Archive for October, 2008

With under a couple of hours using 90-second subs I wasn’t expecting much from this one apart from the stars.  I was amazed at how well the nebulosity stood out – power of the Hyperstar!!!  Noel did a heroic job of processing out the huge lens flare around Gamma Cassiopeia.  I shall be definitely going back to this one to get a LOT more data for Noel to work with.

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Noel & I have an image today on the International Year of Astronomy’s website as “Astropic of the Week”.  It is our image of NGC6914 – a reflection nebula in the huge Gamma Cygni nebulosity IC1318.  Excellent!!!

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This is a 2-frame Hyperstar III mosaic of the NGC7788 region in Cassiopeia. This region is famous for having 6 open clusters in a line. However, towards the top of the frame (not visible in this image) is a fascinating supernova remnant CTB1 that I want to get. This will need to wait for dark skies and an attempt using very long sub-exposures.

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On 10th October 2008 I managed to get 3 hours and 40-minutes worth of H-alpha data on the Heart nebula in Cassiopeia using 10-minute subs.  The Moon was causing all sorts of trouble and the seeing was poor which led to pretty mediocre data for Noel to work with.  However, Noel eventually managed to work his magic even with this one to give this very nice high-contrast result:

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For us deep-sky images I’m afraid the Moon is simply a nuisance, especially as it approaches full.  Well tonight I wanted to do some imaging – so there’s only one choice really, and that’s the Moon.  This image was taken with the Canon 40D and the 100-400 mm zoom lens with a x1.4 teleconverter giving me an overall 560 mm focal length. Read the rest of this entry »

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I can report that the hardware changes made a couple of days ago produced the expected result – tracking is now back to the very high accuracy I had when using the Hyperstar 1.  Unfortunately I also had to turn of the dither function in Maxim DL as it was taking the system far too long to come back into accurate tracking again, even after movements as small as half a pixel.  This unfortunately feeds through to Noel who now has the annoying hot pixels to deal with at the final processing stage.

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In their latest edition, Astronomy Technology Today have published two very nice Hyperstar articles, one written by the Starizona boys and one by yours truly. Astronomy Technology Today have kindly allowed the New Forest Observatory to host these articles, and the cover of the magazine which shows an early Hyperstar 1 image of M42 taken from the NFO. Thank you ATT!

Download Astronomy Today Article

Click the download icon to download a PDF version (be warned: it is over 3 megabytes in size).

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Today’s EPOD is the Canon 40D image of the crescent Moon and Mercury taken a while back.

The sky played ball for a change giving a very atmospheric 🙂 image.  This one image has by far the greatest number of viewing hits on my Flickr site!  Thank you once again Jim for publishing work from the NFO on your site.

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New Forest Observatory clocked up its 40,000th hit this morning!  A big welcome to all new and regular readers, and here’s hoping for some long, crisp, clear Winter evenings 🙂

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Now that the Hyperstar III is going to be the main imager for some time to come, I have just made some system hardware changes.  The (relatively) heavy Sky 90 has been removed as the guide scope and replaced with the old Celestron 80mm wide field refractor.  This refractor is extremely light and I needed to remove several counterweights from the C11 to achieve balance.  When I originally used this scope for guiding on the Hyperstar I, I routinely had an error graph showing less than 0.1 pixel excursions for the whole imaging session.  Using the Sky 90 as a guidescope I have never had such good guiding and typically errors would be around the 0.5 (or greater) pixel level during 3-4 hours of imaging.  We’ll have to see if this change produces sharper images from the Hyperstar III – I have the feeling we will see a marked improvement.

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