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Found 99 results

  1. With the waning Moon arise first after midnight, clear sky, 70% humidity, 14 degree temperature, C8 just had to get out for some action. Targets were brighter new NGCs in constellation Vulpecula and Cygnus, they were high enough to clear neighbors' roofs with good margin.SQM showed 18.5 to 18.9, quite good in my backyard. According to 666 selected DSO list, there're five(5) bright NGCs in Vulpecula besides M27, these are 6940, 6823, 6830, 6802, and Caldwell 37(6885). 6802 was the only one needed averted vision in 68x to see neblosity, doubling mag showed more faint stars, the other 4 were nice & easy target in 68x. Moving up to Cygnus, open cluster 7062 and 7086 with nice patch of faint stars, readily seen in 68x, planetary nebula 7026 could only be detected in averted vision, with UHC filter, it became much brighter and paired the neighboring star well. moving up to 130-140x, the nebulosity joined double-star look even without UHC. 7128 looked like 5 stars in a circle in 68x, with nebulosity in averted vision, moving up to 130-140x revealed more than a dozen stars there. 7044 was much more difficult, just hint of nebulosity in 68x, could be confirmed only after observing in 130-140x. IC 5146, Cocoon nebula, clearly brighter than I had anticipated, visible without filter in 50x, and UHC enhanced it even more. IC5067, Pelican nebula, absolutely nothing without filter, with UHC in 50x, a faint nebulosity shaped like a man with open arms, clearly smaller than the 1 degree size indicated. comparing to pictures later on, it dawned to me that it was only the beak I saw. Need to pay more visit here. Weather forecast looks encouraging for the weekend, fingers crossed. Clear Sky!
  2. I was on holiday in La Gomera, Canaries, earlier this month: clear skies but waxing gibbous moon. Decided to have a go at the orion Nebula almost overhead. Travelling light, so no laptop (ie, no Backyard EOS or RAW images). Equipment: Canon EOS 550D, Sigma DG 70-300mm lens, moon and light pollution filter, Vixen Polarie Star Tracker, lightweight tripod (ballasted with six oranges in a plastic bag). 20 x 45sec. exposures @ 800 ISO plus darks. Processed with DSS, post-processing with Digital Photo Professional Image could have been better centred but I had to work quickly before the moon got too close. Comments? Celestron 9.25 SCT, Advanced VX EQ mount, Baader crayford focuser, Celestron star diagonal + illuminated reticle eyepiece. Red dot finder + 9x50 RACI illuminated reticle finderscope (belt and braces!) Celestron focal reducer, Prime focus T adapter, eyepiece projection Celestron tele-extender with Altair 20mm wide view eyepiece Canon EOS 550D DSLR (modified), Kolari Vision Hot Mirror colour correcting filter, moon and sky glow filter. Vixen Polarie star tracker. A sense of wonder
  3. A4Andromeda

    M42 (again)

