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About RobertI

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    Sub Dwarf

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    Near Colchester
  1. RobertI

    Old Celestron Advanced GT dec motor

    Wow, thats a lot of money, a replacement for my SkyProdigy was only £37, different mount I know, but even so, four times the price? Might be worth a wanted ad?
  2. RobertI

    A short but unexpected EAA session

    Bad? You clearly haven’t seen some of my images!
  3. RobertI

    A short but unexpected EAA session

    These are great captures, the star clouds in M33 are wonderful. The Ultrastar + Hyperstar is a powerful EAA combination. So the first is the capture as viewed on the night and the second is post processed? What software do you use to capture and view? I would have thought that with Starlight Live you would be able to adjust your live 'live' images and get close to the quality of your post processed images?
  4. That setup is working beautifully! The colour versions are good, but the black & white really gives something extra when it comes to revealing the detail and structures. Looks like you’ve got some fun times ahead.
  5. RobertI

    Total novice to this, but..

    Some great suggestions above. I am working on the assumption that you do not know much about imaging (I wouldn't claim to be an expert either!) but it may be worth understanding a bit more about what kinds of objects you are wanting to view and what you are wanting to get out of it? For instance, are you after nice colour images of the brighter deep sky objects to share with friends or are you wanting to track down really faint elusive fuzzies? I think its worth thinking about because, different camera scope combinations excel at different things (stating the obvious I know!). A setup which is great at showing the Lagoon Nebula in glorious colour may be utterly useless at revealing the fainter Owl Nebula. Now I will say up front that I have only ever had experience of USB CCD cameras, but I wouldn't discount the laptop approach. My feeling is that a cheap battery powered laptop running some live capture software with a camera attached via a USB cable is pretty simple and stress free and can support a really nice camera/scope combination. Most of the incovenience for me comes from the setup of the scope, alignment, focussing, framing, etc, which you get whatever camera you use. For me the laptop is a minor issue! But I know there are many equally valid opinions out there. I use a very sensitive Lodestar mono USB camera, relatively low resolution and has a small sensor, but is very sensitive and perfect for tracking down really small, faint DSOs, typically down to mag 20 under my average skies and reveals a surpirisng amount of detail. But its useless for showing the Lagoon Nebula in glorious colour. Another thing to consider is the scope - if your refractor is an achromat, the stars might look bloated and a bit disappointing. If you cannot get down to F4 or F5 you might find you cannot get bright enough images. And then of course there is the 'Night Vision' (NV) option, which reveal some fantastic faint detail directly through the eyepiece, but costs £thousands. There are some recent posts in the Observing Section which show what is possible. If I had the money I would definitely be giving that a go! I guess the safe option is to go for a cheapish camera setup to start with and see what you like and dislike about the camera and the whole EAA/Video experience. As with many things you'll probably end up going in a direction you had never considered. Bit of a ramble but hope that's food for thought.
  6. RobertI

    a few more nebulae

    I like the Veil, some very nice colours there and delicate wispy detail. I have found the Iris really tricky with the bright star in the middle, and Ha filters don't help as it is a reflection neb, so well done getting the nebulosity. What number and length of exposures did you use? Sounds like you used Photoshop to 'live' edit the image during the session?
  7. RobertI

