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About furrysocks2

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    Proto Star

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  1. Stepped out under an unexpected gap in the clouds earlier, so I fumbled around on top of the cupboard and found my still-mint supermarket Bresser 8x60s. I went straight for the Double Cluster, fairly high in the North. Had to block stray light and refocus a couple of times. It never impresses me as much as the first time I saw it. Spent a short while just looking at it, and a few more individual stars began to pop out, but moved on. Andromeda was blocked by the inbound cloud so I drifted down to Perseus, not somewhere I've really studied that much or often. I spent a good while with the Alpha Persei Cluster, both Mirfak and δ Per framing the snaking cluster between them, Mirfak strobing brighter every now and again. I tried to memorise some patterns to faint stars to check magnitudes, but didn't retain them. I have a vague recollection of drifting somewhere west of that and seeing something of note but don't remember enough to work it out. By this time I'd sat down on the patio against the shed, elbows on knees. I was scanning down in the murk, low over neighbouring rooftops, nothing much there by naked eye but picked out a symmetrical curve of sorts, could have almost been a small crab-like arrangement, with a distinctive set of stars again, to the right of the lamppost between them. All of this lot was φ Aur and it's surroundings. Again, I don't know Auriga well, but I've spent time on a few of the clusters there in the big dob. Further up, at the edge of the incoming cloud, was something cloud-like but it's constancy was discernible against the drifting clouds that were beginning to obscure the region. Easy to come back inside and check for as it was being pointed to from below by a crooked arrow of sorts, b Per. I believe the smudge I saw was NGC 1528 but I wasn't picking out any individual stars. Collimation needs a wee tweak, and AFoV is not huge, but quite a pleasant wee hand-held session. Got back inside for a peppered roast chicken mayo sandwich on soft white bread. I could go another just now.
  2. Observatory planning - Dob Closet

    Just thought... equatorial platform may need a larger footprint than a 2'x2' slab, I don't know as I haven't built one yet.
  3. Observatory planning - Dob Closet

    Not for long. I'll buy wood for the base tomorrow morning, it'll be "a surprise" for my lady when she gets back on Sunday night.
  4. Datyson T7 - anyone?

    Came across the T7 on aliexpress: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/T7-Astro-Camera-Astronomical-Astronomy-Planetary-High-Speed-Electronic-Eyepice-Telescope-Digital-Lens-for-Guiding-Astrophotograp/32786715355.html Active thread in French just now: http://www.webastro.net/forum/showthread.php?t=149406 I'd like something for the moon, so uncompressed frame rate is important. Quotes exposure time up to 1 minute, so that's something else to play with. And it could guide when I get something else. It's a clone with no warranty I know, but wondering if anyone had experience with one?
  5. Observatory planning - Dob Closet

    I guess I'm starting with just a "dob deck"... permission sought, a shrug in response. Shame I just sold my nailgun... :/
  6. Try playing around with levels and curves in GIMP with this image: http://www.casimages.com/i/170921081235577642.jpg.html Click the link, and then click again the image in the middle of the page and it should open up full size, then right-click and save the image. Then load it in GIMP. I think in qualitative terms, it's not a very "good" image to start with. It's in "jpg" format for a start, which compresses the data so not "lossless". But I thought it might be fun for you to play with in GIMP if you're in the mood, because you can quite quickly bring out colour and structure in the image that you wouldn't think was there just by looking at the original.
  7. Observatory planning - Dob Closet

