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Showing content with the highest reputation since 10/01/16 in all areas

  1. 100 points
    What Can I Expect to See? By Way of Introduction It’s a very easy mistake to make. You see those spectacular images of colour and shape which show the beauty of the Universe and just how fortunate you are to live within it and you think to yourself, perhaps a telescope will show me something similar? Time passes and one day you hear about some astronomical phenomenon that’s going to occur. You’ve read the reports in newspapers and seen something on TV about the breath taking sights in the superlative that will appear in the night sky. So you decide to ask about what telescope you should buy and from an astronomer’s natural enthusiasm and well meaning intention you are informed that telescope x, or p or q will give you the most fantastic and awesome views. And so you purchase your telescope. The clouds and rain pass, you set up with batted breath and at long last you take a peek at the night sky, and your heart sinks. The meteor shower wasn’t that promised firework display after all. The giant planet was the size of a pea in the palm of your hand, and the spiral galaxy, and the cosmic clouds of nebulae were mere smudges in various tones of bland grey. You feel let down, disappointed. Somewhere in your mind you expected to see these Hubble type images, at least a little colour on those huge cosmic galaxies and if you don't feel ripped off, then perhaps at least a little deceived. Some may argue that there ought to be a warning on every telescope box and advert and image: This Telescope Will Not Show You A View Like Those in Magazines or Taken by Camara. Others, perhap partkaking in the casual ideology of cynicism, will blandly inform you that such warnings are pointless. You don’t expect to buy a guitar with a sticker on it saying, ‘Buying this guitar will not make you play like Jimi Hendrix.’ Nor do you buy some perfume with a label saying, ‘Buying this perfume will not give you the sex appeal of Brad Pitt.’ But somewhere in this jumble there is a middle ground we can tread upon. Some words of advice we can offer up so that new comers of the future never have the occassion to feel unnecessarily deceived or ripped off in any manner. The Telescope The primary function of a telescope is not necessarily to make things look bigger but ultimately to concentrate more light to your eye. Distances are so vast in the universe that the more light a telescope can gather, the more powerful it is. This power makes the object brighter which makes it easier for you to see distance features. It is measured in terms of aperture whose light gathering capacity increases with the square of its radius. Typical beginner’s telescopes range from about 4” to 8” and the typical distance these little bits of glass and mirror are looking at is anything between a few hundred or so million kilometers to many millions of light years. And what you will see will depend on many factors. These include but are not limited to, sky conditions, the quality of your telescope and eyepieces and your own level of experience. It’s worth pointing out at this stage that in general, you’re not going to be viewing over 200x magnification. If the telescope box tells you otherwise, don't believe it for the simple twofold reason that average sky conditions don’t allow for this to happen and that many objects are so far away that if you up the magnification too much you’re simply making them too dim. Assuming that for now the first two factors (quality of optics and sky conditions) are out of your immediate control, then a lot of what you are able to see in the night sky depends on your own observing skills and this requires time and patience. Typically, a beginner wants to see a bit of everything: The Moon, some planets, galaxies, emission and planetary nebulae, globulars and open clusters. The first part of this thread will concentrate on typical solar system objects viewed by the beginner. The second part will concentrate more on Messier objects and other deep space phenomena. Part I - The Solar System with 4" to 8" The Moon - you should be able to make out typical lunar features such as craters and riles. An 8” should be able to tweak out details about 2 to 3km in size. Bigger the aperture, brighter the image and the more detail you will see. Mercury and Venus - you’re going to see these planets as small disks, a lot bigger than the brightest stars but they will generally have a total lack of detail to be seen and you will only be able to observe their phases. Mars – again, you’re going to see this as a small red disk and if you want to see anything else you’re going to have to not only spend a lot of time at the eyepiece, but also have realtively high magnification which in turn requires some decent atmospheric conditions. After time, you might be able to make out a tiny white-ish area at its pole, perhaps a tiny dark marking or two. And all this in an object no bigger than a lentil in the palm of your hand. Jupiter - a 4" will reveal some detail on Jupiter and an 8" will reveal more. But in either case you need time to observe. If you look casually through the 4 or 8", have a quick five minute gander, you'll say to me in both cases, 'I saw a white-creamy disk about the size of a pea with one or two orangy-brown bands on it.' And yes, that is the first impression we'll all get, but to go beyond that you will need to work. An 8” will reveal a significant amount of detail but you need to sit quietly for quite some time, relaxed in a comfortable position and allow your eyes to respond to the faint delicate markings, the subtle whisps of differing shades which are present on the Jovian disk. You’ll also see the four big Jovian moons which will look like very bright stars. Visual observing is quite hard work but the more you do it the better you get and the more you see. Saturn – a similar story unfolds for Saturn. There are no easy wins in astronomy and you need to take your time. With a 4” to 8” telescope you should be able to see the rings of Saturn (it may just appear as the one), subtle bands on the planet itself, four or five of its moons that in some cases will appear like brightish stars and on a good night, Cassini’s Division which will look like a thin black circle drawn inside the rings. Uranus and Neptune – these will appear as tiny objects. With enough magnification you might be able to garner a pale blue or greenish colour and the appearance of a disk-like shape. The Sun – with the proper white light filters in place you will see sunspots and the structure within, namely, Umbra and Penumbra; you will see faculae, granulation and limb darkening. Do not ever look at the Sun without proper filtration. An Approximation of an Eyepiece View Here are some approximations of what you might see through your eyepiece which will hopefully ground expectations. Jupiter as taken by Voyager 1. Jupiter as seen in a 4" frac. Saturn as seen by Cassini. Saturn as seen in a 4" frac. Uranus a taken by Voyager 2 Uranus as seen through a 4" frac. I hope this part of the thread has helped a little in getting an idea of what to expect from your telescope. The second part will follow shortly dealing with some of the more popular Messier and NGC celestial objects. What Can I Expect to See...Galaxies and Nebulae A Truism or Two There’s an old truism that runs around the boards: a galaxy or a nebula is a faint, grey fruzzy in a 4” and a 6” and a brighter grey fuzzy in an 8” or a 10”. There’s also another truism which rings truer to an astronomer’s heart beat. All things being equal, you will see more tomorrow than you did today, and so it follows that you will never see less than you did this evening. Each evening with a galaxy or nebula you are training your eye and brain to notice more than what you have already seen. And that takes time; it takes patience, a little love and care at the eyepiece. Size, Magnitude & Brightness When beginning to observe deep space object such as globulars, galaxies and nebulae it is handy to bracket them into three intertwined classes: The size of the object The object’s magnitude And its surface brightness We do this so as to have a rough estimate of how well we may be able to view a given object, and by doing so not only arming ourselves with useful knowledge, but also lessening the impact of frustration and disappointment. Size As a frame of reference, we can argue that the angular diameter of the