    There have been some great images of M42 on here recently, so I hesitated to post my first serious attempt (having made a reasonable stab with camera, 300mm lens and Vixen Polarie some time ago). After much playing with DSS and Digital Photo Professional I got this final image. I've tried to keep my kit relatively cheap (I live in Yorkshire) and simple (still prefer vinyl to CD). Obviously a lot to learn about focusing and exposure. Many thanks to all at SGL who posted encouragement and advice. Celestron 9.25 SCT, Advanced VX EQ mount, Baader crayford focuser, Celestron star diagonal + illuminated reticle eyepiece. Red dot finder + 9x50 RACI illuminated reticle finderscope (belt and braces!) Celestron focal reducer, Prime focus T adapter, eyepiece projection Celestron tele-extender with Altair 20mm wide view eyepiece. Canon EOS 550D DSLR (modified), Kolari Vision Hot Mirror colour correcting filter, moon and sky glow filter. Canon 18-55mm lens, Sigma 70-300mm lens Kendrick DigiFire8 dew controller, Kendrick dew strips, Dew shield, Bahtinov mask. A sense of wonder
  4. Recently moved house, so my scope needs collimation and my house is barely unpacked! However a clear night arose, and my garden is south facing and Lyra looked far to tempting! I've moved in to a suburban environment. Weather: 22c | Strong North/East Gusts | High Humidity Location: Surburban Neighbourhood Optical Train: Meade LX90 8" SCT - Orion LP Filter - Nikon D300 Misc: Orion ST-80 with Guidecam - PHD desperately fighting the gusts! Imaging: ISO 1600 | 180s exposure length 40x Light | 20x Dark | 20x Flat Processing: DSS stack x40 (Best 80%) Levels and curves tweak in Photoshop, Nebula was processed seperately to the stars. Notes: The humidity seemed to make my D300's sensor explode with noise and the gusts left my stars looking a little eggy. I am considering using a 2x barlow and my ZWO ASI120mc camera to record footage of this nebula - just to see what structure I can resolve, though this is entirely exploritory as the camera has only been used on planets so far. I saw several "shooting" stars last night and even manually tracked a satellite for fun! Really happy my garden is south facing. Makes astronomy a lot more comfortable!
  5. Good evening dear members. Could you please help me choose a telescope: I would like to be able to see nebulae, galaxy, star clusters for example, and surely Jupiter, Saturn, To start first: I can spend 400-500£, I understand this is not much, but for now I am ready to get started. My wish is to photograph as well, but in a distant future, like 2-3 years from now, because when I look at my mother's pictures I understand -this is what I would like to do. Obviously the outcome will be different if I choose for viewing or for photography. I was advised a Dobsonian will be good for viewing DSOs, and a refractor for photography. What about reflector telescopes? I have found one Bresser reflector telescope (Bresser Messier AR-152S/760), is it any good? If I will find a decent telescope what upgrades will I need (lenses)? Your help is very much appreciated. PS: I live in Haslemere, Surrey, the sky is not as polluted as in London, where I used to live. Lovelight.
  6. Chris Wales

    Leo Triplet and Sombrero

    Managed to get out for a quick session this week targeting the Leo Triplet of M65 (Bottom right), M66 (top right), and NGC 3628 (bottom left). This was taken with an Atltair 72 ED (piggybacked on a Meade LX90 with counter weights) with 0.8 FR, SXVH9 camera, just 15 x 15 L exposures. Then I shifted the SXVH9 to the Meade for M104 with 15 x 15 L and 5 x 5 R/G/B binned x 2 as support. Capture and stacking, stretching using Nebulosity with layers and finishing in Photoshop. Both were goto but unguided (not enough time) Learning :-), Chris
  7. Richard Hather

    The Great Orion Nebula

    Observing Information DSO - M42/M43 Date - 15/03/17 Time - 20:15 Lunar Phase - 89% Seeing - Good Equipment - Celestron Nexstar 6SE Eyepieces - ES 24mm 68 degree Additional info - Wow is all I can say with this one before last night my favourite Nebula was the eagle Nebula now I'm not so sure. First thing that struck me when I started observing was the beautiful pattern of stars the 4 close together in the middle with the bottom right one being the brightest and the 3 star at the bottom. The longer I observed the more detail jumped out at me the swirl of gas almost like an arc was simply breath taking not since I first observed M13 my first ever DSO have I been so overwhelmed. M43 was a bit strange though I could make out the star but no gas cloud or shape to it it's at mag 7 so shouldn't have been to much of a problem maybe next time I will use one of my Nebula filters but my O lll stayed in its case as I didn't feel the need. I also spent some time observing Jupiter, I could make out 4 of the moons 2 of which were very close in proximity these turned out to be Euopa and Lo. The other 2 being Ganymede and Callisto in that order. I could also make out the 2 main bands of Jupiter the north and south equatorial belts but no luck with the Great Red Spot still beautiful to observe though here's an image of stellarium. The moon unfortunately was up a bit late but got about 15 mins observation time beautiful crisp craters and lovely shadows again along the terminator. So a very good session and one of my favourite sketches to date Clear skies Richard
  8. What should I buy for a Canon 40D (Astrophotography): a Celestron EdgeHD 8" AVX or a Celestron AVX SCT 9.25" since the price differs only for 100EUR? I want to have nice DSO pictures but be able to see planets as well. Been using a 114mm reflector for 6 years. Thanks in advance
  9. Chris Wales

