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I had a really nice evening of observing last night, found a lot of objects new to me and enjoyed some of my other favorites. I managed to find the Triangulum Galaxy (NGC 0777), which is one of the dimmest objects I have managed to spot to date. I observed it and the surrounding stars for about 15-20 minutes before I began sketching. I took my time and probably sketched for about 30-45 minutes. I started by marking the center of my drawing area with a small spot which would become the galaxy, and then made marks where all of the visible stars were. I then went around and filled in the stars from brightest to dimmest. Finally I used a soft pencil, a smudge stick, and my eraser to make the galaxy. This is my first attempt at a galaxy, and I'm pretty happy with it overall. Viewing was done on a very clear, cold night with excellent viewing conditions. C8SE scope, Scientific Exploration 18mm 82* EP, no filters. I hope you like it!
At the same astro party where I shot the Pleiades and partially Iris + the surroundings, I started gathering data for M33. For this image I used only a SkyWatcher 150PDS through which I recorded the photons on an ASI1600MMC. Curiously enough, I shot ~3.5h of luminance there under Bortle 2 skies, but a simple STF in PixInisght revealed less details than in 4h of luminance (through a LP filter) shot from home under Bortle 6-7 skies. Nevertheless, I put all the luminance together, I shot another 40mins of each RGB + 1h45min of Ha and made an image. A bit of colour only I also borrowed from an image I made 2 years ago, but in a small ratio. For full resolution: https://www.astrobin.com/yqr8xe/
So a few days ago I had my first light with my 130p and had a successful time with it I managed to view the Orion Nebula and also M45. The weather wasn’t great then but I still managed to get great views of both these objects. However tonight shall we say, was my first test on using the scope properly. Around sunset there were no clouds in sight and if there where any they were heading west but only a few and it stayed very clear from sunset till it got dark.During the sunset I looked out my window and the view was quite amazing I do like my sunsets but I saw something and I’m not 100% sure on exactly what it was. The object was extremely bright and on its own with nothing around it ( it wasn’t the sun )and was facing west and I had a look through my binoculars and I thought it was Venus but I’m not a 100% sure. I’m hoping that one of you can confirm what I saw during the sunset. If it was Venus or even mercury then it was my first time seeing either of them. Or I might be completely wrong As the weather forecast once again wasn’t acurate ( using BBC ) for the night I decided to risk it and leave my scope out half an hour before I went out they said there was supposed to be rain and some patches of cloud from about 7pm onwards. However i was quite please to see that there were no clouds in sight, whew. My main goal of the night was to see my first Galaxy. I’d thought I had seen Andromeda through my binoculars before but I was not sure that I saw it. I still need to get the hang of star hoping I still find it abit difficult but I guess the more I use the scope I’ll get used to it. Anyway I started with Orion as that’s my main starting point and thought I’d check out M42 again as the conditions were abit better then last time. I was pleasantly surprised that I could see more detail. I could even see the trapezium of stars within the nebula with the 10mm eyepiece as some of you suggested in my previous report that I should be able to see it. Then my next target was m45 again the view was really nice could see all the stars clearly. Now as stated before my main goal of the night was to find my first Galaxy. After looking at M45 I knew that the Andromeda and Triangulum Galaxy were close. I was using stellarium on my tablet ( with night vision mode) and also the sky and telescope pocket atlas which I bought from @JemC both worked quite well together as I still struggle with the atlas. I followed the Perseus constellation to find the Triangulum constellation which I think I managed to find. Near those constellations I saw to big yellow dots. Both of them were about arms length of each other. Looking at them with the naked eye they looked liked bright yellow stars with one slightly dimmer than the other. Now I’m again not sure if these were Andromeda and Triangulum Galaxy And I may be completely off and after looking at stellarium I noticed there are few galaxies around that area.First I aligned the finder scope so the “ yellow star on the left ” was in