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About antariksha

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  1. Oh... But the best part of the monsoon is, the dust gets settled. Once the clouds are gone, the sky is clear, we get excellent terrestrial visibility too. These are the best days for observations.
  2. Hello Michael, I have not computed PA error yet. It would be a good exercise to take up. I am from India, and the monsoon ( seasonal rains) are still active, the sky is cloudy. I can probably revert in another few weeks. None the less, as I have mentioned, I have seen the tracking with no drift, to be working well for 10 min with my Bresser ExOS2 mount. Ashirwad
  3. Abstract : The topic of Polar Alignment is not at all new. Lot of approaches, automation tools are available. Yet, some aspects in all the current approaches drove me towards doing some more work. The key aspects of this approach are as follows. Ability to do the Polar alignment without polaris sited Relatively less complexity than drift alignment Ability to address to a good extent the atmospheric refraction to finally locate correct NCP / SCP position A good starting point for amateurs who wish to graduate towards sophisticated tools and techniques Ability to quickly verify if the polar alignment is intact after one object photographed or viewed, and the equipment is being pointed to another object. This point is mentioned in light of the fact that sometimes the polar alignment gets disturbed and the next object photographed shows star trails. This is especially true if payload is tweaked for next photo imaging. What is required? One should have a good understanding of the sky and ability to identify stars upto Mag 4.5 using star maps and basic concepts of RA and Dec. One should have Equatorial mount with ability to fine tune Azimuth and Alt adjustments. Availability of cross hair eye piece for the ability to locate the star exactly at the cross hair point. It is good to have finder scope attached and the finder cross hair is aligned with the main telescope eye piece cross hair. Please note this technique is not for the GoTo mounts which many times have Alt-Az mounts fitted with tracking motors. The GoTo alignment is done using 3 Star method. However, there are a few mounts which are equatorial design and also have GoTo tracking capabilities with RA and Dec motors. For these mounts, it is preferred to carry out polar alignment. The only point about these mounts, is that GoTo should have ability to start the RA motor ( tracking) without doing the 3 Star alignment, in other words, bypassing the steps for 3 Star alignment. The technique is based on the mathematics around the stellar current positions precisely computed. The technique suggests NCP or SCP alignment using specific pointing stars. Method The technique relies upon pairs of stars identified such that pair has same RA or same Dec. The details about finding such pairs, are given in the next section ( Mathematics). Step 1 Try to do a very coarse polar alignment using your latitude and pointing the equatorial axis approximately towards a possible Polaris direction. This is only to reduce the iterations in the method below. There is no dependency to visually site Polaris. Step 2 Select the pair of stars of the same RA from the table 1 below. Now, while choosing the pair, please select that pair which is closest to the zenith. This will reduce the error due to atmospheric refraction of siting those stars. Choosing such pair, will get better alignment. Note that the NCP and SCP lie on the same RA contour of the pair, you have just chosen. Locate the first star of the pair in the cross hair eye piece. Loosen the DEC knob of your Eq mount. Let the RA axis not to be loosened. Further, please start the RA motor and hence the tracking. In case of GoTo capability, please ensure the tracking is On, while the 3 Star alignment being bypassed. Rotate the telescope around DEC axis such that the second star of the pair is in the Cross hair eye piece. In the first attempt, the second star almost certainly will not be at the center of cross hair eye piece. And you need corrections. At this point, take the help of the finder with its wider field of view. Identify the position of the second star whether it is below or above the finder cross hair. Adjust the Azimuth of the mount through the coarse or fine depending on how off the second star has been. o Tip : In case, someone is facing difficulty in