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Showing content with the highest reputation on 14/03/18 in all areas

  1. 23 points
    Hello, This is my first astrophotography with my own scope (and first light for this scope). I've always been fascinated with this galaxy, and it was my childhood dream to capture it. It finally happened ;-) You'll find all the technical details on the description on flickr. Overall it's the first light of my skywatcher Quattro 250mm/1000mm f4, NEQ6, with an unmodded Canon 6D. Integration time: 1h59 Processed with PixInsight. link to flickr for the full resolution and description:
  2. 13 points
    After a good start to the year with several clear nights, the past few weeks have been quite cloudy for me. So when I saw some clear skies this evening I pounced, particularly as there was no moon. Spring is galaxy season, not a favourite of mine since my LP back garden is not very well suited to showing galaxies. However, I thought I would have an explore this evening to see what I was missing - quite a lot as it turned out. I was also pleased to see that some globulars are now coming out to play - some of my favourite DSOs. However, I started with Orion, since soon it will disappear until winter. There’s a particularly annoying neighbours tree that blocks a decent part of my south west view, so I set up initially at the back of my garden to get the right angle for Orion. But it moved too quick for me and so I had a look at a few nebulae nearby. As is currently usual for me, I had my phone ready to make a visual record of the observations. I stuck to my C11 (with NV monoculars) all evening with the aim of getting some decent image scale on the globs and galaxies. So first a recent favourite, the monkeyhead. The head filled the fov of the c11 and gave some nice detail. Then onto the jellyfish which had nice definition. I tried moving the setup to the front of the garden to get a view round the other side of the annoying tree. Was looking good but by the time I had re set up, a combination of a sole big cloud and time meant that I just missed Orion. So onto galaxies. First up to get going, my fave set of galaxies m81 and m82. Glorious as always. I managed to get some decent image scale on m82. Then onto the Leo triplet which just squeezed all onto the fov with the 55mm plossl. Nice set of three, the leo. Then some new ones for me. Stu has been telling me about the markarian chain. I centred on m86 and went to had a look. A nice lot of galaxies visible but I think these would be more impressive in a big DOB. So two other galaxies that were recommended to me where the sombrero and the needle galaxies. Both looked great with a bit of image scale. Liked these a lot. Then to finish up, the globs. I’ve missed these so it’s great to see them reappearing earlier in the evening. The NV resolves m13, m5 and m3 really well going right to the core. I’ve been looking forward to viewing these again and they definitely didn’t disappoint. I think I even saw the propeller in m13. It was pretty murky skies in my bit of SW London tonight, but I was pleased with what I saw tonight. Not my usual mix of objects but lots of fun.
  3. 13 points
    Hi all. I managed a small break in the clouds over 2 nights to gather 4 hours of rgb to add to my 4 hours of ha. I lost at least an hour when my dew strap blew a fuse and the lens fogged up. Never a dull moment. Rgb 50 * 300 second subs 0 gain with SW 80ed and Asi 071 Ha 48 * 300 second subs unity gain WO Star 71 Asi 1600 I had to do a severe crop due to the lack of a field flattener. I hope you like it. Richard. Jpeg for slow connections
  4. 11 points
    So after about 18 months of umming and erring as to getting a long focal length Newt, a decision happened, followed quite soon after with a delivery. I had wanted to get the TS (GSO) 150mm F6, but as this scope is configured mainly for observing, and i mainly image, i reluctantly decided against, as i did not want to have to start modifying a brand new scope, so after seeing the low price of what was meant to be ex display Bresser 150 F8, and hearing from a fellow member that this model will do observing and DSLR imaging, the decision was made, and today it arrived First impression, very well packed, second, oh heck its larger than i expected, but thats kinda what i wanted. the build quality looks to be extremely good, at a glance it gives the feeling of being a very well made posh TAL, but much as i love TAL scopes i dont think they could build a scope of this quality the only exception being the very plastic 6x30 finder, if the scope proves to be a keeper then the finder and shoe will just have to go, and my 9x50 RACI will find its way onto the tube, but the focuser seems pure and sweet, a chunky rack and pinion that more than makes up for the slightly poor finder scope. Thats about all i can say about this scope at this time, once the weather gods give me a break i will report back to confirm the optical quality. Some quick unboxing picks
  5. 9 points
    I have never been satisfied with my processing of this data. I have been looking and thinking and testing for a while. Most of my attention has been given to eliminating the ''clay like" look to the faint dust clouds, and achieving a smooth transition between the edges of the dust and background where the dust/gas is for all intents and purposes absent (probably still there in this regions but very, very faint and not detectable with my exposure times and equipment). Of course, this must be accomplished without the over application of the dreaded noise control to minimize the slippery, plastic look, or the very irregular look that I have called the "faceted" appearance--when heavy use of noise control is followed by significant drops in the histogram black point (or increases in brightness). I have always considered this data to be mediocre at best, and limited, especially the blue channel that only has 11 10 min subs. R and G both have 28 subs and Lum has 30. So not a terribly short supply, but not a boatload for my sky and this faint target. Still--enough to render a respectable image if manipulated effectively. A big IF for me. Anyway--here is the best I can manage.
  6. 9 points
    This evening, after taking my life into my hands yet again when giving the cat her insulin injection, I took a peek outside and lo- there were stars! I rushed inside again and grabbed the tools and set up. by 10:30 p.m. I was searching around Auriga looking to find some fuzziness. After a little while, I was succesful and settled down to explore what I identifeid via Stelarium as M37. Using averted vision through the 40mm Maxvision on the SW 150P I spent a happy time studying the open cluster and seeing a little more as the minutes passed and my night vision developed. After 15 minutes or so, I decided to relocate my view towards Ursa Major to see if I could find anything around the area of The Plough but was defeated by light pollution. I then decided to cast around Cassiopeia to see what I could see. Before I knew it I was lost in the glorious starfield between Cassiopeia and Perseus. That was it, I was stuck, enjoying another 20 minutes or so just drifting around in this absolutely glorious bit of sky. My first proper chance this month and well worth it.
  7. 8 points
    A chance break in the weather and as soon as darkness fell, it was clear and darker than usual. Finishing with light cloud at 11.30 , I got into the Leo galaxies, Canes Venatici , Coma Berenices and into the bowl of Virgo. The galaxies looked quite amazing with 8" aperture , presenting different sizes and core brightness . Even M97 ( owl nebula) showed up. I dropped down to Hydra and the bright glowing NGC 3242 ,"ghost of Jupiter", before exploring the globular clusters M3, M53 and the faint NGC 5053. There was little time for binaries, but for brilliant colour ,"La Superba" was hard to beat . This is a wonderful time of year to drop from Denebola to Vindemiatrix, enjoy the mass of spring galaxies even from the edge of town, under clear skies ! Nick.
