Observing report 31/8/19 Andrew Thornett. Rob Leonard, Neil Wyatt

Rob, Neil and I are at Brankley pastures conservation area near Hoar cross hall tonight observing in field. Currently lot of cloud but earlier on great view if Milky Way with kit of structure especially around Cygnus. M101 was very large occupying 60% field of view in 30mm OVL Aero eyepiece in Rob’s 14 inch Don with bright core. M57 big and bright with Baader Zoom 8-24mm set to 12mm and with UHC filter. Showed internal structure that demonstrated that, although centre cleared relative to ring, it isn’t empty but has network like internal filling. Central star not seen. Both cores of M51 seen with 14 inch Dob with Baader Zoom at 24mm, and we also saw Owl Nebula through light cloud using Baader Zoom with UHC filter in same eyepiece. I think I was able to faintly just see Witch’s Broom without UHC but before I could add UHC cloud came in and prevented further observation. Great reasonably dark observing siteonly minutes from home but you probably want to do with others as feels a bit isolated.

With quite a lot of cloud we resorted to unconventional means of observing. With 30mm finderscope we could all see M31. We could also see it in Vixen 2.1x binoculars. I was able to just make out M33 in the 30mm finderscope, and also the brightest portion of NGC7000 in the Vixen 2.1x binoculars.

M13 seen in Dob and 2.1x binoculars and Neil got a picture of Eastern Veil Nebula.

Started at 2100 and finished 0004.


NGC 7635

This is my first attempt at the bubble Nebula. Had some nice weather last week so I took an advantage and had a go at ngc 7635. I used my skywatcher 250pds and an unmodded canon 700d with a skytech cls filter in it. This image is a total of 5 hours worth of exposure in 7 minute frames. I’m quite happy with how it turned out especially without a modded dslr and without a h-a filter.

Re-processing my data from M31 using M101 image to create sky background to subtract from M31 image to remove light pollution

Follows on from:

Re-processing my image of M31 from 26/8/2019 today 27/8/2019

I used M101 image from a previous night to create sky background image to subtract.

I created 2nd layer and slightly shifted it to make starts more round in shape.

I used curves to bring out data.

I used clone tool to clone out black spots that appeared in image after processing with other methods above.

I used Ian’s noise reduction in G’MIC plug-in for GIMP.

……Uncertain whether I prefer this image to previous versions!


Images below show different amounts of above processing:

Here I go again…..T7C camera on Sky Watcher 72mm DS Pro OTA & Sabre alt-az mount 280819 & focus points (for chimney) on focus tube for camera and for eyepiece in flip mirror observing port

This post also contains photos showing focus points on telescope and eyepiece for camera/flip mirror arrangement in camera port of flip mirror and for eyepiece in eyepiece port of flip mirror.

I bought the T7C guiding camera from ebay some time ago after Ed Mann recommended it in a RAG meeting talk he gave. I thought it would be a good idea to try using this to take some video of Jupiter as it currently visible – however this first involves setting up the camera on my Sky Watcher DS Pro 72mm scope and finding focus. The photos below show the camera on this scope on my Altair Sabre alt-az mount and with a flip mirror from Teleskop Service. There is a Meade XY adjustable illuminated eyepiece in the observing port of the flip mirror aligned to the chip on the camera and I have focused both camera and eyepiece on the chimney of my neighbour’s house.

The homemade weight on the side of the scope is to balance its front end – a temporary solution until I install a longer Vixen bar so that I can shift the scope forward and balance it properly.

Next steps are to align the finder scope, learn how to use a Bahtinov mask to obtain focus, have a trial of taking and processing video from the camera in daytime on this neighbour’s chimney to learn how to do it, and then when we eventually get another clear night try the set up of Jupiter – does not look like it will be this week! See end of blog post after photos below for follow up discussion on what happened next.


Note that SharpCap 3.1 treats the T7C as ZWO ASI20MC camera and I downloaded drivers for that camera from the internet  as the T7C did not come with its own drivers. Notice also exposure settings for day time imaging of chimney on right side of SharpCap screenshot below:

Follow up to above on 29/8/2019:

Aligning the finder scope and re-aligning the eyepiece/finder scope after accidently knocking camera slightly: I am shocked how easy it is to knock the scope/finder/camera out of alignment – slightest knock and I am aligning again. With visual observations, I really don’t need to be so precise – this astrophotography is a lesson is getting everything just right.

Taking my first video file with T7C:

This turned out to be very easy in SharpCap 3.1 – just press “Start Capture” – only thing is need to know where SharpCap stores the video files! In my case, I have set it to C:\Users\andre\Desktop\SharpCap Captures\

Using Registax 6 – a failure!

What did I do wrong? Here are the results of my stacking 1200 frames from AVI video taken in SharpCap 3.1 with Registax 6 using default settings.

Roger recommended changing the alignment box size in Registax 6 with a change to this settings below:

It did not work! Still no identifiable picture at other end of process.

So I tried Autostakkart – produced this….

So what has gone wrong?