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About KevinPSJ

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  • Interests
    Everything except solar imaging at the moment. Trying out DSO imaging.
  • Location
    Near Bath, Somerset
  1. Love the red colour of the image taken with SPC900NC - real 'Mars: Bringer of War' stuff!
  2. Nice image. I was observing visually around the same time last night from UK with my son. We both commented on how clear was the shadow falling across the rings behind Saturn . Your photo brings that out really well. That bright cloud band just south of the equator was not so clear in my 150mm reflector but it looks magnificent in your image. Just wish Saturn was 20 degrees higher in the sky! I'm stuck with an old Nikon DSLR so can't do planetary imaging at the moment - saving up for an ASI 290MC in October so hoping I can catch great images like this next month!
  3. Hi Cammy. I'd suggest trying your dads first if it's at all possible: better to try with a telescope you have access to first and really be sure this is something you want to spend money on. What kind of telescope does your dad have? Do you have access to a garden/yard/balcony at your home that you can use: if you have to drive somewhere to observe you won't progress as quickly as if you can step outside the door and get going straight away even if light pollution is bad. Being able to react quickly to clear skies is the key when you are learning (in my experience). That way you sustain the enthusiasm. You will be amazed at views of moon and planets even from city and many deep sky objects can be seen through a telescope in light polluted areas although finding them can be hard.
  4. I have a skywatcher 150P with RA motor drive. It's a great aperture size - performing well for both planetary and deep sky observing visually and not too heavy to quickly setup and put away. I never get tired of looking at the moon; have recently seen the south polar ice cap on Mars and have been amazed to see hints of banding on saturns globe and the enke gap. Just checked and FLO are selling them for £320. You would definitely benefit from an RA motor (£70) but only essential for astrophotography so maybe you could delay that purchase? Finally a polar scope (£30) will make a big difference for getting accurate tracking although you can also use the drift method so not essential. But that's not all - combined with the RA motor, a polar scope and a Nikon DSLR I have used this scope to take 30s exposures with no star trails and using stacking software to produce images of galaxies, nebula and globular clusters that have really got me hooked on astrophotography. It's true from astrophotography perspective that there are lots of limitations in the mount, that I can't use my DSLR to image planets (except for tiny, low detail images) and that it's hard work to get things set up right even to achieve 30s. But I don't have £1000 or even £500 spare to get to the "minimum entry level" that many people talk of for astrophotography - and I'm learning lots about all the same pieces of the puzzle that will apply when I do eventually move on to more expensive gear. In short - I'd recommend something with as big an aperture as you can afford because you will (hopefully) get hooked quickly on the joy of visual observing. Just pick a scope that will allow you to move into astrophotography gradually so you can judge if it's for you without spending way over your budget. Kevin
  5. KevinPSJ

    Kevin Hurleys Deep Space Objects

    Long exposure stuff using prime focus DSLR
  6. Fabulous results using unguided 45s subs. Inspires me to keep going on my unguided EQ3-2. You did a great job removing the noise that must have been present at ISO3200 - how many darks did you take?!
  7. You have a nice bright image of Vega even if it's very out of focus. You should have no trouble finding decent focus if that's what you are starting with. With my Nikon D3200 I need to be pretty close to focus before I see anything on the live view. I definitely recommend sticking down the focus ring with tape - it's the one thing that has wasted more time for me than anything else when imaging using the DSLR with kit lens. Focus on bright star, slew to the target, take a test shot only to discover it's out of focus. Trying to focus on a nebula or galaxy with a 55mm lens is almost impossible - far too dim. If only my focus ring had a locking screw like my telescope does Of course, that's not to mention the dreaded D word ... dew!
  8. Hi. I was out looking at Jupiter and Saturn last night too but in my case they were skimming the rooftops rather than high overhead and my worry wasn't collimation but turbulence above my neighbours house. Oh well. If you are still interested in learning more about collimating your scope, have a read of https://garyseronik.com/a-beginners-guide-to-collimation/ - it's really clear, detailed and helpful. I'd guess you only need to worry about collimating your primary unless you are really unlucky so initially I'd concentrate on using the collimation cap to get your primary aligned. Have a read of https://garyseronik.com/no-tools-telescope-collimation/ once you think you have understood the first link - it shows a fairly simple way to check your collimation using real stars and fine tune things once the stars come out. I'd advise also looking at Mars by the way - it's a real treat at the moment as it's getting closer to earth by the week with maximum brightness peaking in Oct. Don't miss out!
  9. > The 150p photos are amazing @KevinPSJ ! Definitely worth the effort! Thanks Astrid. Sounds like with your budget you can go for a sturdier mount. That makes all the difference. If I could start again I'd probably spend 2/3 of budget on mount and 1/3 on scope. Do you have a camera already? You've not mentioned one and even an entry level DSLR like mine will certainly make a dent in your budget. Kevin
  10. Hi Astrid. You will definitely be working at the edge of what's possible and certainly not using a recommend set of kit if you want to do deep sky stuff like nebula and galaxies. But it's not impossible - just harder! I have a skywatcher 150p on an EQ3-2 mount with RA motor and I can usually manage 30s exposures with no trailing after 10 minutes of careful polar alignment with a polarscope. 30s exposures with my Nikon D3200 let's me image quite well enough to impress family and friends Have a look at my image gallery to see what's possible: Just be prepared for a lots of frustration as well - currently I'm struggling to image beyond 15s without trailing and still not sure what's changed. Like I said I'm working at the edge of what's possible with the equipment I have. I've spent a good few long hours in the dark with nothing to show for it in the morning but smudges and noise. But my thinking is (a) when it works it's really satisfying to have achieved "the impossible" and (b) when I do eventually upgrade I'll have an awful lot of experience under my belt! Kevin
  11. Planet and Lunar imagery
  12. Thanks to all for the advice. I'll try with 50mm lens piggyback on my mount. Also will experiment with various ISO settings. Looks like I'll have to wait until Sunday though- all clouds in the forecast until then.
  13. Very helpful Michael. I'm hoping to catch the comet tonight and was wondering what settings to use on my Nikon DSLR. This will give me a good head-start! And a nice image too. I'm planning to shoot wide angle first with the camera lens and then try with my 6in reflector at prime focus to see what the comet looks like close up. Did you use a tripod or a tracking mount? Thanks, Kevin
  14. Hi. I have a skywatcher 150p on EQ3-2 mount and it's great for visual. I'm way way through the great book Turn Left at Orion and really enjoying the chase. I've started dipping my toes in the imaging waters with it too and while its been an uphill struggle with polar alignment and balancing I've got some results using stacked 30s subs that have impressed family and friends enough to spur me on.
  15. Found this website recently - https://telescopius.com/deep-sky/search - which seems to have lots of options for customising the kind of target you can consider. Have yet to use it "in anger" so to speak but its given me some ideas. You select from different categories like globular cluster, planetary nebula, diffuse nebula, galaxy clusters etc. You can also filter by brightness, max altitude, extent .... lots of options. It calculates and presents the possible targets along with a graph showing culmination etc alongside twilight/dark timeline.
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