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hannibal
Jul 27, 2001

[img-planes]

That is a very nice comet animation!

edit: ok, this is a weak start to a new page. I didn't get anything really astronomy-related myself for the holidays, except maybe still paying down "debt" to my spouse for letting me build my ROR observatory.

I have been fiddling with my iPhone 11 Pro's camera, which is a lot more sensitive in low light than previous models. Here's my results so far, not too impressive but still neat to me:

https://www.instagram.com/p/B6ZnmM8p3Ae/
https://www.instagram.com/p/B6e5ZQgJiWj/

hannibal fucked around with this message at 05:46 on Dec 30, 2019

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gschmidl
Sep 3, 2011

it's the journey
not the destination
as we know



"YOU TRIED" DIVISION


Hi everyone. I've recently caught the astrophotography bug, so I'd like to guarantee cloudy skies forever by getting some equipment. I've been reading this thread and searching around on the net, but I'd be very greatful if someone could fact-check what I've found. Deep Sky objects would be nice to have but since I'm just starting out I should probably not spend tens of thousands if it turns out I'm not going to use it. So.

I have a Canon 80D but I'm willing to spring for a specialized camera for a telescope if it makes sense. The one this thread seems to recommend the ZWO ASI 224 MC Color.

For mounts, I've looked mostly at the Skywatcher AZ-GTi, which has wifi control for automatically locating astronomical objects (very handy for family use). As I understand,
- the camera can be mounted to the Skywatcher relatively easily
- it uses azimuthal tracking, which is useful for single photos or DSS, but not long-time exposures
- but there's special firmware which turns it into an EQ tracker, which requires a (relatively inexpensive) EQ wedge, which enables long-time exposures.

I'm aware of the Star Adventurer, but it requires a ton of extra equipment.

Which leaves the question of a telescope. I'm not 100% sure I need one right away, but I checked anyway.

This one has the Skywatcher mount included and they claim it's good for astrophotography - I could drop in the above-mentioned camera, or use a T2 adapter to connect the Canon. Or I could just grab the mount and add a telescope later.

Or something completely different! I'm open to any and all suggestions.

Rolabi Wizenard
Sep 18, 2005

Make the Lakers Great Again


Are you hoping to take magazine quality astro photos?

Or are you just going to, perhaps, hook up your camera to a monitor and display DSOs live for yourself and your family as you browse around the night sky?

If the latter, here's an example of someone scrolling around at 1x with a sensitive camera:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAmkUccmLyc

Same guy, at 3x:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ALc7KzO3P2k

Here's a guy with that camera hooked up to a very high quality telescope, I *think* he's at about 15x using .25 sec frames
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z80vnWCLc3o#t=126s

I don't have a camera like yours, but it seems like if you can display .25 to 1 second frames with a sensitivity like that, you could have a lot of fun just browsing around looking at objects. Especially if you have access to dark skies. Shooting super short frames like that means you can use an Alt Az like the AZ-GTi and not have to worry about field rotation. The AZ-GTi would be a good choice as long as you keep your load light.

If you want to do long exposure astrophotography then that's an entirely different and very expensive can of worms.

Rolabi Wizenard fucked around with this message at 21:03 on Jan 1, 2020

gschmidl
Sep 3, 2011

it's the journey
not the destination
as we know



"YOU TRIED" DIVISION


It's definitely the latter, and I'm also not hellbent on long exposure - just tried to figure out my options instead of posting with nothing at all.

Would you recommend just the mount (I have a tripod), or a telescope combo?

Rolabi Wizenard
Sep 18, 2005

Make the Lakers Great Again


gschmidl posted:

It's definitely the latter, and I'm also not hellbent on long exposure - just tried to figure out my options instead of posting with nothing at all.

Would you recommend just the mount (I have a tripod), or a telescope combo?

Well the AZ-GTi is relatively new, but it's popular and there's plenty of experience, information, and tips out there. Its competitor would be the Celestron Astro-Fi, as its also a light Alt Az with wifi. The Sky Watcher app that connects to the AZ-GTi is basically an ugly hand controller. The Celestron app is actually a planetarium program (SkySafari) where you can scroll around the sky and select/slew to objects with the GUI. There is a two-phone (or a phone that can truly run two apps at the same time) workaround to get SkySafari to work with the AZ-GTi, but I'm not up on the specifics. It has something to do with the fact that SkySafari needs to communicate with the mount through the Sky Watcher app, so they both have to be running for it to work. The Astro-Fi also holds the telescope back on an arm so that you can observe the zenith, which might not be as easy with the AZ-GTi.

