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## Popular Content

Showing content with the highest reputation on 20/06/12 in all areas

3 points
2. ## Image in Sky at night

In the most recent sky at night magazine (july 2012) my 18mp moon mosaic has become picture of the month in the hotshots.... I'm so happy
3 points
3. ## Summer Solstice & Earths axis tilt...

Earth's axis tilt (and the seasons it causes) are easy to explain. You can do it with a martini and an olive. Put the martini glass in the center - this is the Sun. Now take your olive with the toothpick in it (the toothpick is Earth's axis) and point it straight up. This would model the Earth with no axis tilt. Move the olive around the glass while keeping the toothpick axis straight up all the time. In this no-tilt scenario, our olive-Earth gets exactly 12 hours of daylight and darkness every day without fail, no matter where the olive is in its orbit. Now tilt the toothpick axis about 30 degrees - instead of pointing the toothpick up at 12 o' clock, tilt it to 11 o' clock. Again, move it slowly around the glass -- without every allowing the direction of the toothpick to change. You will easily see that for part of the orbit, the northerly end of olive-Earth's axis is pointing somewhat toward the Sun; this is summer with its long days and short nights. For part of the year, the northerly end of the toothpick axis points away from the Sun, this is northern winter. The point where the axis points most directly at (or away from) the Sun are the solstices. The longest and shortest day of the year respectively. You will also notice that when we have our summer solstice, our mates in Australia (the whole southern hemisphere, actually) are having their summer. This is why seasons are reversed below the equator. You will also note that when the olive's position is 90-degrees away from the solstice point, the toothpick does not point either toward or away from the glass - these are the equinoxes when we have exactly 12 hour days and nights. The last step of our tabletop astronomy experiment is easy. Drink the martini, enjoy the olive, set up your scope for the evening and contemplate the wonders of the Universe from the comfort of the garden! Cheers! (literally!) Dan
3 points
4. ## Cell phone astrophotography

Hi folks! We had a transit party at my house earlier this month. We had a Coronado SolarMax, and a 150p dob with solar filter for Venus, and after sunset, we set up the big refractor and took a gander at Saturn. The party was a blast, although I was rather puzzled at the lack of folks from SGL (y'all were invited! ). This wasn't an astrophotography session, when I have friends over for a telescope event, fiddling with cameras is the last thing I want to do. A couple of my friends asked if they could take a snap through the lens with their cell phone cameras. My mate Michael even took photos with his android tablet. Got the photos below in an email today and was absolutely amazed at some of the high quality snaps. Clouds pestered us most of the day, so transit was an on-again, off-again experience and those photos are only so-so. But the real winner if the night was the snap of Saturn through the Apomax at 320x. Keep in mind that this refractor is wonderful, but I didn't take the time to do a full alignment, and the photo was taken by holding a cell phone up to the 5mm EP and snapping away. The photo quality is amazing, with Saturn showing banding and surface features, the shadow of the rings can be seen on the planet's surface, and you can pick up the Cassini Gap quite clearly. I was absolutely floored by the quality of this shot. The moral of the story - don't think you can't do it because you don't have all the expensive kit! Have a go and then show and tell on SGL!!!! Cheers, Dan PS: Proper credit where credit is due.... the photos of Venus through the clouds were taken by Astronomy student Michael Fish (he's the bloke kneeling by the 150p taking photos with the android tablet). The photo of Saturn was taken by Jeremy Woodward, the nice lad with the had standing with me next to the Apomax. The fun photo with the lady looking through the Coronado scope doesn't quite capture the "Ooooo! It's VENUS!!!!" moment, but you get the idea (photo by Woodward). The Apomax, in case you are wondering is a 133mm f/12 refractor with a 4-element oil-filled objective, using an Orion (USA) 5mm Edge-On EP mounted on a Celestron CGE Pro mount. The last photo of Saturn was retouched slightly in Picassa, cropping, adjusting the color, saturation, and such. No sharpening was done, though. DB
2 points
5. ## Hello from Omaha, Nebraska

