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Showing content with the highest reputation on 18/04/20 in all areas

  1. 12 points
    One swallow may not make a summer but the appearance of bright nebulae in the Cygnus region may well! This is a widefield view of some of the jewels to be found in that region of the sky, shot from my back garden in the early hours of 16th April using my ‘grab and go’ set up. In the photo you can see the North American Nebula on the left, with the Pelican nebula immediately to its right. Just right of centre is the Butterfly Nebula and further right is the Crescent Nebula, looking tiny at this focal length. Plus a lot of stars, as we look towards the densely packed galactic core. Image details: 101 x 60secs at ISO 1600 unguided Modified Sony A7s Samyang 135mm f2 @f2.8 Optolong l-Pro light pollution clip in filter iOptron Sky Guider Pro Stacked in Sequator Processed in PS CS5
  2. 12 points
    Nights are getting really short up here so this image contains all 3.5 hours of darkness that I could catch with my 14" Meade LX200R (on the EQ8) on Thursday night. Fortunately it is still cold (around 0°C) so the un-coled Sony A7s (104 x 2 min at ISO3200) did not produce much noise. SQM of 21.4 also helped. Seems like the Black Eye Galaxy is really a red Wiki writes "The Black Eye Galaxy (also called Evil Eye Galaxy and designated Messier 64, M64, or NGC 4826) is a relatively isolated spiral galaxy located 17 million light years away in the northern constellation of Coma Berenices." Indeed, I was stuck by the isolation when I processed the image. Any other galaxies in there are very small and fuzzy so clearly much further away. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Eye_Galaxy
  3. 11 points
    Tycho Crater is an one of the most prominent craters on the moon. It appears as a bright spot in the southern highlands with rays of bright material that stretch across much of the nearside. Its prominence is not due to its size: at 85 km in diameter, it's just one among thousands of this size or larger. What really makes Tycho stand out is its relative youth. It formed recently enough that its beautiful rays, material ejected during the impact event, are still visible as bright streaks. All craters start out looking like this after they form, but their rays gradually fade away as they sit on the surface, exposed to the space environment which over time darkens them until they fade into the background. How old is Tycho? Because the impact event scattered material to such great distances, it's thought that some of the samples at the Apollo 17 landing site originated at the Tycho impact site. These samples are impact melt glass, and radiometric age dating tells us that they formed 108 million years ago. So if these samples are truly from Tycho, the crater formed 108 million years ago as well. This may still seem old, but compared to the 3.9 billion-year age for many large lunar craters, Tycho is the new kid on the block. Directly sampling material from within the crater would help us learn more about not just when Tycho formed, but the ages of terrains on other planets throughout the solar system. Planetary surfaces are dated by counting the number of craters on the surface, and comparing that number to the number of craters that formed on a surface for which we know the age by actually sampling the rocks. The problem is, there aren't that many places for which we've sampled the rocks, and confirming the age of Tycho would help date younger surfaces, which are not well sampled. Tycho is also of great scientific interest because it is so well preserved, it is a great place to study the mechanics of how an impact crater forms. The Constellation site is on the floor of Tycho, near its central peak. The peak is thought to be material that has rebounded back up after being compressed in the impact, and though it's a peak now, it originated at greater depth than any other portion of the crater. The floor of the crater is covered in impact melt, rocks that were heated to such high temperatures during the impact event that they turned to liquid, and flowed across the floor.
  4. 10 points
    I've been going through my old photos, and came across my favourite Milky Way shot from Santorini, Greece in 2017. It was a while ago but I remember it so clearly. I was on holiday with some friends and we were staying very close to Perissa beach. I wasn't planning on taking any shots, but having seen the beach landscape earlier during the day I decided it would make for a good foreground. I headed out at about 11 pm and a couple of my friends joined me, but soon I was left by myself. The beachfront was completely lit up with all the shops and streetlights, but the skies out towards the sea were pitch black. I must have looked rather silly to most people, taking pictures of what appears to be nothing! It remains one of my favourite pictures to date, even though it's tough to edit due to the LP gradients from the beachfront lighting. I would love to go back to Greece at some point and explore the other islands, such an incredible place. Canon 6D unmodified Samyang 14 mm f/2.8 IF ED UMC @ f/2.8 No tracking Milky Way - 46 x 30s @ ISO 12800 = 23 min Foreground - 1 x 20 s @ ISO 6400 Darks applied
  5. 9 points
    Hi all, I'm very much a visual observer but half-heartedly tried stacking some images the other night of M51 with shots taken using a 20" Stargate dob with GOTO and tracking. Also M97, M108 and tried a little around Markarian's Chain but those only have about 10 x 13" subs, no bias or flats. Results are erm...not great, but sort of a record shot. These are my first test shots with stacking and only M51 has many subs (115 13" subs for c.25 min integration under 20.3 SQM skies). No bias or flats. Just images+20 darks. Processing in DeepSkyStacker and just editing TIFF in LR 5.8, no editing in DSS. Using an unmodded Nikon D810 at ISO 3200. My main concern at the moment is obviously focus and coma. I didn't use a coma corrector, have the ES HR CC but my nikon adaptor doesn't fit in the end well. However, I'd like to remove the 2" eyepiece holder and attach camera directly to CC. Therefore wondering if: 1.) a coma corrector would make a big difference, and has anyone used the ES HR CC for photography? I need to remove the 2" EP holder and attach camera directly to CC tube. 2.) is there a better way to achieve focus? No focus mask for 20" dobs, so trying to use live view magnified to achieve best focus, but clearly not spot on. Wondering as well if diffraction spikes are blurring as the stars turn, since it's alt-az. I have collimated scope as best as I can, but can perhaps squeeze a bit better collimation out. I'll no doubt have more questions! Thanks in advance. Note - mods feel free to move if in wrong subforum.
