Photographing Mars during RAG observing session

With Neil Wyatt’s help, I have managed to take my first photograph of Mars – I am very excited!

  • ZWO ASI174MM camera
  • Sky Watcher Equinox Pro 100mm OTA
  • HEQ5 Pro mount
  • I used Pole Master to polar align.
  • I learnt that SharpCap to take the photos – I discovered this is better than FireCapture & ASICapture.
  • The image on SharpCap needs to be quite bright – so change settings so histogram about 75% – initially I took video which wasn’t so bright & then AutoStakkert would not recognise the planet.
  • I also need to use 5x Barlow to reasonable image scale.
  • To focus – need to focus on star first as difficult to focus on planet.


Sky watching in Flamborough, Yorkshire

Had a couple of chances to do some sky watching when on holiday last week. Mars was clearly visible when the sky cleared. It seemed that it took quite a while for the sky to get dark enough. The moon was looking good. I was able to look out of the velux window in the bedroom, and see the moon out there. On one evening the Milky Way was visible, not too clear, but you could tell it was there.

Processing image of solar surface Quark Sodium filter 25/6/2020 on 8/10/2020

  • ZWO ASI174MM camera
  • Sky Watcher Equinox 100mm Pro OTA
  • HEQ5 Pro Mount
  • Fire Capture
  • Processed in ASI, ImPPG, Photoshop CS6 with Astroflat Pro/Gradient eXterminator/Sharpen AI plug-ins.
  • Best 5% of ca. 1000 frames
  • Lichfield, UK


My favourite version of this image:

In image below, I have taken sharpening to an extreme – brings out some extra detail but at expense of making image seem unreal:

Focus point on Sky Watcher Equinox 100mm scope with Tele Vue 3.5 inch extension tube and 2-1.25 inch adapter for ZWO ASI385MC camera with 1.25 inch nosepiece

In my ongoing attempts to successfully take a photo of a planet, first step is to focus and get image of window on neighbour’s house at bottom of garden – gives me approx. focus point for stars/planets – last time I tried to photograph a planet I couldn’t see anything on the laptop!

I really am not very good at this astrophotography stuff…


A Couple of Wizards

Finally had a chance to process some data from 25th Sep- data taken overnight after Tom Fields spectroscopy talk. This data is of NGC7380- the Wizard Nebula. I used the 130pds scope and ASI1600mm Camera.

The acquisition details are:

R,G,B – each 20x 30s (Stars)

Ha,Oiii,Sii – each 100x 60s (Nebula).

All at Gain 250.

There’s 2 presentations: the first is SHO, but with the green channel then mostly re-distributed into yellow and blue, the second is more naturalistic with Ha and Sii fed into Red and Oiii into blue and green, with a 50% multiplier on blue and a reduction in Red where Oiii is present. So not very naturalistic!



Newly processed version of my colour Moon data from 4/4/2020 – processed 4/10/2020

My skills in astrophotography processing have improved over time – so I decided to have another go at processing my colour Moon data from 4/4/2020, in order to see if I can get something I am happier with – I wanted to be able to show the mineral composition of different areas through their different colours.


First version has had some sharpening applied using Topaz Denoise:

Without using Denoise: