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Loztblaz
Sep 8, 2004
1-14-04, Never Forget.

SeXReX posted:

I need to go for a good hour and a half drive to make it out of orange.

Well at least you can do solar observing!

That's some lovely light pollution. I'm glad I don't live in Chicago or NYC at least, the light pollution there is so lovely that you won't be able to see anything other than Venus, Jupiter, and the brightest few stars.

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Powdered Toast Man
Jan 25, 2005

TOAST-A-RIFIC!!!

I haven't seen "super binoculars" (not really sure what else to call them) mentioned yet, so let me tell you a little bit about them.

I have a pair of 80mm Vixen Optics Astro Binoculars:

http://www.vixenoptics.com/binoculars/bt80.htm

These binoculars differ in their construction from typical binocs in that what you basically have here is two high quality, small refracting telescopes that are aligned perfectly to give you binocular vision. Vixen Optics is known for making excellent refractors, so it's only natural that these binocs are very good quality, but I think they're also a very good value. You'll want that specialized tripod to go with them; it makes all the difference for viewing comfort. It is not really possible to hand hold binoculars this big...they're just too heavy.

In terms of light gathering and resolving power they're somewhere between a very good pair of standard binocs and a refracting telescope. Depending on the conditions you'll be able to see globular clusters, larger nebulae such as the Orion Nebula, galaxies, planets, and my favorite thing to watch: COMETS!!!. The last comet that was visible to the naked eye (whose name I can't be bothered to remember) looked incredible through these binoculars. I honestly get more enjoyment out of these than my Meade ETX-125 (Maksutov-Cassegrain).

If you're fabulously rich you can go totally apeshit on astro binocs and get these:

http://fujinonbinos.com/fujinon_edm..._binoculars.pdf

They're the best, but they're also between $6,000 to $12,000 depending on the optics you get.

Jekub
Jul 21, 2006

April, May, June, July and August fool


I'm back!


Click here for the full 1200x677 image.


M31- The Andromeda Galaxy

92 x 2.5 minute exposures, plus darks and flats taken with a little William Optics ZS66SD APO refractor which is awesome on my Vixen Sphinx mount from Lago Di Ledro in northern Italy, a place I would happily live forever.

I've been mucking about with this all night and I'm now to tired to think.

Jekub fucked around with this message at 02:39 on Aug 31, 2009

Loztblaz
Sep 8, 2004
1-14-04, Never Forget.

Jekub posted:

I'm back!


Click here for the full 1200x677 image.


M31- The Andromeda Galaxy

92 x 2.5 minute exposures, plus darks and flats taken with a little William Optics ZS66SD APO refractor which is awesome on my Vixen Sphinx mount from Lago Di Ledro in northern Italy, a place I would happily live forever.

I've been mucking about with this all night and I'm now to tired to think.

Nicely done, the dust lanes are really pronounced. Are you shooting in color, or filtering?

Jekub
Jul 21, 2006

April, May, June, July and August fool


I'm using an unmodified Canon EOS 1000D at the moment, so all colour comes from the camera. Normally I'd use a light pollution filter but I don't have one to fit this scope, not that I really needed it up there. I stacked using IRIS this time instead of DeepSkyStacker, I found it much easier to work with the colour in Photoshop afterwards but a lot harder to use.

I still have a lot to learn on the post processing side, my photoshop skills are lacking.

100 HOGS AGREE
Oct 13, 2007

by Nyc_Tattoo


Grimey Drawer

I've never posted in here before but I just wanted to chime in and say I just finished putting together my Galileoscope that came in the mail today.

Gonna try to look at some things tonight, there's a lot of light pollution in mid Michigan because I'm jammed between Flint and Detroit, but I should at least be able to get a good look at the moon.

Loztblaz
Sep 8, 2004
1-14-04, Never Forget.

100 HOGS AGREE posted:

I've never posted in here before but I just wanted to chime in and say I just finished putting together my Galileoscope that came in the mail today.

Gonna try to look at some things tonight, there's a lot of light pollution in mid Michigan because I'm jammed between Flint and Detroit, but I should at least be able to get a good look at the moon.

The moon is a really nice target even for experienced viewers. Tonight is a nearly full moon (ok it's always half illuminated, semantics), but you should still have a terminator to look at.

If you don't have a tripod handy, try to find something sturdy to put it on, because anything over 10x or so is too high for holding in your hands. Jupiter is also a decent object, but at 50x maximum, it may be sort of small.

MonkeyMaker
May 22, 2006

What's your poison, sir?

