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Found 18 results

  1. Hi, What a time I am having with this EQ8, shame it's not a good one. I used the handset to perform the 2 star alignment, then went through the polar alignment routine on 2 different stars, about 3 times each. I got the polar alignment pretty close by using my Atik camera on the PC monitor. The mount continued to track well with the handset, I parked, turned off. Connected EQMOD cable, powered up, unparked, resync'ed encoders and then went to find Capella to sync on to start building my points list in EQMOD. Well once I got to Capella and the Sidereal rate was on, the stars were zipping past on the PC monitor - but hadn't I just polar aligned successfully via the handset? But it felt like the tracking wasn't even on in EQMOD even though it said it was. Has anybody come across this problem? Thanks Daniel
  2. I finally stopped dithering and ordered an EQ8 ( and a bunch of other bits) - needed to run a dual scope setup with a 5" Apo and Celestron C11 side by side - and before anyone tells me I've made a bad choice - there was little/no choice give my budget wouldn't stretch to any of those more expensive options. so now the fun will begin:- i) De-mount and Defork the C11 - although its ~12 years old I've been assured that the optics are first class - so its a keeper and not going to be replaced soon ii) fit nice shiny new ADM Losmandy dovetail iii) fit nice shiny side by side bar to both scopes and get it balanced in the house iv) use dining table as temporary pier ( )for the EQ8 to get some practice indoors and also to get preliminary balanced setup v) demount the Milburn wedge from the pier (after marking where N is ) vi) fit new pier top and then EQ8 vii) Fit scopes viii) Align it all Simples, what could possibly go wrong ( watch this space.......) (oh yes and not forgetting - sell all unwanted bits - C11 fork without scope, Milburn wedge and Heavy Duty Field tripod for the C11) (Hmmm, may keep tripod if I can find a way to mount the EQ8 on it in case I want to go portable) So, apologies in advance for the upcoming atrocious weather Neil
  3. Hi, Anyone know where I can buy a short EQDIR lead for my EQ8? I am fitting a mini-computer to my OTA and I would like a cable length of about 50 cm. Regards, Hugh
  4. I'm (hopefully) very soon going to be pressing the buy button on a Skywatcher EQ8 to mount on my existing concrete pier. I've already ordered an adaptor to mount the EQ8 on to the existing adjustment plate at the top of the pier. The pier/tripod that can be bought for the EQ8 has Teflon pads on the mounting plate to make it easier to adjust the mount when polar aligning it. The 3rd party adaptor plate doesn't have these pads. Does anyone know where such things could be purchased? My guess is that the Teflon strips used in Dobsonian mounts would be do the job nicely. Has anyone got an suggestions any idea where I might get some?
  5. I had some worries about putting my 40kg of 14" on an EQ8 but tonight put those to bed! Rough polar alignment, can't focus accurately due to electronics problem, wobbly mounting plate but I couldn't resist a quick test. 60s unguided at 1900mm FL, I think I'm going to like this mount
  6. Carina Nebula with the bright unstable star Eta Carinae in the centre of the image. edit ( 27 March ): Tweak to shadow levels to bring out more detail and also a slight reduction in the brightness of the highlights. A much larger version ( 4562 x 3072 6062 x 4082) is available on my Flickr page. previous version: Carinae Nebula ( NGC 3372 ) ( please click / tap on image to see larger and sharper ) From Wikipedia ... "Eta Carinae is a highly luminous hypergiant star. Estimates of its mass range from 100 to 150 times the mass of the Sun, and its luminosity is about four million times that of the Sun." This HDR image is constructed from 12 sets of exposures ranging from 1/8 sec ( to capture the bright centre of Eta Carinae ) through to 240 seconds. Total exposure time around 13 hours 17-19 March 2018 Image details: Objects in image: Hypergiant, Eta Carinae ( HD 93308 ) in the centre of the Homunculus Nebula Carina Nebula ( NGC 3372 ) Keyhole Nebula Open Star Clusters: - Trumpler 14, 15, 16 - Collinder 232 Field of view ..... 