    Questar first light

    That sure is a thing of beauty, just oozes quality.
  8. RobertI

    A session with the 10x50 Opticrons

    Very nice binocular tour, some interesting objects on the list, sounds like you had a good time. I've been enjoying using my 10x50s a bit more recently and have had some great results, bins are great.
  9. Good news Chris. The altitude axis on my SkyProdigy is also much noisier than the azimuth. Fortunately it's the azimuth that does most of the slewing so at least its the right way round! Keep us posted on first light part deux.
  10. Another gloriously clear and warm night last night, decided some more binocular observing was in order. Lay down and scanned the Cygnus and Cepheus region overhead. The orange star Zeta Cephei was very prominent and the nearby Garnet Star, was even more so, burning with a deep rusty red. Delta Cephei was a nice double of contrasting colours separated by 40". I decided to concentrate on some of the dark lanes, which required a slight adjustment to look for the absence of something! Once tuned in, the more I looked, the apparent they became with some very prominent long dark lanes and holes. One prominent yellow star seemed to sit right in the middle of a dark hole. I stumbled across a lovely close grouping of three stars comprising the orange Omicron Cygni , the white 30 Cygni and a third blue/white star. I have never seen the North American nebula for sure, so thought I'd have another go with the bins. As usual I could see a brightening in the area, but no shape. On a whim I thought I would try holding my UHC-E filter in front of one of the eyepiece lenses and bingo, it popped into view! First time ever. Closing each eye to compare the filter and non-filter view confirmed how effective this filter was, the nebula having no shape at all in the unfiltered eye, but a clear shape in the filtered eye, with the gulf of mexico clearly visible. Popping the filter on my 60mm scope and the view was also very clear. The filter also made viewing the dark lanes much more enjoyable too. Sadly I didn't have time to try out any other nebs, but was more than happy to have seen the elusive North American Neb. A final note. I noticed that the view through the 60mm scope seemed to be much smaller (ie: lower mag) than the bins, even though they were both 10x. So I looked through the bins with one eye only, and the view was similarly small. But when opening the second eye to get stereo vision, the view suddenly increased in size dramatically, almost like doubling the magnification. I know this is a optical illusion, but just shows why bins provide such good views. Does the same hold true of binocular viewers for scopes, or is the effect less marked because there is only one objective? Thanks for reading.....
  11. What an amazing night, you must have been literally flying around the cosmos to view all those! It was very clear here too and the wind didn't pick up until 1am, when my own observing session finished (report to follow), lovely and warm too. I'll make a note of the interesting items from your list for my next EAA session.
  12. RobertI

    Bino delight

    Thanks for the replies and likes. My Bausch and Lomb Legacy's are pretty good in that they have a wide FOV of 6.5 degrees, show nice sharp stars and seem to be able to reveal pretty faint stuff, but focus becomes significantly less sharp as you get closer the edges of the FOV. The price of a wide FOV I guess? I'd love to look through a premium pair of bins to compare and see the difference.
  13. RobertI

    Bino delight

    It was late when the clouds cleared, and I was heading to bed. Not wanting to waste a good sky I grabbed the 10x50 bins and headed out for a quick peek. Random scanning of the southern aspect revealed a lovely wide double of roughly equal brightness yellow stars; Alpha 1 & 2 Capricorni as I discovered from SkySafari. Sweeping further revealed another nice wide double with a bright yellow primary and fainter secondary; this turned out to be Beta Capricorni. Gamma Aquilae (Tarazed) which sits prominently above Altair, was very orange through the bins - I had never noticed this with the naked eye - I wonder why? I found Neptune with the help of SkySafari, but it was not really distnguishable from its stellar neighbours. On to Alberio which looked gorgeous through the bins and tiny. At 30" separation it was a close double and I reckon 20" separation might just be the limit for my bins (and eyes!). A quick look at the unmistakeable Coathanger asterism, then on to the beautiful starfields of Cygnus, possibly a fleeting glimpse of the Veil but no North American Neb although plenty of nebulosity; I'm sure it was there I just can't quite make out the shape, I have a feeling that one day it will just suddenly pop into view. Over to M32 - it looked vast covering a good proportion of the FOV. Then some clusters. The ET cluster was actually larger than I expected through bins - it always makes me laugh and tonight was even better, with little ET floating there looking down at me! Quick visit to some old favourites, the double cluster, NGC752 and M45 just rising. Finally Kemble's Cascade, definitely one to the most beautiful and unmistakable binocular objects that I have seen. And all this with a huge greasy thumprint on one of the lenses courtesy of my son! I must make more use of my bins, I can honestly say I get as much satisfaction out of them as any of my numerous telescopes, I just keep forgetting!
  14. Perhaps I won't have too long to wait until my boy can tag along after all.
  15. RobertI

    Deep into M33

    Inspired by Alan Whitman's article in Sky & Telescope entitled "Digging Deep in M33" I turned my lightweight setup (72mm frac @F3.7 + Lodestar mono + SkyProdigy) onto this bright galaxy. As usual with this setup, bloaty stars and lack of fine detail, plus encroaching cloud meant I could only manage 2.5 minutes total exposure time, but some wonderful treasures unearthed nonetheless. I have annotated the image and described them below. Quotation marks indicate descriptions directly from the article. C39 is M33's brightest globular just visible at Mag 16 NGC604 is "one of the largest emission nebulae known, more than 100 times the size of the Orion Nebula." NGC595, 592, 588 are Emission Nebulae, NGC592 showing a double knot of hot blue stars. IC132 is "..one of the few bright emission nebulae which areas in M33 that do not contain a stellar association" IC142, 143, 133, A112, A127, A128 are large stellar associations Hope you find it as interesting as I did.

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