Monday, July 24, 2017

Preparing for Solar Eclipse 2017 - White Balance Check

All digital cameras contain an IR (Infrared) filter in front of the chip, be they CCD or CMOS. By having the IR filter removed, the naturally occurring infrared produced by vegetation emerges. (A custom white balance is required to restore the color balance of non-IR emitting objects, such as the rocks in the background. I'm still working on that.)
Some astronomical objects, such as emission nebulae, also emit Hydrogen Alpha (Ha) and an IR modified camera picks up that signal more so than a standard camera. The photo on the right shows what the plant should look like, appropriately named a Blue Agave. Tequila anyone?


For camera conversion services, i.e., having your DSLR "IR Modded" (IR filter removed), visit Life Pixel Camera Conversion Services here

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Preparing for Solar Eclipse 2017 - Sunspot AR2665



While preparing for the upcoming August 21st solar eclipse, Sunspot AR2665 was captured with the Nikon 300mm f/4 ED IF and Sigma 1.4x tele extender. Taken 15-Jul-2017, zenith is up. Reduced to 50% (i.e., 2x2 bin).




DSC_0977-50pct-IPadj.JPG

For camera conversion services, i.e., having your DSLR "IR Modded" (IR filter removed), visit Life Pixel Camera Conversion Services here

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Suggested Reading


Suggested readings in astrophotography. I have these books, and more.

Digital SLR Astrophotography
Practical Amateur Astronomy (Michael Covington)
 

The New CCD Astronomy
By the developer of the CCD Calculator (Ron Wodaski)
See also http://www.newastro.com/
 

Astrophotography
Very thorough and in depth, beautifully illustrated (Thierry Legault)
 

For camera conversion services, i.e., having your DSLR "IR Modded" (IR filter removed), visit Life Pixel Camera Conversion Services here

Friday, June 16, 2017

Saturn at Opposition 16-Jun-2017 (and maximum ring tilt)


Taken @ 12:18:52pm MST on 16-Jun-2017 (0718UT on 16-Jun-2017).

Here is Saturn at Opposition 16-Jun-2017. For views of what Saturn has looked like over the course of the last 13 years, see http://www.pbase.com/wjshaheen/saturn_ring_tilt

Best 90 of 1800 frames (5%) taken with the Celestron NexImage5 planetary imaging camera, Celestron 1100 EdgeHD telescope, no barlow, no focal reducer, fl = 2800mm. Image scale 0.16 arc-secs/pixel. Video captured using iCap 2.4, processed in ImagesPlus6.5. Three passes unsharp mask, cropped and contrast boost in ThumbsPlus 10. North is up and east is to the left, as customary.

Original video available at https://youtu.be/QSgeqaykAgw

CVT_20170615_Saturn0005 00-17-07-GRADEAVG-Best5Per-2AP-TPadj-50pct.jpg

For camera conversion services, i.e., having your DSLR "IR Modded" (IR filter removed), visit Life Pixel Camera Conversion Services here

Monday, June 12, 2017

Switching the C11HD to Visual - My Digital Finder


AKA - What's that eyepiece doing in my telescope?

I haven't really enjoyed any visual observing for awhile (couple months) and wanted to catch Jupiter in the 11" EdgeHD. So, I came up with this project. Ordinarily it would be a simple matter of removing the imaging train and installing a diagonal and eyepieces. But, this turned into an expanded project.

For one thing, without the camera on the scope, I would be unable to perform image links when finding objects.

This project resolved that by replacing the finderscope on top of the C11HD with the autoguider (scope and camera) from the AVX platform (WFPIP).
So, I made that transfer yesterday, the 11th. (11-Jun-2017)

Below are my diary notes for the 12th.


06/12/2017
Had a very successful morning converting the C11HD to visual.

I wanted to use the SV50 guidescope with the QHY5L-II autoguider on the C11HD to be used as a finder by image linking in TSXPro.

Found I could easily perform an image link using the QHY5L-II/SV50 autoguider combination, along with the Orion 2x Shorty Barlow.
Image link stats indicated a scale of 3.60 as/p, with the camera binned in the ASCOM set-up.

