Sunday, June 23, 2019

Average Jupiter from father's day!

I was out the night before as well, for the 1st time in over 2 months!  Most nights the clouds are doing this -   but it was nice to have mostly clear skies even though it was just average conditions.

Friday, March 22, 2019

My DIY AstroPi AllSky system

I suffer and greatly from clouds! 

In my pursuit to automate the entire deep sky routine, so I can stay warm indoors I sacrifice some visibility into the overall sky conditions for clouds, haze etc that might be a detriment to the stability of my routine, especially when I plan to leave it imaging while I'm asleep.  😴

I knew that wide-angle, dedicated camera would work.  Looking at commercially available allsky I found them crazy pricey.   Then I thought, hey, I built my own telescope, i can DIY this. That's when i found Thomas Jacquin's Instructables DIY ( project. Not only did he publish the h/w steps but he's got a killer github repo too (!

 It's a full enclosed and fully automated system and I've been loving it!! 🤖💞

Anyway there's tons of variation on the the Instructables site and I'm very happy to have found so many great ideas!

I set it up on the deck without the electronics to find it was a bit leaky so the photos show how much sealant I used RESEALING and retesting without electronics again!

First night out it rained but stayed dry inside!

Some of my details are in this video overview.

Right angle usb, it's tight inside a 4" PVC

POE injector for versatility in placement and remote power control! 

Shot of the Pi and some nails/screws in mounting wood for cord routing. 

Tube next to Pi. 

Cat5 routes under the PVC cap via drilled hole that is filled with a glued down hard rubber cap with an x slit to help keep water out. 


Temporarily bungied to the deck rails 

Then the animation fun started...


I've even begun a weather page that updates a recent gif of the cloud animations

I have a couple loose ends to tie up and might post an update in the coming months.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Comet 38P/Stephan-Oterma 2019-01-26 and stellar occultation

I had some clear skies and decided to take a stab at some DSO's, more on those later.  As I settled in with the kids I found a curious comet near my subject galaxy.  I slewed over and there it was, comet 38P/Stephan-Oterma.  I started shooting it and let it go, after 3.5 hours I found a nice animation!

Here's a DSS stack with comet and stars composited and processed in PS.

Here's the measurement screenshot

and sample MPC submissions:

0038P         C2019 01 27.21045 08 29 52.80 +46 50 30.5          12.7 V   

Finally I used my 14" f/4.5 Custom built Newt -

Monday, January 21, 2019

My Super Blood Wolf Lunar Eclipse 2019

It was cold but worthwhile!  I especially wanted to pay attention to the stars at totality and the color.  My camera does have the IR Filter removed hence the pinkish color that my family took exception towards.

All via my Canon 60Da and 200mm lens via MagicLantern (

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

2018 Solar System Best

This year I upgraded from a ZWO ASI174MM to a ASI290MM, mostly so that I could build a DIY allsky camera.  I'm still working on that and will write it up in the coming month, but testing ( following this guide has been fun (

To me it seems that this year was as bad as any in the past few, but comparing to the droughts in the late 2000's isn't fair either.  Also, this year saw the planets at their lowest altitude for me in the northern hemisphere.   I had a grand total of 31 unique nights out that at least I deemed worthy.

Without further ado, here's the main image. - (Full Size!)

and with labels - (Full Size)

Mercury -

Venus -

Moon (Luna) -

Mars -

Jupiter -

Saturn -

Uranus -

Neptune -

Comet -

Sadly I didn't get a good chance to get any asteroids or minor planets aside from a widefield 46P/Wirtanen.

I hope you had a great 2018 and here's to a better 2019!!!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Old Linux Planetary Processing

In the midst of upgrading my blog and webpages - check here for the full and latest tutorials indices | 


Custom coriander - used for capture in Linux

Lucky Image Stacking

AutoStakkert!2 - for stacking in Linux under


AstraImage - for sharpening / deconvolution in Linux under wine
  •  I typically use Lucy-Richardson Deconvolution with the Exponential setting
  • Document covering all the various experiments I've tried (
WinJUPOS - derotation of planetary in Linux under wine


Topaz Labs DeNoise - Photoshop plugin used in Linux under wine

Image modification / Post Processing

Photoshop - used for processing in 16-bit when I feel the need - used in Linux under wine
  •  Auto Color
  • Topaz DeNoise
  • Saturation
  • High Pass filter
  • Contrast

GIMP - native Linux used for final assembly with info and labels or quick 8-bit processing
 Also be sure to add some of these cool GIMP Plugins:

Monday, December 18, 2017

Michael A. Phillips' 2017 Solar System Bests

All in all a pretty great year for the number and quality of planet photos I imaged.  Here in the northern hemisphere the prime planets of Mars, Jupiter and Saturn are fairly low

Full size on Imgur -

With labels -

Here's to a great 2017 **FOR ASTRONOMY** and a great 2018.

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