Archive for the “Projects” Category

Projects undertaken at New Forest Observatory

Blazing Moon last night so I spent a little time getting a good focus on the 200mm lens and then imaged both the Zosma region (with the Leo II dwarf galaxy) and the Virgo/Coma galaxy cluster region.  This was done with a 62mm UV/IR cut filter on the front of the 72mm diameter lens and the lens wide open at f#1.8.  The front aperture did not stop the lens down far enough to get good quality stars right into the corners – but the result isn’t bad at all.  Next outing I will check out the star quality using a 52mm diameter UV/IR cut filter.

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Well – you can tell from the lack of pictures that I didn’t get any solar eclipse images as we were totally clouded out here in the New Forest.  I guess if I’d taken this job half seriously I would have driven down to Plymouth the night before – but I was too lazy.

So after being clouded out all morning on the 20th it was then crystal clear from around 1:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. – it then clouded over again to make sure I couldn’t image that evening.

Next morning (21st) crystal clear ALL morning.

It really does feel like a conspiracy :(

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Earlier in the evening, before imaging La Superba, I saw a stunning crescent Moon/Venus photo-opportunity in the West.

Grabbed the Canon 5D MkII and a 50mm lens and started snapping away.

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I managed to get 4-hours worth of 10-minute subs on La Superba last night using the mini-WASP array.  I composited this with around another 4-hours of data from a Sky 90/M25C combo – so around 8-hours in total using 10-minutes subs on La Superba and friends.  I consider this one now done :)

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Can actually see the Sun today – first time in 3 days!  So I got the Solar imaging rig out – TS80 refractor, Canon 5D MkII, Baader Solar film, and a 5x Powermate – and took a few shots.  The 3 faint dots middle-right are actually for real and not dust on the sensor as confirmed by an SDO image downloaded at the same time :)  Whoopee – I’m ready to go – now all we need are some clear skies on Friday morning.  What are the chances of that do you reckon?

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I had one hour last night to get a 2-framer of the Merak region before thick heavy cloud came over.  As it was, many of these subs were taken through thin high cloud which put a great glow around Merak.  Merak is the brightest star and to the right we have the Broken Engagement Ring.  To the lower left we have Messier 108 and Messier 97 (The Owl nebula) – in the background there are dozens of faint fuzzies.  Only 18 subs at 4-minutes per sub for each frame using all 3 scopes and cameras – so managed the job in the hour, and got a half reasonable image at the end of it which was very surprising :)

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Last night I managed to get another 11 x 20-minute subs on this region to go with the 7 x 20-minute subs I got a few days ago.  This shows Coddington’s nebula – which is actually an irregular galaxy – and towards the bottom left is a large red Carbon star V Y Ursae Majoris.  The star’s name gives it away, these are to be found in Ursa Major.  Blazing Moon last night didn’t help with trying to improve the dataset – but even so there are traces of the Integrated Flux Nebula coming through which is to be expected as it is pretty dense in this region (close to M81 & M82).

 

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With the 200mm/M26C Trius combo in portrait mode I managed to grab 10 x 4-minutes of the Castor/Pollux region after 3-hours of setting up (focus mainly) in the freezing cold.  The chip turned out to be not flat for this image, so the next morning I brought it indoors and flattened it pretty precisely.  Now waiting for the next clear night to see how well (or not) I’ve done.  Would like to grab a 2-framer of the M44 region if at all possible.

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Should have done this one Friday night when the Moon was a little closer to the planets but didn’t manage it.  Using the Canon 5D MkII and a 50mm prime lens I managed this shot, ISO100, 10-seconds, f#5.6

This image was shown on Meridian weather at 6:30 p.m. on 23/02/2015

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Not a lot of colour in M106 itself :(  But plenty in the stars :)  The Sky 90s always seem to be able to grab star colour very nicely.

24 x 20-minute subs using the mini-WASP array.  And yes – that star in the centre was used for focusing and guiding :)

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