  8. 7 points
    I just came back in from my first time using my new telescope, a SkyWatcher Dobsonian 8''. I live in a small town where the postal mail doesn't even deliver stuff to your door, so today I got a call saying I had a packet to pickup at their office. It was about 7:30PM and they close at 8:00PM, I am at about 10km from the post office, so I hop in the car and rush there, cursing at the traffic and the police doing routine stops lol. Anyway, I made it and came back with my first telescope. Assembled everything and went outside. I've a raised pool so I put it in the deck, a nice spot without any lights from neighboors (had to move to a different spot later because the bats flying around were freaking me out). The night was pretty good, I don't know how to judge them yet, but there was no moon, no clouds and stars were not twinkling too much. The telescope came with green filter that says "Moon", a 6.5mm, 10mm and 20mm eyepieces (all 1.25''), they came in a white box that only says "made in china" and their markings say "Super Plossl XXmm Multi Coated 52°" (the 6.5mm came in a plastic tube and the only mark says 6.5mm). A 2X Barlow, only mark says "2X Barlow Lens", I guess they are in the low end of the market. They performed quite well, but again I have nothing to compare them to. First, I tried using the finderscope, but was obviously not aligned properly and since it was already dark I had to try to align it using the lights of a restaurant that is on top of the mountains pretty far away. Alignment wasn't perfect but anything on the center of the finder was always on the fov of the eyepiece, even with the max magnification. Will try to align it better with daylight tomorrow. I don't have a star chart and didn't install stellarium on any of my laptops yet, so I just started pointing at what I could easily identify, Sirious, Betelgeuse, Orion's belt, all beautiful sights. Then I looked at the mountains and knew that bright dot had to be jupiter, I pointed the scope and was amazed, this was the first time I was looking at a planet with my own eyes (thru the telescope), I could see two bands, and three of the Galilean moons, found myself coming back to see it again the entire night. Continued by pointing at random points and got to see some nice star clusters and other stuff I don't even know what it is yet. Came inside to check stellarium (and ruin my night vision) and saw mars should be in view. Found it pretty quickly, wasn't too impressive but still nice. So I came back to Jupiter, and now (I guess because it was higher in the sky), it was much sharper, the color was great and the bands much more visible. And then I saw it, the GRS, I couldn't believe my eyes so I came back inside and checked the grs transits. The time matches and I was in fact looking at it. Stellarium was showing Saturn coming up by now, so I tried taking a look, but all I saw was an orange dot, a little dissapointed by this. I came back to Jupiter and Mars, but spent most of my time in Jupiter, it was just too good. Well, when I looked at Saturn it was probably too early (and I was probably looking at a star instead lol), because I looked again, and now I could clearly see its rings, even at lower magnifications. It was already quite late, so I took a last look at Jupiter, took the scope inside and started writing this. Sorry for the wall of text but I am pretty excited about my first time using a telescope. Overall, I am super happy with my purchase and what I got to see. I was expecting to see some DSO but I guess I will have to learn to find them first. I thought it wouldn't be too hard to see some with the 6.5mm ep + 2x barlow, but everytime I would see some star cluster in the finderscope, the 6.5mm ep would show mostly black, maybe a few faint points. It looks like the bigger the magnification, the less contrast I am able to see, don't know if this is normal or the eps are just bad quality, or maybe I need some filters. The 6.5mm ep + 2x barlow did work great for planets. Future plans: Get more/better eyepieces. A zoom eyepiece (agena/maede/celestron, not the super expensive ones) looks good to have until I learn more and start creating a quality collection. Get an illuminated finderscope, I couldn't see the cross most of the time. I was also scared of the inverted image at first, and thought I should get a RACI but now that I used it, it wasn't too hard, so I haven't decided yet. A telrad/red dot/1x finder seems useful too find things quickly too. Get a red flashlight, a star map, and setup stellarium in laptop so I don't ruin my night vision going inside. Get filters, probably the UHC, OIII, UV/IR, 80A seem good to start. Have to learn which others would be useful. Get collimation tools. Luckily the scope seems to be well aligned but I know I will have to collimate some day. Get a digital inclinometer and mod the mount to be able to find objects by az/alt. Try to use the CCD webcam I just bought for $9 and take some pics of the moon and planets. Learn to find and look at DSO, and which ones will be the better to start with. Go to sleep.
  9. 6 points
    With Mercury almost at its greatest elongation and Venus just below, I had been waiting for a chance the 1st images of the year. Both planets well and truly in the "murk" by the time I was able to image them, the view was pretty poor. Still both phases showing reasonably well, no chance of any detail to be honest. Venus showing as nice 96.6% illuminated disc, quite small though at Diameter 10.21". Mercury 52.6% illuminated disc, even smaller Diameter 7.00". The UV filter Venus will have to wait for more favourable position/conditions. Both images with my Asi290mm and 807 filter. Two for record if nothing else
  10. 6 points
    Hi with the skies so bad at the moment I decided to reprocess this one. As I recently had a fair bit of help from Barry Wilson (thanks again Barry) with another one of my narrowband images I applied this workflow to this one and I think it is a huge improvement from the original. New processed one top the poor original bottom
  11. 5 points
    Every time I've imaged this there is always much more of a blue colour to the galaxy. I tried the photometric calibration this time and I'mnot sure about the results. Granted, I haven't go as many blue exposures as red and green (24 vs 12) and my exposure lengths are 300s. So, would increasing the exposure lengths improve the colour or simply more exposures? I've included a cropped version too. Comments will be very welcomed!
