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michael.h.f.wilkinson last won the day on May 22 2018

michael.h.f.wilkinson had the most liked content!

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About michael.h.f.wilkinson

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    Neutron Star

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    Astronomy, computer science, photography, wildlife, cookery, life the universe and everything
  • Location
    Groningen, The Netherlands
  1. After a long absence, finally some solar images once more. Only Ca-K and WL, and just the one little AR, but pleased to be back in the saddle WL, grey level: WL, pseudo colour: Ca-K, grey level: Ca-K, pseudo colour: Ca-K, part inverted: Ca-K, part inverted + pseudo colour: Some very, very faint hints of proms visible in the latter two images. All captured with my APM 80mm F/6 triplet and ASI178MM camera. Lunt Herschel wedge with Solar continuum filter and UV/IR block for WL, Lunt B1800s Ca-K module for the Ca-K.
  2. Diffraction spikes and the like aren't the biggest problem for our tool. The main issue is that the background needs to be as flat as can be. It also assumes no stretching has been done, so an original luminance image is preferred.
  3. These are two comparisons to the venerable Source Extractor (SExtractor), vs our previous MTObjects version on SDSS images. SExtractor MTObjects: SExtractor: MTObjects: Clearly MTObjects captures much more of the low surface brightness detail, including the tidal feature in the pair of merging galaxies above. Full paper on that version here: https://www.degruyter.com/downloadpdf/j/mathm.2016.1.issue-1/mathm-2016-0006/mathm-2016-0006.pdf We are developing a new version within the EU SUNDIAL ITN, which should be more flexible, add more speed, and be able to classify objects, rather than only detecting them. I will post more details once the paper(s) are accepted for publication
  4. Very nice. I can certainly pick up some tidal structure there. I am currently working on a new tool for astronomers to detect very low surface brightness structures in astronomical images. It would be interesting to see what that could detect on these data (once calibration has been done).
  5. No need for huge muscles, the LightQuest 16x80 are the same weight as the Apollo 15x70s (2.5 kg)
  6. Actually, for this kind of short session I do. The P-mount is really only for outreach sessions, and the monopod only gets used for longer binocular sessions
  7. I can. The Helios Apollo 15x70 didn't quite manage that, but the LightQuest 16x80 do.
  8. Surprised by clear skies, but clouds threatening in the west, I grabbed the big Helios LightQuest 16x80 binoculars and had a quick look around. First spotted M3, always an easy target. I swing over to zenith, to pick out M81 and M82, which stood out nicely despite half a moon. I then went for M51, difficult, much lower in the skies, followed by M101, of which only the central part could be made out. M65 and M66 were next, rounding off my little galaxy hunt. I bade a quick farewell to M42 in Orion, and swept up M36, M37, and M38 in Auriga. I tried M35, but that was very hard so close to the moon. I ended by admiring the craters on the moon, and thoroughly wrecking my dark adaptation. Short session, but a nice break from the wind and rain
  9. Very good point. I store my C8 OTA in a fairly cold but dry garage, and even then it needs 30 minutes or so to reach thermal equilibrium. Only then does it reach best performance (so, once more, patience is a virtue in astronomy)
  10. I think the best thing to apply is patience. Observing takes time, and views of the moon and planets are often disturbed by bad seeing (caused by turbulence and variations in temperature in the atmosphere). It really pays off to sit behind the scope a while and wait for moments of better seeing, when suddenly the details snap into view. For nebulae, you need to work at your observing skies, I have found. After a while, so-called averted vision (aiming your eye just next to the object of interest) becomes second nature, and you will see a magnitude fainter objects with relative ease. The Skymax 127 is a very good planetary and lunar scope, and works perfectly well on more "compact" DSOs, and that is the vast majority of them. The Double Cluster is more of a wide-field object, which does better in my binoculars and 80 mm F/6 wide-field refractor than in my much more powerful Celestron C8. Regarding nebulae: sky quality (transparency, lack of light pollution) are far more important factors than scope size. I could pick out the spiral arms in M51 with my C8 from a dark site in southern France far more easily than with our university's 16" RC from the suburbs of Groningen. Also, many people make the mistake of throwing a lot of magnification at nebulae, whereas that tends to "dilute" the light. My best views of the Orion Nebula are at the lowest magnification with my C8 (48.3x with the 42mm LVW or 65.5x with the 31mm Nagler). When you have trouble with light pollution, emission nebulae like M42 are best viewed through a UHC filter (should fit easily in your budget). The alternative is to travel to a dark location with your scope and use it there. Your Skymax is nice and compact, so travel is quite easy. Finally, if you do want to go for a better eyepiece, you could replace the 10mm by a better one. BST Starguiders have a good following on here, I haven't looked through them but they get a very good press and don't cost the earth. I have looked through TS HR planetary eyepieces and they perform well too. Because your scope is slow (high focal ratio), you do not have to go for expensive eyepieces to get good results.
  11. Very nice indeed. I think the core looks great, and there's loads of subtle detail in the outer regions.
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