    UFO Galaxy NGC 2683 in Lynx

    From the album: DSOs

  10. Hi guys. Recently I had the opportunity to restart my hobby with a short astro-imaging test run in the back yard - a nice quiet little playground actually, near the place where I live. My setup consists of an eq mount (AVX), a dslr (EOS 550D), and either a classical M42 manual focus photo lens (anywhere from a Takumar 35 to a Tair3S 300mm, sometimes aided by a 1.5x or a 2x TC), or an ED refractor (C80) most of the time reduced with a 0.8x FF/FR. Since the area where my observing spot is falls within a +5 NELM around Zenith, I always use a LP filter (IDAS LPS P2 2", or Optolong CLS 1.25") for better results. Unfortunately my mount isn't PEC'ed yet, but I'm quite confident that i'll soon be able to achieve this goal, as it is rather imperative if I am to get any useful >120s subs. Guiding is not my main objective, as I do not have all the possibilities to do that - technically, logistically, financially... etc. A couple of nights ago I went for a test run with a rather unconventional "weapon" - the SW 127 MC. Yes, that's right, a Mak for DSO. Now, I know some of you have already played with this kind of instrument before, and had some pretty decent results. I also know that many imagers with higher standards have the habit to blame this little scope for its limitations. But who cares.. It's all about experimenting and having some late night fun. I used mine with a 0.63x FR, set at 0.73x due to the actual chip-to-lens distance I got, which brings down the focal ration from an infamous 11.8 to a more usable 8.6, which is quite doable exposure-wise, but a little inconvenient when it comes to star shape and vignetting (although the latter can be dealt with by means of flat frames). With a MC-SCT thread adapter and a custom made rotatable SCT-2"-M42 adapter, I could use both the Celestron reducer and the 2" LP filter with the dslr on the Mak127, for a couple of dozens 50/50 hit rate 30s subs for each object, along with a set of correction frames (darks, flats, bias). I really hope next time, with PEC, the hit rate (percentage of usable subs with round stars) will increase, and subs will be longer, so I can take better images. Until then, this is what I managed to get. Processing is done in a "keep-it-simple-son" manner: DSS & PS CS5. I didn't bother shooting RAW, although I am aware of the limitation of using JPG correction frames. Maybe next time Clear skies, everyone!
  11. Chris Wales

    M42 Ha OIII L RGB layers merged.jpg

    From the album: DSOs

    LRGB image of M42 with additional Ha (red) and OIII(green)
  12. Here is my little report from SGL11, a bit of a combination of equipment commentary and observing report. Staying true to my current minimalist approach to observing (thanks guys ), I just had my Tak FC-100 and 8" Portaball with me. Last year I was armed with a 16" Sumerian, so I was interested to compare just how much I could see under a dark sky with so much less aperture. I managed to do a fair bit of observing each day apart from Saturday night really when it was clouded out. During the days, I did a nice amount of solar observing using the Tak with a Herschel Wedge and my TS binoviewers. On the Vixen GP mount the sun was tracked quite well even without polar aligning, and being able to pan around the surface using the motor drives without touching the scope was an excellent benefit over a manual alt az. Having never really got on with binoviewers before (this is my fourth pair), I'm delighted to say that I found the TS ones excellent. The self centering eyepiece holders were easy to use, as was the individual focusing and I had no problems merging the images even at higher powers. The sun took on a richer tone than single eye viewing, and when the seeing allowed, the detail was wonderful both in and around the active regions and also the surface granulation. Nice regions of faculae were visible in several places near the limb. As usual it was interesting to watch the sun over a period of a few days to watch how the features developed. Areas of faculae on the first day began to show small sun spots on subsequent days. The other revelation with the binoviewers was the moon. My floaters were much better controlled, and I did find viewing more relaxing than normal. The whole thing had a 3D feel to it and I felt like I was able to access more detail. The terminator was particularly lovely, and the contrast very strong. No false colour that I could see. I was using 25mm Ortho eyepieces and an AP Barcon to give higher magnification. I've got a pair of 15mm Vixen SLVs on the way so hopefully that will give me comfortable high power viewing. I do feel like I've found a great setup now. I will use the GP mount whenever I'm doing high power Lunar, Solar and planetary viewing. For everything else I will most likely use the Giro-WR as I find star hopping much easier in alt az. Onto night time observing... Until Sunday, my main viewing was of Jupiter due to the conditions. I used both the Tak and the Portaball and it was interesting to compare the views. The Tak was reliably good all the time. The image was stable and sharp with good detail at all times which got better when the seeing stabilized. With the Portaball, the view was more variable with the seeing. When poor, the view was blurry and worse than the Tak, but when the seeing was excellent, the resolution was clearly higher and there was lovely colour and detail visible. GRS was visible on all three nights I observed and showed a lovely dark orange colour to it with separation from the SEB. Not quite as good as the views a few weeks back but none too shabby. Finally DSOs. On the previous nights I had a quick scoot around a few of the more obvious objects. M42 looked lovely but I was only able to get hints of the E star in the trapezium due to the variable seeing. I did use my 22x85 binos on it too, with UHC and OIII filters fitted, with very good results. On the Induro tripod they can be positioned very comfortably at all altitudes including at the zenith due to the height capability of the tripod. I'm now keeping this one! On Sunday night once the moon had gone down I managed to get stuck into quite a wide range of objects. The seeing was fairly average, and the transparency not the best I've seen, but at mag 21.3 at the zenith the sky was probably as dark as I've been under with a scope of any significant aperture. I've listed all the objects I noted in SkySafari at the end. It's not an exhaustive list as I saw quite a few more galaxies and open clusters than this but was not able to identify them all. I'll just comment on a few notables here. I mostly observed with the 24mm Panoptic which gave x46 with a 4.3mm exit pupil and a 1.4 degree field of view. For higher powers I used the zoom giving anything from x61 to x123. M51 looked surprisingly bright, nicely defined haloes around the central cores of the two galaxies, and signs of the bridge between the two. I would only say there were hints of structure, I wouldn't go as far as to say I could see the spiral arms but it was very nice none the less. M101 was plainly visible, easy to find but just appeared as a large oval glow with a bright centre. No structure unlike with the 16" last year. M97 and M108 looked lovely framed in the same field together. At higher powers M97 showed hints of structure but no clear 'eyes' which I assume was down to the transparency. M108 showed some nice mottling to it. NGC 457 was as