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    Surbiton, London
  1. Does anyone know if Tom Boles is still doing supernova hunting? His website is an interesting read but it doesn't look like it has been updated since May 2014. I believe he holds a world record for the most supernovas found by an amateur astronomer which is very impressive indeed. Are there any other amateur astronomers who are getting close to his count (155 per his site) that have good websites to read through?
  2. They had to stop all that fun stuff......health and safety.
  3. They are popular with planetary imaging but larger SCTs are expensive. As a silly example for the cost of an Edge HD 14" OTA you could get an EQ8 or CEM60-EC; a SW Explorer 300P-DS; plus a Televue 2.5x Powermate, some eyepieces, an ED80 too, and have plenty of cash left over for building a pier and dome/RORO shed., and on old banger to bring the supplies back from the DIY store... To be honest the best views of the planets I've had have been through longer F/L reflectors or dobs. When imaging, software and camera have a large influence on the final image. To get the best out of a C11 or C14 on things other than the moon or planets (e.g supernova hunting) you need a strong mount, an EQ6 isn't going to cut it in the long run. You can pick up a used C8 for a reasonable price second hand though. As a previous poster suggested there maybe some good deals with the planets in less than optimal altitudes for the next few years.
  4. Very nice indeed Mick. What mount and guiding setup did you use?
  5. Couldn't have put it better myself, there is certainly more to be excited about at the moment, and it is only going to get more interesting! Not sure which I would take, Starliner, Dragon or Soyuz. Probably Soyuz if I was being risk adverse or Starliner if not. I have to admit whenever I see a picture of Starliner I then think of an Apollo CSM, which is actually what I would want to take if in some parallel universe the option existed.....
  6. Assuming he/she went from brightest down in order without missing any at all (unrealistic I would say!) they got to mag 4.9 if my list of stars and their brightness in Orion are correct. Maybe they spotted a dim star and calculated they could in theory see all stars that were brighter than that using a list, or perhaps they counted all the stars they could see in the sky instead? ?
  7. Agreed, around me in the outskirts of SW London if the results are to be believed the sky goes from Dark skies to Very severe light pollution...... In reality it varies a lot due to the atmosphere, time in the evening, where the moon is, and where in the sky the object you are looking at is (if it is fairly overhead you are in business). With a CCD I can easily get below mag15 so I'm happy.
  8. Very impressive Lars! You say 30 hours of integration time, how many frames in total and what exposure time plus ISO for each one, that would be interesting to know. When I see images like this I think back to the time when you had to use film, with manual guiding. Just imagine if someone had told us back then amateurs would be taking pictures like this in the not so distant future, i'm not sure we would have believed it!
  9. It hasn’t been great here for a while, I’m assuming it’s because someone close by has recently bought some nice new equipment! With the evenings getting lighter the season is nearing and end for me as I have to work during the week so can’t stay up late.
  10. If I had to buy a modern version of the radios you have quoted for RA, I would save up and go for an IC-R8600 (with latest ICOM firmware update) running in IQ-OUT mode connected to a PC running HDSDR. 5.12MHz bandwidth at 16 bits and 24 bits for all smaller bandwidths. Around £2,500 new so a very serious investment. I would give the ones you have quoted a miss for RA unless I knew they were all in spec, even then a 9000 could cost £1500+ for a great condition one. I would expect to have to change the capacitors in many of those radios if they have been used a lot too. Also not having full computer control would frustrate me. SDR is the way to go these days for me at least.
  11. I have a a copy of CS4 which I still use and haven’t felt the need to upgrade. But I would strongly advise anyone to check out the very latest version of GIMP, it really is very good. Especially when you consider it is free!
  12. Well, last night there was a break in the clouds and I managed to get some more images of Cassiopeia. The table below is using the same settings as before but this time with a stack of 10 for lights, darks and bias. With the exception of a few the magnitude variance is smaller. All of the ones with a large variance are in general not at the center of the FOV, are close to/at saturation or are not close together. The wide FOV means flats are probably required and this could account for some of the outliers. @Captain Magenta, no I have made no adjustments for the position in the sky as Cassiopeia was directly above and all the star comparisons are using the one stacked frame. Another possible source of error could be a result of the colour of the star and the sensitivity of the CMOS to each colour. All I've done is take an average of the three colours and done comparisons on that, and a star with an uneven colour distribution could therefore be out.
  13. I've been trying to do some photometry with my DSLR with a view to using it on variable stars as a quick "grab and go" solution when there is a gap in clouds etc. Rather than looking at variables I decided to start off with comparing some fixed stars to identify how well I can estimate magnitudes with my DSLR, and the table above shows the results. Using only two stacked frames (5s, ISO 800, F3.5 on my 5DMk2) with no darks, light polluted london sky, and just one comparison star I seem to be able to get to around 1% variance for the majority of the readings, with the worse being 2.54% out. Trying Chi Cas, against Upsilon1, Upsilon2 and omegaAnd comes up with M4.67 which is mag0.03 different (0.55%). I'll be honest I am surprised at the results as it is not all that far off the 0.01-0.02 mag range often quoted for looking at exoplanet transits for example. Has anyone else tried this exercise as i'm interested to know how these results stack up - good or bad. The only thing I know for sure is I couldn't get it that close visually using my eyes!
  14. I’ve almost made the switch for image capture. Previously I was using APT/PHD2/CDC/eqmod etc on my regular Windows 10 laptop that would be outside with me without issue but I really wanted a remote option so I could sit inside in the warm and automate a session plan. I started looking at Indi/Kstars/Ekos again with a view of putting it on a Pi3 if it worked for me. I put the latest build of Ubuntu onto an old netbook which was gathering dust and installed the latest version of Indi and Kstars and teamviewer. It all works ok except for two points, firstly it is slow and secondly after about half an hour tracking in PHD2 and using Ekos’s internal guider, guiding begins to play up. Never had this issue with Windows. I had an older version of Ubuntu on the netbook many years ago and it ran quickly so clearly the newer version needs better hardware or a lighter weight desktop. So much so it is faster to just run APT/PHD2/CDC/eqmod on Windows 7 on the netbook and access with teamviewer remotely. I really like the session automation in Ekos but it’s no good if I can’t get it working with reasonable performance on that netbook. Seems like many of the Linux distributions out of the box have put on weight in recent years! Something people used to laugh at Windows for doing at every release.
  15. As a follow up i've been doing some Photometry recently and ran the image of M27 though it and it picked up the following number of stars above magnitude 11 to put things in perspective in a suburban environment (based on the TYCHO-2 catalog). magnitude 11: 13 magnitude 12: 129 magnitude 13: 93 magnitude 14: 40 magnitude 15: 20 magnitude 16: 5 The dimmest star being magnitude 16.683.
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