Friday, 22 May 2009

ISS and Flares

I had a bash the other night, using the Skymax on the HEQ5 to try and image the ISS. The first pass, the sky was too light to try and align to use the Satellite Tracker on the lappy, so I tried releasing the clutches and manually tracking. Sounds easy, but it's not. I had the 450d and a 2xTC on the Skymax and struggled to get focused. I finally managed to get focus just as the ISS disappeared behind the house.

The following pass the sky was much darker, and I tried with the webcam instead. This time I was able to use the Satellite Tracker. I'm not 100% sure I setup correctly, but after PA'ing I ran a quick goto align, then after the ISS had crested the horizon told the software to track it. It seemed to do a good job of tracking, but was always a little behind and I couldn't get it to catch up, so again no results.

I will try this again.

There were a few clear spells allowing me to attempt a couple of flares with the Satcatcher. The first one I got was out of focus... not sure why, but I blew it.

The next one, was too dim against the bright sky.

Then, too low behind the hedge.

As the clouds were moving in, finally, the Mag -7 was bright enough, and high enough to catch.

450d with the nifty fifty, 30s, f2.2 ISO200. Iridium 49


Phew... First decent one in ages.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Some more Lunar fun

The weather has not been good for the past few days, but I have been able to get a few shots of the moon using the Skymax on a camera tripod.

This first one was using the 55-250 handheld, the vignetting on the Skymax is really bad on a single frame against the bright blue sky, this works so much better.


Then later on, I setup the Skymax


and a subtle colour


I ordered a motor focuser, designed for the NexStar 5, but given that it was 80% off, it was too good a bargain to miss out on, and I got to test it out last night, again the Skymax on the camera tripod. The sky was very misty, to the point, the moon had a very noticeable corona, that even came through on these shots, but I've been able to process them and it's gone.


and a colour


The motor focuser works very well, but doesn't fit on the scope easily. At the moment, it's wedged in place on the end of the dovetail, which works, but I need something a little more rigid to hold it in place. I've no ideas at present, but I'm sure something will come to me.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Moon and Flare

My back is still bad, so I didn't get the gear out. I did setup the Skymax on the camera tripod and grab a shot of the moon with the 450d


and with a subtle colour

And one flare, with the SatCatcher and the EF50mm, this lens is superb for this sort of thing as the wide aperture it can use lets in so much light, I don't need to ramp up the ISO..

Iridium 65 - Mag -5
Iridium 65 - Mag -5

I hope my back feels better soon, I want to try my hand at M101 and need the HEQ5 for that.