fun as ever, very nice in the 8", whilst NGC 2169 (the 37 cluster) was also a delight. The tiny double in the corner of the '3' was nicely resolved, lovely to see. I did see the 'black eye' in M64 though not as obvious as I've seen before, and M63 was just a fairly featureless oval, no hints of structure. Likewise whilst I found all three parts to the Leo triplet, I could not say they were particularly bright. It's possible of course that my secondary was misting up/freezing for some of these targets. I tried to keep it clear but was not always successful. The Needle Galaxy was a very interesting comparison with the 16" last year. In the larger scope it was very bright, and the 'needles' extending out were very long and obvious, extending further with averted vision. In the 8", the galaxy itself and the arms were clear, but a shadow of the view in the 16". Still, it's nice to know I can be hitting these targets with a scope that is easily transportable on holiday and to dark sites. The last thing I'll ramble on about is Markarian's Chain. Again, I had spectacular views of this in the 16" last year so I was interested to see if I could find it in the 8". Of course, I could, and was pleasantly surprised by the views. Quite clear and I was able to trace the chain of galaxies all the way along. I hopped around the area identifying some galaxies by following it in SkySafari, then getting lost after a while and just panning around enjoying the view. I'm very pleased with the Portaball. Lovely views in a scope which is so easy to transport and assemble/break down. I've got some work to do checking out whether the secondary heater is working as the secondary was freezing up so frequently but aside from that it's all good. I was observing stars down to mag 14.47 (that I noted, probably beyond), and galaxies down to mag 12.07, again possibly beyond this in some of the unidentified galaxies. Last year I got a galaxy at mag 14.2 if I remember correctly which shows an indication of the differing capabilities of the scopes. An excellent four days, finishing with a pretty spectacular nights observing and a lovely full English breakfast in the morning before heading home List: SGL11 Owl Cluster - NGC 457 (Open Cluster in Cassiopeia) Double Cluster - NGC 869 (Open Cluster in Perseus) Chi Persei - NGC 884 (Open Cluster in Perseus) Polaris - Alpha UMi (Variable Double Star in Ursa Minor) Pleiades - M 45 (Open Cluster in Taurus) NGC 1502 (Open Cluster in Camelopardalis) Rigel - Beta Ori (Variable Double Star in Orion) NGC 1907 (Open Cluster in Auriga) Starfish Cluster - M 38 (Open Cluster in Auriga) Orion Nebula - M 42 (Bright Nebula in Orion) Messier 43 (Bright Nebula in Orion) Alnitak - Zeta Ori (Double Star in Orion) NGC 2169 (Open Cluster in Orion) Castor - Alpha Gem (Double Star in Gemini) Beehive Cluster - M 44 (Open Cluster in Cancer) Messier 67 (Open Cluster in Cancer) Bode's Nebulae - M 81 (Spiral Galaxy in Ursa Major) Bode's Nebulae - M 82 (Spiral Galaxy in Ursa Major) Algieba - Gamma1 Leo (Double Star in Leo) Messier 95 (Spiral Galaxy in Leo) Messier 96 (Spiral Galaxy in Leo) Messier 105 (Elliptical Galaxy in Leo) NGC 3384 (Elliptical Galaxy in Leo) NGC 3373 (Spiral Galaxy in Leo) Messier 108 (Spiral Galaxy in Ursa Major) Owl Nebula - M 97 (Planetary Nebula in Ursa Major) Messier 65 (Spiral Galaxy in Leo) Messier 66 (Spiral Galaxy in Leo) NGC 3628 (Spiral Galaxy in Leo) NGC 3631 (Spiral Galaxy in Ursa Major) NGC 3953 (Spiral Galaxy in Ursa Major) Messier 109 (Spiral Galaxy in Ursa Major) GSCII 984 (Star in Ursa Major) Markarian's Chain - M 84 (Elliptical Galaxy in Virgo) Melotte 111 (Open Cluster in Coma Berenices) NGC 4387 (Elliptical Galaxy in Virgo) NGC 4388 (Spiral Galaxy in Virgo) Markarian's Chain - M 86 (Elliptical Galaxy in Virgo) Eyes Galaxies - NGC 4435 (Spiral Galaxy in Virgo) Eyes Galaxies - NGC 4438 (Spiral Galaxy in Virgo) Markarian's Chain - NGC 4458 (Elliptical Galaxy in Virgo) NGC 4459 (Spiral Galaxy in Coma Berenices) Markarian's Chain - NGC 4461 (Spiral Galaxy in Virgo) Markarian's Chain - NGC 4473 (Elliptical Galaxy in Coma Berenices) NGC 4474 (Spiral Galaxy in Coma Berenices) Markarian's Chain - NGC 4477 (Spiral Galaxy in Coma Berenices) Messier 88 (Spiral Galaxy in Coma Berenices) Needle Galaxy - NGC 4565 (Spiral Galaxy in Coma Berenices) Whale Galaxy - NGC 4631 (Spiral Galaxy in Canes Venatici) NGC 4656 (Spiral Galaxy in Canes Venatici) Black Eye Galaxy - M 64 (Spiral Galaxy in Coma Berenices) Messier 53 (Globular Cluster in Coma Berenices) Sunflower Galaxy - M 63 (Spiral Galaxy in Canes Venatici) Whirlpool Galaxy - M 51 (Spiral Galaxy in Canes Venatici) NGC 5195 (Spiral Galaxy in Canes Venatici) Messier 3 (Globular Cluster in Canes Venatici) Izar - Epsilon Boo (Double Star in Bootes) Hercules Cluster - M 13 (Globular Cluster in Hercules) Messier 92 (Globular Cluster in Hercules) Vega - Alpha Lyr (Variable Double Star in Lyra) Double Double - Epsilon1 Lyr (Double Star in Lyra) Ring Nebula - M 57 (Planetary Nebula in Lyra)
  13. Jonk

