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Sat 28th May 11

My experimentation continues, now that I have the mobile power sorted I decided to get another project I had on the backburner up and running. I seen a camera on eBay last year, a bargin at £20, it is a JAI CV-M50, a mono 1/2" CCD, been lying around since then, had tested it and knew it worked. The only problem I had with it was the power cable, well yesterday I got someone to fix a power/video cable to the plug and tested it with the power pack this morning, a fantastic bit of kit. To see what was on the screen I actually had to bring the brightness down as low as possible and cover the telescope hood to a third. It will be interesting to see what it will be like at night with the brightness fully open, any video will be interesting so watch this space :)

The Sailor

The Sailor

 

My, what great EYES you have!

May 28th, 2011 Friday night means many different things to many different people. Since darkness takes longer to settle at this time of year, weekend evenings mean one thing for me: time to settle outside with my telescope since this is impossible during the weekdays when I have classes to teach the next day. At my latitude during this time of year, most of the constellations are not easily discerned until past 11:00. Full blackness makes its way to the north around midnight. This means that I seldom return indoors till one in the morning. Since I started my stargazing early, when the skies still showed a tinge of blue, I had to settle on an easy but popular target, Saturn. I let my eyes become accustomed to the darkness approaching and soon, I was ready for more difficult targets,... the Messier Objects. I started with a globular cluster found in the constellation Serpens. The Stellarium program and my trusty Telrad made finding it quite easy. I was taken aback by the individual stars I could see in the cluster. As my eyes became more accustomed, I was certain I could detect a hue of colour but maybe this was only wishful thinking from my part. Satisfied with my discovery, I decided to look for another globular cluster. I didn't have to look far and settled for M3. This one seemed easy but gave me quite a "run for my money". Finally, I found it and once again took the time to look more closely at it. My husband Steven always wonders why I go searching for Messier objects since according to him, they seem "all the same". "Once you've seen one smudge in the sky, why look for others?", is pretty much his motto but he comes outside every time I become excited and humours my passion by looking through the eyepiece. "You've got great eyesight to find those," Steven exclaimed when I came back inside. I had to smile since a couple of months ago, my MS had played a cruel game by blurring the vision in my right eye (the main eye I use when observing the stars). It is therefore official,... MY EYESIGHT HAS FULLY RETURNED! Isabelle

stolenfeather

stolenfeather

 

Fri 27th May 11

With little clear sky the last few nights my thoughts turned to portable power. Although I have been using 12v in the observatory it was a fixed option but now I have decided to use my CG-5GT as a Grab n Go it will need power. I bought a power pack off eBay and modified it by taking the compresser attachment off the back, this allowed it to fit perfectly into a flight case. I had a load of electrical pieces from my sailing days so these have been installed and tested okay. Last night I done a test run, with the mount sitting beside the laptop I put it on Polaris in Stellarium and left it running all night. This morning, switching all off I checked the battery and found it had run down to 50%, next job was to recharge the battery. A solar panel is attached and so far all has gone well, half of what was used is already back, hopefully this will be used for the DSLR as well. Just took the Canon power lead and cut the cig plug off, put a marine plug on and held my breath whilst I threw the power switches, the camera lit up in all the right places and no smoke, success :), a little more for the battery but don't seem a problem.

The Sailor

The Sailor

 

Collimating

I've had a natural fear of collimating and thus far upto now have not tried. Tonight I watched a few videos on youtube and took a crack at it, one of which I've linked below. It's quite tricky holding the secondary mirror trying to align it with the focuser. The other problem on the secondary mirror, is that celestron have somehow cross-threaded one of the adjustment screws. This caused me no end of trouble. I pricked a hole in a black lens cap, which I then used to collimate. The main mirror was eaiser to adjust, but I got a bit confused for a start, as on the Celestron Powerseeker, the locking screws are exactly the same as the mirror adjustment screws. This made things more difficult as neither are labelled. After about an hour, I managed to get both mirrors dead centre. This is one of lifes little tasks that I won't look forward to in the future, as its pretty frustrating adjusting the secondary mirror. At least I won't be diving in without a clue in the future. Neil

tibbs1972

tibbs1972

 

Stumped by Metrication

Next in line is was the second axis. I added the code, debugged it, and got the slew working for it. All relatively simple as it was a cut a paste from the RA axis but without needing to make it track, same error feedback but it keep calculating the same position, sounds a waste but once GOTO and corrections for misalignment and atomspheric effects on position get added it will be changing continuously. anyway.. added the circuitry, tested, added the motor drive chip and motor and bingo.. worked first time!.. really!, all the way from the hand controller through the PICs and out to the motor. Next: lets stick it on the scope.... now where is that bolt... bother!! It's imperial.. whitworth? BSA?.. no idea.. bit like M8 but coarser thread.. any imperial thread gauges anywhere to measure the other one?.. of course not. so I'm googling for a solution but it hasn't presented itself yet. if anyone has any ideas.. I'm all ears (eye's not being that useful until this is working :-)

rfdesigner

rfdesigner

 

