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Showing content with the highest reputation on 13/09/19 in all areas

  1. 8 points
    The poet Ted Hughes once asked himself about the purpose of writing. He answered, "It's about trying to take fuller possession of the reality of your life." By like manner, we could ask ourselves, "what is the purpose of visual astronomy?" And we could simply paraphrase Hughes and answer, "It's about trying to take fuller possession of the reality I see." To my understanding there is one essential feature to this 'possession taking' in visual astronomy: observing. Observing is not just looking-at something. Observing requires active engagement with what is being observed. It is a style of concentrated looking, of picking out features and textures, of training the eye to see more. As @Paz says above, it is 'purposeful practice'. A useful method for observing in this fashion is to simply adobt what great writers, poets and artists have already done. Turning away from mind chatter and instead asking questions about the object being observed: what is there? what do I know about it? what does it look like? what shape does it have? where does it sit in relation to the other objects in the eyepiece? If observers wanted to go a step further in honing these skills, they could write about what they see, or talk into a recorder about what they see, or sketch what they see and it makes no difference which method they choose, so long as the objective of such practice is to strengthen their stargazing eye, their observational skills. This technique is no different to that of any decent artist, writer or poet. Miró, Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Nietzsche, Kandinsky, Henry James, Darwin, Monet, Ted Hughes, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Marx, Picasso, Dickens, to name a handful, all used notebooks full of observations. So long as the observers are recording what they are seeing to the best of their abilities, they are training their eye and brain to see more. It is for this reason that this type of observing has nothing to do with imaging or ticking off objects from some list. Observing is an entirely different experience. It means spending time at the eyepiece to really look at what you can see, training your eye to ever greater detail. If good eyepieces and a seat can add a virtual inch or more to aperture, then concentrated observing must surely help augment that even more. I feel that although this practice looks simple on paper, in reality it isn't. I too struggle with simply observing! For one, it can be exhausting. It can also be boring if we want to 'get on with things' and see more objects in our session. Another problem is that actively engaging with what we observe can and does slow us down, so it may appear we're not being that productive. A pernicious condition of modernity is to live life as if it were a continuing series of tasks, chores or emergencies to be dealt with, but it is impossible to develop observational powers if we're rushing around. To observe more we just need to slow down a little and simply try and observe that which is before us.
  2. 7 points
    This is the result of last nights imaging run below In total I captured 72 x 600s (12 hours) in Ha, using KAF-8300 based cameras ATIK383L+ and QHY9M. Scopes were ED80s, side by side arrangement, on an EQ6, guided with a finderguider and ASI120MM (old model). I used Baader 7nm Ha and Optolong 7nm Ha filters. The data was processed in APP and PS. If anyone feels like comparing the filters separately I would be very happy to post a raw or stack of each of them. It might be a useful comparison (same sensor, same scope, same skies). I will add Oiii and Sii and more Ha to this, as I really like the details going on. The guiding isn't perfect and according to Metcheck, the seeing was 8 (which is bad) and the moon was out. Comments and advice, as always more than welcome. CS Adam.
  3. 7 points
    Observing faint DSO's, or details in brighter ones, is mainly a thing of contrast, i.e. a high signal-to-noise (S/N) ratio. A certain aperture given, the signal strength (amount of photons entering the eye) cannot be increased. So it all comes down to decrease the noise. There are external sources of optical noise, that can be eliminated (observing hood/eyepatch, as you, Neil, already mentioned; observing late, in dark sky areas etc.). But there are also internal ones -the need of small muscular correction movements, when observing standing, contributes to the amount of neuronal "noise" in the brain. Therefore, observing seated is to be preferred. Alcohol increases via raising sympathetic nerve arousal neuronal noise in the same way; sleep reduces it. But in the sensors (=retina) and the processor (=brain) a certain level of "noise" is always present. There are several complex neuronal mechanisms, based on a combination of activating and inhibiting ("lateral inhibition") properties, that enhance contrast perception within the retina and the brain. Practice is also crucial; repeated activation of neurons in the visual system leads to the forming and growth of synaptic connections ("neurons that fire together wire together"), thus increasing the S/N ratio. In August 1997 I observed, together with the very experienced comet hunter, Otto Guthier, the comet C/1997 J2 Meunier-Dupouy through his 16". With a visual mag of 12.2 and 3 arc min coma diameter, we both could make out the comet easily, constant in AV, sometimes directly. Another experienced observer (but not so much in DSO's) tried it again and again, without avail. I learned a lot about the importance of experience that night. Stephan
  4. 6 points
    bit of sun here today but also a bit of haze but im happy how these proms are looking. nice prom on the upper off going limb if you get chance. kit starwave 102, quark, asi 120mc. thanks for looking. clear skys . charl. prom upper off going limb. prom lower oncoming limb.
