Thursday, January 20, 2011

Saturn, at last.

I first saw Saturn through my new telescope on 18th January 2011 and I'll remember it for a long time. I was amazed at the colour and the way it outstripped everything else I'd seen so far. Yes, I knew what it would like; rings, check, browny colour, check, but nothing can prepare you for your first actual sighting. It was easy to find (SSW, 40 degrees elevation about 6.30am to 7.00am) and stood out in the eyepiece.

The next morning, same time, I tried to get some images and have included them here. Obviously they don't quite match the image that I'm portraying in words but you can see what it is!! The one directly above is 150X mag whereas the shot to the right is about 50X. Camera shake (nerves?) and the speed needed for the set up got me but I'll keep trying.

I've included a little video which I intended to use the frames from and stack to make one decent picture but it didn't work so you can see the full 15 seconds. Note how fast it moves across the eyepiece. The magnification is about 50x.

Now to shoot the phases of Venus!


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A New Year, a New Lens

My main reason for this post is that I've been looking at the Plaiades recently. One of my starting points as a child so one to go back to with proper kit. I took this (admittedly poor) picture but as my camera only has a maximum of a 1 second exposure it's not great. Anyways there it is on the left. I'm unsure whether or not the blue tint is the reflection of the gas cloud they're passing through or my my movement! I will try to get a better shot and post it.

For Christmas I was lucky enough to get a 3X barlow lens (a barlow increases the magnification of your current eyepieces and is commonly found in sized 2X, 3X & 4X). My first attempt with it was at my highest possible magnification I.E. my 10mm eyepiece and the barlow lens which gave me a total magnification of 150X. I tried the moon but at such high magnification it moved to fast, so I tried Jupiter but struggled to focus on it properly and then last night I got my first ever glimpse of the Orion Nebula. At the same magnification I could see all the main stars in the trapezium and it will be an area of the sky I'll revisit over the next few months. However judging by attempt at Pleiades above I'll leave the shots of the Nebula to MJ!!


Monday, January 10, 2011

Let's get retro!

Firstly, A very Happy New Year!
I've been going over some old slides from when I had a proper camera and have come across some very good first time shots. Here is a good one of Orion. It was taken with a Canon EOS (film) camera (10 sec. exposure) with a 300mm Tamron lens and clearly shows the star colours, especially Betelge .... Betalu .... Betalgeuse and Rigel. Also the Orion Nebula (M42) is clearly visible as a red blur.
My task now is to get a comparable image from my DSLR....