    M27 Dumbbell nebula

    From the album: Jon's images

    First guided image taken with 250PDS / AZ-EQ6 GT setup. Canon 1100D Baader modified, PHD2, Astronomik CLS clip filter, 1 hour 6 minutes, just as a test.
  14. Thalestris24

    QHY5l-ii

    Hi all I've been using the qhy5l-ii as a guide camera and have been impressed by it's sensitivity. So I'm wondering if it might be usable for imaging - I'm thinking of the more distant star clusters and also galaxies. Has anyone tried? I suspect it might be rather noisy for single-frame long exposures. Has anyone tried cooling it? (the spec says it's ok down to -30 C). It does have a maximum exposure time of 10mins which could be limiting but it would be a lot faster than my 1100d and I can only get max 5min exposures with that cos of the local lp. It also has the advantage of being relatively cheap! Any thoughts? Cheers Louise
  15. Aenima

    Bi-colour NGC7000 Wall

    From the album: CCD venture

    A h-alpha and OIII shot of the Wall section of NGC7000 aka north america nebula. Processed to resemble the hubble palette colour scheme. ED80 - ATK16HR - Ha clip filter - EQ6 - finderguider 9x50mm PhD2 - photoshop - DSS.
  16. Hi all! I am kind of frustrated that I cannot find any source of DSO info that specifies if an object is visible in visible light, or only when putting on certain filters (like H alpha). The other night I took some subs of IC410, but nothing showed up on the stack... Wiki also does not specify in what bands it emits... Is there a site, or other source that specifies this info? For now I only have an un-modded DSLR to shoot subs with, so I need to know if something will show up or not... help!! :-) Gerhard.
  17. Hello guys! I have some free time now so i decided to finally try my first attempt at drift alignment with a DSLR (Canon 1000D, prime focus). I know that my setup is lame for DSO pics, but i'm up for the challenge of trying the best i can with what i have for now, so yesterday i started this little quest (and i realized how long i have to go.. hehe.. but that's part of the fun). The set-up: sky-watcher 130mm F=900mm, EQ2 (lol), 4x speed R.A. motor and Canon 1000D. To make things short: After i tried the best out of the polar alignemnt i could, I aimed at m57 and took 120x20 seconds subs, 40 dark and 40 bias. I got from those 120, around 45 without serious startrails (eq2 and polar precision, i guess is gonna be a struggle.. also, i think everytime the wind would hit the scope, would ruin one shot). In DSS i loaded all this info and left everything in default... at the threshold menu for detecting stars, i got what i predicted was a problematic number: 9 stars at 2%. So the problem is: in DSS, he tells me he can only register one of 45 shots... "you should check the threshold, etc..". My questions are a lot, but i'll make a few for now: - wouldn't 20 seconds be enough for it to detect more than 9 stars in every pic? I leave you the example of the processing of DSS with only one light photoframe (in attachment)... I can see more than 8 stars (which i was tols was the minimum for registing the frame). -Could it be because i was using a baader filter for moon and skyglow in front of the 25x lenses that might have darkened the image to the point of no star recognition? Could it be the light pollution, me being in the center of a city? -Is there any way i can go around this problem of no star recognition and use the info i have in the 44 pics left ans stack them somehow? I'm sorry for making it "heavy", please bear with me as i am very new to this! Thanks in advance! Cheers, Rui
  18. Dear all, I'd be grateful for some advice please. I currently have an Orion Starmax 90mm mak-cas on a mini dob base, I have a home built, very sturdy, tripod (along the lines of the great design by Dave Fuller) and combined with a 9x50 RA spotting scope and a red-dot finder I find it a very useable set up that performs really well on planets, the moon and brighter deep sky objects. But, whilst I love the scope (I find the optics and portability really good for the price) it's a poor performer on fainter deep sky objects, as would be expected from such a slow (f13.8!) scope. I've recently discovered a real interest in tracking down DSOs, an so would like to invest in a scope that lets me do this a bit better. But- and here's the catch- I want to strike a good balance between light gathering and portability- for me this rules out very anything over 150mm. And, I am only in the market for something on a Dob mount. So, I think I've narrowed my choice down to two contenders, both Dob reflectors, which seem to offer good value for money albeit in different sized packages: Sky watcher flexi tube 130/650 f5: https://www.firstlightoptics.com/dobsonians/skywatcher-heritage-130p-flextube.html Sky watcher 150/1200 f7.8: https://www.firstlightoptics.com/dobsonians/skywatcher-skyliner-150p-dobsonian.html Of these, the Sky watcher 130 appeals most because it gives good aperture in a compact set up and at f5 is a good contrast to my Mak. Whilst I imagine the 150mm will give better all round performance, I am put off by the bulk. To help me make a decision, I’d be grateful for views on: - How much better 130mm collapsible tube is likely to be on DSOs than my 90mm Mak. Will it be notably better, or only marginal? - Is the shorter focal length- and reduced mag without barlows- an issue for DSOs or is the larger aperture the main priority? - How would the 150mm perform in comparison- would there be a notable gain over the 130mm? - Does anyone have experience lugging the 150mm dob around? Any thoughts on these- or alternatives- really welcome. Am I even on the right lines thinking these woudl be better for DSOs than my Mak? I'm looking for max bang for my buck here as my max budget is £200 (so I've largely ruled out the table top Orion 150/750 for example). Many thanks in advance, and sorry for such a long post! S
