Archive for the “Projects” Category

Projects undertaken at New Forest Observatory

Last night I got the top 2 frames of an image I started last year.  This is the central region of Lyra taken using the Canon 200mm prime lenses and Trius M26C OSC CCDs.  I have deliberately accentuated the contrast showing the “dark lanes” running through the region and I am in the process of checking that they correspond to the dark lanes seen by other imagers who have taken wide fields of the same region.

This is the first 4-frame mosaic taken with the Canon 200mm lenses.

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Another clear night last night – what is going on??  Fired up the miniWASP array, this time using the 2 x Canon 200mm prime lenses and the Trius M26C 10-Megapixel OSC CCDs.  Target – the rich Milky Way region in Lacerta.  I was originally going to take a 2-framer of this region JUST showing a huge star density, but when I looked at the region on a planetarium program I saw that this was not a good choice.  If I took the frame to the right, rather than to the left – then instead of just having a mass of stars, I would also get a pile of dark nebulosity as well as the Cocoon nebula.  So I took the right hand frame.  Left hand frame was 16 x 10-minute subs and right hand frame was 14 x 10-minute subs, so a total exposure time of 5-hours but with only 2 and a half hours of actual (real) imaging time.  Registar says there are 250,000 stars in this image.

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Having swapped out the Master Computer and mucked around a bit with Sky 90(1) I had some clear sky last night to take some test shots to see what needs fine tuning.  This image is just 12 x 5-minute subs with the array.  I now know that I need to very slightly flatten the Sky 90(1) chip and I need to re-align Sky 90(2) and Sky 90(3) to Sky 90(1).  Then the Sky 90 array will be ready for the new season.  The Canon 200mm DSLR array is of course fine and needs no attention!!  I wish now that I had built the whole array out of Canon 200mm lenses – live and learn 🙂

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Most of the 6-minute pass at 11:11 p.m. last night.

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I have recently finished the Second Edition of the Springer publication “Making Beautiful Deep-Sky Images” and it has been sent off to them to make bookworthy.  Springer then sends me back the draft (with all the page numbers) and I then have the final (mind-destroying) job of putting the Index together.  You will see the new 2nd Edition in the shops next year (I’ll let you know when) and if you have the 1st Edition, there’s enough new stuff in the 2nd Edition (including completely new chapters, and completely re-written old chapters) to warrant raiding your wallets for a second time.  The biggest change you will see on the front cover is the removal of the sub-title “Astrophotography with Affordable Equipment and Software” – with a chapter dedicated to the New Forest Observatory mini-WASP Array – some of the equipment is now anything but affordable.

 

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Noel Carboni recently processed the 22-hours of data from the Sky 90 mini-WASP array.  This data comprised 15 and 20-minute sub-exposures.

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I have only just stacked ALL the data on this one from late 2014.  This is 69 subs using 15.20-minute exposures for a total of 22-hours on this one.

The Sky 90 array on the mini-WASP. f#4.5 3 x Sky 90s and 3 x M26C OSC CCDs.

 

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Beautiful clear Moonless night last night but we only get astronomical darkness starting around 11 p.m. so it’s a late start at this time of the year (and darkness ends around 3 p.m. so you don’t get many hours of darkness either).  I saw some nice contrasting red and blue stars in Draco using a planetarium program, and as a bonus I could also get NGC 4236 (Caldwell 3) in the frame as well – a barred spiral galaxy.  This image is 30 x 10-minute subs taken with the Sky 90 array on the mini-WASP.  When I packed up for the evening there was Saturn near Antares in the south, and quite high up in the sky there was Lyra and Cygnus, so summer is clearly not far away 🙂  All in all a superb night’s imaging.

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12 frames using the Hyperstar III and M25C camera with 2-hours of 10-minute subs per frame.  Also a 200mm lens with M26C camera 2-framer using 15-minute subs and 5 hours per frame.  So total integration time is 34 hours 🙂

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Turned out rather noisy for 30 x 1,000 second subs with the Sky 90 array.  Not sure why as there was no Moon about.  Maybe I forget to turn the Peltiers on??  Need to redo this one with the Hyperstar III.

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