Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Saturn’s Long-lived Storm - Cassini

It's not a Great Red Spot, but this view shows the longest-lived electrical storm yet observed on Saturn by Cassini.

Also spotted by Cloudy Night forum imagers.


M42 redux from Feb 2008

I have re-processed my M42 from earlier this year and used Mischa Schirmer's excellent Gradient removal method for CS2.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Ah ha... a clear night at last. M51

It's been ages since I've been out, so I thought I'd have another go at M51, this time at prime focus.
Bit grainy, I think I needed more subs, but I'm fairly pleased.
The scope was guided again by my Heath Robinson 200mm telephoto lens and DMK camera through a 2.5x Powermate. Seemed to work, although it took ages to setup.
I learned a little trick in Deepskystacker, that is to lower the 'Star detection threshold' to 2%, otherwise at the normal 10% it was only stacking 1 frame! which is not much use. Still learning.

Below is a single sub frame. (RAW converted to JPEG).

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Blue sky Moon

I shot this, this afternoon, a first quarter Moon in a pure blue sky. I used my Canon EOS 400D for the colour and a DMK mosaic for the luminance.
Larger version here.

The full size B&W luminance is below.

The bottom image is a single shot taken through a f/6.3 focal reducer. And was used as a reference to get the correct colour balance.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

M51 - 8th April Jpeg subs

I took 14 jpg subs of M51 before I realised that I should have been shooting RAW format. Here they are after being run through Registax... waste not, want not!
M51 is really tricky to find, it's so faint.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

M51 - 8th April 2008

The seeing wasn't that good, but it was good practise. 22 x 1 minute guided subs.
DeepSkyStacker image.

Dual processing in DeepSkyStacker, it's really fast :-0

OT: New PC

My old PC was getting a bit slow, so I decided to upgrade the other day.
I bought a 'Bundle' from a company called Novatech.

Intel Core 2 Duo E8200, 2048MB 667Mhz DDR2 RAM, Heatsink And Fan, MSI Intel P35 Motherboard.
I also bought a Sapphire Radeon HD 3450 graphics card with 512MB of RAM, not very good for gaming, but it does play HD Video, has dual monitor output, passive cooling (no noisey fan) and is cheap.

I can use some of the bits from my old PC, my SATA II 400Gb & 80Gb HDD, DVD writer and dual monitors etc.

I put it all together at the weekend and after a bit of messing about, managed to get it working OK (well, it is my job ;-) ). I had to slipstream a SP2 version of XP though, don't ask.

It's nice and fast, I can now run things through Registax more than twice as fast. :-) and it's great for handling chunky Canon RAW files. The graphics card also plays HD 1080i as well, so I've been watching some of this:- NASA HD Video.

Here's the benchmark for my old CPU. ... and my new CPU.
My old PC is not actually on the new CPU graph.

Sapphire Radeon HD 3450 graphics card.

Monday, April 07, 2008

New Moon 7th April 2008

Canon 400D, 10 images re-sized and passed through Registax.

Larger version below.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

M51 test image.

Here's a test image of M51 using my new home made auto-guiding technique. It was produced from 8 x 1 minute exposures. No flats, darks or biases. Not very good seeing, not very dark either. Looks promising though, all I need are some nice clear dark nights and about 100 more exposures ;-)

Here's the real thing from Hubble.