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Found 8 results

  1. steppenwolf

    DIY All Sky Camera

    Before I start running my fully automated observatory from a remote location, it is useful to know what the weather conditions are like at the observatory site and an all sky camera is a great way of seeing what is going on in conjunction with my AAG CloudWatcher that 'measures' the weather conditions. Unfortunately, commercial all sky cameras have a pretty hefty price tag and I had a very limited budget for this project so I decided to make my own. The camera is the easy part and the excellent ZWO ASI 120mm was an obvious choice - it even comes with a 150° wide angle lens. However, the key to a reliable all sky camera is the enclosure it operates in. A camera and lens combination like the ZWO will work very well on its own for this purpose right up until the dew forms on the lens or even worse, it starts to rain so a waterproof enclosure with its own heating system is a prerequisite. Before I even started to think about the enclosure itself, I gave a lot of consideration to the heating aspect. The solution was sitting in my bits and pieces drawer - the components that I'd bought in a couple of years ago to make a dew-band for my 28mm camera lens when I wanted to capture a meteor shower! I never did make the dew-band but the Nichrome wire and pulse width modulation (PWM) power supply were perfect for this project. I calculated that I would need up 8 watts of heat for a 'de-frost' but a lower output for general use. With the heater resolved, I looked around for a suitable transparent dome for the enclosure and found a 100mm diameter dome for under £10.00 on Ebay. All I needed then was a suitable box to match the total width of the dome and again, Ebay came to the rescue. Awful skies mean that I have used it very little but I have enjoyed making time lapse videos of the night sky and I ended up buying a fisheye lens for the camera to give me a full 180° view. So here's the camera enclosure in all its glory Click here to view my first light timelapse video
  2. Hello everyone, Last wednesday, I tried my first shot with an Astrotrac, which I borrowed from a friend before making the jump and buy one. And I must say that I'm quite amazed by its tracking capabilities, even without an autoguider. I know that the lens I used has only 85mm of focal length, but I only got a 5 pixels drift during 45 minutes of imaging : that's quite impressive Enough chitchat, here are the images : 5DmkII, Astrotrac, 85mm f/4.0, ISO 800, 14 x 60 seconds exposures, 15 darks, 50 bias, no flats, PixInsight for everything except the colors/saturation. From the Southern Cross to Eta Carina 5DmkII, Astrotrac, 85mm f/2.8, ISO 800, 9 x 60 seconds exposures, 15 darks, 50 bias, no flats, PixInsight for everything except the colors/saturation. Pipe, Trifid and Lagon nebulas, with some Barnard 5DmkII, Astrotrac, 85mm f/2.8, ISO 800, 30 x 60 seconds exposures, 15 darks, 50 bias, no flats, PixInsight for everything except the colors/saturation. Rho Ophiuchi A mosaic of the last two images Click on the pictures for a larger version I hope you liked them ! And if you're on the fence to buy an Astrotrac, just do it, it's an excellent piece of gear. Clear Skies
  3. wimvb

    ngc1499

    From the album: wvb_dso

    NGC1499 17 * 3 and 4 mins frames
  4. I’ve often read 10x50’s are the ideal binocular size providing a good balance of weight, aperture & magnification. I’ve had my 10x50’s for a long time now and they’ve given me some great views. However I’d often craved for a wider fov whilst scanning constellations, just a little bit extra to put the view into more context, so I recently bought some Victory 8x42’s with a 7.8° Fov. I’ve now used them a handful of times & I’m really enjoying them. For such a relatively small difference in fov they provide a surprisingly different experience. I can’t quite see as many DSO’s, but I can still see the likes of M13, M15 & M38 (but not M36, so far anyway), or maybe the other way around. My light pollution made DSO’s quite difficult to see in my 10x50’s anyway, so I’ve come to enjoy the star clusters and patterns across the sky with binoculars. With this in mind I can now see nearly all of Lyra, and more of some of the fainter constellations that are not visible to me naked eye, but with a good magnification and optical quality. It is much easier for example to pick out Delphinus and Equuleus and to hop between star groups whilst maintaining my bearings. M15 is easy to pinpoint as I can just triangulate from Enif & Delta Equ. Something new the other evening was the Circlet just South of Pegasus and whole head of Draco. I also had some stars visible in the same field as the full moon, I don’t remember this with the 10x50’s. Although I haven’t had them long, I think 8x42’s are going to be much better for me than 10x50’s.
  5. wimvb

    ngc1499 051215

    From the album: wvb_dso

    Area between M45 (bottom) and Mirfalk (top) with California Nebula as central point of interest This time without the distracting noise
  6. wimvb

    M31 M33 Hdr

    From the album: wvb_dso

    Wide field around Mirach Shows the relative position and size of M31 and M33. To the far left is Schedar (a-Cass). Just below it is a tiny nebula (NGC 281). 22 2 min subs, flats, darks and bias
  7. Hi all, last night the sky looked very clear, so i thought i'd take the camera out and try to capture the summer Milky way, so i drove a few miles outside of Norwich to a reasonably darkish site, but noticed there was a lot of moisture in the air, the lightdome from Norwich and Wymondham was sizeable but straight up wasn't to bad, so i set the tripod up and grabbed my new Canon 6D..........and no quick release pad it was on my telephoto at home, D'oh But the milkyway looked so amazing and so close to a city i had to persevere, set the focus, set 10 second timer and laid it face up on the roof of the car, far from perfect but the resulting pics made me smile, this is one of the shots....... Its a single exposure at 17mm 20 seconds @ f/4 and an ISO of 6400. The processing brought out some noise but its lightyears ahead of the cropped 60D in terms of quality, if only i'd remembered the quick release pad
  8. pixelsaurus

    Comet Lovejoy

    From the album: Pix pix

    Predawn sky December 25 2011. 30 sec, Tokina 28-80mm @ 28mm, f/3.5,Pentax *ist DS, ISO 3200. Otaki Beach,NZ.

    © Mike Nicholon 2011

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