  6. 9 points
    This past week I've set up my Edge HD scope for some deep galaxy imaging, and I've almost gotten the spacing/ colimation right, almost... Anyway, the clouds are back till Tuesday but I got enough exposure to process this image. Edge HD 800 sct w .7 reducer ASI1600mm LRGB: 24x300s per filter, total = 8 hours of exposure. I was quite surprised by the amount of hydrogen visible in the arms of the galaxy. Usually I need several hours of Ha exposure to get to this level... It sure does look like the large Pinwheel Galaxy though! This image is quite an aggressive crop, not sure if the resolution can handle it: Thanks for looking, questions/ comments much appreciated!
  7. 8 points
    As the weather hasn’t been good for the last few months and imaging sessions almost non existent , I’ve been reprocessing some old data , trying to get my head around PixInsight , with some pleasing results .. However ... I have been wanting to try some remote imaging .. firstly to Obtain data from a target you just can’t image in my location in the Northern hemisphere and secondly to process some nice subs for a change . This image was taken with a Planewave CDK24” telescope and FLI ProLine PL9000 CCD a Camera with Astrodon filters on 3 nights this month down in Chile.. . The camera , telescope and mount alone cost £95,000 , that’s without all the other ancillaries that we all know about .. So :- 4 x 600 sec Ha 3 x 600 sec OIII 4 x 600 sec SII all the Raw data was downloaded and processed firstly with PixInsight, which didn’t remove some calibration issues .. obviously I’m doing something wrong .. so I reprocessed the raw data in APP which spat out 3 nice stacked and calibrated subs .. I then took them into PixInsight and then into PS .. For post processing .. I have 2 versions .. one processed as Ha , OIII , SII ... and the other Hubble pallet.. SII , Ha ,OIII .. PS ... as much as I liked the Remote experience ,the data And the resulting pics , it’s not the same as having your own equipment
  8. 8 points
    Call this a "proof of concept" Only twenty images with 30 sec interval - SM60DS/ ED80/ ASI 1600 Processed FireCapture, AS3!, Imppg, Irfanview, Corono and convert to GIF in PIPP. Hopefully there will be other opportunities to observe the sun, I'll try for a longer animation. (Thanks to Martin S. for all the help and support) Enjoy.
  9. 8 points
    Have spent a good few hours processing some L(IR)RGB Saturn data captured in September last year and have made some real gains in the final image, just from taking a different approach to the processing. For the new image I sharpened and tweaked two versions of the same image. One where I concentrated on the rings, and one where I concentrated on the globe, and merged them together to form the final image. I also spent much more time aligning each channel of each LRGB sequence at the pixel scale in PS (I collected 3no. LrGB sequences) before stacking them together whereas previously I relied on winjupos to derotate the images together, without really checking the alignment in any detail myself. Finally I took a more iterative approve to sharpening and noise reduction. Doing both in small steps at different stages and on individual channels, rather than just doing at all in one go on the final image. I'm really pleased with this and an glad I took the time to experiment. I guess that if you feel dissatisfied with your images and have the urge to invest in better kit chasing the better image, it might be worth investing some time at the computer first as you could be very pleasantly surprised!
  10. 8 points
    It's been a while since I managed a decent session under clear skies, but tonight was another opportunity to experience a wow moment! The Clear Outside app predicted clear skies from about 9pm, but I had to wait until 11:30pm tonight before the mid level cloud rolled back to leave unobstructed views. There was still a little murk now and then over Clyde Valley and seeing was a tad variable at times, but good enough I hoped to locate my quarry for the night. Virgo was well presented for my 200p dob. I popped in a 27mm Starguider and had a bit of fun around The Eyes and Markarin's Chain while my eyes fully dark adapted. After about 30 minutes of getting thoroughly lost in a sea of galaxies, I decide it was time. I had earlier looked up some finder charts and loaded Stellarium mobile on the phone. So, I headed south and lined up on the pair of 13 and 15-Vir, then started the dance of feint pin-pricks of light heading north by north-east. After several false starts and taking in time to be amazed at the intensely brilliant red hue of SS-Vir, I landed upon what I would describe as a skewed rhombic asterism comprising HD 108615, HD 108473 plus three others that I couldn't find a designation for. From there, I confirmed the location by looking at a curve of 4 feint stars slightly to the north of the asterism. Yep, I seemed to be on target. I took the right hand corner of the rhombus (furthest west in the sky) and nudged gently north until I found a second pair of feint mag 11 stars. Bisecting these was a third feint star, I'd estimate around mag 12. I stepped back for a few seconds to stretch my back and looked again through the eyepiece. Just to the north of the middle star lay my quarry. A pin prick of light, always present with averted vision and sometimes visible with direct. 3C-273! Only 2.4 Billion light years away! You may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist, but that's nothing to Space! (With apologies to Douglas Adams). I have to admit to having a big grin on my face. This iconic object visible in an 8 Inch dob from a rural back garden. Observing some more, it became more clearly defined with direct vision as time went by. It would be easy to brush it off as just another pin prick of light, but it's likely to be the most distant object I'll ever observe, and I bagged it on the first attempt (though it was pretty hard doing the initial star hopping). Reading up some more on the object and looking at the images on the web, really brings it home what an astounding object this is: emitting as much light as 100 Milky Way galaxies, the light taking 2.4 billion years to reach my eye and complete with a relativistic jet visible to Hubble and other professional observatories. Honestly, the famed Virgo galaxies are just down the road in comparison! Happy as Larry, I packed up to come in, dry off the 'scope and a pour myself a large glass of The Macallan. Stay safe and healthy everyone! Richard