59' 18.2" x 39' 56.0" Image centre ...... RA: 10 45 01.762 Dec: -59 40 52.87 Orientation: North is up Telescope: Orion Optics CT12 Newtonian ( mirror 300mm, fl 1200mm, f4 ). Corrector: ASA 2" Coma Corrector Quattro 1.175x. Effective Focal Length / Aperture : 1470mm f4.7 Mount: Skywatcher EQ8 Guiding: TSOAG9 Off-Axis-Guider, Starlight Xpress Lodestar X2, PHD2 Camera: Nikon D5300 (unmodified) (sensor 23.5 x 15.6mm, 6016x4016 3.9um pixels) Location: Blue Mountains, Australia Moderate light pollution ( pale green zone on darksitefinder.com map ) Capture ( 17, 18 & 19 March 2018 ): 12 sets of sub-images with exposure duration for each set doubling ( 1/8s to 240s ) all at ISO250. ( 181 x 240sec + 10 to 20 each for the other durations ) Processing: Calibration: master bias, master flat and master dark Integration in 12 sets HDR combination Pixinsight March 2018
  7. I am trying to understand why the declination position reported by my new EQ8 - Synscan 4 hand controller keeps changing. After starting my aligned scope from Park the declination reported by the hand set ( Utilities/Show Position/ "Dec/Ra" ) slowly increases ( around 7" / minute when I first measured it ). However, the rotation angle of the declination/altitude axis of the mount ( Utilities/Show Position/ "Ax1/Ax2" ) is reported as being constant ( as one would expect if the mount is not receiving an instruction to move ). That is, it would appear that the motor is not running and the encoders on the shaft are not detecting any rotation of the mount's altitude axis however the Sysnscan reports that the Celestial declination is slowly changing. Does anyone know if this is a bug or a feature? It did occur to me that maybe the Synscan is trying to compensate for the declination drift that would result from the Polar Alignment error as stored in the controller after alignment. To test this, I adjusted the Polar Alignment to try to reduce the error and see if it changed the drift rate. The initial results do not support this - after much tweaking of the alignment, and with an indicated polar alignment error of less than 15" in either axis, the rate of drift changed but was still around 5" / minute ( whereas it should be << 1 with so small a Polar Alignment error ). Has anyone else noticed this slow change in declination reported by the mount/Synscan when the mount is tracking in RA? ----- EQ8 MC Firmware version: 2.11.04 Synscan HW version: 4.16 Synscan firmware version: 4.39.04
  8. “The Blue Bunny Nebula” .......... Edit: 27 Jan 2018 - updated again to try to draw more faint nebulosity out of the background; ( NGC 2359 - Thor’s Helmet ) ( please click / tap on image to see larger and without compression artefacts ( and double click on that image if you what to see it as I posted it ! ) ) ......... Edit: 24 Jan 2018 - stars a little brighter and tighter with no change to the rest of the image ( NGC 2359 - Thor’s Helmet ) ( please click / tap on image to see larger and without compression artefacts ( and double click on that image if you what to see it as I posted it ! ) ) ................. original: Thor's Helmet ( NGC 2359 ) in the constellation Canis Major Thor’s Helmet ( Duck Nebula, NGC 2359 ) ( please click / tap on image to see larger ) This HDR image shows the bright nebula Thor’s Helmet in a sea of colourful stars against a background of red from dust and HA emissions. The stars in this image range from the brightest ( bottom right, HD 56501 ) at magnitude +7.7 to around +20 or more. HDR capture and processing allows all of the stars to be portrayed in colour without any burnt-out highlights. The colours of the stars and nebula are as close as I can get them to their "true colours" by using a "daylight colour balance" and allowing for the extinction of blue-green due to atmospheric absorption/scattering ( mean altitude during capture ~ 60deg ). The blue star in the centre of the bubble of expanding stellar material is HD 56925 ( WR7 ) - a massive, unstable and short-lived Wolf-Rayet star that one day will detonate in a supernova. Image details: NGC 2359 Thor’s Helmet / Duck Nebula: Magnitude +11.5, RA (2000.0) 7h 15m 37s, Dec -13deg 12' 8", approx. 1800 light years away HD 56925 / Wolf-Rayet 7 ( WR7 ) ( blue 11.5 mag star at centre of “bubble” ) Haffner 6 ( open ster cluster centre left of image ) Plate Solution: Resolution ........ 1.318 arcsec/px Rotation .......... 0.00 deg ( North is up ) Focal ............. 1398.41 mm Field of view ..... 57' 40.8" x 38' 29.0" Image center ...... RA: 07 18 36.509 Dec: -13 11 53.38 Telescope: Orion Optics CT12 Newtonian ( mirror 300mm, fl 1200mm, f4 ). Corrector: ASA 2" Coma Corrector Quattro 1.175x. Effective Focal Length / Aperture : 1410mm f4.7 Mount: Skywatcher EQ8 Guiding: TSOAG9 Off-Axis-Guider, Starlight Xpress Lodestar X2, PHD2 Camera: Nikon D5300 (unmodified) (sensor 23.5 x 15.6mm, 6016x4016 3.9um pixels) Location: Blue Mountains, Australia Moderate light pollution ( pale green zone on darksitefinder.com map ) Capture ( 18 & 19 Jan 2018 ) 9 sets of sub-images with exposure duration for each set doubling ( 1s to 240s ) all at ISO 250. 116 x 240s + 5 each @ 1s to 120s Processing ( Pixinsight - 20 Jan 18 ) Calibration: master bias, master dark and master flat Integration in 9 sets HDR combination arcSinH stretch
  9. It would be good somewhere to list the fettling done by Skywatcher on its EQ8. I've just got one and I'm please to say those tough to tighten bolts on the saddle (to retain the OTA) have been recessed with an allen socket. Previously you risk slicing your fingers apart trying to get a grip in the confined space. Pix attached. Just buy a T handle and even getting the C14 on board is easier.
  10. Advice needed before I decide which direction to take. I have had some feedback from a few posts given I think it is time to ditch the wedge / fork mount and enter the world of EM mounts, and so far people have recommended going for the EQ8 as I can just mount my existing CPC OTA and piggy backed TAK 85 on it. The question is would I be better spending the extra and going for a 10 Micron HPS1000 if I could then image unguided? If so how easy is it as I have seen a few threads on having a skymap??? Do you need more software and if so what does that cost? The real dilemma is if I went down the 10 Micron route I would have to stick with using the Canon 5D Mk2 (due to lack of £££) for imaging for some considerable time but if I went down the EQ8 route I could get a dedicated CCD / filter wheel and maybe with inbuilt OAG to do narrow band imaging within the next year or so. What would you all do? Any help / advice would be most welcomed as I need to decide which way to turn. Thanks
  11. Three months ago I remounted the EQ8 in the observatory after my friend Chris made me a pier extension to raise the mount 15 cm. Unfortunately, a combination of cloudy nights, holidays, it not getting dark until early in the morning, and my lovely wife being ill has meant that it took until tonight to get the EQ8 re-polar aligned. SharpCap's polar alignment tool makes this pretty easy. I used my Lodestar x2 mounted on a 60 mm finder/guider. I'll aim to try to see if I can get this even closer with full drift alignment on another night, but my guess that'll be close enough for now.