the field of view I then put in the 25mm eyepeice And could see a grey smudge which at first I thought it was a patch of cloud but then after double checking I realised it wasn’t. I am stil not sure which Galaxy I saw but it was absolutely incredible. I must confess I did get goosebumps. After carefully trying to get it in focus I could see a bright yellow light which was glowing straight through it kind of like a spike of light. And the out side was a grey smudge. However after spending about half an hour looking through the 10mm eyepice I could start to see some black inner circles which I was thinking might be the dust lanes? And also I could see a part that was slightly deformed. It looked like a small circle looked different from the rest and I thought that might be m32 but may be wrong. Finaly I wanted to see the Triangulum Galaxy. This was slight smaller then the one I had just looked at but looked similar. I could see a grey smudge with a bright core and a disc type shape. Like the Galaxy i described before. Again the center of the galaxy had a bright yellow light. And I could also see The same type of black inner circle after spending about half an hour or so observing.Even if it was smaller then the other one I was very impressed in what I saw and both of them gave me goosebumps. I’m certain these were galaxies I double checked by looking at the stars around it to make sure that they looked different and they did. I really hope that you can confirm in what I saw and also confirm on what I described in the beginning if it was Venus or not. Thanks very much for reading sorry for the extremely long report but wanted to share what i had seen today Thanks for reading and clear skies
Well, sort of first light. After doing a 20 point model I tried 1 hour of 5 min Luminance subs of M33. Very rough process, bias only then 3 histogram stretches with gentle curves. Because of the LP I took the L subs through an Astronomik CLS-CCD filter. I'm not sure about the focus though, as I rather rushed into taking the subs after doing the model without checking with a B-mask, in too much of a hurry to get an image. I could definitly do with taking Flats.
Back in October 2016, I did a short-ish M33 - 1 hour each of RGB, 2 hours of Lum and a paltry 80 mins of Ha. The thread can be read here: https://stargazerslounge.com/topic/278949-m33-with-super-luminance/?tab=comments#comment-3054617 Whilst I was on holdiay, a new version of PI was released. This contained a new process called PhotometricColorCalibration. The idea, as best as I can understand it, is: plate solve your image; compare it with a colour image from a 'reference' catalogue; and adjust the colour calibration to try to match that reference. The reference catalogue used is the AAVSO Photometric All-Sky Survey or APASS. There has been some debate on the PI forum about whether or not it might be better to use a different catalogue. However, I only skim read this - I can only get a few posts into a typical PI forum thread without wanting to poke sharpened matchsticks into my tender areas. Anyhow, I thought I'd look for an RGB image to try out this new process, and M33 came up. I was also alerted, by the one and only Barry Wilson, to another process called 'LocalNormalization' . I don't know if this is a brand new process in the latest release, or if it has been around for a while but I hadn't noticed it before. Barry gave me a brief run down on how to use it. You choose your best sub as a reference and then run the process on all of your other subs, just prior to ImageIntegration (ie after Star Alignment) - or at least that is what I did. LocalNorm files are produced and you add these to the ImageIntegration files (a bit like you add the Drizzle files). Barry suggested that this process might reduce the demands on (or even the need for) DBE - and certainly the stacks did seem reasonably 'flat'. I should warn that I have only a vague idea of what I am doing with these processes, and it may well be that I am using them incorrectly. Please consult with a PI Expert (or 'Sensei', as I believe they prefer to be called) before trying these things for yourselves. The new version does seem less 'muddy' to my eyes. I have a vague recollection of seeing some M33 images with nice 'ruddy' cores, and in the earlier version I was probabaly chasing that. I am still trying to aim for subtle ....... largely in an attempt to compensate for my personality, which is anything but. This is my Esprit 120; QSI 690 on the Mesu 200: 6 x 600s each of RGB, 24 x 300s of Lum and 4 x 1200s of Ha. If I was doing this again I would probabaly try to double-down (at the very least) on everything: