May 30, 2007

M13 on a DSLR

Last night, after an appalling 10 days or so of rain and cloud, the skies cleared (and all the rain had taken the haze/dust out of the atmosphere). It was time to test the Canon 350D for the first time. Well, OK, not really the first time, but shooting images across the room to get used to DSLRFocus doesnt count 🙂

I`m mightly impressed with this image.

– Taken on an AltAz platform (20 second subs max… 25 second shows star trails)
– Celestron 8 GPS, Canon 350D (unmodded), unguided
– 20 x 20sec subs, f/10, ISO1600, dark frame removal in camera
– Stacked with Deep Sky Stacker
– Tweaked in Photoshop CS (curves, gamma, Noel’s Actions)

A few things I learned from last night:

  • I need a wedge ASAP to allow me longer subs
  • ISO1600 is a bit grainy, but I needed it because of the 20 second sub limit (before star trails)
  • Keep my flight cases closed, or else the cats get interested and cover everything in fur
  • Now compare it with the image below, taken with the same OTA, but using a Meade DSI-C.

    No contest!

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    May 22, 2007

    Saturn/Moon Occultation

    The clouds rolled in just before 8pm BST, so I didnt bother getting the scope out for this event, but geppetto @ SGL managed to image it before and afterwards. The clouds cleared for me just a few minutes before Saturn reappeared, so I viewed that through my binos.

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    May 21, 2007

    Jupiter – 19th May 2007

    Early last Saturday morning, Jupiter appeared past next door’s wall, so I fired up K3CCD tools for the first time ever, and started shooting a few AVIs with my Meade LPI. With Jupiter being so low in the sky here in the UK, the results looked less than stunning in the raw sequence

    Today, I just thought I would load the AVIs into Registax and see what I could squeeze out of it. The results amazed me (yet again)

    Using AVIs for image sequences seems so much easier than vast numbers of TIF or FITs files.

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    May 20, 2007

    M13 – processed

    After posting my animated M13 image (and the raw image sequence files) on the SGL forums, it has been processed by MartinB and Captain Chaos (aka Kaptain Klevtsov). I`m just blown away at what they managed to extract 🙂

    MartinB’s version

    And CC/KK’s version

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    May 19, 2007

    Moon and Venus

    Just snapped these images of the Moon and Venus this evening, using my Canon 350D on a desktop tripod.

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    May 19, 2007

    My first imaged DSO

    After three and a bit weeks of the moss frustrating weather (OK during most days, clouds over night), the skies cleared yesterday and stayed clear. So I park the OTA outside the back to cool for an hour or so, then set up, aligned,and away I went.

    Now, I now that taking long exposure image sequences require a EQ mount, and that using an AltAz mount (like onmy NS8GPS) will cause image rotation. I was under no illusion about that, it will cause problems for imaging (but fine for visual work). But the chance was too good to miss, so I pointed my scope at M13, an easily found globular cluster in Hercules, and started taking images with my Meade DSI Color.

    Despite this being my first imaged DSO, and the images will look terrible to the experts out there, I was pleased that I actually managed to get the shots. Stacking the sequece just causes image rotation blurs (as expected), but what did suprise me was just how much the sky does rotate when imaging on an AltAz platform. Want to see? Just take look at the animation below.

    30 x 20sec images, Meade DSI-C, unguided, and because its AltAz, no PEC training has ever been done on this scope. Oh, and it was VERY windy too 🙂

    Thats effectively 20 seconds between each frame, and 10 minutes total.

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    May 17, 2007

    Kelling Heath Star Party, September 2007 (Cont.)

    The nice people at Kelling Heath have confirmed that I am now moved into the block of pitches reserved for SGL members (Steve @ FLO – thanks for the tip off). Should be a merry band in that area 🙂

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    May 15, 2007

    Kelling Heath Star Party, September 2007

    Just booked up for 4 nights at the Kelling Heath star party in September 2007, and found out that there are not that many spaces left in either the red or yellow fields. If you are planning on going,

      BOOK NOW!!

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    May 15, 2007

    Bresser Bins and M44

    The clouds hung around all evening until just about the time where I was thinking about sleeping, then cleared to leave a thin whispy high-level layer, enough to see the stars at least. As I had an early start today, I decided to use my recently aquired Bresser 10×50 binos. I am still amazed how how solidly these things are built for 10 quid, and the view of M44 last night through them was incredible.

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    May 14, 2007

    Recent Weather + SGL Star Party

    The weather recently (i.e the last month) has been awful overnight. Its either been clear during the day and cr_p overnight or cr_ap during the day and overnight. I just havent had a decent night for what seems like forever. The only reasonable night recently was when I was so tired that I was asleep by 8.30pm.

    I have all these new toys to play with, and had no chance to use them due to the weather. I now have :

  • Dew Shield (Hell, after Kelling Heath, it was at the top of my list)
  • Canon 350D + T-adapter + T-ring
  • Piggyback camera mount
  • Meade illuminated reticule (the first one didnt work, but got it swapped instanty when I took it back)
  • HD Wedge + adjuster kit
  • I now also have a decent (new) lapop to use, all configued and installed with the software I require for work and for my Astro stuff, so I am desperate to get some clear skies soon.

    Went to the Star Gazers Lounge star party over the weekend, located in deepest darkest Wales. And true to form, it absolutely chucked it down with horizontal rain for (almost) the whole weekend. Got to meet some of the members of the forums, eat some fantastic cooked breakfast, but had to leave early due to problems back at work. The weather did clear a couple of hours on Saturday night aparantly, but I was already back home by that point. I did manage to collect a pair of Bresser 10×50 binos from SGL member Outlash (from Lidl stores, only £10!)… hey, for 10 quid, they are amazing 🙂

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