Archive for the 'Astrostuff' Category

Observing Report 13th-14th December 2017 (Geminid meteors)

Posted by on December 17th 2017 in Astrostuff, Observing Reports, Pics
Tags: ,

Typically there was much cloud on the two best Geminid meteor observing nights. Just to rub it in, it had been clear for both of the two preceding nights and it was clear again for both of the two following nights. I managed a stop/start session on the night of the 13th, the skies changing from short clear periods to longer periods of snow or sleet far too often for my liking. I seemed to spend most of the time stopping/starting the capture software and covering/uncovering the camera. About 25 bright trails were observed while only 118 camera shots were taken, but only two Geminids were recorded.

Here's a composite pic, click it to see a bigger version:

A pair of Geminid meteors.

Astro Imaging – Works in Progress from October 2017 Observing Sessions

Posted by on November 2nd 2017 in Astrostuff, Pics

I've managed to get out for a few observing/imaging sessions recently. So far I've only stacked four sets of sub-frames in DeepSkyStacker, I've yet to throw any Photoshop Actions at them.

Here's what I'll be fiddling with when there's nobody looking:


The Horsehead and Flame Nebulae in Orion.


The Double Cluster in Perseus.


IC1848 Soul Nebula in Cassiopeia.


M45 Pleiades in Taurus.


I'll post the finished articles as and when.


Observing Report 5th-13th August 2017 (Perseid meteors)

Posted by on August 22nd 2017 in Astrostuff, Observing Reports, Pics

From the 5th to the 13th of August I managed four nights watching and photographing the Perseids. 1799 pics later and I'd caught nine good meteors on camera, and I'd seen about 75 while lazing on the garden bench. Bearing in mind the low hourly rates, several bouts of cloudiness and the rising Moon, nine on camera is about as many as I would have expected.

Here's the best pic of the bunch, captured on the 12th - looking towards the zenith, West is more-or-less downwards. Click it to see a bigger version:

A pair of Perseid meteors heading west-southwest.

Observing Report 16th-17th October 2016 (coloured Moon mosaic)

Posted by on October 20th 2016 in Astrostuff, Observing Reports

Moon-gazing again last Sunday... playing around with a colour video camera on the 6" R-C... 17 clips each of 250 frames, stacked with AutoStakkert!2, coaxed into one mosaic using iMerge (see previous post), tarted up with Photoshop CS3.

The result is better than expected.

Feel free to click on it to see the full version, but be aware that it might take a while to load - it's about 12Mb:


If that's not enough, there's a ~40Mb .bmp version here.

One edge done

Posted by on October 19th 2016 in Astrostuff, Observing Reports

We've now got all of the bits, they're fitting together nicely:


Should be finished soon.

Corner piece

Posted by on October 18th 2016 in Astrostuff, Observing Reports

"The moon is essentially gray, no color; looks like plaster of Paris or sort of a grayish beach sand."
James Lovell, Apollo 8, first transmission from first lunar orbit, 24 December 1968.


More of the jigsaw should follow soon.

Observing Report 17th April 2016 (Unexpected sunspots)

Posted by on May 1st 2016 in Astrostuff, Observing Reports, Pics
Tags: ,

It's hard to believe that it's been over a year since I posted anything astronomy-related.

I'm not yet ready for full nights up in the obsy, but unexpectedly I was allowed out to play during the day.

Here are a couple of sunspot pics and a stitched image from a session a couple of weeks ago. Not my best work, but it was fun trying to remember which wires connect what to what, and which software settings are best for the conditions and the data.

Active Region 2529 (17/04/2016).
DMK mono camera with 2.25x Barlow on C80ED-R, Baader Solar Film filter.


Active Region 2532 (17/04/2016).
DMK mono camera with 2.25x Barlow on C80ED-R, Baader Solar Film filter.


Sun (17/04/2016).
Six stitched images from the DMK mono camera on C80ED-R, Baader Solar Film filter.

Not so Smug now, eh?

Posted by on June 19th 2014 in Astrostuff, Photo hosting, Pics, Site update

It's taken me 127 days to de-SmugMug this blog, but it's been worth it.

Maybe now I can get back to some serious blogging.

Or maybe some not-so-serious blogging.


(Late) Observing Report 13th-14th March 2014 (Another Moon Mosaic)

Posted by on March 25th 2014 in Astrostuff, Observing Reports, Pics

There's not much to report here, no stargazing was done - poor seeing and too much haze for visual observing of faint and/or fuzzy targets. The Moon was about the only thing worth pointing the scope at. Suffice to say that 26 slightly hazy .avi files were taken, stacked, trimmed and stitched to make this image:

Moon (13/03/2014 @ 22:00 approx). 26 panes stitched with iMerge.
Each pane is ~300/~3000 stacked frames. DMK mono CCD camera
on the GSRC6M.

Observing Report 14-15th November 2013 (doing a runner)

Posted by on November 19th 2013 in Astrostuff, Observing Reports

Like I said, there was a run of clear frosty nights. I managed to blag a pass to spend another one of them in the shed. No visual observing this time, I fancied a shot at imaging an intriguing bunch of nebulae - NGC 1973/5/7. I could have done better with more subs, so I might well grab some more and process the thing again some time, but for now here's the result:

NGC 1973/5/7, 15th November 2013.
Subs: 25 light @ 300s, 50 darks or bias frames, ISO800.
1000D on the 6" R-C, guided with PHD.

This trio of objects isn't called the "Running Man Nebula" without good reason!

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