  11. 7 points
    The Leo Quartet, comprising the elliptical galaxy NGC3193 at the lower left in this image, NGC 3190, NGC 3187 and NGC 3185 at the upper right. Mean distance of the group from us is 59 million light years. NGC 3187 looks like a classic barred spiral, but this classification is questionable, the impression being given by the outer spiral arms, but these are tidal tails. (It says here...) Another 6 hr integration, the first time I have imaged in the West since setting up, directly above my pesky LED street lights. I am encouraged by the result. Esprit 150/ASI 178 dual rig, 90 x 2 mins L, 30 x 2 mins RGB. Processed in APP, Startools and GIMP. Thanks for looking
  12. 7 points
    Few final bits added, corners made, a good sanding.. think that's everything other than finishing with a stain or varnish.. Thanks for looking.. Ta Fozzie
  13. 7 points
    Hi, i've finished this target, i had a lot of difficulties processing this data, but i'm reasonably happy with this result. 170 x 2 m L 3 x 55 x 2 m RGB
  14. 6 points
    Been itching to have a go at these two together, so now that the Moon has finally buggered off, I took advantage of a couple of consecutive clear nights. Used 3-minute subs the first night, but burned out the core of M81, so reduced it to 2 minutes for the second night, which is better, but still probably too much for the core. Image then comprised of 56 x 3-minute subs + 112 2-minute subs, for a total integration time of 6.5 hours. Processing was tricky; a balancing act, as what seems best for one galaxy, isn't optimum for the other. SW 200PDS w/SW 0.9x CC SW HEQ5Pro w/Rowan belt mod & ADM saddle Canon 700Da cooled Staraid Revolution autoguider Darks, flats & bias used Stacked with DSS. Processed in AstroArt 6.0. Denoise & sharpening with Topaz DeNoise AI.
  15. 6 points
    Just watching an episode of Grand Designs and heard a great comment in the context of avoiding over-thinking and overspending to solve a problem.. "In the 60s space race, NASA spent countless funds trying to develop a ball point pen that would work in space.. The Russians used a pencil". Dave
  16. 6 points
    This thread has sent me back to my TEC140 data on M51. My offically 'best' M51 combines this 12 hour run from the TEC 140 with a longer run using Yves Van den Broek's 14 inch ODK. So with a bit of tweaking, shoving and thuggery, what can I squeeze out of the TEC140 data? This is, remember, only 12 hours in HaLRGB. I'm chucking it in here at full size and cropped despite the fact that this will throw up JPEG losses for all to see. I don't claim a big reflector can't beat it. I just wonder by how much and with what degree of hassle? Olly
  17. 6 points
    Slightly more colourful than I am used to doing....still, some might prefer it this way A reprocess of old data from 2015 with Tak FSQ106ED with 0.73X focal reducer & Atik460M Camera. Astrodon Ha 3nm: 13x1200" Astrodon OIII 3nm: 13x1200" Astrodon SII 3nm: 14x1200" Integration: 13.3 hours
  18. 6 points
    Imaged it 2 nights ago, it is at mag 13, and that thing is FLYING. It was in LEO so due south and for me, just obtainable before midnight, before my house gets in the way. 1 sub: Animation: 60x30s C11 edge on CEM 60
  19. 6 points
    Grabbed 4 hours of data on M106, from my Bortle 5 back garden, using the Meade SN6 and ASI183MC camera. I did have some issues with dew on the corrector plate at the end of the session. Must crank up the power to the dew strip. Using just these 4 hours I get this, which I feel is clearly better than my previous 2h efforts Adding the 2 h from the night before I get this: Which gives some improvement, I feel. Finally, adding data from April 15, which was taken with the camera rotated roughly 90 degrees with respect to the others, I get this The top 2/3rda are 8 hour, the bottom still just 6. I might get more in the coming nights to see what further improvements I can get. I might also go for a mosaic, to grab the wider area around M106, which contains more fuzzies. That said, extending my data on Markarian's Chain is also tempting. Choices, choices.
  20. 5 points
    Ten hours of LRGBHa, TEC140 and Atik 460 CCD with Astrodon LRGBHa filters. March/April 2020.
  21. 5 points
    I'm not sure about posting this in the Deep Sky section, but I can't think anywhere else to post it - indeed one wonders if it should be posted anywhere at all...!! This is possibly the most bizarre of Charles Messier's list of 'it's not a comet' targets, though to be fair to him, in 1764 he was searching for a nebula that had been reported in the area by Johannes Hevelius, of which nothing has ever been found. What Messier found was an optical double, which I've only imaged as I need it for my personal Messier collection. It was rediscovered by Friedrich August Theodor Winnecke in 1863, hence the alternative designation of Winnecke 4. The star field is so boring that for the first time ever I used Noel Carboni's Astronomy Tools to add artificial diffraction spikes.... Anyway here you are Messier 40.... For anyone interested capture details are: C14+Optec x0.67 telecompressor lens, QSI585wsg-5, Astronomic Type II RGB filters each 12x1m.