  19. Hi, can I please ask for some help/advice on imaging DSOs with a webcam and laptop? Last night was the first night for quite a while that I have been able to get out and use my new 'scope. I used it about a month ago to look at the Ring Nebula (M57), Dumbell Nebula (M27), The Great Globular Cluster (M13) in Hercules amongst others and was waiting for the chance to do some imaging. Well, last night I got my chance and set the 'scope up, let it cool down, did an alignment with an additional 3 calibration stars. I then got the mount to swing to M57, got it right in the middle of the eyepiece and then swapped to the webcam (Philips SPC900NC) and...nothing. I tried again and again swapping between the eyepiece and the webcam, adjusting the focus, changing the gain, exposure, brightness and the other one which I can't remember at the moment and...nothing. I even focused the webcam on Vega and then swung to M57 so I at least knew that the focus should be right, but then I couldn't tell if the 'scope had swung dead on to the nebula! PLEASE...what am I doing wrong? Or am I just expecting too much from my set-up. Will I never see a DSO on a laptop screen due to their low light levels? If that is the case how do you know that you have got your subject in view? It was really frustrating and probably caused me to pack up sooner than I would otherwise have done as it was reasonably good seeing and nice and warm with no dew build up. Any comments, suggestions would be greatly appreciated as I am intending on going out again tonight.
  20. Hey guys A guy in my area is selling a 13.1" Coulter Odyssey, the 2 mirrors. I'd want to get an idea on the optical quality of them. He bought the many many years ago, and they still in the original package, hasn't been used. 1. Would the optics degrade over time if they were wrapped up? 2. What is the general quality of the mirrors. I have heard the optics can vary alot, and they generally not that great for planetary views. 3. He is selling them (and he mentioned the Rocker once) for around $350, is this good for a un-used mirror. I'd like to build a really nice DSO / Planetary Dob, and this gives me hope if the optics are really good. Any advice, tips etc would be greatly appreciated. Tx guys
  21. I finally got out for another night of viewing. My last night out was almost 2 weeks ago, and was plagued by technical difficulties, resulting in a rather disappointing night compared to expectations. Since then work prevented me from getting out, then just as I had an opportunity with clear skies I threw my back out and was laid up for 2 days. By the time I was on my feet again, the clouds had rolled in and I was left being a computer astronomer for several more days. Last night the skies cleared so I loaded up the truck and headed to my dark site, roughly 5 minutes from my house. Seeing conditions were excellent with clear, cold skies and dark site conditions. I was able to see a magnitude 6.0 star with my naked eye, and Andromeda was clearly visible without optics. I brought with me several new EPs and a new UHC filter. I also brought with my my girlfriend, complete with a sleeping bag to bundle her in so we could try to spot some meteors between messing around with the telescope and camera. We were set up and looking skyward by 20:15. I had only peered through my new EPs twice before, and they hadn't had a night to do them justice, so I decided to start with some old familiar objects to give me some reference. I looked at M13 and M31, then turned the scope up to M57. I was using my Explore Scientific 18mm 82* EP with a new 2" dielectric diagonal. This was an upgrade from the standard Celestron equipment that comes stock with the scope. To say the views were amazing would be an understatement. I was blown away. M13 especially stands out in my mind as a real surprise last night. It totally filled the EP, and the stars so numerous it dazzled me and boggled my mind all at once. M31 really stood out as well, totally filling the eyepiece. Truly amazing. Once I was content that the scope was cool and I had everything focused and tuned, I began searching the sky for a few new galaxies including M81 and M82. I had hoped to spy M101 for my first time, but it was a touch low on the horizon to make out well. I turned the scope to M33 instead and was treated to an incredible sight. It stood out strong in the dark sky, and I looked long and hard and could swear that I could just barely make out some spiral arms. Now it was time for the next test. I screwed the UHC filter onto the EP and went searching for nebulas, both familiar and new to me. I'll put a list below of object I saw, but some highlights were as follow: The Dumbbell Nebula was quite a site. I could clearly make out the shape (looks more