  12. 5 points
    Actually, the image does become 4x darker in terms of surface brightness simply because the same amount of light is spread out over a 4x larger solid angle (because it is a 2x Barlow). Hence, the surface brightness of a planet or nebula will be reduced by 75%, assuming perfect transmission of the Barlow. This is factually correct, but hardly helpful, as I get the same "loss" if I move from my Pentax XW 10 mm to my Pentax XW 5mm, rather than insert e.g. a 2x PowerMate. Point sources should stay the same in terms of brightness (and might even stand out more, because the background gets darker).
  13. 5 points
    You would need some pretty big pupils to make use of such a bino, better off with a 7x50, or 8x42. Maybe this chap could buy the 7x80's:
  14. 5 points
    After deliberating for months, I've settled on a 300P Dob for my next 'scope (10" would not be sufficient increase on the 8SE). No idea when I'll get it though (cost, storage, etc.), but I'm working towards its arrival, step-by-step. To that end, the following have just arrived, so the plan is starting to take shape!
  15. 3 points
  16. 3 points
    He's a prince among men and can leap tall buildings with one bound Dave
  17. 3 points
    Solar? It's a niche ep like Brandons longer FL I guess. It's only the effective eye relief aspect that's bugging me. Probably Barlows well, but not why I bought it. Stick to Vixen for Japanese eps in future (unless a XW 30 or 40 comes along - I can hope). The Tak goes back
  18. 3 points
    That's an interesting thread, Piero. I see several of the participants think the Tak Abbes are produced in the same factory as the Fujiyama HD orthos (and that the Fujiyamas are the same as the Unversity Optics HD's, which has also been cited elswhere)
  19. 3 points
    Much depends on the target, and personal taste. I find the above colours a bit garish, and personally prefer subtler handling. I have a modded 550D which works well, and gives good results in my book. Not sure this is way too red, and anyway, to the human eye the scene is all grey because at night the cones in the retina don't work that well. You can always push back the red signal in postprocessing. I might give my non-modded 80D a shot one of these days, but I would expect I need far longer exposures to get the same S/N on H-alpha rich targets
  20. 3 points
    Many thanks for all the replies. So weekend just gone I took the opportunity, while stuck indoors recovering from flu, to strip everything down. Also a chance to see up close the damage to the optics. It all went very well indeed. After several washes the primary mirror is unmarked. The tiny fungus filaments have all gone. Not one left. The secondary mirror proved more problematic. After several washes with very light dabs with cotton wool I am left with one Mark. Just won’t budge. I can live with that. Online (Cloudynights) it recommended a soap sud and warm water mix, followed by copious amounts of distilled water. But I don’t think I’ll bother. If the Mount Wilson Hooker scope can get by with bullet holes in the mirror (I think it’s that scope that a disgruntled astronomer took pot shots with his six shooter?) then I think I can get by with one tiny mark. The corrector plate also cleaned up 100% okay. Actually it looks mighty fine looking down the front end now. I put it all back together, collimated it last night and then did a 1.5 Hour session in the garden. Checking out all the old favs (M42, M81/M82, M45, Leo Triplet, M31, Double Cluster, Auriga clusters) having a thoroughly great time. And to add to the plus points, when up in the loft digging out my red torch, observing table etc, I found one of the eyepieces that I brought in from the shed but didn’t sell (it wasn’t mine to sell, belongs to my son). Which was also a relief as I thought I may have sold it and was dreading my son asking about the eyepiece. phew. Finally I stripped the mount, regressed both axis with white lithium grease. Now much better. Thanks again everyone.
