Damian re-processes Andrew’s M101 image from 24/8/2019 in Nebulosity and Photoshop

Better outcome that my previous attempts. Also multiple small galaxies indentified by comparison with a better widefield image (not mine) – overlaid below – my apologies that stars don’t quite match



Damian’s version my M101 from 240819 on 080919 overlaid with better widefield M101 picture, showing multiple small galaxies, many of which are evident also in image above (due to poor alignment many stars appear twice close to each other):

Weekend Opportunism

Between a busy work week, family commitments and some so-so forecasts it wasn’t looking good for astronomy this weekend, but it turned out pretty well.

Friday Night:
Didn’t get out until about 10:30 but tried to make up for lost time by setting both the main scope going and trying out my 50mm lens on the Star Adventurer. I had high hopes for the 50mm lens- it’s another oldie (I’ve had it about 15 years), but online quite a few people are getting great results with them. Well- I’m not in that club (yet). The diaphragm only has five blades and although I stopped it down to f2.8 (it’ll open up to f1.8) all of my stars are pentagons and DSS is refusing to recognise them as stars- so no results from that. Fortunately, the main rig saved the day: I went for NGC6946 – The Fireworks Galaxy with my 200p. Throughout the session low clouds were interrupting the view, and around half the subs were lost, but the ones I did hang onto gave the result below. Over the summer I’ve picked up a second hand Canon 550d that has been home modified with a Peltier cooler and put into a metal case- it’s not pretty, but it seems to be effective. This is 13×4 minute subs and throughout this session it held the temperature down to around 7-8 degrees which I’m pleased with (a couple of degrees below ambient, my 600d usually runs about 10 degrees above ambient and is consequently much noisier). The target itself is quite a bit smaller than I’d anticipated- this is a crop of about 20% of the frame. Despite the small size- I think this is a lovely target- both for its colours and the asymmetry in the arms.


Whilst the cameras were doing their stuff I had the Dob out on the following objects:

The Double-Double- I used Vega to get the finders lined up then dropped down to Epsilon Lyra to check out the seeing. It was a straightforward split, but I could see that the transparency was not great.

M13 & M92 – I often start with these and never get tired of them. In Binoviewers at about 260x they fill the field of view and appear 3 dimensional. For me these are the only types of objects that actually look better in the eyepiece than in a photo; I love the difference in their appearance- M13’s great with lots of features, but a bit of a mess with arms everywhere, whereas M92 is compact and very neat. Just wonderful.

The Veil – I was reading a thread on SGL recently which referenced a Sky and Telescope article on The Veil (https://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-blogs/explore-night-bob-king/explore-veil-nebula/) . Using this as a guide, and with an Oiii filter a 30mm eyepiece (55x) and a coat over my head I managed to explore just about the whole thing. I’m a bit prone to hopping from object to object whilst observing, so it was great to really take my time in the tranquillity of the small hours and drink it all in with nothing but the odd clunk of a shutter release and that American woman with the nice voice who commentates on APT saying “Dithering started…” softly in the background. Ahhh… a very nice dither contemplating the remnants of a supernova.

I was on the Veil for over half an hour and loved every minute of it, but decided with to move on with the Oiii filter and go check out M27. This is normally not a problem, but by this point the transparency had deteriorated so much I was unable to hop to it. Altair was the only nearby star that was naked eye visible and despite several attempts I just couldn’t find the stars in the finder to hop up to M27. Reluctant to retire I switched up to the North East to check out M31 as the skies looked better in that direction. Before I could get to it a bank of cloud blotted it out. Time for bed…


I managed to pop out briefly whilst doing other things on Saturday evening and set the imaging rig running on M13. This was a bit of an experiment: I’ve imaged M13 before, but with my guide camera on a smaller scope using the short exposure method. Whilst I was quite pleased with those outcomes (see https://roslistonastronomy.uk/catching-up-on-images) , I wanted to see how it would look with more integration time and a DSLR chip. This is 22x 4 min subs plus calibration frames and I am really pleased with it. As a bonus for the last half-hour it was running I sat outside with Sam observing the sky primarily with Mark 1 eyeballs. After a while we were both able to pick out the Milky Way running up through Cassiopeia and Cygnus despite the local light pollution. A real pleasure!

