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Top content from across the community, hand-picked by us.

Imaging Challenge #17 - Through the Eyepiece - Winners
Some truly stunning entries and winners this time - absolutely amazing what can be done with afocal imaging!


Comet 21P / Giacobini-Zinner by Smisy



Orion by Gavstar



Moonrise in Alps by Smisy


Well done everybody!

Apologies for the delay in announcing this...
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Imaging Challenge #21 - Comet 46P
The theme for the 21st challenge - December 2018 - is Comet 46P!

Start Date: 1st December 2018
End Date: 28th February 2019

Rules: This is a special challenge to coincide with Comet 46P. We want to see videos, time lapses, diagrams, sketches and anything else you can come up with! 

Prize: A personalised mug for 1st, 2nd and 3rd places featuring your image kindly provided by our sponsors FLO  and a virtual trophy for your signature.

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RULES

All data must be captured and processed by you (no collaborative entries). 
Data must be captured during the challenge start & end dates. 
Multiple entries are allowed but please start a new topic for each entry. 
Multiple submissions of the same image, processed differently, will not be accepted.

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To enter please start a new topic with your image in the ‘Imaging Challenge #21' forum (each challenge will have it’s own). Please post as much information as possible - when it was taken, how it was captured and processed, etc. The info won't necessarily be used for judging but will help fellow SGLers looking to learn and improve their knowledge and technique.
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Imaging Challenge #20 - Constellations
The theme for the 20th challenge - November 2018 - is Constellations!

Start Date: 1st November 2018
End Date: 31st January 2019

Rules: The theme is constellations and asterisms. We want to see images capturing different constellations, perhaps how constellations fit with each other in the night sky, close-ups, widefields, long exposures or short - this one is really open to interpretations. We are really hoping to see some sketches as well as images this time!

Prize: A personalised mug for 1st, 2nd and 3rd places featuring your image kindly provided by our sponsors FLO  and a virtual trophy for your signature.

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RULES

All data must be captured and processed by you (no collaborative entries). 
Data must be captured during the challenge start & end dates. 
Multiple entries are allowed but please start a new topic for each entry. 
Multiple submissions of the same image, processed differently, will not be accepted.

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To enter please start a new topic with your image in the ‘Imaging Challenge #20' forum (each challenge will have it’s own). Please post as much information as possible - when it was taken, how it was captured and processed, etc. The info won't necessarily be used for judging but will help fellow SGLers looking to learn and improve their knowledge and technique.
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Imaging Challenge #19 - SNRs and PNs
The theme for the 19th challenge - October 2018 - is Supernovae Remnants and Planetary Nebulae!

Start Date: 1st October 2018
End Date: 31st December 2018

Rules: The theme is supernova remnants and planetary nebulae so we are looking forward to beautiful captures of objects like M1, M27, M57 and the Veil nebula.

Prize: A personalised mug for 1st, 2nd and 3rd places featuring your image kindly provided by our sponsors FLO  and a virtual trophy for your signature.

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RULES

All data must be captured and processed by you (no collaborative entries). 
Data must be captured during the challenge start & end dates. 
Multiple entries are allowed but please start a new topic for each entry. 
Multiple submissions of the same image, processed differently, will not be accepted.

--

To enter please start a new topic with your image in the ‘Imaging Challenge #19' forum (each challenge will have it’s own). Please post as much information as possible - when it was taken, how it was captured and processed, etc. The info won't necessarily be used for judging but will help fellow SGLers looking to learn and improve their knowledge and technique.
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It is with pleasure that I can confirm, that our keynote speaker slot this year is Dr. Matthew Bothwell, an outreach astronomer working at the Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge.

I had the pleasure of seeing Matt do a talk earlier this year and he is a superb presenter - I am very excited we have been able to book him to come along to the star party on the Saturday and he will be presenting his talk: "Monsters in the Dark"  - searching for the Universe’s most massive galaxies’.

Matt will hopefully be joining us for the Hogroast and (fingers crossed) some clear skies on the Saturday night, please make him welcome

This is our first time having a guest speaker at an SGL star party but this is our tenth year at Lucksall so we wanted to do something a little different, we hope you all enjoy!
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Imaging Challenge #15 - Milky Way - Winners
Wow! Some stunning entries this month and it really split the judges with a widespread of voting!

The winners are:


Moonlit Caldera by James


 


Milky Way Over Yosemite National Park by HunterHarling



XRT-C and The Milky Way by Knight of Clear Skies


Well done everybody 🙂

 

 
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Comet 21P/Giacobini–Zinner meets M37 at perihelion
I'm still dizzy after processing this one for each LRGB filter.