Greetings everyone! My name is Vince and I live in the U.S. midwest in Omaha, NE. I retired from the Air Force in 1998 where I worked on most of the avionic systems on RC-135 aircraft. These days I have a much more mundane career as a software programmer for a financial transaction processor. I just purchased my telescope last March. Prior to that my experience with the hobby had been restricted to viewing the discovery channel and image sites like APOD and the Hubble Site. I do bet a lot of people are like me though in that we had the cheap department store telescopes as a kid and always wanted more. In my case it was a small 3 in reflector with a swivel tripod for a mount and very bad plastic eyepieces. I promised myself I would one day get a bigger, better telescope, and it only took me about 45 years to get it (I turn 52 next month). The telescope I have is a Celestron C8-NGT and so far I have only a few token accessories, most of which came with the telescope. I purchased this scope because I wanted a Go-To scope with at least 8 inches of aperture and one that I could try my hand at astrophotography with. Before I really start delving into advanced topics like AP, I've just been spending most of my observing time trying to learn the night sky. My very first night out with my telescope was quite a lesson in how much I needed to learn. When presented with the list of stars to choose for a two star alignment, I was actually lucky to even recognize two. I couldn't add in any calibration stars afterward because I just didn't know what any of the additional ones were. I'm getting better now at recognizing the stars. I am totally dependent on technology though and I bring a laptop with stellarium on it outdoors with me to assist in my viewing. It really does help me. I also learned that I live in a red zone for light pollution and live shockingly close to a white area. I had been struggling to see the full constellations but now I understand why. Only the brightest stars are visible. What a shame. I remember back in 1997 taking my daughter outside to see comet Hale-Bopp and the skies were certainly darker. At times it was easy to see the milky way. Now I live 20 miles farther outside of town and the skies are terrible. I only can see it in pictures these days. I don't have any particularly favorite type of astronomical object to view. If the moon is out I can spend hours on that. During darker conditions, I enjoy hunting the faint fuzzies, and lately I've been viewing some open clusters. Almost every time I've gone out, I just had to take a look at Saturn as I think it's one of the most beautiful objects out there and being a planet, it's nice and bright! I'll be the first to admit that I can ramble on in my posts without really getting to the point, so I better end it now. Look forward to getting to know everyone! Thanks Vince
2 points
6. ## Afocal moon from 03/03/2012

A bit of tweaking from the original post and linked to the fullsize one astrobin (hopefully). Skymax 150Pro + Celestron E-lux 40mm eyepiece, camera samsung WB700 http://www.astrobin....13269/?mod=none Peter
2 points
7. ## It's been a long time coming...

The last clear night we had here was 16th May. It's been a very long month indeed. After a fair bit of the weather teasing us with offers of clear nights snatched away at the last moment tonight started with enough cloud to make observing tricky, but got better and better as time passed. The Milky Way was clearly visible from the southern horizon to well north of the zenith before it was lost in the lighter northern sky and checking Ursa Minor before I came in, the mag 5.7 star between zeta UMi and eta UMi was definitely visible in direct vision which is fairly good for here. My plan for the evening was to hunt down some of the Messier late teen/early twenties clusters between Sagittarius, Scorpius and Scutum, so I set up the ST120, popped in my 32mm ep and had a quick peek to check focus. Amazingly, bang in the middle of the fov was a stonking great cluster! The only problem now was to find out which one it was. A bit of triangulation from the main constellation stars enabled me to work out that it was M22 and from then on there was no stopping me. In all I found twelve new Messier objects. Some parts of the sky there feel like you're looking into the total perspective vortex, but the two highlights of the night for me were firstly the whole area around M8, M20 and M21 which I had to come back to several times. If you don't look at that and think you need a bigger scope then I think your aperture fever must be cured. Clear nebulosity even in the ST120, low in the sky and with a touch of LP from Taunton thrown in. The second was M17, the Omega Nebula. Another absolute stunner. I know it's almost heretical to say it, but frankly you can keep M45. This part of the sky is absolutely jaw-dropping and I want to go back there with a much, much bigger scope as soon as possible. The only "failure" of the evening was M24. I could find the reddish star that Stellarium shows right next to it, but couldn't make out the M24 cluster at all. I'll try again later in the year if possible, but I think perhaps at the mag 11 claimed for it by Stellarium, it might just be beyond the ST120 except for an exceptional night. James
2 points
8. ## How will the sun look through a filter?

