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Whistlin Bob

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About Whistlin Bob

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    Burton upon Trent
  1. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been imaging the Crescent using different focal lengths and filters Widefield 135mm I was working out that this is the fourth time I’ve been imaging in or around the Sadr nebula. On this occasion it was because I’d already started on the data for 900mm shots of the Crescent and I thought it’d be nice to have a wider shot of the general area, putting it into context. I was inspired by @Stub Mandrel's recent results with his Triband filter to see if the same (or similar) technology in a clip filter would help with wide frame nebula images and acquired a Skytech Quadband (that transmits 2 35nm bands around Ha, Hb, Oiii and Siii – hence the name) . I must say I’m quite impressed- I got this from a sequence of 20x 150 second captures on Sunday night under a 99% moon using a Russian made 135mm vintage lens on a modded Canon 600d and a Star Adventurer. Normally I’d only attempt proper Narrowband under these sorts of conditions, but I thought it coped pretty well under the strong moonlight. The only slight concern is the halo around Sadr itself. The photo picks out how prominent the Crescent is (below centre and to the right of this picture), but also shows how “busy” this bit of sky is- the Butterfly nebula pops out, with its prominent dark lane, but the fainter cloud that it’s a part of extends beyond the frame. There are also clusters aplenty- my favourite is M29 – the Space Invader cluster just below and to the left of the centre. Probably my eighties upbringing… Hydrogen Alpha These are taken using a Baader 7nm Ha Filter on a modded Canon 550d in a Skywatcher 200p- altogether I got 12 10 minute subs before clouds stopped me. I think this is the best of the shots for showing the structure of the object and the shockwaves that form its shape; the monochrome also highlights the cloud of the larger surrounding nebula. Oiii This came from the same setup and 10 more subs, this time with an 8.5nm Oiii filter, and a 99% moon on 13th October. The only Oiii visible in this shot is around the nebula itself. The signal was quite a bit weaker than the Ha; this picture was created by discarding the Red Channel and then combining equally the Blue and Green using Pixelmath in Pixinsight. Bi-colour Finally, it’s all brought together using the same process- this time feeding the Hydrogen into the Red channel and the Oxygen into the Blue and Green. I spent quite a bit of time playing with this one. Just feeding the data in, the red was total dominant and I progressively multiplied the Blue and Green until it was more prominent (the eventual multiplier used was 2). I also experimented with trying to change the balance to bring a little more colour into it, but that also artificially unbalanced the star colour so I decided to leave it even, which makes the Oxygen mostly white. I’ve really enjoyed taking these different views of the same object and learning about it. The nebula itself, 5,000 light years away, is 25 light years across and is caused by fast stellar winds erupting from the Wolf-Rayet star visible at the centre of the nebula. It’s thought the star will imminently (in astronomical terms) become a supernova.
  2. I often question myself as to why I spend weeks checking the weather forecast and then sitting outside on freezing winter nights. Reading through this thread gives the answer: I'm addicted to the thrill of these moments and clearly I'm not alone. There are so many to choose from, but for myself I'm going to put forward the time when I was mucking around with an inherited 3 inch Newtonian and managed to successfully aim it at a bright star, only to be rewarded with an eyeful of moons and stripes. My first view of Jupiter and the start of an addiction...
  3. Welcome to the 14" club! I've had mine for 18 months now and love it a little bit more with each session. Mine's an Orion USA model, but I'm pretty sure it will have come out of the same Synta factory that yours did and will be optically pretty similar. They are heavy beasts- once mine is put together (it's a truss design) I need another person to move it even in two pieces. Aside from that inconvenience it's perfect: loads of light gathering power but completely comfortable to use without a ladder and will happily fit in the boot of a Ford Focus without dropping the back seats. I look forward to hearing more of your adventures with yours!
  4. A few years ago, at our local club meeting (which is rural), a few of us had stayed into the small hours and the police turned up responding to reports of shifty looking characters hanging around the forestry centre- us!!! They had some fine views of Saturn and Jupiter before departing !
  5. That's really good! Any ideas what the bright light is that appears on the right hand side just below halfway on about 12 seconds?
  6. I was about to post on this thread about my own positive experience at my local group when I saw that Rosliston is your local group too! Like @Trikeflyer I'm a member and manage to get along to most meetings. Back when I was a newbie a few years ago I was made very welcome and the help I received was a catalyst to really getting involved in the hobby. It's actually a very exciting time in the club as we've been working for some years towards having our own Observatory at the forestry centre- it's very close now to completion. If you make the science day that would be great- there will be plenty of members attending. Alternatively, if you want to go to a meeting I understand it can be daunting going on your own- if you want to pm me prior to it I'll be happy to meet you there and introduce you other members of the group .
  7. Wow- that's lots of targets for a short session. A very enjoyable read- thank you!
  8. Thanks for that. Then I should probably go back and have another look. It's funny how some objects immediately grab you whilst others take their time. The sky wasn't great when I was looking- perhaps with better transparency I'll have that view
  9. Really nice report. If I can get to a dark site in decent weather I'd like to have a go at Triton. I spent a long time looking for ngc891 on Friday night and couldn't find it; I'm inspired to try again.
  10. In some ways I've found that it improves my imaging. Once the rig is running I'm as likely to need it up as anything else!
  11. Having been away with work and other commitment through several clear nights this week I was itching to get out last night and had the kit set up before it was properly dark. I set the cameras going for some imaging then concentrated on the visual with the 14” Dob and Baader Zoom. I didn’t really have a plan, but instead spent the time wandering through Sky Safari and just going for stuff that might be interesting. So… Double-double: This is a regular starting point for me- I align the Rigel and Finderscope on Vega then check out the double double to see what the seeing is like. It wasn’t the best and the sky was clearly a bit milky too, but even without the aperture mask there was clear separation on both pairs which augured well. M13: Just a short hop down and I almost go there out of habit. A nice view with good resolution into the core; couldn’t see the propeller though. Never quite sure whether it’s the conditions or me- but I can only see it about half the time. NGC7331 and Stephan’s Quintet: This was my first imaging target for the night and I wanted to see what I could get visually as well. NGC7331 is a nice target- quite easy to see the core, and then with a bit of time and some averted vision more of the shape becomes clear. I’ve had quite a few goes at this and always feel it’s right on the edge of my vision. I spent a long time on it last night- moving the scope, looking around the object, just relaxing and trying to let it float into view. There was definitely something there- a faint mottling of the sky. But not distinct. I have 2 dark sky trips coming up where, with a bit of luck with the weather, I’ll have more of a chance. It’ll be great to finally tick this one off. M15: It’s a couple of years since I put this one in the eyepiece and I’d forgotten what a wonderful target it is. To me the core seemed to appear slightly below centre (so I guess above centre as I’m using a Newt)- but I’m guessing that’s an effect of local atmosphere as it certainly doesn’t appear on any photos that I’ve checked online this morning. I also tried the Binoviewers; I’m a huge fan of globs in Binoviewers- they both seem to add an extra dimension and support seeing more detail in the object; but on this occasion it didn’t really seem to add anything. No worse, just no better either. M2: This was a nice view, but being a bit lower in the sky than M15 it was a bit murkier and harder to resolve, so suffered a bit by comparison. I probably did them in the wrong order! NGC891: In Sky Safari this looks reminiscent of the Needle Galaxy so I was keen to have a look, but I really couldn’t see anything at all. I spent a long time on this- trying averted vision, and then dropping the magnification right down with a 30mm eyepiece- but nothing at all. Then, as I had the 30mm in… M31/32/110: This I COULD see! Lovely to sit back on the chair and just drink it in. I find that it reveals itself in the same sequence each time. The core of M31 leaps out at you and then M32 is right there as well. Gradually some of the dark lanes appear and I then have to work a bit to get to M110. On really good nights I can see the edges spilling over the field of view, but the sky was too milky last night for that. It really is an awesome thing to contemplate: the light of a trillion stars travelling for millions of years and landing in my back garden. I hope it wasn’t too disappointed in the state of my lawn. Caroline’s Rose: Next, and with the low power still in, I wandered up to Cassiopeia. I could see the dark lanes in this open cluster; I sort of get it as a rose but it doesn’t quite leap out and grab me. M52: I much prefer this open cluster- not really sure why. The odd brighter star (not sure if it’s foreground) reminds me a bit of the Wild Duck Cluster- a pleasure to look at. I went back to the Baader zoom and quickly dropped back down to 8mm for the best view. Blue Snowball Nebula – I love the colour of this, it’s great to have something that’s not grey. I can never make out any details on this, but I always enjoy the blinky thing that PNs do. This inspired me to jump across to… Blinking Planetary Nebula- which always sounds like an exclamation to me. Strangely it didn’t blink as much for me as the Blue Snowball. M57 – The Ring nebula. Always a favourite; I decided to try some filters and also the BV’s on this. In the end reached the conclusion that it’s bright enough that none of these approaches really added anything. In the Baader, at 8mm/206x it’s a lovely view with a darker section (although the central star was beyond me last night) in the middle and variations in shading around the ring. Always good to experiment, but in this case the simple view is the best for me. M27- The Dumbell. In this case it really was worth experimenting. In the zoom it’s only a faint wispy thing at any magnification, and only really the apple core shape is visible. Dropping to the 30mm and it appears much more strongly, standing out a little against the star field. Popping the Baader back in with the UHC filter on it made it stand out a little further against the background, although at the expense of a little detail. Putting the Oiii filter on- turbo charged this effect: in monochrome green the full extent of the object was visible against the pitch background, there was a lot of shape as well, although it was quite blurry and you could only really focus by sidestepping to a nearby star. M71 – Nice, but quite faint and small compared with the other globs in the session. The Moon was up now and bed was calling, but like a kid left alone with the biscuit tin I was unable to resist a few more targets. The moon itself was in a really wobbly bit of the sky so I didn’t spend too much time on that, and switched back up to Cepheus. The Garnet Star- always a beauty, nice and sharp with the aperture mask on it! Delta Cepheus – A nice easy split; and almost Albireo like with the contrasting colours. Kemble’s Cascade – Too bright to find in the moonlight; no stars to hop from. Double Cluster – A wonderful place to finish!
  12. I think that's the nail on the head right there. I genuinely love both practices, but when I show people my pictures I get a genuine 'Wow!'- people are really interested. When I tell people that I spend my time looking for fuzzy gray shapes in the sky that's not a typical response... On the other hand I reflect on last night: I spent an hour setting the imaging rigs going and by that point I was feeling grouchy and hassled. Then I started with the dob- it was a great session. The stress of the week faded and the peace and tranquility was immense. I'm excited to see what my cameras got last night- but even if it turns out to be 'not much' then it was still a great night. But I can't easily share it. Although- you've just made my mind up: I will write an observing report later!
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