  22. 5 points
    Progress continues. 50mm duct in with 2 x 135 bends to make a long slow bend up into cupboard / observing office. Other end butted to middle of where pier will go, so leaves me flex in pier choice. Duct concreted into the pad up to the area marked for pier footing. Cupboard / observing office now has a concreted floor, which help anchor the structure even more. Now just needs to be left to cure for a few days. I had some good news in that my local woodyard, who I use often and have been shut are opening next week for phone based orders, delivered to driveway with contactless transaction, so perhaps some cladding and door timber can be arranged after all............ to be continued
  23. 5 points
    Taken with my baby tak on the star adventurer which is 355mm focal length, 373mm with the flattener, f6.2. It was unguided so I couldn’t go much longer than 1.25mins. I ended up imaging at ISO1600 instead of ISO400 because I forgot to change it back after I’d found the galaxy. That was interesting with no goto and the Galaxy high overhead. At ISO1600 I was expecting the lower dynamic range to reduce my colours etc but it was better than I’d expected. I wouldn’t have had time to image 4 times longer so maybe it turned out for the best. Anyway it’s clearly the Whirlpool.
  24. 5 points
    After many years of visual observing and one half-hearted attempt to get into astrophotography I have decided to keep a record of my observations by sketching. Partly spurred on by my desire to tick of all 110 messier objects. These are my very first sketches from the last week or so.
  25. 5 points
    Hi everyone <self-pity> Lock-down day thirty -I've-lost-count- something with only 3 clear nights since it started. Desperate times in many ways. </self-pity> I looked out at 04:00 and saw a star. As the 6" f8 already had the camera+oag attached, I put it on the mount and managed a whopping two frames before the next weather front rolled in. Six minutes in all. Couldn't get anywhere with GIMP so took the easy way out and StarTools managed to rescue something from nothing. I even think the colour is somewhere close. Thanks for looking and stay safe. 700d on nt150l @ ISO800
  26. 5 points
    Who needs the postman when you can collect everything you need yourself?
  27. 4 points
    Firstly, we apologise for the delay in getting this up and running. We decided to wait for the launch of the new Starlight Press Midi filter wheel so we could have 7 filter positions rather than 5 before fully going 'live' so as not to need to create new flats etc.. In addition Grant who is running this project moved house and was then sick for a number of weeks but, we are almost there now Our friends Colin and Dave at Pixel Skies have made this excellent video showing the kit being installed and commissioned in the observatory. It is a good example of the level of service all Pixel Skies customers receive when they send their kit to them in Spain. We are currently collecting our first proper set of data on the Leo Triplet as a test run and hope to have some data made available in the next few weeks - weather dependent. More updates to follow very soon
  28. 4 points
    Thought I would have another crack at this. 127mm Mak, ZWO178MC on my AZGTi mount, 2x barlow. The seeing wasn't the best and the whole planet seemed to be shimmering and bubbling but I persisted anyway. I had a bit of a play with the focussing assistance in Sharpcap to see if it helped. I also used the ROI feature in sharpcap to get a higher framerate and managed 10000 frames in a couple of minutes. I used PIPP to get this down to around 4000 frames, then AS, Registax , Gimp and Windows photo editor. Not in the same league as some of the spectacular Venus images in here, but something nonetheless. Thanks for looking
  29. 4 points
    One last shot of the prom before it disappeared. No colour this time. Captured using FireCapture, stacked with AS!3, processed with imppg and PS.
  30. 4 points
    I was finally able to collect a proper luminance. Now the question becomes one of degree--do I need more luminace? I collected 80 300 sec subs and integrated the RGB and L stacks into a super luminance. The total hours is now is about 29. The effect of a luminance layer was less than I had expected....but a efinite gain. I tried very hard not to oversaturate the Ha regions. If I do collect more lum it will have to be a lot-like another 80 subs or so. Part of me suspects that it won't add much more. I think I was pretty aggressive with the stretch (perhaps to aggressive) and the faint star streams on teh bottom side of the galaxy are barely visible, so I dont think more data will necessarilly bring them out. Perhaps processing is the key. Thats the other thing--it is very bright--maybe too bright. But to bring out the extensions more I need to lift. Maybe I am bumping up against my sky conditions. I did not crop as much as previously-note the galaxy is a bit north of center--for those who pine for a wider view.
  31. 4 points
    After 3 months of acquisition on M51 I think I have reach the point of diminishing returns @ 15hr of integration. In truth I only got a couple of hours in Jan, 0 hours in feb, a few more hours in March and the rest in April. Clear weather kept falling around the full moon so this has taken way longer than it should have! Seeing was generally average until my last run a few nights ago; The luminance stack has a FWHM of 2.68" but for most of the 14/04 night subs were < 2.2" with some dipping below 2". Just over 10h of Lum, and 90m per channel for RGB. Annotated version:
  32. 4 points
    I'm guessing there will be a flood of images with clear skies galore and lockdown. Here is my first of the lockdown period, NGC4565 taken with a 12 inch ONTC and ASI1600MM camera. A total of around 8 hours data. The sharp eyed among you will notice the odd spider vane spikes, a result of rotated images during a couple of sesions to get the data.
  33. 4 points
    With so little time left of this season, I pointed my Meade LX200-ACF to Coma Berenices so I would get as many galaxies as possible in one single frame. Used a Nikon D7000, HEQ5 Pro and NexGuide. Two nights gave a total of 6-7 hours of 10 minutes subs (1600mm F/7.8 iso200). Ragnar
  34. 4 points
    A friend down the road has a 175 Starfire. Thank God he isn't selling it! Olly
  35. 4 points
    And a bit of light reading.