As my mother-in-law described it when I proudly showed her "Hmmmm, looks like a big white ball. And you have some grubby marks on something in the telescope.c And then my neice "has it got beatles on it?" Those were the sunspots!!! Sent from my GT-I9000 using Tapatalk 2
2 points
9. ## Comet of the century?

Hale Bopp- the blue ion tail was just fantastic! Hale Bopp on Ektachrome 400, 200mm lens 5 mins exposure.
2 points
10. ## Our beautiful Milky Way

I'm sick and tired of people coming into my garden to replicate this shot. "Wake up Shane.............wake up Shane.......it's cloudy and raining and you need to get through rush hour....."
2 points
11. ## NGC 5907

Hello This is my first post after I have joined this forum a few weeks ago. I live Austria and I'm trying to make astrophotography since almost 2 years. total exposure 21 hours (84 x 15 min ISO 400) over 4 nights 10" Skywatcher Newton, Skywatcher EQ6 Canon 500D modified, ASA (AstroSystemeAustria) Quattro 2" Coma Corrector Guiding with Lacerta Mgen and ASA OAG Higher Resolution: http://www.distant-l...-2012_04_18.htm More images on my website: http://www.distant-lights.at I hope you enjoy it Thomas
1 point
12. ## Lagoon and Trifid wide field image

I am loving this area of the sky so much! Went out again as it was nice and clear but this time swapped the 200p over for my Evostar ED80 with the focal reducer. My goal was to capture the Lagoon and Trifid together. Would you believe it I left my Bahtinov mask at home aggh .. so instead I used a twig in the shape of a Y to get focus and it actually worked Really pleased with this one and it completes my set of images for this section of the sky, just about. Got a few clusters I want to capture but here are all my shots from this region along with my wide-field shot from last night. Wide-field shot of Trifid and Lagoon taken with Evostar ED80 and focal reducer last night with no diffraction spikes for those that like round stars Single shot of the Trifid with 200p Single shot of Lagoon with 200p I am now officially in love with Sagittarius and all the wonders that can be found there its just an amazingly rich part of the southern sky and well worth travelling out in the car to get images from.
1 point
13. ## the broom

i took 20 subs at 80 sec iso 800 on canon 450 quite a small amount of data but its a start. i cant finish the pics off so i cant take any credit for finished results i have quatermass to thank for his helpwell done mark on a great looking pic
1 point
14. ## Helicopter in the Sun

Here's a photo that me and my friend Jonas Grinde took today. I was standing on the ground with the camera and Jonas was piloting the helicopter. It was tricky to get the heli just in front of the Sun, but in the end we managed to get some frames.
1 point
15. ## Lagoon and Trifid wide field image

Camera looks very shiny, not much I can do this the next two days as I'm teaching all week. I reckon I'll be at least 2-3 days getting used to the camera and working out how to get it properly spaced with the coma corrector. It's just arrived and I've already worked out it'll cost me another £40-60 for the correct spacers and a power supply Anyway, I'll post an unboxing/setup/first light as soon as I can. If I never post again it's either because I can't work the damn thing or the wife has worked out I sold our daughter to pay for it. B
1 point
16. ## Tomorrows Summer Solstice

Sorry you lot are having such terrible weather! It's pretty nice here right now... 81 F, sunny, winds at 2 mph and humidity at 28%. Forcast for tonight: completely clear until about 1AM, when the marine layer rolls in, completely shuts down the sky in about 20 minutes and sends all the astronomers to bed. If you want to drive about an hour to the high desert (we are at 500 m alt., Joshua Tree Nat'l forest is at about 1500 m), you can escape the cloud layer entirely. The extra bonus is that the cloud layer traps all the light pollution underneath and makes the high desert skies even darker this time of year. Oh yeah, the forcast also calls for high-magnification views of Saturn with scattered binocular views throughout the garden! Dan
1 point
17. ## Philips SPC900NC

For planetary imaging all you need is a nosepiece and ideally an IR or IR/UV cut filter. Fitting it is really quite straightforward. For DSO imaging you also need to do some electronics which is not complex, but moderately demanding thanks to the small areas for making connections and the fact that you have to completely disassemble the camera and risk breaking it James
1 point
18. ## Xbox Livecam Mod (Cliff)