  5. 5 points
    I have just added an Omegon 2" helical focuser to my H-a PST stack. Nice! 150/8 [120/10] internal 90mm D-ERF, PST, ZWO120MC 5% of 3000 @ 120fps. Seeing a bit "thermally" today. Occasional cloud. Breezy from NW.
  6. 5 points
    Since I have been a little late to the party....I am guessing that perhaps there will be no objection to putting up images here that are not exactly new - but are new to this forum; meaning some may not have seen them before. This particular one is my favourite because everything just came together right. It is a mix of 40% narrow band data with 60% broadband data. Data is from March last year and full info @ http://www.kinchastro.com/ngc-2327-seagull-nebula-hasho.html What I like: the detail from the NB filters mixed with the colour from the BB filters. The conditions were good and the stars just shine nice in RGB colours. Putting things together in a 40/60 mix was fun and even over a year later, I still enjoy looking close in on this image. I hope you will too. Kinch.
  7. 5 points
    The gripping sort of night with little dew , super sky and a huge moon. A crystal night when you could stay out all night with a huge Moon. I managed until 1.30 before feeling age and getting tired. A large correx board kept the Moon behind me out of the eyepiece. The huge oak down the road ( middle of the ecliptic) soon swallowed the bright light. Observing away from the low light gave great views .The shedhog trundled by and the noise of nearby roadworks broke into the night. A bright sky , some clusters showed up well. Afraid that once again I had to turn to binary and multiple stars. The star colours and seeing were remarkable. This forty year old scope ( been it's caretaker for ten years) punches into the sky , I've always thought that 4" of aperture produces results. I ended up with the warming Almach at x50, a most delightful sight. I did get orange and green here. Pisces was remarkably high and gave the stunning sight of 38 Piscium, 4" and "grapefruit orange " does it. I was hoping to catch 27 Piscium which had opened up from .9" to 1.3". A very difficult view of Groombridge 34 ( 1/4 degree N of 26 Andromedae) , the nearest binary to us. Andromeda , Perseus and Cassiopeia were dark enough for enjoying. Got down to 1.4" and a +10.3 companion, very pleased pushing 102 to limits. Σ162 is a lovely triple. Waking this morning the sky was a crystal clear cold blue , great kick off to the season, under clear skies ! Nick.
  8. 5 points
    The postman made my day with this beauty coming from the UK. Thanks David :).
  9. 5 points
    Great posts above, not sure I can add that much to it. @Rob Sellent I totally agree about taking the time to observe things rather than just looking. One frustration I have with showing new starters some of the fainter objects is that you just know they are not getting the full experience. They look for a few moments, don't tweak the focus and probably are not properly dark adapted. My most enjoyable sessions are often when I only look at a few objects, and just spend time teasing out all the detail possible, such as when viewing the Veil the other week. Averted vision is just a thing I do automatically now, I actually have to make myself look directly at the object. The only thing I can maybe add is about breathing. When observing at high powers for planetary and lunar observing I find that my breathing and heart rate slow down and that helps me focus and keep steady. I think when deep sky observing, taking good deep breaths can help ensure you are getting plenty of oxygen in and that may help see the faint stuff. There is a faintly amusing section about this in Stephen O'Meara's Messier Objects book, always worth a read. Relevant page attached here from Google Books. He also mentions not being tired, avoiding alcohol and making sure you are warm and comfortable as key factors in making deeper observations.
  10. 5 points
    Good topic Neil. During infrequent forays into a dark sky location session, I tend to just maybe get a little bit frantic at the start. It's as though I want to try and hit on things as quick as possible, a reaction perhaps to the lack of times I get to go out to somewhere dark during a new moon and it is actually clear. However this state of mind, quickly evaporates and is steadily replaced by a calmer, composed and more in tune persona, with the environment I am occupying and the circumstance I am in. Free of any other distraction, from then on all that is of importance are the selection of deep sky subjects I wish to pursue. A calm composed presence of mind, locked onto an absolute focus on particular subjects, a comfortable posture either seated (preferably) or standing, conveys patience and concentration. Some very difficult subjects, require repeated attempts, checking in the finder and the charts. Retaining at all times dark adaption and sometimes requiring afterwards, further clarification, referencing a potential observation to a reputed observers sketch or some verbal /written account. It can almost become a form of meditation, removing all other external concerns and despite a lack of sleep, can get you energised.
  11. 4 points
    Lunt 60mm chameleon cam 153 frames stacked slightly mor ehigh cloud today prodded and poked in imppg and PS click or full res
  12. 4 points
    nice clear fullmoon tonight, seeing is fazey here in miedrim so not the sharpest but all the same i enjoyed catching it. kit old faithfull 1200d. thanks for looking. clear skys. charl. wide closer
  13. 4 points
    Yes - I know there are some negative points that can be raised about this image - but for once....I am thinking positive This was from a bad night at the end of 2017 and I did not think I could make an image with the data I took home. My goal was a colour image, which I did, but recently realised that putting the data into solely mono form....well... it just worked better. I hope you can look at it.....and see the 'positives'.......
  14. 4 points
    Tonight's harvest moon looked particularly pleasing rising over the already harvested cornfields.
  15. 4 points
    Problem is..... These lightweight scopes are made with lightweight ep's in mind. You really can't expect this design not to flex when putting a 21 ethos in .
  16. 4 points
    My first attempt at a planet for 3 years. Captured a few nights ago between breaks in the clouds. This was a bit of an experiment, using my ASI1600mm-Pro and filter wheel mounted directly onto my SW200p. I was impressed with the download speed compared to my ASI120mc which is only USB2. The individual RGB images looked a bit pixelated, so I'm going to try it with the 2x Barlow that I have next time. Still, pleased to have captured the Cassini Division and some surface detail. John
  17. 4 points
    I agree that like many things experience counts. I suppose technically you are training your brain to see differences in the background sky that are the fuzzies or clusters etc, not your eyes. The techniques mentioned above are important to this as is keeping out of as much light as you can - even a red torch can affect dark adaptation. Be careful though. I was once observing the Pacman nebula at a star party and had been for a while. It was in field and someone passing asked if they could have a look. On viewing the field he said "I think I see what you mean but cannot tell if I am seeing it or remembering it" For this reason I always try to sketch the field and shape of the object before looking at images. This way you can check if what you think you see is the target object. As a side benefit, sketching seems to allow more focused observing and helps see more detail in most objects, even bright ones (like the solar system objects).
  18. 4 points
    When I first got a scope I remember reading on SGL someone say 'you learn to see'. I didn't understand at the time - thinking surely you look into the EP and just see what another person sees! Now i understand that technique and experience makes an enormous difference. When I first saw M42, i saw none of the detail and colour that I see now in that same scope... and that's not even a faint DSO Still learning...
  19. 4 points
    I have done in the past and am planning to in the coming months. Uranus is certainly a little more rewarding than Neptune. One thing i will definitely be doing is capturing lots and lots and lots of frames. This was with 12,000 very slowly gathered frames, which took nearly an hour. I might try my asi290 as well. This is Uranus and several moons, the polar cap is clearly visible to the upper left of the planet disc. This was captured with my C9.25, asi224mc, Baader 610 filter. The original thread is here and has some excellent advice on processing, the above image was towards the end of the thread. Neptune was a little less inspiring, same capture technique.
  20. 4 points
    This may seem obvious, but pointing the scope at exactly the right point in the Sky helps. The micro star hop can yield some really faint stuff. You can spend ages chasing ghosts in roughly the right spot rather than resolving the nearly smudge which is the target. This, together with much averted scope wobbling, finally bagged the Quintet a few weeks ago. Paul
  21. 3 points
    My family enjoy summer holidays in the Canary Islands, great food, sun and lots of swimming. I add to that fantastic skies for astronomy and on our most recent trip, I was able to stay two nights in the Teide national park hotel, Parador de las Cañadas del Teide. This hotel is situated at about 2100m high and is the only place to stay in the national park itself so has very good dark skies. Attached is a daytime photo I took of my observing location.Given luggage constraints, I decided to take my recently acquired Tak FSQ-85 together with my night vision monoculars and various eyepieces for afocal use. Also attached is a photo of my setup in use at Teide. Apart from a quick test session at home, this was my first chance to try the Tak and I was eager to see what the fast side flat field views would be like with Night Vision under a dark sky. I wasn’t disappointed:) The Tak worked brilliantly with my skywatcher az gti and once I’d done the initial alignment I didn’t have to update it for the rest of the session. Night 1 Lovely clear skies on