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NGC 6888 Crescent Nebula – 8 minutes

NGC 6888 (C 27) Crescent Nebula

The main target of the night was the Crescent Nebula. I imaged it with my usual telescope setup, N 150/750, Baader MPCC Mark III, Canon 1100D mod, HEQ5 with the resurrected guiding camera. I took 15×4 min ISO 800,  and just for fun, 2×8 min ISO 800. To my surprise, the sky allowed this, having almost no background fill inspite of the long exposure.

C 27, NGC 6888 [nebula in Cyg] Crescent nebula, Sarló-köd ø20′ [wiki] [simbad]  (tovább…)

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NGC 457 Owl Cluster

NGC 457 Owl Cluster

The Moon was still up when I started imaging the Owl Cluster, on 2017-07-29 from Dângău Mare. I used my usual setup for small objects, the  Canon 1100D mod, N 150/750, Baader MPCC Mark III, HEQ5. The autoguiding was done by the recovered camera and a very old netbook with limited battery life, run from 12V plus a DC-DC converter to feed it 19V. I gathered 22×90 sec, at ISO 400 with a few shorter and intentionally blurred frames to verify the color of the stars. It was a bit windy.

C 13, NGC 457 [open cluster in Cas] Owl Cluster, E.T. Cluster, Bagoly-halmaz, Phi Cassiopeiae Cluster, Dragonfly Cluster, Szitakötő-halmaz 6.4m ø13′ [wiki] [simbad]

Also visible, but rather faint is the galaxy  LEDA 4831 or MCG+10-03-001, see in Simbad.

(tovább…)

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M57 captured at f/13

M57 Ring Nebula

During the last session, and parenthetically eff Microsoft for its forced Windows updates, I also imaged M 57, NGC 6720 [planetary nebula in Lyr] Ring nebula in Lyra, Gyűrűs-köd, Ring Nebula, Nebuloasa Inel 8.8m ø1.43′ [wiki] [simbad]  A very faint galaxy, IC 1296 [galaxy in Lyr] 15.39m ø1′ [wiki] [simbad] also found its way onto the picture, as seen on the annotated framem57, annotated by astrometry.net, though it took some extra work to highlight it through masking, due to the great dynamic difference between the planetary nebula and the galaxy, as it is visible on the raw frameM57 raw sample.

Canon 1100Da, 10×4 min, ISO 1600, MC 102/1300, HEQ5.

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M27 at F/13

M27 Dumbbell – Canon 1100Da @ MC 102/1300

F/13 is not the opening at which one wants to photograph deep sky objects. But I wanted to field test the guiding I recently got. So I set up the HEQ5 with the Canon 1100Da @ MC 102/1300 on it, and let it go for the stars with 4-5-6 minutes exposures. And … it worked. However, there is a big but: effing Microsoft Windows decided it could not wait with the update, so under the starry sky, I was looking at the don’t turn off your computer screen, running on precious battery power. And I paid for Windows. After Africa, this is the second time the effing windows update effed me while on the field. So 6×4 min, ISO 800, Dângău Mare, Cluj.

M 27, NGC 6853 [planetary nebula in Vul] Dumbbell-nebula, Súlyzó-köd, Nebuloasa Dumbbell 7.4m ø8′ [wiki] [simbad]

 

raw

raw

raw curved

raw curved

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Planetary images from the long weekend

ε Lyrae

Using the N 150/750 on the HEQ5 and the Scopium webcam, I obtained the following frames. Do note that planetary imaging means a technic – many frames, a 1-2 minutes long video of short frames, stacked -, essentilly lucky imaging, so planetary does not mean a target type. Just sayin’ :P

The clouds obscured the occultation of Porrima, so next time.

(tovább…)

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Some Solar System

Sunspot 2661

A few clear hours, in conjunction with my free time, allowed me to take some photos: the Sun, the Moon, Jupiter and Saturn. I still could not find Enceladus. The setup: N150/750 and MC 102/1300 on the HEQ5, Scopium and CCD Labs Q-Guide webcam.

 

(tovább…)

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Days Go By – with a raspberry pi

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Venus- and Sunrise, and other stuff with a Raspberry Pi

I resurrected an old project of mine, a Raspberry Pi with a camera put on a time lapse duty. Right now it is pointed towards East, and takes a picture every minute. I captured several Venus rises (the planet is the morning star right now), Sunrises of course, and some atmospheric optics too.

 

(tovább…)

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Popularity of Deep Sky Objects according to Astrophotographers

Distribution of 2900 photos of 250 objects

I was curious which objects are the most popular targets according to astrophotographers. I used their activity to answer this question.

To find out, I deployed a crawler on two popular Hungarian forums, on asztrofoto.hu and tavcso.hu and harvested all the photos posted from the sites’ beginning till november 2014. Most of the posts had a catalog number in their title, some only a variant of the popular name, but they were heterogenous, as none of the two forums apply strict title/naming conventions. I worked with those that had a recognizable catalog number like M7, Messier 24, NGC 7000, C 38 or something similar – so perhaps many Orion nebula and Lagoon nebula pictures are left out, especially because the most popular objects are easily identifiable without a catalog number. Then I created this table containing around 2900 posts of around 250 objects.

Let’s say popularity is the count an object has been photographed. No wonder the most popular objects are the most prominent Messier and Caldwell objects (like NGC 7000), although the Caldwell catalog”s usage is sparse, the NGC or IC numbers are used instead. I used my DSO to collapse most aliases. Another conclusion is that few objects get a lot of attention and many very little, which is not a surprise either.

(tovább…)

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DSO database on my Csillagtúra

A printscreen of the UI. It uses night mode.

While posting my pictures, and describing the photographed objects, I noticed they are already deeper than most of the shallow catalogs and softwares go. Stellarium has its strengths but also its weaknesses. Astrometry.net’s plate solver also has its limits. The database behind Simbad and the Aladin viewer their website has embedded is great in many ways – on the desktop edition I can point with the mouse, and the pointer’s coordinates get resolved into an object, but no such feature in the web version (I added it, see below). A weakness is that both the web version and the desktop edition are slow to render the sky, I wonder whether they have any caching or the tiles are morphed real time. Anyway,  I wanted something more personal, integrated into my website.

So I made csillagtura.ro/dso. I think I am bad at naming my programs :P. I found this database on github, with more than 200k objects. This database should cover my deeper photographs for a long time. I converted the CSV into an SQL, and extended it with popular names for objects mainly in English, many in Hungarian and some in Romanian. I also added functionalities like search by virtually any aspect of an object, and, very important: cone search around each result, or just a cone search around some coordinates. I also added some virtual sky features: based on UTC time and the visitor’s gps coordinates retrieved from the browser, my program also calculates the objects’ alt-az coordinates.

(tovább…)

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Jól kalibrált monitoron mindegyik számnál elkülönülő árnyalat látszik. Ha mégsem látszanak, akkor a megjelenített képek színhiányosan rajzolódnak ki. A monitort valószínűleg kalibrálni kell.

You should see distinct shades for each number. If those shades are not clearly visible, the displayed pictures will lack accuracy. Your display most likely needs to be calibrated (brightness, gamma, contrast etc.).