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Showing content with the highest reputation on 21/01/20 in all areas

  1. 12 points
    Been gathering data on this for a little while now. I find that blue flame quite a challenge to process, I didn't want it to look too "stuck on" even though that is probably how it "should" look. I'm not keen on the blue halo and but decided to leave it be. Scope: Tak FSQ 106 Camera: QSI532wsg Filters: Baader 7nm Ha and RGB Exposures: Ha 30 x 30mins, R+G 20 x 250 secs B 56x250 secs Captured combined and calibrated in Maxim, processed with a combination of PI and PS
  2. 11 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
  3. 11 points
    Hi all. New camera arrived on Friday morning and would you believe it the forecast was clear for Friday and Saturday night. Camera is an Aps-c 26mp 16 bit. It has an internal dew heater with 3 settings high/medium/low and so far so good i cooled to -10 without any sign of dew or frost on the sensor and it was very humid here over the weekend. I managed to gather 136 frames over the two nights at 240 seconds a frame. I used a gain of 0. Esprit 100 mounted on an AzEq6 I'm struggling with calibration in APP at the moment so no flats/darks/bias. My darks seem to adding a blue cast to the image. Not the cameras fault as i had the same issue recently with my 071. Richard.
  4. 11 points
    Despite having a really nice session at home on Friday, I was a little disappointed that I hadn't managed a dark site trip over the weekend. Monday night looked like the last clear night for awhile and I had to work. The universe was smiling at me on though. Work ended up being rescheduled and so I found myself on the road to the dark site of my local astro society around 8:30pm. A few members were already observing when I arrived. I set up next to a lady with a 20" dob. I have a observed with her before. She is a very experienced deep sky observer and great company. She was targeting faint Abel planetary nebula. I started my observing with Comet C/2017 T2 (PANSTARRS). This comet has been a regular target for several weeks from home. It was superb under the dark skies with a small tail showing. Transparency hadn't looked too good as I was unloading the car but seemed to be picking up now I was observing. The comet is heading towards the double cluster which is also where I headed next. I took in a couple of planetary nebula, M76 and NGC 2371 whilst building up my dark adaption. My first serious target of the evening was the California nebula. I recently purchased a 40mm Aero eyepiece. I'd intended to use it for widefield with my refractor. Using it with my dob gives a large exit pupil, through a filter, on faint nebula seemed like something I should try though. The 40mm Aero combined with an Astronomik H-Beta filter was superb. This is not an expensive eyepiece but it really delivered fantastic views of the California nebula. The whole nebula really stood out against the dark sky. The varying density of nebulosity gave a rich, textured appearance. With the H-Beta in place and the skies showing excellent transparency, there was only one place to go next... The 25mm TV Plossl was bought last winter as the weapon of choice for seeing the Horsehead. I'd managed to see it using my ES82 30mm but the wide FOV wasn't ideal for this. The moment of truth for the TV Plossl had arrived. IC434, like the California nebula, was benefiting greatly from the great sky conditions. With adverted version, the notch of B33 was quickly identified. It was an observation that I felt very confident of. My observing partner, came over for a look. "It's actually very bright" she said looking through the eyepiece..."You should try to see it without the filter!". I gave a doubtful look and she responded "Take the filter out, you may be surprised at what you see". Despite my doubts, I took the filter out and returned to the eyepiece. The first thing I noticed was the brightness of the stars. The faint glow of IC434 remained but significantly dimmed. I began searching with averted vision and to my shock caught an edge of darkness. I can't say that I saw the whole thing but I repeatedly picked up the edge along the back of the Horsehead. Amazing! I really didn't think I'd be able to see anything. My fellow astronomer wandered over to see it at my request. I wanted to be sure it was there and I wasn't imagining it. "It's very faint but you can see it" came the confirmation. I was so pleased! I tried and failed to see Barnard's loop last winter. Using the 40mm Aero and H-Beta, I started at M78 and moved down in search of it. Initially I wasn't seeing anything. I swapped eyepieces to the ES82 30mm and moving down this time I caught an edge. Moving slowly around I started to track the nebulosity. It's such a large object that it's easy to look right through it. Reverting to the 40mm eyepiece, I now found it much easier to track. Like the California nebula, it now seemed quite bright. From here the session went onto many more nebula. The Lumicon OIII and 40mm gave stunning views of the Rosette Nebula, Thor's Helmet (NGC 2359) and Monkeyhead Nebula (NGC 2174) among others. My final challenge target of the night was the Flaming Star nebula in Auriga. Using a UHC filter and the ES82 30mm, I struggled to see any nebulosity. The 40mm again came out and delivered the best results. I picked out one small faint curve of nebulosity running through 4 bright stars. Many more objects were seen but these were the highlights. I was lucky enough to have several looks through the 20", seeing the Horsehead again and the very faint Abel 2 planetary nebula. I packed up and headed home around 1am. It's nights like last night where the skies are dark and transparent that make this hobby so worthwhile!
  5. 9 points
    Here is a look at IC342, knows as the Hidden Galaxy, it's name coming from it being seen though the dusty regions close to the galactic equator making it more difficult to observe. This is my first image of 2020, though I did start capturing the data on 31 Dec 2019 and completed it over the past run of clear nights. The image comprise L 31x10m, RGB 30x5m each for a total integration of just under 13 hours. Thanks for looking.
  6. 9 points
    Saturday , Sunday and Monday were the first nights Imaging since beginning of November last year .. managed Just over 9 hours of Ha and OIII subs processed in APP ,PS & LR .. as OIII - Ha - OIII looks like the clouds are back so I will play with the subs over the coming weeks .. yes I added some star spikes ..
  7. 8 points
    Just got my first scope had a couple of casual looks around the sky this going to be a bit of a learning curve. Would like to get into Astro photography eventually. The ccd cameras are hugely expensive so would be going DSLR route. From what I can gather I would also need a tracker other than the Audiostar system that’s currently part of my setup any suggestions as to which one would be helpful. Only ever used a DSLR on a normal tripod up to now with normal lenses. Here are few that I have taken in the past. Would like get some moon shots, galaxy shots in fact anything st all really.
  8. 8 points
    I wanted to have another session before new Moon, but had little expectation for this morning. I looked at all the weather sites I usually look at yesterday evening (AccuWeather, Clear Outside, BBC Weather app, Met Interactive Weather Map) and all indicated just about 100% cloudy for the narrow period I had to catch the Moon before doom. Of course, ever the optimist, I set the alarm for 6.00 am this morning. I didn't even look through the window before I got up, I fully expected it to be cloudy but had decided the night before to get up anyway just in case there was a small hole in the cloud. Went up the steps out the back of the house with the scope not even glancing up. I couldn't believe it when I set the scope down, glanced up - to see a perfectly clear sky with a slender crescent Moon just about six degrees above the SE horizon !! I have to say though, the seeing was really pretty bad, not surprising really with the low temperature and the low altitude. Having said that, the seeing didn't detract from how beautiful it looked, and even more so as the Moon rose a little bit when I could see Mars about 8 degrees to the right and a degree below the Moon. As the dawn started to break the azure blue just above the horizon made it all an outstanding spectacle. I took numerous snaps before packing up at about 7.40, hoping I would be lucky and that one of the shutter releases would coincide with a micro-moment of better seeing. The only pic I obtained I could do anything with is below. Taken at 7.79 am, SW 80ED, AZ5, Olympus E-M5 Mk11, 1/80 sec at 400 asa. Have a look at the limbs of either version and you will see how bad the seeing still was. Very pleased to have added one to my sequence. One more opportunity tomorrow morning, but not according to the weather forecasts. I'll be up anyway just in case and I'll know then how many times I've taken pics and observed during the lunation. Very pleased with the opportunities I've had however it turns out tomorrow.
  9. 8 points
    This is a test of the combination of my Atik460 CCD to see how it works with my ED70 refractor with extreme 0.6 focal reducer, ive used this reducer with my old smaller CCD with good results, but was expecting some coma on the corner stars with the larger sensor, but after some selective star shrinking in the corners it doesn't really notice. 8 X 10 mins in Ha with the Altair Starwave 70ED + Lightwave 0.6 reducer giving a very fast F3.6 at 250mm Focal Length in combination with my Atik460CCD. This image contains The Bubble Nebula, M52 Open Cluster, The Lobster Claw Nebula and the small bright nebula at bottom right is NGC7538. Overall im pretty happy with this setup, though I cant help wish I could use my other larger 383CCD to get a bit wider still. May need to make another purchase :-p.Guided, captured, stacked & stretched in MaximDL, combined and processed in Photoshop. Lee
  10. 8 points
    Last night's unexpected clear skies allowed me to grab more data on California Nebula. This is the previous 4 hour HA image combined with 5 hours of SII and one hour of RGB. So total 10 hours with Esprit 100 and 1600MM. Abandoned original bi-colour idea but might have another go later. Also got 1.5 hours of OIII but there was no nebulosity visible as far as I could see so didn't add it. Slightly different version + highres on Astrobin - https://www.astrobin.com/x9j14e/
  11. 8 points
    This is a quick HaRGB stack of M33. It badly needs Flats but I think a general L flat will do as the dark spots look to be on the camera. After I've done the flats for this set of subs I'll give the camera another cleaning. 2 Hour HII in 10 min subs, 1 hour each RGB in 5 min subs, Sigma Add stacking with Darks. HII added to Red, Trichomy then DDP and Histo stretch. Still a lot of work to do, need new Luminance and RGB. Oh, and a flip in both axes, dur... NGC 604 should be top left.
  12. 8 points
    Longer session last night. Spent some time checking and adjusting the mount's PA. Then to hours total integration time on M78 and it's surrounding area. 20 subs: 10 x 240s and 10x 480s. Details: iOptron CEM60 standard mount on tri-pier RASA f2 OTA ASI294 MC Pro OSC camera with Idas NB-1 filter SG Pro as capture software, Processing mixed APP & PI
  13. 7 points
    Venus is now at a very respectable altitude, plus some lovely clear skies. Perfect conditions (hopefully) to begin imaging it again. Both images with Celestron C9.25, Asi290mm, Televue x1.8 Barlow and Baader UV filter. 25,000 frames captured, stacked 10%. Last image is with a Astronomik 807 filter. Some nice detail visible on both days, particularly Saturday afternoon. It looks clearly like rotation visible to me over the 2 days? Saturday 18.01.2020 Baader UV filter Sunday 19.01.2020 Baader UV filter Sunday 19.01.2020 Astronomik 807 filter
  14. 7 points
    Hi. I had a go at imaging NGC1977 or The Running Man Nebulae.You often see this Nebulae combined with M42 when imaging a wider field. It was taken last night with my ED80 and Atik 314L+ ccd camera. I shot 18x600 second subs for the Luminance,and 12x600 second subs for the RGB.This is an LRGB image.The centre stars are very bright and nearly overwhelm the image.They showed up quite bloated in the L and B Frames,and were difficult to control in processing.I don't think I have done a great job with this. Full calibration frames were applied. Cheers. Mick.
  15. 7 points
    A rather pretty edge on spiral in Coma Berenisis. Frost over everything last night, but at least it was clear! 250mm R/C @ F5.35, SX814. 165m Luminance, unguided.