Loztblaz posted:

Jupiter is also a decent object, but at 50x maximum, it may be sort of small.

The Galileoscope does pretty decently on Jupiter at both 25x and 50x. It's small, but you can pick out the moons and usually a band or two of color. Not as impressive as the Moon, no, but still an awesome thing to see.

Funkysauce
Sep 18, 2005
...and what about the kick in the groin?

Really glad I found this thread! I've been messing around with a Meade ETX-90EC that my father in law gave me. I've so far seen Jupiter, Saturn ad Venus. I've only had it since December.

I have a really hard time viewing nebulae and galaxies however. I have eyepieces from 26mm to 5.5 but I think my issue is light pollution. I live in the Bronx and although light pollution isn't as bad here it's still rough. Any tips?

Also I'm looking to start taking photos as well. Any tips for my scope?

Loztblaz
Sep 8, 2004
1-14-04, Never Forget.

Funkysauce posted:

Really glad I found this thread! I've been messing around with a Meade ETX-90EC that my father in law gave me. I've so far seen Jupiter, Saturn ad Venus. I've only had it since December.

I have a really hard time viewing nebulae and galaxies however. I have eyepieces from 26mm to 5.5 but I think my issue is light pollution. I live in the Bronx and although light pollution isn't as bad here it's still rough. Any tips?

Also I'm looking to start taking photos as well. Any tips for my scope?

I'm pretty clueless about imaging, but as for viewing deep sky objects: get to darker skies. That's really all there is, unfortunately. Try to find a national park near you and stay the night, even the ones that are near cities are huge improvements.

A huge telescope in poor light pollution is going to be beaten by a small scope in dark skies every time. There are some light pollution filters that help a little, but I haven't personally used them.

Jekub
Jul 21, 2006

April, May, June, July and August fool


From my experience light pollution filters are a must for imaging, but I've never noticed a great improvement when observing. Mind you I only have a cheap skywatcher filter but it seems to cover my needs (or it did, more on that in a sec).

For some research on the many different types of filters available and what they may or may not be good for take a read of these :

http://www.astronexus.com/node/4
http://tiny.cc/lumicron

As with anything else in astronomy buying filters can be expensive and your results may vary. Nothing beats a proper dark sky site.

On the subject of light pollution I was sitting in my living room last night trying to work out what was different, something had changed. It wasn't till I stuck my nose out of the back door that I worked out that the council have changed the old LPS streetlight outside my house for a new HPS streetlight instead. So now I'm flooded white light instead of orange.

Tonight I'll be trying to work out exactly how this affects my viewing, as it is dimmer and better shielded, but still produces far to much stray light.

Powdered Toast Man
Jan 25, 2005

TOAST-A-RIFIC!!!

Jekub posted:

From my experience light pollution filters are a must for imaging, but I've never noticed a great improvement when observing. Mind you I only have a cheap skywatcher filter but it seems to cover my needs (or it did, more on that in a sec).

Seconding this. It is quite surprising what you can produce even in a light-polluted area with an appropriate filter. Unfortunately these filters (the ones good enough for astrophotography, anyway) can get quite expensive.

Speaking of filters, an oft-overlooked aspect of astronomy is breaking every rule your mother taught you about LOOKING AT THE SUN.

...uh, with a solar filter, that is:

http://www.telescope.com/control/se...2d-e2134eafce55

The sun is fascinating to look at with a good telescope. The ETX-90EC should be great for that with a full aperture filter.

Jekub
Jul 21, 2006

April, May, June, July and August fool


A mixed weekend for me. The moon was about as bright as I have ever seen it, completely removing any chance of deep sky work, so I stuck with some visual observation of the moon and Jupiter.

Then I worked out that by zapping the light sensor on top of the streetlight with a 5mW green laser I could turn it off, which kept me amused for hours.

Then I fell on my arse and smashed the LCD of my starbook controller. Not great, that's basically my observatory out of commission until I get it repaired. Either via arguing with insurance and it taking an age to get sorted by a dealer, or just sucking up the loss and ordering a new panel myself.

If I get desperate I still have the EQ5 in the garage I guess.

Jekub
Jul 21, 2006

April, May, June, July and August fool


I had a go at webcam imaging last night as the mount is still out of action.



Not great, but you can at least tell what it is. I need a UV/IR cut filter in order to zoom it in any further.

babyeatingpsychopath
Oct 28, 2000
Forum Veteran

Jekub posted:

Then I worked out that by zapping the light sensor on top of the streetlight with a 5mW green laser I could turn it off, which kept me amused for hours.