Used Venus to align this "digital finder".

Later, played with using the SV50 guidescope with QHY5L-II autoguider to autoguide to test the ability to use as a separate autoguider and possibly eliminate the OAG.

That would be nice. But, that's another project for another day.


After aligning the "digital finder"* with the main scope using Venus, I was able to use TSXPro to locate the galaxy by image linking on the autoguider's image by taking an exposure in TSXPro using the autoguider camera (QHY5L-II).

*QHY5L-II/SV50 autoguider combination, along with the Orion 2x Shorty Barlow.
Image link stats indicated a scale of 3.60 as/p, with the camera binned in the ASCOM set-up.


M31 appearing in the PHD2 screen, using 0.5 sec exposures. The QHY5L-IIM was configured to bin 2x2 in the ASCOM setup, yielding a combined pixel size of 7.5um and an image scale of 3.60, with a 2x Barlow.

Plate solution (per TSXPro):
******** ASTROMETRIC SOLUTION RESULTS ********
Center RA (2000.0): 00h 41m 45.34s
Center Dec (2000.0): +40° 39' 29.8"
Scale: 3.60 arcseconds/pixel
Size (pixels): 640 x 480
Angular Size: 0° 38' 25" x 0° 28' 48"
Position Angle: 2° 31' from north through east
Mirror Image: No
RMS: 1.58 (X: 0.92 Y: 1.29)
Number of Stars Used in Solution: 7 (100%)
FWHM: 4.21 pixels, 15.16 arcseconds
***********************************************

Autoguiding with the "digital finder". (Taken 4:31am - getting light out.)





For camera conversion services, i.e., having your DSLR "IR Modded" (IR filter removed), visit Life Pixel Camera Conversion Services here

Monday, June 5, 2017

NGC7331 - Season Finale

Between the Moon setting so late in the morning, ~3am, and the Sun rising so early (astronomical sunrise 3:35am), there's not much time to grab many exposures. And next month's monsoon will pretty much dampen any chances of imaging. But, you know, you can always sneak in one last shot (image above).


A single 8-minute exposure @ ISO800. (The sky was much brighter than what you see here and so a needed contrast adjustment muddied the picture a little.) 



So, this is probably it until the Fall, as far as imaging with the C11HD. By the way, the mount (Orion HDX110 has really smoothed out, probably due to the gears being run-in. Here's the autoguiding graph (image right). 


Total error 0.44 arc-seconds, which accounts for the detail in the galaxy.

In the meantime, I'm working on my "WFPIP" (Wide Field Portable Imaging Platform) and hope to take it up to Happy Jack next month. It's the platform I used to take the recent images of M8 and M20, the latter of which was taken running the rig solely from a battery.

More to come,
William Shaheen
Gold Canyon, AZ

For camera conversion services, i.e., having your DSLR "IR Modded" (IR filter removed), visit Life Pixel Camera Conversion Services here

Sunday, June 4, 2017

M20 - The Trifid Nebula 04-Jun-2017


Single frame. 120s @ ISO800.
ES102ED FCD100 with the ATR8 yielding f/l=573mm @f/5.6, taken with the Nikon D5300a.

PREVIEW_20170604-02h51m16s899ms-TPadj2-IPadj.JPG

Saturation; Lightening and Contrast in ImagesPlus. Followed by color balance,  ARL 5x5x5, contrast via micro curves, in IP.
One pass unsharp mask and resized to 50pct in TP.

Keywords:
120sec;ARL 5x5 5x;AS/P=1.44;Bias=9;bin-1x1;Celestron Advanced VX;Configuration-20170601;Cropped;Darks=0;Dithered not;ES102ED FCD100;f/5.6;FL=573;Flats=0;fr=Astro-Tech ATR8;IR-Mod;ISO=800;M020;n=1;Nikon D5300a;PBase;PREVIEW_20170604-02h51m16s899ms-TPadj2-IPadj;Resize=Not;Show;Slideshow Astro;Uploaded;

For camera conversion services, i.e., having your DSLR "IR Modded" (IR filter removed), visit Life Pixel Camera Conversion Services here