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GavStar

Winter is coming - Altair 72mm first light

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I’ve just received a new Altair scope so was keen to give it a try. Unfortunately the forecast was not good for yesterday evening but indicated that skies would magically clear at around 2am...

As I didn’t have work today, I decided to set my alarm for 1.30am and look at some early morning targets - which of course meant that some autumn/winter objects would be in the skies in the east.

So the alarm went off at 1.30am. I was in a deep sleep so had significant second thoughts about the merits of an observing session. These deepened when I looked outside and saw a blanket of cloud everywhere. I checked the forecast again and it still said clear skies at 2 so I waited for a few minutes and then noticed a small line of beautiful clear sky arriving from the north.

I jumped (sort of) into action and went to set up and by 2am, around half the sky was clear. The 72mm mounted on the az gti very well, and two star alignment done quickly. My 55mm plossl with night vision monoculars and Ha filter turned out to be the only eyepiece used through the night.

As it was getting close to going behind the house I went straight for a favourite, the North America nebula. The 5 degree fov of the 55mm plossl framed this really well and it was nice and fluffy! 

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I tried the Veil but unfortunately it was already hidden.

So onto the early morning objects. I decided to move down the Milky Way gradually starting from zenith down to the east, where I hoped Orion would be visible at around 4am.

First stop was IC 1396 which contains the elephant trunk nebula. I’ve found this a tricky target with NV, the nebula looking quite indistinct previously despite its large size. However tonight I managed to get some decent views including the trunk.

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Then carrying on down to a really nice pair of objects - the heart and soul nebulae. The 5 degree fov just about fitted both objects in, which was a real treat and there was some very nice detail in both. The heart really does look like a heart. I’ve heard the soul described as a foetus and it does have that type of look. Spent a good while looking at these, since this was one of the nicest I’ve seen them.

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Then getting further on down to the east to an object that’s been a disappointment for me before, the flaming star nebula. I’ve never really got a satisfying view of this - until tonight. Also the neighbouring IC410 was very clear this time. I don’t think it’s still revealing it’s delights completely to me so one to come back to in the months to come...

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By now it was getting late and darkness would start disappearing soon at 4am, so a quick visit to the California nebula. I had a lot of fun with this DSO earlier in the year and it came good again - I think it likes NV. Really clear, defined and bright.

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So pack up time and I reflected that it was worth getting up after all.

Finally I noticed, that Orion (or at least the top half) was now visible in the east. I took the monoculars off the scope and viewed at 1x. At last, my first ever glimpse of Barnards loop. I could only make out the upper half of the loop (which I understand is the brighter bit) but there it was wrapping itself around the 3 belt stars!! ?

Also visible was the angelfish nebula which unfortunately didn’t look like an angelfish more just a smudgy circle. But I guess the low height of Orion didn’t help things. Still nice to pick up a couple of new objects.

And then off to bed for another few hours sleep...the new scope did well.

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Really nice report, with really nice images there. I'm just loving the Altair Scopes TBH.

Enjoy!.. Best Rob

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Either you had very good transparency (and) of your kit is smokin good! I’ve only found the loop and angelfish from better skies than at home.

Are those shots approximate to the eye view or a bit better?

PEter

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Fantastic images Gavin, some of your best ever I think.

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Well done Gav, I had a similar forecast but gave up waiting around 1.00am and retired :BangHead:

Dave

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Interesting report Gavin. Winter draws on.... I got up for a bathroom visit at around 3am and was surprised to see the Pleiades and Hyades out of the window.

Like Peter, I would like to know how your photos compare with the eyepiece view. What do you use to take them? They don't have the blue cast of previous photos.

Kerry 

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7 hours ago, PeterW said:

Either you had very good transparency (and) of your kit is smokin good! I’ve only found the loop and angelfish from better skies than at home.

Are those shots approximate to the eye view or a bit better?

PEter

Peter, I was at a darker site than my back garden in London - this clearly made a difference.

 

4 hours ago, kerrylewis said:

Interesting report Gavin. Winter draws on.... I got up for a bathroom visit at around 3am and was surprised to see the Pleiades and Hyades out of the window.

Like Peter, I would like to know how your photos compare with the eyepiece view. What do you use to take them? They don't have the blue cast of previous photos.

Kerry 

Kerry, at the end of the session, I switched filters to the 685 long pass to observe stars and galaxies rather than nebulae. It was great to see Andromeda galaxy clearly at 1x. There were so many stars visible. Pleiades also looked incredible at 1x - I had a quick bit of fun counting the stars - Night Vision really makes individual stars stand out for some reason.