  12. The Cat's Paw Nebula ( NGC 6334 ) in Scorpius updated ( slight tweak to colour balance, a little brighter and tad more contrast ) ( please click / tap on image to see larger and sharper - a full size image can be seen here ) ...... original: ( please click / tap on image to see larger and sharper - a full size image can be seen here ) ……………………... Also known as the Bear Claw Nebula, NGC 6334 is an emission nebula near the scorpion's tail in the Scorpius constellation. Image details: Image centre ...... RA: 17 20 08.185 Dec: -35 52 30.91 Field of view ..... 57' 37.8" x 38' 51.8" Rotation .......... 0.00 deg ( North is up ) Resolution ........ 0.586 arcsec/px Telescope: Orion Optics CT12 Newtonian ( mirror 300mm, fl 1200mm, f4 ). Corrector: ASA 2" Coma Corrector Quattro 1.175x. Effective Focal Length / Aperture : 1470mm f4.7 Mount: Skywatcher EQ8 Guiding: TSOAG9 Off-Axis-Guider, Starlight Xpress Lodestar X2, PHD2 Camera: Nikon D5300 (unmodified) (sensor 23.5 x 15.6mm, 6016x4016 3.9um pixels) Location: Blue Mountains, Australia Moderate light pollution ( pale green zone on darksitefinder.com map ) Capture ( July 2018 ) 6 sets of sub-images with exposure duration for each set doubling ( 4s to 240s ) all at ISO 250. 168 x 4 min frames plus ~10 frames each for the shorter exposures Processing: Calibration: bias, dark and flat Integration in 8 sets HDR combination Pixinsight July 2018
  13. Seasons greetings to all. I have a Sky-Watcher Eq8 Pro mount with synscan , a bit over 2 years old having had fairly light use ( due to moving house). This has sadly developed a problem. When all plugged in and switched on the LED on the switch comes on , steady red, no flashing, the hand control lights up, but looks somewhat dim and anaemic and the screen remains blank, there is no initialising, in fact there is no anything other than an orange glow. I have tried the obvious things, I have cleaned contacts, replaced cables etc. No better. Reading other posts, it seemed likely that this may be a power supply problem, especially as mine was somewhat dodgy and on the end of a very , very long wire. Santa helpfully provided me with a new regulated switched power supply delivering a steady 13.5 Volts DC at up to 5 amps. To try this out I brought the whole thing inside so that there is no longer the long wire, I plug it in full of high hopes and guess what. no change, still nothing on the synscan screen. BU**ER it !! Clearly there is a fault in either the hand control or within the mount itself. Can anyone suggest a way of determining which is at fault ? I don't want to pay quite a lot to get the mount to a service agent only to find that a replacement hand control would have fixed it. The handbooks that came with the EQ8 give little information on troubleshooting and what little there is, requires a working connected hand control. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. NEIL
  14. The Rosette Nebula and Cluster ( NGC 2237 and 2244 ) in the constellation Monoceros edit: updated 30th Dec with improved colour balance and slightly increased brightness ... ...... original: ( please click / tap on image to see larger and sharper ) Still a work-in-progress really... with only 10 x 4min exposures for the main 'lights' before the clouds came over. I will try to add some more data when the moon has gone I am still experimenting with how to get the best out of the D7500. With the very warm nights ( low to mid 20s all night ) the 'warm pixels' are very noticeable so I reverted to my old practice of in-camera dark subtraction. This worked quite well and produced a nice smooth noise floor in the integrated images - albeit at the expense of more exposures. ................. Identification: The Rosette Nebula ( NGC 2237 ) is a large, circular emission nebula in the constellation Monoceros. It surrounds a cluster of hot, young stars known as the Rosette Cluster ( NGC 2244 ). ( SkySafari ) NGC 2237, 2244 Caldwell 49, 50 North is up. .................. Capture Details: Telescope: Orion Optics CT12 Newtonian ( mirror 300mm, fl 1200mm, f4 ). Corrector: ASA 2" Coma Corrector Quattro 1.175x. Effective Focal Length / Aperture : 1400mm f4.7 Mount: Skywatcher EQ8 Guiding: TSOAG9 Off-Axis-Guider, Starlight Xpress Lodestar X2, PHD2 Camera: Nikon D7500 (unmodified) (sensor 23.5 x 15.7mm, 5568x3712 @ 4.196um pixels) Location: Blue Mountains, Australia Moderate light pollution ( pale green zone on darksitefinder.com map ) Capture ( 23 Dec 2017 ) 9 sets of sub-images with exposure duration for each set doubling ( 1s to 240s ) all at ISO400. 10 x 240s + 5 each @ 1s to 120s imaged ~ +/- 1.5hrs either side of meridian maximum altitude ~ 51.3 deg above north horizon Processing ( Pixinsight ) Calibration: master bias, master flat and in-camera dark subtraction Integration in 9 sets HDR combination Image Plate Solution =================================== Resolution ........ 0.633 arcsec/px ( full size image ) Rotation .......... 0.181 deg Focal ............. 1367.90 mm Pixel size ........ 4.20 um Field of view ..... 58' 59.4" x 39' 15.0" Image center ...... RA: 06 31 55.638 Dec: +04 56 30.84 ===================================
  15. The Great Barred Spiral Galaxy ( NGC 1365 ) in the constellation Fornax edit: new version with new long exposure data ( 52 x 240sec ) and better dark subtraction / dithering to remove streaks in the noise and amp glow. This also allowed for a greater stretch revealing more faint data in the galaxy and small faint fuzzies in the image .. The Great Barred Spiral Galaxy ( NGC 1365 ) in Fornax ( please click / tap to see larger ) and below I have added a 100% crop of new version: ........ original image: NGC 1365 ( please click / tap on image to see larger ) ............... The Great Barred Spiral Galaxy ( NGC 1365 ) in the Constellation Fornax Below the equator, not seen from much of the Northern hemisphere, NGC 1365 passes very nearly directly overhead an observer situated near Cape Town, as Sir John Herschel was in November of 1837, or near Sydney, as I was, almost exactly 180 years later, when I photographed this “remarkable nebula” that is numbered 2552 in his book of observations from the Cape. Not called a “nebula” now, of course, this striking object is one of the nearest and most studied examples of a barred spiral ( SB ) galaxy that also has an active galactic nuclei resulting in its designation as a Seyfert galaxy. At around 60 M light years from Earth, NGC 1365 is still seen to occupy a relatively large area ( 12 by 6 arc minutes ) due to its great size; at some 200,000 light years or so across, NGC 1365 is nearly twice as wide as the Milky Way and considerably wider than both the Sculptor and Andromeda galaxies. This High Dynamic Range ( HDR ) image is built up from multiple exposures ranging from 4 to 120 seconds with the aim of capturing the faint detail in the spiral arms of the galaxy whilst also retaining colour in the brightest star ( the orange-red 7th magnitude giant, HD 22425 ). Also, scattered throughout the image, and somewhat more difficult to see, are numerous and far more distant galaxies with apparent magnitudes of 16 to 18 or greater. Mike O'Day ................. Identification: The Great Barred Spiral Galaxy New General Catalogue - NGC 1365 General Catalogue - GC 731 John Herschel ( Cape of Good Hope ) # 2552 - Nov 28, 29 1837 Principal Galaxy Catlogue - PCG 13179 ESO 358-17 IRAS 03317-3618 RA (2000.0) 3h 33m 37.2 s DEC (2000.0) -36 deg 8' 36.5" 10th magnitude Seyfert-type galaxy in the Fornaux cluster of galaxies 200 Kly diameter 60 Mly distance .................. Capture Details: Telescope: Orion Optics CT12 Newtonian ( mirror 300mm, fl 1200mm, f4 ). Corrector: ASA 2" Coma Corrector Quattro 1.175x. Effective Focal Length / Aperture : 1400mm f4.7 Mount: Skywatcher EQ Guiding: TSOAG9 Off-Axis-Guider, Starlight Xpress Lodestar X2, PHD2 Camera: Nikon D7500 (unmodified) (sensor 23.5 x 15.7mm, 5568x3712 @ 4.196um pixels) Location: Blue Mountains, Australia Moderate light pollution ( pale green zone on darksitefinder.com map ) Capture ( 22 Nov 2017 ) 6 sets of sub-images with exposure duration for each set doubling ( 4s to 120s ) all at ISO400. 70 x 120s + 5 each @ 4s to 60s total around 2.5hrs Processing ( Pixinsight ) Calibration: master bias, master flat and no darks Integration in 6 sets HDR combination Image - Plate Solution ========================================== Resolution ........ 1.328 arcsec/px Rotation .......... -0.008 deg ( North is up ) Field of view ..... 58' 8.6" x 38' 47.5" Image center ...... RA: 03 33 41.182 Dec: -36 07 46.71 ==========================================