  16. 7 points
    I captured this interesting asteroid over the weekend. It's an earth-crossing Apollo asteroid on a close approach at the moment, and consequently moving by rather fast. It's currently at a distance of less than 0.1AU and won't be this close or bright again for a few decades. It spends most of its time below 21st magnitude, but it's currently around magnitude 15 and when I captured these images is was moving at a rate of 11.50"/minute. I understand that its diameter is several hundred metres. I captured a number of 30 second exposures, with my 200mm f/5 Newtonian + 0.9x coma corrector and Atik 428ex, binned 2x. The field of view is 33.5 x 25.2 arc mins. This shows the position of the asteroid at approximately 5 minute intervals. Even with 30-second exposures the movement was noticeable. This shows a series of 29 consecutive images, stacked on the asteroid using Astrometrica. This is an animation of an enlarged part of the above image. And this is a 3d image of the orbit of the asteroid. As you see, it comes alarmingly close! Running the frames through Astrometrica revealed a few other asteroids in the frame. Most were too faint for me to capture, but this one, Asteroid (37291) 2001 AP26, was at magnitude 19 and just visible in this aligned stack of 100 frames. Unlike 437316, it's in the main outer asteroid belt and approximately 10.5 km across. The streak across the middle is the path of 437316.
  17. 7 points
    Here's a capture this evening of the Eskimo planetary nebula in Gemini (NGC 2392, Caldwell 39). It's easy to see and find, being bright at magnitude 10, but rather small and difficult to capture the very odd fine details. It's also in a very sparse star field, so there's not much else to see here! Omegon RC8 (1600mm FL), Atik 428ex, 15 x 180s exposures each of Ha and Oiii. Synthetic green. Field of view: 14 x 18.6 arc mins.
  18. 7 points
    Although the comet will be getting closer to the double cluster around 27-28th Jan, I took the chance to grab an image last night as the weather for the next week doesn't look hopeful. 6 x 2min subs @ ISO800, Canon60Da and 60mm refractor.
  19. 6 points
    I wanted to do another target but it was hidden behind trees so while i waited I thoght I woulg give the Heart ago it was only meant to be a practice shot as Im not realy a fan of this Nebula but after seeing the Ha subs I thought I would push on. High winds and the moon hasnt helped but after a few good nights Im close to calling it finished. Taken over a few night I got 60 x 240 Ha, 62 x 240 Oiii and finaly 25 (poor ) Sii again 240 sec. Scope was my SW 72 ED. ( My fav scope at the moment! ) Hints, tips and pointers most welcome. Thanks for looking.
  20. 6 points
    I have just collimated the SCT, so really pleased with this! 20 x 360s exposures, 12 darks, 25 flats, 25 bias. Total exposure time: 2 hours. Stacked in Siril, stretched in Nebulosity, star mask subtracted with Starnet++ and final processing with Photoshop. The image has been cropped.
  21. 6 points
    Clear, but not transparent. The seeing got better up to midnight, giving some cracking views. Not really a night for galaxies , tried for comet Panstarrs , but Perseus was lit up by light pollution. Had a shot of Venus, low Neptune and a very high Uranus disc. M50 in Monoceros , overlooked , but a lovely big cluster. NGC 2396 in Canis Major gave a lovely dense sparkle. Lepus and "Hind's Crimson " SAO 150058 didn't disappoint. Just a cry of joy with Leo 54, an absolutely stunning yellow and blue , SAO 81583. Onto some right challenges , Weiss 14 in Gemini, delicately difficult, about 2". Σ1037, SAO 79170 in Gemini, well below 1". Comparison of beta Monocerotis and the tighter Zeta Cancri, really both are beautiful. Comparison of "winter Albireos ", preferred the more colourful closer h3945 to iota Cancri. Σ 1374 in Leo Minor , 2.8" with a delicate companion. NGC 2367, with a lovely binary Lal 53. Got a bit nippy around midnight down to minus three . Ice on everything , put the frac on top of the freezer. Bit of gentle heat to thaw it out. A covered hot water on the ep case keep them dew free, hoping for clear skies ! Nick.
  22. 6 points
    You need to make it look more like a proper product. Get "ACME Security Light Intrusion Curtain" stencilled multiple times across the side facing the neighbour James
  23. 6 points
    As per the discussions I've joined on the "anybody playing tonight" thread, i imaged orions belt and sword. 2 pane mosaic. Skywatcher star adventurer, 60 second subs binned 2x2 in Astroart, qhy183c and Samyang 135mm
  24. 6 points
    Had a go at the M45 but doesnt look to good to me... 32 x 30sec lights 10 x 30sec darks iso 400 taken with skywatcher 150p, Nikon D3500, EQ-5, Stacked in DSS and processed in GIMP
  25. 6 points
  26. 5 points
    Hi all, I present my first proper image taken on Sunday with the EQ mount that I bought over Christmas (Meade LXD75 with 6 inch Newtonian reflector) - M42 the Orion Nebula. I attempted to take some images of the Blue Snowbell Nebula and Crab Nebula as well, but I haven't processed them yet so don't know how they will turn out, if I don't post anything on them - then they didn't turn out so well I'm still practicing the polar alignment so haven't got it spot on yet, and only polar aligned using the polar scope so I was still getting slight star trails at 30s, but I'm pleased with this result. The image is a stack of about 66 x 30s lights, 30 darks and 15 bias, taken with Canon 2000d. Stacked in DSS with levels/curves adjustments in photoshop. I had to crop the image a bit to get rid of some of the light from the 3 street lamps outside my garden. Next steps - 1) Improve polar alignment using the drift alignment method and see what results I get 2) Improve on focusing with the bahtinov mask I've got being delivered. Hope you guys like the image, comments welcome :) Adam
  27. 5 points
    Rossette Bok Globules with Leaping Puma now in Colour. I started this on Dec 10th and finished on Friday night. 4 x 15 mins in Ha + 6 X 10 Mins in Oiii, captured with my Atik 460EX CCD & Meade 127mm F7.5 triplet refractor. Guided, captured, stacked & stretched in MaximDL, combined and processed in Photoshop.
  28. 5 points
    I had hoped to get a bit more detail in a messier object with 3 hours of exposure, but M109 is fainter than I thought. Its also hard to get the detail out in the arms without blowing the core out too much, I need to do more fiddling with this. I'd hope to add colour, but found a major flare issue, I think from trying too early and a neighbour putting a light on. I'll probably try later in the year when its higher earlier. 250mm R/C, SX814, 90x120s Luminance (180m), unguided.
