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Everything posted by michael.h.f.wilkinson

  1. Brings back fond childhood memories
  2. Nice work. Fingers crossed for new sunspots closer to the pole and with reverse polarity
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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
  6. 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).
  7. No need for huge muscles, the LightQuest 16x80 are the same weight as the Apollo 15x70s (2.5 kg)
  8. 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
  9. I can. The Helios Apollo 15x70 didn't quite manage that, but the LightQuest 16x80 do.
  10. 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
  11. 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)
  12. 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.
  13. Very nice indeed. I think the core looks great, and there's loads of subtle detail in the outer regions.
  14. Very nice. Not one we see that often
  15. The Nagler T4s were designed with longer eye relief than the others. The 17mm and the 22mm are particularly good in this respect, the 12T4 is a bit tighter on eye relief, but still clearly better than the Ethos 13mm I compared it to at Olly's place. The Ethos sports just 15mm eye relief, which is just too tight, the Nagler 12T4 has 17 mm, which makes all the difference. I do prefer the Delos 14mm, so maybe the Nagler 12T4 will go in due course. Having a Nagler 17T4, I am not going to get a 17.5mm Morpheus, as the 17T4 is a cracking EP. The ES LER 92 deg 17mm and 12mm EPs are of course potential replacements, but I do not see that happening any time soon
  16. Nice one. I also have a 25mm Plossl from TV, and used it initially for H-alpha solar viewing (since replaced by a Vixen 25mm Ortho in my Solar Spectrum set-up, and a WO Zoom-II 7.5-22.5 mm in the Coronado 60mm). I still use it quite a bit in outreach and in my flip-mirror to find and centre objects when imaging. Very nice and comfy EP.
  17. Actually, my Nagler T4s (12, 17 and 22mm) and the Nagler 26T5 (used at Olly Penrice's place) and my 31T5 ("Panzerfaust") are certainly suitable for those with glasses, and I can see the field stop with my glasses, but they are rather more expensive. My Pentax XW 5, 7, and 10 mm and both the Delos 6 and 14mm are outstanding for those with glasses as well. I only had the 14mm Morpheus, and decided to sell it for a Delos 14mm, because I didn't quite get along with the Morpheus (slightly less sharp at the edges, slightly out-of-focus field stop). The 14mm is apparently the weakest one in the series.
  18. Wonderful image. I hope I can get my 200mm F/2.8 trained on that target soon. I will have to make do with my 550D, however, so probably won't get anywhere near this gorgeous result
  19. Nice one. I remember spotting that odd box shape in CVn with my C8 years back and thinking it looked a lot like the LMC looked like in the binoculars I brought to South Africa years before
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