Astrophotography

Needle and M13

Ebay has finally yielded some new tougher bolts and replacement battery for my mount so I couldn’t resist the lure of some clear skies on Sunday night. Given that it was a school night and it didn’t get dark enough until after 11, I thought I’d try and do it Roger-style with shorter exposures on my little ZWO camera (sadly I didn’t have any double glazing facing the right way for this).

As well as borrowing Roger’s approach I also borrowed one of his recent targets as I’m quite taken by the Needle Galaxy at the minute, along with M13.

Needle is a stack of 35x 20 second exposures. I had gain at 500 for this and it was very noisy and I had to process it to within an inch of it’s life to get something out of it.

M13 is a stack of 80x 7 second exposures- the same gain, but the shorter exposure/more subs seemed to help, and in comparison it fell out of the camera and processed itself (OK- I exaggerate).

Started imaging at 11:15 and done and dusted and in bed an hour later! Hopefully will get another go at this on a darker night and with more time to play…

Solar observing in Streethay

Whilst the sun shone in Windsor for the royal wedding, it also shone here in Lichfield! Damian and I set up our telescopes with Daystar Quack (sorry meant to say QUARK – I think it was the automatic text correction on my Samsung!) Hydrogen Filters to capture three magnificent prominence on the edge of the solar disc – at approx 3 o’clock, 6 o’clock and 9 o’clock on the disc (location not time viewing feld of view as clock face) in our scopes with diagonals.

I used my Sky Watcher 80mm Equinox Pro and 8-24  zoom eyepiece on Manfrotto tripod. Damian used his Takahashi with 40mm, 32mm or 25mm Televue Plossls on Nova Hitch mount. The Tak has longer focal length than the Sky Watcher so it was appropriate to use longer focal length eyepieces.

Andy & Damian

The photos below were taken at approx. 14:50 (time BST) today through my Sky Watcher 80mm Equinox Pro on Manfrotto mount with my Samsung S7 smartphone camera hand held to eyepiece.

Prominence at ca. 3 o’clock on clock face of field of view:

     

Prominence at 6 o’clock:

Prominence at 9 o’clock:

The following is taken using Samsung through Damian’s Takahashi on Novohitch mount at 15:34. It shows evolution of the 9 o’clock prominence:

The following shows evolution of the 3 o’clock prominence so that it shows three rather than previous two projections up from solar surface. Also through Damian scope:

And the next picture a solar filament on the solar surface – although it is faint and difficult to pick out, again in the Takahashi:

Part of the solar disc seen through Quark Calcium-H filter in the Takahashi – not much detail but difficult to judge because these are apparently good with sun spots but we don’t have any to look at today!

The following image taken with Samsung S7 phone through my 80mm Equinox at 16:20 with 8mm eyepiece on Quark of the 9 o’clock prominence when seeing deteriorated for a while. First version is without processing and second some processing to bring out contrast using curves:

The next images were taken about 16:25 of the 2 o’clock prominence. Damian thought it had 4 projections now – the camera in both cases has only just caught the fourth faint one between one on right and two on left – just goes to show that the human eye can integrate over time and sometimes pick up detail that cameras might find difficult to see. Later, Damian took a hand held photo within his iPhone when seeing picked up and it did indeed show four projections!

Through 80mm Equinox when seeing improved – four projections now visible:

Through Takahashi:

Back to the Takahashi again but now using 25mm eyepiece to show more detail on the 9 o’clock prominence:

A great afternoon’s observing!