finding which direction to move Azimuth of the mount for correction, the following tips may be of use. A simple way to determine is to locate where the second star lies with respect to cross hair. Assume it is on the lower side of cross hair. Then the correction in the Azimuth of the mount should be such that the star is moved upward. It may be noted that your finder can be either inverting or non-inverting. Now, to determine the movement, please hold the finger on the lower side in front of the primary of the finder. And slowly lift the finger towards the center of the primary to obstruct it and continue moving upward. While doing so, please observe from the eyepiece. The blackish ghost image of finger will be seen moving. If movement is lower to upward, the optics is non-inverting. If ghost image moves from up to down, it is inverting. With this small trick, you would know how to apply correction. Once the correction is done, please point the finder to the first and then second star alternately simply by rotating around Dec axis of the mount. Both stars will be seen at the cross hair. At this point, coarse polar alignment is done. Now, please use the main telescope cross hair to locate the first and then second star using Dec axis movement. If required, please carry out the necessary Azimuth correction. Again, please use the above small trick to find out more on how to apply correction. At this point, please note that at the telescope’s high power ( with cross hair eyepiece), the Dec axis is correctly tracing two stars in your pair. Note that NCP/SCP lie on the same Dec axis. The Azimuth alignment of NCP/SCP is achieved. No more touching of azimuth knob of your Equatorial mount now. Step 3 Site the pair of stars of the same Dec from the table 2 below. Now, while choosing the pair, please identify roughly the midpoint of them. Now, select that pair whose midpoint is relatively closest to the Zenith. With this, one star is relatively East ward and other one almost at a same distance but Westward. This will reduce the error due to atmospheric refraction of siting those stars. Choosing such pair, will get better alignment In case you are unable to select a pair, please read Step 4. Note that the NCP and SCP lie on the centre of the Dec circle which the above pair inscribes. Locate the first star in the cross hair of finder. To locate the second star, please lock Dec axis. But loosen the Eq axis and rotate the telescope around Eq axis. Please carry out Alt adjustments of the mount. Please use similar procedure and tricks as in the step 2. Once the two stars are in the cross hair positions of the telescope, the polar alignment is completed. Step 4 ( only if you could not carry out Step 3) Site the pair of stars of the same RA from the table 1 below. Now, while choosing the pair, please select another pair which is off zenith. Please try to select such pair which has both stars approx same elevation from horizon, so that their atmospheric refraction is almost same. Effectively, we cancel the atmospheric refraction influence. Please note that in step 2, NCP/SCP is located to be on one of the RA lines. Now, we use another RA line with this newly selected pair. Again, for these stars to be centred, please keep Eq axis fixed and only move Dec axis ( similar to step 2). However this time, the mount corrections to be done are using Alt adjustments. Once the two stars are in the cross hair positions of the telescope, the polar alignment is completed. Mathematics The starting point was the star catalog where the Epoch 2000 is taken as baseline. Then I selected the stars brighter than mag 4.5. I applied the corrections due to Earth Precession and also the individual star’s proper motion. With the base data was ready for today's’ star positions. Then I programmatically picked up all pairs for same RA (within 0.001 difference) and later all pairs with same Dec (within 0.001 difference). I found mag 4.5 to be heuristically optimal. This magnitude is sufficient for visual locating these stars. Also, the number stars shortlisted from the main catalog is good enough to give sufficient number of required pairs. The pairs located today may not be valid after say couple of years due to Earth Precession and stellar proper motion. The below two tables will need fresh computation then. Disclaimer: I have tried few of the above mathematically found pairs from my location 19 Lat 73 Log. I use Bresser ExOS 2 mount. After the polar alignment, the tracking was tested for 10 min which was adequate for my current level of astrophotography. At different altitudes, different latitudes, this is not tested. I believe, the method will definitely work for small exposures. It is to be validated if this method works for very long exposures. Star Pairs Table 1 : Star pairs with same RA ( useful for Step 2 and 4) Sr No First star (name) First star HD Id Second star ( name) Second star HD Id 1 Gam Cas 5394 37 And 5448 2 Nu Per 23230 19 Tau 23338 3 Ups Tau 28024 71 Tau 28052 4 90 Tau 29388 53 Eri 29503 5 Kap Lep 33949 Rho Ori 33856 6 The Aur 40312 Del Aur 40035 7 Gam Mon 43232 Eta Gem 42995 8 Eps Gem 48329 30 Gem 48433 9 13 CMa 50013 V0415 Car 50337 10 Omi CMa 50877 The CMa 50778 11 P Pup 63922 Xi Pup 63700 12 Chi Car 65575 11 Pup 65228 13 Del Hyd 73262 E Vel 73634 14 B Vel 74180 V343 Car 74375 15 Iot Cnc 74739 Eps Hyd 74874 16 31 Leo 87837 Alp Sex 87887 17 Pi Cen 98718 Sig Leo 98664 18 Lam Mus 102249 Nu Vir 102212 19 Alp Crv 105452 Del Cen 105435 20 Gam Cen 110304 Gam Vir 110380 21 5 Boo 120477 2 Cen 120323 22 SHT 56 129116 Alp Lup 129056 23 Del Her 156164 Pi Her 156283 24 102 Her 166182 Pi Pav 165040 25 110 Her 173667 Phi Sgr 173300 26 Zet Cap 204075 Gam Pav 203608 27 Del Gru 213009 Del Cep 213306 28 Iot Cep 216228 Mu Peg 216131 29 Bet Peg 217906 Bet Psc 217891 Table 2 : Star pairs with same Dec ( useful for Step 3) Sr No First star (name) First star HD Second star ( name) Second star HD 1 7 Cam 31278 Gam UMaj 103287 2 Iot Cyg 184006 The Boo 126660 3 H Persi 26630 Dmi?? Cass 4180 4 Pi Aur 40239 Iot Her 160762 5 39 Cyg 194317 Omi Persi 23180 6 Eta Peg 215182 Zet Cyg 202109 7 Iot Cnc 74739 Bet Tau 35497 8 Bet Peg 217906 Vet Cyg 183912 9 54 Leo 94601 Alp Vul 183439 10 Alp Tau 29139 Gam Gem 47105 11 Mu Ceti 17094 Lam Ori 36861 12 Omi Psc 10761 Bet Cnc 69267 13 Pi Ori 30836 Del Hyd 73262 14 3 Agr 198026 Lam Agr 177756 15 Iot Ori 37043 Iot Vir 124850 16 Lam Eri 33328 Eta Eri 18322 17 The Lib 142198 Del Crv 108767 18 Bet Cet 4128 Bet CMaj 44743 19 88 Aqr 218594 Pi Sgr 178524 20 88 Aqr 218594 Xi Oph 156897 21 4 Xi CMaj 46328 3 Eri??? 18978 22 Rho Pup 67523 Omi CMaj 50877 23 Omc Cau??? 56139 61555 24 Bet Hyd 103192 43 Eri 28028 25 2 Cen 120323 Eps Sgr 169022 26 Alp CrA 178253 Mu Seo 151890 27 Bet CrA 178345 Lam Gru 209688 28 Phi Cen 121743 Eta Cen 127972 29 Eta Col 40808 73634 30 Vel 78647 Gam Phe 9053 Good luck Ashirwad Tillu ( ashirwadtillu@gmail.com), user name ( antariksha)
  4. A lot is already mentioned. In my 18" dob, I can see colours of M42, M57, Eta Carinae region. For GCs and OCs, the stars colours are seen many times. Then faint colours of ghost of Jupiter. But generally, the rest is black and white.
  5. Even I was taken a back when I saw the mag lines photo. While I did believe it since it is from NASA, I did not consider it fake. But I was astonished to see the crisp lines at that galactic scale.
  6. Piero, I am glad things are working out well. You have one of the best collimation tools. I use the same make. Its superb. Good to read your detailed report on your viewing. It will be fun and addictive to watch DSOs in this now. Clear skies.....
  7. Piero, heartiest congratulations. It is an exciting time for you now. Clear skies!!
  8. Mark, best wishes. It is an exciting time for you. The DSOs will be outstanding.
  9. Ovi, it is a delicate operation to remove the primary. Please take care that mirror surface is protected well. Also, reassembly back into mirror cell can be tricky. Center mark can be done if you still keep mirror in mirror cell and the whole mirror cell is only taken out of your OTA. But still mirror surface needs to be protected such that nothing touches the coating.
  10. I do recollect my first view of Saturn in my 3" home made telescope. This is quite a few years back. But I still recollect it. Over the years, as my equipment got upgraded, it is interesting to recollect the better and better views I have been getting. Thanks for helping me recollect all these views due to your post.
  11. Just installed Stellarium 0191 on my Windows 7, 64 bit successfully. It is absolutely features packed.
  12. Outstanding work.. Image is really good. Congratulations....
  13. Has anyone purchased Lumicon H beta filter recently after they were acquired? I have been using Lumicon UHC and its results are very good. I had purchased last year though. Hence I am inclined to purchase their H beta. But now they are acquired.
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