  21. 2 points
    Referring to this article: http://www.clarkvision.com/articles/do_you_need_a_modified_camera_for_astrophotography/ These photos were taken with a stock 7D Mark 2 Camera. I have a similar Camera with even more recent sensor technology insofar as the Canon 80D, therefore do I need it modifying in terms of Ha sensitivity ? I'd like your opinions please as I may be missing something from Roger's take on it. "Modifying digital cameras is not necessary to obtain great astrophotos. Many stock cameras have good hydrogen-alpha response, e.g. recent Canon DSLRs. More important than a modified cameras is proper post processing methods that will bring out and not suppress hydrogen alpha emission, and cameras with good sensitivity and very low thermal dark current. The best digital camera for deep sky astrophotography that I have evaluated has good sensitivity, including hydrogen-alpha, and amazingly low dark current is the Canon 7D Mark II 20-megapixel digital camera. A great full frame digital camera for astrophotography is the Canon 6D 20-megapixel digital camera. The advantage of a stock digital camera in astrophotography is that the color balance is close to that of the human eye, and shows compositional differences better. Modified digital cameras are too sensitive to hydrogen alpha emission, making scenes containing hydrogen too red, swamping colors from other compositions. Often this shows in amateur astrophotos as dominantly red. The choice of course is personal. I prefer images with more colors to show more processes and chemistry. I believe such images are more interesting, so I only use stack digitalcameras for my astrophotography."
  22. 2 points
    ASTAP, the free Astrometric STAcking Program version 0.9.9 can now stack deep sky FITS images without any plate solving program. It has a new internal "star alignment" routine. It will compensate for drift in RA,DEC, rotation and flipped images. http://www.hnsky.org/astap.htm feedback is welcome. Han ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Star alignment routine This option allows stacking without any external program. It is not suitable for mosaics. No settings, fully automatics alignment for shift in x, y, flipped or any rotation using the stars in the image. The program combines four close stars into a pyramid and compares the six pyramid dimensions with pyramids of the first/reference image. It selects at least the six best matches and uses the center position of the pyramids in a least square fitting routine for alignment.
  23. 2 points
    NGC 2146 is a barred spiral galaxy in the constellation Camelopardalis. It is approx 80000 light years across. The dusty lanes are (just) visible in my image, lying at 45 degrees to the plane of the galaxy due to an interaction with another smaller galaxy under a billion years ago. This interaction likely triggered high rates of star formation. Eleven days ago a supernova was discovered by Koichi Itagaki (Japan) in NGC 2146. I imaged this last night using my ED80, Canon 40d, 20x600s exposures. Thanks for looking Adam.
  24. 2 points
    Here is my widefield image of NGC 2146, a barred spiral in Camelopardalis, with a recent supernova explosion. ED80 @ 522mm, 42 x 600s + 18 x 300s, Canon 40d + 1000d, EQ6.
  25. 2 points
    As these eye pieces are less known than the LE ranges, specially the longer FL 32mm, I thought readers might be interested. I bought the 32mm Abbe as it had an advertised 28mm eye relief. However the eye lens is recessed down the barrel about 1cm/10mm, thus giving it an effective eye relief of 18mm. The fairly rigid eye cup, similar to those found on Vixen LV range up to 25mm can be turned down flat or pulled off completely. Doing either makes little difference. Wearing glasses I could just about see the whole FOV, not really satisfactory considering the small-ish AFOV of 42 deg. For a 32mm, very light weight, less than a TV Plossl 32 or Baader Eudiascopic 30mm, both also 31.7mm fit. I am looking forward to comparing them all.
  26. 2 points
    Thats spot on but I think people should view exit pupil size as something to experiment with. I agree that with increasing EP size you get a drop off in perceived brightness but wouldn't the image resolution remain the same. Alan
  27. 2 points
    I agree, that is definitely a benefit of the larger exit pupil, it's just that there is a point at which the extra aperture per magnification (larger exit pupil) yields no additional benefit as the limiting factor is your pupil's diameter. Once the exit pupil is sufficient to easily keep your eyes fully illuminated there is no gain in a greater exit pupil, but I agree that up to a point a larger exit pupil can provide a more immersive experience.
