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Everything posted by DirkSteele

  1. That is great. Where did you source the 16" pillar from?
  2. Yep. I saw it too. Perhaps I have also been licking one two many (if that is possible) lenses.
  3. Ha! Snap. Been there, got the T-shirt. Certainly panic for a second or two until the penny drops.
  4. I do similar when I am down there. Once I am orientated I can usually work my way into the Southern constellations. Though I will never get used to Orion being upside down!
  5. The reality is there is a lot more than 5 galaxies in this image. This second image below was quite painstaking to put together as Astrometry.net refused to work on either the Pano or each individual frame. So, iPad in hand, I used Sky Safari 5 Pro to trace out each visible constellation (tricky when thousands of stars are visible), picking out as many DSOs as I could locate as I moved along the image. No doubt I missed one or two, but at final count there were 43 identified. I hope SGL does not compress too much otherwise some of them may vanish from view. If you want a lost of everything I found, there is a table on the link: http://alpha-lyrae.co.uk/2020/08/01/there-are-five-galaxies-visible-in-this-panorama/
  6. I am quite pleased how this turned out as it is only my second attempt at a panorama, and I know I did not really level the tripod that well. Taken last year on holiday in Mozambique in mid-July around 4am local time, this is a 10-pane panorama using an unmodified Canon 70D, 14mm lens (22mm equivalent on the crop sensor) at f/2.8, ISO 3,200 and each exposure was 25 seconds. Three of the galaxies are easy, one a little trickier, and one might need a closer look. The image was stiched using Microsoft ICE and then processed in Lightroom.
  7. And a couple more. One with the central Milky Way setting in the west, and another looking east just before sunrise. Both from the same session which started at 2am and went to dawn. I had just tracked the HST across the sky at 80x when I took the second image.
  8. My Tak FC-76 under the Carina region of the Milky Way in the very early evening on Benguerra Island in Mozambique last year. Shorts and t-shirt astronomy. I can always get behind that (and those skies!)
  9. This might be the smallest one to appear in this thread, but it deserves to be here for one very good reason. The best coatings I have seen on anything, ever. Should that be not seen as if it were not for the small particles of dust, this thing is invisible. The Takahashi 1.7x CQ module which turns the FS-60 in the f/10 quadruplet FS-60Q.
  10. One could almost imagine looking out a porthole on an instellar spacecraft travelling through the depths of space.
  11. Oh here is the camera balanced very carefully across the ledge and my table.
  12. Forgive the hyperbole, it was only 580mph but also 37,000 feet. In late June 19, I took an overnight flight from London Heathrow to Johannesburg in South Africa for a two-week island vacation in Mozambique. I had packed a small telescope and a widefield camera lens to take advantage of the Bortle Class 1 skies on the island, and fortunately had the equipment in the cabin with me. After dinner the cabin lights were dimmed and most passengers it started to drift off to sleep, but not me. I could not resist some stargazing out of the window. At this point we were located somewhere over north Chad and it was rather dark and the view quite beautiful. I grabbed my camera and a small tripod out of the overhead bin and managed to precariously balance the camera across my tray table and a narrow ledge under the window. I had a choice of 3 windows with my seat but one was very dirty, another badly scratched, while the third was passable and would have to do. While the A380 is one of the smoothest planes I have flown on, there was a small amount of turbulence on this flight which limited exposures to 3 seconds. I used a Canon 70D (crop sensor) and 14mm Canon lens (22mm equivalent focal length), set to f/2.8 and ISO 6400. I was able to focus the camera on Altair using 10x live view on the rear of the camera. I set an intervalometer to the required timings, and then used the airline supplied blanket to shield the window from the cabin lights which were reflecting back towards the camera. I could have done slightly better here as some light still crept in, and I think the red flashing light on the intervalometer also reflected on the window. The best 10 images were stacked in DSS and processed in Lightroom. Considering passenger aircraft windows are not known for their optical quality, I am surprised by what could be captured. Several DSOs are pretty obvious, in particular M2 and M27. I do very much wish I had been sitting on the other side of the aircraft, as about an hour later, the Sagittarius region of the Milky Way would have been coming into view. Maybe next time…
  13. I find it amazing that a scope can be put into production that has such low sales numbers. A shame more have not been sold as many more astronomers need to experience what can be described as LZOS’ 9th symphony.
  14. And so the Japanese don’t feel left out, the Takahashi 76mm f/7.5
  15. Time for some Russian LZOS glass. my oldest refractor (2004), the 115 f/7 The 105 f/6.2 bought in 2012. The 130mm f/9.24 bought in 2019. I will need to get a photo of the 180mm f/7 later.
  16. Not that central London is the best for spotting anything but on Thursday night I was unable to get it naked eye, but found it quite easily in 60mm binoculars. But it’s glory is well in the past now unfortunately.
  17. Its a fair cop guv, you caught me. I believe (if I am under oath) that I told my wife I would sell one when I bought the most recent (the 130mm)....That did not happen. Of course for that comic to be even more accurate, there should be a third pane, which shows clouds have rolled in.
  18. I assume at somepoint you looked towards the ground, so technically you got the 8 planet challenge! It is certainly a good one to tick off.
  19. It can be a real struggle. I can work very long hours which is the first impediment as often I just want to go to bed. Second, as much as I would like to focus on astronomy even more, I do have a life outside of this one hobby, which means other plans often clash (frustrastingly) with clear nights, and I have to mindful that it is not fair on my wife to disturb her trying to climb into bed at some early hour. All that being said, I try to keep an eye on longer range forecasts to plan a night, and my wife is also very supportive, so trips away (of which there are quite a few) will often see some optical aid taken along with the understanding, if the weather plays ball, I may binge on astronomy. A holiday to Benguerra Island in Mozambique last year resulted I think in 10 observing sessions in 14 nights (though some were just an hour or two in length).
  20. I have the older Nexstar 11 GPS (previous version of the CPC) which is fork mounted. It is quite a lump. I am 5' 11" and go to the gym fairly often and it still an awkward lump. It is quite heavy but that is less of the issue, rather the bulk makes it hard work. As mentioned above, it is quite difficult to place on the tripod, though I puchased a landing pad from Starizona years ago which makes it much easier. Don't know if a similar product is offers for the CPC series.
  21. Showing my lack of knowledge here. Would that conversion occur at the end of the stacking process? i.e. the output Tiff that is saved by DSS when it finishes (and automatically)?
  22. I shot in RAW. What I am struggling with is why DSS seems to suggest this is a 16-bit gray image.
  23. Am I lost? Why am I asking for help in the beginners’ sections of imaging? While I have pointed a wide field DSLR at the night sky while I have been observing in the past, I am a dedicated visual observer, the but the allure of Comet Neowise has proved too much of a temptation. Now after that silliness, on with my question. I have taken a series of short exposures of Comet Neowise. I have also taken darks, flats and bias frames (yes I did some reading before going outside with my camera), with the intention of stacking all of this using DeepSky Stacker (recently downloaded, using the 64 bit version 4.2.3). I am using an unmodified Canon 70D, and shot everything in RAW. When I load everything into Deepsky Stacker, the depth is being shown as 16-Bit Gray. It seems to be ignoring all the colour data contained in the RAW file. Is there something I am missing to get DSS to acknowledge these are colour frames and treat them accordingly? Edit: Adding a screenshot with the depth circled. Or should I be modifying the file format to something else (which would beg the question why it cannot handle RAW)? If this answer to this is yes, would it be TIFF and I assume I would need to do the conversion for Lights, Flats, Darks, and Bias? Thanks for your help. (no doubt I will be back asking for processing help as I can see there is a substantial light pollution gradient across the image thanks to living in central London).
  24. Very nice! What processing steps did you take to bring out the ion tail?
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