Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Pluto on three nigts in Sept 2009

I had to make a correction to the original finding based on 3 nights (Sept 12th, 21st and 29th, 2009. 

Here you'll see the positions of Pluto marked with small lines.  The animation will change the current position's line blue and then rotate back through.

I used...
Optics: Meade LXD55 6" Schmidt Newtonian OTA
Mount: CGE mount on JMI Wheely Bars
Camera: Canon XTi with Hutech LP Filter (LPS-P2-FF)
Focusing Aid: STI focuser
Shutter control: Hap Griffin long exposure cable
Software: MaximDL
Guiding: DMK21AF04 with a piggybacked 4" SkyWatcher via PHD and ASCOM drivers
Operating System: WinXP Lenovo T61
Pre-Processing: Iris per automated Jim Solomon's Cookbook
Post-Processing: Gimp

Animation made with Gimp.

I also found it interesting that Pluto at magnitude 14 is pretty bright (other stars are 15-16 or fainter).  Pluto is over 4.7 Billion Kilometers away or nearly 3 Billion Miles.

I wish I could find a way to balance the background across the varying nights conditions.  The last night I fought the tree tops!

Cropped


FULL

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Messier 17 - Omega Nebula

  I think I could have benefited greatly from more subs on this one.  I ended up getting all .fits instead of raws on the 1st night.  The second night, MaximDL hung on downloading one of the raws, then the trees took over and I lost the autoguiding star.  I will try to add more sometime this season.  This nebula grabbed my interest simply because it was near Pluto (more on that object later).  I really like it.  Despite only 4 subs for a total of 14 min I think it came out well.

Stats

Optics: Meade LXD55 6" Schmidt Newtonian OTA
Mount: CGE mount on JMI Wheely Bars
Camera: Canon XTi with Hutech LP Filter (LPS-P2-FF)
Focusing Aid: STI focuser
Shutter control: Hap Griffin long exposure cable
Software: MaximDL
Guiding: DMK21AF04 with a piggybacked 4" SkyWatcher via PHD and ASCOM drivers
Operating System: WinXP Lenovo T61
Subs: Canon Raw 3x 180s @ ISO 1600 and 1x 300s @ ISO 800
Pre-Processing: Iris per automated Jim Solomon's Cookbook
Post-Processing: Levels, curves, selective gauss in Gimp alone.

Some additional subject details on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Messier_17

Thanks,

Mike

Friday, September 18, 2009

2008 SCT-User Imaging Contest


http://www.darkatmospheres.com/contest/2008/
I came in 2nd place in this contest and won a great observing chair: http://www.buyastrostuff.com/store/Metal-astro-chair-frame-page.htm

I got my CGE back!!!!

I was very excited to get my CGE back from repair at Celestron and as luck would have I got a good 3 nights out of 4 of clear skies and an old moon!

I was tough getting back into the swing of things, but I'm happy to have it back.  The last night I split my time between the C8i SE (Orange tube on your Left) and the CGE with the DSO rig (White scopes on your Right).

As the haze and clouds began to build this last night I took off my DLSR from the white, DSO setup and had to pose as I was so excited to have both out and running at the same time.

I was sitting in an observing chair that I won from the SCT User Contest 2008 (http://www.darkatmospheres.com/contest/2008/).  It's actually a great chair!!

Now to process all my data!  :)

Mike

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About Me

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Loving husband, proud father, computer geek, astro freak, music lover, sports nut and general fun-loving guy

I think I'm the kind of person who doesn't like strong opinions.  It doesn't matter if I agree with your opinion or not, it's not factual, it never will be 100% factual and I don't care for it.  That's probably why I hate politics.

I've always loved facts, provable facts of nature and things concerning science.  

Over time, I found that most facts are mostly reference and it was the creation of and discovery of new things that intrigued me.

"A good friend once told me you are our memory
without them we equal nothing
And all I can see is the place I wanna be
Suddenly my life was so free
Leaves at my feet, blown to the ground
their echoes are reaching my ears
Nights coming fast, suns going down" - A7x