like an apple core to me ). I then swung around to the Little Dumbbell, my first time viewing it. I was surprised how little it was, but could make it out very clearly. The Lagoon Nebula was nice, as was Omega Nebula. However, in the south sky the Eagle Nebula really stole my attention last night. I could make out a lot of nebulosity, and was pulled in and hypnotized by it. I had trouble leaving that object. I went on to view some diffuse nebulas that I had never seen, and had great luck finding them. There were a few misses, but I think I found 75% or so of all the new objects I looked for. It was a wonderful night. Before taking a break I decided to take a look up toward Uranus, and it appeared as a beautiful little light blue disk, the first time I had seen it as such. Neptune was more of just a tiny speck of light, but I found it as well. After a break for hot cocoa I switched the EP over to a 30MM 82* and jumped around the sky looking at familiar objects. I had intended to seek some new clusters and perhaps some double stars, but ended up getting totally caught up in just surfing around enjoying the views of what I knew. I looked at the Pleiades for a long time, as well as the Hyades. I spend quite a bit of time viewing Capella, Rigel, and Betelgeuse, and really enjoyed taking the time to make out the slight differences in magnitude and color. I then swung the scope over to Cygnus and just surfed around through the billions of stars making the highway through the sky that the swan looks to be following. It is still hard for me to believe the sheer number of stars out there. I grew up under dark skies and am no stranger to the Milky Way and being able to see millions of stars with the naked eye. However, when you turn that scope upward, you realize there are exponentially more all around, and it's humbling. We are so small, and what we are taking in is so vast. It seems impossible. I ended the night viewing the Great Orion Nebula. I didn't even bother putting the filter on, and through the 30MM EP it was absolutely stunning. I had never seen it quite like that, and I spend a very long time taking it in, my jaw on the ground. It was a really beautiful end to the evening. While I had been messing about with the scope, my girlfriend had a camera set up on a tripod, and managed to capture some wonderful Milky Way and Constellation pictures. When we finally put away all the toys, we both just laid back on the tarp and spend about 45 minutes watching for the Orionids. By the end of the night we saw a combined total of between 20 and 30 meteors, most of which were relatively dim. It was a nice bonus. In the end we were viewing for over 4 hours, and had an incredible successful night! List of object observed (items with asterisk were first lights for me!): Nebulas: M1*; M8; M16; M17; M27; M42; M43; M57; M76*; NGC1491*; NGC6543*; NGC6781*; NGC6804*; NGC7008* Galaxies and Clusters: M13; M31; M32; M81*; M82*; M110; Plants: Uranus; Neptune
  22. Any suggestions on positing this to a better section then please let me know... I have been using a 200p Dob for over a year now. I have been impressed with it and managed to take some decent pictures and web cam videos whilst nudging it around. www.mauton.co.uk To add to the mix I have a modded XBOX webcam along with a Canon1100d DSLR. I have decided that I am interested in DSO and have been thinking about upgrading to a GOTO/Tacking mount such as the HEQ5 and/or 80ED. My options are as follows, with questions on each: 1. Buy a new mount HEQ5 (not sure on exact model yet) with a 80ED Refractor. This seems to be a good entry setup for DSO's from various posts on these forums. Q. Will I be able to use by DSLR 1100D fine? or will I need anything further Q. Except for the obvious improvement with a tracking mount, how will the 80ED improve the images I can take over that of the 200p ? How does the f7.5 as opposed to the f5.91 make that much difference? 2. Sell by 200p Dob and purchase a 200p on a EQ-5 mount. It would be the same scope however I get to have a mount which can then be motor driven. Q. Would it be worth it in any way keeping the 200p and going with option 1? 3. Has anyone mounted a 200p Dob on HEQ5 mount? Then all I have to buy is the mount.... Q. How would the image quality etc be improved if I purchased the ED80 ? Many questions I know !!! - But please any that you can. Thanks
  23. Just thought I would share my first DSO images I took of the Orion Nebula. Not great but better than I expected them to turn out given I had never taken this kind of picture before, and it was completely in the moment without any prep. I took these on my Canon 60D with a Canon 18-200mm lens. F3.5 apeture, 1.5 second exposure. The first image was at 1600 ISO, the second at 3200. The first image has a bit more fine detail, at the cost of losing how big the nebula is and some of the color. The second has a lot more color and shows more of the nebula, but a lot of the detail is lost in the brighter area in the center. Once the weather is nicer I definitely want to have another go at it properly, and take multiple exposures and dark frames to stack them properly.
  24. Aenima

    firework galaxy

    From the album: 2015 Various

    using a better mount and able to increase exposure length :)

    © Aenima

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