Friday, September 28, 2012

Improving drastically

Collimated fairly well, but fighting a foggy aperture
  I randomly woke up in the middle of the night to a bright moon shining in through crystal clear skies during a predicted overcast night.  I gave myself a pep talk and dragged my telescope out in to the brisk, humid night at three in the morning.  I worked once again to fine tune the collimation of the scope and was amazed by the difference in my focus star.  The sky was still waving and shimmering, but I could actually see a broken airy disk around the focused star.  Turning my attention to Jupiter high in the sky above Orion, I saw the break in the northern band for the first time ever.  I could also make out a fourth band to the south and soon I had hooked up my camera and was taking high definition video.  I got three one minute shots before realizing that the whole time my front glass was completely fogged over.  I was amazed by how good the view still was for shining through tiny beads of water.  Right then I promised myself to always fine tune my scope when going out for a session.

  In the picture above you can just make out three of Jupiter's moons, one below at seven o'clock, and two further above and to the right.

  My stacking skills still leave something to be desired, but I need a PC in order to properly run the latest software.  My boot camped MacBook Pro is fickle with the Windows XP installation and only runs an oft crashing version of Registax 5.

  Hopefully this weekend continues to defy the weathermen and I can have another go at it without the damp humidity fogging up the view.


I moved a previous post from 9/16/2012 in so the optical improvements could be viewed easily in a film strip.  I am also extremely happy that I once again found a blogger template that allows images to be viewed full screen and then left and right on the keyboard cycles through them in a slideshow.  I really like the possibilities of the new dynamic templates, but they have some unacceptable shortcomings.


And Back to the Big Guy
Jupiter on the 8" Celestron SCT

  The seeing wasn't very good, and there are definitely some alignment issues that still need worked on, but hands down the best view of Jupiter I've ever had!  I'm excited for this fall and winter to get some extended time on the gas giant and a new crack at the Orion Nebula which is just getting high in the sky before dawn.  See below for a comparison of my previous telescope...

Jupiter on the 4" Meade SCT

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Focused and Collimated? (updated 9/27/12)

  Much, MUCH better.  A single shot at full resolution.
A movie stacked to take out the shimmer of Earth's atmosphere.  
A close up of Tycho Crater
Tycho Crater pointed out

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Messier Object Hunt Begins

   After three long months I've finally got my new telescope mounted and the tripod placement aligned for astrophotography.  Gorgeous clear skies and a new moon aligned for this weekend and with the scope aligned I was flying through deep sky objects for the first time with my new 8" Celestron SCT.  I was even able to make a small run at image stacking on two planetary nebulas for the first time.

M27 - Dumbbell Nebula
M13 - Globular Cluster

M57 - Ring Nebula