Swansea Astronomical Society Blog

Thursday, October 22, 2020

 

Stellar Evolution Part-1 (Society Talk - Via Zoom)

 

Many thanks to Roger Pickard who gave us a great talk about Stellar Evolution tonight. Once again we were online via Zoom - nice to see more and more members finding us in the online format. Here we all are!



Many thanks to Roger for his talk and a fascinating insight into the evolution of stars - we look forward to Part 2!


Tuesday, October 20, 2020

 

Telescope for Sale in the Buy and Sell section of this website

FOR SALE

Celestron Nexstar 8 SE, a Schmidt-Cassegrain bought originally in August 2010. Used very little. Spent most of the time in an attic covered in plastic dust covers. The seller is happy to consider any sensible offers. The scope is in good condition and has not been moved around. Original price £1,090.

Contact details in the Buy and Sell page of this website.


Sunday, October 18, 2020

 

Mars

Celestron 9.25 SCT AVX, 2xTelevue Barlow, ZWO ASI120MC-S camera, 20451 images captured in Firecapture 2.5x64, 10% stacked and aligned in AutoStakkert!3, wavelets in Registax 6, then edited in Adobe Elements 11

Mars


Colin Miles


 

Jupiter and Saturn

 A ZWO ASI178MC camera was fitted with the lens from a 2 x Barlow and was placed at the Cassegrain focus of an 8" SCT mounted on an AVX mount. The seeing was very bad and SER files were captured of Jupiter and its Moons exposed for the moons, and also exposed for the planet. The two resulting images were merged in the Gimp 2.10. Also a SER file was captured of Saturn.

The best frames in the SER files were stacked in Autostakkert! and post processed in the Gimp.

Jupiter and moons


Left to right the moons are Ganymede, Io, Callisto and Europa

Saturn

Steve Wainwright and Nicola Mackin


Thursday, October 15, 2020

 

The green flash and night shots

 The Green flash
Click on an image to get a closer view




Chris Bowden



Wednesday, October 14, 2020

 

The Moon and Mars

 I was out last night to see Mars at opposition, but due to lots of clouds I couldn't use the AstroTrac, so had to use a static tripod for short exposure and high ISO settings during suitable breaks in the cloud along the coastal path. Mars was really striking though at mag -2.6!

I captured some data of Mars near opposition from the QHY & ETX 125 this morning though, under better conditions and shot some of the Moon too whilst I was looking at the lovely conjunction of Venus and the Moon earlier on. 

The Mars image was the best of some 9,975 frames taken between 04:40 and 06:04 today with my QHY5 camera and Barlow lens on the ETX 125, captured with EZPlanetary software and processed with Registax,, Astrocrop and Photoshop. The 26.5 day old Moon images were also taken with the QHY5 camera but without the Barlow lens on the ETX 125 and were made from 35 second video files shot at 15 FPS with processing done in Registax and Photoshop.

The widefield shots were taken with my Sony A77 camera with 16-50mm F2.8 lens tripod mounted.









Chris Bowden

Monday, October 12, 2020

 

Cluster and Planets

SOME IMAGES THAT I TOOK LAST FRIDAY WITH MY NIKON D3200 THROUGH MY 20CM SCT USING EYEPIECE PROJECTION.

Click on an image to see a closer view

 IC 4665  OPEN CLUSTER OPHIUCHUS.


NEPTUNE.


MARS.


URANUS.


Howard Davies


Saturday, October 10, 2020

 

Testing AstroDMx Capture for Windows and a Canon 4000D DSLR

Testing AstroDMx Capture for Windows using a Canon 4000D DSLR and a Skywatcher Explorer 130 PDS 130mm, f/5 Newtonian.

The Skywatcher Explorer 130 PDS 130mm, f/5 Newtonian was mounted on a Celestron AVX mount and the Canon 4000D DSLR was attached via a 2” adapter.

40 x 40s exposures of The Andromeda galaxy were captured at ISO 6400 with matching dark frames using AstroDMx Capture for Windows, which treats the DSLR like any other Astronomy camera, with the camera controls under the control of the software. The Canon 4000D camera has a 14 bit ADC and the captured images were saved as both 16 bit TIFFs and also Camera RAW, which were stored in a folder of their own.

The images were stacked in Deep Sky Stacker and post-processed in the Gimp 2.10, Affinity Photo, Fitswork and FastStone Image viewer.

Click on an image to get a closer view

Final image of M31, the Andromeda galaxy

70 x 30s exposures of M71, the Angelfish globular cluster, with matching dark frames were captured at ISO 6400 using AstroDMx Capture for Windows.

The best 90 % of the images were stacked in Deep Sky Stacker and post-processed in the Gimp 2.10 and Affinity Photo.

The Angelfish cluster, M71

Steve Wainwright and Nicola Mackin


Friday, October 9, 2020

 

Deep sky and planets; testing AstroDMx Capture for Windows

 A Celestron 8" SCT was used with an SV305 camera at the Cassegrain focus. SE files of Jupiter and Saturn were captured using AstroDMx Capture for Windows. Stacking was done in Autostakkert!, wavelet processing was done in Registax 5.1 and post processing with the Gimp 2.10 and Affinity Photo.

Jupiter


Saturn


A 6.3 focal reducer was fitted to the visual back of the SCT and 16 bit Tiff images were captured of M71, the Angelfish cluster, with matching dark frames.

The images were dark-frame corrected and stacked in Deep Sky Stacker and post processed in the Gimp 2.10.

