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About Sedna

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  • Interests
    Writing about science. Thinking about the brain. Looking at the sky.
  • Location
    California and Switzerland
  1. Thanks, sorry for the very slow reply ... is there a specific make/model of 10x50 you recommend?
  2. Hi all, I'm worried that my Celestron VX equatorial mount might be broken, and I wanted to check here to see if anyone has had a similar problem. I've had the mount for seven months. The first time I noticed something weird was a few months ago when I slewed towards an object that was nowhere near the horizon and the mount started pointing my SC tube *below* the horizon! I turned it off quickly so it wouldn't tip over. Second time occurred about a month ago, another strange incident: the RA axis had rotated more than 90 degrees (which I don't think should ever happen?!) and I had to grab the tube and switch the motor off for fear that everything would tip over. Then, a week ago, I saw the RA axis rotating close to 90 degrees again and turned everything off in case it was about to happen again ... I've read online that the Celestron VX mounts are hit or miss--has anyone else had this happen to them? After the second time, I started wondering if I was placing the counterweight too far up the counterweight pole, so last week I placed it much farther down to achieve a better balance, but it looked like it was starting to happen again. I used to put it slightly more than 50 percent of the way down the pole (that was the equilibrium point the one time I tried balancing everything according to the manual instructions when I first bought the SC tube and mount, but did not take into account camera or other equipment). Now I am placing the counterweight more like 75 percent of the way down the pole, which should be enough even when the camera's attached (Canon 70D). So what do you all think? Does it sound like a defect or a counterweight issue? If it's a counterweight issue, then obviously I don't want to send this back to Celestron and possibly even get a worse one back. On the other hand, I know these things are iffy and it might be a defect. I can't think of any damage it's sustained, although occasionally when I carry it in my hands, the RA axis accidentally gets turned manually (but never more than a few degrees ... probably not great for it, but I can't say it's really been damaged).
  3. Hi all, I'm looking for recommendations for a good pair of binoculars. These would be my first "real" binoculars used for anything. I generally observe with my Celestron 8SE and own a laughably cheap pair of binoculars. I'm not sure whether to go with a heavy pair that require a tripod (but thus cannot be used to observe the Zenith) or a lighter pair that I can point straight up but have less magnification/quality. I prefer not to go too much over 100 USD, but I could go up to 200 USD if someone has a really great recommendation. Obviously I'll be using these mostly for astro, but would likely also use them for some daytime terrestrial observing. Thanks all!
  4. Ah, sorry about that, didn't realize they were JPEGs. Okay, how about trying here instead. If you scroll down to Pluto Encounter, everything under LORRI (New Horizon's high focal length black and white camera) and MVIC (the low focal length color camera) should be relevant. Please let me know if you need any more assistance!
  5. Sure--the raw data is all here and images already processed by NASA are here. @michael.h.f.wilkinson, if you need anymore help, happy to assist!
  6. Ah, that sounds like a great idea! If you assign it to them, would you post the best projects here (with their permission)?
  7. When New Horizons flew by Pluto and Charon in 2015, each body had one hemisphere that was never mapped at higher resolution than what we see in the images below. Because Pluto and Charon rotate relatively slowly (6.4 days), only one hemisphere of each was facing New Horizons during its closest approach. Will we ever see the other face of Pluto (or Charon) mapped in high resolution? The face of Pluto that was mapped in low-resolution is the hemisphere that is tidally locked with (permanently facing) Charon. From New Horizons low resolution imagery, we see that it is very different from the hemisphere with the "heart" (giant glacier) that was mapped in high resolution (see below). Unlike that hemisphere, the Charon-facing hemisphere features strange "brass knuckle" spots and mysterious dark swirls ... It's a shame we might never see this hemisphere in high resolution. However, for artistic purposes, machine learning might offer a solution. You might already know that machine learning can be used to "colorize" black and white photos by learning which colors go with which patterns (you can try this with any black and white here and read more about it here). Similarly, machine learning can take crude drawings of faces and turn them into high resolution "paintings" by learning which high spatial frequency textures and colors are often paired with which low spatial frequency patterns in the drawing (you can read about this here). Based on the same principle, a machine learning algorithm could likely learn which high spatial frequencies are statistically more likely to pair with low spatial frequencies in high resolution images of Pluto from New Horizons. After being trained on these images from Pluto's high res hemisphere, the machine learning algorithm could then do some guess work and apply high frequency textures to the low resolution images (currently containing only low frequency textures) of the Charon-facing hemisphere. The result should give us some beautiful guesswork: images of hitherto unseen craters, canyons, and ice dunes on the "far side" of Pluto. Of course, these images would be only that--a guess. But they might be convincing enough to quench our thirst for what New Horizons could never provide while exceeding the quality of the best space art. At this point, you might be hoping to see what a neural network could dream up for Pluto. Sadly, I lack the technical proficiency to implement this myself. So I'm hoping that some of you could help me (and everyone who'd like to see this) implement this project using machine learning. All you programmers, image processors, and data scientists out there--am I way off or is this doable? If the latter, would someone like to stand up and seize the glory? If you're interested in this project, please reply here or private message me. Thank you!
  8. Thanks James! How much of a showstopper is the issue with saving SER files? I imagine I would want to save mine as AVI, in which case it shouldn't matter?
  9. Yep, I also asked on there. As to why they never updated it, go figure.
  10. Thanks for the link. Is ASI224MC a color camera or monochrome? I am super confused because there is conflicting info in the description on Amazon. The product title says color and info at the top says color camera, but further down the page it says monochrome?!
  11. This would be for planetary imaging. I already have 32 mm, 25 mm, 17 mm, 13 mm, 8 mm, and 6 mm eyepieces.
  12. I have a Celestron 8SE (8" SCT) and am wondering what the strongest practical Barlow lens is that can be used with my scope? I already have a 2x but recently saw a 5x on Amazon and wondered if this is worth buying? Or is it too powerful? Thanks!
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