Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Credit: Pub in Wantage.

Mars rover Spirit: Sol 2001

It's still cloudy outside... so lets process some MER images from old.
This is my artistic version of a collection of images taken by the Spirit rover on Sol 2001. Using CS5 for stitching and the Sun flare.

From an idea by Marscat.

Love these rocks:-

Credit JPL.

For info: All-Star polar alignment (All-Star) on CGE mount.

A lot of people ask this question... so here's the answer, blagged from Celestron.
(I can now point them here)

All-Star polar alignment (All-Star) allows users to choose any bright star for polar alignment, freeing you from always having to use Polaris for this purpose.

In a nutshell, here's how it works.

Once your telescope is aligned using two bright stars, All-Star allows you to choose any bright star listed in the NexStar hand control to accurately align your scope's mount with the North Celestial Pole (NCP). You command the scope to GOTO the star. Choosing ALIGN MOUNT, the scope then re-slews to it. You tweak the position in your finderscope, press ENTER, then center the star in the eyepiece and press ALIGN. Once centered, the mount will actually “sync” to this star, pointing the telescope to the exact position of the star if the mount were precisely polar aligned. By simply adjusting your mount’s altitude and azimuth controls to re-center the star in your eyepiece, you are actually moving the mount’s polar axis to the exact position of the NCP.

Here are the steps for the actual All-Star procedure. (Before doing this, be sure you’ve roughly pointed your scope’s polar axis north and tilted it at an angle approximately equal to your observing site’s latitude.)

First, align your telescope with the sky using the Two-Star Alignment method. Add one or more calibration stars.

(NOTE: For the most accurate alignment, use a reticle or crosshairs eyepiece to precisely center the star in your field of view.)

Second, select a suitable bright star from the hand control's database and slew the scope to the star.

Third, press the ALIGN button and select POLAR ALIGN – ALIGN MOUNT from the list. (A warning will appear about choosing proper stars for the All-Star.) Press ENTER.

Fourth, your scope will then re-slew to the alignment star and ask you to center it in the finderscope. Do this and press ENTER. Then repeat with the eyepiece, centering and pressing ALIGN to finish syncing on the star. (The hand control will display a sync message.) Press ENTER.

Fifth, the scope will slew to the position where the star would be if it were accurately polar aligned.

Sixth, use your mount’s altitude and azimuth fine adjustments to place the star in the center of the eyepiece and press ENTER.

The All-Star polar alignment is now complete.

Here are additional tips and techniques to use with All-Star.

Don’t use Polaris for polar alignment. Choose a star farther away from the NCP, allowing for greater accuracy when centering the star in your eyepiece. For best results choose a polar alignment star that is high in the sky and near the meridian and celestial equator. Avoid stars that are close to the western or eastern horizon, directly overhead or too near the celestial poles.

You may want to re-align the mount after All-Star polar alignment. The mount will retain its alignment; however, accuracy may have been compromised depending on how much the mount has been moved during polar alignment. Although the telescope’s tracking may be very good, pointing accuracy may need improvement, especially if you are trying to locate small objects on a CCD chip.

To update the alignment:

Undo the sync by pressing ALIGN, then selecting UNDO SYNC from the list of options. Press ENTER and the hand control will confirm the undo sync by displaying COMPLETE.

Next, slew the telescope to one of the original alignment stars, or another bright star if the original alignment stars are no longer in a convenient location. Press the ALIGN button and select ALIGNMENT STARS from the list. The hand control will prompt you to replace one of the original alignment stars. Make your choice and press ENTER. Do the usual, centering the star in the finder and pressing ENTER, then centering in the eyepiece and pressing ALIGN.

Repeat the process on a second alignment star.

For the best all-sky pointing accuracy, align on at least one additional calibration star. To add calibration stars, slew the telescope to a bright star on the opposite of the meridian from your two alignment stars. Press ALIGN and use the Up/Down buttons on the hand controller to select CALIBRATION STARS and press ENTER. Align each calibration star as usual in the finder and then the eyepiece.

If you want to know the accuracy of your mount’s polar alignment, press ALIGN – DISPLAY ALIGN. Then pressing ENTER shows the errors in azimuth and altitude.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Uranus, green filter 27th Oct 2010

Using 3 x TV Barlow and 2 x re-sampling in Registax.

The Hubble Ultra Deep Field in 3D

Opportunity: Sol 2397

and the centre portion in RGB. All processed in CS5.

Where did I put that rover?
Credit JPL

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Horsehead Nebula (B33) in Orion.

Just before I started packing away last night, Orion was coming up. So I couldn't resist having a quick look at B33.
This is way too little exposure for this object, 30 x 1min subs. Un-modded camera.

M45 16th Oct 2010

Another two hours worth of data added to the stuff from the other week.
I'll need to work on this a bit more, so this is just a quick process.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


When imaging M45, please remember to remove the focusing mask.
That was a waste of a half dozen images. Ha ho whaddoya know!

OT: Lechlade & Rupert 1966

Found this today in an antique shop in lovely Lechlade, which is about 10 miles from where I live. Bargain! to add to my collection.

Lechlade has an Xmas shop that is open every day of the year. Shhh!

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Galaxy Zoo

Very interesting talk given by Chris Lintott of the University of Oxford discussing The Galaxy Zoo, an internet-based program for enlisting the help of amateur astronomers in cataloguing other galaxies.

The hills (craters) are alive with the sound of music.

On Sol 2382 (Oct. 6, 2010), Opportunity the rover, covered over 94 meters (308 feet) on her trek to Endeavour crater.
Here's a pan that I created from a few images taken by Opportunity's navigation camera.

Credit NASA

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Comet Hartley 2 13th Oct 2010

I managed to capture a lot more subs tonight, but the transparency wasn't as good.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Comet Hartley 2 12th Oct 2010

48 x 30sec subs.

OT: New car time.

Bought a new car today. My old BMW needed too much work after a recent oil leak.
Ford Fiesta Titanium 1.6.
It's nice and sporty... for us old duffers!

Comet Hartley 2 - processed yet again!

This is what I wanted... trailing stars, from DSS.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Imaging Comet Hartley 2 last night.

Takahashi piggy backed onto C9.25.

Shot with my HTC Desire phone.

103P/Hartley 2 10th Oct 2010 re-processed.

Finally got the processing sorted with help from the guys on Yahoo DSS group.
Looks like a comet tail is appearing.

103P/Hartley 2 10th Oct 2010

My stacking program is not working correctly at the moment, I was hoping to get a better image with trailing stars. Bear with me.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Jupiter and Io transit 10th Oct 2010

Green and red filter composite.

Comet Hartley 2

Here's a quick process of comet Hartley 2 from tonight. Better to come tomorrow.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Quick! it's clear...

well, it was last night.
Managed to bag a few deepsky objects using my Takahashi. Here is the first M45; 51Min worth of 30sec subs, darks,flats & bias applied. Processed in DSS and CS5:-

And here is the Perseus double open cluster NGC 884 & NGC 869.

Also NGC752, to the right are a high number of galaxies, but they wouldn't be seen in this almost test frame of only 17 x 30sec frames. Bah!