  36. 4 points
    A few lovely meteors and the Milky Way looking very elegant gliding across the night sky.
  37. 3 points
    Hi all, thanks for all the historic posts and wealth of info I have found on this forum over the last few weeks. Been a lifelong Apollo Mission nerd and always wanted a decent telescope to explore the lunar surface and also start venturing into the wider skies. Had a Celestron Travelscope for a few years to get me started, and with lockdown and my birthday coinciding earlier this month, gifted myself a new SkyWatcher Heritage 130p Flextube Dobsonian having seen tons of great reviews and posts about this compact but powerful little scope. (Know a Mak or Reflector probably better for moon observation but have a 7yr old at home so needed something easy to pack up compact with small footprint and no big tripod to trip over!) Got some nice early shots of the recent moon and then as expected it's been cloudy since so ive been doing more reading up and of course splashing out the rest of my birthday money on some upgraded glass using lots of advice on here to guide me. So far it's all mostly been 2nd hand finds and I'm reasonably proud of my collection and cant wait to get out and play more... 5mm TS Planetary HR 6mm Skywatcher Ultra Wide 66° 8mm BST Starguider 10mm Celestron stock 12mm Celestron Omni Plossl 15mm Vixen NPL 20mm Vixen NPL 25mm Orion Sirius Plossl 32mm Meade 4000 Super Plossl Celestron Ultima SV 2x Barlow Celestron Variable Polarising Filter & Moon Filter Considering saving up or asking Santa for Baader Classic Orthos for the 10mm & 18mm gaps based on recommendations that they're superb. Or maybe the BCO 10mm and the 18mm BST Starguider. Looking forward to learning lots and getting out as the skies clear starting with Luna and then beyond! Cheers, Callum
  38. 3 points
    Well I finally managed to grab some luminance to add to my RGB and quite pleased with the result. In the past my Lum subs with the refractor have been hopeless due to the wide band of the ZWO Lum filter and poorly corrected colour from the doublet/reducer combo - much better with the reflector. Once I'd sorted out my superheated secondary and related aberrations, and notwithstanding a cable tangle after meridian flip costing me 30 frames, I ended up with 100 60sec subs toadd to the RGB I had already. I think the processing is about right, though the lum seem a bit noisy. I created separate star, galaxy, and background layers but TBH the galaxies could really have each had their own layer as they're all a bit different. But the layered file is already best part of 1 GB so time to stop I think! Happy as ever to receive comment / criticism.
  39. 3 points
    Date: Friday 17th April 2020. 2320-0410hrs Scope: 20” f3.6 Lukehurst Dob with Paracorr (fl = 2089mm & f4.1). Night Vision: PVS-14 with Photonis 4g INTENS. Eyepieces: Plossl 55mm (f2 x38), Panoptic 35mm (f3 x60), Panoptic 27mm (f4 x77), DeLite 18.2mm (f5.8 x115). Introduction. The last three sessions outside have been focused on Supernovae, tonight I wanted to focus on the grade 3 (rated by me “the best of the best” galaxies to view based on my experience with Night Vision on >150 galaxies). I did not get through the whole list as the sky just keeps on turning and some targets were deserving of long lingering looks! After connecting Sky Safari to my Nexus wifi unit, I completed 2-star alignment and loaded the 55mm Plossl (for fastest possible “effective” focal ratio of my system), selected my Grade 3 observing list (using Sky Safari) and headed to the nearest target… Observing Report. NGC4051 – The galaxy showed as a superb “S” shape. The core had a tiny black circle around it, straight bar and arms curve away both ends. A good start! NGC4449 – bright core, bright-ish inner halo, fainter larger outer halo with a detached arm curving on the lower side. NGC2403 –large mid-brightness circular central region, long arm exits @3 (o’clock), curves back over top and down left hand side (LHS) to 6 (o’clock). M81 – large with a bright core section & inner halo. Long arm sweeps from 6 up LHS to 10. Much fainter arm exists (just visible) exits 12 and comes down RHS to 4. NGC3631 – Mid-size faintish patch. Tiny core & hazy spiral structure (hard to see directly). Looks like a circle then glimpses of “more”! NGC3726 – Faintish bar-spiral galaxy. Tiny bright core, bar and arms on both sides come & go from view. NGC3893 – Nice. Tiny but has a clear arm running underneath 3 to 9 (o’clock). Time check – 2356hrs NGC3953 – small and bright. Dot core & brighter inner halo (seems to be circular). Averted reveals the galaxy as a bright oblong shaped patch suggesting more content further out too. M109 – Bright bar and plenty of arms to view. One (then two) arms seen exiting @9 and up over top to 3 (& beyond). Lower arm seen intermittently. No arms seen leaving the bar @3 end. M106 – Super bright galaxy. “S” shaped arm structure and central bar. Lower arm clearer to see, upper area has more brightness hiding the arm although thin bright lane is visible within the upper area with averted. NGC4217 – small but perfectly formed edge-on galaxy. Bright core seen in upper section. Long black dust lane runs along the leading edge full length. NGC4618 & NGC4625 – Two galaxies (one small and one tiny), both displaying clear arm structures. 