Planets – Voyager Grand Tour and More on 7 September

Spent last night using the ASI120MC with and without an x3 barlow on my 150PL. Who says it’s easy to find things with GOTO?

Neptune and Phi Aquari, the evening before they would have been much closer!
Neptune and Phi Aquari, the evening before they would have been much closer!
Uranus with x3 drizzle to reveal minute detail (not).
Uranus with x3 drizzle to reveal minute detail (not).
Surprisingly good Saturn for only a hundred and sixty or so frames.
Surprisingly good Saturn for only a hundred and sixty or so frames.
Soft Jupiter in bad seeing
Soft Jupiter in bad seeing
Pluto the tiny dot on the tiny arrow...
Pluto the tiny dot on the tiny arrow…
Appolo 17 landing site - Hadley rille is JUST visible - I managed amuch better image of this a few years ago, but with much better conditions.
Appolo 17 landing site – Hadley rille is JUST visible – I managed amuch better image of this a few years ago, but with much better conditions.

Clustering 08/09/2019

I wasn’t ambitious enough to go hunting local group galaxies last night, but it occurred to me that I hadn’t got a half decent image of the Perseus double cluster, for all the same reasons I hadn’t got an image of M31. So, equipping the PD with the 5-100mm zoom lens again, I tried to rectify the situation. Here is NGC669 / NGC884 / or C14, as you choose.


By this time, the Pleiades (M45) had come into view. Although that means winter is coming, it is always nice to welcome back and take a snapshot of old friends.


Here is another version with the nebulosity suppressed a bit:

Painting/staining of new HEQ5/EQ6 mobile base with Cuprinol now completed

Two layers of Cuprinol later (left over from my wife’s fence painting project earlier in the year), the new mobile wooden HEQ5/EQ6 will be ready for vanishing with yacht varnish once it dries – and with high humidity levels at present and low temperatures I think it might take a few days before it properly dries out from the water based Cuprinol. That’s the price you pay for using left over stuff!


Focusing QHY10 with Tele Vue TRF-2008 Reducer-flattener in situ for first time during day on Sky Watcher Equinox Pro 80mm OTA

I added my Tele Vue TRF-2008 Reducer-flattener into the imaging train for my QHY10 camera on my Sky Watcher Equinox Pro 80mm telescope today. As first step, I decided to try focusing it during the day. This needed me to reduce the aperture by 70% with aperture mask as well using minimum 1/10000 second exposure setting in Nebulosity 4 for the camera and also aim as the darkest part of the daytime garden.

Following image shows bottom garden in focus with QHY10 only attached to telescope:

In the following image, I added in my Tele Vue TRF-2008 Reducer-flattener and TS Optics off axis guider/flip mirror together into the imaging train – as you can see I could not obtain focus even when the focuser was fully racked in as far as it would go (needed to go in not out – could see focus improve as I did so):

Finally, in this image, you can see that I obtained focus with the Tele Vue TRF-2008 Reducer-flattener and QHY10 but without the TS Optics off axis guider/flip mirror, so sadly I won’t be able to use the TS OAG/FM with the TRF-2008 and my QHY10:

Focus was achieved at the end of the garden with QHY10 and Tele Vue TRF-2008 Reducer-flattener with a setting of 17mm on the focus tube of the Equinox 80mm OTA. Note 35mm of T2-adapters were used as spacer between the TRF-2008 and QHY10 as advised in the TRF-2008 manual.

Next step is to try focusing at night and find alternative way of finding my objects than the TS OAG/FM as I am keen to use the TRF-2008.