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Was about to turn in tonight when I noticed it had finally cleared so I headed out into the garden planless for a quick look around with my recent eBay Hilkin 60mm f13.3.
Seeing was actually pretty steady & transparency up high improving all the time.
I’m still waiting on the Vixen converter which will allow 1.25 eyepieces so took out the array of .965s which are in varying stages of disrepair.
There is something satisfying about the way they slot into the split-cut diagonal with no thumbscrews - shame most of the higher powers seemed borderline unusable.
The 25mm though gives a nice crisp view and I congratulated myself on my bargain looking at some lovely tight concentric rings either side of focus on Vega before hopping up to Epsilon Lyrae.
Stepping down the focal lengths I was just about splitting the more southerly pair with a 12.5 mm (64x) and not a bad view. The 9mm (89x) on axis confirmed this lower pair & showed some elongation in the fainter, more northerly pair. Kind of dim view though.
The 6mm & 5mm were hopeless.
Popped the 25mm back in and took a pot shot at M57 which to my delight showed as a tiny but crisp circle. Tried to step up the magnification but it was not happening.
Enjoyed a nice contrasty view of Alberio for a while - really do like the tight pinpoint stars, good colour and inky background in this scope.
It’s a lovely still, warm night but the town clock striking two reminded me I have work in the morning so I took one last sweep around the rich centre of Cygnus.
I landed on a pretty little cluster a bit like a micro-Pleiades & realised I was looking at M29 - a thrill to have tracked down a new-to-me Messier object with this lovely old instrument.
I’ve hatched a plan to see how many of the lunar 100 I can observe with the Hilkin - seems a fitting task for it!
As I packed up a huge Skytrain of 20+ satellites went N-S behind Deneb - biggest one I’ve seen and amazing in its way.
Lovely all-analogue couple of hours well spent.
Below are consecutive raw pictures if the ring nebula I took with my canon 600da and RCT 8" with neq6 pro guided with sharpcaps polar alignment procedure on the 15th of this month at 1am. I have 20 of these all 1600 iso auto wb 2 minute exposures. The problem will become apparent when you closely examine them, tracking is almost completely broken. I only stacked about 8 of them as most of the frames are unusable, some are star trails, some are commas and some are double exposures. This has become standard and getting worse since I tampered with my mounts gears and backlash adjustment. I have never been able to get consecutive 3min exposures on this mount, and I got it new 6 years ago, and only used it less than 30 times. I have spent roughly 20 hours trying to get rid of the backlash, coffee grinding noise and knocking when I press the directional keys to no avail, when the keys are pressed I notice the image wobbles violently. The go-to is also not working to 100% efficiently, I have to do guess work if I want my image centred.
Messier 57 is is just coming into a position for a decent look around 11 30 pm. IT is a colourful object and I thought it would give me a good target with which to practice my colour developing in PS/Lightroom. I have read so much about how to produce a LRGB image from the four stacked/calibrated luminance, red, blue and green images, a lot seems contradicatory and some, when followed, gave me colour yes, but not as we know it. I am sure a fair chunk must be put down to me. Anyway, I now have a work flow which gives me colour, sometimes resembling what other people have obtained. Progess of sorts.
This images is based on 114s subs at gain 139, offset 21.
L 39, R 20, G 20, B 19
Calibrated and stacked in DSS (flats, dark flats and darks)
Messier 57 Ring Nebula in Lyra
NASA: M57, or the Ring Nebula, is a planetary nebula, the glowing remains of a sun-like star. The tiny white dot in the centre of the nebula is the star’s hot core, called a white dwarf. M57 is about 2,000 light-years away in the constellation Lyra, and is best observed during August. Discovered by the French astronomer Antoine Darquier de Pellepoix in 1779, the Ring Nebula has an apparent magnitude of 8.8 and can be spotted with moderately sized telescopes.
Equipment: Celestron 9.25 XLT at F10, Skywatcher EQ6 Pro GEM, ZWO 1600MM Pro, ZWO EFW with ZWO LRGB filters, QHY5IIC guide camera on Skywatcher 9 x 50 finderscope, Celestron Focus Motor
Software: Ascom 6, Eqmod, Cartes du Ciel, AstroPhotography Tool, PHD2