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toml42

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Everything posted by toml42

  1. If you follow the link Teadwarf posted earlier you'll see that generally you're talking a few percent of a magnitude dip over a period of about 2 hours, so difficult, but not impossible. In my original post i linked to a page where observations had been made with a 60mm refractor and a DMK camera, equipment that a lot of people have access to
  2. Very cool! a whole load has happened in the 2 years since that post, there must be hundreds of suitable new candidates now. I'll certainly be trying as soon as i have viable equipment!
  3. That's a really useful tool, cheers. Amazing that there are usually at least 4-5 candidates every night! I looked briefly on here to see if it had been done and didn't see any, i might have missed one though.
  4. HD 189733b indeed has a period of 2.2 days, but a transit - where it eclipses its parent star - lasts about an hour, this is the period where you will notice a dip in brightness. Due to the short period of many discovered exoplanets so far, transit events aren't too rare. My project is to analyze data on GJ 1214b that was gathered at the GTC telescope and i'm writing software to make that task easier. This post has nothing to do with my project, I'm just pointing out that the detection of exoplanets is within reach of the amateur and offering to help with the processing now i have some practical experience.
  5. Sure, One simply needs to find out when a transit will occur (there are utilities that will allow you to do this), then take regular exposures over the transit period, say every 3 or 4 minutes and for a reasonable length on either side to allow you to find the baseline. A transit in general will last about an hour, so you'll be looking at a sequence of about 40 images over a period of approx 2 hours, more if you can. you need to have a reasonably bright star in the same FOV to use as a reference star during processing. What you'll find during processing is that the brightness of the star will drop several percent over the course of the transit, if you plot the brightness against time, you can then fit a curve to your data which will allow you to infer the size of the planet you are observing
  6. Gentlemen (and Ladies), This summer I'm conducting a project on transiting extrasolar planets at my University, and it has come to my attention that there are several such planets outside of our solar system in reach of amateur equipment! Indeed, some of the very first were discovered with relatively modest equipment. For example, here is a page about work done on HD 189733b, a planet larger than Jupiter and closer to it's star than Mercury - done with a 60mm refractor and a DMK camera! I'm sure many of you have a comparable set up, it really is possible Homepage of Michael Theusner - Images This page also has a lot of useful background information, although much of it is a little heavy! The difficult bit is the processing, but as part of my project i'm working on software to ease the experience and it could always use additional test data Not only is this quite exciting in its own right, but useful science could come of this - and it's perfectly possible that additional, previously undetected planets might crop up in the data! And so, I submit this challenge to you, Stargazers: We've all seen and imaged the planets of this solar system - why stop here? I'll be more than happy to supply additional info if anyone would like to have a shot. Tom
  7. I really wasn't expecting to see any structure in m51, but as i sat there trying to tease out the supernova, two sweeping curves started to just catch in the corner of my eye, but ever so faint. I thought i was imagining it at first, but it became more and more obvious over time. I made a mental note of it and checked photos later, and it did seem about right proportionally. just goes to show that a little patience at the eyepiece will always reveal more than you expected!
  8. I saw it on the 29th, and i would say it was slightly brighter than the mag 13.5 star outside the galaxy, in reach of my 200p, at any rate
  9. These are amazing! may have to break out the LX mod on my own
  10. Pretty sure i just spotted my first supernova! It's a little hard to be certain, as there are several faint stars in the region, but i compared what i was seeing to some of the pictures posted on this forum, and i think i was looking at the right one! This one honestly took my breath away. Even though i study Astronomy and always think about just what it is I'm looking at, the deep sky has always felt a little like an art gallery until now - but seeing an event, a spectacular one at that, 24 million light years away (and 24 million years ago) that i knew would be over in a matter of weeks... It was a "There is a spoon" moment - suddenly the entire sky seemed alive and dynamic. I'm not sure I'll ever look at it the same way again.
  11. I did 'just' get them in the same field with my 80' 30mm eyepeice, but they were pretty near the edges where i get quite a fair bit of distortion, i had to focus quite hard on them individually to see them. But they were in the same frame, i'd like to try that again under darker skies and possibly with a coma corrector. I was unable to see the central star, do you know what mag it is? and at a guess, i'd say it was about 2 or 3x the diameter of the ring nebula, m57, for comparison
  12. Just caught my first glimpse of the owl nebula (EVENTUALLY) this one took me a while to find, not sure if it's because i wasn't fully dark adapted, it wasn't fully dark, or there was some thin haze to start with, but whatever it was i got there in the end. It was also a lot bigger than i was expecting. I used my UHC filter to confirm its identity, and at 125x in my 200p with averted vision i had to the distinct impression that it was lumpy or patchy, like a peperoni pizza perhaps. I think our eyes met
  13. Despite the conditions tonight being nowhere near as good as i was hoping (poor transparency, intermittent thin clouds, residual bbq smoke from next door...) I managed to bag three more galaxies! i found m108 first, as an edge on galaxy it had a fairly apparent disc shape to it, and wasn't too difficult to spot. m109 was second, i found this one a little trickier to find, possible due to worsening conditions, but once i'd found it the core was visible to averted vision. i had some trouble with m101, probably because it's larger and more diffuse, and in the pictures at least the core doesn't look as bright as in other galaxies. Got it in the end though, but only just, it felt like it was really testing the limits of what i can observe from my location. I'll certainly be looking again when things are a little clearer
  14. I'm going to try a more focused approach tonight, usually i'm zooming all over the place visiting old favourites and picking up the occasional new one - tonight i'm going to get comfy and try and blast through some of the many galaxies in ursa major. Spotting m81 / m82 last week was one of the biggest rushes i've had, and i want to see how many more i can get i've done m81/m82 and m51 so far, of the remaining messier galaxies in ursa, are any particularly difficult that perhaps i should avoid for now? anyone have any particular favourites?
  15. You're doing it right now
  16. man, i love the wild duck cluster! one of my favourites
  17. my 8mm paradigm was the one experiencing the problem. It's been like it for several days at least, which is what prompted me to worry. The problem appears to have been solved now, but if it reoccurs i will definitely try the desiccant bag idea
  18. After i got bored of holding the hairdryer, i had an even better idea - SOLAR POWER! A couple of hours in the sun and it appears to be back to normal, hopefully it stays that way.
  19. currently blasting it with a hairdryer, i think there's some improvement
  20. Hi, One of my eyepieces appears to be permanently misted up, on an internal lens surface that i can't reach Is there anything i can do?
  21. Took this purely as an experiment, quite pleased with how it came out considering the equipment! Unmodded spc880nc through 9x50 finder, 2 min stack of lights, 2 min stack of darks.
  22. I think olly has the right idea, spiral density waves lead to increased rates of star-formation in the 'arms', and it's the short lived giant stars that are the most luminous, and make up the majority of the luminosity in the arms. The young, luminous stars blow themselves up in supernova on a timescale much shorter than the rotation of the density wave, meaning that we see what appears to be a structure, but is in fact only a region of slightly enhanced density, and the most recently formed stars.
  23. yesss! this is excellent news! thanks for putting the time in on this
  24. I'm about to have a go with autoguiding with an spc880 on my Mac, Equinox v6 appears to be compatible with everything, give it a go!
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