Tue 24th May 11

Came out this evening, a nice clear sky and next to no wind, a big difference from last night :). Thanks to Astroboot I was able to get my guider attached with the rings during the day and after an alignment I was able to calibrate everything. After a good look round the sky I attached the guide cam, a Meade LPI and checked if the work I had do so far was okay. I sent the mount to Vega, spot on in the eyepiece, turning round it was with satisfaction I seen Vega on the cam screen on the laptop, great, all was working and after heading in for a coffee it was good to see it was still on station after 20 min. So, what next, well the Canon has to come out soon and have to start putting all the money I spent to good use :) Well back out now and enjoy the rest of the night :).

The Sailor

The Sailor

 

Amazing Astrophotography

Hi guys, I discovered this astrophotography website today, it is a program to present a collection of world landmarks against celestrial attractions. there are some amazing photographs in the gallery. it is www.twanight.org enjoy Ben:)

benbarter

benbarter

 

My Start to Astronomy

Hello all, Since I'm home for the summer (i just graduated college, yay!!!) and have some nice free time I decided to try out the blogs on here :) I'll sort of just go through my experiences as a beginner astronomer. I feel this will help me stay on track with starting astronomy and maybe someone will read it :P So far, I haven't made much progress with actual star gazing, but I've done a lot of background stuff. I've spent a lot of time reading forums on here :) I've researched telescopes and binoculars. I've been reading through an astronomy book. I've downloaded stellarium and starry night pro also. I've talked to some astronomy people. I even attended a planetarium show at my school before I graduated :) So, I've learned a lot and I feel like I'm ready to actually start viewing the skies. I've only looked for some basic constellations with just my eyes but on the next clear night I will try to find more stars and a planet or two. I'll be using my eyes and a 10x25 pair of binoculars. I'll post back here on star gazing my experience :)

neurostar

neurostar

 

23rd May pics eos utility

May 23rd Hi all was out last night in the cold ,temp 7c 5% clouds and windy i took the frac out to test the cannon eos utility software out as it lets you view the pics you took on the screen of the laptop with in seconds focus was a issue i made some home made masks wich can be see below 1 and 3 do the job just fine 2 was a fail,the thought of the volcanoe ash put me of take in the reflector out side last night did get a few tests 5x5sec subs and darks run final pics were ok on photo bucket will leave link below for a look link for polaris and vega and ursa major 10d iso 800, 5x5subs 5x5 darks http://s473.photobucket.com/albums/rr93/todd8137/23rd%20May%202011/

todd8137

todd8137

 

Problems with Saturn.

Saturn is giving me some problems. For the last week, I've tried imaging with my DSLR camera to no avail. All I get is a white blob on the image. I know the telescope is ok, as through the 20mm and 15mm lenses I get a crystal clear image. I've tried every exposure time and ISO setting I can think off, but the prime focus direct mount method just doesn't work with planets. I decided to grab my old £30 webcam and tape it to the Cannon T-ring adapter. After finding some free webcam software, to my surprise, I managed to get an outline of Saturn. I have to say I am pretty chuffed to even manage an image of this resolution and feel like I've succeeded in my goal, even though the image isn't that clear. I have seen some threads on this site stating that webcams and CCD cameras are better than DSLR cameras for imaging planets. I am starting to believe these statements are correct. Anyway, heres the image I managed to get with the cheap webcam. I think I may have to invest in a CCD camera in the future.

tibbs1972

tibbs1972

 

SynGuider

Hello All First blog I think Can anyone advise me as to using the Synguider through a Off Axis Guider i will using a Celestron80ed as the image maker and a uprated web cam for the final image via a dell laptop. The mount I will be using is a SkyWatcher EQ5 Pro goto. I live in the centre of a city so the best I can expect is about 2++ on the seeing scale and 3 on the Magnitude scale. as I can remeber crystal radios I used to build them Im not too sure Ive posted this Damn them Dinosours

Robertt

Robertt

 

SynGuider

Hello All First blog I think Can anyone advise me as to using the Synguider through a Off Axis Guider i will using a Celestron80ed as the image maker and a uprated web cam for the final image via a dell laptop. The mount I will be using is a SkyWatcher EQ5 Pro goto. I live in the centre of a city so the best I can expect is about 2++ on the seeing scale and 3 on the Magnitude scale