What the AZ-GTi offers thats better than the Astro-Fi is that nice small form factor and the ability to loosen up the clutches and slew around the sky manually and not lose alignment. That's a big one. You can only move the Astro-Fi with its hand control buttons, and it of course has to be powered on. To align either one, you power it on and enter a location and find this star and that star and then it knows when/where it is and where it is pointing. You can loosen the clutches and move the AZ-GTi to an object of interest and it doesn't lose alignment. That freedom is really nice. The Astro-Fi has to be pointed with the motors via the buttons on the hand controller.

As far as whether to use a telescope, I'm not sure. I don't have any experience using a camera like that. If you have a nice lens that you already use, you might try that first. The AZ-GTi can probably do a competent job with a small refractor as long as your exposures are short and your tripod is decent.

gschmidl
Sep 3, 2011

it's the journey
not the destination
as we know



"YOU TRIED" DIVISION


Rolabi Wizenard posted:

As far as whether to use a telescope, I'm not sure. I don't have any experience using a camera like that. If you have a nice lens that you already use, you might try that first. The AZ-GTi can probably do a competent job with a small refractor as long as your exposures are short and your tripod is decent.

Alright, I'll take all that information and head to the local telescope store when it re-opens. Thanks a lot!

Rolabi Wizenard
Sep 18, 2005

Make the Lakers Great Again


gschmidl posted:

Alright, I'll take all that information and head to the local telescope store when it re-opens. Thanks a lot!

I'm sorry for drunk-post rambling off the point.

You'll probably want a scope to cover your whole APS-C sensor with a flat field and still be light enough to ride easily on the AZ-GTi for live viewing.

Some ideas

William Optics Redcat/Whitecat/Spacecat
https://www.firstlightoptics.com/wi...-5-apo-f49.html
Sky Watcher Evostar 72ED with field flattener
https://www.firstlightoptics.com/pr...ds-pro-ota.html
TS Photoline light astrograph refractors:
https://www.teleskop-express.de/sho...-P-Focuser.html
https://www.teleskop-express.de/sho...-P-Focuser.html

edit: oh, I've also heard people being really happy with this:
https://www.firstlightoptics.com/re...30p-ds-ota.html
...but it, combined with your camera, might be a bit too wiggly on the AZ-GTi

Rolabi Wizenard fucked around with this message at 15:46 on Jan 2, 2020

gschmidl
Sep 3, 2011

it's the journey
not the destination
as we know



"YOU TRIED" DIVISION


No worries, as indicated I know next to nothing so even the "rambling" was useful. Having a highly-rated local store in the vicinity is a bonus way to get info.

AstroZamboni
Mar 8, 2007

Smoothing the Ice on Europa since 1997!

So I recently moved into a place with a backyard that works for observing, except for when the neighbors leave their porch lights on.

I built some moveable light blocking panels that attach to the patio furniture with Velcro, but I decided I'm going to build an observatory. Unfortunately, we're renting and have HOA restrictions so can't build a permanent structure.

I've come up with a cunning plan. I'll document the process here as I do it. Basically it'll be a full rotating dome observatorythat sets up in ten minutes. I'll be calling it "Deep Space 0.9"

Watch this space.

Platystemon
Feb 13, 2012



Itís not an observatory. Itís the base of your hundred-foot radio mast that the HOA canít do poo poo about.

The roof on the south side rolls to the side to cool the transmitter, you see.

hannibal
Jul 27, 2001

[img-planes]

Is there some sort of loop hole for radio masts?

I have a backyard neighbor with a kitchen light window that shines down on my observatory. I thought about going over and seeing if they would put in a light shade of some sort but it hasn't been a problem so far.

AstroZamboni
Mar 8, 2007

Smoothing the Ice on Europa since 1997!

There are legal loopholes for radio masts because ham radio operators are legally required to be able to use their equipment at a moment's notice to render aid in the event of a large scale emergency.

uvar
Jul 25, 2011


College Slice

I popped outside earlier to see the ISS go almost perfectly right overhead in a cloudless sky just at the right time after sunset - and it was a pleasant surprise that about a minute later it crossed over what I assume was one of the Starlink chains, which I hadn't bothered to go look for specifically. So that was neat!

Unfortunately I apparently forgot to turn everything off after my last session and my telescope red dot and little red lamp were both dead, so I didn't even try for a detailed view. And the output of my new smartphone's night mode isn't very impressive, either the built-in app or the Google Camera version I shoved in. I might be missing something there though. I'm glad I didn't rush into astrophotography, all the pictures posted here are lovely but I don't think I'd have the patience.

Golden-i
Sep 17, 2006

One big, stumpy family


My first DSO pic ever was M34, which I took 2 years ago. Used the wrong scope, bad settings, old camera, and I got this:


M34 - Orion Nebula, 1/8/18

Big surprise, it turned out like crap. But, I remember being so happy about it. I mean, there's stuff out there in space past the planets, and I can actually see it! From my driveway! With amateur gear!



Anyways, I've been itching to get out since December to try shooting it again, but the weather's been miserable for the last two months. The skies finally cleared last night and I got out to shoot M34 at a balmy ~5F. Only got a little frostbitten.


M34 - Orion Nebula, 2/20/20 - Rough process

Two years difference, same location (Bortle 8 skies in both). I'm happy with how the data on this turned out. This was a rough shot at processing, there's still quite a bit of noise and the background contrast isn't quite right. I think I want to try getting out again asap and getting some Ha data to mix in for an HaRGB pic before I spend much more time processing it.

Platystemon
Feb 13, 2012



Stop writing jokes in base thirteen.

Harry Potter on Ice
Nov 4, 2006
Someone on the internet doesn't like me





Golden-i posted:

My first DSO pic ever was M34, which I took 2 years ago. Used the wrong scope, bad settings, old camera, and I got this:


M34 - Orion Nebula, 1/8/18

Big surprise, it turned out like crap. But, I remember being so happy about it. I mean, there's stuff out there in space past the planets, and I can actually see it! From my driveway! With amateur gear!



Anyways, I've been itching to get out since December to try shooting it again, but the weather's been miserable for the last two months. The skies finally cleared last night and I got out to shoot M34 at a balmy ~5F. Only got a little frostbitten.


M34 - Orion Nebula, 2/20/20 - Rough process

Two years difference, same location (Bortle 8 skies in both). I'm happy with how the data on this turned out. This was a rough shot at processing, there's still quite a bit of noise and the background contrast isn't quite right. I think I want to try getting out again asap and getting some Ha data to mix in for an HaRGB pic before I spend much more time processing it.

Whoaa, really good stuff. I love pics of space. We also had the first clearest night here in a while a couple of days ago, it was incredible

Golden-i
Sep 17, 2006

One big, stumpy family


Ok it was bugging me, so I went back to my original stack and re-did the entire post process with much more aggressive noise reduction while the image was still linear. It made a huge difference.

hannibal
Jul 27, 2001

[img-planes]

That's very nice! I have been super slacking this winter but I'm hoping to get back out soon and start imaging again.

Also for Starlink passes if you all haven't seen this site, it's very good:

https://james.darpinian.com/satellites/

Rolabi Wizenard
Sep 18, 2005

Make the Lakers Great Again


Nice work, g-i!

Hasselblad
Dec 13, 2017
NRA shill who thinks homeless people would love to live in migrant border camps. Help me realize I am a bigoted piece of shit.


I really wish there were more objects like the O Nebulae to the north. Fecking street light directly to my south with one of those sickly bright green bulbs. The only place my property is clear of snow is to the south, so even if Orion was north of me, I would have to sit in foot deep drifts.

Golden-i
Sep 17, 2006

One big, stumpy family


I hear that, but to the north during the summer. Seems like so much of the fun summer DSOs are to the north and I have a drat LED streetlight there.

Got out again last night and tried shooting the Horsehead and Flame nebulae:



There was this horrible side-to-side lighting gradient that I couldn't completely eliminate (see the bottom right) that my flat frames couldn't correct for, so I'm pretty sure it's an external lighting effect. I did manage to get rid of most of it, at least. Maybe my neighbors had a porch light on for a while and I didn't notice or something...

Hasselblad
Dec 13, 2017
NRA shill who thinks homeless people would love to live in migrant border camps. Help me realize I am a bigoted piece of shit.


https://www.newscientist.com/articl...lescope-images/

One can dream. It pisses me off to no end that poo poo like this gets approved. What happens when technology makes all of that shiny debris obsolete?

Golden-i
Sep 17, 2006

One big, stumpy family


Ugh, that would be great. Plus, you know, it's all LEO so those 42,000 satellites are gonna degrade over time and fall on poo poo. Nothing ever burns up 100%.


Got up to the Bortle-4 site this weekend and found a spot where I could see the north sky above the tree line.



The Heart Nebula

It was supposed to be 24x300sec exposures, but I managed to gently caress that up somehow and it ended up as 357sec exposures? Whoops! Oh well, an extra ~24 minutes of exposure, it wasn't enough to overexpose the subs so I'll take it!

Also, this was my first time not doing dark frames. I though that with the cooled CCD, my cosmetic correction was enough to fix any hot/cold pixels without wasting half an hour on dark frames. I honestly don't think I'd be able to tell the difference in this one.

slidebite
Nov 6, 2005

Good egg


I love this, but the comments cause me to weep for the scientific literacy of people ... such strong opinions of something they are utterly clueless about.
https://twitter.com/wonderofscience...727879704477697

Platystemon
Feb 13, 2012



Golden-i posted:

It was supposed to be 24x300sec exposures, but I managed to gently caress that up somehow and it ended up as 357sec exposures?

magnum exposures

Golden-i
Sep 17, 2006

One big, stumpy family


Platystemon posted:

magnum exposures

bayered for her pleasure


I think I bumped a key after I started the capture as I was shutting off the laptop screen/keyboard (so it wouldn't attract deer over to come gently caress my equipment up) and yeah, extra long exposures. It worked out, I guess.

Dick Trauma
Nov 30, 2007

God damn it, you've got to be kind.

Clapping Larry

https://twitter.com/Cmdr_Hadfield/s...292447009280002

Hasselblad
Dec 13, 2017
NRA shill who thinks homeless people would love to live in migrant border camps. Help me realize I am a bigoted piece of shit.



Enos Cabell
Nov 3, 2004



Saw that earlier and wanted to ask the thread gurus how much $$ in gear we're talking there. That is pretty amazing.

Carth Dookie
Jan 28, 2013



Grimey Drawer

Dudes going to get black bagged when they realise he can do the same thing to intelligence satellites

pointsofdata
Apr 25, 2011



Enos Cabell posted:

Saw that earlier and wanted to ask the thread gurus how much $$ in gear we're talking there. That is pretty amazing.

Theres a guy in the Netherlands (!) who's does it with some fairly cheap gear, I don't think it's quite that quality though.

That Works
Jul 21, 2006


Fun Shoe


Are the flat earthers weighing in on this or nah

Platystemon
Feb 13, 2012



You versus the guy she tells you not to worry about

Platystemon posted:



I took this photo of the International Space Station from right outside my home.

Explain that, flat Earthers.

That Works
Jul 21, 2006


Fun Shoe

Platystemon posted:

You versus the guy she tells you not to worry about

hahaha nice

Hasselblad
Dec 13, 2017
NRA shill who thinks homeless people would love to live in migrant border camps. Help me realize I am a bigoted piece of shit.


pointsofdata posted:

Theres a guy in the Netherlands (!) who's does it with some fairly cheap gear, I don't think it's quite that quality though.

I wonder how much of it is atmospheric turbulence levels compared to gear itself.

Binary Badger
Oct 11, 2005

Trolling Link for a decade



The following is brought to you by naked eye astronomy..

There it was again!

It was an alert from Sky Guide on my timphone, saying the ISS would peak in five minutes.

I'd heard and ignored it a million times before, but this time I looked at the ISS orbital path and saw it would intersect Venus. Great!

I had just come in from outside watching the sunset and a nifty sun pillar, and noted Venus's position.

The sun had just gone down and I prepared to do what I had done a zillion times before in cloudy skies, during the daytime, at 4 am and yawning, and for some reason never caught it. I fully expected no soap yet again.

But to my surprise I saw a bright, huge unblinking star come up from the horizon; it was taking the same path that Sky Guide said the ISS was taking, and I couldn't believe it, it was slightly off-yellow to me and went right past Venus as Sky Guide said it would.

I quickly switched to FlightRadar AR mode to see if it was a plane.. nope nothing in that area and closest plane was 30 mi. away.

I was in so much awe because I realized an infinity of blood, sweat, and tears (as well as euros and dollars) had allowed us, the human race, to loving put that star up there!

Followed the ISS back to my backyard, and watched it go into the trees and under the horizon. It was simply amazing..

I cringe at how I must have seen that point of light dozens of times before and passed it off as another plane whose blinkers weren't visible..

Gonna crack open a pair of Celestron Cometron binoculars I bought at NEAF (which is postponed this year due to you know what) and see if I can see any detail the next time it comes up..

tl;dr: I saw the ISS

ShadeofBlue
Mar 17, 2011



Seeing the ISS feels way cooler than it seems it should, considering that it ďjustĒ looks like a moving star. I should make more of an effort to see it, Iíve only consciously tried to a couple of times.

Platystemon
Feb 13, 2012



ShadeofBlue posted:

Seeing the ISS feels way cooler than it seems it should, considering that it ďjustĒ looks like a moving star. I should make more of an effort to see it, Iíve only consciously tried to a couple of times.

Itís neat watching it through a telescope.

With practice, it can be tracked manually with a Dobsonian at a hundred magnification or more. The solar panels can clearly be seen.

Binary Badger
Oct 11, 2005

Trolling Link for a decade



NEAF has been rescheduled for September 12th and 13th. It'll be held at the same place as usual, Rockland Community College in NY.

https://www.neafexpo.com

NEAF is the Northeast Astronomy Forum and Space Expo.

Excuse the ridiculously huge galactic MP4 they load in the background that will suck all your battery out.

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rckgrdn
Apr 26, 2002

So that's how it's made...

FFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK.

Was going to do some new darks at the weekend, when the ASI1600 stops cooling... I go to check it, and smell that familiar burnt electronics smell.



I'm guessing it's down to a combination of my over-12V power supply and that the popped component wasn't totally covered by the thermal pad. But breaking my camera just before an unbroken 4-night stretch of clear skies during a new moon is cruel as gently caress.

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