Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Another go at Saturn

I thought it was time to switch back from the DSLR to the LPI CCD camera and have another go at planetary imaging. After tea I had a look outside, and had noted the relatively clear skies throughout the day so thought it worth a go.

Having got the equipment outside, and selected polar alignment, I watched as polaris, and actually nearly the whole sky began to cloud over. By the time I was ready to try aligning there were no stars left to align on! So I went in and watched some TV and had a cup of coffee. An episode of Torchwood later, and the sky had cleared nicely.

I hooked up the LPI and the laptop, and tried Mars to begin with. A couple of attempts but it wasn't really showing up as more than a slightly orange blob.

So I switched to Saturn, which is now much higher in the sky. After a bit of fiddling around, and attempting to use the LPI to both image and guide, and a couple of software lockups, I succeeded in getting something.

Not too bad, in fact it was looking good enough that I thought it would withstand a bit more magnification. So I went inside and got a 2x barlow lens and slotted it in.
It was definitely larger, but focusing was really difficult.

After a bit more fiddling around, and using registax on the results and a bit of tweaking this is sort of the final version, even showing a moon.

This has to be the best Saturn image I have to date, which is nice!

Thursday, 13 March 2008


It was very windy last night, so I didn't try any telescope shots. There was a lot of broken cloud about and it kept obscuring different parts of the sky. However with the camera on a tripod hooked up to the laptop I thought it worth a few shots. With it fully wired up, once you are focused and aligned you can just leave it to get on with 25 shots of 25 seconds and go into the warm.

I started with the plough, as it is nicely aligned and easy to see. Had a go at Saturn in Leo, but clouds and aircraft conspired to wreck that.

Cassiopeia looked reasonable so I took quite a few of that and stacked them. I need to get better at post processing though.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Another go at the orion nebula

I tried some rather short exposure settings on M42, but decided this time to try some 25s exposures with the DSLR mounted at prime focus on the telescope. I wasn't sure that the telescope would track well enough. Also Orion is just above the house and descends below it through the night, so not an ideal location either. Anyway - worth a try.

It turned out that many of the images had elliptical stars, or were smeared out, but there were a number within the 25 taken that looked ok.

I used DSLRshutter program to take them which worked pretty well. I also experimented with nebulosity for focussing without much success.

Anyway - after throwing lights, flats, darks and biases at deep sky stacker, it pronounced that only one of the images was worth stacking... its probably right but it could have broken the news gently!

Anyway, its probably my best shot of M42 to date, but still not much compared with anyone who's any good!

Step by step, its getting a bit better.