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Everything posted by pauldaviesuk

  1. Indeed.. I just packaged it as an exe to save people pfaffing with JVMs and command lines etc.. I can post the jar, if needed.
  2. OK.. save the Zip file and extract it in a location of your choice. I was hoping to bundle the data files inside the exe, but it didn't like it .. maybe in v0.0.2....
  3. Well, here it is. AstroBlock is a simple tool to plot obstructions against the night sky. We all would love to have access to an on- obscured view of the sky, 360degrees round and from the horizon to the zenith. Unfortunately, for most of us, expecially those of us living in urban environments, we have to put up with some degree of obstruction to our view of the night sky. AstroPlot seeks to aid the astronomer by allowing him/her to see their local obstructions against a the sky. After all, its no good trying to observe M13 (for example) if its hidden behind nextdoor's tree. After entering your local obstructions, and telling AstroBlock where you are and when you are observing, it will give you an observing list of DSOs, filtered by type and magnitide, that are visible at any given time. So. I'm a Java developer, concentrating solely on server-side, web-based applications, so this, as a standalone, Windows GUI app, is somewhat new terratory for me. This version is very much a first stab at this app. Its functional as opposed to pretty. Also, the plotting isn't very accurate. Its good to +/- a few mins of arc. This is (semi) deliberate. The app isn't supposed to be a replacement for a dedicated Planitarium app. Its supposed to be a quick tool to give the observer an idea what is actually, as opposed to potentially visible from their observing location. Anyway, have a play with it and remember its a work in progress. Comments are welcome. BTW, check out the 'Help' page for details of how to set up your own set of obstructions for your observing site. cheers Paul astroBlock.zip
  4. I'm not sure about the Nikon build quality or features.. I'm assuming its on a par with Canon, but top-end Nikon lenses are really expensive, as opposed to Canon, who's L series lenses are just expensive. Also, AFAIK, you can't mod a Nikon for astrophotography (should you want to down the line) and the rather good Astronomiks CLS clip LP filter is Canon EOS only. Paul
  5. Thanks, Nick I'll use that as a 'standard candle' against which to compare my results I've been thinking about a DMK21.. but getting my 350D modded is ahead of it in the queue cheers Paul
  6. Just come in from the obs. The OTA seems fine. I got some reasonable views of the moon, given the woeful seeing, as well as some pinpoint star images from Arcturus and Vega. Interesting development, though. I was imaging at the weekend with my newly modded MS LifecamHD, which I started to use this evening. TBH the images of the moon were certainly better than the views of the Sun on the 23rd, but never the less, were rather disapointing, even given the poor seeing. However I switched to my Opticstar PL-130M (which I ditched indisgust as an autoguider earlier in the year) and got visibly better quality images - finer detail on the moon and smaller star images, too. The only drawback is that it doesn't seem to have as great a dynamic range as the LifecamHD. cheers Paul
  7. Nick, I've checked the inards of the PST, and it all looks OK. The top prism is perpendicular with the optical axis of the EP tube, but I did notice that at one extremity of its travel, the prism touched the top of the housing, skewing its alignment somewhat. I have a feeling that may be a big part of the problem. I'll certainly take you up on your offer to have a look at my AE ERF, but I'd like to try to eliminate possible issues in the PST/scope first.. so let me do a little more experimenation first. BTW, Nick, could you post a raw single frame from one of your captured movies to give me an idea of the level of image clarity I can expect to see on screen? cheers Paul
  8. 1 & 2 - tasks for tonight..assuming the weather holds... 3 - I have no reason to think there should be any problems here. or atleast no more/fewer problems than if I had gone down the route of having a custom/fixed adapter made up. 4 - well.. lets eliminate 1, 2 & 3 before startin ng to think of spending more £££. Could I get away without an ERF if the apature were stopped down to (say) 30mm (web cam use only, ofc!), purely for the purposes of eliminating the ERF from the enquiry?
  9. Actually its a new PST, that was supplied with the loctite glueing the gold tube to the black box strangely absent.... and yes.. the ERF + cell was from AE
  10. I'm actually noticing a fair about of image shift while focussing, which put me in mind of the prism alignment issues that you have mentioned. Would that be a symptom?