Robertt

Robertt

 

Moving forward :)

Well all has been a little quiet - I blame the end of the contract and possibly the new gf.. However now have a new laptop winging it's way to me to replaced my dodo, along with a new job and a offer of help developing AOSX! I'm spending this week merging the AOSX versions together before I put the code up on the repository and we start pushing forward with development. I've spent time looking through EQMOD and although we don't have access to the EQ control DLL sources, it should be straight forward to get EQMOD or equivalent functionality ontop of AOSX. It's also come to my attention that Skywatcher are creating a PC interface to allow PC apps using Python to control their mounts. This is more of a curse than a blessing for software controlling the mounts as it complicates things when the normal user is never going to script python (not this doesn't have PEC or alignment capabilities) and application developers are not wanting play silly-bs (EQMOD needs stepper motor access to provide better PEC - this library hides this!). It doesn't help that the SW API is written in closed C#.. making it PC only.

NickK

NickK

 

god and the night sky

Hi all me and my daughter who`s 12 was just looking at some pics of Lyra we had taken the other night and out the blue, she sais "dad if god is true why can`t we see were he lives ?" me be in a non beleaver in any religion said am not sure because i did not want to push my view on to her, but it does bring to mind if religion was true and god created the universe .why would are planets out of zillions be chosen the other thing she said was that ,how did we start to worship a man when we had worshipped trees the sun and the moon again,i said am not sure but it does to me beg the thought that after looking up all religion is based on a person did we create the image of god on man ,or did god create his image on us ,in the end i spoke to elle about evolution and all that ,she said the next time we out side with the scopes she will have a look and why does the meade auto star handset does not show god this is tough because after looking at the andromeda galaxy.a wonder if they if life lives there worries about such things as this

todd8137

todd8137

 

Sat 21th May 11

Spent the day playing about in the obsy and garden, worked on the composting in the garden :D, and in the obsy I worked on what to do with my spare mount. Was not able to sell it so I have decided to use it in two ways, the head will be used in the obsy with a camera on it, already tested and both mounts work together in Stellarium at the same time :). The other use will be as a Grab n Go, bought a 12v pack for this at knockdown price so happy there. It's been a clear sky today so looking forward to a good nights viewing later :). Well thats that sorted, clouds snuck upon me, never even got a chance to start up the mount :(, still another day tomorrow :).

The Sailor

The Sailor

 

A different kind of viewing,..

May 20th, 2011 My last journal entry was almost 1 month ago and I couldn't believe how different nearly 30 days made in the night sky. It took me a couple of minutes to reorient myself to the stars above since they seemed to be shunning my presence. Saturn pointed me in the right direction but after being mesmerized by its brilliance once more, I found myself drifting off into a different area of space, one much closer to home. I breathed in deeply. The night is a marvelous world isn't it? As stargazers, this is something we truly appreciate. I could hear the peepers and crickets vocalizing their pleasure that spring had finally returned. Their symphony made me forget my search for Messier objects altogether and reach for a deeper meaning to what surrounded me. Far ahead, I could hear the calls of geese as they made their way north. Their wings caught the glimmer of a nearby light, reminding me of the wonders found here on earth. When they vanished, I couldn't help but ponder our very fragile existence. This is the message I wanted to convey when I was at the Kennedy Space Center just one week ago: Our technology might seem impressive in size but, we are indeed insignificant creatures lost within the many Superclusters of the universe. Like the small peeper calling out in the night amidst so many others,.. there will come a time when we too will be silent forever. Being outside with my telescope was definitely NOT going to work tonight. I was being far too introspective to concentrate on the stars above. Then again,.. maybe my perspective was just as it should be. Isabelle

stolenfeather

stolenfeather

 

Fri 20th May 11

Setup just after dusk and alignment went well, up to now have added two more Messiers to the list. Been quite an enjoyable night so far, no wind and the temp is nice, the clouds that threathened earlier never got to me so been clear so far :). At the moment I am using the refractor for the Messiers and the SCT for wandering around, just looking and taking it all in, no cameras or webcams, plenty of time later. Right, coffee break over, back out :). Well I got just under another two hours out of the evenings viewing, in the end it was the clouds that got me. A good night was had so can't say I don't see much :).

The Sailor

The Sailor

 

cant find

i'm having trouble finding galaxies and nebulae. i found saturn but thats it! can anyone help me thanks

john123

john123

 

got my scope

i got my skywatcher 1200/200 and its big. got it today and the skies are clear as hell! ( or heaven). taking it out for a spin tonight. thanks

john123

john123

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