arrival at the hotel at about 8pm. I had a beer in the hotel for refreshment after a day in the sun and then headed out once it got dark at about 10pm. I took a number of sqm measurements through the night and the best was 21.58. First up I decided to just have a scan of the Milky Way with my night vision monoculars. The centre of the Milky Way was pretty high (certainly compared to the UK!) and the dark rifts were as clear as I’ve seen. I took a short phone video of the views which gives some indication of what was visible. Then the Tak was setup. I did a star test and this showed the optics were top notch. First up with the Tak was some planetary viewing (not with nv!) of Jupiter and Saturn which are much better placed in Tenerife than the UK. I was using my 3.5mm Pentax Xw giving around 130x. The GRS really popped out and around 6 cloud bands were visible. The seeing was very good and I got very sharp views. Saturn showed the Cassini division very clearly plus some cloud handing on the actual planet. A great start! Next up I used my night vision in afocal mode to get my first proper view of m22. I used an 18mm delite to get 25x mag and got nice mass of stars resolved in the centre. I was keen to see what the Tak could deliver for widefield vision views so changed to my 55mm plossl in afocal mode (with ha filter for viewing emission nebulae) which would give an effective speed of f2.5 and a field of view of nearly 5 degrees. With Cygnus high overhead, I couldn’t resist looking at some old favourites. The fast effective speed and dark sky combination really showed since emission nebulae just was everywhere. With the fast speed of the Tak the plossl did show some astigmatism at the edge of the fov but the very minimal field curvature controlled this well and the widefield views were excellent. 5 degrees is larger than I normally observe with and I found that I enjoyed the additional framing of the larger objects. For example, here is the Veil, North America/Pelican and Crescent nebulae. The background emission nebulae is very apparent in the Crescent image and gives an indication of how the skies looked as I was just panning up from Sagittarius to Cygnus. Next up was a look at the nebulae in Sagittarius (which in the UK are very low, but significantly higher in Tenerife). The large fov and low mag meant that the detail in these smaller objects was limited but again the background nebulosity again came out well. Here you see the Swan and Eagle and the Trifid and Lagoon. Given the dark skies, I then moved on to some less well known objects. Here is CED 214. I’d noticed recently a large object near the bubble which I wanted to explore more. From research afterwards I discovered this was sharpless 157 or the lobster claw. And I often find the widefield views of the nebula containing the elephant’s trunk a bit indistinct and disappointing but not tonight - the dark nebula was clearly visible. The pac-man, cocoon and wizard were quite small but still fun to view It was approaching 2am now and a couple of old friends had now arrived reasonably high in the sky. The heart and the soul nebulae, which were again framed really nicely by the Tak/55mm plossl combo. It had now been a long day, so I decided to pack up and get some sleep ready for night 2... Night 2 I spent the day at the beach with my family and then did the drive up the mountain at about 8pm. When I left the coast it was sunny but it gradually got cloudier and cloudier as I went higher. By the time I arrived at the Teide hotel it was completely clouded over . Checking the internet satellite pics things looked much more hopeful with skies looking clear by around 10.30pm. I went out around 10pm and by the time I had setup the skies were once again dark (sqm 21.48 max) and clear with the Milky Way sweeping overhead as before. This time I focused mostly on real-time nv visual observing, moving from Sagittarius upwards towards Cygnus following the swathes of nebulosity visible through my Tak. A breathtaking view of the night sky. After a couple of hours of just scanning the general emission nebulae in the Milky Way, I took a few phone images of some lesser known dsos. A couple of examples were sharpless 119 and sharpless 86. To end day 2 I finished with another couple of favourites. First up the 5 degree fov of the setuo gave a great framing of the gamma cygni nebula (which seems a bit underrated compared to the North American etc) but I really like it. And the the California nebula, again the large fov captured this large nebulae well. The next morning as I was driving down the mountain back to the coast (listening to Suede, Oasis, Radiohead and Duran Duran(!)), I reflected on the 2 nights observing. My new scope worked faultlessly with the az gti and the skies were the best I’ve observed under. I realised that I get so much more enjoyment observing with nv under dark 21+ skies rather than the 18.4ish I get at home in SW London. Even though the nebulae are visible in London, the sky background is much brighter unlike the dark skies where the sky background is inky black and the nebulae just seem to pop out of the sky.
  22. 3 points
    Only on here when during a mid September period, could the notion of Winter become a focus for discussion, perhaps for some a sense of expectation. Accounting for recent past winters, expectation is just maybe a bit inaccurate a notion, yet another excuse for conversing upon this subject right now might be accounting for the present full moon. Consisting of part of the vast Orion Cloud complex, Sh2-276, Barnard's Loop was considered to have been discovered by William Herschel, re-discovered and named as the Orion Loop by E.E Barnard. This immense diffuse emission nebula is suspected to be a Supernova Remnant, associated from an even larger Hydrogen cloud. The nebula has an apparent diameter of over 30 degrees. Barnard's Loop is a very tricky subject to observe. The 'brighter' northern section, is possible by drifting across starting at reflection nebula M78 to the open cluster NGC 2112. The southern arc section near to Rigel is also considered to be possible. A good quality 2" H-beta filter is necessary, observations are feasible with wide field binoculars, wide field refractor and even naked eye, whilst holding the filter into the line of vision. Conversely, larger dobsonians are also a good tool for attempting this observation. There have been interesting and intriguing accounts posted on SGL in past seasons. These have included Gavsters enhanced observing principle, employing a night Vision device into the optical path, this technology providing views even in suburban skies. There had been past accounts by a keen eyed observer in darkest Norfolk through her large aperture dobsonian of this and even aspects of the Eridanus Loop and Gerry's (Jetstream) successful observations of certain parts and features that constitute the long curving profile of this expansive object. Perhaps most notably (not featured directly on SGL) are the observation accounts and sketches of Mel Bartel using his very fast 6" F2.8 newtonian. To observe the northern portion, Barnard's Loop requires a dark, transparent sky and complete dark adaption. It is not so easy, yet tracing along a faint haze or 'ghost' like impression where the background stars are blotted out is possible with some determination and patience. A topic that I am guilty of highlighting at least once before, it is in a way one of those slightly irrational seasonal obsessions and I look forward again to the challenge. This season I plan on another stargazing wild camping adventure close to the Scottish Border and taking along a wide field refractor, where hopefully Barnard's Loop will receive some attention. Here is a Mel Bartel sketch,
  23. 3 points
    I hope there's room for another ROR thread ?. This will be the 8th telescope housing I'll have built for the Astronomy Centre over the years and will eventually contain our proposed remotely operated telescope. The main difference with this build compared to the others underway on this topic is that the ROR is constructed entirely of aluminium. The local weather conditions make wooden versions too high maintenance for the time we have available. I did the groundwork over a year ago and member Phil, a builder by trade, built the blockwork walls which saved me a lot of effort. The ROR component will be a pair of biparting doors riding on rails fitted to the top of the approximately 2.5 metre square walls. 2.5 metres was chosen to take advantage of standard raw material sizes for the roof. I have just finished the framework for the first door and started cladding it today. The images, if they post, show the progress from groundwork to finished wall height and the UPVC cladding to protect the blockwork and provide a match to the other on site buildings. The final image shows the first door framework.
  24. 3 points
    Camping poles and tarp arrived today to try to shield that blooming LED streetlamp you can see on the right blaring away in my front garden. Hoping to test it a little tonight and see hows it goes! <fingers well crossed>
  25. 3 points
    my gear lives outside 24/7 under 2 bbq covers. @£20 each from amazon. heavy 600D oxford type material.
  26. 3 points
    Observatory main construction now finished. It employs 7 "Tod" piers, 6 for rail supports and 1 for the telescope, must be some sort of record. Anyone interested in the build sequence can visit our website front page and scroll down to Remscope progress. <www.astronomycentre.org.uk>
  27. 3 points
    A little surprised last night when, at 11pm, I went to make a brew and spotted the garden was lit up like we'd gained a flood light! Oh, a pristine sky and a gloriously well placed moon! Well, I built an observatory to allow me to be up and running faster and catch these opportunities, so the roof was rolled and PC's booted Here's the result - 50% stack of 1000 x 4ms exposures, zwo asi1600mm @ 40 gain, -15C / red filter, Sky-Watcher ED80 w 0.85 reducer. Deep sky setup and not ideal for this job, but it was mounted and already aligned Captured in Sharpcap, then a run through PIPP. From there to AS!3 and finally wavelets in Registax. Loaded it in PS, decided it looked ok and not to fiddle
  28. 3 points
    Hey all, Had a clear sky this morning and playing around with some new configurations. With some help from members of the forum in the mod board I have tinkered up a little different PST mod that involves a straight through configuration using the stock blocking filter. Anyhow, it works as a standard PST but without the black box, and as a typical PST mod that inserts into another scope, such as my C8 Edge. Tested everything today with an ASI290MM. B&W Colored: C8 Edge + Aires Full Aperture D-ERF HA: PST etalon + stock 5mm blocking filter in straight-through mod + ASI290MM WL: Baader 610nm Filter + 2x Barlow + ASI174MM PST 40mm + straight through mod + ASI290MM (mosaic x 2 panel) Very best,
  29. 3 points
    cloudy tonight as forcast, but thought id try my luck and sit and wait i got lucky in a small gap with 7 frames nearly cloud free i staxed but couldnt apply any sharpening due to noise. kit old faithfull. 1200d same old open obsyroom window. thanks for looking and i hope you have better skys than me. charl.
