Friday, November 30, 2012

Reprocessed solar image July 31st 2011

Still sidelined by ‘flu, I reprocessed a solar image from July 31st 2011.

Monthly Summary Video for November 2012

YouTube seems to be shortening my videos, so I've uploaded the latest one to Facebook:

Also available on Photobucket:

NOW FINALLY on Youtube:

Sunspot Drawing

Conditions were rather poor but I still managed to recover the sunspots from the day before.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Solar binocular scan

Finally, some live action as I bin scanned the Sun from inside the house and saw 2 large sunspots.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

On the 12th day of Christmas my true love sent to me:

12 Meade eyepieces
11 Lunar filters
10 Focal reducers
9 Barlow lenses
8 Afocal brackets
7 RA finders
6 Setting circles
5 Tu-ube rings
4 APOs
3 lens caps
2 CCDs
... and a Maksutov on an EQ3

Solar close-up July 30th 2011 reprocessed

Sunday, November 25, 2012

White light solar shot reprocessed

Still flued and rained out, so I did a full disc white light solar show from July 30th 2011.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Reprocessed solar shot

I was still suffering from illness but managed to reprocess a solar hydrogen alpha photo from July 23rd 2011.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Full lunar shoot from November 18th

The afternoon and early evening were ruined by cloud but by 1740 GMT it had cleared, so I took some full disk frames of the Moon and did a few webcam runs with the 2X Barlow lens.

First lunar close-up November 18th

I'm still processing (Still ill) lunar shots so here's another one.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Still working on Nov 18 lunar shots

I had a bad flu day so started on some of the Moon shots from Nov 18th.

Here's the full disc shot as a taster.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Afternoon solar hydrofen alpha shoot Niovember 18th

I was put again at 1315 GMT to try a different technique with the Sun. I tried using the Livebox cam afocally. The biggest problem was keeping the webcam still and against the eyepiece. Naturally, I took some “stills” as well.

The webcam shots showed a lot of overexposure.

I took 2 runs of stills, one showed the prominences and the other showed the surface detail. I processed a composite shot as well.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Solar hydrogen alpha shoot

Without adjusting the focus, unless I needed it for another webcam attempt later, I did some full disc frames of afocal projection. I saw some prominences, plenty of plages and a couple of nice filaments.

Solar white light shoot

Now I wouldn’t conclude the session without a white light shoot, now would I? Although the solar disc was quieter than the day before, there seemed to be a filament in white light. Closer inspection showed it to be a string of small sunspots but it looked interesting, nevertheless.

Solar webcam attempt November 18th

I was awake early, so at 0830 GMT, I was TRYING to webcam the Sun with the PST. It was very trying. I started off indoors to keep the PC out of the daylight but the double glazing played havoc with the image. I tried the wall trick outside but the main problem appeared to be the limited focus travel of the PST. I added a Barlow lens to the imaging train and got sharper focus but could not see any details on the screen. I took some imaging runs, again more in hope than anything else.

Although I was able to capture a sharp edge to the solar disc, I did not obtain any surface detail.

Leonid meteor watch November 18th

I spent the rest of the session from about 0050 onwards checking for Leonids. I spotted one short with a short trail around the “sickle” at 0125 GMT. I did a couple of webcam runs, more in hope than expectancy. Not only did I not capture any meteors, I didn’t capture any background stars either.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Castor and a fake nebula November 18th

I then tried Castor but found it very tricky, with both components over-exposed on most runs. I also took an out of focus shot that looked like a planetary nebula. However, some complex processing using Paintshop Pro and GIMP eventually produced a clean image.

More from Jupiter November 18th

I had another go at stacking the close-up disc shots with Registax 6 and got some nice results.

Jupiter with moons November 18th

The early morning was cloudy, so I combined the 2 shots of Jupiter with its moons from the day before. The processing was rather complex, using CorelDraw 12, Paintshop Pro and GIMP to achieve the final image.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Second Jupiter with moons shot

I retried the second shot of Jupiter with its moons using Registax 6 and it worked.

Loads of snaps November 18th

I've taken a lot of photos today (November 18th) and won't have time to process them all. I will gradually do them over the next few days, especially if it is cloudy.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Jupiter shoot

With Southampton getting their first away win of the season, I couldn’t miss MoTD, so I was out at midnight webcamming Jupiter. I started with the webcam alone and took several imaging runs in an attempt to capture the moons. However, the runs that showed the 4th moon (Callisto I think) didn’t work.

I also tried a few runs with a 2x Barlow lens and also with the Barlow lens and 1.6x image amplifier. They looked good on the laptop but the only credible one was one with the 2x Barlow lens only. 

White light solar shoot

There was a break in the cloud for a while mid-morning but, by the time I got the telescope out, it had clouded over again. However, the Sun was visible at times through thin cloud. I took a total of 18 full disc frames between 1010 and 1020 GMT. An attempt to stack the best 8 in Microsoft ICE failed. I retried with Registax 5 and it worked. I then did further processing with Paintshop Pro and GIMP.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Albireo July 23rd 2011 reprocessed

I was waiting for it to clear to see Jupiter and webcam it, not to mention the Leonids but was clouded out. Instead, I revisited one of my early attempts at webcamming with Albireo (the famous double star in Cygnus) from July 23rd 2011.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Pleiades and Hyades information pages



Hydaes and Pleiades November 14th

I’d had an idea for several months and that was to take widefield images of some of the brighter star clusters and stack them using Microsoft ICE and Registax. This needed the digiscoping bracket, which I’d abandoned but had the “brainwave” of adjusting it during daylight before the imaging session. For some reason (mist in the finderscope, I guess), I couldn’t find the Pleaides (M45), so I concentrated on part of the Hyades cluster instead, bearing in mind that I couldn’t get the whole cluster into the field of view (4 degrees).

Well later, I DID find the Pleiades (M45) and the brighter members shone brightly on the LCD display of my camera. I took several frames until it reached 2300 GMT and it was time to do another zenith shot.

Jupiter Phase 3 images combined

For Jupiter Phase 3 I combined the Jupiter disc shot with the moons shot.

Jupiter Phase 2 November 14th

Encouraged by my success at webcamming Jupiter with the Mak two nights before, I did some imaging runs with a 2x and 3x Barlow lens. I was expecting the runs with a 3x Barlow lens to be more than tricky, especially as I have neither GOTO technology nor a tracking drive. Not all runs appeared to work but I had enough to feel confident.

Although some detail was visible in the runs with the 3x Barlow lens it was the ones with the 2x Barlow that gave the best results.


Jupiter Phase One November 14th

I had thought up the idea before about using my Skywatcher Startravel 80 to capture Jupiter’s moons. I can rarely get them in the same field of view with my Maksutov and I’d managed to digitally combine a disc detail shot and moons shot to produce a composite. I started at 2155 GMT but broke off in the middle to do the 2200 zenith shot. The first shots suggested that one of the moons was in front of or behind the planet but later imaging runs showed all 4 moons.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Hourly Zenith shoot

Fortunately, it stayed clear until the evening, although it was quite hazy near the horizon. Nevertheless, I had thought about doing hourly zenith shots, following my successful “overhead” shot of the weekend. I started at 1800 GMT and continued hourly. It was rather cloudy at midnight but I was amazed to see the outlines of Perseus and Cassiopeia.