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M Astronomy

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Everything posted by M Astronomy

  1. I imaged neowise for the first time last night and was able to see it with the naked eye! I thought I would be able to get a bit more detail though. I'm in a fairly rural location, bortle 4 I think. Am not sure whether this is due to my settings or it wasn't dark enough? I am quite North in Scotland so despite these being taken at around 1 - 1.30 am it was still fairly light. Both are single shot on a static tripod with a Canon 1300d. The first image is 13 seconds at ISO 800 and the second 15 seconds at ISO 800. Any thoughts and tips to get more detail?
  2. Great photo! Thanks a lot, really hoping the clouds hold off for tomorrow night
  3. Hey! The clouds look like they are going to clear tomorrow and I will get my first chance to see and image comet neowise! I have seen many amazing photographs on this website of the comet so far and am just wondering what I can expect from my somewhat limited kit. I have a Canon 1300d, a standard kit lens and a static tripod. Can I get a decent widefield photograph with this? I am unsure whether many of the photos I have seen are stacked/are long exposures using a tracking mount. I probably won't be able to stack with my tripod. Any overall advice for my first go at imaging a comet would also be appreciated!
  4. Absolutely love these! I have similar kit to you and am just wondering whether you had a tracking mount? Are these images stacked? Hoping to get out imaging tomorrow night and am wondering what I'm likely to see in single sub without a tracking mount
  5. Incredible image. I would be so pleased if I managed to capture an image like this. So many hours with imaging, but so worth it when you get a result like this. Keep it up!
  6. Hmm I wouldn't go with the zoom personally. Never tried it myself, but a zoom, whether it be a camera lens or an eyepiece, will never give as good a view as a fixed focal length. If you don't want to spend stupid amounts of money, I'd go for something more mid-range, like a explore scientific 68. Hope this helps.
  7. But the reflections don't add up.. Intentional I guess but kinda off putting all the same.
  8. Incredible image. Barnard's loop is showing nicely. How do you go about editing composites? I only have gimp, would it be possible to do without Photoshop or other programs?
  9. Well done coming to a decision. There's so much gear out there its often hard to choose. I'm sure you will get hours of enjoyment out of the scope and I hope your son does too.
  10. I think the Skymax 127 sounds like a great option. The Skyliner 200p is the normally recommendation, yet as you have mentioned isn't as portable, and would be cumbersome and possibly off putting for your son. The AZ Gti mount has GOTO, which is probably preferable over a manual when showing objects to small kids, as it will track the object in the eyepiece. The most off putting thing for a young child is going out into the cold expecting to see something incredible and then you not being able to find anything, or when you finally find something, it immediately drifts out of the field of view. This mount should hopefully help avoid this. Maks are often recommended for planetary and lunar viewing, so you should get good views, and the 5 inch aperture is enough for your intended targets. Do realise though that the planets can only been seen in the morning currently and are not well placed in the sky for a few years. Hope this helps
  11. Hello, everyone, time for another astronomy report I think. Last night... Exams are over, it's the first day of the holiday and the sky is clear as anything. After the snow and hail had left, the sun came out and finally set, leaving a dark sky just waiting to be explored. I put the telescope outside to let it acclimatise and headed inside to get organised. 4 layers of clothing later with Steven O'Meara's Messier book I hand, I set out. Only to find a cloud covering Ursa Major. Agh I was going to search for M51 and M101 tonight. I thought I'd wait it out and see if it'd clear. I'd amuse myself with some other objects in the mean time. The Orion nebula - an object i have seen many a time yet still looking beautiful. The Andromeda galaxy - is that M110 I can see? Maybe... M78 - A new favourite of mine, despite very faint in my 3 inch scope, I love the dim dust of that grey smudge. Hmm, what else can I see? I took a step back from the telescope and gazed up at the sky, the winter constellations I'm so familiar with shining brightly. Taurus was right ahead. I scanned it with my binoculars, the many stars do the Hyades and Pleiades filling the view. Could I see the Crab Nebula? I've always wanted to see the supernova remnant, the first object in the Messier catalogue, yet never have been able to. Let's give it a try. I swung my telescope around, trying to land on the bright star that should be close to it, according the O'Meara. This is quite a job when using a red dot finder, out of alignment and out of battery, but after a few minutes of sweeping the telescope round, the bright star was finally visible. Up and to the right a bit. Nothing. Wait. A very faint blob appeared, dimmer than M78, only visible when using averted vision. But what an intriguing grey blob it was. I was looking at the remains of a star. After some time trying to tease some detail out of the smudge, with no success, I realised cloud was coming in. The plough had cleared and I tried to find M51 and M101, yet no success. I wasn't disappointed though, my finding of the Crab Nebula had enthralled me enough. I took a look at M81 and M82, though haze had started to cover the sky and the view was poor. My feet were complaining at the cold, despite the new pair of thick socks, so I finally went inside. A successful night of hunting grey blobs I'd say. What should I go searching for next?