  29. 5 points
    Second target of 3 from last nights wide field test with my ED70mm refractor reduced to f3.6 with the Lightwave 0.6 reducer. Horsehead Nebula. This 9 X 10 mins in Ha with the Atik 460CCD. it had a tad of coma in the corners with the 12.5mm x 10mm sensor but reduced it as much as I can with selective star reduction. so I think it would also work good with the Hypercam 183, as thats similar size sensor. Guided, captured, stacked & stretched in MaximDL, combined and processed in Photoshop. Lee
  30. 5 points
    It worked really well, the security light would have been a huge problem without. Having stayed up until 5.30 am and then did flats, packed and came home for Hubby's birthday drinkies I went to bed for a couple of hours this afternoon. Still half of the car to unpack, but won't be imaging tonight as a) we are out, and b) Will take too long to re-set it all up in any case. Great few nights and a great idea Dave - thanks. Bortle 6 instead of my home Bortle 8 and no tree in the way of Orion. Carole
  31. 5 points
    NGC 1931, the Fly Nebula. 6 x 120 s at ISO 1600 and 23 x 180s at ISO1600. I only targeted this because the end of my shed (=observatory) was blocking the view of the Medusa Nebula. So, I had sometime to wait until it was high enough to image. NGC 1931 Fly Nebula in Auriga Wikipedia: NGC 1931, is an emission and reflection nebula in the constellation Auriga. The nebula has been referred to as a "miniature version of the Orion Nebula", as it shares some of the same characteristics. It is a mixed emission-reflection nebula, and contains a smaller version of the Trapezium in its hot young star cluster centered in the emission nebula. The entire cluster/nebula complex is only about 3 arcmin in size. The distance from earth is estimated at about 7000 light years. The Medusa Nebula. I thought I had previously collected over three hours of data on this object, to find the catalogue coordinates were incorrect. Incorrect (but in Wikipedia and the catalogues in Astrophotography Tool) RA 7h 29m 3s | Dec +13° 14′ 48″ Correct: RA 7h 29m 11s | Dec +13° 15′ 57″ This image is based on 26 x 180 s exposures at ISO1600. Abell 21, Medusa Nebula in Gemini Wikipedia: The Medusa Nebula is a large planetary nebula in the constellation of Gemini on the Canis Minor border. It is also known as Abell 21 and Sharpless 2-274. It was originally discovered in 1955 by UCLA astronomer George O. Abell, who classified it as an old planetary nebula. The braided serpentine filaments of glowing gas suggests the serpent hair of Medusa found in ancient Greek mythology. Until the early 1970s, the Medusa was thought to be a supernova remnant. With the computation of expansion velocities and the thermal character of the radio emission, Soviet astronomers in 1971 concluded that it was most likely a planetary nebula. As the nebula is so big, its surface brightness is very low, with surface magnitudes of between +15.99 and +25 reported. Because of this most websites recommend at least an 8-inch (200 mm) telescope with an [O III] filter to find this object although probably possible to image with smaller apertures. The Eskimo Nebula in Gemini looks like a blue star that's not quite right! It's pretty small in my telescope and I think is probably overexposed. This image is based on 22 x 180s exposures at ISO 1600. The inset shows some detail. Eskimo Nebula in Gemini The Eskimo Nebula (NGC 2392), also known as the Clownface Nebula or Caldwell 39, is a bipolar double-shell planetary nebula (PN). It was discovered by astronomer William Herschel in 1787. The formation resembles a person's head surrounded by a parka hood. Not enough data but a quick look at IC447 in Monoceros while waiting for the good ol' meridian flip: IC447 in Monoceros Wikipedia: IC 447 is a reflection nebula in the constellation Monoceros. In astronomy, reflection nebulae are clouds of interstellar dust which might reflect the light of a nearby star or stars. The energy from the nearby stars is insufficient to ionize the gas of the nebula to create an emission nebula, but is enough to give sufficient scattering to make the dust visible. Thus, the frequency spectrum shown by reflection nebulae is similar to that of the illuminating stars. Among the microscopic particles responsible for the scattering are carbon compounds (e. g. diamond dust) and compounds of other elements such as iron and nickel. Celestron 9.25 XLT with focal reducer at F6.3 on a Skywatcher EQ6 Pro mount. Canon 500D (modded) with LP filter. PRocessing in DSS ad PS. Never enough exposures because I want to look at so many things and clear nights are few and far between!
  32. 5 points
    How about also rigging up a mirror so it reflects it back at their bedroom window
  33. 5 points
    Taken Saturday evening through a skywatcher ED100 and canon 1000D. The focal reducer throws up some star rays but hey - ho, nothings perfect. Pleased with the detail around the horsehead. 21 x 4 min subs.
  34. 5 points
    If there is one thing I've learned about telescopes, it's never study the objective with a torch! Even the newest shiniest mirror will look filthy under bright torchlight.