  28. 2 points
  29. 2 points
    nice and sunny here in south wales today, seeing not bad too. theres a lovely set of proms on the lower off going limb and some fainter ones on the upper oncoming limb. kit starwave 102 f11m quark chromosphere, asi120mc. hope you all have clear to view. thanks for looking. charl. 1200x900 . these 20min later at 800x800. oncoming limb near the top,
  30. 2 points
    I agree with Dave here. Completely different setting up your own gear abroad. I'd have no interest in just downloading data and processing. For me the pleasure is in the capture. Then processing the data to see what i got, good or bad.
  31. 2 points
    It largely depends on what elements you enjoy about the hobby. For some it may be about the processing and getting that final image regardless of the sources. For others it might be the sitting outside changing components to see what does and doesn't work and the processing to some stunning image is less of a priority. I assume for most it is somewhere in between and how far you are on each side of the see-saw depends on whether the individual prefers remote imaging or not.
  32. 2 points
    Alan, you make some interesting points. I'm using the Baader 685 filter for galaxies and globs (PeterW's recommendation) and it works well imo. Don't see the need to go for a 640 or 610 one. Although not as remarkable as a 6nm on emission nebula, it makes galaxies much more interesting for me from my garden. I agree that the Markarians photo is washed out. I'm still learning, but in my experience the photos either come out bit washed out grey or dark blue. I much prefer the aesthetics of the blue photos even though they may show a bit less detail. With the Samsung in pro mode, I had a play with the iso and exposure time settings. Iso can be varied from 50 to 800 and using the upper end of this range resulted in the grey photos, lower end blue. Most of the shots above were with the iso set at 50 or 100. I found the best combo was low iso and long (10s which is the max for the Samsung) exposure (I guess that's a bit obvious, but I've never adjusted these settings before). I think in future, I will use maximum exposure and maximum iso and then gradually bring the iso down until I get the look I like. In terms of gain on the NV, for visual I generally find full gain too much (sparkling scintillated look), so I usually turn this down to around half to get close to the "normal" eyepiece look. If I start turning it down more than half, then the detail starts disappearing quite quickly, so its a bit of a balancing act depending on the object. I tried increasing the magnification on the galaxies last night but found that much more than 60x started impacting on the detail and sharpness due to the increase in effective f-ratio. For taking phone photos, last night I found using full gain and then adjusting the iso down low to give the best outcome, but in due course, I will compare with half gain and iso turned up a bit, to see which gives the better look and detail. Some of the photos above do have an annoying circle around 2/3rd out - I'm not sure what this is or how I can reduce/remove it. I will try my refractor next time to see if its something to do with the SCT. Here’s a like for like grey vs blue monkeyhead. I’d be interested in people’s views on what they prefer?
  33. 2 points
    Nothing new, though I did receive delivery of repaired Sphinx SXW from Vixen, over a week late due to the ‘ Beast from the East’. Gave me a warm fuzzy feeling as I recalled just how pretty it looked in it’s packaging when it arrived the first time round back in 2014 ?
  34. 2 points
  35. 2 points
    Assuming your wanting to use these for astronomy, if you divide the aperture 80 by the magnification 8 you'll end up with something like 11mm of exit pupil? Holding the binoculars at arms length and looking at something bright the small dots of light that you see in the eyepieces are the exit pupils! For low light levels or astronomy, having an exit pupil far wider than what your own eyes can achieve is not constructive to best practice, and the extra light gathered will be wasted? My eyes average 5mm dilated, so in effect they would reduce the aperture of this binocular to something similar to an 8 x 40.
  36. 2 points
    Nice session and report, Doug. I felt like I was emulating you last night. I got a quick half hour session in before 20:30 when the clouds arrived. Then got up at 2am for another couple of hours. Got to catch those clear spells while they're there
  37. 2 points
    I can only afford one DSLR - it has to do for all purposes and so I leave it as it was purchased- unmodded! At the moment it is taking photos that are giving me personal satisfaction and is plenty good enough for learning to do this night sky business.
