Swansea Astronomical Society Blog

Thursday, February 15, 2018

 

AR2699 heading for the solar limb. White light image with a Baader solar filter

A static tripod mounted Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ72 bridge camera at 60x optical zoom, fitted with a Baader solar filter OD 5, was used to image the Sun. The camera was set to burst mode, ISO-100 and 1/640s exposure at f/5.9. Images were captured in bursts of three. 129 images were precisely cropped and registered in Nicola Mackin's AstroCrop for Linux running on a Debian Linux laptop. The cropped images were stacked and wavelet processed in Registax 5.1 running in Wine and post-processed in the Gimp 2.9. Click on the image to get a closer look.


Steve Wainwright and Nicola Mackin

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

 

The Sun in White light with a bridge camera

A static tripod mounted Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ72 bridge camera at 60x optical zoom, fitted with a Baader solar filter, was used to image the Sun. The camera was set to burst mode, ISO-100 and 1/500s exposure at f/5.9. Images were captured in bursts of three. 104 images were precisely cropped and registered in Nicola Mackin's AstroCrop for Linux running on a Debian Linux laptop, stacked in lxnstack, wavelet processed in Registax 5.1 running in Wine and post-processed in the Gimp 2.9.
Click on the image to get a closer view.
AR2699 is clearly visible.

Steve Wainwright and Nicola Mackin

Thursday, February 8, 2018

 

The Science of Solar Observing

Tonight, Dr Steve Wainwright gave us a talk on "The Science of Solar Observing". The sun is a most interesting object: we learnt about sun cycles, minima, features of the Sun (eg prominences etc) as well as warnings of the danger of solar observing (even through projection)

Thank you very much Steve for an informative talk (and well done for competing with the brass band in the room next door - eek!)

Here is a photo of Steve in action:



Wednesday, February 7, 2018

 

Sweex WC035V2 webcam tested as a lunar imager

Sweex WC035V2 webcam only has a VGA resolution and costs, at the time of writing, less than £8 on Amazon. The camera is very easy to modify for attachment to a telescope using a standard webcam Mogg adapter. It has a number of controls that make it potentially suitable as a lunar imager: Exposure, gamma, brightness, contrast and white balance.

Modified for astronomical imaging

The camera was fitted with an IR/UV cut filter and was placed at the Newtonian focus of an f/5, 130mm Newtonian and AstroDMx Capture for Linux was used to capture 1500 frames of each of three overlapping regions of the lunar terminator. The camera exhibits very little pixel vignetting and gives pleasant live views of the Moon making it suitable for use as an electronic eyepiece and for outreach.

Screenshot of AstroDMx Capture for Linux capturing with the Sweex WC035V2 webcam


The frames were stacked and flat-field corrected in lxnstack, wavelet processed in Registax 5.1 and the 3 panes were stitched together with Microsoft ICE, both running in Wine and post processed in the Gimp 2.9.

The camera does show some compression, but not as badly as in many cheap webcams. As a beginner's solar system camera it would be a suitable starting point.

Monday, February 5, 2018

 

Deep sky sketches

A Hypercam178M camera was used as an electronic eyepiece with a 150mm refractor. Click on an image to get a larger view.




Jim Startup
 

The Owl nebula M97

The Owl nebula was imaged with a Hypercam178M, Livestacked in Altaircapture, with 10 images in the stack. We used 30s exposures. Telescope Altair Starwave 152 f5.9 doublet. Binned 2x2 because of the small pixels. Click on the image to get a closer view.


Anne Startup

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

 

96% Waxing Moon: Aristarchus, Herodotus, Schroter's Valley

Celestron 9.25 SCT AVX, ZWO ASI120MC-S, 3000 images captured in Firecapture 2.5x64, 500 stacked and aligned in AutoStakkert!2.3, wavelets in Registax 6, then edited in Adobe Elements 11

96% Waxing Moon
Aristarchus, Herodotus, Schroter's Valley


Colin Miles
 

Raspberry Pi Zero and Pi 3 with camera modules as prime focus lunacams

The raspberry Pi Zero camera module can be mounted in the Pi case. The lens is unscrewed and a Mogg adapter attached to the Pi case. This means that the Pi Zero is both computer and camera. Click on an image to get a closer view.


The Pi-computer-camera running Rasbian Linux was placed at the Newtonian focus of an f/5, 130mm Newtonian and a neutral density filter was attached to the adapter.



Python software was written to display and capture images

Two overlapping sets of 50 bmp images were captured and then stacked, with flatfield correction in lxnstack. They were processed and combined into a 2 pane mosaic of the terminator.

In a separate experiment, a Raspberry Pi 3 running Ubuntu MATE Linux was used with a remounted camera module which was attached to the 130mm Newtonian and a neutral density filter was attached to the adapter.


Using the Python capture software, sets of 150 bmp images were captured of different regions of the Moon. The sets were aligned and stacked with flatfield correction using lxnstack.



Steve Wainwright
 

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Sunday, January 28, 2018

 

Andrew Lound at the Waterfront Museum

Yesterday at the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea, Mr Andrew Lound gave a presentation entitled "Guardians of the Rings" - a fascinating talk about the moons of Saturn. The moons have an effect on the rings of Saturn - in some cases sweeping out gaps in the rings, and causing gravitational ripples in adjacent rings.

We thank Mr Andrew Lound for coming to speak to us - his presentations are always extremely high quality and very informative.





Saturday, January 27, 2018

 

Star Party/Astronomical Exhibition Three-Society event at the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea

Swansea Astronomical Society in association with Barry AS and Port Talbot AS held a very successful astronomy exhibition at the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea. There were a minimum of 200 visitors. The weather did not allow outdoor observing, but the exhibition allowed visitors to see a wide range of instruments and to attend a talk given by Brian Spinks (SAS) on binoculars. An astronomical Children's activity area was very popular and helped to involve the whole family in the event.























The astronomical societies of Swansea, Barry and Port Talbot do not regard each other as competitors. By cooperating in this way, they hope to make visitors aware that there are local astronomical societies that will be pleased to welcome them as visitors to their meetings and possibly as new members. Please note that people under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a responsible adult if they visit any of the societies.
It is intended to hold a similar event at the National Waterfront Museum in the autumn when hopefully there will also be clear skies for a viewing session.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

 

Deep Sky sketches

Using an Altair Hypercam as an electronic eyepiece with a 150 mm refractor.




Jim Startup

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