  35. 5 points
    Had another go tonight. What with the record high pressure we’re in and clear skies forecast I reckoned it would be a good session so I had a “take your scope to work“ day- leaving it in the car all day to make sure it was nice and cool. Paid off in a way- scope was firing on all cylinders straight out the car with nice tight stars and almost perfect star testing . As I’d hoped seeing was really excellent tonight- probably the best I’ve ever had. And no wind which really helped a lot. I saw e and f stars in the trapezium quite clearly- first time for f! I was able to split Rigel easily with a 20mm ep- just 80x mag! Sirius was a nice tight image too- by 10pm it was reasonably high and not the usual disco ball you see at lower elevation. I must have stared at it for several hours. I tried all my best eps from the 20mm through my medium power orthos to my Nagler 4.8. Even tried barlowing the orthos to get 3mm for max 500x. Still no joy . I reckon if I was going to see it tonight was the night. It must be too faint for an 8” scope under Bortle 9 skies I guess. Still it was a really great night and an enjoyable if frustrating challenge. Weird how we see different field stars @John! With my Nagler which should give a similar magnification and fov I think, the dominant field stars formed a W rotated to the nw of Sirius in the ep view
  36. 5 points
    Same here John. Trapezium was as good as I've seen it for a long time, but no luck with Sirius. I think the jet stream must have moved since last night as it was much better. I stuck mainly with open clusters as I mentioned on the other thread. Very nice comparing the views between the Genesis with a 24mm Panoptic giving x21 and 3.3 degrees and the Mewlon with 20mm APM giving x120 and 0.8 degrees. Some of the smaller ones were just not visible in the Gen, but were lovely in the Mewlon, M52 for instance. Others obviously benefited from the field of view such as M44, but even some of the dimmer ones are great to see in context with their surroundings. There is also the loveliness of the tiny stars in the middle of some of these clusters when viewed in the refractor which I will never get bored of. Even better in your 130mm I'm sure! Caroline's Rose was better than usual from here, NGC2244 looked great, no sign of the Rosette nebula unsurprisingly. I enjoyed the Christmas Tree cluster in the refractor, and also checked Beta Mon and Tegmine, managing the tight split on Tegmine in the Mewlon at about x345. I managed to spot the Comet C/2017 T2 tonight too. No go in the 4" obviously, but in 8" it was just about visible as a tiny smudge just east of HD15666. Fairly undramatic but nice to have seen it. Plenty more seen too, best session I've had for quite a while. Just thawing out before bed, it was certainly chilly out there tonight but I'm glad I made the effort. The scopes were covered in frost by the end of it, but stayed dew free thanks to my dew heaters. Roger and out!
  37. 5 points
  38. 4 points
    Hi all, a bit of a long-winded one here but hopefully interesting. Clear moonless skies yesterday, so set off late afternoon for my dark sky site, somewhere between 21.90 and 21.92 supposedly (Note: would like to obtain SQM-L for actual at-the-time readings, seemed to be a bit more early evening LP on the horizon this time, but still exceptionally dark). I always forget to bring something. Well… this time it was nothing less than my finderscope, I had it with all my gear going out the door, but left it tucked against the sofa… needless to say, this made alignment with a 2m tall, 2000mm focal length 500p an absolute nightmare in windy conditions, and it took ages to find my alignment stars in the EP (21E is the widest I currently have) and I really struggled to achieve a proper alignment for much of the evening which greatly curtailed the number of stops I made, but on the upside, I spent more time studying the targets I did acquire. Anyway, soldering on, I had 25-30mph gusts for the first few hours so I moved my van to act as a windblock but the wind kept veering north until it finally died down. Thought scope was going over a few times, and that weighs a good 75kg. If I unlocked the clutches, it would freely weathervane around! ----------- First stop – IC 405 Flaming Star nebula, 21E & Astronomik OIII – excellent – nebulosity just seemed to keep going out out out, away from the central area. Blue Snowball NGC 7662– Leica Zoom and TV 2X Powermate – got to around 300-350x before view came apart, but nice to pay a visit. Bubble Nebula & M52/NGC 7510 – 21E again, very nice. M1 Crab Nebula – I understand this is a lot fainter than when it was first catalogued, still, an easy one to spot and good nebulosity under these conditions. M31,32,33, M110 (M31 naked eye) – binoviewers! Awesome. Can only recommend. Please see notes on slightly unusual 40mm eyepiece choices below. M36,38, NGC 1893 – lovely star clusters in the neighbourhood of IC 405 M42 – always a must see. Tried the Trapezium Cluster at 350x to 450x, got the four stars sharply at lower mag, couldn’t get more at higher mag, sky wasn’t having it. The nebulosity around M42 just kept going and going and going… best views with 21E and no filter, OIII was good to excellent, but in the end, preferred without filter. Double Cluster (naked eye & 12x70 binos). ----------- Horsehead B33, IC 434, NGC 2023, Flame Nebula NGC 2024 – I spent a lot of time last night doing a few eyepiece experiments on the famous B33 Horse Head and Flame Nebula – the Flame I sort of forgot last time in my obsessive quest for the HH, so gave NGC 2024 due admiration this time. This is only the second time I have seen B33, but the views were even better last night. I finally slewed on target with the 21E and OIII. Right after Alnitak came in the FOV, I noticed the Flame was immediately visible with direct vision, so I figured this was a good sign. I then swapped to a 27mm Orion (fittingly) ‘Flat Edge’ EP with Astronomik Hb filter and moved down to B33. It was immediately apparent with direct vision, just a huge dark bulge jutting out into IC434. Excellent! ---------- Crazily enough, I’ve wanted to try B33 for some time through binoviewers (or a binoviewer). I assumed that in a 20” dob, splitting the light still roughly equals using a 14” binoscope, plenty of aperture under these dark skies. I imagine someone out there has tried binoviewers on the Horsehead, but I haven’t read any reports or comments about binoviewing the HH online, so gave it a shot - I broke out the WO with 1.6GPC which goes in a Baader clicklock 2” to 1.25” adapter straight into the focuser to get the BV as close as possible to the secondary to reach focus. BV eyepiece choice – this is where it gets kind of interesting. I used 40mm 1.25” Revelation plossls that cost me a whopping £22 each from Telescope House on special. Why 40mm EPs in an f4 scope, especially for very faint DSOs? A fellow SGL member (thank you again @jetstream!) pointed out before there is a ‘false exit pupil’ dynamic whereby the BV splits the light and reduces the exit pupil area by 50%, if I understood correctly. With 40mm EPs at 1.6x in a 508mm f4 dob with 2000mm focal length, this gives me 80x mag and twin exit pupils of 4.49mm, not the usual 6.35mm that a single 40mm ep (with 1.6x GPC) would normally provide. By the way, the 40mm would give 10.6mm exit pupil with no barlow on its own. I realise the FOV is probably only around 40deg but it gives a low 80x magnification which is close to what the bbastrodesigns visual detection calculator recommends for some of the fainter DSOs (85x) in my scope. FOV doesn’t matter for the HH in my opinion anyway, as I want Alnitak well out of the picture, so to speak. Here’s what I came up with: Binoviewer ‘false’ exit pupil: (508x508)/2 = 129032 Squrt129032= 359.2102448427661 Therefore, a pair of 40mm eyepieces with a 1.6 barlow in a binoviewer is not an individual 6.35mm exit pupil (508mm/80x mag = 6.35mm), it is actually 359.21/80 when split, which equals a 4.49mm exit pupil for each eye. Roughly calculated… 40mm EP with 1.6x barlow = 80x = 4.49mm exit pupil. 40mm EP with 2.0x barlow = 100x = 3.592mm exit pupil 32mm EP with 1.6x barlow = 100x = 3.592mm exit pupil 32mm EP with 2.0x barlow = 125x = 2.874mm exit pupil 25mm EP with 1.6x barlow = 128x = 2.806mm exit pupil 20mm EP with 1.6x barlow = 160x = 2.245 mm exit pupil ----------- So did binoviewers work on the Horsehead? Absolutely 100% yes! I saw the Horsehead with both direct and averted vision through binoviewers with as Hb filter on the nosepiece, no maybes or buts, a definite hit, and could see IC434 running along the dark dust cloud. I couldn’t quite make out the small notch for the nose, but was really close. The windy conditions actually made it a little easier to see at times as it shook the scope during the gentler gusts, kicking in some averted vision, but I'd still prefer it calm. The only drawback is the massive amount of eye-relief from the 1.6x barlowed 40mm EPs, which must be huge as I had to hold my head well back from the eyepieces. This meant eye placement was critical and extremely limited. I want to try 32mm EPs next, those are in the post along with some 25mm EPs and a solitary 42mm 70 deg finder EP. One thing I found a necessity for the best views of the really faint stuff - a hood or towel over your head, even under starlight. The huge increase in contrast and ease of viewing seems to far outstrip most other factors such as particular make of eyepiece, coatings, etc. The boost in contrast was substantial. I have a down parka with a big hood that has an integral wire brim which I gently fold around the EP or binoviewers. The more incoming light you can block out completely, even reflected from the ground below, the better. The stars were bright enough I could see my feet and walk around easily once dark adapted. Those small but annoying LEDs from the GOTO unit, dew controller etc etc were all covered up with a raincoat. Total darkness is the goal, aside from what’s coming out of the eyepiece. That makes a big difference in my book and really lets me focus on what's in the glass. I later tried the UHC filter in the BVs and managed to see the HH with direct and averted vision. Here, averted vision was definitely better and things were quite washed out and really lacking a lot of contrast at this stage in comparison to the Hb filter. Next trick was dropping in the 20mm WO eyepieces, but too much mag (160x I think) for binoviewers and things just turned inky black with the Hb, perhaps I should have tried the UHC here. Which was better – a single EP or BVs? Both! Really interesting, both have pros and cons. I later switched to a single 17.5mm Morpheus and got a really contrasty view of the HH with Hb filter. It loomed large in the eyepiece and was immediately unmistakable. I didn’t quite get the nose detail, but the huge lump projecting out into IC434 at 114x was near impossible to miss. Considering I only have bog standard binoviewers with ultra-low end eyepieces and a small 1.25” nosepiece which projects well into the large light cone coming out of an f4 dob, I was really impressed. It had reduced contrast and a slight reduction in overall brightness in comparison to using a single EP, but was this was largely countered by greatly reduced eye-strain and the benefits of binocular vision. I would say there was no more detail with either set-up, maybe a slight edge to the 17.5 Morpheus or 27mm Flat Edge, but being able to see the HH directly with both eyes was a genuine pleasure I will remember for a very long time. I think with some large bore Denks/powerswitch or some crazy Siebert binoviewers, higher-contrast EPs and the 45mm OCA for fast dobs, this would match or exceed the solitary Morpheus views. By the way, I wish Baader made 2” wide-field Morpheus EPs! Flame nebula was wonderful with the binoviewers, not as contrasty as the single Morpheus, but great to scan across. Hb filter worked better than OIII here. The Hb on the Morpheus was also excellent, probably the best view there of the lot. I really like the Flame Nebula, especially with the dark lane in the middle, a nice one to admire. One thing I note – I don’t think Orion ever gets very high in the sky here at my latitude (57-ish). Viewing from very dark/excellent skies further south (La Palma! Morocco? Alps?) must be excellent. The site I use in the Cairngorms is very dark indeed and supposedly 21.90 to 21.92SQM according to the LP map. However, I noticed considerable skyglow on the horizon, right under Orion as a matter of fact, so not sure where this is coming from, perhaps from the Central Belt starting some 70-80 miles away. Not sure some of this wasn’t zodiacal glow either, but not 100% on that. Either way, it was definitely excellent overall sky darkness, winds and turbulence in the atmosphere aside which limited magnification and seeing, but if Orion was another 10deg up, it would make a noticeable difference. Once the scope was packed around 2am, I spent about 20 minutes with my trusty 12x70 Cometrons just taking everything in. Any trace LP visible on the horizon had dimmed a fair bit and the sky was just absolutely incredible. I started at one end of the Milky Way with the binos and did transects across until I had rapidly covered all it. I lost count of how many star clusters and double stars, etc I saw, an excellent way to end the night, despite the self-inflicted finderscope problems and strong gusts which swept through for much of the early evening. Thanks for reading and feedback welcome…
  39. 4 points
    It has been six months since I last used the telescope! Urghh that sentence is heart wrenching, but between the awful wet weather, running a bar (this time of year, it's only open evenings) and moving house - I simply haven't had chance. It was hard enough remembering how to configure the telescope, and my guiding was "SLOPPY", 0.8"-1.2" for long periods, and then periods of 2"-3", so those stars aren't perfect - but honestly the sheer joy of getting back out there and imaging overrides the usual stress about perfection, and went with whatever came my way. My new location is more "in town", it's not bad, but it's not as good as the empty beach I used to image from, that and my Southern window is smaller, so I expect to image more "Northern" objects over the next year or so. Anyhow this is my first serious crack at M42, it was one of the first things I ever looked at, and had a bash at imaging, but despite it being the ever popular winter target, I've never really bothered with it in the time since,. This image is made from four panels, imaged over three nights. Each panel being 12 x 300 s in R, G, B with no flats/bias or other faff, just straight up, 12 hours of data, stacked in DSS, and combined/stitched in Photoshop, and tonight might be clear to, so going to slew left and capture in that direction. I left the core blown out, I did shoot short exposures for the trapezium, but I confess, I like it blown out, it gives it a proper sense of brightness to me. Thank you for looking, if it happens to be clear tonight, I shall post my results from that in this thread.
