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Thread: friday 19 March

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    Default friday 19 March



    observing report friday 18 March 2011

    This was my first outing with my celestron neximage and canon 1000d. I planned to get some images of saturn the full (almost) moon and try some deep sky with the canon, aware that the moon might drown most of it out. I also had a moon filter too, so will be good to try this out.
    Went out about 20.15 and started to set up. I'd checked the exact position of polaris so was hoping for an accurate polar alignment. I positioned polaris as best i could in the polar scope but looking through the main scope could not see it. Also this is where i noticed the red dot finder seemed to be way out. Also the finder battery was not making a good connection. I fiddled around with it for 10 mins but could not fix it in the dark. I decided to proceed without the finder, although this will prove difficult.

    There's always problems isnt there, never mind, you've just got to make the best of it.

    Since the main targets I wanted to image are the moon and saturn maybe i dont need to think too much about alignment so i selected solar system alignment and selected the moon. It slewed quite close and then i manually centred on it, and hit align. Without the finder its amazing how hard this is, even with a large target like the moon. Having found the moon, i had a quick look through the 12.5mm EP with the new moon filter fitted. It was much more comfortable viewing and i was impressed with what i could see. I dont think the seeing is too bad tonight.
    I now proceded to attach the canon 1000d and from the laptop selected the remote control software. Its really good to be able to control the camera from the laptop, even the live view appears on the screen. I took quite a few single shots of my favourite areas of the moon and was really impressed with how they looked. Although it is annoying that the live view exposure settings seem at odds with the exposure you need to take, but its a minor irritation.
    I had originally planned to move on to M42 or M45 to test the camera on deep sky, but they were both low in the sky and a bit out of range, also the full moons glare was an issue. So i decided to move across to the star Procyon. Had trouble again locating it without the finder scope. Also since it was not in focus the live view of the camera was completely blank. This proved a problem. I then realized that the camera was set to AS100, and upped it to AS1600 , but it was still difficult to find Procyon or focus it. After re-inserting the eyepice I found something, maybe Procyon and focussed and centred the EP on this. Then re-inserted the camera and tried various things include taking a long exposure but was not convinced this was going to work well tonight. I did however get some blurry images of stars and at 60 seconds exposure they seemed steady. I decdied to put the camera away, after all i'd already got lots of good moon pics with it. I now moved on to the web cam. Slewed the telescope back to the moon and inserted the webcam. After a short period of focussing and playing with the settings on the capture software I was in business. I took several 10-20 second videos and hope they came out well. The scope seemed to be tracking pretty good too. I tried adding the barlow x 2 lens and increased the magnificiation and was most impressed. It was about this time though that fumbling in the dark i managed to drop my 32mm EP and star diag. It hit the drive way hard and I think i might have damaged something. I've actually got another Star diag, so continued with that but annoyed with myself for letting that happen. Anyway, i was now waiting for saturn to clear the edge of the house so i could move on to that. I estimated it could be another hour or so but decided if i moved the mount and telescope forward about 3 feet i could be in position now. So i carefully dragged the whole arrangement forward, re-levelled the tripod legs and tried to find saturn. Rather that messing about too much without the finder, i decided to add the focal reducer to make the job easier. After to short time i had saturn in the EP. It was really interesting to move up from a tiny disk, rings visible and 5 other moons to my 12.5mm with barlow lens showing the disk as a reasonable size. I carefully centred it and switched to the web cam again. This was what i'd been waiting for and took a series of videos with different web cam settings. I've not looked at the videos in detail yet but hope there's something worthwhile there even though its my first attempt. So at that i decided to call it a night, amazing how fast 3 hours can go.
    --
    I'm happy to say i've now got the finder scope fixed! and although dropping an eye piece and star diagnal on the hard ground they seem to have made a full recovery.
    The pics I am attempting to attach are, the moon via the 1000d, and webcam pics of crater proclus with the barlow lens, saturn and crater tycho. The saturn video was 45 seconds long, did registax and a bit of photoshop sharpening on it. Quite pleased since its my first attempt though.

    clear skies.
    Mike.
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    admin (03-22-2011),Carolgentle (03-22-2011),dmbryan (03-22-2011),EMarkM (03-22-2011),j.gardavsky (03-22-2011)

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    Mike that is a wonderful report, March 19th was a very productive night for you! In 3 hours you must have had a blast

    thanks for sharing it,
    clear skies!
    Name: Gus OTAs: ED 100 PRO refractor, Orion ST80 (not the CF), 8" Dob stuck in Canada Mounts:HEQ5PRO Synscan mount, Manfrotto Tripod CAMS: Guidecam Philips SPC900 webcams (4), Canon unmodded-450D DSLR

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    Great report and harvest (pics) for the Supermoon night!

    Best,

    Hernando

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    Hello Mike. I agree that (3) hours does seem to go by fast. Thanks for the report. Also glad to hear your EP and diagonal survived.

    Tom

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    Hi Mike,

    Excellent report, you've made a really start to AP well done.

    Carol

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    I was good to get a start on astro photography. Just need to christen the DSLR now with some deep sky stuff. I'm hopeful as its only the afternoon but the sky is looking great for tonight!! fingers crossed.
    Mike.

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    Awesome report and I'm very impressed with your Saturn image. I can see the Cassini division.

    I'd love to know what your Neximage settings were and what processing you did to bring out the color.

    Here's a sampling of my imaging attempts using the Neximage through my Orion XT12G:
    https://www.facebook.com/album.php?a...6&l=3469513561

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    Good read: thanks

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    Quote Originally Posted by gbcarync View Post
    Awesome report and I'm very impressed with your Saturn image. I can see the Cassini division.

    I'd love to know what your Neximage settings were and what processing you did to bring out the color.

    Here's a sampling of my imaging attempts using the Neximage through my Orion XT12G:
    https://www.facebook.com/album.php?a...6&l=3469513561
    Hi Greg, Just had a look at your facebook pages. Your moon photos are really something. With your XT12G you've got some serious power (12" dobsonion?) as its interesting to see what it can do. You've made the most of going for the terminator on the moon which i've yet to try.
    With nex image, i've yet to sort out which settings to use for each task. For the moon i think i turned down gamma and gain to min, and tried to get 60fps, and the slowest shutter speed without bleaching it out.
    With Saturn, its fainter so, cant quite remember what i did, but I think i upped the gain control and lowered the fps. I only took a 45 second video, but next time want to go for much longer.
    clear skies , Mike.

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    Nice for a first outing, hope to see more
    <CS> Rick - Taylor, MI
    Metal Detecting - Amateur Radio - N8XI


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