Jul 152017
 

I’ve got multiple items across our home, garage, and the observatory which suffered from a local discharge on 7/6.  The observatory was the worst hit with the computer, mount, 2 ethernet switches, powerline ethernet adapters, weather monitor, and possibly other items damaged.

Work continues to repair, replace, and rebuild.  Unfortunately, I think I’ll be down for a little while as I continue to evaluate the extent of the damage.  Hope to be back up in time for some summer nebula imaging but not holding my breath.

 

Apr 022017
 

 

NGC 206 is the brightest star cloud in the arms of the Andromeda Galaxy visible to us here on Earth.  You often see M31 imaged wide field but there is a wealth of detail to be found in the star clouds and dust lanes that start to pop out with a little more focal length.  Taken late last year from my back yard.

NGC 206 in Andromeda
SVQ100, Atlas EQ-G, Apogee A694 CCD

Mar 262017
 

We’re in Galaxy Season and without the 10″ RC I’ve instead focused on the 5″ refractor with a small pixel size camera to squeeze out some detail.  Imaged from the backyard observatory in ~20.5 mag/arcsec^2 skies.

M81 – Bodes Nebula ~8 hours of exposure time. LRGB with AP130GTX, AP1200GTO, Apogee Ascent A694, Baader LRGB Filters, SX-OAG, Lodestar Guider.

 

M82 – The Cigar Approximately 7.5 Hours of exposure time. AP130GTX, AP1200GTO, Apogee Ascent A694, Baader LRGB, SX-OAG, Lodestar Audoguider

Nov 292016
 

Just getting around to publishing some pictures from the 2016 Black Forest Star Party at Cherry Springs State Park in Pennsylvania.  What a great stretch of weather for PA!  The nights weren’t the darkest or most transparent (SQM 21.4-21.5) nights I’ve had at CSSP but clear and a little murky was way better than the alternative after driving up from Knoxville TN.  Had a great time with some old friends and good to see some old club members too.

 

 

Had a few imaging problems related to dithering and settle time / settle criteria that made me lose a fair number of shots but I got two images which, I have to be honest, I’m not real pleased with.  They are however, more challenging objects, but would have come out better had the sky conditions been closer to the SQM 21.8 that I’ve seen before at CSSP.  But, we take whatever quality of clear sky we can get during a pre-planned star party!

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Reflection Nebula NGC 7129 Stellarvue SVQ100, Apogee A694 CCD, Atlas EQ-G Mount, Baader LRGB Filters Lum 9x10min: 1.5 hours RGB each 8x10min: 4 hours Total Time 5.5 hours

 

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SH2-115 Atlas Eq-G Mount, Stellarvue SVQ100, Apogee Ascent A694 CCD, Baader narrowband filters Ha: 8x20min, O[III]: 10x20min, S[II]: 13x20min Total Exposure: 10.3 hours

Nov 062016
 

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Moved the 68″ tall pier to the observatory deck this afternoon.  Progress!

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I didn’t get the pier into place until after dark so no pictures.  It was a chore moving the thing since it’s quite heavy and I didn’t have any help but with the tractor I was able to drag it around and lower it onto the bolts after an hour….

Nov 032016
 

trenching

The site has been cleared, I think I dug out 70+ stumps with the backhoe, 700 feet of electric cable buried, and almost 4,000 lbs of concrete dry mix poured for footers and the telescope pier.  The deck is starting to go up and hopefully the 8″ Exploradome will be in place before the new year.  After two years it’s hard to believe that I’m starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel!

 

observe

 

 

 

 

Jun 262016
 

A couple months ago I was playing around with a green laser, typically used by amateur astronomers to point out celestial objects to others,  and decided to photograph it in use to see how it would show in a photograph.  Honestly, this wasn’t high on my list of things to do but I was clouded out so thought I’d have some fun.  This is a typical untracked exposure length of 15 seconds at f/4 with a 40mm focal length.  I aimed the green laser at Rigel and tried to hold it steady for the duration of the 15 second exposure.  So, this is worst case scenario for the laser being continuously on and pointed at a single object for the duration of the exposure.  That’s not to belittle the impact that green lasers have on us imagers; a quick pass through our image might not be obvious in the final image but lingering on an object for a while might be the difference between a good 20 minute exposure and one that’s going in the trash.  I’ve been lucky enough that I haven’t had an image that was obviously ruined by a laser but then again it’s hard to tell; I’ve had bad glare that may have resulted from errant green lasers playing over my equipment….

 

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Green laser aimed at Rigel