  30. 3 points
    Its a combination of things that add up to seeing deep, including object recognition. After being seen once objects become easier for me even threshold ones. Along the same line, when trying to go for faint galaxies forget nebula viewing first and vice versa. Another hugely important thing to do is find the objects exact spot and then stare...trying to find very faint things panning is more difficult IMHO. The Sky Commander is helping a lot in my case. I've read some reports under lightish skies describing some faint objects as "easy" or bright"- I think setting realistic goals for the conditions is important regards of some of the reporting... One more- when trying a galaxy for instance, knowing its size and magnitude will help visualize what your trying to see instead of searching for a larger brighter object potentially.
  31. 3 points
    What I found good was tapping the scope very lightly so the eyepiece view wobbled this sometimes made the object appear against the background. Also sweeping the area while looking through the eyepiece had the same effect. Most of the time it's just experience, you get to see the mottled effect a DSO has against the grey/black background.
  32. 2 points
    It’s always fascinated me that experience and skill can affect what can be seen through the eyepiece. After all, if it’s there you should see it, right? The answer would appear to be no. Setting aside sky conditions and equipment, how do you train your eye to see more detail? I started astronomy using a 130mm scope and built myself from brighter targets and started to push for fainter and fainter objects. I remember struggling to see the intergalactic wanderer NGC2419 with that scope. After many attempts I finally found it. I have often wondered whether challenging myself to go deeper with smaller aperture has improved my eye for faint DSO observing now I use a larger 10” dob. There’s certainly an element of technique. Mastering adverted vision is tricky in the early days. The eye wants to snap to direct vision when the object appears in averted vision. Fighting that instinct is tricky. Gently nudging the scope to pick out faint targets has also become second nature now. The movement drawing out the change in contrast. Experience comes in through knowing what to expect when looking through the eyepiece. Deviations from the expected hint at the fainter object waiting to be discovered. Repeat observations can start to bring more detail. A mental image is built. I do have some aides. I use an eyepatch and an observing hood and like to observe whilst seated. All stray light is blocked out and I can sit still and comfortable. These undoubtedly help when searching for the fainter DSOs. I don’t really understand how the eye and mind are working together to make this happen. There are many great deep sky observers on this forum who can see much deeper than I. The secret, as far as I can tell, is practise and experimentation. I’d love to hear from anyone who can explain the how and why of training your eye to deeper when observing DSOs.
  33. 2 points
    I was reading the following article: https://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-news/possible-interstellar-comet-headed-our-way/ A man called Borisov discovered a comet. Lovely stuff! Borisov works at an observatory. Super. But what has really foxed me is that it looks like he caught this comet using what appears to be a sort of richest field dob. At 650mm it looks like a fairly specialist instrument. But he made it himself which is pretty cool and from the photos of the scope - and the photo's of the comet itself - it looks a lot like it was captured using an untracked mount. So essentially an observer, with an amateur scope, that they made themselves, without tracking, captured a comet. I'd guess he's probably still using a capture and plate solving software based solution rather than the ole "George Alcock" method - but still, in 2019 that's pretty amazing. I thought NASA had fleets of satellites up there doing the same thing and he's beaten them all to it. Gives us all hope!
  34. 2 points
    Looks like it is going to a war of attrition this season. Last night I only got 11 x 300s in luminance in one scope and 8 x 300s red and 3 x 300s blue in the other, then clouds rolled in. I'm delighted with the improvements in guiding since the belt mod, and consistently get under 1"/pixel RMS, which is ok since I'm imaging at 2.13"/pixel. I didn't process the colour but used all the data to create this luminance. Comments welcome. CS, Adam.
  35. 2 points
    Hi Everyone, I'm looking to see how far I can push my new iOptron CEM25-EC taking unguided subs using my Samyang 135mm + ASI1600MM-Pro. This is NGC1499 - 80 minutes of Ha and OIII all 300s subs, gain 139, offset 56, unguided following a manual polar alignment using only the built in polarscope. Conditions were far from ideal as there was a 97% moon spoiling the OIII, nevertheless, the star shapes don't look too bad considering there is no guiding. Pre-processed in APP, post-processed in PI with a final tweak to the colour in PS. Thanks for looking and as ever all comments good or bad are welcome. Adrian
  36. 2 points
    It depends... in my experience the refractor used matters, for some unknown reason. My 90mm SV triplet shows it but the SW120ED is much better eventhough a smaller FOV.My VX10 does a nice job on it and the TSA120 is good on everything. Try them all Neil! ps the f7ish fracs love the 42mm LVW on Barnards Loop..exit pupil deal.