full Moon viewed from Earth is about 0.5 degrees, or 30 arc minutes, or 1,800 arc seconds. So a galaxy like M 31 is over 3 degrees in diameter. An emission nebula like M 42 in Orion is over 1 degree in diameter. A globular cluster like M 13 is about 16 arc minutes in diameter and a planetary nebula like M 57 is just over 1 arc minute. Apparent Magnitude The object’s magnitude is the total sum of all the light stemming from the object. There are differing ways this can be measured but for the observer the most useful guide would be the apparent magnitude. This scale starts on the minus side for bright objects and travels up into the plus side for dimmer objects. Most of the stars you see making up a constellation’s pattern have an apparent magnitude of about 1 or 2, M 31 about 3.5, M 42 around 4, M 13 about 5, M 57 about 8 and at a dark site the naked eye should be able to see stars down to about 5 or 6. Looking just at these figures, then, it would appear that M 31 and M 42, for example, are a lot easier to see than M 13 or M 57. But this is where it may get confusing. Surface Brightness If we say that the object’s apparent magnitude suggests the the overall light output of an object, then by comparison surface brightness is a measure of how bright an object may appear. Although it isn’t necessary for the given discourse, we can point out that apparent magnitude is not measured in any unit but surface brightness is actually measured in magnitude per square degree. Again, lower the number, brighter the object. M 31 has a surface brightness of about 23, M 42 around 22, M 13 about 21 and M 57 about 18. Looking at these figures, then, contrary to what we have just said, it now seems that M 13 and M 57 will be easier to see. So what gives? For something like M 31, although its apparent magnitude is relatively quite high making it one of the brightest deep sky objects in the night sky, its light is spread over a colossal area, that light is being thinned out and so the galaxy is very dim to see. By comparison, M 57 or M 13, although having a poorer apparent magnitide, are a lot smaller so the light, the magnitude per square degree, is more concentrated and therefore they have a higher surface brightness making them easier to see. Rule of Thumb As a general rule thumb, then, we can say that apparent magnitude is a good indication of how well you may see an object where we are dealling with point sources of light such as planets or stars, but for large extended objects such as globulars, galaxies and nebulae, surface brightness and size are the tools you want to be using. Take this as an indicative, not a definitive rule of thumb. Other Factors to Bear in Mind No matter what has just been said above when it comes to observing deep space objects most of what you will be able to see will depend on a myriad of other factors, not limited to, the quality of your optics, atmospheric conditions and inevitably, your own experience. Nevertheless, we can suggest a number of pointers to bear in mind when preparing for a deep space session: Dark skies Whereas planets and the moon are bright and largely unaffected by light pollution, being large and extended and very faint, deep space objects depend entirely on dark skies. If we say that a comfortable seat will add ½” to 1” of aperture to your telescope, then the impact of dark skies is unprecedented. It’s probably not much of an exaggeration to say a 6” under dark skies will blow away a 10” or 12” in an urban setting. Galaxies and nebulae and globulars are some of the faintest deep-sky objects and dark skies are everything when viewing them. Transparency Whereas good seeing conditions are essential to good planetary and lunar observing, deep space objects are more dependent on clear, transparent skies. Magnification Whereas detailed planetary and lunar observing require high magnifications, there's no ideal magnification in which to view deep space objects. It’s a case of trial and error. If you want to view M 31 in its entirety, you’ll need extremely low powers but if you want to see a little more detail, you will need magnification. Some planetary nebulae, some globulars take magnification well, some don’t. It’s a case of trial and error. Filters Whereas colour filters aren’t really that useful when viewing planets, nebulae often benefit from filters, in particular, narrowband ones like UHC and OIII filters. They improve contrast and make faint details apparent. There aren’t filters to improve your views of galaxies and even if there were, any improvement would be negligible. An Approximation of an Eyepiece View Here are some approximations of what you might see through your eyepiece. Bear in mind that the sketches were generally not made in a hurry and in many cases took a good hour or so sitting at the eyepiece. M 31 - Galaxy. Hubble Image. M 31 - 4" Sketch. M 51 - Galaxy. Hubble Image. M 51 - 4" Sketch. M 27 - Planetary Nebula. Hubble Image. M 27 - 4" Sketch. M 3 - Globular Cluster. Hubble Image. M 3 - 4" Sketch. M 42 - Emission Nebula. Hubble Image. M 42 - 4" Sketch I hope this had helped a little. - - - - - - - - P.S: Thank you everyone for your kind replies and support. I'm sorry I haven't replied to each of you but it's been a busy day and I just haven't had the time. Seriously. Please don't think me rude and I will make ammends this weekend. I will try to post up a little on open clusters and doubles with a shorter and final third part. Thank you again to everyone
  2. 71 points
    I took a photo of Betelgeuse in February 2019 just because it's a pretty star - Thought I'd take another to see if it really has dimmed as much as everyone says and the difference is very noticeable - (prime focus of a 7" refractor with a focal reducer bringing it to f 5.6. )
  3. 67 points
    The MW from Perissa Beach, Santorini. Taken on my recent 23rd wedding anniversary trip with my lovely missus. Canon 6d/Samyang 14mm, bracketed image - sky 10 x 25s iso 800 stacked in PI, foreground 1 x 30s iso 800. Processed in PS. Hope you like it! Rich ?
  4. 65 points
    This has got to be THE single most iconic image out there - So thanks to Hubble there's masses of pressure with this image! How can you improve on an icon? I have no idea at the moment! But the mono Ha data has come out OK! This is a low one for me - Only gets to 37 degrees maximum and I was just starting to only image above 40 degrees I will be collecting the OIII and probably SII as well (depends on how a bi colour comes out) - But meanwhile I thought that this stood on it's own two feet as a mono target. It was a delight to process as the data is nice and strong. Details: Mount: Mesu 200 Scope: Orion Optics ODK10 Camera: QSI683 with 3nm Ha Astrodon filters 28x1800s 14 hours in total. You can see the larger res image here
  5. 61 points
    I never seem to be pleased with my editing of the M45-data I´ve got but now I think I´m getting there! This time I pushed the faint nebulosity even harder but still managed to keep it together... sort of. I could have sharpened the nebulosity more but I like the dusty, fluffy look. This is a bit over 15,5 hours of data, captured using Canon EOS 1100D and a Canon EF 300/4L IS lens. My mount is a HEQ5 Pro Synscan, guided. 31*3 minutes 87*5 minutes 55*8 minutes All at ISO 800. I hope you like it, don´t think I will do much more reprocessing of this one now. No use beating a dead horse
  6. 59 points
    I have had this on the PC since January and have refrained from posting it as I really can't decide how I feel. It started off as a more usual colour palette for me, but it always seemed very flat. I went back to process and decided to leave the green in and see what that bought to the party. It certainly seemed to give it a more 3D feel and more general depth..... but it has been tweaked here and there now for months. It hasn't been posted anywhere yet as I think it's too far from my comfort zone colours to be able to decide how I feel about. I've tried to look at it objectively and wonder what I'd say if someone else posted it, and I can't quite decide whether I'd give it a 'thumbs up' or a 'thumbs down' I've thrown it open to comments and criticism here - Please feel free to be as brutal as you like...... I need to hear it Details: Mount: Mesu 200 Scope: Takahashi FSQ85 0.73x Camera: QSI683 and Moravian G2-8300 This has been data from last year and this year. 27x1800s Ha 11x1800s OIII 20x1800s SII Totalling 29 hours of integration. I can't link to a high res version as there isn't one online!
