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About M110

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    Star Forming

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    Exeter, Devon, UK
  1. Following giles' links above I came across a "Dark Skies Pocket Guide" (here) produced by the Exmoor National Park which actively encourages astronomy and gives specific examples of suitable sites - one of which is the Haddon Hill site @cheddar-man suggested. I think that sorts the permission question. @gilesco I'll keep the 13/14th Nov free with the intention of heading up to Dartmoor (weather permitting) but if I get another opportunity I might try out the Exmoor site as well. I'm hoping that longer term I can get out to remote locations fairly regularly to escape the light pollution of Exeter.
  2. Haddon Hill does look interesting, certainly a lot more sheltered than the site on Dartmoor we were considering and roughly equal travel time for me. I've checked the National Trust and it's not one of their car parks (despite those donation boxes) so I would guess its an Exmoor National Park Authority owned one. @gilesco have you contacted them already? If not, I can send them an email. I'd be happy to head to either site assuming Exmoor didn't mind us being there.
  3. Excellent, looks like that's the spot. Thanks for doing a recce!
  4. That looks like a reasonable location. I'll do some research as well to see if any others come up, but if not that looks like it would do the trick. I'll also mark the 13/14th on my calendar - just have to arrange the weather conditions now!
  5. That email from the National Park Authority is promising. As long as no one falls asleep in their car all should be fine! According to the light pollution map I've just looked at, the darkest skies accessible by road are NE of Postbridge on the B3212. There's several car parks to choose from on that road, unfortunately they are all right next to the road so if there's any passing traffic it would pose a problem. I agree, any trip up there would need to be worth it. I'd be doing a mixture of visual observing and light imaging - I see from your images that you're much further down the astrophotography path than I am! In my case, a weeknight would unfortunately restrict the time I had available due to work commitments. I'd still be willing to go, but would probably only manage a few hours. but if we could arrange clear skies for a Friday or Saturday night I'd definitely be up for an extended session lasting all night perhaps.
  6. I'd also be interested to hear from anyone who's been active up on Dartmoor. I'm hoping to get out there for some dark skies as living in central Exeter is not ideal! Maybe we could get a band of us together for an observing session? My experience with the National Park authority is that they are very tolerant of night time use of Dartmoor. I've hiked and wild camped overnight a few times up there and they are one of the few places in the country where they allow wild camping and actually produce a map showing where this is allowed (which covers a large part of the national park). I don't imagine they'd take issue with it being used for astronomy.
  7. Thank you all for the feedback @Tommohawk thanks for the tip regarding PIPP, I hadn't realised it had that functionality. I've gone back and taken the best 20% of frames from all my usable runs and combined them into a single AVI which I've processed the same as previously. Here's the result, which I think is marginally sharper than previously. I've also flipped the image to give the correct orientation as I realised I had it upside down!
  8. The last time I had a go imaging Mars was more than 10 years ago (with decidedly poor results)! Since then, I had a long break from astronomy and since returning to the hobby have focused almost entirely on visual observing (my ASI120MC-S camera has been used a total of twice in the two years I've owned it). Anyway, I decided I had to have another go at Mars given the current opposition and here's my first attempt at processing data from last night's run. I'm immensely chuffed as this is by far the best planetary image I've taken (although still far shy of some of the incredible ones I see here on SGL). Taken around 1am last night, through the C8, with Celestron X-Cel 2x barlow, with the ASI120MC-S. Best 20% of 10000 frames stacked in AS3! and wavelets applied in Registax. Also tweaked the histogram a bit in Registax to adjust the brightness. No other processing so far, although I'm hoping to use this data to learn more about the processing side of things as I have no idea what the majority of options in both AS3! or Registax actually do! I also still have quite a bit more data to process (this is from 1 of 8x 10000 frame runs that I captured) so may be able to improve it further. I loosely followed @JamesF 's guide to processing here: https://stargazerslounge.com/topic/184821-beginners-guide-to-stacking-planetary-images-with-autostakkert2/ If anyone has any ideas on anything else I should do processing wise or links to other good tutorials I'd be grateful.
  9. So having only recently returned to astronomy after a long break, I have been doing solely visual up until now. I just received me ZWO ASI 120MC-S and put it to work on the moon last night. All images taken through my Celestron C8 with f/6.3 focal reducer attached (which I forgot to remove - oops!) from a 3000 frame avi captured in SharpCap before being stacked in AutoStakkert and wavelets applied in Registax. I'm pretty pleased with the detail visible for my first attempt, however there appears to be a strange background pattern (see zoomed crop image). Does anyone know what is causing this? It's not visible in the original avi files so I'm guessing I've used an incorrect setting somewhere during the stacking process?
  10. Apologies guys, the mount sold ages ago (originally listed in April!) and I forgot about this thread.
  11. Did you definitely have the dec axis rotated the correct way to begin with? (i.e. with the two silver marks aligned). I accidentally started with the saddle backwards last night and exactly what you described happened to me.
  12. Still available. Make me an offer if you are interested!
  13. Brought about 6 months ago and used regularly, but I soon caught aperture fever and have had to upgrade! Supplied with the two counterweights it comes with as new. Everything in excellent condition. Collection only from Exeter, Devon. I am willing to drive a reasonable distance to meet if that helps. £85 and it's yours!
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