Screenshot of AstroDMx Capture for Windows capturing data on M71

Click on the image to get a closer view

M71 the Angelfish Cluster; a globular cluster in Sagitta


Steve Wainwright and Nicola Mackin


 

Mars

 Good conditions again last night - enjoyed views of Jupiter, Saturn and Mars and did some imaging of Saturn and Jupiter with the QHY5 and the ETX125.

After midnight conditions improved a fair bit before the clouds rolled in, allowing a 2 times Barlow to be used with the QHY on Mars. I was able to get a fairly decent image from the 7,050 frames. 

Pprocessed images done in Registax, Astrocrop and Photoshop including the mono and false coloured images of Mars with and without the Barlow.

The earlier capture without the Barlow comprised some 4,785 frames.







Chris Bowden


Thursday, October 8, 2020

 

Radio Astronomy with Paul Spurr (Society talk - via Zoom)

We are settling into our online format now and tonight was our second Society lecture held on Zoom. Swansea is currently on lockdown and UWTSD where we usually meet is teaching many classes online, so it is great to be able to get together online. Chris Bowden is doing a fantastic job of organising the talks and introducing the speakers - thank you so much Chris. 

Here we all are!


Tonight, Paul Spurr gave us a very interesting talk on radio astronomy. While we often think of astronomy in the visual, there are many radio astronomy telescopes around the world, such as our own Jodrell Bank, Parkes Observatory in Australia that followed the Apollo 11 mission up to huge ones such as Arecibo and "FAST" (500m) in China - the largest in the world. 



Although we are not meeting in person, it has been lovely you all on Zoom, and also to see some members who have been unable to come in person for various health reasons joining us online.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

 

Imaging the Moon with AstroDMx Capture for Windows

A Celestron 8" SCT was fitted with an f/6.3 focal reducer/field flattener and mounted on a Celestron AVX mount. A ZWO ASI178MC camera was placed at the Cassegrain focus and 1500 frame SER files were captured with AstroDMx Capture for Windows of 6 overlapping panes of the 91.4% waning Moon.

Click on an image to get a closer view

AstroDMx Capture for Windows capturing data on one of the panes.


The best 70% of frames in each SER file i.e. 1050 frames in each SER file, were stacked in Autostakkert! The resulting image for each pane was wavelet processed in Registax 6, and all of the 6 pane images were stitched into a mosaic in Microsoft Image Composite Editor. The final image was post processed in the Gimp 2.10 and Affinity Photo. Enhanced saturation was used to reveal differences in the mineralogy of the lunar surface.

An animation of unsaturated vs saturation enhanced images was made in Animation shop.

Steve Wainwright and Nicola Mackin


 

Mars at opposition

Celestron 9.25 SCT AVX, 2xTelevue Barlow, ZWO ASI120MC-S camera, 19879 images captured in Firecapture 2.5x64, 750 stacked and aligned in AutoStakkert!3, wavelets in Registax 6, then edited in Adobe Elements 11


Colin Miles


 

Observing Mars at closest approach

Had a superb night here last night looking at the planet Mars at its closest approach -  amazing to have had clear skies, practically no wind and temperatures in double figures!

I used all of my eyepieces and was even able to use my 6mm lens with the 2 times Barlow lens as conditions were so good  - that gave a staggering 633 times magnification through the ETX125!

I spent a considerable time just looking - it was amazing -  just like looking at Earth from space and picking out continents - it was that good.

I am pleased with my portable set up now which I’ve been refining for some time. The telescope can be quickly mounted on the three studs in the lawn for accurate alignment and connections quickly made to my laptop in the control room.

I use a bucket to coil the umbilical in after viewing and it works a treat - especially if there is dew on the grass.

The last shot I took with the camera before I turned in was just a handheld one of a point of light some 34,000,000 miles away - The closest Mars will be to us for 15 years. A most memorable night!

Click on an image to get a closer view





Chris Bowden

Monday, October 5, 2020

 

Jupiter, Saturn and Mars

A while ago I picked up one of those Ukrainian devices called "AutoFi" to control the scope with my iPad using Sky Safari and I managed to get the ETX125 working with it just fine last night, so not only can I now control the targets using my iPad remotely, but I can focus the camera too using the IR repeater arrangement.

Following the test I had a look at Mars and did a few captures using the QHY5 and did a quick process in Registax and Astrocrop of the 1335 frames captured. Conditions improved into the early hours of this morning and it was good to see Mars through the scope looking so grand just a day or so from closest approach


Chris Bowden


Saturday, October 3, 2020

 

Mars-Moon conjunction

A couple of cloud breaks allowed me to capture at least some of the conjunction of Mars and the Moon earlier. Photos were taken with my Sony A77 using a 50mm F2.8 lens tethered to my PC, with image capture performed in Sony Imaging Edge software. The photos show the movement of the pair over the 2 3/4 hour interval between shots.

Click on an image to get a closer view


Chris Bowden


Thursday, October 1, 2020

 

Mars

 Conditions were optimal this morning for a great view of Mars just five days away from closest approach. 

I was able to see the best detail I’ve ever seen through my Meade ETX125, with the south polar cap and surface markings clearly visible. Great views using a 12.4mm eyepiece and a 2x Barlow lens to get even closer! 

Image is the best of some 3,150 frames grabbed using EZPlanetary software at 06:15 his morning with my QHY5 camera on the Meade ETX 125. I used Registax to stack the 13 separate AVI files making images from each and then used AstroCrop to crop them and re-process them in Registax before a final tweak in Photoshop where false colour was applied.

I projected the image onto an 83” projector screen in the control room to allow fine focusing using the infrared remote control working the stepper motor on the ETX outside the door. This was a great help to get the image as sharp as it could be for imaging.






Chris Bowden



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