  7. 59 points
    Some photos added today?.. Mint Takahashi FS128 on Tak EM2 mount. My heartfelt thanks to Tony for waiting for so long until I could proceed with the purchase, and to my wonderful wife Heather for her loving support. Can't quite believe it.. Dave
  8. 58 points
    Well, I didn't think I'd be making this post but here it is - tonight I have managed to see the Horsehead Nebula, Barnard 33 The sky here tonight is the best and darkest I've experienced for a long, long time. The transparency is excellent although the actual seeing is mediocre in terms of star images, splitting doubles etc. M31 is a direct vision naked eye object and notably extended too. The double clusters in Perseus are clear without any sort of optical aid as is M35 in Gemini and the brighter 3 star clusters in Auriga. I don't know what the naked eye limit at the zenith is - probably close to mag 6 ? This is as good as it gets from my back yard. By 12:30 Orion was well above the rooftops and the streetlights have gone out. Neighbours have gone to bed and there are no lights on in our house or any in the vicinity. It's all "come together" for a change and my 12" dob is definitely the right instrument for these conditions. I've been trying to see the Horsehead Nebula for a few years now. I've got to know the star field around the star Alnitak (lowest of the "belt" stars) well and I've read the advice pages on the target plus reports from those who have seen it many times. All lights off. Laptop screen is dimmed, curtains are closed tight. I spend 20 minutes outside just looking around the sky, getting as fully dark adapted as I can. First stop on the path to the Horsehead is NGC 2024, the Flame Nebula, which is right next door to Alnitak. Good start tonight - the Flame Nebula was not only visible without a filter, but the dark rifts that run through it, like the branches of a tree, were also visible. Even the dazzling Alnitak in the same field of view could not drown out the illuminated lobes of the Flame. Ok, time to add the Astronomik H-Beta filter to the eyepiece of choice for this search, the 24mm Panoptic. Filter in place, I was pleased to see that the Flame Nebula,it's shape and form were still quite visible. Time to push Alnitak and the Flame out of the field of view and to concentrate on the 1 degree of sky that is home to the Horsehead Nebula. There are 3 stars that frame this patch of sky on one side, one of which is bathed in faint nebulosity which this evening was visible with and without the filter. This is NGC 2023, a faint emission and reflection nebula. I had seen this before but not as clearly as it was showing tonight. Another hopeful sign. Now the big challenge. I knew that the key to seeing the Horsehead Nebula was to detect the faint glow of the emission nebula IC 434 but in previous attempts this was the fence that I'd fallen at (Horsehead - get it ??!! ). Tonight though, as my eye adjusted to the filtered light across the field of view, the elongated but rather amorphous band of slight cloudiness that is IC 434 gradually became apparent, varying in density here and there, almost not there sometimes but re-confirmed subtly over and over as my eye swept around the field of view. And there it was. A bay, an intrusion, a dark overlay, a piece of IC 434 was missing !. Quite a large piece as well or so it seemed as my eye moved from one side of the field to the other bringing various degrees of averted vision into play. It's been described as a dark thumbprint and I'd concur with that. Not a chesspiece, no snout or ears, but a soft edged, ill defined shark bite chunked out of the side of the nebulosity, leaving the black sky to spill into that cove and the nebulosity of IC 434 to curve around it. One side of where the dark intrusion started was marked with a very faint pair of stars which I believe I've read Swampthing / Steve describe as his indicator of the Horsehead location. I kept observing for 20-30 minutes trying all the tricks I know to keep all stray light from around my eye and the eyepiece. The clarity of what I was seeing ebbed and flowed, possibly after a while because my eye was just trying so hard !. But the more I observed, the more confident I became that I was seeing this long sought target. Ok, it was very indistinct - well I'd thought it would be, especially if I ever managed to see it from my back yard, but I was pretty sure that I was looking at Barnard 33, at last !. I rather reluctantly dragged myself away from the eyepiece and tried a couple of other eyepieces with the H-Beta filter attached - a 30mm plossl (Vixen) and the 17.3mm Delos. Each time I came back to the eyepiece I needed 10-15 minutes to get back "into the zone" again. But the same pattern of vague nebulosity was indeed replicated with the darkened bay pushing into the cloudy edge of IC 434 in the same place, to the same extent and at the same angle, each time. The original 24mm eyepiece seemed to provide the most distinct view but I should really say the least indistinct !. Not a spectacular view at all, just suble variations of dark and slightly darker patches of space peppered with stars. Without the filter the stars brightened but only the Flame and NGC 2023 were visible in terms of nebulosity. IC 434 and the large, dark, thumb shaped indentation were nowhere to be seen. OK. Back inside to warm up (it's cold out there despite the adrenalin flow that the hunt has prompted). Take stock of what has been observed. I turn to one of my favourite web references on deep sky observing - Jeremy Perez and his wonderful "Belt of Venus" website. Here is what Jeremy says about his observations of this target, albeit with a smaller aperture scope than mine (from a darker sky though, I'll bet !): http://www.perezmedia.net/beltofvenus/archives/000379.html Re-reading the above has confirmed 100% for me that, tonight, I have seen the Horsehead Nebula So much of what Jeremy describes chimes with my experiences and my impressions tonight I got into astronomy 40+ years back with the help of Sir Patrick Moore's "The Observers Book of Astronomy" and in that little volume there is a greyscale long exposure image of the Horsehead Nebula which made a big impression on me then and has stuck with me to this day. Quite possibly this is the least impressive target I've seen though a scope in all those years observing but the pleasure that seeing it at last has delivered is very tangible indeed. If you have got this far, thanks for bearing with my rambling descriptions
  9. 57 points
    I have considered the question of what a person needs in his eyepiece kit, as a bare minimum, for quite a while. Personally, I don't have a lot of disposable income, and I recognize that a lot of amateur astronomers are getting along on a shoestring budget. So, if you can afford to go out and buy a full set of Naglers, or even Radians, go ahead, this article isn't for you. It is for those of us who have to choose between a new eyepiece and a new spring jacket, and are already garnering disapproving looks from our partners for buying that natty little refractor at a higher price than they really, truly expected. I will talk first about scopes on equatorial or tracking mounts, and later about Dobsonians. I am assuming that, as we don't have a lot of money, we are not buying large catadioptics or refractors, and cannot afford a Newtonian of larger than 8". These general principles apply to most scopes, however. SCOPES ON EQUATORIAL, GOTO, OR TRACKING MOUNTS I am going to talk about Plossls, mostly, as they are the best value for money. If you get a branded Plossl, you will seldom get a piece of junk. You can expect reasonable sharpness across most of the field in all but the fastest scopes. Plossls also have a field of view of 50 - 52º, which is quite reasonable. I am also going to suggest a set of three or four eyepieces, and no