Find us on Google+ Astronomy Box: April 2013

30 April 2013

Patchwork moon with the RC8 & QHY5 cam

I have been dying to try out my new QHY5 guide camera with a bit of planetary and lunar image stacking. I've heard they give great results and I also wanted to put my 8" ritchey chretien to the test. Being a specialised scope for deep sky imaging I wasn't sure how well it would perform. I'm happy to report that it performs quite well. Below the result of two 2sec videos, stacked and stitched (stacked in registax, stitched in Photoshop)

As you can see, some dust on the telescope mirror did show up. Nothing a few flat frames won't fix, though. Next time I'm going for the whole moon!

OTA: 8" Ritchey Chr├ętien
Camera: QHY5
Mount: HEQ5
Exposures: 2x2sec .avi video

Processing: Registax
Post-processing: Photoshop

28 April 2013

Ring Nebula M57/NGC 6720

What I love the most about this image is that we know that the faint star in the middle of this planetary nebula is actually the white dwarf which remains after the red giant star expelled it's mass. 

Guiding: QHY5
Mount: HEQ5 Pro w/ EQMOD
Camera: Atik 16IC
Lights: 2x10min
Darks: N/A
Flats: N/A
Bias: N/A
Processing: Nebulosity
Post-processing: Photoshop

11 April 2013


I don't post other peoples work very much on Astronomy Box, but I cannot stop watching this short film commissioned by Trapcode to showcase their new After Effects plugin, Mir. Anyway I'm posting this and I dare you not to enjoy it.

And the plugin has a space station for a namesake. How cool is that? Answer: Very.

7 April 2013

A Week In Tenerife - The Mt Tiede Observatory Part 3

Although I was there to assist in the film making I also had the chance to do a bit of science of my own. There had been an announcement of a nova event, of which Armagh Observatory had requested some follow up observations by the Tenerife team. I got the fun job of finding and matching our observations to some archival images in order to determine the magnitude and time frame of the nova event.

These are the two images of the region of sky where the nova event took place. 
In the above photo, the observation made by the IAC80 is on the left, the archival image is on the right. Here's fun; see if you can spot the nova event for yourself. Below is the same image with the star on the which the nova event occurred circled in green.

The very bright star in the center of the IAC80 observation on the left shows how much energy is released in a nova event. Especially when compared to the normal brightness of the star circled on green.
Playing with the images was a treat but what I was looking forward to the most was doing some astrophotography of my own. On the flight over to Tenerife, our luggage pretty much consisted of only filming equipment, making it impossible for me to bring a small scope of my own. I did however have my digital camera and a pair of binoculars. The binoculars gave me some amazing views of every part of the sky on the top of Mt. Teide but my camera gave me some photographs which I've never been able to get before.

The Milky Way rising above the telescope dome of the IAC80
Below is a time lapse of the Milky Way which I have always wanted to do. As you can see the telescope was very busy all night long.

4 April 2013

NGC4762 & NGC4754

Now that spring is upon us, some fabulous galaxies are beginning to make their way into our skies at night. I've been really eager to use my newly bought Atik 16IC CCD camera and we haven't been having the best of weather lately. Last night though the sky was cloud free.

I setup my gear and opened Stellarium. As my site is restricted to pretty much the whole easterly sky I turned my attention to the bright star Arcturus, which has a lot of galaxies and globular clusters near it. Using the stars Arcturus and Muphrid as a guide I found my way slowly into the swarm of galaxies, where I immediately settled on NGC4762 & NGC4754. In fact, this is the fastest I've ever found an object I hadn't observed before, and that's without any GOTO.

OTA: WO 72mm Megrez w/ Moonlite Focuser & SkyWatcher FF & LPR Filter
Guiding: TS 9mm OAG w/ Orion starshoot
Mount: HEQ5 Pro w/ EQMOD
Camera: Atik 16IC Mono
Subs: 10x30s
Darks: N/A
Flats: N/A
Bias: N/A
Processing: Nebulosity
Post-processing: Photoshop

I realise now that I don't have near enough data so next time I'll be fetching more.