  37. 2 points
    After a lot of stumbles, dealing with mechanical issues (most of which were my own making), I finally have an image of Andromeda M31. This a stack of 48 images, ISO 1600, 160 second exposures. The light frames were a little underexposed - but I'm still learning to trust the histogram in Backyard EOS rather than my eyes looking at the captured imaged. The images were processed with 35 flats, 35 darks, 35 bias using Deep Sky Stacker and the resulting TIFF processed in GIMP (I'm still working on getting my PS skills back). My appreciation to Steve (Steppenwolf) for ALL his help - and patience with my many questions he has been so kind to answer. Rich
  38. 2 points
    Couldnt do much yesterday because of the weather but got a little bit done today after work. I levelled the paving slabs and put down some weed control fabric, need another couple of bags of gravel to cover it though. I put the other 2 blocks onto the pier just to get an idea of the final height, they are not fixed together yet, thats tomorrows job if the weather plays ball.
  39. 2 points
    Not overly happy with this, in trying to keep the stars small they have ended up rather coloured and odd looking. prob better to just try remove them completely. Anyway image data 1 hour of each Ha, oiii and S2 from a dark site with ed80 and Atik 460ex. Any advice how to make my stars better is appreciated.
  40. 2 points
    Yes, I think the 14" was a custom build, not available generally. I was wanting to observe M8 and M22 which are down at 13 degrees or so, pretty low and towards the limits of the alt bearings. I didn't mention that I was able to use my 30mm ES 82 degree eyepiece, although it does create some flex but within acceptable limits for me, although I needed to use both elastic tensioner to stop the scope sliding down with the weight. I haven't yet used it with my Watchhouse EQ platform but have found it very beneficial at high powers for planetary and lunar observing with my 8" f8. I think that at low to mid powers with a smoothly moving scope it is less of a requirement.
  41. 2 points
    …. The bottom picture of the Remscope page, says it all.... will you ever get too see any stars ??
  42. 2 points
    Hope you are able to observe soon, there's plenty to see on the moon!
  43. 2 points
    Looks very neat. I think we need some "action" shots James
  44. 2 points
    Hi everyone! I've taken advantage of most of the clear nights recently, so after my recent M31, here is M33! This is my second capture of this beautiful spiral galaxy - last year's effort was one of my first with my mono camera...hopefully a year on, some improvement has been made in terms of capture skill and processing! Captured with APT, pre-processed with APP and post-processed with Pixinsight. This is a heavy crop of the original image, which I will look to include in the next post. 6.9 hours total integration time using William Optics Z73 atop a iOptron CEM25P and the ZWO ASI1600 MM Pro camera + Astrodon filters. Full details here Thank you for looking!
  45. 2 points
    Hello everybody, I am posting after quite a long time to be honest. Had forgotten my password but got it somehow- thanks to the Mac I guess. I am happy to report that I finally bought my first scope. I have been gazing at the stars naked-eye for about quite some time getting used to with the brilliance that lies up there. Then I got myself a nice pair of 20x50 binoculars and mounted them on a tripod and continued to view things closely and enjoy the views. However, last week I got myself a telescope, which is a Meade Polaris 76mm/700mm on a German EQ mount. Then as you take your new car for a spin, I took my new scope for a spin to a hill station over the weekend. The hill station where my father-in-law has a flat is about 6800 feet high and at a pretty quiet place. Utilising the clear and darker sky I managed to view the moon in its beauty, (missed Jupitor), Saturn and its rings. These sights were really mesmerising and I only viewed these because I was still learning operating my scope and all that. The next night was really amazing because during the day I was able to learn as much as possible about using the mount as well as the scope and also had the binocular to my advantage so I could see everything right side up with binoculars and then move my upside down Newtonian reflector calculating where I need to move it to view something. I viewed the following three and remained motionless and breathless for quite some time, sipping on my pipe and trying to come to terms with the beauty of my friends above: 1. Pleiades- lovely indeed. I has seen it naked eye and then with binoculars and finally gazed upon it for a good amount of time with my scope, changing magnifications and focusing the beautiful collection of the seven sisters. I must say that the lower the magnification the fuller the beautification of this item. 2- Andromeda Galaxy- I had seen this with my binoculars and was really able to speedily point towards it without mistake through my binoculars, however, it always used ot be very faint with binoculars but I was always able to view it. I always use star hopping to get to it - From the arrowhead of Cassiopeia to Mirach and then above. However, with the scope it becomes a bit visible and I loved it. However, with bigger magnifications and barlow it went too dark in the eye piece for some reason and I could not focus it at all. Perhaps I need more learning and experience with this. 3- Orion nebula- I had seen it with binoculars of course however the details increased with telescope and I could easily detect and be indulged in the cloud of gas that surrounds the newly born stars which could be seen easily with the telescope of even the low power 76mm that I have. Overall, it was beautiful. I will see posting my experiences. I am back to my city for now and waiting for the weather to get a bit pleasant so I can take my telescope to the roof and see what lies here in this light polluted atmosphere.
