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Everything posted by Bengrant76

  1. Nice images Vicky, love the pleiades one, lots of detail you have captured!
  2. Its been quiet on here of late, so I thought I would share my weekend's observing. I was at my parents in Lincolnshire so had easy access to some nice clear skies, which actually got dark enough to enable some actual astronomy on Saturday night. We sat outside as it got dark and fist into view was Venus, which is rapidly disappearing now after being so dominant for so long, through the 6 inch DIY Newtonian the near quarter phase was clearly visible despite the poor seeing due to its low altitude. We then trained the scope on Jupiter, as it was disappearing behind some trees. we could see three of the Galileans. After this, we had a drink and watched the stars appearing one by one, the summer triangle, Arcturus, the plough, polaris.. A little later on we moved to the driveway where the 8 inch light bucket was set up, and there was just enough of a gap between trees for Saturn, which was really clear, one of the best observiations of the ringed planet I have made in recent times. we could just about make out the cassini division and, we thought, Titan. All the time Mars was glaring at us, like a baleful red eye, low to the souttheast. we were waiting for the planet to get high enough to observe and image properly. below is a 15 sec exposure of the scene, with Saturn to right of the central tree, and Mars to the left... And a satellite to boot by now the milky way was beginning to show, so i amused myself with some widefield, unfortunately i had some focusing issues, below is the best of the bunch.. you can make out Brocchi's cluster top right. this is a 20 sec exposure at 800 ISO, stretched slightly to bring out the milky way. by now it was getting late, nearly 1am, so Mars was as high as it was going to get, and was also threatening to disappear behind that tree.. so i set up the 5" mak with my trusty 600D attached, focused up and started catching as much AVI as possible. Using a 2x barlow, 5x digital zoom and some careful processing, I ended up with the following result: There is just a hint of detail, but not very clear. I don't know if this is because of the dust storms or my technique.. Visually, through the 8 inch, it looked remarkably similar, there was a hint of darkness in the centre of the planet and a brighter edge. we couldn't make out the polar ice cap. After this we decided to pack up the scopes, time for a beer, binoculars and deckchair.. in the 40 minutes or so we were out, i saw a bright green perseid, about four more (one of which was going in the wrong direction to be a perseid, and some really nice views using the bins of the andromeda and triangulum galaxies, and the double cluster. oh how i have missed dark skies!
  3. Can't make it tonight, my car is playing up.. :-( I'll just have to get the 'scope out instead...
  4. And here's one of Venus, from the same night..
  5. Hi All I know how much Damian loves the moon, so apologies for to him this. But its about the only object I get to see these days. So I had a go at a mosaic, this is from last tuesday, 27th. I used GIMP to put it together. Not bad for a first attempt eh?
  6. fingers crossed, although I'm drinking tonight, so I wont be able to take advantage!
  7. Hi, not much to do but go on here with current weather!! when oh when will we get clear skies? Ben
  8. ooh, i will get my saw out then! Stupid rookie question - where does the wedge go? on top or underneath the tripod? I'm assuming you put it between the mount arm and the tripod, otherwise it would need to be a mahoosive wedge?
  9. Nice bit of kit there Matt! @Vicky050373 Thanks for your offer of a borrow of your DMK21. I would certainly be interested in giving it a try. Unfourtunately planets arent easy from home as I have a north facing garden so the planets are usually the other side of the house! they need to be about 25 degrees for me to see them, so its not going to be easy for some time. I can try it on the moon, or it gives me an excuse to head out to winscar if the chance arises :-) with regards your advice i think you are dead right, there is no need for me to rush out and spend more money. I was just wondering out loud what my options were. there is so much choice, its a great time to be an astronomer! Unfortunately I cant be there on Thursday. its Kelly's birthday so I will be in trouble if I dont keep her entertained that night! Is Kielder happening? I've not seen any emails, but I was planning on going so maybe if it happens i can try it out then?
  10. Hi Vicky it focal length is 1500mm and it has an focal ratio of 11.81. from what I've read this means it will collect less light over the duration of a shorter exposure than a scope with a shorter focal length, so my thinking was faster scope = more signal for a short exposure. I agree though there should still be plenty of potential, there are lots of brighter DSOs and because it has good sharp contrast it should be well suited to planetay (when the planets eventually show themselves properly again!). i did get a good jupiter a while back just using my phone camera, so I should get decent results with a planetary camera.. any recommendations?
