Monoceros from the Window-sill – – -29/11/2017

Here’s a couple of the items we discussed at the last RAG meeting.

Hubble’s variable nebula, NGC2261 or C46, is only 2′ in size and therefore not really suited to the window-sill ST80. Will have a go with the SCT next time I go outside.



As a seasonal image, here is NGC2264, the Christmas tree cluster. I have turned it the right way up for anyone not familiar with it. It is a bit bigger than last-year’s version!

The star at the base of the “tree” is 15, or S, Monocerotis. The blue “halo” around it is not an entirely optical effect, as to quote Alan Macrobert in his book “Star-hopping for Back-Yard Astronomers”, it is “about as blue a star as you’ll ever see”.

Zeiss binocular head 47 30 11 9901

The binocular head I currently use on my Zeiss IM microscope is the Zeiss binocular head 47 30 11 9901. The dovetail is 43mm in external diameter.

I have included two photos of the IM microscope at the bottom of the page for colour comparison purposes – one taken using flash and one without. The binocular head is the same colour as the microscope. The Zeiss IM microscope is similar to the Zeiss IM35 microscope – in fact I have an IM35 as well and both are the same colour and use the same heads. Therefore, the colour of this microscope can be also seen on photos of the IM35 on the internet and many photos of the IM35 can be seen at this search link from Bing search engine:





Another Lunar Image from the (warm!) Window-sill -27/11/2017

Tonight, looking out of the window, the Moon’s phase looked almost exactly right to illuminate the “Straight Wall”, so I determined to have a go with the stacked barlow pair on the 80 mm ST80. As it happened the Straight Wall was almost exactly on the terminator, casting a relatively long shadow and necessitating some contrast stretching to get a half-decent image.


Apollo 15

Bringing the kids back from an afternoon out today at sunset we were looking at the moon and discussing earthshine, as you could clearly see the part of the moon unlit by the sun in the darkening sky.

As we got home I tried to get out and get a snap through the scope, but by the time I’d sorted the kids out it was too dark and the moment had gone. I did however manage to get a decent focus on the moon (for once) and looking through the photos later there was some good detail. I checked the web for what to look out for on a seven day moon and one of the best features is sunrise over Mons Hadley the landing site for Apollo 15. Very pleasing!

My largest error photo – a microscopy photo of fossilised coral from Oklahoma – 543.87 megapixels!

Microscopy of Caninia torquia fossilised coral from Oklahoma. I used the Zeiss IM microscope, x4 objective, plane polarised, Bresser Mikrocam 9.0 camera.

Photos taken on 26/11/2017 – 100 photos stitched together using Microsoft Composite Editor.

Final image = 14704 x 36988 pixels (543.87 megapixels)

The photo shows the structure of the coral, divided into rectangular areas by dividing walls, and crystalisation of the rock matrix in the holes in the structure.


Thumbnail of image below (this version only 63kb) – if you would like you to do so, you can download the full 543 megapixel version from the following link and zoom in to see the detail (I recommend right clicking on link below and selecting “save as”): images_PNGwithalpha261117.png

Microscopy S annectans Finis Shale Texas x4 objective Zeiss IM microscope 26/11/2017

Damian popped around and together we looked at a slide of fossilised coral from the USA.

Stereocorypha is a form of extinct coral. The slide here is from Jack County, Texas. Photographs were taken on my Zeiss IM microscope with x4 objective, using the Bresser Mikrocam 9.0 camera and Diagnostic Instruments adapter and ZU clamp, with Zeiss 910137 dual observation adapter (originally designed for a teaching microscope but bought into use here to allow both the binocular head and ZU clamp to be simultaneously used on the IM microscope).

The following slides show:

  • Three images of the same field of view to demonstrate the (limited) effect on this slide of using a single polarization filter. The filter used is one made by Zeiss.
  • A composite of 49 pictures combined using Microsoft’s Image Composite Editor.

Andy & Damian

Bresser Mikrocam 9.0 installed on Zeiss IM microscope:

The photos in the composite were taken using a blue filter. The set of three were the only ones using polarising filter – in this case one made by Zeiss. This is single linear polarisation NOT cross-polarisation:


A set of three images to demonstrate effect of polarisation on the same field of view:

Without polarising filter:

Polarising filter position I:

Polarising filter position II:

Composite of 49 images taken using blue filter (non-polarised):

This file is so large I have had to ZIP file into a compressed folder. The picture within it is a 70% quality JPEG version of the composite – the only way I could get such a large photo onto WordPress!

S annectans Finis Shale Texas x4 obj Zeiss IM 261117 (stitched x49 photos)JPEG-70percent-cropped



Trying to use Canon EOS 300D camera with Zeiss IM microscope

Today, I spent an hour or so trying to take photographs with my Canon EOS 300D on the Zeiss IM microscope…….and concluded that it is far too much hassle to be worth the effort – better off sticking with my dedicated Bresser MikrOkular and Mikrocam cameras with the microscopes.

Anyway, here is the account of my attempt to use the EOS with the microscope.

Firstly – an adapter issue – needed an EOS to microscope adapter – could not find one so resorted to buying an EOS-T2 adapter and a T2-C-mount adapter and pairing the two – some vignetting but not a major issue. This allowed me to mount the camera as in the picture below, using the Diagnostic Instruments ZU clamp (the ZU has correct dovetail for the IM and IM35 microscopes I have found).

I tried to directly download photos from camera to WIndows 7 computer but then ran into my next problem – no disc with my EOS 300D (bought few years ago without CD) and I can’t download software from Canon or find it on internet.

Also driver problem with Windows 7 – Canon driver does not support Windows 7 – found a workaround for Windows 7 – BUT it did not work on my laptop – don’t know why – involved changing communication settings on a Canon EOS camera menu.

Click download to view workaround for Windows 7 (PDF file):

Workaround Canon 300D with Windows 7 accessed 26/11/17

The alternative is to use a card reader – this does work although means card needs to be taken in and out – not good for helping with focusing where many quickly viewed images needed.

In spite of all of the above, I could work around these problems but the next one is somewhat  insurmountable.

The Diagnostic Instruments clamp includes a nifty focusing ring which allows the camera to be made parfocal with the binocular observing head – very handy for taking photos. It is circled in the image below.

Unfortunately, the clamp focusing mechanism does not have enough travel to bring the EOS par-focal with the binocular head – but it does work very well with the Mikrocam. So why would I chose the EOS over the Mikrocam, as this feature is so useful?

I did attempt some photos of a slide of fossilised material – you can see in the photos below that focusing is the major issue: