hardware Control

Gina

Gina

 

"GinaRep Giant Mk 2" 3D Printer

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.

Gina

Gina

 

Ha Solar Imaging and Observing Rig

I have just acquired an Ha Solar telescope consisting of an Antares 127mm 1200mm FL telescope with Coronado PST.  I plan to set this up for both observing and imaging.  I have yet to decide on the final mounting for this but will start with a Skywatcher Pillar Mount with an NEQ6 SynScan Pro mount for testing as I want to reserve my EQ8 and main observatory for DSO imaging.

Gina

Gina

×

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.