I hear putting out lights with a pellet gun (or .22 [or .308, if you're drunk and crazy]) works well too. I'm lucky enough to live in a place where the "observatory up the mountain" complains enough to get rid of all the white street lights. We've had the milky way cast shadows on moonless nights here before. Pictures cannot do it justice.

MonkeyMaker
May 22, 2006

What's your poison, sir?

babyeatingpsychopath posted:

Pictures cannot do it justice.

How's about you post some and let us decide that?

causticfluids
Dec 25, 2006

Congratulations on not getting fit in 2011!

My wife and I went out with our landlord and I observed some Jovian moons for the first time - amazing. I'm not new to astronomy (physics major here) but I haven't stargazed in probably 2.5 years. I used to live in the woods in NH so we would just take my binoculars and lay on the car. We found a couple of globular clusters and spent our time locating and identifying constellations. I'll have to dig out my binos again. My university has a 14" telescope and nice observatory and I've gone out there twice. Both times though, the lines were huge, and instead of a galaxy or something they pointed to a faint star, and then to the moon for the kids present. This Saturday though it's a dark-sky session, and I may have to check it out.

Crouton
Feb 10, 2006
And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere out in space, cuz there's bugger all down here on Earth.

I went fishing in southern BC this weekend, and at dusk on Saturday I saw what looked like a big meteor or satellite burning up in the atmosphere, fireball and all. It was only visible for about a second or so before it dipped behind the mountains. Are there any websites or databases that record known meteor strikes? I'd like to find out exactly what it was I saw.

Loztblaz
Sep 8, 2004
1-14-04, Never Forget.

Crouton posted:

I went fishing in southern BC this weekend, and at dusk on Saturday I saw what looked like a big meteor or satellite burning up in the atmosphere, fireball and all. It was only visible for about a second or so before it dipped behind the mountains. Are there any websites or databases that record known meteor strikes? I'd like to find out exactly what it was I saw.

http://www.amsmeteors.org/fireball/...ll_log2009.html is the only one that I know of, but it's maintained by amateurs, so it's by no means comprehensive. It doesn't seem to have the one you saw, but you can submit it if you want to: http://www.amsmeteors.org/index.html

It's mostly US sightings, but I saw some Canadian ones. I haven't had the fortune to see anything brighter than a large streak, so count yourself lucky.

edit: also http://miac.uqac.uquebec.ca/MIAC/index.html but it seems to be down.

Loztblaz fucked around with this message at 02:33 on Sep 14, 2009

Crouton
Feb 10, 2006
And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere out in space, cuz there's bugger all down here on Earth.

Loztblaz posted:

http://www.amsmeteors.org/fireball/...ll_log2009.html is the only one that I know of, but it's maintained by amateurs, so it's by no means comprehensive. It doesn't seem to have the one you saw, but you can submit it if you want to: http://www.amsmeteors.org/index.html

It's mostly US sightings, but I saw some Canadian ones. I haven't had the fortune to see anything brighter than a large streak, so count yourself lucky.

edit: also http://miac.uqac.uquebec.ca/MIAC/index.html but it seems to be down.

Thanks a lot, I went ahead and reported it. That site uses Venus as a brightness guide, and I saw Venus later that same night. This was definitely several times brighter, so who knows, it might actually be significant. Now I guess I've gotta go buy one of those Galileoscopes

Jekub
Jul 21, 2006

April, May, June, July and August fool


I re-processed my M31 image using Pixinsight, a dedicated astrophotography processing package. Got to say, the improvement is immense.


Click here for the full 1600x995 image.

cerror
Feb 11, 2008

I have a bad feeling about this...


Hey astrogoons. This might seem a rather mundane question, but how does temperature effect your observation sessions, and how does it effect the equipment? I know there's less turbulance in colder weather, but that's about it. I've been thinking of getting back into astronomy (used to do it when I was a kid) since it'd be a good winter hobby (I live in Alaska, so it's dark all drat day in the winter).

edit: I love technology! I've discovered that I can comfortably operate a telescope remotely from the comfort of my computer so I don't have to freeze to death.

cerror fucked around with this message at 19:41 on Sep 16, 2009

cerror
Feb 11, 2008

I have a bad feeling about this...


Oh! I bet I could get some nice aurora borealis pics without even needing a scope. That stuff is constantly shifting around and changing so long exposure shots might look pretty interesting.

Jekub
Jul 21, 2006

April, May, June, July and August fool


More pictures from me. The ISS came over tonight for a nice bright mag -3.5 pass, and I had to have a go.

