My Astronomy

 

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My Telescopes

My Main Telescope - C14 and Paramount ME

My new Paramount MyT and 8-inch Ritchey-Chretien Telescope

MyT Hand Controller

My Meade 12 inch SCT on a CGEM (Classic) Mount

My 4 inch Meade Refractor with Sky Watcher Guidescope and ZWO camera on a CGEM (Classic) Mount

Skywatcher Star Adventurer Mount with Canon 40D

 

My Solar setup using a DSLR and Mylar Filter on my ETX90

DSLR attached to ETX90. LiveView image of 2015 partial eclipse on Canon 40D

Astronomy Blog Index
About the Site

 I try to log my observing and related activities in a regular blog - sometimes there will be a delay but I usually catch up. An index of all my blogs is on the main menu at the top of the page with daily, weekly or monthly views. My Twitter feed is below. I am also interested in photograping wildlife when I can and there is a menu option above to look at some of my images. I try to keep the news feeds from relevant astronomical sources up to date and you will need to scroll down to find these.

The Celestron 14 is mounted on a Paramount ME that I have been using for about 10 years now - you can see that it is mounted on a tripod so is a portable set up. I still manage to transport it on my own and set it all up even though I have just turned 70! It will run for hours centering galaxies in the 12 minute field even when tripod mounted.

 

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Friday
Apr052019

Partial cloud cover when imaging the Ring Nebula Messier 57 

Before 5 a.m. this morning it was partially clear so I looked for a gap in the clouds and I decided to image M57

 This is where M57 was placed when slewed to it from start up - almost spot on in the centre of the field of view.

Thursday
Apr042019

Cloudy 4th April 2019 - Setting up ASI 120MC Camera

I am trying to use my ZWO ASI 120MC Camera as the guidescope camera to use with the Paramount MyT. In reality the tracking on the mount is quite accurate without guiding but clearly longer exposures will be possible if I can achieve good guiding with this camera. I could not get the camera to produce images with its connection via the Icron ethernet hub but checking on the Software Bisque support site I found this:

 

"Have you added any kind of extender in the mix? I just learned that these ZWO guide cameras won’t pass through Icron Rangers. Not sure about Startech hubs. "

That is exactly what I was doing. I already have to use a powered USB hub to control the MyT as it will not operate from the USB output of the remote Icron hub which is located on the Primaluce bar. I reconnected the guiding camera to one of the two USB ports on the end of the Versa-Plate. The feed for this is through the MyT mount from the USB input that connects from the MacBook to the mount. Once this was done I was able to take images using the guide camera although it has not yet been focused or aligned with the main scope. 

As my main camera on the 8-inch Ritchey-Chretien scope is also a ZWO (1600) I thought there would be a problem with the software distinguishing between the two of them.

In fact under the camera or autoguider settings, once a ZWO Camera has been selected there is a drop down menu to select the appropriate camera.


Wednesday
Apr032019

A BUSY DAY WITH EARLY MORNING AND LATE NIGHT IMAGING

EARLY MORNING 3RD APRIL

At 6 a.m.today the sky was very clear and I took a monochrome image of Messier 27 using my ASI 1600 camera and 8 inch RC telescope.

I also took a short exposure of Mizar and Alcor which shows Mizar as a double star itself.

 

LAST WEEK'S VISUAL OBSERVATION OF MIZAR WITH DOBSONIAN

Last week I viewed Mizar and Alcor through a 150mm Dobsonian in Lancashire. The components of Mizar were further separated than in the image above uing a 25mm eyepiece. An excellent view.

NIGHT OF WEDNESDAY 3RD APRIL/THURSDAY 4TH APRIL

The night of the 3rd/4th April was crystal clear and I used it to reset the telescope pointing, taking 120 plate solved distributed images across the sky so that a list could be generated of where the telescope thought it was pointing for each image and where the telescope was actually pointing as evidenced by the plate soved image. The SkyX T-Point software then uses the errors between positions to set up a pointing model. Once this model is applied it compensates for these errors. 

This image shows the points selected for imaging and the track of the telescope during the 120 point run. Notice how I have selected higher altitudes to avoid the sides of the observatory (ie the shed) and that I have avoided the polar area.

 

A list of the first 30 image points and errors is shown below.

T-Point advised that I needed to adjust the position of the mount but once the corrections were active the mount slewed to every object precisely and centred it in the crosshairs. 

I slewed the telescope to M51 and took a series of images without any guiding. L, R, G, B - 5 images each - each of 60 second exposure time. I aligned and stcked these into an LRGB image in Nebulosity and processed the result in Photoshop. Here is the final image.

 I slewed to M101 and repeated the process with the result below.