4618 is larger and has a long single arm RHS which seems to leave the lower end of the bar. 4625 is tiny but has a clear circular structure surrounding it. Nice. Time check – 0031hrs M94 – 55mm = Bright core & inner halo. Seems to be surrounded by a black circular area with a faint circular section around that. 27mm for more magnification to see detail within the bright halo but not much to see. Black circular section and outer ring disappear (due to loss of “effective focal ratio” caused by change to higher power eyepiece). NGC4216 – A lovely trio of edge on galaxies in the same fov (all different sizes) dominated by the largest/brightest 4216. I see a bright core on the topside, tiny spec underneath (a field star). A long flat disk with black dust lane running the full length. Nice. M61 – 55mm = Small & beautiful. Bright bar spiral galaxy with obvious arm structure. With some time a long arm is seen exiting at 8, it runs right and up past the other end of the bar. Shorter arm exits at 2 and runs down LHS to 10. 35mm Panoptic and was surprised that there was still plenty of arm structure on offer + increased scale. It was harder to see the arms than with the 55mm Plossl though. M99 – 35mm = Large galaxy with clear anti-clockwise arms. 55mm = Like a "two legged octopus" (if there was such a thing), long arm leaves at 4 anti-clockwise over top to 10. Second arm leaves at 10 and heads down to 6 (a less curvy arm). M100 – 35mm = inner spiral arms clear. Outer arms partially there. Upper arm heads out to a field star. Tiny galaxy patch at 5 o’clock catches the eye. 55mm = Outer arms are easier to see. Lovely elongated arms! M98 – 55mm. Bright core and bar section. “T” bar at top end. Hints of circular arms but not clearly seen. NGC5248 – small bar spiral. A long arm appears to leave @6, swings up RHS and over top and back down to 9. NGC5746 – Lovely edge-on. Core seen on the top-side. Black dust lane runs full length of the leading edge. UGC10528/SN2020ekk. SUCCESS. Supernova observed using 27mm Panoptic and my star chart notes from last time out. This is a bright supernova set well away from the galaxy disk (once you know where it is!) M13 globular – It would be rude not to pop in and see M13 while sitting nearby! With the 27mm eyepiece it almost filled the fov with stars resolved right to the core. The propeller (more of a “1970s space invader”) was obvious. Hope to spend more time on globulars next week… M101 – 27mm = Surprisingly showing a large amount of arm detail, mostly faintish but more as you keep looking. Galaxy completely fills the fov at this magnification. All the arms are there plus a couple of internal NGC/IC patches too. 35mm = Harder, 27mm view was better. 55mm = Brightest view with reduced scale but the arms are all there and the internal NGC/IC too. Reckon 55mm wins then 27mm second place. Time check = 0258hrs. M51 – 27mm = Bridge to the interacting neighbour NGC5195 is almost complete. Increased scale is nice too. View is not sharp but plenty to see so I spend some time tracing the full length of the arms in finite detail. 35mm = Brighter image than the 27mm. Bridge is now all there. 55mm = brightest and clearest view. NGC5195 has a lovely oblong shape with bridge details at NGC5195 end much enhanced. NGC5371 – 55mm. A central dot core with a large disk. Swirliness in the disk. Possible long arm seen on the RHS. NGC5907 – Long edge-on galaxy. Core sits on the top-side. Black dust lane runs the length of the leading edge. NGC6214/SNAT2020gpe – A toughie. Brightest and best view was with the 35mm Panoptic. The SN is very faint and right next to the core @11 o’clock. The SN was glimpsed several times but I could not hold it in direct vision. Perfect star pattern match to my sketch from 15th April. Milky Way is pulling me away… By now my fingers were pretty chilly and all I could see was the bright wide Milky Way rising South to North and constantly pulling my attention away from the scope. On the 15th I had moved to some x1 handheld Night Vision with an 7nm Ha filter. Tonight it was all too much and I added a Chroma 5nm Ha filter to the front of the Paracorr2 and targeted the scope for some much magnified views of the few parts of the spiral arms that I could get to over the tall side of the shed... As this is the “GalaxyQuest” report, I will not write about my observations here. Epilogue. The weather forecast next week seems unbelievable and it is showing me several clear nights plus its new moon. Just need to keep my fingers crossed that it actually happens, maybe then the barren months of January & February will be long forgotten! Clear Skies, Alan
  40. 3 points
    Working at F4 isn't too trying- F2.9 is a different ball game. Only go down that avenue if you like being told 'it can't be done'! I have bunch of F4 Newtonians and use the 0.73x Coma Corrector on all of them at times. So the 12" F2.9 scope is interesting.....M51 in just 140 seconds.
  41. 3 points
    I'm not sure that isn't actually just urban legend. It may not just be about, for example, creating an implement that will write in zero gravity. There's also the consideration that you don't want "waste" from the process floating around where it might interact with electronics and other equipment. Imagine, for example, if the pencil broke and the bit of broken lead shot off to disappear who knows where. James
  42. 3 points
    Decided to annotate the image in Pixinsight. To say I'm blown away by the number of galaxies present would be an understatement!
  43. 3 points
    Waffling over. Just picked up a used 30mm Aero. Not a lot of used ones out there but still saved 30 quid so better than nothing and cheaper than a new Panaview.
