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MtnGoat
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PostWed Mar 11, 2015 7:10 pm 
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I was going to post up some recent work, I finally got back into imageshack and uploaded some pics. But when I go to post them, the dialog box says my imageshack user name isn't found. BS. I just double checked. any hints?

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Diplomacy is the art of saying 'Nice doggie' until you can find a rock. - Will Rogers
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MtnGoat
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PostThu Mar 12, 2015 10:08 am 
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Still can't get the image link to to Imageshack to work, so I'll do it the hard way by linking to other sites I've posted.

Anyway, here's Comet Lovejoy from January. 10 frames of 2 min each with Canon Rebel with stock lens, ISO 3200, the camera is piggybacked on a scope which is doing the tracking.

Close up from the same night. This shot was taken at prime focus of a 6" Schmidt Newtonian, same camera body, 10 30 second frames.

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Diplomacy is the art of saying 'Nice doggie' until you can find a rock. - Will Rogers
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MtnGoat
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PostThu Mar 12, 2015 10:17 am 
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We had a week long run of very, very steady air at night due to the offshore ridge which gave us the nice weather.

I just picked up a new toy off Craigslist, a Meade LX200 7" Maksutov which I'd lusted after for, like, forever. It takes forever to cool down due to the very thick corrector in front, but boy oh boy does it yield razor sharp images. With an F15 focal ratio it winds up at a 2670mm focal length, idea for high power work.

So Monday night with a Celestron planetary imager (glorified webcam) and a 2x barlow, I had the system running at 5400mm effective focal length and I got this awesome shot of ol Jupiter and the famous Red Spot.

I'm pretty thrilled with the detail, I'm finally getting the hang of the wicked learning curve with all the settings during processing. You can see a lot of detail and even smaller storms in many of the belts.

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MtnGoat
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PostThu Mar 12, 2015 10:22 am 
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Tuesday night was really good again, and this time I decided to have a go with the 10" scope.


I got crazy lucky with the timing combined with the steady seeing, and got this neat pic of Ganymede near Jupiter, and with Ganymede's shadow crossing the planet.

What I'm most thrilled about is that I finally had the conditions, equipment, and technique to resolve Ganymede into a tiny disc instead of a point source.

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GrnXnham
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PostThu Mar 12, 2015 8:14 pm 
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Nice pics.

I have a 12" dob and an 8" SCT but I've never really gotten into the astrophotography part it. I'm just a casual observer for now.
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touron
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PostThu Mar 12, 2015 9:39 pm 
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Awesome pics! up.gif  up.gif  up.gif

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Touron is a nougat of Arabic origin made with almonds and honey or sugar, without which it would just not be Christmas in Spain.
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MtnGoat
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PostFri Mar 13, 2015 9:33 am 
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GrnXnham wrote:
Nice pics.

I have a 12" dob and an 8" SCT but I've never really gotten into the astrophotography part it. I'm just a casual observer for now.

That's a good set of tools for a lot of fun. If you decide to try for some pix, lunar/planetary is the simplest for the least $$. Really the tough part is the learning curve on processing and what to expect. You can even get by without tracking for these targets because the exposures are short, but obviously it helps. The 8" should have a drive which tracks well enough to do OK.

I run the 7" in alt az mode, not polar, and as long as I'm precise with the time and centering the two alignment stars, it will keep Jupiter within the frame for long periods. I'm pretty impressed with that given the amount of effective magnification represented by the image scale I'm using and what this says about the drive and computing accuracy.

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MtnGoat
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PostWed Mar 29, 2017 4:26 pm 
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Been busy...this is 4, 6 minute exposures at ISO1600 from my back yard last summer. The camera is the Rebel T3 with the stock lens set for wide angle. It's riding piggyback on a scope which is doing the star tracking.

It's stupid dark in my yard, and even so I never ever thought I would run up against almost too many stars. Looks like I'm close!

This is the summer Milky Way that you see in the summer pretty much right overhead at our latitudes. The field of view is hinted at by the fact that the black blurs at the bottom are treetops. It covers a lot of sky and shows about a bazillion stars. Only a few hundred of the brightest ones are visible to the eye.

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MtnGoat
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PostWed Mar 29, 2017 4:35 pm 
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Also been doing some science, I bought a spectrograph. Folks who've mastered this puppy are measuring red shift to distant galaxies and the chemical composition of comets.

Here's a frame of a famous double star, Alberio in Cygnus....
You can see the 'zero order' image, a fancy term for the non spectralized version, of the two stars dead center. Note the color differences.