  11. Lovely images as always, Nick. I was observing AR1072 and that promenance/filament group on Sunday, but still having a lot of trouble focusing. TBH, the seeing was awful (it was from about 10:30am so maybe a bit late in the day) but even so I'd have expected to get a chrisper 'schimmery' image rather than the fuzy, shimmery image I was seeing. The trouble seemed to be a that there was a fairly wide band 'almost in focus' between the obvoius 'out-of-focus' extremeties. Rather frustrating..as you can imagine. I'm tempted to try and build an electric focuser for the PST body to try to eliminate finger-initiated wobbles. cheers Paul
  12. Its to do with the tilt changes the volume of atmosphere sun's light has to pass through to reach the surface. In the summer, the sun is higher in the sky, so more of its energy reaches the surface, warming it. In the winter, the sun is lower in the sky, so the light needs to pass through more of the asmosphere. As the light passes though the atmosphere it get refracted and absorbed, so the more it passes through, the more energy it looses. cheers Paul
  13. Looking good... Can you link that post of Brian's, pls? I'm having focusing issues, too. cheers Paul
  14. TBK, Ken, I think you are exactly correct.. more practice!. I just wanted to be sure that was it, and not that I was missing something.. I get little enough Sun-time as it is, I don't want to waste to barking up the wrong tree... I'm sure there are good images in there to be had - I got a couple of good promenances on Saturday, and some fairly significant 'motteling' on the Sun's surface, which I'm hoping will translate in to some good featrures, so I think the Etalon is doing its job. the problem is that I can't seem to get it to focus. Even if the Etalon were faulty, I'd still expect the Sun to show up as a crisp, if fearureless disk. I'm just getting a fizzy disk. Paul
  15. Hi all I (finally) got some (quality?) time with my recently modded PST on Saturday - well, 2 hours in the dome but only about 20mins actually observing thanks to the big fluffy things in the sky! Here's a pic, btw: Its an Evostar90 with an AE supplied ERF&cell with a GSO(like) 2" crayford focuser holding the business end of a PST, at the appropriate point in the light cone. I'm (atm) using a MS LifecamHD, modded to fit into an EP draw tube as the imaging device. I think the best I can say, so far, is that this setup has a load of potential. In the gaps between the clouds I managed to find 2 good looking prominances, as well as some surface detail on the Sun's disk. Twisting the PST tuning ring had an obvious and dramatic effect. Unfortunately, I had a lot of trouble focusing the system. TBH, the seeing was lousey, which didn't help. Also, I found that adjusting the LifecamHD's brightness seemed to affect the 'apparent' focuas on screen. I found that adjusting the PST focusser way off, I got an obviously blurry image. As I homed in on focus, the image improved to a certain extent, before blurring again on the other side of focus. I guess these are the variables in question: My limited experience of using the system.. need more practice! The etalon may not be perfectly at 200mm in from prime focus (I can understand how this could affect image quality, but not the focus). The seeing...not much I can do about this.. fingers X'd for a clear/steady sky this coming weekend. The imager...though it seems to behave well enough at night. Something else...? I think #1 is the prime candidate. I just though I'd post and ask, in case there were something else I'd missed. cheers Paul >>Edit: D'oh...I wrote this yesterday, and was slightly surprised that the thread never cropped up in the latest posts search... then I noticed I'd never actually posted it!...too many browser windows open......the form seemes to have forgotten about the image in the intervening time...I won't post an image of the sun, becuase the only one I have look like strawberry blancmange pink and squidgey...<<
  16. Are those 2" or 1.25"?.. I was pondering a SW 2" ED barlow @ about £60.. Paul
  17. Hi all, I'm having lots of fun shivering under the stars waiting for my DSLR to soak up those photons, but so far the image scale of the images I've been capturing have been rather small. I'm not surprised - I'm using an 80mm f/7 OTA with a 22.2x14.8mm sensor, which should give an image about 2 degrees across, which is exactly what I see - M57 comes out at about 40px. That said, it'd be nice to be able to capture some larger (scaled) images, so I'm thinking a 2x or 3x Barlow might be the solution. However, when imaging at the moment, the draw tube on the 'scope is (almost) fully extended, and the camera is attached to the 'scope with a WO Photo Adapter . I'm wandering whether adding a barlow into the mix will push the focal plane of the system so far back I won't be able to achieve focus. Am I worrying over nothing, of might I have a problem here? And if all is well, which barlow would be recommended (I don't have an infinite budget for this, so a TeleView, while desirable, is not really an option!) ? TIA Paul
  18. I'm impressed you even managed to see the sun!!!... great images, as always cheers Paul
  19. Thanks for the coments. Yes they are rather blue. I was trying for a neutral a sky as possible, and given the LP here in N London, it meant dropping a lot of red from the image. I guess the best approach is to filter out as much of the LP as possible before it ends up on the sensor, as opposed to trying to remove it later. Of course, this approach would allow me to take longer subs, too Toby - I only used levels in CS3 on these images cheers Paul
  20. I just so happens that I'm working on a program to do just what you are asking for. You will be able to enter a date and a time range and your location, and it'll tell you what is visible, filtered on mag and object type. You will also be able to provide it with the various obstructions at your observing site (trees, houses etc) so it won't tell you you can see M57 (for example) when it has risen, but it blocked by next door's tree. I have it as a basic command line tool atm. I'm currently working to convert it to a more user friendly GUI tool. I'll post it up here when Its done. cheers Paul
  21. thanks for the advice, Brian. I bought a vbl polariser the other day, and its been cloudy since! I completed my PST86 last weekend and had about 10mins observing before the clouds rolled in! I'm not expecting much chance for any observations this weekend either At least I managed some night imaging this week... cheers Paul
  22. I'm still getting to grips with the whole image stacing thing. I've only taken single frames in the past. A couple of camparative images from the last night and the night of the 4th. First off M13: 10x120sec subs @ 800ISO + 5darks stacked in Registax5 and 'de-light-pollutioned' in CS3 Next, M13 again: 1x300s @ 800ISO no dark and 'de-light-pollutioned' in CS3 Finally M57: 1x180s @ 800ISO no dark and 'de-light-pollutioned' in CS3 All captured using a (stock) Canon 350D through a Scopos TL805. Guided using PHD, SSAG & ST80 mounted in parallel with the TL8050 on an HEQ5Pro. The single 300s exp of M13, while definately noisier than the stacked 12s sec image, seems (to me) to be far crisper. comments / suggestions, are ofc welcomed TIA Paul
  23. looking on spaceweather.com & n3kl.org/sun, there seems to be a fair bit of activity today. Has anyone been lucky enough to catch a glimpse? The east coast, or perhaps the far southwest, look as if they might have had some clear skies. Big Bear Solar Observatory (BBSO) H Alpha today Paul
  24. Truely awesome image. I've just bought and modded an HD lifecam.. all I need now is for it to stop raining
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