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Everything posted by DeanWatson

  1. Hi guys, if you get hold of Galaxy Explorer ( I think its the same as the stelarium people) you can take your viewpoint movement (moving my cursors) up to a multiple of lightspeed and zoom and swoop in intergalactic space.
  2. I do that too! Great fun (but then I have no life...!) Something I do occasionally is boot up Galaxy Explorer, a 3d model of several hundred galaxies, both local group and outside. I then like to for fun, with the 'starship option' head out from home at random and test myself to see if I can find my way back to the milky way and sol system, depending on what knowledge I have on what is where in the sky and the distance pointers the software gives you. Its actually surprisingly difficult!
  3. He writes really well, quite intelligent and entertaining. At least its not that idiot medical doctor who writes in Sky at Night Magazine. It mystifies me as to why they keep publishing that drivel. Not funny, not clever, not in empathy with anyone in the 'community'. Then again, he does write a doctor column for 'The Sun', so I guess that explains a bit...
  4. Ain't that the truth Tim! Had to do a little dance last night myself, and while you're doing it you become half convinced you've turned the wrong way but its too late to do anything about it! EQ mounts! Wouldn't even try - actually, its quite nice as I can capture deepsky data on my HEQ5SS with my 6" refractor while i'm messing about with the dob.
  5. Ah! Thanks Tim, saw the reference but didn't twig. This is a stack of about 4-5 images, with a teeny tiny wavelets. I'll probably have another crack tonight myself as well! Barlow! You are brave - dare you to change it over during the pass!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  6. Hi Steve, Its a 10" revelation dob newt with SPC900 webcam, same as, I think its Tmark below - Its such a matter of luck, I think I caught it at more or less the same time as he did without the solar panels (the big ones anyway) lit up in his bottom right image. Theres still a hint of them though. I'm not sure what the exposure or gain levels actualy were other than their positions on the sliders (is there any way I can access this in Vlounge anyone?). Its manually tracked - Heartstopping isn't it for anyone who has a go! 4 minutes of sheer terror! But such great fun, esp when you get a recognisable image - I hope over the next couple of nights to get some of the big panels though. Checked my colimation beforehand and found at the weekend that I couldn't get a close enough focus on the webcam at prime focus so made an adaptor out of 50mm and 32mm plumbers pipe from b and q and removed the existing 2" adaptor. Works a treat.
  7. Hi all! A bit better this one, quite pleased, a tadge higher gain and the solar panels would be more visible, still, caught the truss, modules on the end, vertical solar panel etc, - what do you all think?! _20090916_211308a1b1a.bmp
  8. Well done Steve, I had a go myself and its about the same as I managed, Have a look at my thread below - theres two images, one similar to yours and one large with a couple of solar panels visible at one end and some definite modular shape - just need to get the exposure down now. I prefocus on Jupiter and it seems ok for all distances of the station - I found the sticky thread on imaging it very useful, albeit common sense.
  9. I think I will Thermos, No previous experience on this one i'm afraid (and very little time to get any!!). I think the focus is ok, I preset on Jupiter (and probably mistakenly used it to set exposure too...) I think I might also increase the frame rate from 30 to 60 - It moves so damn fast, even across the webcam fov. Still, not kidding myself am I? Definite shape of modules and a couple of solar panels visible on both. I almost with it were geosync! But then we'd probably have a hel of a job with it at all. Still, first time out on this one and feel rather pleased with myself- Been glowing all weekend!
  10. Now I know, not the highest resolution images of this ever!! But still, I managed to capture the general shape, you can clearly see the solar panels on both shots I think. This was my first time out on the ISS, the first on Friday night, the second on Saturday (glad i caught the first pass - the second was rubbish!) I used a 10" revelation Dob with SPC900 webcam if curious. Getting exposure right is an absolute PIG!!!! Anyway, hope you like, this was probably the hardest astrop target I have ever attempted. A bit more practice and I hope to get a bit more detail. ISS 11-9-2009 21-47.bmp station1.tif
  11. Just day dreaming the morning and got to wondering... We all know that large, serious professional observatories and the telecopes at them are not looked through, instead they are light collectors for ccds, spectroscopes and whatnot. Hovever, I was wondering, to anyones knowledge, does anyone (Researchers, staff, the cleaners) ever cop a LOOK through them at any point for fun (or for that matter are the scopes equipped to do so if the mood takes you, that is, able to get the instrumentation out of the way, fit an eyepiece or any other hurdles - speaking of which i'd be curious to know if they accept 1.25 or 2" eyepieces!!). I grant that all their time is taken with research programmes and schedules, but say someone at Keck takes it in to their head to have a look through their monster, does it ever happen, and I wonder what its like. I mean, go back 60 years or so and the earlier large scopes were used visually all the time - but what about the modern whoppers - and as I say, just for fun?
  12. Mmm - wonder if its that - I'll give it a go, ta!
  13. oh ta guys, had a feeling it might me a lead I - i'll give it a go - I think I might have a spare kicking about and will check the ports as well (hope its not those)
  14. Hi guys, not sure which version, but yes, goes straight to guiding with no N/S or pause - thought it was a bit quick. Doesn't always do it but it IS a pain!
  15. Hi guys, don't always get this but when I do its a bind - any genuine help greatly appreciated. I do my PA etc (HEQ5 skyscan) and then the PHD (starshoot autoguider) running on a guide star. It does the East/West alignment, does NOT do the North/South (it usually does do it), after a minute or two of this will then go green crosshairs/box and commence guiding. However after a minute or two the guide star will start to drift and even with the guide star still in the box will start to do the infamous 'orange bleeping' - and of course not be guiding. No vibration to the mount, i've tried being as still as a cat watching a mouse, so can't be that. Any guesses/ actual knowledge?! please. Thanks so much all - couldn't find much of a clue when I googled.
  16. Ok, just read what I wrote the other day myself and hadn't (couldn't be bothered...!)researched it. But what you say doesn't surprise me - and youre right, it was the technique they used for the high res/mag Betelgeuse recently. I guess theres nothing new under the sun! (and sorry, so hard to get across tone on forums isn't it!!)
  17. (incidentally, professionals have started to use the frame selection technique as picked up from the amateur community. They refer to it as 'Lucky Imaging'. Which of course, it is!
  18. The thing with DSLRs is that they take one photo, maybe every few seconds. Now the atmosphere you photograph through even on the coldest stillest nights tend to wobble (in effect you are magnifiying a heat haze). So the the technique is to use a camera with a high frame rate and usually smal chip size to take several thousand images within typically under two minutes. This will allow you to choose the best percentage of them and stack them into ONE image (you may want to download the excellent free stacking software Registax for this). This will allow you to build the signal to noise ratio (individual frames are grainy and noisy, but many stacked will reduce or eliminate this. Getting a high enough manification with a DSLR on planets (although they are ideal for deep sky or even the moon - I find the colour response better than a webcam) is hard and of course you would want a reasonably grain free image. You can certainly photograph the planets with them but not if you want high magnification detailed images. You will also find for any astrophotograpy (planets, moon in particular) that catching the object as high in the sky as possible is best as you are loking through less of the wobbly atmosphere. Also best on a cold still and reasonably moisture free night. Hope all this helps Res.
  19. Or even a new or second hand meade LXD55 or LXD75. Not the greatest GEMs (German Equatorial Mount) in the world but I used one (still have an LXD55) for a couple of years and got away with a minute on 2 on unguided deep sky. I use a HEQ5 skyscan mount though which is much superior but you should get pleasing results with the aforementioned. Should be able to pick one up for £200 ish. Hope that helps.
  20. Hi GS, just noted from another thread that you already use one but that you get star trails. To be honest if I were you get a better tracking (ideally german equatorial mount) and/or (if your mount is ok) autoguider. If you get trails, a CCD won't help!
  21. Honestly, go canon, more advice, more software, more people (myself included) use them. I also believe they tend to have the best colour response/low noise.
  22. Hi GS, are you new to astrophotography or are you experienced? You may want to start with a digital SLR as I have been using for many years for deepsky and I have no plans to 'upgrade' as I'm not always convinced that going to a cooled CCD is always that. Most people use Canon EOS with the advantage that you can take it to the zoo or a wedding. If you are planning on lunar or planetary imaging a webcam or a (meade, celestron etc) planetary imager is a good option (around the £150 mark) - or of course a ccd. But anyway, let us know the level you are or want and i'll be happy to help.
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