Bubble Nebula with M 52 – astROmania2017

NGC 7635 Bubble nebula and open cluster M52

As a secondary target, I imaged the Bubble Nebula – M52 open cluster duo. I obtained 7×5 min usable light frames with the N 150/750, Baader MPCC Mark III, Canon 1100D mod, HEQ5 at ISO 1600 (and sub zero temperatures, summer :P). The area in Cassiopeia is fairly rich – more and longer expos – but the equipment was about to fail due to the extreme weather and power issues. Maybe next time. To my surprise though, I could tame the raw frames to obtain this picture.

C 11, NGC 7635 [nebula in Cas] Bubble nebula, Buborék-köd ø15′ [wiki] [simbad] 750mm

M 52, NGC 7654 [open cluster in Cas] 6.9m ø16′ [wiki] [simbad] 750mm  (tovább…)

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A comet in the Pleiades C/2015 ER61

C/2015 ER61

Again, a target I didn’t really care about. A quick shot of C/2015 ER61  in the morning of August 19. More details in this article.

(tovább…)

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Supernova SN 2017eaw

SN 2017eaw

In the astROmania 2017 camp, I didn’t really care about the nowadays visible supernova in the Fireworks Galaxy. I just tried (and ultimately failed) to collect enough photos for a beautiful picture. However, when I came home and started typing these articles, I realized I have an old post about this galaxy. Back in 2013 my Newton scope + DSLR setup was only a few days old (EQ3 mount, no MPCC, unmodded camera, shot in JPG, unmodded tube), so those pictures qualify as first lights. I also remembered that, due to human error, those pictures might be lost forever, having only the placeholders even in the wayback machine version of the old website that article used to be on, and not the actual pictures. I am lucky (cursed actually), cause I turned out to have a backup of a backup in a very obscure folder of an obscure drive I have actually forgotten about. Noteworthy that other than being my own data, those pictures have close to zero value. (tovább…)

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Minor targets – astROmania 2017

C 12 with a supernova

During nights with modest sky, I chose to shoot some objects marked as plan B.

(tovább…)

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Caroline’s Rose – astROmania 2017

Caroline’s Rose

While in the camp, I imaged NGC 7789 [open cluster in Cas] Caroline’s Rose, Caroline rózsája, Karolina rózsája 6.7m ø25′ [wiki] [simbad] 750mm, 600mm, 1200mm gathering 16 expos from 2 to 5 minutes, ISO 1600 with N 150/750, Baader MPCC Mark III, Canon 1100D mod, HEQ5, autoguided.

(tovább…)

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Cocoon Nebula – AstROmania 2017

C19 Cocoon Nebula

In the astROmania 2017 camp, one night I imaged the Cocoon Nebula. It is believed to be at about 4000 ly away, and be very young, at about 0.1 Ma (100k years).

C 19, IC 5146 [open cluster+nebula in Cyg] Cocoon nebula, Báb-köd 7.2m ø12′ [wiki] [simbad] 750mm

I used my standard setup  N 150/750, Baader MPCC Mark III, Canon 1100D mod, HEQ5 autoguided, to obtain 28×5 min, ISO 1600.

(tovább…)

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Tulip Nebula – AstROmania 2017

Tulip Nebula

In late august the AstROmania 2017 amateur astronomy camp took place at, well, somewhere far from everything, in the Southern Carpatians, in the Cindrel National Park. About the camp: I find it curious bordering on bullshit to run a generator of kW capacity during the day and early night, only to charge the batteries to be used during the night, and having the stress of running low on power — as it did happen to more people because of the sub zero temperatures and unusual heating needs due to >90% humidity, with visible fog a few meters away, near the stream… I do see some failsafe foolproof logic there, but that again, among highly technical people, who probably know how to plug in electronic stuff, is an insult. Long live logic.

Before the camp, I programmed this astrophotography plannign tool to help me with framing the targets, and printed a few dozen pages with potential subjects, and among those, the Tulip.

(tovább…)

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My photo planner

a print from my planner

A few month back I ran into problems trying to identify certain deep sky objects that showed up on my pictures. Stellarium – although I like it – is good at searching for known objects, and not by coordinate search, and I cannot script it the way I want. Nova.astrometry.net is also a very useful tool, but it does not have all the objects I grew able to image. I built my own deep sky database, a strong search tool, but that one is a search tool only with no visual sky, although I linked it to Aladin Lite. Aladin and Simbad – I like them, but they lack an easy coordinate search – and I really mean easy when I say so. Obviously, Aladin and Simbad are mainly for professionals, I guess. Stellarium has a photo planning feature, but – even though it can show Aladin’s sky, still no button by default -, it doesn’t fit my hands. So I felt like everything I need is out there somewhere, but the dots are just not connected.

I wanted to have all my knowledge at my fingertips, everywhere, and finally to have a robust output, that doesn’t fail when going offline: paper. Needless to say, my thoughts converged towards a website.

So I wrote my own photo planner, based on the Aladin Lite API and my DSO search engine and Simbad’s coordinate search.

(tovább…)

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Ce telescop să-mi iau?

Siluetă de astronom amator. L-am fotografiat pe coleg în Namibia, Africa, 2016

OK, deci cerul. Și vrei să le vezi pe toate: stele, planete, Calea Lactee, comete, meteori, nebuloase, roiuri, galaxii, fenomene ale căror nume nici nu le știi… Prin urmare, vrei să-ți iei un telescop, bun și ieftin, dar… – și ai făcut un prim pas important. Ai ajuns la concluzia că trebuie să ai puțină răbdare, să te documentezi, să pui întrebări, să înveți.

În primul rând, ai ajuns la locul potrivit citind acest articol. Mă ocup de astronomie de două decenii, în calitate de astronom amator recunoscut în domeniu, fac observații, pozez, conduc grupuri organizate și nu am niciun interes economic legat de bolta cerească. Iată cum cred eu că ar trebui să începi apropierea de cerul înstelat, și cum să decizi care instrument ți se potrivește.

Cine ești tu?

Acest hobby poate fi practicat în foarte multe feluri în funcție de sănătate, timp, curiozitate, buget, răbdare, localitatea de reședință și mobilitate, familie și comunitate, planuri pe termen lung, și mai general, profil psihologic. Astronomia de amatori, deși >>decât<< un hobby, tot știință și tehnică este, necesită deci un aer de curiozitate şi rigurozitate ştiinţifică. Adică să înveți continuu, să-ți adaptezi așteptările, să renunți la ideile dovedite a fi false și să-ți recunoști limitele și greșelile.

Cum nu există haine care să se potrivească tuturor, depinde și de instrument dar și de om dacă cei doi se potrivesc sau nu.

Uită de pozele fabuloase de pe internet. Sunt reale (mă refer la cele din surse de încredere) dar din motive tehnice și/sau biologice, sunt inaccesibile unui observator vizual sau unui fotograf începător.

Amatorul din astronom amator e o etichetă pe care o poți purta cu mândrie. În alte contexte amator înseamnă ceva dubios, opusul profesionalului, nu vrei să te așezi în scaunul unui dentist amator. În astronomie e altfel. Astronomul amator decide singur cât învață, și dacă își dovedește aptitudinea, va fi recunoscut în domeniu. L-aș aminti pe Terry Lovejoy sau vezi lista românilor de pe NASA: Astronomy Picture of the Day.

(tovább…)

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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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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.).