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Showing content with the highest reputation since 25/03/19 in all areas

  1. 22 points
    Well, I figured I'd stick with a target for the two flawless nights of clear skies I got Thursday and Friday, and picked on M51. Setup: Skywatcher 200PDS on EQ6-R, Baader LRGB in EFW Mini, ASI183MM-PRO at -10c, HitecAstro DC focus, guided with ASI120MC through a Primaluce Lab 60mm guidescope. Capture: Post ditching the crap frames, 51xL, 25xR, 27xG, 27xB, all 120s exposures. Processing: Stacked and processed entirely in PixInsight. General workflow was cal, hot pixel correction, registration, linear fit stacking, order a 32G RAM upgrade for next time, deconvolution on L, DBE on all, channel combination and photometric colour correction for RGB, multiscale linear transform noise reduction, histograms, LRGBCombination, final masked MLT and global TGVDenoise, a gentle ABE mixed in with PixelMath, local histogram equalization, a bit of gentle masked saturation tweaking, unsharpmask and curves. Quite happy with the result overall, though there's still some calibration issues - I have no way to make flats and my darks are out of date and not at 120s so PI's optimisation didn't quite null out all the amp glow from the 183. Deconv is still slightly unsatisfying, even with careful masking.
  2. 20 points
    It's been clear for a few days down in Devon. I say clear - it's been murky and hazy... but, a clear sky is a clear sky... In between getting subs for an image of the Leo Triplet I'm working on, I got some RGB of M13 as it rose up in the east over a couple of nights this last week after the Leo Triplet crossed the meridian and entered the murky light polluted skies in the direction of Exeter. M13 is one of those fairly rare objects that I think look every bit as good visually through a scope as on an image I can't quite get over the number of little galaxies that are visible if I stretch the image a lot more than I have here. As it is there are quite a few, one off to the upper right, one near the edge of the field of view, but also at least two visible on the right hand side near the end... I used an ASI1600mm-Pro through an Esprit 120 with Astronomik RGB filters. 20x 20 seconds each of L, R, G, B so less than 30 minutes data - actually, by dithering I probably doubled the time taken... Now I have to hope for more clear skies to finish off my Leo Triplet!
  3. 18 points
    Between work/family/really poor cloud cover when I might have gotten out, the sad fact is that this was my 1st night out this year with my 15"! It has been eating me to see the darkness eroding away and we have the daylight saving time change coming up next weekend... so I was like a kid getting out last night - it was a beautifully clear blue sky all evening. With my recently washed mirrors, I threw the scope in the car and headed for a little spot on the coast 10mins from my house. Hmmm... "ceilings" of fog were appearing in my headlights as I drove down - I feared this but kept going. When I got to my spot I was dismayed by a security light on a house maybe 400m away which seemed to be aimed at me, and there was a whitish glow to the sky due to new cursed LED lighting in a nearby town catching the thin fog. This was not going to be a night of great transparency or contrast, but hey I just wanted to use my scope! With a tinge of sadness, I noted Orion low in the west - i never really got to study it this year. First target: M81 in the 17E, and swapping to the N31T5 for M81/M82. Hmmm transparency and contrast really wasn't great as expected, but still the views felt rewarding. On to the Sombrero, M104, with the 17E, and that dramatic dust lane! I swung over to the Black Eye, M64, with the characteristic dark patch showing. Then I tried for the Antennae Galaxies, NGC4038/39 - quite low in the haze, but could detect the two cores - a first time on this target for me, so chuffed! After a brief look at M90, I went for the Siamese Twins galaxies NGC4567/68, with NGC4564 nearby. Another first for me, and I definitely need to revisit in better conditions - looked really good Then it was up to Makarian's Chain and panning around noting so many galaxies, without trying to figure out their names or list them. It is just amazing to be viewing a multitude of galaxies in the same FOV around Virgo/Coma B. Next I went for the Spindle NGC3115, and then the beautiful edge-on, the Silver Needle NGC4244. At this stage it was increasingly foggy, and I wanted to get back to my wife, and not be too late. So I started to pack up and switched on my large white torch - wow - I was choked in fog: it's amazing I saw anything!! Short and sweet session, only an hour long and not fully dark adapted, plus not ideal conditions, but hey, I got out and got to use my scope and saw a few galaxies!! Glad I did it One thing is clear though: I need to find a better relatively local spot to observe from - the light pollution is getting too bad...
  4. 18 points
    Welcome to the new electronically enhanced visual astronomy or, EEVA section on SGL Over the past few years, a number of new avenues of amateur astronomy have developed: video astronomy, live stacking, night vision and others. There has been lots of debate and discussion on what to call these, where they belong and how they are defined. Unfortunately this has often led to conflict, disagreements and entrenchment. SGL wants to encourage these new forms of astronomy, we believe they are going to be hugely important areas and want to help foster and grow the techniques, methods and equipment used. We also want to recognise that some of these techniques are 'different' to traditional visual observing and could cause confusion or unrealistic expectations for people reading topics if they weren't aware of the equipment being used to help enhance the views. They are also different to traditional imaging which is why we feel they deserve their own areas and recognition within the community. As such, we have coined the new phrase: EEVA or EVA which stands for: electronically enhanced visual astronomy. We hope this offers a catchy acronym which can be embraced by the community and used to describe these techniques and methods and give them their own area of SGL which we hope to foster and grow to become as important as the existing observing and imaging sections. We are open to feedback and suggestions but hope, after a pause of reflection you will see we are trying to do something good here, for the right reasons. Thanks, Grant on behalf of the SGL admin and mod team.
  5. 16 points
    I had a less than great day today. Nothing terrible. Definitely in the first world problems category. I have been 100% cheered up by the skies unexpectedly clearing. Was only out for about an hour and a half. Split some doubles, took another look at Asteroid Pallas. Then onto the Leo triplet which looked great through my recently acquired 25mm TV Plossl. The Eskimo nebula was stunning at 240x which was a repeat of my first proper wow moment with my 10” dob just over a year ago. The Owl Nebula and Messier Galaxy M108 were great. Finally got to work my way down Markarian’s Chain for the first time this year. The great thing about it is that I have you all to share it with. People who understand how time under stars can bring a sense of calm and perspective. People I can ask questions of whether that be prospective equipment purchases or help with finding a target. I regularly buy equipment from SGL members such as the TV Plossl with total confidence that it will arrive exactly as described. I wrote a post about trying to find a particular Quasar a month or two back. I eventually managed to observe it. Out of the blue today, I got a comment on that post from someone in Sweden who I’d never spoken to before. They had read my report and against their own expectations managed to see it. A few hours later another member also reported observing it this evening. The only reason that I even knew it existed was because another member, from Germany if memory serves, had recommended it to me as a target. Astronomy is a fab hobby that is all the better for having like minded people to share it with. One of the very nicest corners of the internet imho.
  6. 14 points
    After a morning session around 5am, I had the Dob out again after 7pm. Leo eventually emerged from behind some bamboos, and I went to Kappa Leonis, more or less between Regulus and Chertan. A short hop led to M105 (elliptical galaxy, face-on) and its neighbour NGC 3384 (another elliptical). They appeared small and fuzzy, with slightly brighter centres. That was at x64, and a slight increase to x71 improved the clarity. The nearby fainter galaxy NGC 3389 was not detected. To continue with the Second Leo Triplet of Galaxies, I then hopped to M96 (spiral, face-on), which was a very small pale patch x35, clearer x64. Finally to M95 (barred spiral, face-on, known for being faint). I spotted this one as a larger patch, but much dimmer, using x64 and AV. Then over to Cassiopeia and C10/NGC 663, a very attractive open cluster. I guessed at a size of about 1/4 of a degree. It comprised many bright pairs and triangles of stars, and lots of fainter ones all seen at x35. Contrast was better at x106, revealing further fainter stars, including closer pairs. Total, over 2.5 hours of enjoyment, taking in some old and some new targets. Doug.
  7. 11 points
    Evening All, I've been sitting on a set of M33 subs I took last October - finally got around to doing something with them. It's been a bit of a challenge, difficult to do a reasonable background subtraction when there's so much going on, and I've found colour calibration a bit of a problem. This is as close to "natural" as I've managed so far. I took some H-alpha frames, but haven't added them in yet. Exposure details: TOA-150 @ F/11 / Mesu 200 / Atix 460ex 10 minute sub-exposures L:R:G:B 47:15:15:14 Nigel
  8. 7 points
    I took this one on Monday night 25th march . I was trying out my new scope addition which is an 8" Edge .. hooked up with my OSC QHY163C.. This is 4 hrs of 120sec subs .. with almost no cropping .. processed in DSS , PS & LR .. with various plugins .. QUESTION Are you guys the same , and keep processing the same image until everything clicks , and you like the result ? . Anyway I like this one ..
  9. 7 points
    I welcome this development and hope that it will see NV and other electronically-assisted observers getting together to discuss DSO observations. And I also hope that traditional visual observers will feel welcome to chime in with their observations too! Perhaps we can set up some monthly challenge objects and compare notes. Just for clarification: I'm assuming that the Discussion sub-forum (this one) will be the place for discussion of equipment, software, observing techniques etc, and the Reports sub-forum will be limited to observational reports (as opposed to reports on say a new bit of kit)? Martin
  10. 7 points
    Hi, Just came across this part of the forum -after a very cloudy winter, I had a week of clear skies in February. Scope is a SW Mak 102, Phone a Huawei P9. Eyepiece was a Vixen 25mm Ortho. Peter
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