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Showing content with the highest reputation on 31/01/19 in all areas

  1. 2 points
    I ended up having a good observing session last night, then decided to take a few more pictures. I used an Orion Steadypix mount which grips very well to my smaller ortho eyepieces and centres the eyepiece automatically which is very handy. I had a quickish whiz around a number of targets, starting with M42 of course. I tried two approaches here, firstly to capture as much nebulosity as possible with a 10 second exposure, and secondly to try to capture the E and F stars using a shorter exposure. I got the E, but F is still buried in with its neighbour. Next up NGC2169 which is the 37 cluster, the Eskimo nebula which came out a beautiful green colour. Then I went to Sigma Orionis, a beautiful multiple star and was pleased to capture the faint fourth star in the little chain. This is a lovely target visually. Finally I tried M36, M37 and M38, the open clusters in Auriga which turned out pretty well although I can never remember which is which! They may be better in a wider field of view, might try that next time. As per my other post, the scope was a 178mm f15 Maksutov on Vixen GP-DX mount with Skysensor 2000PC controller, 18mm BGO eyepiece and the Orion Steadypix mount. The Skysensor links via a SkyFi unit to my phone so I can drive the mount using Skysafari, works really well for finding more obscure doubles etc. Comparing with previous efforts, it shows the benefits of a tracking mount, a good smartphone mount and the longer exposures you can get when using one. I'm not sure why the stars are a little triangular in some of the images, they don't appear that way in the scope. Possibly some form of vibration from the mount? Anyway, a pleasing bunch, will try some more like this in future.
  2. 2 points
    "A night under the arches" I went back to Ribblehead Viaduct last night to shoot some time lapse, animated star trails and some slightly different views of the viaduct, I didn't attempt any Holy Grail time lapse as I only had time to be there for the hours of darkness. It was clouded over and very windy when I got there but an hour later the skies started to clear and it stayed that way for the night. Apart from the noise the odd train, the wind and the continual dripping noise from a drainpipe on one of the arches it was very peaceful, it's one of my favourite places to go at the moment. I took my Sony A7iii and A7Sii with a Samyang 12mm f2.8 fisheye and 24mm f1.4 lenses. In all I took about 2,000 images from which I made 4 time lapse clips and 4 animated star trails as well as the single frame and 5 frame panorama images below. The exposure times were 30 seconds at f2.8 and ISO 6400 for the A7Sii and 12mm lens and 20 seconds at f1.4 and ISO 4000 for the A7iii and 24mm f1.4 lens. The moon rose at about 2am and created some wonderful lighting effects in two of the clips making it look almost like daylight with the long exposures. All the puddles started freezing over in the early hours but thanks to my down suit I was nice and warm, the biggest problem I had was stopping my ground sheet and bed roll from blowing away, after the third retrieval I weighted it down with my hiking trailer and spare tripod. The images were processed in Adobe Lightroom and rendered to video in Premier Pro while the animated star trails were created using Starstax and Premier Pro. The time lapse video can be seen at the link below in HD and 4K. I used a wireless intervalometer to take the "selfies" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3qFFRhLcIY&t=5s Best wishes Gordon
  3. 1 point
    I have said many times on here my drawing ability is pretty poor, but I really like the personal effect of a sketch. So last night during my first observing session of the yearM42 looked so inviting I thought I would give it a go. Armed with just a piece of paper and HB pencil I managed to produce something vaguely similar to the eyepiece view. I am a regular viewer of the sketches here, so I did follow a few techniques I have read about, particularly the smudging of nebula part of the sketch. Not very easy at the eyepiece, under a red light, with freezing cold hands. A quick scan and invert and here we are ?
  4. 1 point
    Pretty amazing images, and also incredible to see this activity happening in the present day. https://astronomynow.com/2019/01/27/a-fresh-crater-in-the-red-planets-southern-ice-cap/
  5. 1 point
    A new version pre-processed in APP and not including the 1200s OIII subs and not cropped. I think it looks 'cleaner'. Any comments would be appreciated.