 

Tuesday
Apr022019

Scorpius and Jupiter

The distinctive tail of Scorpius and the planet Jupiter dominate the southern sky at 05:20 local time (03:32 Universal Time). It is fairly clear to the south there is murky cloud elsewhere but at higher altitudes parts of Lyra, Hercules, Corona Borealis and Bootes are visible. The daytime yesterday was fairly sunny in the morning but there were thunderstorms and occasional downpours during the rest of the day. 

Today I attached the ETX / canon 40D assembly to the mount and balanced the new setup.

First of all I assembled the adaptors and focal reducer, connecting the ETX to the Canon 40D



I roughly focused the setup on a distant mountain.

I now had to remove the second guidescope mount and its temporary spacers made of large washers (to allow clearance to be able to adjust the guidescope mount azimuth adjustment knob) and bolted the FLO Adaptor to the guidescope mount. I needed to slide the Primaluce bar down to allow access to the underneath of the bar to be able to insert two 1/4 inch UNC bolts to attach the FLO adaptor/ guidescope mount to the bar. I removed the 8 - inch RC OTA to make this easier. 

The image immediately below shows the guidescope mount with the spacing washers.

This image shows the second guidescope mount with the FLO adaptor in place  - matching the first guidescope mount carrying the guidescope.

 

 




 

 

Monday
Apr012019

Rain and Cloud today

No astronomy possible tonight. I earlier checked the operation of the roof of the observatory during a dry spell - it works fine. Also I needed an appropriate sized adaptor to connect my ETX90  OTA to my Canon 40D. I bought this adaptor last week and connected it to the ETX today.

Baader Planetarium 7 mm Ultra Short T-Adaptor 

 

Together with my Meade f/6.3 focal reducer this will allow the full moon to fit into the field of view. 

Product Description

SCT adaptor Ultras nursery, T2 (Male)/2SC (female). Only 10 mm Optical length. Specifications: Weight (kg): 0.038. Optical tube length: 7. Inner Diameter / Clear Aperture (mm): 39. Outer Diameter: 56. Inner Connection (lens sided): Thread, 2". Outer Connection (eyepiece/-camera-sided): Thread, T-2 (M42 x 0,75). Compatible Brands: Astro T-2, UNC, Baader Planetarium, Celestron, Other. Type of Adapter: Reducing piece

 

I also ordered an adaptor for the Guidecope mount that I use to hold the Canon 40D/ETX. At present I have a stack of washers but need a more solid way of attaching the mount to the Primaluce bar. This is the same adaptor that supports the guidescope mount for my SkyWatcher 80mm guidescope.

 

FLO Adapter for Sky-Watcher Guidescope Mount

"A convenient adapter plate that enables you to easily fit the Sky-Watcher Guidescope Mount to any Sky-Watcher or ADM dovetail.

CNC machined black-anodised aluminium. 

Supplied with 2x 1/4" UNC screws (to fit dovetail) and 4x M5 screws (to fit Guidescope mount). "

Monday
Apr012019

Back in Spain 

I left Manchester Airport at 1230 local time yesterday in bright sunshine to arrive just less than 3 hours later to the very wet runway at Alicante airport in the pouring rain. I rang the parking company to let them know I had arrived and by the time I worked out which level was ground level at the airport (Level2) and exited the terminal they had parked my truck immediately in front of the exit. It was difficult to get to it because the parking area was submerged in 3 inches of water and it was still raining!  However within minutes I was heading south on the A7 motorway with 200 km to drive south to my location in Almeria Province, arriving a couple of hours later still in daylight. The house and surrounds were very wet. 

 

At 5:20 a.m. this morning (4:20 UK Time and 3:20 Universal Time) I went out of the front door to a part cloudy sky. The front of the house faces almost directly due south and the sky was very dark with no Moon in the sky and a brilliant Jupiter at magnitude -2.29 dominated the otherwise brilliant stars in the sky. Chart courtesy of Software Bisque

Jupiter was at an atitude of 25 degrees and the constellation of Scorpius was well above the horizon with Antares its usual brilliant red. However by 06:20 local time the clouds had returned. Back in the UK at Norwich at the Univeral Time of 03:20 when I observed Jupiter its altitude was only around 12 degrees.Chart courtesy of Software Bisque

 

Monday
Mar252019

The Amateur Night Sky Weekly is available 25th March

Web Links about Astronomy

 

Sunday
Mar242019

The history of astronomy weekly is available.

Internet links to items relating to the History of Astronomy

Monday
Mar182019

The Amateur Night Sky weekly is available

Monday
Mar182019

Optical Transient in Messier 51 using a Remote 24-inch telescope.

Following up from my previous image of m51 identifying the optical transieent in M51 I used the iTelescope remote telescope T24 in California to get this image containing the Optical Transient on 18th March 2019.