  40. 4 points
    This last weekend was unprecedented: three clear(ish) night in a row, and the opportunity to use all three of them to play with my toys. I observed nothing particularly exotic, but there were some interesting moments nonetheless. On top of all 3 nights of the weekend, I got to use all 3 of my scopes, used both mounts, compared two premium 2” diagonals and learned how dramatically tube currents can utterly destroy one’s view (think hairdryer). Friday. As soon as I got home from work on Friday evening I took my Newt and Mak outside to cool. It was a crystal clear night, no cloud appeared at any point, and as the night went on my SQM-L reached 19.14, nearly as dark as I’ve recorded here (I have lots of data now) and significantly better than lightpollutionmap.info’s Atlas estimation of 19.05 for my location. With my 8” Newt mounted on my EQM-35 pro, I spent quite some time staring at Sirius, trying to spot the Pup. I sort of imagined I saw something for a brief moment, but hand on heart I don’t think I did. Rigel and its companion were very easy by comparison and Castor was lovely. I spent similar time on M42 to try to spot the E star, again to no avail, but the nebulosity did show better and better contrast as the magnification got higher. I had intended also to give my SW Mak 150 its First Light (!!!) after doing a straight swap with @FZ1 for my Mak 127 back in June. Unfortunately even as I lifted it I saw it was completely covered in dew! I abandoned that idea and continued with the Newt. I vainly tried for my only deep-deep-sky object of the night, M81, but not a sausage. Although it looked clear enough for me to be able theoretically to see it, dew I think prevented it. M51 is out of the question at this time of year as my view East is blocked by my house, I only see anything above 50 degrees alt in that direction. Dew eventually did for me altogether and I turned in around 0200. Saturday. Saturday was forecast equally clear but in the event the whole evening was characterized by thin wispy cloud and occasional bands of thicker stuff. Not enough to send me back inside, but enough to not bother taking darkness measurements. I decided to polar align and “star-align” as accurately as possible: I sometimes regard the handset’s “report” of how accurate, after the star-alignment, it reckons your polar alignment is, to be a form of competition. I polar-aligned with the mount fully loaded, for example, and used a high-quality cross-hair finder eyepiece to get my alignment stars exactly dead centre, neither of which I normally bother to do. As a result, my “report” was the best yet, both alt and az errors at less than 10 arc-minutes by the handset’s reckoning. The “goto” was also notably accurate for the whole night. Using the EQ mount again, I started the evening off with the Newt and later swapped over to the Mak, having this time brought out a hairdryer, kept the Mak’s front cap on and brought out its wrap-around dewshield. I had a quick go at Sirius again, to no avail, also Rigel, Castor and Algieba, once Leo had pranced over the edge of the house. I had a quick glimpse of Uranus, a bluish disc but faint through the thin cloud so I didn’t spend much time on it. The hairdryer did its stuff on eyepiece and secondary (for the newt) and kept dew off the Mak, but what was really interesting was the tube currents in the Newt immediately after using it! I was pointing at Castor, a lovely brilliant pair of highly distinct matched dots. I applied the hairdryer and immediately on re-viewing, the two dots had become one huge smeared fluid mobile splodge! Racking out the focus revealed violently-moving diffraction rings. After 10-20 seconds though, it settled down as the warm air got driven out and Castor reverted to its prior state. Fascinating. What ended the evening was dew again, but differently. Dew had become ice, covering everything that I hadn’t hair-dried. Sunday. Two 2am nights on the trot normally precludes a third late night, especially if it's Sunday. But having gone outside to see if I could spot Venus through binoculars during the full daylight afternoon and succeeded, I thought why not, if only to see Venus through a telescope before it got too dark and the planet too bright. This time I dragged out my SkyTee2 and put my 105 f/6.2 LZOS refractor on it. Using my bevel-box to fix the mount to around 24 degrees elevation, I scanned left and right with the 35mm Panoptic for a binoculars-like 18.6x until I found it, and climbed the magnification ladder. Most pleasing was 108x, but 186x was a bit too much: wobbly and too-visible diffraction artifacts. However Venus’ 77% phase was perfectly evident, the first time I’ve magnified it that much. My best ever view of Venus, though i don't have much experience with it. What was especially interesting, though, was the difference between 2 diagonals I had with me. I started off with my Baader Zeiss BBHS 2” prism diagonal, very expensive, and at the higher magnifications there was obvious Chromatic Aberration on Venus. When I switched to my Revelation 99% dielectric mirror diagonal, there was none. So I guess f/6.2 is still too open a light cone for the prism to come into its own. The same test on my f/12 Mak 150 and f/10 Intes M603 will be interesting… I finished off the night popping out from time to time as my chicken was roasting, by framing the Pleiades, Orion’s whole sword and Stu’s S at 18.6x with the Panoptic 35mm – lovely fields and trains of pinpoint stars. Except as I was looking at, I think, The Pleiades, bright dot after bright dot streaked through my view, exactly in line and one after the other. Courtesy of Mr Musk, I think. Cheers, Magnus
  41. 4 points
    first solar pics of the new year for me , darn weather. nice prom on the upper off going limb. seeings not the best here but im happy to get anything to break my luck. kit starwave 102, quark, asi120mc. thanks for looking. clear skys. charl. prom upper oncoming limb. prom upper off going limb.
  42. 4 points
    I don't have enough data on this yet, but was just delighted to be able to get imaging again after almost 6 weeks of solid cloud cover. I guess it's pretty much compulsory to point at M42 every winter. This is just over 2 hours of 60" subs split roughly equally over 2 nights. Scope: Evostar 72ED Mount: Nexstar Evolution on wedge Camera: Canon 1100D (unmodified) Guiding: QHY5Lii-c and 9x50 finderguider Flattener: OVL non-reducing flattener Software: APT, PHD2, CPWI, APP, Photoshop Frames: 127 x 60" @ ISO1600, 25 Flats, 100 Bias Feedback and CC very welcome - thanks for looking. Graeme
  43. 4 points
    Had a go at Orion’s Belt and the surrounding area with my unmodded Nikon D5300, it does make me wonder how much Ha I missed out on when I compare my image to those taken with a modded camera! Had to go with 30s subs since my star adventurer is not doing well lately at all. Happy with what’s shown up, there’s a lot more dust in there but stretching it revealed too much noise for my liking, would probably like to double the integration to 3 hours for that but the Welsh weather says no! Nikon D5300, Samyang 135mm @ f2.8 Iso 800 181x30s ~ 1h30m total exposure time
  44. 4 points
    This is ASASSN-20ap - discovered on 17th Jan 2020, it's a new UGSU type dwarf nova in Lynx. Currently at mag 15.05 in V band, this is a time resolved run from the 20th Jan. Conditions started OK, then deteriorated all the time with ever worsening transparency (now quite misty!). I also very quickly imaged the short period HADS star V451 Dra - easier at Vmag 12.45 - 13.05 !!
  45. 4 points
    If setting up for imaging was an Olympic sport, I reckon that I'd win a gold medal. 25 mminutes after getting home, this "R" image is in! Just a month ago I was very pleased with 38 minutes. I'm going to go for 10 Ha subs when thescope has cooled down a bit. In the meantime I'll see if I can get some decent binned colour. Most of what I've already got is full of gradients, but it might be OK tonight.
  46. 4 points
    Nice!. I moon watched on the way into work.. which was on the M27 Motorway (AKA the car park) roughly crawling at 10 mph for 8 miles.. at 7am it looked stunning showing nice earth shine too.. Rob P.s the 10 mph on beloved M27 (Grrrrr) is a daily thing. seeing the Moon like today really helps pass the time.
  47. 4 points
    At last a couple of clear nights so tried the California nebula - first time imaging this. The HA was done on the second light and the seeing/clarity was much worse than the first night so I dont think its as good as it could be Only my second attempt at HaRGB and still learning Anyway EOS 1100d (Ha Mod) Super Takumar 200mm f4 Skywatcher Star Adventurer RGB 61 X 180s ISO 1600 Ha (astronomik 12nm clip in) 50 X 210s ISO 1600 Around 40 darks, flats and dark flats for each session Stacked in APP processed in Photoshop Suggestions for improvement greatly appreciated
  48. 4 points
    A wonderful club meeting observing night 18/01/2020 By chance we all me up at Badger Farm., our dark site in the Lincolnshire Wolds. The sky was clear and it looked to be a promising night, early on hazy cloud came over and there was a feeling that this could be it for the night but we waited patiently and were rewarded with a lovely clear sky. We managed to do a lot of observing tonight, both naked eye and through the telescopes. We also managed to show some of our new visitors some of the brighter objects, which is always nice as it presents us with the opportunity to show members objects in the sky that they would otherwise probably not see. The Orion nebula is always a showpiece through any scope but tonight through the large dob the amount of detail was jaw dropping. This object takes magnification well and when the magnification was increased more and more detail became visible within the billowing clouds of the nebula. The Pleiades star cluster in Taurus showed clear indications of being embedded in delicate milky nebulosity and the stars were bright and pin sharp. We had a look at the Eskimo nebula in Gemini and again tonight good detail was showing. M81 and M82 were both looking really impressive in the large dob, M82 showing a lot of detail with varying surface brightness, brighter knots and two distinct dark lanes. M81 showing an extended halo but not giving up the faint spiral arms, at least not tonight. M31 in Andromeda was showing a very distinct dark dust lane and even the inexperienced new observers remarked upon it. M33 in Triangulum was visible but faint and not giving up much detail, but to be fair I should have spent more time on this to tease more detail. Paul Cotton drew our attention to a comet, I forget the name but the comet was easily visible and was showing a faint downward extension which was the tail of the comet. It is always nice to see these unscheduled objects and was a nice addition to the nights targets. We had a look at the Leo Triplet of galaxies once they had cleared the trees and they all showed great detail, the two main galaxies showed not only bright cores but also extended halo`s, and the fainter NGC member of the triplet showing a dark lane dividing the upper and lower parts of the galaxy. The Owl nebula in Ursa Major showed a clear ghostly disc with hints of the eyes. The addition of an O111 filter enhanced the contrast of the view and made the nebula stand out more clearly against the back ground sky. Numerous other galaxies and clusters were observed last night but the hi-light of the night for me was M51, the whirlpool galaxy, showing a clear spiral with direct vision! showing brighter areas within the arms, what was more amazing was that the galaxy was not particularly high in the sky (approx. 30 degrees) so this object will give some real wow moments when it is higher up.
  49. 4 points
    Hello, Finally had some time to try some photos again last night. M42 (of course!). 20 images of 20s (unguided), w ASI178MC (uncooled) through a 102mm f/8.6 refractor. Biases, darks & flats applied. Processed using SiriL, and then played around with a bit in Lightroom. I also then played with one image again in GIMP. Not great by ANY means, but my first EVER nebula photo I think I prefer the slightly more monochrome one (I think I've made the colours too psychedelic in the other one!) Cheers, Vin (PS - blooming 'eck seeing them on a laptop screen after posting: I need to improve my focus!)
  50. 4 points
    Foggy here now but only about 10ft thick... I need a taller tripod!! I also need some sleep so its pack up time..
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