Comet 21P meets open cluster M37 in the night/morning of 10/11 September, at perihelion.

This is a combination of 60s x 30 x 4 subs, taken through the SW130PDS with an ASI1600MMC.

https://www.astrobin.com/366252/

No deconvolution applied, only noise reduction. About the remaining noise?! ... yes, please. Unfortunately the light pollution at home didn't let me record more.

Thanks for watching and clear skies!

Alex
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Imaging Challenge #18 - Globular Clusters
The theme for the 18th challenge - September 2018 - is Globular Clusters!

Start Date: 1st September 2018
End Date: 30th November 2018

Rules: The theme is globular clusters - nice and simple but there are some wonderful ones to image and explore over the next few months. We look forwards to seeing your entries!

Prize: A personalised mug for 1st, 2nd and 3rd places featuring your image kindly provided by our sponsors FLO  and a virtual trophy for your signature.

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RULES

All data must be captured and processed by you (no collaborative entries). 
Data must be captured during the challenge start & end dates. 
Multiple entries are allowed but please start a new topic for each entry. 
Multiple submissions of the same image, processed differently, will not be accepted.

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To enter please add your image to the Imaging Challenge #18 Gallery (each challenge will have it’s own). Please post as much information as possible - when it was taken, how it was captured and processed, etc. The info won't necessarily be used for judging but will help fellow SGLers looking to learn and improve their knowledge and technique.
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Ghost Nebula (SH2-136)
My first attempt at the Ghost Nebula.  This is an LRGB image taken with my Esprit 150 and represents about 17 hours integration time.

 


 

Alan

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For those interested, here's a summary of my acquisition and processing challenges:

I started gathering data with my standard 600s sub exposure duration.  However, having accumulated quite a few of these, I decided this wouldn't give me enough detail, so I increased this to 1200s subs in the Lum which made a substantial improvement to the image quality. I also discovered that the nebula contains some bright stars which are so intense that they pushed my camera into the non-linear region for the 600s and 1200s lum subs. So, to overcome this, I decided to take some 60s Lum subs and then created a high dynamic range Lum image within CCDstack by combining the 60s, 600s and 1200s stacks and rejecting all the pixels that where above my cameras non-linear threshold.  

On the processing front, I struggled with the background since it contains so much dust and numerous red/yellow stars.  I eventually decided to de-emphasize some of the dust and red stars since too me they proved distracting to the main subject, namely the Ghouls in the nebula. 

L: 60s x 41, 24 x 60s, 12 x 1200s, R: 18 x 600s, G: 13 x 600s, B: 21 x 600s. DARKS: 30, FLATS:40, BIAS: 100 all at -20C. 
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Sh2-114 (the Flying Dragon nebula) is a faint and rarely imaged nebula located in the constellation of Cygnus.

Sh2-114 is a cloud studied very little beyond its mere cataloging. It has a filamentous aspect, constituted by several overlapping arched strands. A semicircle shape with the concavity oriented towards the south and together with the nearby cloud Sh2-113, a bubble structure similar to a supernova remnant. However, no supernova remnants have ever been described in this region. Its complex, wispy structure is more likely the result of winds from hot, massive stars interacting with the magnetic fields in the interstellar medium.

There is no calculated distance from us.

Details
M: EQ8
T: Takahashi FSQ85 0.73x reducer
😄 QSI683 and Moravian G2-8300 with Baader RGB and Astrodon 3nm Ha filters.

50x300s in Red, Green and Blue
60x1800s in Ha

Totalling 42 hours and 30 minutes in exposure time.

If you look on my website you can see an annotated image that shows a few small and faint galaxies in the frame as well..... You have been warned, they are VERY small!!!

https://www.swagastro.com/sh2-114.html
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Imaging Challenge #17 - Through the Eyepiece
There are some changes to the Imaging Challenge this month, we have adjusted the prizes as we don't want people to take these challenge too seriously, they are a bit of fun after all  We are also trying a new way to keep track of entries using a gallery instead - details below...

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The theme for the sixteenth challenge - August 2018 - is Through the Eyepiece!

Start Date: 1st August 2018
End Date: 31st October 2018

Rules: With this challenge, any target goes but you must be imaging through the eyepiece - i.e. projection or afocal imaging. You can use a camera, phone, tablet, HB pencil - whatever you like but the view must come via an eyepiece! This is often how beginners start imaging and it would be great to showcase what can be achieved using this method. Have fun!

Prize: A personalised mug for 1st, 2nd and 3rd places featuring your image kindly provided by our sponsors FLO  and a virtual trophy for your signature.

