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About Relpet

  • Rank
    Proto Star

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Interests
    Astronomy, films, history books, French Resistance, sitting in the sun pondering the ineffable mysteries of life.
  • Location
    South-west France
  1. I'm lucky enough to be able to spend half the year in south-west France. It was there four or five years ago I first took an interest in astronomy because the skies on a clear night revealed more stars than I had ever seen from our permanent home in a part of Surrey totally overwhelmed by light pollution. I made some fairly big investments in telescopes and eyepieces and have had a lot of pleasure from observing but like many others made a start on imaging, mainly the moon with a DSLR shooting through suitable EPs and a 12" Dob. Having seen so many wonderful pictures of the Milky Way taken by amateurs and with a 360 degree Bortle 3 site just a few kms up the hills behind me I thought I had to give it a go. I bought a f2.8 wide-angle Rokinon lens for my Canon 500D, a Manfrotto head and a decent tripod but 20 seconds was about the longest exposure I could get without star trailing. Clearly I needed a tracking system but the prospect of hauling my AVX mount, power pack and telescope with camera mount up the hill was too daunting. A German friend introduced me to his clockwork Omegon LX2 Minitracker and after a few trial shots I was convinced this was the solution. Soon after I found Omegon had released the LX3 in Europe. This has an improved mechanism but also a greatly improved polar finder over the LX2. Needless to say the skies clouded over the day it arrived so some three weeks later finally I got a chance to use it. The manual, which you have to download, is straightforward and once everything is attached shooting is utterly straightforward. I bought the version which includes the Omegon ballhead and I found that at some angles the ballhead could not keep the camera in position but 90% of the time the camera was rock steady. The clockwork timer will run for an hour on a single winding. I've been able to try it on two nights recently, once from my yard and once from the hilltop. I'm still having a lot to learn about best aperture, ISO and timing combinations, not to mention post-processing but the attached pictures might give anyone else with an interest in Milky Way imaging some idea of the effectiveness of this mechanical rather than electrical device. I believe I captured the Andromeda galaxy halfway down the left of one picture though I'm happy to be corrected on that. The picture of the crescent moon and Jupiter setting, vastly over-exposed, is thrown in for fun. Except for that one the others were all two-minute exposures at ISO 1600 at f4.
  2. Cheers, Knobby. I must say I like the look of Nigella's results with the clockwork job.
  3. Pardon my ignorance, Knobby. In my RAF days a SAM was a Surface to Air Missile. As an alternative I've been guided to this https://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/language/en/info/p11058_Omegon-Montierung-Mini-Track-LX2-SET-mit-stabilem-Kugelkopf-fuer-mobile-Astrofotografie.html which has the advantage of being clockwork and got a good workout in Sky at Night magazine last year. A German friend has used one successfully. Hmmm...
  4. Has anyone here used one of these, please? https://www.moveshootmove.com/ If so I'd be grateful for an opinion. There are some glowing reviews on YouTube but they seem to be sponsored by the maker.
  5. Thanks, Alan, I need to do some more work with the manual. I shot some RAW images of the moon this evening and found each image was mirrored with a JPEG, which seems a bit unnecessary. Pics weren't brilliant on first sight but will persevere on the next clearer night. Your lucid advice is greatly appreciated. Cheers Peter
  6. That's such a clear explanation of what must, to more experienced imagers, seem an obvious error that it's even overcome my disappointment. I've been told several times to shoot in RAW and I'm about to change the default setting this instant. Thanks, Alan, and to all who replied.
  7. On Wednesday night. July 10th, I promised some visiting Parisians a picture of the moon after they had observed it with me that night. I made a composite from about 15 images taken with a Canon 500D through my 12" f4 Dobsonian fitted with a 2x2"PowerMate. The resulting image was pleasing enough to send the Parisians but seemed to contain more detail than my usual single shot. The image on the screen was 15.5% of the original. When I zoomed in to 100% I was astonished to see what on Earth might be sand dunes, or ripples left by the tide on a beach. My first thought was ancient, solidified lava flows but if anyone can put me right from the cropped pictures attached I would be grateful.
  8. Very interesting link. Lots of food for thought there and the advertised CDs look interesting too.
  9. Poe, in typical over-blown 19th century style, suggests he prefers the myth to the maths.; realising the sensation in his own brain of the beauty he sees with his own eyes yet still enjoying the imaginative interpretations of the myth-makers of the past. He finds the science as painful as a child being told there ain't no Santy Claus. Had he, and they, been able to see the celestial images we see in the 21st century he, and they, would be as rapt in wonder as we are but, though acknowledging everything the physicists say, probably still regarding the scientific explanations as secondary to the awe-inspiring images. - I humbly suggest.
  10. I hadn't expected to start such a discussion and I'm not sure I have the knowledge to make telling points but sometimes the best scientific writing is so lucid it could be placed on the same level as classical prose. It isn't designed to give an impression but to convey the most accurate representation of the idea in the writer's mind. Lucidity is the way to spread understanding. Poetry, music, art are perhaps aimed at a different part of the human psyche, designed to share feelings and which may not strike the same chord in everyone. The best scientific speakers also strive to convey their exact meaning, avoiding cliché, searching for the right word. They want their ideas to take root, not provoke an emotional response. Picking up Olly's last point, in a broadcast from New York hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson, Janna Levin - a world authority on black holes - said she wasn't looking for easy answers. The challenge was in the search for the right answers and the physics relating to the inner nature of black holes perhaps currently represents the most challenging area of what is not known. The astrophysicists may still be looking for the answers but there's nothing to stop a poet composing his dreamy view.
  11. In June a few years ago the weather on the French side was persistently cold and wet for two weeks. Friends, seeing the depth of our depressed state, recommended no more than two hours drive away is the delightful village of Ainsa. Just like Olly we entered the tunnel in, seemingly, mid-winter, and emerged in high summer. Good luck.
  12. We sure can, Olly. Whitman wrote his piece in 1855 at a time when great strides were starting in American astronomy and which progress he followed all his life. I guess the growth in the number of astronomers would lead to the growth in the number of theories being postulated giving rise to lectures which he found added nothing to his enduring love of the actual night sky. I've always found Whitman a bit over-blown for my taste but his excitement at the discovery of two moons of Mars, his conjecture that there were galaxies beyond the Milky Way and even the possible existence of universes beyond ours suggests he was not thinking idly when he wrote the piece. Neil deGrasse Tyson who recited the poem in the clip is a distinguished astro-physicist, as is Janna Levin who recited the poem at a gathering in New York City. I posted the clip to encourage people who might otherwise be intimidated by the science and so overlook the magic of the night sky and, boy, would Whitman have found magic in the unpolluted skies of 1855. Cheers, Peter
  13. I hope you enjoy the rest of your stay. I'm in UK until the end of June, otherwise I might have suggested we meet up somewhere. In the meantime I must check out Lac de Bious Artigues. Cheers
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