    I've got small paving slabs for footings and can get a large paving slab and blocks for dob plinth. Reckon I could frame and deck the base with new wood for £100. Structure on top could be constructed wholly afterwards.
  8. No problem. It's a rainy-day exercise, if the skies are clear go observe and image! I was trying to find a video on youtube for you... this one uses Photoshop not GIMP and he talks a lot, so maybe turn the sound off and ignore most of his clicks, but watch how he improves the image from start to finish just by playing around with curves and levels... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WnPII6YdVBc
  9. Not sure what you mean, I'm just little screenshots up to show you the windows that GIMP opens on my screen. When you're looking at the image in GIMP, and you click the "Colours" menu and select the "Curves..." menu item, it should open up another window and you click in that... by clicking on the white line and dragging it around, you should be able to see the image in the main GIMP window change brightness. All I'm trying to show with this step is that by changing the curve, you can make the dark bits of your image brighter, and in those dark bits, there are a few slightly-not-so-dark spots which are stars... you can't see them in the original, but by using the "Curves..." tool, you can make them appear. The next step, once you've made the faint stars (and all the black background) lighter, is to keep the faint stars bright but make the background dark again. I hope this is not too confusing... the aim was just to show you how to take the original image which appeared to only show 4 or so stars and bring out a few more to help the "plate solver" identify the portion of sky. There's lots you can do with these sorts of techniques, also lots you can do without it. Happy to carry on but only if it interests you.
  10. Let's keep it on the thread in case it helps anyone else. OK, let's start by opening the very first image you posted on this thread in GIMP. Then open the "Colours->Curves..." dialog box. You should see this: The white line is the curve you can alter. The black spike near the left tells you that most of the image is dark, which is obvious. Drag the curve until it looks like this: Please tell me what you can see...
  11. Observatory planning - Dob Closet

    The dob probably doesn't need a very large concrete base really, other than something stable and isolated from the timber floor. I'm having second thoughts as to whether keeping the EQ3-2 set up indoors is perhaps a step too far for such a small space. So this is perhaps just a dob closet. Which should be build-able in a weekend. On decking and weather proofing... if I just had an area of timber decking, say the full 8'x8', and the dob plinth were to be raised above that, I wonder how best to mount the walls. The gaps between the decking timbers would extend under the walls - I also wonder whether keeping the floor uninsulated with no membrane underneath might aid airflow. If bi-fold walls ran on bearings or similar in some alu/steel channel that was low enough that the observing chair could straddle it, then a weather-strip skirt at the bottom of the walls would at least provide some protection from wind-blown debris and water. Water might creep along the boards themselves, but I don't know if that would matter too much. I might well install a temp/humidity logger. I'm not particularly precious about the scope at this point although that might change if/when I get the mirror recoated. So: anchor a runner against the gable wall for floor joists to hang from a runner to attach the roof panel to uprights anchored to the same wall on which the attach the side walls - one fixed, one bi-fold dig in a post for the SW corner to attach the southern bi-fold wall to form a base for the dob frame up the floor joists and deck it then the walls and roof go on top of that
  12. Sunrise/sunset duration

    Wikipedia says: http://aa.usno.navy.mil/faq/docs/RST_defs.php
  13. Observatory planning - Dob Closet

    Scope situated 4'3" x 3' from proposed perimeter, base sitting around 4" from gravel, probably lower than I intend the decking to be. Skimming several house roofs, I can actually get lower than I thought... zenith is a little inaccurate and all northern directions are likely to reduce once a roof is resting back against the gable. East is right, west is left, as if looking down on the obsy from the south. I couldn't find my compass so I used a clock and a ruler and lined the scope up with the ruler by eye, dial inclinometer friction-fit into one of the alt bearings. No EP, just sighting through the focuser until I determined I was clear of obstructions.
  14. Observatory planning - Dob Closet

    Approximate swing of the dob below, assuming minimum altitude of 25 degrees (yet to actually check that - 30 could bring things in a little tighter but actually once you're that low you don't need that much clearance to go lower, to be fair). Allowing 6" for wall thickness, in reality probably keep them below 4". Green walls could remain in place but would need to be low enough, or split, for access to lowest elevations. Amber walls instead would be optionally removable, perhaps bi-fold. Gable to the north, fence to the west. The roof would raise up, back against the gable. Overall, I prefer the amber walls for their smaller footprint, they would secure from the inside before lowering the roof. I might want to mount the pier as close to the SE corner as possible, but wouldn't want to have to remove the head before lowering the roof - removing scope ok-ish. So some thinking to do on heights and clearance. Tarp stowed in the roof for quick deployment. Decking would probably extend to the green lines to provide flat surface for observing chair.