  11. Thanks for the kind words Vicky, nailed it on a first attempt, I will take that :-) . I've been doing alot of reading and I am coming to the conclusion I cant push the kit I have much further. I quite like the challenge of working with a small budget with a setup that is light and portable. I could make modifications to my mount to make it a bit more sturdy, but it seems the best thing I could do is go for a smaller faster scope, something like an ST-80? the Mak is really better suited to observing. I've certainly learnt alot trying to get the most out of it, and will keep on trying.. Nice moon Vicky, really sharp and good detail. I had a go at the Sinus Iridium area last night, but my images arent as good, although I did capture the Laplace prominence shadow (thanks for pointing that out)! The clavius area looked fantastic last night
  12. Hi, A number of firsts here.. First time I used the new Synscan V4 GOTO controller to locate and track an astrophotograpy target - m35, first time I've imaged this too - and first time I have used RAW files. I also used my light pollution filter, which I havent used before in imaging. I'm quite pleased with the results considering I could hardly make out M35 in my viewfinder! 17x 8 sec lights, 4x darks, I did take some flats but didnt use them in this image, I converted the files using canon software, stacked in DSS, and then stretched using the canon software. I played around with the hue/saturation settings a bit in GIMP to make the stars more orange than yellow as they were appearing after processing. I realise this isnt as good as what usually gets posted on here by others, but I'm pushing the limits of a lightweight Alt-az mount and long focal length scope, and using freeware whre possible. I've been playing around with a number of different things for the last week or so, this seems to be the best result so far. Any suggestions to improve my technique would be welcome :-) PS get well soon Eric!
  13. Speaking of obvious mistakes - finally got round to trying out my new SynScan GOTO handset which I bought before christmas tonight. couldnt figure out why the damn scope was pointing all over the place - it thought Aldeberan was in cancer and the pole star was overhead.. scratched my head for a while before realising i'd put the date in wrong (ie it needed to be in american format) so the mount thought it was the 2nd December! after I ironed out that little wrinkle it worked a treat, i could home in nicely on M44, 34, 35 & 36, even from my light polluted backyard in Normanton! well chuffed! I always thought using GOTO was cheating, but star hopping is a pain in the backside when you cant actually see many stars!! looking forward to giving it a proper run out soon..
  14. Nice images Jay and Vicky! good to see some Astro being done!
  15. you sure you didnt use Hubble for that one Dec? its fantastic :-)
  16. Really nice image Adam. worth the freezing temperatures im sure!
  17. I've had a great week up in Swaledale, its been clear pretty much every night (very cold though!) It's been great for Geminids, I saw quite a few, and I've had a bit of time to practice my skills and setup.. got a good M42, Andromeda Galaxy, Ring Nebula and some nice widefields (in focus now, thanks to Soupy's tutorial!) and some trails. I'm struggling to get any decent length of exposure for the deep sky objects, they always seem to trail after 10 sec or so. Im using a starwatcher alt-az mount and DSLR. I've tried being very careful with my setup and alignment. I guess its just the limitation of a cheap alt-az mount? Im also having some problems stacking using DSS and Registax - more than a small (3-4) number of subs and it seems to struggle aligning them.. not sure what I am doing wrong.. Still, not a bad week's work Hope the Quiz was a success, merry Christmas all!
  18. Good read that, Damian. Sounds like a great trip, and love the auroua pic! I was busy myself over the weekend, I was at my parent's in deepest darkest linclonshire last night. The forecast was good, so me and my Dad set up in anticipation whilst tea was cooking.. Got everything set up, a quick look at the moon and then went in to eat. When we came back out there was some cloud cover and not many big gaps. We decided to go to bed early and set the alarm for early morning, and so it was i got up at 3.30 am and went outside to some great clear skies. I started off imaging, trying to get some subs for m42. unfortunatley there was a fairly strong gusty breeze playing havoc with my mount, so i was struggling to get anything over 5 sec that wasnt wobbly. Below is the end result, after some faffing about with registax today. Ive got some way to go to match Adams image After Orion disappeared behind a tree, I had a little tour round the sky with my bins, taking in the double cluster, the open clusters of Auriga and Gemini, the Beehive, and found myself in Leo looking for the galaxies there, with my scope i located M65,66 and I think 95/96 too, although i wasnt 100% - they certianly didnt look as good as what Eric's captured above! I decided at this point to head inside to warm up and get some coffee, and was treated to a very bright blue-green meteor going right over the house, leaving a trail. When i came back out, it was starting to get light and the night belonged to Mars and Jupiter, so we turned my Dads 6 inch newtonian on them, Mars wasnt giving much detail away, apart from its red colour, and Jupiter was too low to make out much detail but all four moons were on display. The eastern horizon was looking very nice, so i captured some widefields of mars, jupiter and eventually Venus just before dawn (venus below)
  19. Yes thats a cracking picture, I wonder what the birds made of the conjunction!
  20. Glad some of you made it out last night, and survived the cold! for those of you who missed the conjunction, heres a couple of images i managed before having to leave for work! Hope you're feeling better soon Damian!
  21. Lovely pics dec, there is so much detail in those.
  22. Yes Dec the Pleiades rising over the trees took my breath away. Never seen them as bright or as clear! I also got some good tips from Soupy on focus for my widefields. I look forward to seeing your images, I hope they are as good as your jokes :-)
  23. I slightly increased the highlights on the summer triangle image to bring out the milky way but didnt touch the others. any suggestions what to try soupy? Cheers
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