changing guide camera on CCDSPEC spectroscope

I have had 2 x QHY6 cameras attached to my CCDSPEC spectroscopy but as this camera uses an ASCOM driver only one camera can be seen by my laptop at a time which means that in order to use a camera as well in the eyepiece port for finding and guiding on faint object whilst spectrums are taken I need to use 2 x laptops at same time (one for spectra and one for guide camera). What a nuisance! Today u have changed the QHY6 camera in the guide port to a T7C camera (clone of ZWO ASI120MC – uses same drivers) and using a 1.25 inch extension tube focused on the spot and confirmed that both cameras can be used simultaneously in my Dell Windows 10 laptop.

  1. QHY6 camera for spectra – take photos with Nebulosity 4 and use ASCOM driver. Camera plugs onto USB 3.0 port on laptop.
  2. T7C camera in guide port on CCDSPEC. This uses ZWO driver and use SharpCap (currently I have version 3.1.5220 installed). This camera does NOT work when plugged onto USB 3.0 port so needs to be plugged onto USB 2.0 port on laptop.

I have also picked up another of Damian’s habits = which is labels over everything!


Mercury transit

I was trying to find some decent images of the Mercury transit from the UK. There weren’t that many!

This one looked good:

And then there is the good old faithful Pete Lawrence! (Not sure where from, though)

But this one takes the prize!

Transit of Mercury 11/11/2019

Managed to catch the first few minutes of the transit before having to go out.

The first image is poor as it was culled from only a few frames of the raw avi. At least its early, between 1st and 2nd contact.

Similarly the prominences were derived from only a few frames.

The second and third are better, as there was a few seconds gap in the clouds for each image sequence.

I then had to leave – – – !

Worth the effort? Yes, bearing in mind I will be 85 in 2032 – – -! Sporting chance I won’t be here then!


Transit of Mercury – RAG event at Rosliston Forestry Centre 11/11/2019

Many members of RAG turned up with scopes and filters to watch the planet Mercury transit the sun today.

The Met Office predicted variable weather and there was even an icon on their website showing simultaneous sun, cloud, rain and and rainbow – never seen that before! However, they were absolutely right because at one point we did indeed see all those things in the sky at the same time.

Due to cloud, we missed those few minutes when Mercury crossed onto the sun, but at various points in the afternoon were able to view it on the solar disc together with a solar prominence through gaps in the cloud. The sky improved towards the end of the afternoon but Mercury dropped behind trees at about 15:45 which meant further observations were not possible. Of course, it was followed by a clear night…..why couldn’t that have been 8 hours earlier?