--

RULES

All data must be captured and processed by you (no collaborative entries). 
Data must be captured during the challenge start & end dates. 
Multiple entries are allowed but please start a new topic for each entry. 
Multiple submissions of the same image, processed differently, will not be accepted.

--

To enter please add your image to the Imaging Challenge #17 Gallery (each challenge will have it’s own). Please post as much information as possible - when it was taken, how it was captured and processed, etc. The info won't necessarily be used for judging but will help fellow SGLers looking to learn and improve their knowledge and technique.
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This is my take at the Veil nebula. I started this in May and I acquired 5.5h of hydrogen data for each panel and 2-2.5h of oxygen data for each panel. In the beginning I was quite enthusiastic about acquiring a lot of data, then the weather turned cloudy and I didn't really believe I could gather any oxygen data. However, the clouds cleared a bit during the last month so I was able to record some OIII, though by far not as much as I wanted, you can see that too in the final image. This is a total of 22h + 8.5h in 4 panels.

I need to tweak a bit the brighter stars, the core seems blue-ish while the outer area has a red hue. That's because I used a better mount when shooting through the OIII filter compared to the Ha.

Other than this, what do you think?

Clear skies!

Alex
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With the huge dust storm on Mars, I have turned to Jupiter to indulge my passion for colour sketches. I submit a few recent examples, but make no claims for scientific accuracy. Hopefully there may still be time for Mars before it fades into obscurity!   Best wishes   Chris.
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Stunning Summer haul.
Some darkness ! Saturn wobbled , but the seeing higher up was stunning. 

Vulpecula. M27 glowed brightly at one end with a UHC filter. Over the other side of Albireo , M71 was delicate. Had a look at some clusters in Vulpecula,

NGC 6800, ring like with delicate star cloud. NGC 6802, dusty. NGC 6815, a great scattering in the Milky Way.NGC 6823 and NGC 6830, both with chains and dust.NGC 6855 (C37), very fine. NGC 6882, really bright and a superb gem , worth finding ! NGC 6940, nebulousity with a UHC filter , includes an orange giant (+6.3). NGC 6820 , nebulosity which includes the open cluster. I checked the view of nebulosity against the Eastern Veil. Really bright at NGC 6995 and 6692.

Aquarius showed the "Saturn nebula", NGC 7009. It blinks so well , you can't focus on it, choose a field star. At higher magnification, it showed a wingnut shape. Mars was huge and the disc very stable . Just about no surface markings, but it held the view over x200. The dust storm continues. Rather like talcum powder being wafted about, than rocky maelströms of cinema.

Had a look at the double cluster, the dust of NGC 7789. Over to Andromeda and the bright blue "blue snowball" NGC 7662. Checked out another tester, the very close split (1.1") of 36 Andromedae. Very clean and open at x216. Some seeing !

Turned to some favourite binaries and in Vulpecula and Aquila.

Vulpecula. Σ2455 ,Σ2457 ,find these ! There are two binaries in a line facing each other. 4 Vulpeculae is the bright star in the coathanger, Cr 399. Look closer , it's a triple with a faint elusive C .Σ 2655 gave a perfect pair of bright twins.

Aquila gave some beautiful sights. π Aquilae being very fine and a bright easy challenging 1.4".

Just after 1.30, a ver bright and high pass of the ISS, gave my salute and wave , under warm clear skies ! Nick.
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M31 Skyeye Obesrvatory
Imaging telescope or lens:TS Optics Photoline 130 f/6.62

Imaging camera:Moravian G3-16200

Mount:10 Micron GM2000 HPS II UP

Guiding telescope or lens:TS Optics Photoline 130 f/6.62

Focal reducer:APM Riccardi 0.75x

Integration: 14.3 hours
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NLC & MW action
Low and behold i was out again in Anglesey last night. Basically thinking of doing some wide field astro workshops there this year.  I was walking back from ynys llanddwyn after capturing sunset and i had forgot my head torch and forgot just how dark that beach is. especially when you have to find the walk way for the car park ! 

I stumbled across these dead trees and thought that they would make some good foreground interest. 

after spending 40 mins fooling around taking a selfie i headed over to Penmon to see if there was any bio plankton again what i didnt expect was the NLC display! brightest one ive seen this year so far. 

 

Hope you like the shots and timelapes

 

Danny 

 

Peace by Danny Kenealy, on Flickr

 

Guider by Danny Kenealy, on Flickr

 

Low display by Danny Kenealy, on Flickr

 

Calm waters by Danny Kenealy, on Flickr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Imaging Challenge #13 - Lunar Closeups - Winners
Wow this was a tough one, I know we say that every month but this one had the most variety of voting choices yet.