  6. 1 point
    I can split Rigel with my 70mm refractor at around 100x. I tend to have a set of warm up targets before I move to Sirius. Rigel is usually the 1st, then Sigma Orionis, E & F Trapezium, Alnitak, and Eta Orionis. If those are well defined then it's on to have a crack at Sirius ! Rigel and Rigel B are separated by around the same angular distance as Sirius B is from Sirius. Their relative position angles are quite different though.
  7. 1 point
    Hi, Just got active again and here my Total Lunar Eclipse 20/21 January 2019 from Mexico. A little bit late but here it is. http://rainerehlert.com/astro/moon/Moon_Eclipse_20-21012019.mp4 Unfortunately the meteor impact was not recorded ? Takahashi FS-78 with ASI 071MC Pro using SharpCap software and automatic exposure. Brightness setting at 95 and 0 gain, cooled down to -10°C on iOptron CEM 120EC2 mount. A total of 1517 images were used for the complete Eclipse. No digital processing of the images. The video is exactly as they came out from the camera. Assembled and titled in Adobe Premiere Elements. Exactly at 01:48 am Mexico time the mount stopped after the meridian pass = 12°. No more room for that. Thanks for looking Rainer
  8. 1 point
    Taken at Death Valley 12/28/18. Thin cloud made an interesting effect and helped bring out the constilations. Taken with a Canon 7d MKII + Tokina ATX 116 @ 11mm f2.8. 30 sec exposure. Processed in Lightroom and Photoshop.
  9. 1 point
    It's been a long time since I got the scope out (I don't think I have had it out this year at all). More correctly, since I have a dual scope setup, I haven't had the scopes out since just after Christmas when I chased down Comet Wirtanen. But tonight the sky looked occasionally clear and more importantly very black (and not the usual patriotic Dutch orange). As soon as I got home I put out the setup to cool, cooked dinner, walked the dogs, and then it was still very starry and black! The first target was the Great Nebula of Orion, but it never looks good from my city location so I wasn't expecting anything. I was very surprised indeed by the view tonight. On the left of the Berlebach Castor was my ST80 with a slightly broken Speer WALER 9.4mm eyepiece (the eyepiece rattles, but views don't seem affected), and on the right was my Skymax 102 with a redoubtable SkyWatcher Super 25 plugged into the focusser. Orion looked quite well defined in the ST80 at 2mm exit pupil, but a bit small. The view was much better in Mak despite the dodgy eyepiece. The nebula was not just a diffuse smudge tonight, I could see a lot of structure in the cloud and the fluorescing gas was very extensive. Some wisps of cloud were drifting in, so I tried to please the crowds (ok, one person) with some quick doubles. Castor not only matches the name of the mount but is also an easy and very pretty fierce white double. I could not split it with the Super 25 in the Mak, so I swapped the eyepieces. It was an easy split with the Speer WALER at 136x. It was then on to Mizar (the first thing I ever pointed a telescope of my own at). I had hoped to whizz up to M81/M82 although they were well within the Amsterdam light dome, but by then the north was utterly lost to the clouds. I might have had time for the galaxies but I was stymied by what seemed to be a mount malfunction: AZ was suddenly very sticky, and Alt was loose with a massive backlash no matter how much I tightened it. I've always liked the Castor but it was performing like something nailed together from scrap wood. After a few minutes of scratching my head in the darkness, I realized the Castor mount had simply slightly unscrewed from the tripod. After screwing it back on the tripod properly, normal excellent service was restored. The south was still clear so I swung back to Orion to view the nebula at 136x (sub-1 mm exit pupil) with the Speer WALER in the Mak. This is normally too much for the nebula but tonight I was granted a vision of the gas cloud filling the eyepiece with mysterious billows and folds. I held onto the view until the clouds whited out the eyepiece. I'm really glad I went out tonight although reason told me I would only catch a few minutes of stars. In these situations you are well served if you know a few quick targets that you can hit with a minimum of fuss. I only wish I knew more! Also, these quick sessions are enabled by a dual scope setup with less need to switch eyepieces around.
  10. 0 points
    Not sure what a wedge costs but its not a replacement for a good EQ mount.
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