Regarding views through the eyepiece compared to the phone photos, the photos do give a good representation of the eyepiece views but on some objects the images show better detail and contrast. For example North America and heart and soul looked very close in the eyepiece to the above but the elephant trunk is sharper in the image than the eyepiece. The phone camera tends to deal with small constrast changes better than my eyes...Also in the eyepiece there is some scintillation which you don’t see in the images...

Edited by GavStar
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I think the different phone camera is definitely making a difference too Gavin, they look great in mono and it seems more sensitive, lower noise?

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6 minutes ago, Stu said:

I think the different phone camera is definitely making a difference too Gavin, they look great in mono and it seems more sensitive, lower noise?

Ah yes, I forgot to answer Kerry’s question on this. Yes I’ve just got a new phone, the Huawei P20 Pro which I think has the best phone camera on the market (having compared it to the Samsung S9 and the iPhone 7). 

The Samsung S9 gave a blue cast to the images (which is not there in the eyepiece views) but now with the mono views by using the specialist mono lens of the Huawei (it actually has three lens on the back of the phone!!), I get a better representation of the eyepiece views. Which do you prefer? Blue or Black and White?

Edited by GavStar
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Thanks for the further information Gavin. I find the whole NV thing fascinating 

? I am  saving, I am saving. I am saving for NV.... apologies to Rod Stewart ?

 

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Those are shockingly good pictures!  NV certainly is the way to go.  I’m officially jealous now;  some of those objects are ones I’ve only dreamed of nabbing like that. 

I love an Altair scope, by the way!!!  Let’s give the new kit it’s due :) 

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Super report- and great that your early morning efforts were rewarded. I'm officially jealous of the NV...!

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Hi Gavstar.  Nice photos!  Just curious, is this replacing your TS Optics 72mm/ F6/ 432 APO and would you say it's worth the premium? ?

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1 hour ago, SpaceBass said:

Hi Gavstar.  Nice photos!  Just curious, is this replacing your TS Optics 72mm/ F6/ 432 APO and would you say it's worth the premium? ?

Yes it is replacing my TS 72mm. I wanted to get the risers on the dovetail bar and it matched my Altair 60mm. The cnc focuser and optics report are nice as well. But for most people, I’m not sure it worth the extra £200. I think the TS is great value.

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On 24/08/2018 at 20:59, GavStar said:

Ah yes, I forgot to answer Kerry’s question on this. Yes I’ve just got a new phone, the Huawei P20 Pro which I think has the best phone camera on the market (having compared it to the Samsung S9 and the iPhone 7). 

The Samsung S9 gave a blue cast to the images (which is not there in the eyepiece views) but now with the mono views by using the specialist mono lens of the Huawei (it actually has three lens on the back of the phone!!), I get a better representation of the eyepiece views. Which do you prefer? Blue or Black and White?

Can I ask what settings or mode you are using on the P20 Pro? I've recently got one too, and am awaiting the arrival of my Celestron NexYZ phone adaptor, so I can hook it up to my Altair 72ED-R.

I'm looking at getting a cheap Alt-Az once again, as since starting this thread, I have moved to the dark side and got an EQ mount, but I do miss the simple "drop and go" nights of Alt-Az. My ideal "instant astro imaging" setup will be Alt-Az mount, 72ED-R and P20 Pro, if the images start to come through ok.

I've not used the P20 Pro in PRO mode or shot in RAW yet, but it opens up a whole new area of experimentation going forward.

John

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2 hours ago, JGM1971 said:

Can I ask what settings or mode you are using on the P20 Pro? I've recently got one too, and am awaiting the arrival of my Celestron NexYZ phone adaptor, so I can hook it up to my Altair 72ED-R.

I'm looking at getting a cheap Alt-Az once again, as since starting this thread, I have moved to the dark side and got an EQ mount, but I do miss the simple "drop and go" nights of Alt-Az. My ideal "instant astro imaging" setup will be Alt-Az mount, 72ED-R and P20 Pro, if the images start to come through ok.

I've not used the P20 Pro in PRO mode or shot in RAW yet, but it opens up a whole new area of experimentation going forward.

John

Hi John

i use mono mode then pro mode, low iso (50-150) and high exposure time (20 to 30 seconds)

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I got the NexYZ adaptor yesterday, but only had 10mins of experimenting with it due to clouds last night. I'm heading down the Mono + Pro mode route too, as I'm getting lens flare like artifacts using the RGB lens. I think it's due to the location of the laser focus beam between the top 2 lenses on the P20 pro. (got a passing 737 though!) ?

Altair 72ED-R with 32mm eyepiece...

IMG_20181027_002729.jpg

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