  12. Well I'd like to let you all know, tonight, before the hail set in, I saw m78 with my cheap 76mm telescope! Yes it is possible with a small telescope but probably only in rural locations, as with my minimal light pollution it was just visible. I travelled from Alnitak up and slightly to the left, nudging it left and right, not really expecting much. And then there it was. I wasn't really sure whether it was actually m78, but I checked through my finderscope and I'm certain it was in the right place. There were two dim patches of dust slightly separated with faint stars at their centre. As some of you said, it really isn't much to look at, but it still was intriguing and was an exciting find mainly due to its difficulty. Well at least it was quite difficult for my lack of star hopping skills. Thanks for the help and the star maps. Another faint fuzzy down!!
  13. Dobs are probably the easiest telescope to use. Just plonk it down and put an eyepiece in it. No tripods to worry about. I have a small reflector on a what I thought was an adequate tripod and mount. Despite the scope being very light, it shakes like anything, especially when there's a breeze. So I'm looking to upgrade and the 200p seems right for me after the research I've done. If storage is an issue, there's no reason why you can't go for a smaller dob. A 150mm still has better light gathering abilities than a 120mm and a lot better than a 102mm. Or go for a Skywatcher Heritage 130p. Its small, collapsible with its flex tube design and only £137. Bear in mind that it needs to be on a table or something though. Hth!
  14. Why were you put off the idea of buying a dobsonian? For £285 you can get a Skywatcher Skyliner 200p, which give you much better views of deep sky objects due to the larger aperture and apparently still gives great planetary views as well. It also doesn't have the problem of chromatic aberration as it is a reflector. The mount wouldn't have to be upgraded and therefore money could be spent on eyepieces and other accessories. I understand the issue of portability, but it can be split into two parts; the base and the scope. Instead of sacrificing aperture and going for a 102mm that has CA that could distract you from the views, with a mount you may still find wobbly, I'd get a 200p. But that's just my opinion.
  15. Thanks everyone. I've already seen M31, though I'll give someone of the clusters a go. Any other easy nebula at this time of year besides M42 and M43?
  16. Hello everyone. With my interest in visual observing rocketing sky high after managing a glimpse at M81 and M82, I really want to find some other faint fuzzies. I have a 76mm Orion reflector that is cheap and poor quality (though I love it none the less) and live in a pretty dark area with minimal light pollution. Do you think M78 is possible with my gear? Or are there some easier to find objects that I could have a go at with my dodgy star hopping skills? Any star maps or ways to star hop to it are much appreciated.
  17. Incredible timelapse. The time put into that alone is very impressive, but the end result is even more so. It's very well produced, and the music adds to it rather than distracting the viewer as often the case. Top notch if you ask me!
  18. Are you wanting just to do imaging? Is so, I don't see the point of buying the AZ-EQ-5 as you would only be using the EQ mode anyway. Not sure if the HEQ5 has better tracking, but it is a few hundred pound cheaper, and has the same load capacity as the AZ-EQ-5.
