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Posts posted by tmarkuk

  1. Hi all,

    I am please to present the schedule of speakers for the next year at Basingstoke AS. If you are in the area we would love to see you. More details are available at Basingstoke Astronomical Society

    Practical session are divided into visual and imaging sections and are centred around short presentations from member's and general shop talk.


    Sep 22nd

    Brendan Shaw - “Observing the Moon”

    Oct 13th

    Practical Meeting

    Oct 27th

    Dr Stuart Eves (Surrey Satellite Technology Systems)

    “Sophisticated Small Satellites from Surrey”

    Nov 10th

    Practical Meeting

    Nov 24th

    Mark Radice

    “Observing the Deep Sky”

    Dec 2nd

    Christmas Social

    Bolton Arms, Old Basing.

    7.30 for 8.00pm

    Dec 8th

    Symposium “Amateur Astronomy”


    Jan 12th

    Practical Meeting

    Jan 26th

    Dr Paul Roche (Faulkes Telescope, National Schools’ Astronomer)

    “Twinkle, Twinkle Little (Neutron) Star”

    Feb 19th

    Practical Meeting

    Feb 23rd

    Prof. Andrew Coates (Mullard Space Science Centre)

    “Cassini-Huygens at Saturn and Titan”

    Mar 8th

    Practical Meeting

    Mar 22nd

    Barry Lorimer (Foredown Tower AG)

    “DIY Astronomy and an All Sky Meteor Camera”

    Apr 12th

    Practical Meeting

    Apr 26th

    Bob Trevan and Dave Shave-Wall

    “Building the Observatories”

    May 10th

    Practical Meeting

    May 24th

    Chairman’s Address

    Jun 28th

    Annual General Meeting

    dates tbc

    March/April - Messier Marathon

    July/Aug - Annual BBQ

    Aug - Perseid Meteor Watch

  2. It's been quite a while since I posted an image here, hopefully these will cut it though. Taken with my modified Canon 1000D and EF 50mm lens @ f3.5 from a Vixen Sphinx mount last week in the Aveyron region of France, a place with apparently not one flat surface.


    Cygnus Central Region by tmarkuk, on Flickr

    33 x 5 minutes, the only uninterrupted night I had.


    Cassiopeia by tmarkuk, on Flickr

    14 x 4 minutes, a cloudy and annoying evening, the framing is a bit off but nevermind.


    Saggitarius & Scutum by tmarkuk, on Flickr

    9 x 5 minutes, not great but OK, the clouds didn't clear till gone midnight and my southern horizon wasn't great. This is salvaged from the ruins of dodgy data.

  3. Protostar make curved spiders if you don't like spikes, personally I quite like them but I don't really care what orientation they are. The primary aim for me is to frame the object and it's not always possible to align the spikes neatly whilst framing larger objects neatly in my fov.

  4. Hey, that's me! In a weird effort to shoot myself in the foot I've not really done a proper nebula image since completing the modification, there have been a few other targets on my list which have taken my attention.

    I've certainly noticed the difference on galaxies though, more than I expected to. The other benefit has been the colour balance when used in conjunction with my Astronomik CLS-CCD filter. I'm not needing to spend much time at all getting it right in post processing.

  5. This has just been re-listed as it failed to attract any bids last time, possibly because he has spelt telescope wrong, I should probably be kind and tell him. Still, I very nearly had it last time for £100, but honestly I don't have a need for another reflector and I've already bought to much astro stuff this month.

    So if anyone is interested in an interesting Russian mak for Christmas then you might want to keep an eye on it.

  6. On Sunday night I took advantage of the local streetlights being broken to take a few frames of the horsehead and flame nebula (attached), and did a quick run through the processing in Pixinsight last night to see what I got.

    As you can see from the image, what I have is a not bad picture hiding behind a very large coma / bloom effect from Alnitak. Now I'm fairly sure this was caused by generally unfavourable seeing, though you can also see a small reflection effect to the left of the star caused by internal reflections.

    How would you go about reducing or masking out this large effect from the image? In this case I desaturated the blue and green channels to reduce it, but I was still limited on what I could pull out of the data by it.

    I have thought of trying to create a mask for it based on intensity, or by using waveletransform, but I figured I would throw it open to the floor for ideas.



  7. There are a couple of workflow guides on the Pixinsight forums based on calibrating and stacking Canon raw format images :

    DSLR_RAW work flow

    Workflow for Canon CR2 RAW Formats for Newbies

    The first is a couple of video tutorials on the subject, the second offers a basic workflow which is the one I normally keep around for notes. There are in fact a whole bunch of discussions regarding the various gotcha's and oddities you'll run in to so it's worth a browse.

    The process could certainly use a more streamlined frontend, however I've found the results to be way beyond anything else I have tried, though I'd be interested in comparing it to CCDStack some time.

  8. I've been making use of this for the last couple of clear nights with my SPN900NC, no problems found at all. Loving the clean interface and having the camera controls available without extra dialogs / programs running.

    My only feature request would be for a zoom control of some sort, K3CCD has a 200% zoom. I can't always get close enough to the laptop whilst fiddling with the focus to see it clearly so anything to make it fill the screen better would help.

    But otherwise, excellent work!

  9. I've been using Pixinsight for just over a year now, I don't think I've ever even thought to look for a manual, I started with Harry's tutorials and moved on from there, filling in gaps and learning new techniques using tutorials from the website and forums. Frankly it's been a much easier process to pick up that using Iris was.

    I would like a more integrated workflow type tool for image calibration though, making masters is more work than it needs to be.

  10. I've got a EQ5/4/HEQ5 extension sitting in the garage which hasn't been used in ages. It was great when I needed it, and was equally great as a useful extension for a Vixen mount with some extra holes drilled into it. Nice robust extra for getting that extra bit of height.

    Right now it's just taking up space, I should probably stick it on the for sale page as it's not required for my use any more, one slightly abused but still working extension anyone?

  11. A while back I posted an Iris nebula image and mentioned that I was unhappy not to be able to see more of the dust clouds, and that I had tried a widefield image with similarly disappointing results.

    Last week I made a visit to my fellow BAS member and Pixinsight user John Murphy to put together a short presentation on Pix for the society and as part of that we ran through the processing of my Iris image. It is always helpful to have a second and far more experienced pair of eyes to help you and offer advice, and the results of the changes made in my processing can be seen below.

    The first is the Iris nebula from the 250mm reflector, exactly the same data as my previous post. The second is 32x8 minutes from the ZS66SD, heavily cropped to eliminate the field curvature.

    *edited to fix my terrible Monday morning typing.



  12. After seeing Gordon's stunning widefield I'm feeling a bit put off posting this, especially as I had attempted a similar widefield with my ZS66 earlier in the week only to get a very disappointing result. It doesn't seem to be an ideal target for the 1000D, those dust clouds just won't come out how I hoped they might.

    Still I swapped to the 250mm reflector and had another go, hoping to get a decent image of the nebula itself at least, this is 42x10 minutes from the canon 1000D processed in Pixinsight.



  13. This is from Friday night, a section of IC1318 known as the Butterfly nebula in Cygnus, not to be confused with the other butterfly nebula (ngc6302).

    Quite happy with this one, it's a tough target for an unmodified camera and was a pig to process.

    William Optics ZS66SD

    William Optics MkII 0.8 Field Flattener

    Canon EOS 1000D (unmodified)

    Astronomic CLS CCD Filter

    39 x 5 minutes (195minutes total)

    31 x bias

    31 x dark

    31 x flat

    Full version here : http://www.veryamateur.co.uk/astro/cygni_butterfly_full.jpg

    All comments and pointers gratefully received!



  14. A wide-ish-field view of the Crescent nebula in Cygnus from last night, though I think it could stand another hour or two of subs to help clean it up. Don't go hunting for the bubble, the image scale is a bit to wide and the resolution a bit to low to pick it up. I might have to have another go at both objects once I have the reflector mounted again.

    This is a region where a modified camera would do wonders, I really should get on with doing mine.


    Imaging Equipment

    William Optics ZS66SD

    William Optics MkII 0.8 Field Flattener

    Canon EOS 1000D (unmodified)

    Astronomic CLS CCD Filter

    Guiding and Mount

    Vixen A70LF Refractor

    Modified Philips SPC900NC Webcam

    IR/UV Cut Filter

    0.6x Focal Reducer

    Celestron CGEM Mount


    32 x 5 minutes (160 minutes total)

    29 x bias

    29 x dark

    31 x flat

    The images were calibrated and debayered in Iris then aligned, stacked and processed in Pixinsight.


  15. Normally mine has an Orion Optics 250mm reflector on it plus guiding and imaging kit, though right now it's having an easy life with only my ZS66 and guide scope on it. The 250mm needs a tear down / rebuild and I'm enjoying doing some widefield imaging.

  16. A quick Cygnus loop / Veil complex from last night, I had every intention of going out again tonight but my brain won't manage another day at work without suitable rest. My normal golden number of five minute exposures for the 1000d is 50, but I can live with 40 and maybe add more another night.

    Slightly annoyed that the nebula spills over into the area the MkII flattener fails to flatten, if anyone has better results with a different flattener on the ZS66 I'd love to hear all about it.

    This is also the first time I have reduced the star sizes in an image, many thanks to Harry Page for his Pixinsight tutorials on that.


    Imaging Equipment

    William Optics ZS66SD

    William Optics MkII 0.8 Field Flattener

    Canon EOS 1000D (unmodified)

    Astronomic CLS CCD Filter

    Guiding and Mount

    Vixen A70LF Refractor

    Modified Philips SPC900NC Webcam

    IR/UV Cut Filter

    0.6x Focal Reducer

    Celestron CGEM Mount



    40 x 5 minutes (200 minutes total)

    31 x bias

    31 x dark

    31 x flat

    The images were calibrated and debayered in Iris then aligned, stacked and processed in Pixinsight.


  17. I'll also note that when I took mine out for a rare evening of visual observing for a messier marathon earlier in the year the goto's were solid all night after a decent alignment. Slinging from one side of the sky to the other without missing a beat all night long.

  18. I've had mine since February, the only issue I have had was with occasion error codes on the handset reporting that it had lost contact with the mount. However I recrimped the RJ12 connector (just gave it an extra squeeze really) and I've seen no issues since.

    I've had no problem with the power connector, mine has a secure screw in collar to keep it tight which I think is standard on the CGEM now.

    If you are interested in PEC curves then check my website, the link is in my signature.

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