  46. 2 points
    Star hop. It's way more fun and like having a window seat for the journey. You can often be surprised at what you see on the way. As said most setting circles on mounts are not that useful. I would rather be looking at stars and be lost than looking at setting circles and be lost.
  47. 2 points
    Funny how stripping things back makes things easy and enjoyable. I with my terrestrial photography often take camera and one lens fitted and work with it rather than fussing over which lens to use etc, makes it challenging but great fun. With Astronomy, when many start, it’s simply two or three eyepieces at most, things are simple, it’s just when the want monster strikes and you find a case full of nice eyepieces and things and start to fuss over what to use. At this point it can become challenging.
  48. 2 points
    For me it was adverted vision , time and patience , and being later at night and darkness . Living in town i think most ppl went to bed and turned off lights after midnight . But a proper EP is a big help to . I’ve not found alot of galaxies but my favorites were M65&66 . But i never found the one to make the Trio set NGC3628 . It was just too faint . This was using my Celestron C8 with a Celestron 32mm Plossi and sometimes a 2x barlow . But usually just the 32mm did best . Seldom but i did use a dark towel over my head . That’s what help me find M65&66 . But it is a learned technique the more you observe .
  49. 2 points
    To my understanding there are two essential features to visual astronomy: finding the object. observing it. The former involves star-hopping and reading star maps, the latter requires you to actively engage with what is being observed. It is a style of concentrated looking, picking out features and textures. With this kind of observing you are training the eye to see more. Useful methods for observing in this fashion is to ask yourself questions about the object, write about what you see, talk into a recorder about what you see, or to sketch what you see and it makes no difference what method you choose, so long as the objective of such a practice is not to produce a work of art or some ode to the cosmic wonder being observed, but to have strengthened your stargazing eye, your observational skills. Sketching or writing about what you are observing is an iterative, mechanical process: you look through the eyepiece, you sketch or write a little something, you compare, you look again, sketch or write a little more, compare, and on and on you go. If you find you are getting bored, you relax, you take a little break, and when you are ready, you return again. Night after night after night if needs be. If you can couple this technique with the tools of good grammar and vocabulary or with drawing skills, so be it, but, again, it doesn't make a lot of difference, so long as you are recording what you are seeing to the best of your abilities. This is the way you train your eye to see more. It is for this reason that this type of observing has nothing to do with imaging or ticking objects from some list. There is no doubt that these are also great ways of enjoying one's sessions but astronomical sketching or detail writing is an entirely different experience. It means spending time at the eyepiece to really look at what you can see, training your eye to ever greater detail and in turn taking the fullest advantage of your telescope and gear. If good eyepieces and a seat can add a virtual 1" or more to aperture, then sketching or detailed writing will help augment that even more. There's no correct way or rule for recording your observations. White paper, blending stub for nebulae and galaxies etc and pencil for stars is one method. It is common - but not necessary - to invert these images on principles of aesthetics and to help future observers with an idea of what they are likely to see through similar aperture scopes. The chalk and black paper method is refered to as the Mellish Technique. Scott Mellish was an extremely talented Australian observer who passed away about ten years ago. I feel that due to the inherent complexity, subtlety and general difficulty of the medium renders this approach less popular than a simple pencil and blending stub - especially in less than ideal weather. I consider this an even more dedicated approach than a 'simple' sketch scanned into the computer and one that renders a gorgeous aesthetic if done well. Not only has the observer taken the time to make a sketch, but has also taken the time to note the subtle colour of stars, their differing magnitudes and the possible affects of optics, seeing and so on, on the given observation. They've then taken this sketch, scanned it into Gimp type software and tweaked those further observations into the scanned image. One of the best proponents I've seen of this technique is of Peter Vercauteren, an extremely dedicated Italian observer who sketches using an 18" Bino-Dob. Yes, that's right. Two 18" Dobs glued together to create one gigantic binoscope. I'd feel one would need one mighty argument to say there's only one way to do this and that that way is the only correct way to do it. So long as you're enjoying yourself, training your eye to see more and trying to record what you see as you see fit, helping yourself and others along the way, who cares about rules? The web is full of great links but here are a few I think worth going through: SGL Sketches Youtube Intro to Sketching Sketches & Sketching Resources The Mellish Technique Youtube Mellish Technique Nice Guide to Sketching M27 Youtube Peter Vercauteren Guide More Tutorials
  50. 2 points
    I think observing is a skill like any other and that purposeful practice over time makes a big difference both in terms of looking itself and accumulating all the other tricks and techniques that help to give you the best view in the first place.
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