Hi Jay, Yes that should work well. I taped my 80mm solar filter over the smaller offset filter on my 200mm newt last night and got some fine views of the sun at 800mm focal length. The 60mm (approx) diameter of the smaller offset aperture was just right. Unfortunately, it turns out that both my Xbox camera and DFK31 were covered in dust so the pictures were a little disappointing. I hadn't noticed before how a 2 or 3 times barlow really shows up the dust with a bright area like the sun, whereas without the barlow they dust spots are alomst invisible. Before I could get chance to sort out the dust issue, the sun went below the houses and since the hard drive on my laptop was full, it was time to call it a day. I am going to make a proper filter for my 200mm newt, cameras have already been cleaned to be ready for the next big sun spots.
1 point
19. ## Veil Nebula - NGC 6992

Right - taken loads of flats and re-processed the data. Maybe I could do some bias frames but otherwise I think that's about it for the current set of lights. I'll list the parameters (as many as I can think of) :- Scope - SW Evostar 80 ED DS Pro with SW 0.85 focal reducer / field flattener Guiding - ST 80 + QHY5 and PHD Camera - 1100D with full spectrum mod and cooling (EXIF T of -15C) Filter - Astronomik CLS-CCD clip-in Lights - 19 of 240s plus 22 of 120s at ISO 1600 - 32 stacked in DSS Darks - 35 of 240s at ISO1600 Flats - 43 Post processing in PS, scaled and converted to PNG for attaching to post
1 point
20. ## Tomorrows Summer Solstice

Hello Malc, Yeah, I know about the hiking to your favorite observing spot routine. That is what observing buddies are made for!!! Seriously though, if you plan to take your kit out in the dark and hike into your remote observing spot, it would be best to have a friend along, just for safety's sake. Dan
1 point
21. ## How will the sun look through a filter?

Make sure you store the filter carefully, mine is stored in a Tupperware lunch box and I always inspect it for damage before each use. I think my next scope will be a PST, the sun is amazing to look at through one.
1 point
22. ## Summer Solstice & Earths axis tilt...

It's always tilted It doesn't change. The fact that the Earth orbits the Sun does mean that the position of the sun relative to a given point is always changing though. James
1 point

1 point

1 point
25. ## Using a finder scope or alternative

I would also vote for a correct image finder, plus red-dot finder. In my opinion the best correct image finder is made by Baader. I see that Telrads have been recommended here as the best red dot finder, and I believe it is. But I often use the Rigel Quickfinder as it's smaller and lighter. If I have a good correct image finder, I don't always feel I need the best red-dot finder as well.
1 point
26. ## Using a finder scope or alternative

I have found Qualia's excellent post to be most informative and I'm sure that the the OP will to. I find myself in a similar situation of being able to identify the main constellations from my light polluted back garden using an atlas and the naked eye stars (down to mag 3) but become hopelessly lost as soon as I look through the 9x50 finder to see a huge number of stars! I have turn left at Orion but I still find the view confusing. If like me you are new to this then maybe we will improve with time? BTW I have found using a laser helped me to find a couple of dso on my last observing session. There is a thread about finders in here which has some good advice on a number of different finder options. I'm currently waiting for the Telrad to turn up from flo ( will it ever!) and will post my findings ( excuse the pun) when I get it and some clear sky's. Ikorodu
1 point
27. ## Xbox Livecam Mod (Cliff)

HI there Matt, good to see more and more people catching on to Cliff's amazing mod. If you haven't already done the led's could I just say - be very careful doing them. I hope this will be helpful generally for people unsure about the led's - a few have broken their cameras this way If your mod is going to go wrong - popping the led's will be what does it. It may sound like a bit of hassle but if you can find something like a mini-extra thin hand tool drill, like (some) girls use to put extremely small holes in their fingernails (i didn't want to know why didn't ask Nail jewelery?.) anyway, they look like a v small electrical screwdriver but with a micro thin drill-bit for a tip, even a tiny cross head screwdriver that you can gently, slowly twisting, bore a little hole in each led, just far enough to slightly perforate the glass, checking after every turn - by plugging it into your laptop, with software running - until it fails to light up before moving onto the next one, all the time carefully avoiding slipping with the tool and especially avoid getting any dust or grease or particles on the chip - after taking off the lens to remove ir filter replace the screw-in original lens asap to cover it from contamination. I apologise for lengthy post but i'm hoping this will also be of use to other newbies, like me, when doing their mods. All the best, Jay Ps. to get the casing off try inserting the round end of a thin teaspoon in the gap and twist - should click open with little damage. HTH.
1 point
28. ## How will the sun look through a filter?

Xplode's is a useful post but with a high power EP you can close in on particular sunspot groups as seen in those images and resolve astounding detail. As ever, push the magnification till it is too much and then back off. Olly
1 point

1 point
30. ## Using a finder scope or alternative

Hi Carl Using a regular straight through finder successfully does require a bit of practice and patience I'm afraid. Telrads and RDF,s can help a great deal as has been said. I think the long and short of it is, either, keep at it you'll get there eventually, or go for a Telrad or RDF. The third alternative is to change the straight through finder for a RACI (right angled correct image) one. This will show you exactly the same star patterns as you see in your atlas and does really help locate faint objects. I use both a Telrad and a RACI finder on my Dob and would be a bit reluctant to go back to a straight through one now. I see you are in Surrey feel free to drop in on the "SGL Surrey Observers" section of the forum. We arrange group observing sessions regularly (in fact most clear nights) near Dorking, and trips to some dark skies whithin reasonable distance on and around the new moon (if we ever get any clear nights again).
1 point
31. ## Using a finder scope or alternative

Is your finder aligned with your scope? Star hopping can be a tricky business to get used to though, which is one reason alternative finders exist such as Telrads and Rigels, especially but not exclusively for dobs. I know it doesn't help you much, but you can find some telrad charts on the web, for example here: http://www.astro-tom.com/messier/messier_finder_charts/messier_maps.htm.
1 point
32. ## How will the sun look through a filter?

The Baader solar film is perfectly safe to use. You just have to make sure there are no holes,tears,rips in it. You also need to make sure that it fits the front of your scope very very snuggly, so that there is no chance of it falling off or blowing off. The filter itself once installed on the front end of the scope blocks 99.999% of the light,heat and UV rays that the Sun givesa off. Its pretty amazing to observe our nearest star so closely (with the filter).
1 point
33. ## How will the sun look through a filter?

Having said that, many, many people observe the sun, and with care, its really quite safe. Remember to cover up your finder scope, as it can burn you or if you accidentally catch a glance through it, worse. But use the scope shadow to line up, make sure the filter is sound and secure, and all should be fine.
1 point
34. ## How will the sun look through a filter?

With a regular filter you won't see much details, the only thing i can see with the filter on my astronomy clubs WO Megrez 80II with a filter is sun spots. Here's a pic with the max amount of detail you can get thru regular filters: On your telescope i'd say 25-33mm a eyepiece would give good details and clear picture.
1 point
35. ## How will the sun look through a filter?

Hi Sally. You should check out the Solar Observing/Imaging section of the website. It will show you what to expect with a "white light" filter such as the one you have. You will see sunspots. I'm not sure what magnificcation you would need to be using but i think a 10-15mm EP should do., http://stargazerslounge.com/forum/30-observing-lunarsolar/
1 point
36. ## How will the sun look through a filter?

Sorry to be the health and safety bore, but please double check everything before you look through eyepiece. The filter is at the objective end, there are absolutely no scratches or pin pricks, there's no way it could fall/blow off the scope etc. I've never used a solar filter myself, so I'll leave it someone less boring to tell you what to expect!
1 point
37. ## Helicopter in the Sun

Good job on the processing, Göran(gost)! & a high5 for the teamwork, let's do that again! Only time I get to pose as a modell is when I'm a half kilometer away, lol! That'd be me in the photo, flying my companys AS350 B2 (definitely not radio controlled) Not at all, I was just returning from a slingload mission over at Åre skiresort, & Göran texted me telling he's out shooting the sun in case I was flying(we've been wanting to do this for some time now). I flew over gost's house on the way back to the base. It just took a couple of minutes framing the shot (using the helicopters shadow on the ground as "crosshair") before landing at the base, located just 1km from gost's house. Finally a way to combine my work with my hobby
1 point
38. ## Skywatcher 8" Dob Setting Circle

Hi If you are still after a setting circle let me know. I drew a full anticlockwise protrator, graduated every degree and labled every 5 degrees, for my shywatcher 8" dob - the first one the text wasn't bold enough so I jigged about with it. I produced it in Autocad but I can convert it to a pdf next time I am in the office - probably Friday. I have applied sticky back plastic front and back and have cut out the centre to sit on the stand. (There are guide lines for cutting out the centre). I propose to use a heavy portable pointer sat on the ground that I will set to the azimuth of polaris when sighted. I dont know if it will be any good but I have just got a cycle rear light for illuminating it. I have also scaled it up for my revelation 12" but done nothing with it yet. Rich
1 point
39. ## Daytime disguise for a pier?

If I had a pier I would like a yacht moored up along side.
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41. ## Most distant galaxy ever found!

Not really. We are seeing them as they were 13 billion years ago. At that point in time they could not see us (even if our galaxy had formed), because light from our galaxy had not reached them (assuming the same distance, which is also wrong). At this point in time, they should be able to see our galaxy where it was 13 billion years ago. Actually, you need to think of this in terms of space-time, and then our brains, never designed to deal with relativity, start to hurt
1 point
42. ## Sky-Watcher Syncan Help

Thanks for everyones advice, it looks like you were all getting at the same thing (the starting position) but this seems to be missed off in the instruction booklet. Looking forward to tonight now I did manage to get a look at Saturn last night and it looked amazing. The scope seems pretty good quality for the price (127 Sky-Watcher Skymax although the mount will need to be updated at some point I think)
1 point
43. ## What software for a beginner?

You should be taking RAW CR2 files with your Canon then stacking them in Deep Sky Stacker. I use Back Yard EOS for controlling the camera and taking images.
1 point
44. ## 27 May Sun in multi-wavelengths

A few regions of sunspots remain visible in whitelight. Remarkably, the active regions visible in CaK appear to be quite strong and coincide with several of the filaments in H-alpha on regions that appear devoid of activity in the white light view. On this day I tried to do a comparison between the WO110 and Baader Hershel Wedge with the same wedge on a Revelation 80mm. The detail remains very sharp on the sunspot regions although a larger portion of the disk of the sun is visible through the smaller aperture. The Revelation has always been a favourite Go-To travel scope for dark skies and lunar eclipses, nice to see the same quality apparent in the solar area as well. Thank you for looking. Sheri
1 point
45. ## Suitable mount for SW Equinox ED 120

When I had a 120 ED I used it on a HEQ5. Worked ok but I would have preferred an EQ6.
1 point
46. ## Sun 10th June

We had wonderful weather yesterday but the Sun was constantly behind thin cloud and it was certainly a challenge to image but at least I managed a full disc. It made me happy anyway after the disappointment of Wednesday morning Composite of 9 images taken with a Solarscope SF-100 / DMK41, processed in Autostakkert2, then sharpened and put together in Photoshop CS5. 2012 06 10 Full disc false colour by Alexandra's Astronomy, on Flickr For full size which is definitely worth it: http://www.flickr.co...in/photostream/ Thanks for viewing. Regards Alexandra
1 point
47. ## Brick Pier

Thanks, the Mrs wanted something that looked nice so I'll be building a sundial to go on top when I'm not using it.
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49. ## Baader Hperions- 0ver rated (vastly)

Well, lucky old you [teasing]. <G> Somehow, I sense the second hand value of the poor old Hyperion has just plummeted - As result of this very thread. Always the same, when I contemplate selling GOOD stuff on... In fairness, Baader Hyperions were one of the FIRST eyepieces that secured an "Honourable discharge" in the face of the vocal and defensive (rather rich?) "Naglers-only", Cloudy Nights reviewers! It may be that eyepiece technology has come on, apace since? In part, I sense it has, but... I think the potential issues re. Hyperions relate to long eye relief. The large eye lens (combined with a small exit pupil) can make viewing "difficult"? I often "lose" the field of view, in that large expanse of glass! I do prefer the "eye cup methodology" of TS/HR "Planetaries", at HIGHER powers. But Hyperions inferior to a "Cheap Plossl"? Well Maybe... But I'd be a bit surprised.
1 point