Tuesday 8 March 2011

GSO 6"RC Proper Deep Sky First Light

Finally... a clear night without a layer of high mist...

I knew what I was going to do, so got setup, used a 1 star sync with EQMOD, then the goto to M51, and that plonked M51 within the FOV of the 450d on the RC.

16 x 10 minutes @ ISO800, darks and flats
Imaging setup: GSO 6" RC, Canon 450d
Guiding: QHY5v, Konus Vista 80s
Mount: HEQ5
Software: PHD, APT, DSS and PS

I could have framed it better, but the image scale is a big improvement on the 80ED... This is uncropped.

There are a couple of issues... I discovered that my normal Av mode flats, again came out underexposed... I've no idea why, but as I knew what I was looking for, that was easily dealt with. The collimation is out, using liveview zoomed, I did a quick star test, and the airy disk has a slight list, but I wasn't going to let that stop me, as I really just wanted to get some data with it. I found when dismantling that I hadn't tightened both thumb screws, so may have had some camera flex, and I'm not 100% convinced I nailed focus.

But... I'm happy

Friday 4 March 2011

M42 - Over the last three years

I thought it might be interesting to look back at my attempts at M42 over the last three years and compare the results.

All taken with the same 450d

Konus Vista 80s, NexStar SLT (AltAz)

C80ED, Unguidded

C80ED, Guided HEQ5

The reason my first attempt is so read, I used a Semi APO filter to help with the CA, and it removed a lot of blue.

Practice and improvements in kit and technique have really helped.

Saturday 26 February 2011

Stick it in the bin

I so nearly didn't bother with posting this... however... having had such a run of heavy cloud, I could actually see some stars on Thursday... I was wondering what it was I was looking at. Anyway... I've been waiting and waiting to try and add some more data to my M42 and see if I couldn't tease out the faint dusty regions around the main nebula. The plan being to ideally grab 4 hours of 10 minute exposures. Ah how plans never quite work out how you want...

Turns out, there was some thin cloud, not enough to spoil the view, but enough to spoil looking for the faint stuff, dew was terrible, within an hour, the OTA's were dripping, so of course, had to keep getting the hair dryer out... I don't get it, but my ST80 stayed much clearer with the after market camping mat fitted then the 80ED... have to look at that, but I suspect it's to do with the shape of the fitted dew shield.

And of course, it's a bit late in the year now to be trying something like this as with only 2 hours captured, Orion was sinking into the orange flow.

And then of course, there was the power... or rather lack of it.. my main battery died after a fair number of subs, to give it it's due, but the backup lasted 2 and the flats. Oh, the flats, I don't know what happened, but using the technique I always use, the flats were horribly under exposed, so they got ditched, as they introduced a pile of bright vignetting.

Then the laptop cooling fan developed an odd noise.. I'd have to say caused by dust, so need to take it apart and give the fan a good hoover.

Not a good night really... still... a couple of good points...

1) The guiding held without any issues, after the previous occasions fits in RA
2) APT works really well

Having written all this, I spose I'd better post the image, prior to consigning it to Dusty... (in case you're too young to remember... have a look for a TV program called 3-2-1 ... writing that makes me feel old).

Oh yes, I couldn't be bothered overlaying any of my previous bits of images to sort out the core, which is totally blown, although to be honest, it's the first time on a deep sky image, I've had the highlight clipping warning showing on the camera preview

And why is it, that despite adding the process tif to DSS, deselecting it, right clicking it and making it the reference frame, did DSS not align all the other frames on it ?

Wednesday 23 February 2011

Update - Deep Sky

There has been a distinct lack of opportunity for deep sky this winter, mores the pity.

First up, a wide field of Auriga... this was shot with the nifty fifty

I started to add the Messier clusters in Auriga to add to the widefield base image, but that's got lost somewhere

M38 and the smiley face

I discovered with this one, the focuser was not tightly locked onto the MaxDSLR connector and it could wobble ever so slightly... blast... I've resolved that one with a 1/4 turn of the thumb screw...


And I moved on from here, on the same night to have a go at M42.. shame the clouds moved in to quickly, as I only got 7 subs for the core and 2 subs for the neb... I was amazed at how much detail I was able to get out of only 2 subs though.

However, I was able to get a decent run a couple of nights later, and managed 25 subs...

I really want to get at least 4 hours of 10 minute subs to see if I can't pull out the faint stuff in the background... there's hints of it in here, but it's not enough to pull out.

Then finally, after getting the RC, I went back to M38 for a first light, all was setup easily, although I do need the second counter weight. But I had a weird issue with guiding... I lost the first two subs as PHD decided mid way through to give the RA axis a major kick... I don't know why. The laptop was making some odd noises also, whilst PHD was guiding. I stopped guiding, enabled again and that was all fine. Then after 2 subs, the clouds moved in...

Bit irritated I only got 2 subs, but it's worked nicely. There's some odd star shapes in one corner, but I think that's from my home made dew shield being a bit long and sagging slightly. Next try, I'll do it without it.

Update - Lunar

Oh.. how many for this one...

Oh well...

C80ED, 2xTC, 450d on a camera tripod

and with some colour

in the mist

For some Earthshine

A little different

Another Earthshine

And the Storm moon

Been some great Lunar halo's over the past couple of months, these are all 2 frame vertical panorama's

And then a couple of mosaics... most complete, one spoilt by cloud

Then I got a new scope, a GSO 6RC, a very well built piece of kit, solid with a superb focuser. More resolution that the 80ED, and a greater focal length. Not had a chance to really push it yet... but it's working well so far

Only 7 panes to test it out

and 20 panes

Updates - Solar

Oh Boy... I'm so far behind...

I'm just gonna have to split the images into groups and post them... I can't remember anything anymore...

So... Lets start with Solar..

These were all taken with a C80ED, 2xTC, 450d with Baader solar film, mounted on a camera tripod

And far more interesting

These next few were shot with a QHY5v and consist of the best 25% of frames taken from 1000 frame avis, and are when AR1150 was around