  16. A new High Dynamic Range image of the Sculptor Galaxy ( NGC 253 ) captured over a number of nights in mid-September 2017 and processed with PixInsight using the DrizzleIntegration and PhotometricColorCalibration tools. The Silver Coin or Sculptor Galaxy ( NGC 253 ) in the Sculptor constellation. ( please click / tap on image to see larger and sharper ) On the 23rd of September 1783, sitting before her telescope in the field behind the house she shared with her brother William at Datchet, near Slough in the south of England, Miss Caroline Herschel "swept" the sky searching for new comets and never before seen star clusters and nebulae. On this occasion, way down in the sky, not far above the Southern horizon, in an area of the southern sky that Nicolas de Lacaille had called the “Apparatus Sculptoris” or “the sculptor’s studio", Miss Herschel saw and noted down a very bright and large nebula where one had never before been recorded. This event was later recognised by her brother, Sir William Herschel, as the discovery, by Caroline Herschel, of the nebula he listed in his catalogue as H V.1. In later years, her 'beloved nephew', Sir John Herschel, William's son, would record this 'nebula' as entry # 138 in his General Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters of Stars ( eventually becoming the 253th entry in the New General Catalogue, NGC 253 ). Whilst relatively close to us compared to the billions of far more distant galaxies in the Universe, the great size of the “Sculptor Galaxy” and the huge distances involved are still hard to comprehend. To put this into some perspective, the light that is just now reaching one edge of the great disc left the opposite edge when the Earth was in the grip of last great Ice Age 70,000 years ago and the light we now see has been travelling towards us for over 11 million years. ........ More information on the discovery of the Sculptor Galaxy by Miss Caroline Herschel, as well as the later observations by both Sir William and Sir John Herschel, can be found in my Stargazerslounge blog, “The Sculptor Galaxy ( NGC 253 )” ......... This image was captured over a number of nights in the middle of September 2017 and processed on the 23rd; exactly 234 years from the day of its discovery by Caroline Herschel. With over 18 hours of total exposure, this HDR image attempts to capture the huge range of brightness levels; from the brightest stars and the core of the galaxy through to the numerous 'tiny' galaxies scattered throughout the image ( the total magnitude range is from around mag 8.8, for the brightest star, to 22+ for the faintest stars and galaxies visible in the image). Mike O'Day ...................... Capture Details: Telescope: Orion Optics CT12 Newtonian ( mirror 300mm, fl 1200mm, f4 ) Corrector: ASA 2" Coma Corrector Quattro 1.175x Effective Focal Length / Aperture : 1410mm f4.7 Mount: Skywatcher EQ8 Guiding: TSOAG9 Off-Axis-Guider, Starlight Xpress Lodestar X2, PHD2 Camera:Nikon D5300 (unmodified) (sensor 23.5 x 15.6mm, 6016x4016 3.9um pixels) Location: Blue Mountains, Australia Moderate light pollution ( pale green zone on darksitefinder.com map ).. Capture ( 16, 17, 19,20,22 Sept. 2017 ) 8 sets of sub-images with exposure duration for each set doubling ( 2s to 240s ) all at ISO800 273 x 240s + 10 each @ 2s to 120s total around 18hrs Processing Calibration: master bias, master flat and no darks. Drizzle Integration in 8 sets. HDR combination PhotometricColorCalibration Pixinsight & Photoshop 23 Sept. & 8 Oct 2017 Image Plate Solution ( this cropped image ) =============================================== Resolution ........ 1.324 arcsec/px Rotation .......... -180.00 deg ( South ^, East > ) Field of view ..... 57' 57.5" x 38' 40.1" Image center ...... RA: 00 47 32.809 Dec: -25 17 04.48 =============================================== .................... Designations and alternative names for the Sculptor Galaxy: CH10 ( Caroline Herschel # 10 ) H V.1 ( William Herschel, Class V ( very large Nebulae ) # 1 ) H 61, H 2345 ( John Herschel observations identifiers ) GC 138. ( John Herschel’s - A General Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters of Stars # 138 ) NGC 253 ( John Herschel’s catalogue updated by Dreyer - The New General Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters of Stars # 253 ) Caldwell 65 Leda 2789 ESO 479-29 Sculptor GalaxySilver Coin GalaxySilver Dollar Galaxy .................. Annotated image of the Sculptor Galaxy ( NGC 253 ) - showing the brighter stars ( from the Tycho-2 catalogue ) as well the galaxies recorded in the Principal Galaxies Catalogue ( PGC ). I have yet to complete identifying and annotating the very large number of ‘tiny’ galaxies in the image. ( please click / tap on image to see larger and sharper ) .........
  17. From the album: Scopes & Mounts

    Having got the correct pier adapter, the mount is now set up.
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