  38. 2 points
    I'd never modify my 80D either, I was wondering if it's worth getting a cheaper DSLR just for astrophotography and modifying that though.
  39. 2 points
    I personally wouldn't modify my Canon 80D (I think I would rather have hot needles through my eyeballs), the Ha response is plenty with the newer cameras and modification can introduce lots of negatives like bloated stars/no AF/loss of auto sensor clean etc. Alan
  40. 2 points
    Hmmm, not sure there is such a thing as 'too sensitive to Ha'. You can always change the balance in post processing, while if you haven't captured enough of it in the first place, you can never make up for it properly. Sure, great astrophotos can be achieved with unmodified cameras, but I would never present greater Ha sensitivity as a disadvantage.
  41. 2 points
    Need room for the 3.4mm next month. Vixen site
  42. 2 points
    The eyepiece sleuth strikes again ! Nice one.
  43. 2 points
    The sky last night was superb. My night was only cut short due to moisture and a little coating of frost on everything, including me. Bring your thermals it's due to get cooler at the weekend.
  44. 2 points
    It is nights like this that remind us why we go through all the pain ...
  45. 2 points
    The 25mm Starguider is the weak link in the range so I would replace the supplied 25mm with a 24mm Explore Scientific 68°. I know it is a lot more expensive but it is going to be worth it at f5. If you keep an eye on the second hand market you might be able to save yourself some money. With regards to the Starguiders I agree with @Ruud about avoiding the 15 as it is too close to the 12 and 18mm eyepieces. However, I would chose the 5mm instead of the 8mm for your planetary eyepiece. I would start with the 5 and 12mm Starguiders and the supplied 25mm. You can then see how you go and decide if you need anything between those focal lengths and come back for the 8 and/or 18mm Starguiders if needed.
  46. 2 points
    The BSTs have a great many happy users! 8-15-18 is a bit odd though. 8-12-18 would be my choice. The steps would be "times 1.5" --- Also consider the very inexpensive Svbony range (aka Vite aspherics). They have plastic lenses so cleaning them will be tricky, but they are good performers. The vite aspheric 23mm caused quite a stir over at the Cloudy Nights forum. See this 22 page long thread: https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/503147-vite-23m-aspheric/ I've seen them offered for less than $10, but prices around $12 are quoted more often. Our member Mak the Night replaced some more expensive Willian Optics SWAN eyepieces with Svbony equivalents because the bonies are better.
  47. 2 points
    Managed to get out for a short while this evening with the aim to see if I'd managed to resurrect PHD. But, no such luck. I'd also done a poor job of setting up so couldn't even manage 60 second exposures without trailing. Some sessions just don't work out. Anyway, at least I tried..... M81 & M82 in Ursa Major Skywatcher Equinox 80 and Atik 314L monochrome CCD 30 x 60 second exposures
  48. 2 points
    I can only comment as a host (of five scopes, with no capacity to expand, so this is not an advert.) The folks whose kit is based here are fully hands on and engaged in the design and maintenance of their gear. As far as I'm concerned what they do is real imaging and they have earned every photon - and then some, because being a thousand miles away makes it harder rather than easier. I think, Peter, that you'd enjoy running your setup remotely. I can't comment on 'rent-a-scope' deals, though. If you're anything like me you'll be keen to experiment with different weightings per filter at the capture stage, different sub lengths, etc etc. If I didn't have that control it would be a diminished experience for me. Olly
  49. 2 points
  50. 2 points
    Hi Peter, I tried iTelescope's services once. I got to choose target and exposures etc, but in all honesty I can't say I enjoyed the experience. It certainly didn't feel like the end result was something I had earned or had really contributed to. Other services are different as they in effect offer data sets, which other contributors share too. I haven't tried that, and won't as it holds no appeal. Somehow the chase, being so difficult in the UK, is all the more reward when you get a half decent result, for me anyway. Have you tried putting your spin on any of the Hubble or other agency data sets? Tim
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