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M65, M66 and NGC 3628 - The Leo Triplet. Photographed on May 14. Skywatcher 150P with a Nikon D3200 at prime focus. EQ3-2 mount with RA motor drive (no guiding).
19 subs at ISO 800 - 30s each. Aligned and stacked in Deep Sky Stacker to give resulting 4min 30s exposure. Processed in Startools to crop, bin, stretch and colour balance.
This was my second time around to process this image - starting to get the hang of Startools now.
By Galen Gilmore
Anybody know of a piece of software that could detect the change the occurred in an image? I'm doing a project to see if I can find an asteroid or comet without any prior knowledge of where said asteroid/comet is.
I'm not really sure where to look for something like this, so any help would be appreciated.
Also, I would like something that could run on Mac. But I'll run it on bootcamp if there is no other options.
I've had a lovely session with my Takahashi 100mm refractor tonight. Particularly enjoyable because of the awful weather we seem to have had for the past month - a clear and reasonably dark sky for a decent period seems a real novelty !
I've observed a wide range of targets from Venus at dusk out to galaxies "far, far away". The distant gas giant Uranus, binary stars, star clusters, star formation nebulae, planetary nebulae and super nova remnants have also been visited and admired over the past few hours.
I don't generally observe asteroids that often but tonight one of the largest in the asteroid belt, 4 Vesta, was conveniently positioned in Cetus near the 4th magnitude star Mu Cetus. At magnitude 7.7 4 Vesta was not easy to pick out in the 6x30 optical finder that I was using but the star hop from Mu Cetus was pretty simple so I had no difficulty identifying the star-like point of light amongst a distinct field of background stars. This is the Stellarium view of 4 Vestas position tonight:
And a point of light is all that 4 Vesta appears as in the scope, even at high magnifications. While it is a giant among asteroids, 4 Vesta is a mere 550km or so in diameter and currently a bit over 300,000,000 km from Earth. Stellarium estimates its apparent diameter at .3 of an arc second. I don't know how accurate that is but my 100mm refractor was not going to show its disk, thats for sure !
Despite the modesty of its visual appearance, I was very happy to be observing this little worldlet during its 3.6 year journey around the Sun.
A few years ago NASAs DAWN spacecraft visited 4 Vesa and produced some outstanding imagery such as this example showing the whole asteroid in all its scarred glory. 4 Vesta has clearly been though a lot in it's 4.6 billion year existance:
Now one of my other astro-related interests is meteorites. I currently have a small collection of specimens of the main types built up over the past 12 months or so. Three of my samples are small representatives of a group of meteorites known as HEDs - an abbreviation for Howardite, Eucrite and Diogenite. These are types of achondrite meteorites so were formed through melting and recrystalisation of igneous rocks.
The exciting thing about the HED group of metorites is that we are now fairly certain that they originated from the asteroid 4 Vesta !.
So I thought it would be fun to include some photos of my little specimens of 4 Vesta in this report. Perhaps one day a sample return mission will bring back some material from 4 Vesta so that it can be compared with the meteoric samples that we have ?
Here are some pictures of my specimens of these 3 types. The green cube is 1 cm square for scale - these are small pieces of rock !
Of these 3, only the Tatahouine Meteorite (the greenish one) was actually seen to fall. The other 2 were finds in the north african desert regions. Small fragments of that distant body that I was observing earlier though my telescope. Rather awesome
Last night (Sunday to Monday), a rare event happens. A dim star (mag 10) was occultated by the trans-neptunian asteroid - Huya. The strip where this event was visible passed near by my observatory. So 2:53 local time I was outside to take pictures of this event. It was a very nice night, with clear sky and good temerature for this time of the year. My data obtained by me is already to the profesional astronomers in La Palma, where they will obtain new information about this remote celestial body. I was not alone in this enterprise - another 10 astronomers around the country being involved in the project. I used my data to make a short film of the event with the most important part - occultation itself.
The strip where this event was visible:
I wasn't going to share this, but what the heck. The winter of discontent continues, so i guess even this little data has to constitute an image these days.
After what seemed like an age of night after night of clouds, we had a rare few hrs of clear skies one night last week. So i managed to grab a whopping 9 x 7 mins of the Horsehead Nebula before it disappeared behind the neighbor's house. I then needed something else to aim for, so i brought up the Leo Triplet Sequence in SGP and managed to nab about 2.75 hrs in total, before the clouds returned. It really, really needs double, if not triple this amount, so i wasn't really intending on processing this tbh. I was really just messing about in APP and PS testing several things out, so there was no proper workflow being adhered to. I took an Auto DDP stretch out of APP and quickly processed it in PS, without much care. I noticed it was lacking in colour, so i thought this would actually be a good candidate to try out some ArcSinh Colour-Preserving stretches, so i took another linear stack and used Mark Shelley's excellent PS method for doing the colour-preserving stretches. Lo and behold, i ended up with a stack that was very rich in colour, so much so in fact that the sky background had also mottled up pretty bad. So i used a mask to only apply the rich colours to the stars and galaxies of the original image, and it made a HUGE difference. It was only at this stage that i suddenly thought i might as well actually go ahead and make an image out of it.
I really want to stretch it more, but it just can't take it. There's just not enough data, end of story. In fact i may have already stretched it too far as it is. The background is a tad lower than i would have liked as well, but it was needed to help suppress the noise. I've ran quite a bit of NR too, more than i'm usually comfortable with, and it's still noisy. I know what the answer to that is of course, more data! ? (not likely). I do quite like the colours though ?
24 x 420s (2.75 hrs)
80ED (x0.85), D5300, HEQ5-Pro, IDAS-D1.
Resized to 66% to help hide some of the warts!