Barlow,except in the case of a fast scope. You should have a high power, a medium-high and/or medium-low power eyepiece, and a low power eyepiece. The eyepieces that came with your scope probably fill the medium-high and low power slot. If they are satisfactory, keep them for now. If they are marked 'H' or 'SR' don't even think about keeping them! If they are marked with a 'K', they are Kellners, which are generally acceptable eyepieces, but a little limited on field of view, being about 45º, usually. Find out the focal ratio of your scope. It should be printed on a plate on the scope, usually near the focuser, and be represented by a number like f/5 or f/8. F/6 or lower is a fast scope, and f/7 or higher is an intermediate to slow scope. Scopes with focal ratios of f/8 or higher are generally more forgiving of lower-quality eyepieces, while fast scopes tend to reward lower-quality eyepieces with fuzzy stars anywhere from 1/3 to 1/2 way from the edge to the centre. If you can't find the focal ratio, but you know the aperture and focal length, the focal ratio is (focal length/aperture). Take your focal ratio, and multiply it by 3/4. So, if you have an f/8 scope, the result is 6. If you have an f/10 scope, the result is 7.5. This result is the length in millimetres of your high power eyepiece. It will give about 2/3 of the theoretical maximum power of your scope. This is the actual maximum if you do not always enjoy perfect seeing and transparency. If you have a 100mm scope, this eyepiece will give 133x. IF YOU HAVE A FAST SCOPE, say, f/5, this formula will suggest a 3.75mm or 4mm eyepiece. Looking through a Plossl at this length is a miserable experience. If this is the case, I would suggest you buy an eyepiece with a length equal to 1½ times your focal ratio, and buy a 2x Barlow lens in the same price range as your eps. These purchases give you your high power and medium-high power magnifications, so skip the next paragraph. Now multiply your focal ratio by 1¼. For our f/8 scope, the result is 10, and for an f/10 scope, the result is 12.5. This is the length of your medium-high power eyepiece. For our 100mm scope, it gives a magnification of 80. Eyepieces in these lengths are not hard to find, and you can go up or down a millimetre if your dealer doesn't stock them. Multiply your focal ratio by 2, now. By now, you can do the math yourself! In our 100mm scope, this gives a magnification of 50. This is your medium-low power eyepiece, and your low power eyepiece is given by multiplying your focal ratio by 3, and you get a magnification of 33 in your 100mm scope. IF YOU HAVE A FAST SCOPE, you want an eyepiece of 3 to 4 times your focal ratio, or 15 to 20 mm for an f/5 scope as your medium-low power eyepiece, and about 5 times your focal ratio for your low power eyepiece. An eyepiece of 5 times your focal ratio also gives you an 'exit pupil' of 5mm. This is the longest eyepiece you want to use if you are older, as this exit pupil is approximately equal to an older (45+) person's maximum pupillary dilation. You can't use more light than that. If you are younger, you could go up to 7 times your focal ratio, or an exit pupil of 7mm. To summarize, for an f/8 scope, we suggest a kit consisting of 6, 10, 16 and 24mm. For an f/10 scope, 7.5, 12.5, 20 and 30mm. For an f/5 scope, 2x Barlow, 8, 18, and 25mm. If your budget allows for only three eyepieces, drop one of the medium power eyepieces. If you are a lunar/planetary observer, then we would suggest dropping the medium-low eyepiece, and if you are a DSO observer, the medium-high eyepiece. In the latter case, we could suggest dropping the high power, but let's face it, there will always be times you want to get a good look at Saturn, or a good planetary nebula, so keep the high power. DOBSONIANS Dobsonians tend to be large, fast scopes. If your Dob is 6" or less, you can safely follow the guidelines for the scopes listed above, as the highest magnification this will give you is 200. At about 200x, it gets hard to follow things with a Dob. Some people can do it, and your ability to follow objects will improve with time, but 200x is a good start. You will want to have an eyepiece kit between 200x, and a 5mm (or 7mm if you are a youngster) exit pupil. Suppose you have a 10", f/5 Dob. You will have a focal length of 1250mm, and will get 200x with a 6.25mm eyepiece. In practical terms, a 6.5 to 7.5mm eyepiece will be what you will find available. To get a 5mm exit pupil out of a 250mm mirror, you will need an eyepiece that gives you 50x. This means a 25mm eyepiece. To get a 7mm exit pupil out of the same mirror means a magnification of 36, and a 35mm eyepiece. Having decided on your low and high power, it is fairly easy to pick two more eyepiece focal lengths that will fill in the gap. If your spread is 6mm to 25mm, try 10mm and 16mm as your intermediate lengths. If the spread is 6mm to 35mm, then use 12mm and 20mm as your intermediate eyepieces. So, for an 8" f/5 Dob, you would be getting something like a 5mm, 10, 16 and 25mm. These guidelines will give you a useful set of eyepieces without breaking the bank. You can buy one eyepiece a month until you have your set, and use the eyeieces you have until your set is complete.If you can afford slightly better eyepieces, then buy those, with the length guidelines still in mind. If you have a fast scope, ask specifically if the eyepiece you are considering is appropriate for a fast scope. Some less expensive wide-angle eyepieces perform well only in a f/8 or slower scope, and you don't want to buy a set of these with a fast scope. Best wishes, and enjoy your new hobby!
  10. 57 points
    Imaged with my AG12 and H35. A massive task to tame Alnitak, it took over 12hours to process this one. Exposure times were 4x900s in H-alpha, 4x900s in Red, 4x820s in Blue and 4x640s in Green. Processed in Photoshop and Lightroom. Comments welcome thanks for looking
  11. 54 points
    Made this false colour venus image using a UV data from 9th April and IR data from the 10th April (as I didn't capture any IR on the 9th). As the IR channel is generally featureless I didnt see any issue doing this, just needed to align and resize the IR slightly to match. 90k frames of UV and same IR. 20% stacked for each and synthetic green made from a 50/50 mix. Fullerscope 8.75" newt with APM 2.7x barlow. Altair GPCAM 290m with Baader UV and ZWO 850nm filters. Image resized 200%. North up.
  12. 54 points
    Headed out after work last night in chance of capturing the arch for the last time before summer nights really take a grip. I had a idea of a location and it worked out better than planned. theres a slight glow to the north ( left of the image) as the auroa kicked off at 1:30am sadly the mountain was in my way but i like the purple hue's. Sony a7rii Tokina F2 FIRIN lens 21x12" iso 6400
  13. 54 points
    Two panels, the lower one from last year. The top one was from this week, with guests, but Tom remembered that he also had a good dose of Shark Nebula data so that went in as well. The lower panel is Ha OIII LRGB for the supernova remnant and planetary nebula while the top is only LRGB. About 50 hours, dual Tak FSQ106N/Atik 11000/SXVH36/Mesu 2000. This time I went for an honest colour, resisting the temptation to try to make the Shark look like an emission nebula! The three VDB objects are, 149, 150 and 152. The PN is G111.0+11.6 (catchy name) and the SNR is ... I've forgotten!!! Olly, Tom and guests.
  14. 53 points
    Hi all, this has been a tough slog. Starting in August i intended to just shoot Barnard 150 and well i just kept going. I really have no idea how you guys with mono cameras manage mosaics, hats off. Shot over 9 nights and a total of 31 hrs in 150 second subs. Esprit 100, Zwo 071 pro, mounted on an AzEq6 Captured using SGPro, stacked in APP. Processed in APP, PI and PS. Hope you like it. Richard.