Thanks everyone who took part and well done to the winners!


Stofler and Maurolycus By astroavani



Plato By MilwaukeeLion



Lacus Mortis By Nick Smith


 

 
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SATURN - RUSSIAN RESOLVING POWER
Saturn. Intes Micro 815D, Point Grey Blackfly Camera. Stack of 4000 frames using Autostakkert 2, Wavelet processing in Registax 6. Bit of Pixelmator on IPad Pro.

The “Holy Grail” of ENCKE’S division is visible if you look carefully each side of the rings.
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Imaging Challenge #16 - Inspirational Skies
The theme for the sixteenth challenge - July 2018 - is Inspirational Skies!

Start Date: 1st June 2018
End Date: 31st August 2018

Rules: This challenge is a little different - we want it to be open to as many people as possible and the theme is, Inspirational Skies! We want you to get creative and either capture an image, design a poster, create a video or, something else that you think will inspire other people to want to find out more about amateur astronomy. The image has to be captured and created during the time frame and the rules are as open as possible so please experiment, do something different and get that imagination going

Prize: A personalised mug for 1st, 2nd and 3rd places featuring your image kindly provided by our sponsors FLO  and a virtual trophy for your signature.

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RULES

All data must be captured and processed by you (no collaborative entries). 
Data must be captured during the challenge start & end dates. 
Multiple entries are allowed but please start a new topic for each entry. 
Multiple submissions of the same image, processed differently, will not be accepted.

--

To enter please add your image to the Imaging Challenge #16 Gallery (each challenge will have it’s own). Please post as much information as possible - when it was taken, how it was captured and processed, etc. The info won't necessarily be used for judging but will help fellow SGLers looking to learn and improve their knowledge and technique.
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Imaging Challenge #12 - Open Clusters - Winners
Congratulations to everybody that entered this challenge, the winners are:


Collinder 399 By Allinthehead



m46 By alacant

 


The Jewel Box open star cluster ( ngc 4755 ) in Curx By MikeODay


Well done all three! Stunning entries

Don't forget for our latest challenge the format has changed, please see the details here: 

Clear Skies!
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Imaging Challenge #15 - Milky Way
The theme for the 15th Imaging Challenge is - The Milky Way! :)
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Imaging Challenge #11 - Galaxies - Winners
Some superb entries as always - very enjoyable challenge to judge! One thing we've noticed, often if people submit multiple entries, different judges will prefer different ones so you can actually undermine your own votes by having to many equally good entries!

Winners this time:


M106 By alan4908



Near, Far Away(?) By coatesg



M101 By Shibby


 
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Imaging Challenge #14 - Planets
The theme for the fourteenth challenge - May 2018 - is Planets!

Start Date: 1st May 2018
End Date: 31st July 2018

Rules: The theme this time is planets - Jupiter is in opposition in May, Saturn is looking good for June and Mars is a potential target for July! Have fun
Prize: £100 of FLO gift vouchers to buy some goodies with! Kindly provided by our sponsors FLO  and a virtual trophy for your signature.

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RULES

All data must be captured and processed by you (no collaborative entries). 
Data must be captured during the challenge start & end dates. 
Multiple entries are allowed but please start a new topic for each entry. 
Multiple submissions of the same image, processed differently, will not be accepted.

--

To enter please start a new topic with your image in the ‘Imaging Challenge #14 forum (each challenge will have it’s own). Please post as much information as possible - when it was taken, how it was captured and processed, etc. The info won't necessarily be used for judging but will help fellow SGLers looking to learn and improve their knowledge and technique.
    • Thanks
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This was extra specially close with two people sharing 2nd and 3rd place! Very tough to decide this month.

Congratulations to everybody who entered, it really showed what can be achieved with smartphones and tablets.

Below are your winners

Plato & The Alpine Valley By CraigT82



The Rosette Nebula By GavStar


'Our Place' In The Solar System By Dagger



Lunar X & V Feb 22nd 2018 By Stu


Star Trails 16/12/2017 By Dagger
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I've recently come across this piece on the web written by Alan MacRobert from the well known and respected astronomy magazine Sky & Telescope. It is well worth a read if you are thinking of getting into the hobby - ideally before you leap in and buy a telescope :
http://www.wwnorton.com/college/astronomy/astro21/sandt/startright.html
As someone who has been in the hobby for many years now I found that many of the hints, tips and pointers in this article are right "on the button".
John
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