Sunday night was clear so i decided to have a second go at M33. This is the second time Ive attempted this galaxy as the first from last year was slightly out of focus. It was a poor night seeing wise and my “clear outside app” was actually orange/red for most of it but Im pleased with the improvement from last year. I still feel i need to add more subs or would better seeing make that difference??? I actually tried to view the galaxy with a set of 70mm binos but it wasn’t visible. 100×2.5min plus darks, flats and bias. Processed in pixinsight.
Esprit 120 Part 1
I decided to purchase this scope as it fits nicely in between the focal lengths of my other telescopes. I have read lots of reviews of the espirit range and quite honestly haven’t found any negativity at all. I purchased the scope from FLO and spent an extra little to have the scope optically bench tested. This will serve as an additional peace of mind and I’m really pleased I did so.
On close inspection of the scope I can see this is a very high quality instrument with great attention to detail.
It comes with all the connectors etc that you would require to start imaging right out of the box. I did purchase the field flattener at an additional cost as I plan to use it purely for imaging. If your doing visual astronomy the flattener isn’t required. I also received a m48 to canon adapter but not sure if this is normally included in uk sales or FLO just threw it in ? Either way very pleased !
The retractable dew shield is a great fit and works very well with the two screws to tighten over the tube.
The focuser is of excellent quality and feels lovely to work it back and forth. The only other refractor I have is a takahashi Fsq 85 and I’d say this is of equal quality. The locking knob sits underneath the focuser. I wasn’t sure about the locking knob in the beginning as I’m used to using the screw type on the Fsq but this is growing on me and certainly locks things down tightly.
I also like the camera orientation adjuster which enables you to quickly frame the object your imaging. Again slightly different to the Fsq but excellent.
Visually the scope looks stunning with clean lines and I like the splash of green SkyWatcher have added to their scopes over recent months.
The optics look awesome and I’m really looking forward to testing it out when the weather clears. I plan to use a full frame canon 6d to start with so this will be a real test of the scope/optics. Going by the look/feel of the scope I’m very confident it will pass with flying colours.
Make no mistake this is a finely engineered scope, love it !
M31 from the 30th Oct, 28×2.5min exposures plus flats, darks and bias frames. Stacked calibrated and processed in pixinsight. Unfortunately i messed up the flats as a piece of unfocused dust moved in between taking the lights and flats. I solved this by using clone stamp in pixinsight. This is a lesson i guess- I should take the flats at exactly the same time as the lights and not leave it 24hrs at the same focus point.
A clear night was forecast on Friday evening so i contacted some members through the whatsapp group with the prospect of imaging/observing in my garden. Nick turned up around 6ish and we set up his wedge mounted evostar in good time. Nick then did his standard alignment and then polar alignment but we wanted to test the accuracy of the celestron polar alignment software. To do this we set up a QHY polemaster and went through the quick and easy procedure. As it turned out the software was reasonably accurate and both were within a few arc minutes of each other. Nick started imaging the Ring nebula and around half 8 i started a series of exposures on the elephant trunk Ic1396. I was able to collect 4 hours of images which i stacked and processed in pixinsight. 10min exposures at iso 800.
I was able to get out on Monday evening after work for a couple of hours. The Sadr region had just crossed the meridian by about 8ish so i decided on this target. I took a total of 17x8min subs in Halpha before heading indoors for an early start in the morning. This was processed along with 45x bias 25x darks (from darks library) and 25x flats. Very pleased and hope to add some colour when the moon has gone.
I decided to start imaging the north American nebula this time because it crossed the meridian right after my son was put to bed at 8pm, giving me 5-6 straight hours of imaging. Sadly after preparation the clouds rolled in so it wasn’t until 11pm that i was able to start imaging. I finished off around 2:30am giving me around 3.5hrs of data in Halpha. Stacked and processed in pixinsight with 20 darks 20 flats and 35 bias. 8min exposures at iso 800 f5.
Rosette nebula from last winter. I didn’t think the data was very good so i didn’t bother processing until now. 30min exposure in total but lots to improve. No flats, bias or darks as i mixed things up last year. Im very pleased how its turned out so clearly i should have processed earlier!
12×2.5min at iso 800 taken on 8.2.18
Having recently imaged the veil in Halpha due to the moon i wanted to get some images of this spectacular nebula in full colour. The evening of 6/10/18 gave me that opportunity and i was able to collect 3.5 hours worth of light frames. I must say a big thanks to a certain member from SGL who was able to show me a couple of tips on pixinsight.
Ken and I, plus RAG junior members Ben and Sam decided to brave the wild weather of Storm Callum this weekend and attended the Stargazers Lounge star party at Lucksall in Herefordshire. The weather gods co-operated in the standard way for pre-organised astro events and laid on some gale force winds, torrential rain and almost complete cloud cover, but this didn’t stop the whole thing being a lot of fun.
A marquee was set up for the event and some excellent talks were provided, including a very interesting one on sub millimetre astronomy, the limits of our current knowledge and how we’re pushing against them.
In addition there were a few practical activities laid on including rocket making and virtual reality exploration of the ISS and Comet 67p, plus some unofficial events:
– Welsh whiskey sampling (It’s a thing, apparently, and very nice too!)
– Watching ever larger pieces of debris glide past on a very swollen River Wye. We thought the mature Oak tree would be the largest, but then a pontoon with several large canoes still attached went flowing past.
– Speculating on whether the campsite would actually flood- the water was only a foot or so beneath the top of the defences when we left this morning.
There was also around an hour last night where the weather gods were clearly distracted and the cover broke a little and we played a game of pointing the dob at the gaps in the cloud as some of the easier to spot objects made an appearance. Altogether we managed to share views of the double-double, Bodes & Cigar, Andromeda, the Ring, the Double Cluster (easily the best sight, given the conditions), Albireo and Mars- albeit on a now you see it, now you don’t basis. Despite this, it was a great craic doing it with like-minded folks.
Fingers crossed next year there won’t be the same clash with the IAS- it would be great if more of us could enjoy both events.