  19. Awesome images. I personally prefer the second one.
  20. Thanks John. Where did you get that star chart that showed how to star hop to it?
  21. Oh don't remind me. Not ready in the slightest for the exam on it on Monday :l
  22. Hello everyone, it's me again. I thought I'd do another account of my observing session, as I enjoyed writing it last time (meaning I enjoyed procrastinating writing the English essay I was suppose to be doing...). It was looking clear and I was fed up of Norman MacCaig's poetry, so I threw aside my textbook, and headed off to get the gear together. Hat, coat, another coat, gloves, socks (I finally got a warmer pair!), red head torch. Good to go. I set up the telescope - well plonked the telescope down and took off the dust cover - and got straight to it. A thin haze was settling in and I knew it wouldn't be long before I was completely clouded out. I knew what I was here to do. No fun and games. This was serious. I've been looking for M81 and M82 for a while now. Didn't actually know what I was really looking for, just pointed the scope in the general direction and hoped for the best. Turns out that method really doesn't work. I put this down to just my scope being too small and cheap and poor quality, and accepted the fact I would need to splash some cash on a better scope to see them. But wait! Having seen a thread on here talking about M81 and M82, my hopes were rekindled. It was apparently possible to see them in binoculars, as long as the conditions and light pollution were good. John shared a very good star map (cheers John), showing how to star hop to the galaxies. Now without a working red dot finder, it was going to be difficult, I knew this. But I was determined to see the two galaxies I had been reading about and looking at pictures of for years. Outside, the clouds were thickening. I scanned the area with my binoculars, surprised to clearly see the signpost stars and manage to star hop to the place where they should be pretty easily. To my disappointment though, they where nowhere to be seen. Huh, well I knew this wasn't going to be easy. I pointed the telescope at Dubhe (which is much harder than it seems when you have a red dot finder that is out of alignment and out of battery) and was pleased to actually find it. Whoop whoop, pro stargazer right there. I followed the signpost stars, from 23UMa, to the little collection of stars in the shape of a triangle, across to the little line and down. This in practice took 15 minutes to actually do, as my starhopping skills are pretty poor. And....... I didn't see anything. Little adjustment. Nothing. Ugh. I looked to the side a little. Is that what I think it is? My averted vision picked up a hint of grey haze across the blackness. And then another little grey haze, slightly more elongated and a little bit fainter. I could tell you I could see swirling dust lanes and stars blazing at their cores, but that would be a load of mumbo jumbo. They were beautifully inconspicuous and boring to anyone who hadn't the faintest clue what they were. But to me, they were incredible. I was so happy to have actually found something (bear in mind I am someone who has basically only seen the Orion Nebula, the Andromeda Galaxy, and the Pleiades) that I jumped up and down, almost slipped on the snow, and then had to take another look to make sure it wasn't my brain making it up. They were there, shining faintly in the haze, their light literally having travlled millions of years before entering my eyes, and it was an amazing sight. The clouds then rolled in and though I tried again and again to see them, the haze was far too thick. But I can't wait for a night with great visibility to see them again. Experienced observers who say that Barnard's Loop is easy and they can see M81 and M82 with their naked eye, probably laugh at my childish enthusiasm for finding the "easiest" objects. But enthusiasm at finding the objects - whether a walk in the park or a walk in the park blindfolded at night with your hand tied behind your back- is what it's all about right? Well it is to me anyway.
  23. I'd just like to say a thank you to everyone in this thread, especially to John for that star map. I found them! It is possible to them in a cheap 3 inch telescope with my rural, yet hazy skies.
  24. So do you think M81 and M82 are visible in a pretty cheap 3" reflector?
  25. Yes, refractors are often recommended for planets, as they have better contrast. But if your wife has seen through your 12 inch dob, a 6 inch refractor will disappoint her. The drop on aperture makes a huge difference. You're never going to see Jupiter like it is in the images. Never. And to see it "as big as possible" means lots of magnification. Very high magnification is only possible with excellent seeing otherwise you just get a big blob. Rather than buy an expensive telescope to "pique their interest in science", buy them an astronomy book with spectacular Hubble images and information on all sorts of different space objects. Or better still, take them to a planetarium or science centre. Speaking from my own experience, I got hooked on space from reading books and seeing pictures. My dad took me out stargazing once or twice, but we didn't have a telescope. Just seeing the vast amount of stars spread out across the sky fascinated me. But I was more interested in what I was seeing, not how pretty it was. Give them the resources to learn, not just to see. Hope this helps.
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