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About Nik271

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    Oxford, UK
  1. Actually for imaging the planets and the Moon you don't need a fancy mount because the technique is 'lucky imaging' : you take hundreds of short exposures, in a video which are then stacked together with software. As long as you keep the image of the planet in the field of view the software can do the rest. For DSO the mount becomes more important. The ring nebula image is just a single exposure at 15 seconds, using the motorised version the celestron mount and this was the best I can do before the stars started to trail. (Celestron calls this mount CG3, which is really equivalent to EQ2 I think). At F/12 the Skymax is not very suitable for imaging DSOs. It can be done but ideally you need longer exposures, minutes instead of seconds and then you need precise tracking mount which is very expensive. Personally I stick with visual and take pictures only when I want to show friends who can't be bothered to stay cold and late at the eyepiece
  2. Thanks, John and Chris! Its encouraging to know it's doable. My skies are Bortle 4/5 (I can see the Milky way vaguely overhead in summer), the main difficulty is dark adaptation as there are lots of streetlights everywhere where I live. Some day I'm planning to take the scope and set it up in a field nearby to give it a proper change at dim objects. Nikolay
  3. Dear Nair, I second the option of the 5inch Mak on eq3-2. I used exactly this set up all of last year (Skymax 127 on the Celestron mount for Astromaster 130) mostly for visual and occasionally took some images with a Canon camera in prime focus. I was very happy, it can resolve a lot of classic double stars (the double-double, Izar, Castor, Rasalgethi, basically anything up to 2'' is easy with this scope subject to seeing conditions). I saw globular clusters and galaxies and took photos of the planets. It's a very portable set up and hard to beat for this aperture. I'm attaching three photos I took with this scope. Note that my imaging skills were at beginner level in 2019 so somebody more experienced can get even better results with this set up. Nikolay
  4. Thanks! This image is pretty close to what I was seeing in the moments of best clarity. Visually I use between 150 and 300 magnification and then Mars is reasonably large: at x300 it looks like an orange at arms length. But normally I stay within 200-250x because of the seeing. I was imaging at the native focal length, i.e. 2700mm. Magnification is irrelevant when imaging, the relevant notion is image scale. My Canon has pixel pitch of 3.7 microns and I was imaging at .28 arcseconds per pixel. Mars is about 22 arcseconds so the image is about 80 pixels wide. On the sensor the projected image is ridiculously small : 3.7 x30/1000 mm so just 1/10 of a mm. My camera sensor in 4k crop mode is 3840x2160 and at 80 pixels Mars is tiny on the screen of the camera, just a little red dot. I use Pipp to crop the movie frames to 300x300 pixels and center the planet before stacking. Nikolay
  5. PS. I forgot to say, that I rarely use my telescope for more than 2 hours in winter, as I mostly do visual, so my experience may not be relevant for imaging which can take the whole night. Eventually every part of the scope will get cold and once it reaches below the dew point of the ambient air it will dew up irrespective where it is. Nikolay
  6. Telescopes lose heat at night chiefly by radiating it into space, So the part which gets coldest is the one facing the sky. This is why the correctors of Maks/SCT get dewed up so quickly. In open tube designs the secondary is protected in it housing and is pointing away from the sky so it will be very unlikely to dew up. The primary will almost never dew up. In winter I tend to use my C6N Newtonian and it has never dewed up. Clear skies! Nikolay
  7. I like those craters which were flooded with magma like Schickard and Plato, the dark colour really stands out. Judging by the number of craterlets Schickard must be considerably older than Plato. And of course some of the mares are actually huge fllooded craters. I recently realised that Mare Imbrium is one such, Plato and Sinus Iridum are one rim and the whole of Montes Appenninus is the other. Now there is no Moon for a few days, time for DSO! Clear skies, Nikolay
  8. Hi! Yesterday was quite windy and I thought I would only do a bit of visual, but suddenly around 10pm the seeing improved and I decided to try imaging. I attached my Canon 250d at the diagonal to increase the focal length a bit and took 4min video. Then Pipp, As3! and finally Registax for wavelets and dispersion correction. Came out better than I expected, in fact this is the clearest I've managed so far of this side of Mars. I think the faint bright spot on the top right is cloud over Olympus Mons. This is a first for me (Scope: Skymax 180, camera: Canon 250d in 4k crop mode) Thanks for looking! Nikolay
  9. Lovely detail there. I still have to capture such a good image with my Skymax 180. At least your image shows its possible. Thanks for the inspiration!
  10. Hi Marv, The polar cap is very small right now and hard to see. I just could see it yesterday (14/10) around 10pm at 270x with Skymax 180. The main problem is that the planet is too bright and your eye has trouble resolving the subtle features. I found that a filter to cut the glare really helps. I personally like the neodymium filter, but have also tried orange and light red and they made the features stand out a bit more. And Mars became very red of course... Good luck! Nikolay
  11. Nice photos! If you want to capture the Earthshine you need slightly longer exposure. I used 1/2 sec at 200 ISO with Canon 250d. The sky becomes brighter as well. This was from 7am on Tuesday: Actually with longer exposures you can even see the mares on the dark part. But then the rest is blown out. For best results one can do a composite shot. Clear skies! Nikolay
  12. Nice report, Doug! I was observing at the same time and also had good views of the Moon. Did you spot a massive crater on the south west limb, with very uneven floor and a small crater inside? I think this is crater Bailly https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bailly_(crater) I checked it up later and it turns out that it's the largest crater on nearside, 300km wide, bigger than Grimaldi and Clavius. And one of the oldest. There is always something new to see on the Moon... Nikolay
  13. Yeah, it was a pun attempt More seriously if the 6''CC is as good as the 8inch CC it will be a killer for the Skymax 150: they have almost identical specs, but the CC is so much cheaper and may turn out to be slightly better optically. As far as I see the Maks have just one advantage: no need for regular collimation. Compare to the advantages of the CC: fast cooldown, better focuser and no mirror shift. Skywatcher should up their game!
  14. Well there is this one too as a back up to the launch http://www.shipspotting.com/gallery/photo.php?lid=2695109 (sorry couldn't resist - it just came on my google search)
  15. This morning I had a quick look at the Moon and learned something interesting. I was using too much power (just forgot the eyepiece from the previous observation of Mars) So 180 Skymax at x300 -the Moon was wavering with the morning turbulence but still the features near the terminator were clear and contrasty. I love the Mak. First I observed the Schroteri valley: close to the terminator presenting a good view with its zig-zaggin shape near Aristarchus and Herodotus crates, one of my favourite areas of the Moon. Next I looked at Marius, trying to spot the Marius 'hills' and as the scenery drifted west I noticed a oval bright patch to the southwest of Marius. It was quite bright and had a 'wavy' boundary. I made a note to check it up. Thankfully there is the free online LROC map: https://quickmap.lroc.asu.edu/ which has all kinds of information overlays. It turned out this oval is called Reiner Gamma. Its not a crater but a 'lunar swirl'. Wikipedia has a nice article on these: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lunar_swirls You definitely don't need x300 to see it, just about any telescope will show it, probably even at x50. Apparently their bright albedo is due to magnetic anomalies which bend the solar wind away so the rock is not as weathered and stays 'young'. The source of the anomalies is still a mystery. Interesting stuff! I hope we go back there and investigate some day soon. Clear skies! Nikolay
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