Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Venus 30th dec 2008

C9.25, 3x TV barlow.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Venus 28th Dec 2008

Here is Venus tonight, taken with C9.25, 2.5x TV Powermate, DMK21AF04AS, Red & UV/IR filter.
Processed in Registax & CS3.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Amazing image from Chandra.

This image gives the first clear view of the faint boundary of the Crab Nebula's X-ray-emitting pulsar wind nebula.

Credit Chandra

Ah ha! managed to fix it: AS-GT no power problem.

I had a quick look on the Cloudy Nights forum and someone else had exactly the same problem on their AS-GT mount as me, a faulty switch. So I used the same fix.
I soldered a small piece of wire across the switch to bypass it.
I'll see if I can replace the broken switch later, but at least for now I'm back in business.
Funny thing is when I buzzed out the switch with my volt meter/continuity tester, it checked out OK. It was only when current passed through the switch that it failed.
Must be quite a high current.

Friday, December 26, 2008


After playing with my new focus-mask, I thought that I'd re-align my scope. It's been out of line on GOTO's for some time now and I've been a bit lazy. One way round it is to use quick align and then centre the object by slipping the clutches. Seems to work really well but it's nicer to have it aligned from the off.

BUT!, I've just switched off the scope and tried to switch it back on and it's not working.
Oh gawd!, here we go again. I've checked the voltage from the plug and it seems ok, checked the connection to the scope and that seems OK as well. Sometimes the centre pin can cause a problem and needs expanding with a small scew driver to fix it. But I had that problem the other month and I fixed it then.
Looks like the on/off switch is bust, I'll have to take it apart tomorrow and do some more testing.
Shame actually, it's gonna be really clear tonight, first time for ages.

I'll keep you posted (hope it doesn't have to go back to be fixed) .

Bahtinov mask.

I made a focus-mask for my C9.25 the other day. It's called a Bahtinov mask and it's the new concept for focusing scopes.
Here's a site that has downloadable templates for a variety of scopes. Here's one for a C9.25
I made mine by printing out the template, A3 size, and then was lucky enough to find a sheet of thin black plastic. I taped the template to the plastic, cut out the slots and voila! here's the finished article:-

I also found some metal lugs that I pushed through the sheet as marked on the template, this enables the mask to sit on top of the scope.

Below are the results from tonights test run with my DMK; when the image is symmetrical the star is in focus.

Really easy to make and very effective :-)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

M31 - re-processed again

I've been looking at other peoples M31's and have re-processed mine again... I'm trying to get a more natural look.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Tycho from August 2007 - best Tycho to date re-processed in AviStack & Registax

Post-processed and mosaiced in CS3.
I don't think I can wring anything else out of this image ;-)
Previous processed image.

Imagingsource postcards.

To my great delight the makers of my DMK camera have selected one of my Moon mosaics for inclusion into a set of postcards that they've produced. They've very kindly sent me some samples, along with images captured by other fellow DMK camera users.
Really neat :-)

This image was also printed in the September issue of Astronomy Now magazine.

New images from Apollo Image Archive

Here's some new images from the Apollo Image Archive that I've picked out. Some of my favourite areas.
These are all from the mapping cameras of either Apollo 16 or 15.
They have been cropped and "Shadows/Highlights" (brilliant tool) adjusted in CS3.

Messier craters.

Interesting section of Schröter's Valley.

Hadley Rille; Apollo 15 landing site.

Taurus Littrow; Apollo 17 landing site.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Jupiter and Ganymede from Hubble

This is sooo nice.

Credit: NASA, ESA, and E. Karkoschka (University of Arizona)

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Aristarchus 9th Dec.

Not so cold tonight, just as well since I have one.
4 image mosaic.
I love all the rilles around the top this crater, and the dome in the lower left.

Below is a tonal adjusted & over sharpened (to bring out the rilles) version.

Below is the same sort of view from apollo 15 orbit.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Fra Mauro from 7th Dec.

Fra Mauro from last night.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Copernicus mosaic 7th Dec 2008

The finished article, a 5 image mosaic.
Captured with C9.25, 2.5x TV Powermate, red filter. Processed in AviStack, Registax and mosaiced in CS3.

Copernicus... work in progress

Here's part of a larger mosaic that I'm constructing.
The seeing was really bad earlier tonight, third time lucky and I managed to capture this. Although I'm not sure if the other frames of the mosaic are up to it :-(
As I parted the roof on my shed I was showered in ice. :-o

M42 with some more data.

M81 & M82, frosty roof

It was a bit cold last night.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Plato & Alpine valley

The seeing was all over the place tonight, but it's amazing what these stacking programs can do. This is AviStack again.
3 x TV barlow, DMK etc. Sharpened in Registax. Mosaiced, levelled, re-sharpened and noise reduced in CS3.

Saturn earlier this morning.


Red Filter

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Andromeda Galaxy, circa 1959

Just found this 1959 image of M31 that I talked about earlier in my blog on the Palomar Skies blog.
Photographed through one of my other favourite telescopes, the 48-inch Schmidt telescope at Palomar (now known as the Samuel Oschin Telescope).
Here's an up to date (interactive) image taken with the same scope.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

M45 from CN

Here is my M45 processed by Eric Jacob from the Cloudy Nights forum.
Thanks Eric, and everyone else who had a go.

Eric's workflow:-
Here's what I done did to it in Photoshop CS:
1. Set the black point using Levels.
2. A slight Curve on the red channel to kill a little of the skyglow.
3. Noel Carboni tool: Color Blotch Reduction. It didn't do much, not much blotchiness there to start with.
4. Horizontal and Vertical Banding Noise Reduction (also a Carboni tool, also didn't do much).
5. Peter's Astro tool: Darken Background.
6. A slight Curve to regain some brightness.
7. Peter's Astro tool: Star Trail Elimination.
8. Carboni tool: Space Noise Reduction.
9. Resized to 700 pixels and Saved For Web at 72 percent quality.

Copernicus from last year.

Another AviStack example; 928 frames, 541 reference points.
Part of a larger mosaic.