  44. 3 points
    It don't think big reflectors have had their day. It is just there has to be a shift in thinking as to how they would be used. If we go back 10 or so years most CCDs had large pixels and hence you sacrificed resolution for field of view. With the new CMOS cameras that is no longer correct, and as noted, with smaller pixel sizes even a moderately focal length instrument can get you to high resolution and wide image scales. The old CCDs also had higher read noise, so each sub-exposure had to be longer requiring a much more hefty mount for the larger telescopes as well as longer guiding, more risk from plane trails and so forth. In comparison new cameras have lower read noise which means that the sub-exposures can be much shorter even for narrowband, alleviating the need for that perfect mount. So what is the benefit of a large reflector then? Well lets consider the situation of a16" 3250mm RC scope paired with a new 6200 mono class CMOS camera. At native focal length you have 0.24" per pixel (and 62Mpixels which is it's own issue) which you may get the resolution advantage to use once in a lifetime in the UK (assuming no clouds). But this isn't the only benefit as it is still a larger aperture. If you binned the camera 3x3, now you have a much more reasonable 0.71" per pixel and down to about 7Mpixel files (which is still fine for almost everything you want to do with the image). So what is the benefit in doing this. Well lets compare what type of telescope system you would need to get the same resolution - you would have a 16" 1080mm. That's equivalent to a F2.7 system using the same camera. Now lets add 0.8 reducer/flattener to the system. That takes the native unbinned resolution 0.3"/pixel and 2600mm which is still way too small. Bin it 3x3 again and we are at a more reasonable 0.9". Again in comparison the focal length would be 860mm at 16". That's equivalent to an F2.1 system using the same camera. So where does this get us? We can't improve on the seeing unfortunately (not until we get real AO systems for amateur market anyway). So the resolution we can achieve is still limited. So what is the point of the large telescope.. Well it means that low S/N areas of an image can get much more data much quicker because of the larger light collecting area. As such that faint detail that would be processed out in smaller aperture instruments (because there was too much noise) will be able to be displayed in all its glory. This would give the impression of higher resolution when in reality all it is allowing is to tease out more detail at the lower resolution (so for smaller galaxies you would be able to pick out faint tidal tails etc). The only areas where it is unlikely to be of use would be very bright areas such as the core of M42. As such larger reflectors will return to what visual astronomers see them as....huge light buckets! However you do sacrifice field of view, extra maintenance, diffraction spikes and so forth. (*Note I've made some abstraction on read noise etc issues when binning so it won't be quite as good as this but the principles do stand). - As for the argument as to whether a C14 Edge or RC16 it is going to be same as any argument between the Edge series and RC's at the equivalent sizes. I'd wonder whether the weight of the mirror might be an issue in the edge and it moving whilst imaging (whereas the RC16 should be more fixed but collimation is more tricky). From a personal perspective I'd go RC16 but that's because I like to a bit of photometry/spectroscopy with a scope that size and generally lens are only corrected at optical wavelengths whereas a mirror system would also be able to image slightly into the Near Infrared or blue/near UV where lens aren't generally well corrected.
  45. 3 points
    Sorry to hear of your mishap. I think what I’d do is to let the scope thoroughly dry out in a dust free dry place out of direct sun. Leave the scope uncapped at both ends. In a couple of days take a look, remembering that when viewed with a bright light most optical surfaces look less than pristine and still work fine. After that, if you’re still not happy with how the lens looks, I’d try another careful clean. I’d avoid removing the optical elements from the lens cell, it’s much more complicated than it sounds to successfully reassemble correctly. However it’s usually quite simple to unscrew the whole lens cell from the tube as a complete unit. This would allow cleaning of the innermost lens surface. You could put a piece of tape on the cell and an adjacent piece on the tube so you can refit in exactly the same position. Go carefully when refitting because the threads are fine and it’s easy to cross thread, but if you’re careful you should be ok. I’d consider getting something like ‘Baader Wonder Fluid’ a top quality cleaner for lenses. Hope you sort it to your satisfaction, Ed. Edit - just checked - Baader wonder fluid is available from FLO for £11.
  46. 3 points
    It’s feast or famine in this hobby, isn’t it? Back in November I was feeling so starved of night sky I was starting to check out remote telescope subscriptions. Fast forward 4 months and the clear nights have been a regular and very welcome occurrence in these strange times. In the month between 15th March – 15th April I’ve been able to observe and/or image on 11 different nights helped not a little by working all the time at home. I’ve still got quite a lot of data to go through but thought I’d share a few of the pictures I’ve managed during this time. Feedback always welcome… M106 – 15th March ASI1600MM / SW200p / HEQ5 – 20x 2 mins in each of RGB Really pleased with how this one came out- but really wish I’d framed it better to move NGC4217, bottom right, further into the frame as I hadn’t realised it would be so photogenic. Leo Triplet – 22nd March ASI1600MM / SW200p / HEQ5 – 48x 120s L, 20x 2 mins in each of RGB M63 Sunflower Galaxy 25th March ASI1600MM / SW200p / HEQ5 – 40x 60s L, 10x 2 mins in each of RGB Seven Sisters and California 25th March Canon 600d / Jupiter 135mm / Star Adventurer – 45x 1min exposure per pane. Really pleased to have got this one. I only realised it was a composition that would work with the 135mm whilst doing a much wider shot- and it would have been better had I done it a few months earlier. As it was I managed 45 minutes on each pane before they slipped below the horizon- indeed there was a bit of incursion from the Leylandii dark nebula at the bottom of my garden on the last few subs. The gradients were pretty fierce as well- to the extent that the Pixinsight tools really couldn’t do much and I resorted to eyeballing the brightness and joining the pictures up in Gimp- hopefully I got away with it! I’ll definitely have another go at this later this year when they’ll be much higher in the sky. M3 Globular 26th March ASI1600MM / SW200p / HEQ5 – 10x 2mins in each of RGB I do love globs, especially the way they start to look different from each other once you get to know them. M3 always looks much tidier than M13 in the eyepiece to me, but that’s less apparent in pictures. What does stand out, at least in the photos I’ve taken, is the contrast between white and orange stars. M101 Pinwheel Galaxy 26th/27th March ASI1600MM / SW200p / HEQ5 – 146x 1min L, 15 x 2 mins each of RGB, 58x 2 mins Ha I really went to town a bit on this one to see how much gathering extra data would help the image. Adding the Ha in took quite a bit of tweaking- the process I usually use for nebulae pictures (learned from Light Vortex tutorials for Pixinsight) really didn’t give me very much so I spent a long time playing with it. In the end the most effective way was to combine the Ha with the Red prior to colour combining, then after the stretch and applying luminance, use the Ha layer as a mask and enhance the saturation on the red that way. Virgo Galaxy Cluster 27th March Canon 600d / Jupiter 135mm / Star Adventurer, 123x 1min This didn’t come out as the most exciting image in the world- you have to look quite hard to spot the galaxies, so I ran it through the Pixinsight script that annotates your photos to make a GIF of it. There are quite a few!! Owl Nebula 6th and 8th April ASI1600MM / SW200p / HEQ5 – 8x5 mins in each of Ha, Oiii and Sii These were done with a bright moon- the first is a Bi-colour HOO from the first night’s captures and the second is SHO after I’d captured some Sii. I think I prefer the HOO version- the Sii signal was very weak and I don’t think it really adds anything to the images. Blimey- it's been a good month for astro- if you've got this far then thanks for looking
  47. 3 points
    If you get OCD over diagonals try not using one. Perfection.
