Monday, January 20, 2014

Equipment, Belt of Venus and Jupiter

Had a really good viewing session the other evening (19th Jan) and thought it worth blogging about it!
As it looked like it was going to be a good evening for the stars (as it turns out very cold as well) I set up early so that I could get the equipment spot-on. So here is my setup.

A Vixen VMC110L (4.3in Modified Mak) mounted on a Celestron Omni XLT CG-4 that has the dual-axis motor drive fitted.

The Vixen has a red dot finder and flip-mirror system which is perfect for astrophotography - you mount the camera directly out of the back whilst still having an eyepiece at 90 degrees through the top (no need for a star diagonal).

I was also looking forward to using my new Skywatcher 2x Barlow lens.

Dusk started to arrive at this point and that is when I had a great view of the Belt of Venus - when you can see the Earth being put into shadow (looking east) by it's rotation. You get a lovely pink glow in the sky which seems to split the light from the dark.

That would be it until darkness fell....

By the time I got out at the scope was covered in moisture. The air temp had cooled very quickly, but due to the dust caps the mirror had cooled and had not been affected.

I was determined to get a good first (proper) try at Jupiter (which is now very good in the East to South all night).

Here it is.

Mounted at prime focus with a 2x Barlow.
Canon EOS M 1/10sec. ISO1600.
The image has also been processed using a high-pass filter to sharpen it.

Happy viewing.


Sunday, January 12, 2014

New Year, New Kit.

Just a quick note to say I got some new kit for Christmas; a 2X barlow, a #21 orange filter and a Celestron 8mm -24mm zoom which I hope I can utilise and show you the results on this blog.

Last night, 9th January, was the first night I've been able to get out since getting the new kit and even then I wasn't well prepared.  I did manage to try everything out though.  The filter is great for observing but I have yet to get to grips using it for astrophotography.  The zoom lens is great, no need to change EP's and it has a T-thread under the rubber eye comforter.  The clarity is by far and away the best I have used yet.

The barlow is also great and should allow me to take full frame pictures of the moon.  Again, I haven't much time to try it out but when I have the full disc of the moon fits onto my sensor exactly, sounds great but does mean it's tricky to get a decently framed picture.

What with the new kit and my little bit of editing and stacking knowledge I thought I'd show you 2014's efforts so far;
Jupiter, 1 sec, 320 ISO.
  The moon, below, 1/80sec, 320 ISO
The Appenines, zoomed in.
  (I'm unsure as to why this has a lot of purple noise around the line of termination.  This isn't visible in windows explorer.)

All the above images were taken using the 2X barlow.  Hopefully my next set will be using the zoom lens.