  15. 53 points
    Here are my attempts at Astrophotography with a smartphone. Taken thought a 10 and 20inch Dobsonians. Most of the photos have been processed through photoshop. The eclipse photos where taken with a smartphone with a small screw on Samsung lens and a home made white light filter. I have more on my Instagram https://www.instagram.com/astroramblerphotos/ Venus Messier 13 (Hercules Cluster)
  16. 52 points
    What a fabulous night it was last night (Saturday 6th Oct) Everything worked flawlessly with no issues except for one green channel getting trashed from high cloud, that passed pretty quickly and I was able to continue. This shot is a simple RGB image, I do have plans to get some more data including Luminance and Ha to enhance the H2 regions. Im quite please with the core detail. Exposure time 7x 900s in Red, 7x640s in Green and 860s in Blue. Taken with my AG12 and H35 camera Click to view full res image Thanks Peter Shah RGB Managed to get 4hours of Ha 900s subs....click for full res version RGB and H-alpha
  17. 52 points
    Naturally this is a popular target with guests, which means I can accumulate data and combine it to keep chipping away at the quality of the final image. Last night we ran the dual Tak rig on this for our guests' new image, but I also combined it with everything I already had from both the Taks and the TEC140. It allowed me, above all, to push the outlying dusty structures without the need for noise reduction. I've lost track of the total exposure time but it will be around 25 to 30 hours. I thought I was approaching the limit of useful data last time I worked on this but the extra 9 hours from last night really did make a difference. This is LRGB, mostly from the dual Tak FSQ106 rig but wth TEC140 data thrown in. Mount, Mesu 200, cameras Atik 11000 mono. Click on it for a larger version. Best wishes, Olly
  18. 52 points
    Following on from my Horsehead nebula in mono thread here I was quite happy with it as it was.... then ..... @pietervdv was a very naughty boy and suggested that perhaps I *may* like to do another pane above it. Well how could I resist when I was finally up and running with the dual rig. Double bubble on the Ha time as I've got a 3nm Astrodon in both camera's. It would have been rude to ignore his suggestion! The original thread was called widefield.... so this one can only be *even wider* All comments and thoughts welcomed (except those that suggest ANOTHER couple of panes are in order) - There will be no colour either this year Details: M: Mesu 200 T: Takahashi FSQ85 0.73x Pane 1: C: QSI683 3nm Ha filter - 27x1800s Pane 2: C: QSI683 3nm Ha filter / Moravian G2-8300 3nm Ha Filter 20x1800s QSI / 8x1800s G2-3800 Total exposure time 27.5 hours You can see a larger version on my website here
  19. 52 points
    Snowdon and the Milky way panorama. 41 images captured on a Sony A7S and Samyang 24mm f/1.4 lens exposed at 8 seconds, f/2.0 iso5000 and post processed in Autopano Giga to produce the stitched image and then processed in Autopano Panotour to produce a 360 interactive panorama which is quite nice to play with full screen
  20. 51 points
    I started this back in February 2019 and finished it over the last three beautifully clear nights capturing whilst I slept. In total 13hrs of Lum, 5 hrs each RGB and 14hrs of Ha. Lum and RGB through my Esprit150/SX46 and Ha through piggybacked Esprit100/ASI1600mm mounted on a Mesu 200. Processed in APP, Pixinsight and Photoshop with mild deconvolution of Lum and Ha. The Whirlpool Galaxy, also known as Messier 51a, M51a, and NGC 5194, is an interacting grand-design spiral galaxy with a Seyfert 2 active galactic nucleus. It lies in the constellation Canes Venatici, and was the first galaxy to be classified as a spiral galaxy. Distance is estimated to be 23 million light-years and diameter 76,000 light years. Its mass is estimated to be 160 billion solar masses What later became known as the Whirlpool Galaxy was discovered on October 13, 1773, by Charles Messier while hunting for objects that could confuse comet hunters, and was designated in Messier's catalogue as M51. Its companion galaxy, NGC 5195, was discovered in 1781 by Pierre Méchain. In 1845, William Parsons, 3rd Earl of Rosse, employing a 72-inch (1.8 m) reflecting telescope at Birr Castle, Ireland, found the Whirlpool possessed a spiral structure, the first "nebula" to be known to have one. Also in the image are IC4263 (top right) , IC4277 (below left) and IC4278 (below) Thanks for looking Dave
  21. 51 points
    I'm still dizzy after processing this one for each LRGB filter. Comet 21P meets open cluster M37 in the night/morning of 10/11 September, at perihelion. This is a combination of 60s x 30 x 4 subs, taken through the SW130PDS with an ASI1600MMC. https://www.astrobin.com/366252/ No deconvolution applied, only noise reduction. About the remaining noise?! ... yes, please. Unfortunately the light pollution at home didn't let me record more. Thanks for watching and clear skies! Alex
  22. 50 points
    Hi SGL, I ve been away for quite a while, but its good to be back, and have a picture to post. This is Cassiopeia, a 25 pane 530mm mosaic. I started this in 2016 when I captured the Lum panels, it took building my own remote observatory at Ollys in France before I could capture the RGB, Ha and O3 data. This comes to about 350hrs of LHaRGB data about 240 of those taken in the last year remotely. No noise reduction has been used, and only sharpening on a few certain objects. I re-took about 5 panels in RGB due to stitching and gradient issues. There are a lot of objects in here that I have not seen before. mostly Sharpless objects, but the main defining nebula here is the "Breaking Wave" that Olly coined when we went deep in Ha in this area before. I was pleased to find the "Face On mars" as I like to call it SH2-173 in the mix, along with numerous other objects. I m attaching a small image, and then a bigger attenuated version which I hope you can zoom in to. My friend is setting up the Zoomify option on the website but it may take a few days, so I ve decided to post these in the meantime. I hope you like it, and of course huge thanks to Olly Penrice, Steve Richards for helping with the remote set up, and all the others on the group who helped me trouble shoot the observatory issues. Tom.
  23. 50 points
    TS130 f6.6 G3-16300 Riccardi APO Reducer und Korrektor 0,75x SkyEye Observatory 70x300 L 40x300 R 40x300 G 40x300 B
  24. 50 points
    Recently I bought a Canon 6D for daytime photography. Of course I was going to put it one day behind a telescope. Said and done. Last weekend I went to my girlfriend's parents' village (Clear Outside estimates an SQM of 21.9 there), I put the Canon 6D behind the Esprit 80 and both of them on top of the tuned AZ-EQ5. Guiding was done with a finder guider and overall stayed at 1.5"-1.8" RMS. But the 6D has large pixels and I also downsampled the final image so there shouldn't be much loss due to poor tracking. Moon was rising just before 11 so I started early, shooting Orion as the first panel. 2 other higher panels followed, consisting of 21, 21 and 19 subs, 5 mins exposures at ISO1600. For the Orion's core I used also 12x5s. That's a total of 3 hours. The stars towards the corners are not perfect with the Esprit80 and a full frame sensor, but resampling at 60%, I do not notice any weird shapes. Can't wait to shoot a wide Antares region with this setup. On astrobin: https://www.astrobin.com/393580/ Clear skies! Alex
  25. 50 points
    Well no surprise this was coming next after the M81 and M82 recently published (total 103 hours data from RCOS, AP RH and OS RH - the latter used as the base frame onto which the objects were placed) - think this concludes my look at this area. C&C welcomed, if not hope you like.
  26. 49 points
    I have not posted many images recently for a few different reasons, one being that I image mostly for myself and another being the really poor weather we have had in recent years means some projects have taken some time to finish and I don't like to post things half baked. But this one is special to me as this is the last image that I will ever take with my faithful Skywatcher 130PDS Newtonian. My 130PDS has served me well over the last 4 years of imaging and is certainly the best astronomy purchase I have made giving incredible value and results for an outlay of only £159 at the time of purchase. It allowed me to place money earlier than would have otherwise have been possible into items such as quality filters, a mono camera and even a mini observatory. But the search for ever better images continues and it has now been replaced by an Esprit 100 and that is quite a long story in itself, but for another time. The 130PDS is not the right tool for capturing an object as large as the Heart Nebula, not least because it cant be done in less than 4 panels with my camera. So I would like to say that this project was planned start to finish but in reality this is a image of the Fish Head Nebula that got out of hand. The image was captured from November 2018 to December 2019 with two panels completed in each season. Camera = ASI1600mm pro Imaging Scope = SW 130PDS Mount = HEQ5pro (belt modded) Filters = Astrodon 1.25 inch 5nm Ha and OIIII Total integration = 40 hours (20 hours Ha and 20 Hours OIII in 600x4min subs) I wanted to have a balanced framing of the nebula so that the eye is not overly drawn to any single part and so the image is slightly cropped to achieve this. I wanted the spike of nebulocity to the left to push into the top corner so as to balance out the Fish Head over to the right, I also wanted Melotte 15 to be as central as possible to provide a focus to the center of the image. The image was stacked in APP and finished in Photoshop CS2. I experimented with Starnet a little removing the stars and replacing them with a shifted color balance. I may well revisit this at a later point but I am all processed out on this for now. Thanks for looking hope you enjoy it. Adam
  27. 49 points
    First time I have a proper go at some astro with my nifty fifty lens. Canon 600d full spectrum, ISO800, 50mm f1.8 lens stopped at f4, 10x600sec guided on my eq3 pro mount. I love how it came out.
  28. 49 points
    Hi, It's been a long time since the last time I posted anything here. I was mostly into deep sky shots back then but planetary imaging has taken over. I've been making mirrors and scopes over the last two years with a goal of making a good big planetary scope ready for Mars in 2018. That scope may end up being my current 20" f3.8 tracking dob or it could be a 25" or 30" version if get around to it. For now the 20" is doing well. So here's a few shots. equipment: 20" f3.8 traking dob, ASI224MC camera, ZWO ADC, 5 x powermate. 5/2/2017 Derotated Jupiter by Raymond Collecutt, on Flickr 3/3/2017 Jupiter 2017-03-03-1337 by Raymond Collecutt, on Flickr
  29. 48 points
    This project has been on the go for a couple of months. The Ha is very faint but the OIII is ridiculous! Captured using my widefield set up of a Canon 200mm F2.8 lens with an ASI 1600 mono camera. Baader 7nm Ha and OIII filters 198 x 5min Ha and 121x5 min OIII. Captured with SGP, Processed using a combination of PI and PS I knew there wasn't much OIII but I just wanted a few wisps to act like mascara!
  30. 48 points
  31. 47 points
    Well and truly blowing my own trumpet here, BBC Sky at Night magazine made one of my lunar images their image if the month for Feb 20! I'm dead chuffed as I've never ever been in print before, not even in the local rag! The image I submitted is this 6 pane mosaic of the waning gibbous that I captured back in Sep. Thanks for looking
  32. 47 points
    Well, the black beast has arrived Lots of photos will follow this short initial piece, followed (hopefully !) by reports on performance, handling etc, etc. The outer packaging is 146cm in length and the aluminum scope case is 140cm long. The only issue I have had with the shipping is that a small hole was punched in the aluminum case from the inside. Examination showed that this was caused by the camera mounting adapter screw on one of the tube rings punching through as the scope moved around in transit. No damage to the scope at all - it's looking lovely. The finish is very good, the dew shield is metal as is the one piece dust cap (nice touch !). The dew shield is 20cm deep (to the top surface of the objective lens). No plastic on the scope at all as far as I can determine. The finder and diagonal shown are mine, all the rest arrived in the shipping carton along with a Canon EOS - T2 camera adapter and another adapter, purpose as yet unknown. The focuser is smooth yet firm. I've mounted the scope using the stock tube rings and dovetail bar. Both the ED120 and the ED150 are handled smoothly by the Ercole mount and the Berlebach tripod. I can pick the whole lot up and move it around the garden too ! First Light Optics have also sent me the more robust tube ring set and 75mm DT bar option to try in due course. And a William Optics Binoviewer set to answer some questions on the compatibility of the scope for that accessory. Very early impressions are that the scope is lighter than I expected, easier to handle and that Skywatcher have done just what they said they would - produced a worthy and long awaited larger aperture addition to their very popular ED doublet refractor range. Many thanks to Steve at First Light Optics for making this happen. I will report back frequently and in some detail on this scope Now for lots of pics to get the ball rolling
  33. 47 points
    composite image of Cassiopeia from the back garden and part of the house . 1 image of the house. 67 images at 3 minutes each at iso 6400 eos 200D with 50mm lens at f7.1 on the SW star adventurer. thanks for looking and all cc welcome
  34. 47 points
    Taken with Serbian guests over the last two nights, here we have the Bubble Nebula in HaOIIIRGB. It's a crop. You should be able to click on it for almost full size. Ha 15x20 mins. OIII 4x20 mins. RGB 4x15 mins per channel. TEC 140/ATIK460/MESU 200. Unfortunately the tricksy Astrodon Ha filter is in the other rig so this is with a Baader 7nm. OIII is via an abominable Astronomik filter which was a replacement, years ago, for an even worse one! However, you can get away with murder if only adding NB data to RGB. Maybe I need to splash out on a pair of Astrodons. Eek! Ha to red, OIII to green and blue, colour balanced to resemble the RGB-only layer. Olly
  35. 47 points
    This image is a continuation of an image I made in 2014 of the M81/82 galaxy group. I made the images and found signals of integrated flux nebula surrounding the galaxies. Soon after that I got in touch with Neil Fleming who had a splendid image of the IFN in this region on his website and a fellow astrophotographer, Michael Van Doorn, who had imaged the galaxies using his hyperstar setup. We decided to combine the data and create a deep field of this region. The lower magnitude visible is around mag. +24 in this image! Because of the long period of bad weather I decided to do some reprocessing on previously made images and decided to see if I could get even more out of this image. I think the result is astonishing. As far as I have found this is the deepest image of this region that I could find on the internet. The IFN really stands out very clearly and it's nice to see details like Arp's loop at M81 really jumping out to the image.... Image details are visible in the image. M81/82 Ultra deep field :) by Andre van der Hoeven, on Flickr
  36. 46 points
    This has been my project since the start of this season and now I think I´ll just leave it... for now I started last season (with a longer FL) but didn´t like how my Baader O3 filter matched the Astrodon Ha filter, so now I had to get a 3nm O3 as well. This is a total of: 60*5 minutes of 3nm Ha 114*5 minutes of 3nm O3. Shot with a ZWO ASI1600MM-Cool and a Canon 300/4L IS tele lens. The lens suffers from bad star shapes in the corners but I managed to get it decent anyway. Didn´t want to stop it down from f/4 either. Combined as a semi-RGB (or what to call it) from R=Ha, G=70%O3+30%Ha, B=O3. Processed it as LRGB using a combined Lum from 60% Ha L and 40% O3 L. I am really happy that I finally feel satisfied with a target! Usually I just get restless and move on when half of the data is collected. Hope you like it!
  37. 46 points
    We've just got back from 2 weeks in La Palma (I guess all good things come to an end). An interesting two weeks weather wise - some very clear days (and nights) and some very dusty/hot days (and nights). For a good chunk of the holiday the Canaries were in the grip of the Calima - a very dusty and hot wind coming from the Sahara. When the Calima blows the temperature rockets and the air gets very dusty, sometimes reducing visibility down to just a mile or two. Sadly this time (like the last time I went!) the Perseids weren't seen - rained off again! What are the odds.... But, my patient and long suffering wife allowed me as many chances as possible to go out at night - so, many hours were spent negotiating endless switchbacks in an underpowered car (as it happens one with worn out brakes!). It would have been easier to just sit by the pool of course drinking beer but spending several nights at 7500ft was just too appealing In between the unpacking I've sneaked a look at some of the images I've got for some timelapses - I've pulled a few out and attached them to this post. The images all have the Milky Way as their theme, at this time of year the Milky Way is visible in all its glory with Scorpius and Sagittarius not on the horizon like here but up high in the sky. I spent several nights up in the vicinity of the observatories on the Roque de los Muchachos - at 7500ft the air is clear, dry and steady - it's a little odd seeing thousands of stars, most of them not twinkling at all . There's no shortage of images (I'll try not to flood the forum with them) but there's a shortage of time to devote to creating a timelapse or two so it may take a while to do that - for some reason my family, having seen little of me on holiday, now want to spend time with me All the images are take from timelapses so are generally 25 second exposures through a 14mm lens at f/1.8. First up: (if you click on the pictures a slightly sharper version will load up) Kate, Tom and me looking at the Milky Way from the house we were staying in. Our stargazing was cut short by fog coming up the hill unfortunately (visible on the lower right of the picture). This is quite common at lower altitudes - in this case 2500ft. Contrary to popular perception amongst astronomers La Palma is actually quite cloudy beneath about 3000-3500 feet. The Caldera de Taburiente from the Roque de los Muchachos The lights visible to the lower right are from the towns of Los Llanos and Tazacorte. On the horizon are the lights of the island of El Hierro. There was a fair degree of desert dust in the air hence the orange glow. The Gran Telescopio Canarias on the Roque de los Muchachos. The view from the kitchen. No, honestly!! The place we stayed in is very dark - luckily the streetlights that go by the house were all not working - no one local seemed bothered either - I get the feeling they didn’t want the streetlights in the first place… The shadow of La Palma can be seen to the left of Mt Teide on the island of Tenerife in this photo. The Caldera de Taburiente again from the Roque de los Muchachos - this time with a bit of moon light lighting the clouds below. The Milky Way again (sorry!). From further south on the island. A tricky picture to take as the slope I was taking the photo on was nearly 45 degrees steep… luckily it was fine volcanic grains like sand on a beach so it was possible to dig in the the slope.. the hillside was illuminated by the lights of the towns behind ..
  38. 46 points
    The old one New one !Don't know what I'm seeing most of the time , old Nick.
  39. 46 points
    Hi All, Here is a joint image from Olly and myself. Data collection was done by Olly, and this version was processed by myself. This is 18hours of data, 9 from Luminance, and 9 from the RGB. Taken with the TEC140, and the new small pixel camera Atik 460 with the Sony chip. I think the 1m and small pixels has done a super job pulling Resolution out of the system. The core has lots of detail, and was able to take some sharpening. The outer tidal loops were boosted with some Multiscale processing in PI as I felt it was a little dim as per initial stretches. This is a tricky image to balance, and I hope it looks reasonably natural. Thanks Tom.
  40. 46 points
    Evening all Here is M81 and M82, seeing here has been really poor despite quite a few clear nights. Little point engaging a dim target so pointed it at this and just kept firing away . There is about 40 hours (l600x197 plus a selection of 10,30,300's c.50 each and 25 each RGB at 300) of data here which has helped me pull out a lot of detail from the bright galaxies which i was pleased with. There was a lot more IFN but it was just not clean enough to do much with so this image is all about the galaxies. There is an unavoidable trace though as with this many subs it can't be avoided. Paddy
  41. 45 points
    Messier 81 (also known as NGC 3031 or Bode's Galaxy) is a spiral galaxy about 12 million light-years away, in the constellation Ursa Major. Messier 81 was first discovered by Johann Elert Bode on December 31, 1774.. Consequently, the galaxy is sometimes referred to as "Bode's Galaxy". In 1779, Pierre Méchain and Charles Messier reidentified Bode's object, which was subsequently listed in the Messier Catalogue. Most of the emission at infrared wavelengths originates from interstellar dust. This interstellar dust is found primarily within the galaxy's spiral arms, and it has been shown to be associated with star formation regions. M82 (also known as NGC 3034, Cigar Galaxy) is a starburst galaxy approximately 12 million light-years away in the constellation Ursa Major. M82 was also discovered by Johann Elert Bode on December 31, 1774 together with M81. M82 is being physically affected by its larger neighbour, the spiral M81. Tidal forces caused by gravity have deformed M82, a process that started about 100 million years ago. This interaction has caused star formation to increase tenfold compared to "normal" galaxies. The two galaxies in this image appear wrapped in a gauzy network of nebulosity. This is the integrated flux nebula (IFN), it is an extremely faint glow caused by the combined light of the stars of the Milky Way reflected and re-emitted by interstellar gas and dust. It’s most easily seen in images far from the starry plane of the Milky Way. The IFN consists of blue starlight scattered by interstellar dust, as well as red light emitted by interstellar atoms and molecules. The IFN is so elusive it was not identified until the early 1990s These clouds are mostly visible at high galactic latitudes - those portions of the sky that are well outside of the plane of the Milky Way. We see very large portions of the IFN in the regions towards the north near Polaris and other circumpolar constellations. Details M: EQ8 T: Takahashi FSQ85 0.73x reducer ? QSI683 and Moravian G2-8300 with Baader RGB, IDAS LP for luminance and Astrodon 3nm Ha filters. 103x1200s Luminance 75x300s in Red, Green and Blue 23x1800s Ha Totalling 64 hours and 35 minutes in exposure time. You can see a larger res version on my website http://www.swagastro.com/m81-and-m82.html
  42. 45 points
    I had another reasonable night last night and managed to get an additional 6 x 20 mins Ha and 4 x 20 mins OIII on my Pickering's Triangle - https://stargazerslounge.com/topic/276701-pickerings-triangle-bicolour-pi-only-experiment/ I also took some proper flats this time (previously I'd just used some Red Filter flats. This is the result. I think there is a little more detail coming through. I may have got the colour a bit better too. This is now 15 x 1200s Ha and 13 x 1200s OIII (all Astrodon 3 nm); Esprit 120ED; QSi 690; Mesu 200. Astrobin Link:
  43. 44 points
    I recently came across a scrap book of my father's who died over 40 years ago. He was an artist and designer, and it was so nice to find something of his work, This got me thinking about preserving my images for the future. Lets face it, how long are they going to stay in cyberspace if various websites shut down, and how would members of my family know where to find them anyway, even now. Also it is a lot of work to let it just disappear over time. I normally do the Astro Society annual calendar, so I got thinking that I should think about doing something printed for myself. The trouble is the regular printer we use for the calendars, all the images tend to come back a bit darker which is always disappointing. Anyway, I got hunting on the internet, and found a company in Peterborough BookPrintingUK, and got a quote from them for a hardback book of 80 inside pages. For £175 (approx), I have got a hardback book (10 copies + proof copy) with printed gloss cover, 80 pages silk good quality paper inside and the customer service has been excellent. This includes a hard copy proof. This was doing all the artwork myself. To my surprise when the 1st proof arrived the images came back the correct colour. Which was a surprise as I had brightened up some of the images in anticipation of them coming back darker as they do with the calendar printers, so they of course were now too bright. So I adjusted the images back to normal, and ordered a 2nd proof (an extra £25). I did not bother to get an ISBN number for it as I am not publishing it. Just copies for family and friends. I am so pleased with the result of the 2nd proof, just awaiting the final order to be printed. If any-one was thinking to do the same, I thoroughly recommend this company. Attached are a couple of photos. Do let me know if you decide to do this, as I can let the company know I have recommended them. Carole PS: Forgot to mention, that the printers will keep the artwork on file for 2 years in case I need further copies, in case any more friends say they would like a copy. Also they fixed the price for further copies for the next year.
  44. 44 points
    This is another image produced using CCD data I acquired at end of last week, with DSLR data from this time last year. Leo Triplets Atik 383L+ luminance 300s subs QHY9M luminance 300s subs Canon 40d unmodded 300s subs Canon 1000d modded 300s subs Any comments welcome. I didn't get the flats issue sorted, so I tried to reduce the gradient using different tools, and I cropped the image too. Thanks Adam.