When I crunch the numbers in the software, I get a nice spectral plot. You can see the two stars differ in the shape of the curves.

The one with more red is the cooler of the two. It appears golden yellow in the scope, the other appears sapphire blue, it's hotter.

Another take

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MtnGoat
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PostMon Apr 03, 2017 8:59 am 
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Comet 41p-Tuttle as of Friday night..currently featured passing through Draco just above the Big Dipper. At magnitude 8.8 it should be visible in 50mm binos. This shot suffered from high winds shaking the scope now and then (note the star trails have two instances of out of line dots) and high thin clouds, resulting in a slightly hazy appearance throughout the frame.

2 minute subframes, 800mm FL at F4, ISO1600, 8 frames I think.

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MtnGoat
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PostWed Mar 07, 2018 10:53 am 
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Just getting into deep shots, following a significant upgrade in aperture and mounting. Last night I finally put all the pieces together and had them ticking over nicely...scope plus counterweights is nearing 200 lbs total load on the mount and i still had tracking accuracy under 2 arc seconds.

The system, that's a 5" scope on top.

Snapshot of tracking accuracy as shown in the guiding software... dots are 1 second samples

Results, in spite of a thin haze...M81

M51...over processed and looking a bit 'crispy'. At lower left you can see a faint edge on spiral, below is a blob, upper left another smudge...all galaxies.

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Diplomacy is the art of saying 'Nice doggie' until you can find a rock. - Will Rogers
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RichP
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PostWed Mar 07, 2018 6:16 pm 
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Those are amazing shots, MtnGoat. I thought that was only possible from a fancy observatory but maybe that's what you have in that telescope.

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MtnGoat
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PostThu Mar 08, 2018 9:39 am 
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Thanks Rich. You don't need a lot of money or even a huge instrument to take really nice shots. At lot of folks work with 3-6" scopes and do fantastic work. It's really more about setup, tweaking, and the learning curve. All your problems are simpler with a smaller lighter scope with a short focal length and wider field of view.

Here's a pic from the interwebs, shot with a 3 in refractor and DSLR

What I get with the big one is the image scale inherent to a stupid long focal length, which on this guy is 3550mm. Those huge, long white telephoto lenses you see at sporting events? 600mm.

So I'm well under one degree field of view, whereas that shot with the small scope is 3+ degrees, I'd only get the core in frame. I've been wanting to image smaller, harder to reach targets so I've gone long, so to speak. Jupiter is about to show up for the season, so I am dying to try out the 14 on that.  Only problem...it's 12 year orbit is taking it lower in the sky every year right now, and the stability of the view suffers the lower it goes.

That said, with Saturn even lower in the sky right now, when running your eyeballs... the view of it leaves people thunderstruck. My first peek at it last year when I got this scope was when I knew the $$$ had actually been worth it. That was nice.

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Diplomacy is the art of saying 'Nice doggie' until you can find a rock. - Will Rogers
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MtnGoat
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PostSat Mar 10, 2018 11:01 am 
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Had another great night last night

The Crab nebula, the cloud left over a supernova visible from Earth in 1054 AD and noted by Chinese astronomers as well as being depicted in an Anasazi pictograph from the SW US.  The fainter, leftmost star of the tight pair in the center is a pulsar flickering on and off 30 times per second. This was the first pulsar discovered and a neutron star, the stellar remnant of the star which exploded.

Globular Cluster M3

Galaxy M106

Another bite at M51, 8 minute exposures, longer focal length for larger image scale. The big one is stealing mass from the smaller, in the form of gas and stars via tidal disruptions due to gravity. You can see some of the 'spray' from this as the oddly shaped cloud beyond the companion. Large galaxies cannibalize and grow larger by accretion quite often, and in fact our Milky Way is known to have done this numerous times.

The companion is actually a bit behind the primary, and the dust you see tracing across the companion is actually dust in the spiral arm of the primary, backlit by the secondary. Also note that the three more distant galaxies to the left (and below) show up better here than the previous shot.

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Diplomacy is the art of saying 'Nice doggie' until you can find a rock. - Will Rogers
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MtnGoat
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PostWed Mar 21, 2018 1:53 pm 
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A couple more...edge on galaxy NGC4565. I need to redo this and lower the black levels to bring out the edges, it's showing up darker on this monitor and others I think.

M63, the 'Sunflower" galaxy. Fascinating detail in the dust laced arms.

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Diplomacy is the art of saying 'Nice doggie' until you can find a rock. - Will Rogers
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