Posts tagged '103P/Hartley'

Observing Report 16th-17th October 2010 (First light for the new scope)

Posted by on November 1st 2010 in Astrostuff, Observing Reports, Pics, Shiny new kit

Sorry this is a bit late but I'm playing catch-up here.

Saturday night was forecast reasonably clear so I grabbed the chance to point the baby R-C scope skywards to see what it could do. Although this scope is built primarily for imaging, I wanted to try some visual observing first to see how it compared to the 8" Newt.

I'd been told that aside from the reduced light-grasp due to the reduced aperture, the contrast would be reduced due to the relative size of the secondary obstruction. Well, I believed that until I looked at Jupiter's clearly-defined belts through the 8mm eyepiece. It looked good, and there were no issues with holding the planet and its moons in focus at the same time. I had a look at some Messier objects through various eyepieces and was similarly impressed.

After that I removed the eyepiece and put the webcam in at prime focus and went back to Jupiter and its moons. The scope has a larger native magnification than the Newt, so it was hard to gauge the differences, but it was certainly no worse, I reckon it'll make a fair grab 'n go planetary webcamming scope.

Finally I set it up with the D50 at prime focus and took some guided long exposures of a few objects - M1 (The Crab Nebula), Comet 103P/Hartley again,  M33 (The Triangulum Galaxy) again, M67 (an open cluster in the constellation Cancer) and M74 (a face-on spiral galaxy in the constellation Pisces). Hartley was really motoring - in the pic the comet's elongation gives an indication of how far it was moving during each 300s exposure.

The data for the last two was dumped due to it being affected by high-level thin clouds, but I processed the rest and got some reasonable results bearing in mind the small amount of data that was used. I'm sufficiently encouraged by these to plan ahead for a decently-long session with M33 when the skies eventually clear here, I reckon I could get much better results with more data at better settings. It that works, I'll go for M74 which is supposed to be the most difficult Messier object for amateur astronomers to observe.

Anyway, the pics are as follows:

103P/Hartley, currently in the constellation Auriga.
Subs: 10 light @ 300s, darks, flats, ISO200.
D50 and AT2FF on the
6" R-C, guided with PHD.

 M33 (aka NGC 598), a spiral galaxy in the constellation Triangulum.
Subs: 12 light @ 300s, darks, flats, ISO200.
D50 and AT2FF on the
6" R-C, guided with PHD.

 M1 (aka NGC 1952), The Crab Nebula in the constellation Taurus.
Subs: 12 light @ 300s, darks, flats, ISO200.
D50 and AT2FF on the
6" R-C, guided with PHD.

By the time I'd finished taking flat-frames, packed away and locked up, it was getting light. I was knackered but happy. For such a small scope, the baby R-C has proved to be good and I'm glad that I bought it.

Observing Report 29th-30th September 2010 (Much wetness)

Posted by on October 1st 2010 in Astrostuff, Observing Reports, Pics

Wednesday evening was unexpectedly clear after several days and nights of grotty weather, and I wasn't going to miss the opportunity to get a look in so yet again I got set up after our weekly evening shopping trip. The seeing was reasonable and there wasn't a hint of a breeze but the humidity was high - it was a battle against the dew all night long. It's a good job that I'd been planning for such conditions - I'd recently acquired a set of anti-dew tapes and a controller-box and I'd made a decent power-pack. Again, the aim was to get some more views of Messier objects, image a few, and to return to Comet 103P/Hartley which is getting brighter and faster.

After a few hours I'd looked at 103P/Hartley and at a few Messiers, but many of them were difficult targets as they were drowned-out by the light of the rising Moon. Bearing in mind the condensation that kept forming on the scope's secondary mirror, I managed to get fairly good digital data for the comet and for M33 (The Triangulum Galaxy). The resultant (clickable) images are as follows:

103P/Hartley, currently in the constellation Cassiopeia.
The bright star to the left of the comet is Lambda Cassiopeiae.
Subs: 30 light @ 200s, darks, no flats, ISO200.
D50 and MPCC on the C8N, guided with PHD.

 M33 (aka NGC 598), a spiral galaxy in the constellation Triangulum.
Subs: 17 light @ 200s, darks, no flats, ISO200.
D50 and MPCC on the C8N, guided with PHD.

After that I did quite fancy a good look at the Moon but I was too knackered to carry on and it was beginning to get light so I ended the session and closed the roof. Packing away was a nightmare as everything was covered with condensation - not good when there's so much electrical stuff in use!

Observing Report 15th-16th September 2010 (Clusters and Comets)

Posted by on September 17th 2010 in Astrostuff, Observing Reports, Pics

It was generally nice and clear here on Wednesday evening so I got set up pretty sharpish after our weekly evening shopping trip. The seeing was quite good although there was the threat of isolated showers. The aim was to get some more views of Messier objects and to image them if possible, and then to find Comet 103P/Hartley which is increasing in brightness for the next few weeks, and which is currently above the horizon all night long.

Despite having to shut the roof a couple of times due to spitting rain, after a few hours I'd looked at a fair range of Messiers (M31, M32, M34, M35, M36, M37, M38, M45 and M110) with the 8" scope and had acquired images of the M37 and M38 with the D50. The resultant (clickable) images are as follows:

M37 (aka NGC 2099), an open cluster in the constellation Auriga.
Subs: 8 light @ 200s, darks, no flats, ISO200.
D50 and MPCC on the C8N, guided with PHD.

 M38 (aka NGC 1912), an open cluster in the constellation Auriga.
Subs: 11 light @ 200s, darks, no flats, ISO200.
D50 and MPCC on the C8N, guided with PHD.

Then it was time to have a look-see at the comet. It was just a faint smudge visible through the binoculars and through the scope, but the D50 and scope combo picked it up quite well with 200s exposures. I stacked 10 frames and, after a lot of post-processing, ended up with this pic:

103P/Hartley, currently in the constellation Andromeda.
Subs: 10 light @ 200s, darks, no flats, ISO200.
D50 and MPCC on the C8N, guided with PHD.

 As previous but cropped and enlarged a bit.

The comet's poorly-defined and quite dim at the moment, but it should develop a better tail and become much brighter in the coming weeks - it's closest to Earth on 20th October and closest to the Sun on 28th October, and is predicted to reach naked-eye visibility around those dates. If you want to know where and when to stare, have a look at http://www.calsky.com/cs.cgi/Comets/1

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