Tuesday, December 30, 2014

20141229-1230 C2014/Q2 Comet Lovejoy

Found it visually with my Ranger from inside my home!  I did it via one star alignment on Rigel and then slew to its RA/DEC.  I also slew to M79 afterward and got it detected too.

Tonight, I've extended the exposure to 15s at ISO1600 and then a few more shots at 20s as well (cf. 10s at ISO 800 last night), in the hope of more signal...  the outcome was nearly washed out on each individual frames, total 35 shots.

While waiting for DeepSkyStacker, I also slewed to M42 and M41 for quick look... very nice!

Better than that of yesterday for sure, but don't really know how to process.

Pushed crazily to see a hint of the tail:-

Monday, December 29, 2014

20141229 Moon with slow fps ASI

Transparency drops but seeing improves a bit.

Took out my ASI 120MC to test on the moon, the first shot is normal and fine.

But then the frame rate drops crazily to lower than 2 fps, and no matter how I change the setting, it does not improve...

So, only one shot 2115 (GMT+8):

I guess it's my slow hard drive... my all-in-one PC runs on a notebook hard drive... got to sort out why.

20141229 Sun

The transparency is so high, like 9/10 but very poor seeing.

The full disc image is so bad, most detail were washed out.  The seeing cell seems very large to distort large scale detail, two frames stitched together.

2x closeup, taken at 1351 (GMT+8):-

2x closeup, taken at 1352 (GMT+8):- 

5x closeup, taken at 1355 (GMT+8), surprisingly despite the poor seeing, this image is not too bad:- 

This is the biggest surprise today, a huge prominence at the bottom of the solar disc, it's dim but it's huge too!

Check out the full disc shot to see how big it was:

20141229 Comet C/2014 Q2

I'm doing it inside my home!

The sky clears with the cool front, but it's no good by any standard.  Light pollution was crazy and by following star charts, I failed to locate it with my Canon 10x30 IS.

I tried to shoot some close by fields with my 50mm lens and 200mm lens on my Mark-X, none of the frame shows any promising result.

And then I asked myself, why not pull out my Nexstar SE mount?  Alt-az tracking was not too bad for short exposures.  I couldn't do long exposure from a light polluted sky anyway!  With the GOTO, at least I know that I can pointing at the right place.

I choose one star alignment with Sirius, and then I GOTO C/2014 Q2 by manually entering RA/DEC.

I did take an exposure of 10s at f2.8 with my 200mm lens, a green fuzzy patch of light was shown!  Feeling encouraged, I took a few shots successively.

Around 2 minutes of exposure accumulated... not enough signal obviously!  It's ugly but it's mine, and I had fun!!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Imaging on the other side, Sun 20141222

One picture says it all.  The dry cabinet serves as a tripod and also a sun shade for me to focus with my Eee PC... But I found that it's so shaky and with a 2x barlows, vibrations damp out in more than 3 minutes!  I couldn't do accurate focusing today, as a result.

The sky was no good today, transparency at 3/10, seeing 1/10 with so many cloud moving around at variable thickness.  The sky was foggy too, the image was "muddy" at the eyepiece, too.  I even suspect it was the ghost image due to internal reflection, but unluckily, it was the real image!

Many drop frame today, I don't know why exactly, but I guess it's due to the automatic software updates since my Eee PC was not used frequently.

Prime focus shot stitched by two frames taken at 1559 and 1602 (GMT+8) respectively.

And at 2x, taken at 1610 (GMT+8):-

Very poor results.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Imaging from another room, Sun 20141213

I'm freeing up my playing room for my kid, so I tried to take image from my own room.  It's not as good since there is a bed so I've to place my notebook and take image while seated.  So, this is more like a feasibility test.

Since I couldn't use my desktop, and my notebook has very limited resolution and processing power, so I go back on using my Lumenera, the ASI was sold.

1129 (GMT+8), prime focus two frames stitched:-

1131 (GMT+8), with 2x barlows:-

1132 (GMT+8), with 2x barlows:-

Very nice result, the environment is not very important afterall.

The sun was rather low in the sky even in the afternoon!  It's winter time!

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Equipment Migration

The electronic dry cabinet arrived, sad to say, even after removing the legs, the window was still blocked, but it's not a big issue.

All of my telescopes, eyepieces, filters, optical stuff, camera lens and cameras could be packed inside, and there are still some space left. 

What are left?  The mounts, and various adapters, etc.  They don't have to be stored in humidity controlled environment, so maybe I can just buy a box to place them along with the dry cabinet.  This dry cabinet occupies half of my windows platform.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Adapter plate for my Nexstar SE and Gitzo tripod

The Nexstar SE does not have standard camera tripod interface, but three 3/8" threaded holes near the edge.

Therefore, I have to create a metal plate having one 3/8" threaded hole to connect to the tripod, and three 3/8" holes to connect with the base of the Nexstar mount.

Finding such a plate is pretty easy and at the same time, hard.  We don't have to use a strong plate since it's just "the meat between the sandwich", and I believe even a plastic plate will do the job nicely.  We will need a plate of around 9" diameter.

I placed a piece of paper over the base of the Nexstar plate, and use pencil to mark the holes.  Then I stick that paper over the metal plate for drilling:

I drilled one more small hole beside the 3/8" screw, i.e. the guiding pin of the Gitzo:

Placing the plate between the original mounting plate and the tripod:

Fixed the Nexstar mount on top via those 3/8" holes:

Frankly, there are some vibrations but it's acceptable since this setup is only for visual purpose, photography is another story but then it's not a photographic mount afterall.

Further thoughts:

A bigger plate could be made so that the excess areas could be used as eyepiece holders by drilling 1.25" and 2" holes.