  45. 44 points
    The Horsehead Nebula (B33) The Horsehead Nebula (Barnard 33) is one of the best known nebulae in the night sky but few astronomers have actually observed it through a telescope. The reason for this strange state of affairs is that the nebula is very dim as it is, in essence, just a pillar of dark dust and gas – in fact we can only see it because of the curtain of relatively bright Hydrogen Alpha (Ha) emissions (IC 434) behind it. This weekend several observers have seen it for the first time through a combination of excellent conditions - especially last night (25th/26th November) - and pure dogged determination to observe it. My hat is off to these intrepid observers who have persevered to achieve that goal. I on the other hand turned to the ‘Dark Side’ to achieve the same goal capturing my data over 2 nights, the first killed part way through by mist and cloud and the second (last night) working very well until a miscalculation in my image scheduling meant that the observatory closed down when it failed to maintain its guide star while imaging through a tree – Doh! Barnard 33 is a dark nebula situated in the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex in the constellation of Orion. Situated underneath the mag +1.74 ‘Belt Star’, Alnitak, this nebula is very well named as in images, its shape representing a horse’s head is clearly identifiable. For me it actually looks closer to a sea horse in appearance but the shape of a horse it most certainly is! Image Stats Mount: Mesu 200 Telescope: Sky-Watcher Esprit 150 Flattener: Sky-Watcher Esprit specific Camera: QSI 683 WSG-8 Filter: Astrodon 3nm Ha Subframes: 15 x 1800 sec Ha Integration: 7.5 hours Control: CCD Commander Capture: MaxIM DL Calibration and Stacking: PixInsight Post-Processing: PhotoShop PS3 I have deliberately taken a 'high key' approach to processing this data to release some of the additional detail often lost in the foreground region below the Horsehead Nebula itself. The Horsehead Nebula - B33
  46. 44 points
    With M42 already near the meridian at nightfall we brought all three rigs to bear on it for this one. The dual Taks did the widefield, one on RGB and the other on luminance. We had three hours, so they collected 6 hours' data. Meanwhile I thought I'd set us a processing challenge by shooting the Trapezium short subs only in the TEC 140 to save time and gain resolution on the bright nebulae. This did make the layer masking of the shorts a bit harder but the resolution gain was considerable. Shorts were 15 seconds in RGB and 60 seconds in LRGB. This was done with one of our present guests, Mike. Transparency was good but the seeing was on the poor side. Cameras were 2xAtik 11000 and 1x SXVH36, full frame monos. Mounts were Mesu 200 for the dual Taks and Avalon Linear for the TEC. Processed in AstroArt, Registar, PI and PsCS3. Crop: Olly
  47. 44 points
    Hi All Here is my offering for the week. Started to collect some RGB data here on this during last new moon but had no time to collect Lum so mixed it up with the 14.5" RCOS lum data @DSW (Total 11.1 hours LRGB) Spent two weeks and nearly 40 versions trying to get it all right. Probably not there yet but a close as i can get without going nuts. Will likely have another go at it when RCOS RGB is available but C&C welcomed. Paddy
  48. 43 points
    StDr 1 - a possible planetary nebula in the constellation of Taurus, discovered by Xavier Strottner and Marcel Drechsler in November 2019. This is the first time it has been imaged in colour. It is extremely faint - and so 1800 second exposures binned 3x3 were necessary. Astrodon Blue: 17x300" Astrodon Green: 18x300" Astrodon Red: 18x300" Astrodon Lum: 21x300" Astrodon OIII: 8x1800s bin 3x3 Astrodon Ha: 19x1800s bin 3x3 Total Integration: 20 hours Captured on my dual rig in Spain. Scopes: APM TMB LZOS 152 (6" aperture 1200mm focal length) Cameras: QSI6120wsg8 Mount: 10Micron GM2000 HPS
  49. 43 points
    Here is my first DSO travel report from the south Pacific: A week ago I arrived at Lizard Island (14°27 S, 145° 27´E) for research on their marine biological station until early January. It must be one of the darkest places on earth. Lizard Island is situated on the Great Barrier Reef about 20 km off the Australian coast and this far north in Queensland there are very few human inhabitants on the mainland and no light can be seen there from here. Closest town is Cairns 200 km to the south. I have been here virtually every December since 2002 but for the first time I now brought a travel kit for astrophotography. It consists of a SW StarAdventurer and a 300mm f/4 Canon telephoto lens with an ASI071 OSC camera. Having a cooled camera here is essential. I have once tried some AP here with a DSLR with extremely noisy results since the night time temperature here is rarely below 25°C. I also brought my PoleMaster camera for polar alignment. The whole kit with tripod weight 8 kg. The lens is only 1.2 kg. Focusing a telephoto lens precisely is tricky so I had to invent a microfocuser made from a folded sheet of aluminium cut out from a beer can. I shaped the sheet into a rod that presses onto the edge of the focusing ring by the force of a rubber band. Functioning a a lever it provides both a fine micro movement and fixes the ring so focus does not slip. Even if Lizard Island is close to paradise there are unfortunately also clouds, but so far I have had two relatively clear nights. First night was spent trying to find the very faint constellation of the Octans and its southern pole star. This was not easy for someone used to the northern hemisphere with the bright Polaris, and I had to print out a bunch of star charts just to get some orientation. When I finally found it clouds moved in of course. On Friday night it cleared from midnight until sunrise, and PoleStar helped me do what appears to have been a perfect polar alignment. I then aimed at the Large Magellanic Cloud and collected 145 x 90s of data, so about 3.6 hours, which is rather ok with this fast lens. The StarAdventurer behaved perfectly with no star trails in any of the unguided 90 s subs. So, here is the first result from this adventure, processed in PI and PS on a small laptop screen - I will probably have another go at it when I get back home to my 43" screen. The Tarantula Nebula (NGC2070) can be seen in the upper left corner of the galaxy. Wiki writes: The Tarantula Nebula has an apparent of 8. Considering its distance of about 160,000 ly, this is an extremely luminous non-stellar object. Its luminosity is so great that if it were as close to Earth as the Orion Nebula, the Tarantula Nebula would cast visible shadows.In fact it is the most active starburst region known in the Local Group of galaxies. It is also one of the largest H II regions in the Local Group with an estimated diameter around 200 to 570 pc and also because of its very large size, it is sometimes described as the largest although other H II regions such as NGC 604, which is in the Triangulum Galaxy could be larger.The nebula resides on the leading edge of the LMC where ram pressure stripping, and the compression of the interstellar medium likely resulting from this, is at a maximum. Hopefully I get the chance to add more images to this thread soon - the weather report for tonight looks promising.
  50. 43 points
    The completed two pane mosaic of this often imaged galactic pair. The combination of the TEC140 and QSI690 has enabled such fine detail to be teased out with a very rewarding result that has taken two day's worth of processing in total, circa 16 hours of concentration. I finished last night at midnight and have aching eyes this morning, then some much needed objective feedback from my imaging partner Steve Milne gave me the boost to complete the final tweaks and balancing of brightness, colour, and depth between the two panes. Thanks Steve. Hints of IFN swirl around the pair and I have enedavoured to make them visible but faint in an effort to represent their relative apparent brightness. I worked hard with multiple masks to highlight the spiralling dust in the arms of M81, gentle application of PI's LHE tool without it becoming overly artificial (I hope). Please enjoy the image at high resolution. Data acquisition: Barry Wilson & Steve Milne Processing: Barry Wilson Details: TEC140 at F7 QSI690wsg-8 with Astrodon filters 10 Micron GM2000HPS II UP Ha 48 x 1200s; Lum 96 x 600s; RGB 48 x 600s each channel; 56 hours total integration e-Eye, Spain at our jointly owned and operated remote observatory.
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