  48. 3 points
    Whoa, the big question is, What will your seeing support? If your Mesu is anything like the two that I use it will run an RMS under guiding of about O.3-O.4 arcsecs, which will support, at worst, about 0.8 arcsecs per pixel. But what will your seeing support? You'll need a darned stable night to let you work at 0.8"PP. I'm not saying it won't happen but how often will it happen? Personally I've given up on big reflectors and opted for a focal length of a metre and the simplicity and reliability of refractor optics and a camera with suitably matched pixels to give me a pixel scale of 0.9"PP. Payload is absolutely not the problem. Seeing is the problem. Olly Edit. One more consideration. Pixels are getting smaller. Do you want to end up with a focal length entirely inappropriate to these cameras? I can't read the future but my impression is that it is not going the way of the big amateur reflector.
  49. 2 points
    At the IAS Steve from First Light Optics asked me to post the following on SGL after I showed him my recently bought Black Diamond headtorch. I've used a lot of headlamps over the years, including many that have separate switches for red and white light. Even so, I've all too often pushed the wrong button and ruined my dark adaption. Additionally, all the lights have been way too bright. So the ability to dim the lights is an important feature. However, whilst there are many good torches that dim right down, there seem to be few such headlamps, that I prefer when observing alone. The best I've found are some of the 2019 Black Diamonds. Confusingly, although the model name (but not the number) remains the same, many have been totally redesigned for 2019 with two buttons instead of just one. One of the great things about them is that only the larger button turns the headlamp on; the smaller button just changes from red to white, but nothing happens when you press it if the headlamp is off. Additionally, they remember the last setting you used before turning off. For instance, if you finished with the red light at its dimmest setting, that's what you get when you turn it back on. Set up like this it means that it's impossible to turn anything on at the start but the dimmest red light - whatever button you push. Not all the 2019 Black Diamond two button range are suitable for us though. Some of them have battery check LEDs that light up when you first switch on. The problem is they're bright blue! Also note that the poorly-named Astro model doesn't have a red light. I started by buying two models, the Cosmo 225 and the Spot Lite 160, that use 3AAA and 2AAA batteries respectively. The numbers represent the max. brightness in lumens. Surprisingly, the red light on the Cosmo 225 goes dimmer than that on the Spot Lite 160, although this may just be a sample variation. The former is also on special offer at the moment because a new model, the Cosmo 250 has just been launched, that seems to be identical but has a higher output. I've just tested this, and comparing all 3 with fresh disposable batteries the 250 is indeed slightly brighter on full power white light than the 225, but there isn't much in it. On the dimmest red light they're exactly the same. So any of the 3 models are fine for astronomy.. There were complaints about older versions of these products having a weak closure on the battery compartments. This appears to be rectified nicely in the new models that have a firm, precise click action. I'd add that, here in Europe at least, these Black Diamonds have a 3 year guarantee. That doesn't of course prove anything, but they're expected to last at least that long. These headlamps should also be suitable for my fishing and camping as they have a waterproof rating of IPX8. This means that they can work for at least 30 minutes submerged to a depth of 1.1 metres (3 1/2 feet). However do note the battery compartment itself isn't waterproof and will need drying out. So for the first time I'm satisfied with a headlamp for astronomy and can thoroughly recommend these 3 Black Diamond headtorches. They're also very reasonably priced. Do check though that you're buying the latest 2 button models. Many outlets are still selling the similar 1 button type that's not good for us. For instance Amazon UK even has a picture of a 2 button Cosmo but the description suggests it's the old 1 button model. Hopefully FLO will stock them so you can buy them from our sponser!
  50. 2 points
    As I continue to work through Virgo cluster targets for my Messier collection, I imaged these two elliptical galaxies earlier this month, but only just got round to processing them today as its a cloudy night. There's nothing much to say about these large fuzzy blobs, hence posting them both on a single thread. As would be expected from galaxies in the heart of the huge Virgo cluster there are several other galaxies on view. Both images were captured with my QSI583wsg-5 camera, through my C14+Optec x0.67 telecompressor lens. M49 (L=9x10m; RGB=7x5m each) M59 (L=12x10m, RGB=7x5m each) Thanks for looking.
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