Loztblaz
Sep 8, 2004
1-14-04, Never Forget.

comaerror posted:

Hey astrogoons. This might seem a rather mundane question, but how does temperature effect your observation sessions, and how does it effect the equipment? I know there's less turbulance in colder weather, but that's about it. I've been thinking of getting back into astronomy (used to do it when I was a kid) since it'd be a good winter hobby (I live in Alaska, so it's dark all drat day in the winter).

edit: I love technology! I've discovered that I can comfortably operate a telescope remotely from the comfort of my computer so I don't have to freeze to death.
As far as I know (living in Texas, we have about two days below freezing per year), there's nothing wrong with using a telescope in cold weather. There are exceptions though, which depend on the type of scope you're using.

If you store your telescope in a heated area, you're going to need to leave it outside for an hour or more to equalize the temperature. This can be prevented by storing it in an unheated shed or garage.

If you have a motorized scope, you'll have to worry about the grease used to lubricate the gears. Too cold and it seizes up. Too warm from a heater, and you can cause the grease to become too runny, and get into places where it shouldn't be.

A SCT will have much longer cooldown times than say, a truss tube dob. Refractors are also slow to cool, but they aren't as dependent on it as telescopes that utilize mirrors.

Armageddon
May 20, 2001


Hi astronomy buddies

I just upgraded to a 12" meade LightBridge truss dobsonian scope. I am used to an equatorial mount so its quite a difference. Observing objects directly overhead is a bit of a bother with this dobsonian...otherwise its a great scope! Does anyone here have advice for a dob user? I got a laser colmination tool, which I must say is very handy...

Bolkovr
Apr 20, 2002

A chump and a hoagie going buck wild

Oh shi guys



Going to a dark, dark place tonight!

Loztblaz
Sep 8, 2004
1-14-04, Never Forget.

Armageddon posted:

Hi astronomy buddies

I just upgraded to a 12" meade LightBridge truss dobsonian scope. I am used to an equatorial mount so its quite a difference. Observing objects directly overhead is a bit of a bother with this dobsonian...otherwise its a great scope! Does anyone here have advice for a dob user? I got a laser colmination tool, which I must say is very handy...

You're going to want a non-zooming finder of some type if you don't already have one. You'll be using it a lot more than you would with a tracking mount or go-to. I personally prefer a green laser pointer on a bracket, but many people prefer telrads.

For viewing near zenith, there are a couple things you can do about it. I saw someone who put two metal brackets on their dob that they could put dowels in for some leverage on the tube, but that just adds to the bulk of the scope. A different solution is to upgrade the teflon on your rockerbox. Scopestuff.com has Ebony Star laminate in circuar and strip form. I haven't done this to my dob, so you should probably look up what lightbridge owners did, because you may need to change your bearings, or just install the laminate. His site looks pretty amateur, but I've bought from him and had a great experience.

Bolkovr posted:

Oh shi guys



Going to a dark, dark place tonight!



My astronomy society has (had) a star party scheduled for tonight.

Loztblaz fucked around with this message at 19:39 on Sep 19, 2009

forkbucket
Mar 9, 2008

Magnets are my only weakness.


Found this thread via the Ask/Tell thread about astronomy. Its making me really miss home where I can just load up into a car and be away from civilization in about 15-30 minutes. The thread has inspired me to cook up some plans for star photography when I go back home for Christmas, since Norway will be nice and dark by then! So I'll save all my questions for when I actually have some.

I also came over this cool time-lapse video someone posted in a thread in the photography subforum & thought I'd share it: Galactic Center of Milky Way Rises Over Texas Star Party

Edit: time-lapse, not time-stop...I was tired.

forkbucket fucked around with this message at 15:58 on Sep 20, 2009

MonkeyMaker
May 22, 2006

What's your poison, sir?

Found this awesome site the other day for learning about some stuff in space. http://www.gigagalaxyzoom.org/

cerror
Feb 11, 2008

I have a bad feeling about this...


Hi all! Got my fancy new Meade DS-2130 yesterday and took it out for a test run tonight. There were a few clouds around, plus trees, the house, etc. to block my view, but I did get some really nice views of a few nebulas and galaxies.

Space totally owns.

I think I'm going to blow my PFD this year on a fancy camera to do some astrophotography.

ease
Jul 19, 2004

HUGE

I took this with a canon rebel XS, 50mm 2.8 and a cheap tasco I got at walmart a few years ago :

Bolkovr
Apr 20, 2002

A chump and a hoagie going buck wild

Well, the forecast was a lie! I had about an hour and a half of clear sky and then it clouded over. But I did get some good observing in. Uranus, Neptune, some galaxies, a couple of globular clusters, plus a failed attempt to locate some comets.

I also saw what must have been the rocket that NASA launched from Wallops Island. For about 2 minutes there was a faint oval of light in the southeastern sky.

Armageddon posted:

I got a laser colmination tool, which I must say is very handy...

Collimate the laser, too. Mine was way off when I got it. Basically, hammer 4 nails into a block of wood to make 2 Xs, rest the laser in the notches, then shine it at the wall and rotate it. If the dot moves, you can adjust the beam with screws that are probably hidden under the label. It makes a big difference. Also, don't trust the factory mirror center spot; it's probably off too. If you pull the primary mirror, you can accurately mark it.

Powdered Toast Man
Jan 25, 2005

TOAST-A-RIFIC!!!

Jekub posted:

I re-processed my M31 image using Pixinsight, a dedicated astrophotography processing package. Got to say, the improvement is immense.


Click here for the full 1600x995 image.


This looks absolutely fantastic. I looked up your refractor, and was quite surprised by how affordable it is considering the imagery you're getting! Post more pictures if you got 'em!

Jekub
Jul 21, 2006

April, May, June, July and August fool


The WO ZS66 is a lovely little scope, I'm really happy with it. Visually it's pretty drat good to, but the tiny 66mm aperture needs dark skies and a good eyepiece.

I don't have a great deal of other images yet, this is my first year doing astrophotography, this winter I'm hoping to get a lot more done. However for a sence of progression this was my first ever attempt :


Click here for the full 1024x683 image.


The Orion nebula on a lovely EQ4 mount, badly aligned, 45 second exposures and not many of them.


Click here for the full 1000x666 image.


That's my first decent image after building my roll off roof observatory, the whirlpool galaxy. I can't wait to have another go at that.


Click here for the full 1000x666 image.


The dumbbell nebula, showing signs of improvement!

Jekub fucked around with this message at 15:55 on Sep 24, 2009

Stregone
Sep 1, 2006


I was up at shenandoah last weekend and finally managed to get some shots of the milky way.





I'd really like to get more into this. My budget for this is pretty small, what would be the best bang for my buck for making these wide field pictures better? I was thinking about making a barn door mount, but then I realized I would need a geared tripod head to aim it properly. Those are kind of expensive, but I do want to get one eventually for other reasons...

Any ideas?

Jekub
Jul 21, 2006

April, May, June, July and August fool


Something like an Orion mini-EQ or EQ1 mount with the motor drive would be about the cheapest purpose designed option I would think. That would give you tracking and a reasonable support, and you can always get a good tripod for it later.

Mini-EQ
http://www.telescope.com/control/pr...roduct_id=09055

Stregone
Sep 1, 2006


Wow, I didn't think there would be any option that affordable. Will I be able to mount that on a standard photo tripod? I have a manfrotto 055PROB tripod, its pretty beefy and has a built in level.

Jekub
Jul 21, 2006

April, May, June, July and August fool


I would assume that it would fit a normal photographic tripod, but check with a supplier first. The split leg aluminium tripods you can buy them with tend to be a bit nasty.

Once you have tracking sorted you are free to start increasing exposures and taking multiple images for stacking. Then you get to open an entirely new can of worms. The rule of thumb with imaging and mounts is 'over mount, under scope'. That little EQ1 will take a DSLR and small lens for wide field, but don't expect to put a scope on it and get good results, it won't cope with anything heavy. If you can afford something better then do so, it will only help you out in the long run.

My latest effort :


Click here for the full 1000x636 image.


The Triangulum Galaxy - M33

I need to take another couple of hours data for this to really come out well. Also, colour correction of images taken with the reflector and filter is much harder than those taken with the APO refractor.

Jekub fucked around with this message at 19:45 on Sep 28, 2009

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Funkysauce
Sep 18, 2005
...and what about the kick in the groin?

A few Q's if anyone can help. First here's the gear:

a Meade etx-90ec, this doesn't have tracking or AutoStar, it was given to me by my father in-law, I manually have to adjust to keep track of the object I'm looking at.

1) For taking just a run of the mill, hey here's the X galaxy/nebula/Planet do I need more equipment other than the lens adapter?

2) Are hi-mag UWA eyepieces any good for viewing nebulae or galaxies?

3) Are light pollution-reducers worth anything?

I just do casual observing on clear nights and am looking to see if I want to start getting more serious with it.

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