Monday, August 3, 2020

Sh2-155 - Cave Nebula SHO (RGB Stars)

This is Sharpless 155 (Sh2-155) located 2400 light-years away in constellation Cepheus.  It is listed as an ionized region of Ha gas where star-formation occurs and is located on the edge of the Cepheus Molecular Cloud.  The nebula is being illuminated by the nearby hot stars with the largest component coming from the large bright blue star in the upper center.  The name Cave Nebula come from Patrick Moore who likened the nebula to a opening of a cave.  There is another object in Cepheus, a small reflection nebula named Ced 201, also known as the Cave Nebula.  My favorite part of this object is the bright gold rim of the cave and the orange knot on the lower right.  

This object did not want me to image it for some reason.  You will see the last time I published a DSS was July 5th and I actually started on this the end of June.  This has to be the worst July I remember for lack of clear nights.  I tried to image every night that there was a 'thought' of clear weather - most ended with clouds.  Also, I have been using using N.I.N.A. for auto-focusing but it seemed to not work for a couple of nights so I had to do it the old-fashioned way - the reason it stopped working was I uploaded a new version and it rest the gain to zero.  Finally, I ended up with condensation on camera sensor or glass plate (ASI1600) probably caused my trying to image on tremendously humid nights.  Whatever the case I had to learn how to take my camera apart and rejuvenate the desiccant tablets - it is actually quite simple in case you ever have to do it.

Overall I am happy that I even captured something, I was getting concerned I would never finish this thing.  I used StarNet++ in PI and did most of the color adjustments in PS.  I am happy with the how colors turned out, however, I was hoping for more nebulosity and detail. This is a dim object though so if you image it, prepare to be on it for a little while, hopefully you will have an easier time than had. 

Date: 7-4-20, 7-5-20, 7-13-20, 7-14-20, 7-18-20, 7-19-20, 7-20-20, 7-20-20, 7-21-20, 7-25-20, 7-27-20, 7-28-20, 7-29-20



Sh2 - Cave Nebula
Home Monroe, CT
Date: 7-4-20, 7-5-20, 7-13-20, 7-14-20, 7-18-20, 7-19-20, 7-20-20, 7-20-20, 7-21-20, 7-25-20, 7-27-20, 7-28-20, 7-29-20
Camera: ZWO ASI1600MM-Pro
Telescope: Astro-Tech AT115EDT 115mm Refractor Telescope
Barlow: None
Focal Length: 805
f/7
Focal Reducer: AstroTech Field Flatterner/Focal Reducer
Mount: Orion Atlas Pro
Filter Wheel: ZWO EFW 8 x 1.25"
Filter: ZWO Ha, OIII, SII, R, G, B
Focuser: ZWO EAF
Autoguiding: ASI120 Mini attached to an Agena 50mm Guide Scope/ZWO 60mm Guidescope
Exposure: Ha 128 x 240s, OIII 148 x 240s, SII 130 x 240s, R 32 x 60s, G 29 x 60s, B 31 x 60s (28.6 hrs)
Gain: 139
Offset 21
Temp: 22 C
Processing: APT, NINA, PixInsight, Photoshop.

https://kurtzeppetello.smugmug.com/
http://astroquest1.blogspot.com/
http://youtube.com/c/AstroQuest1

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

More Comet Neowise F3 Picts

If you are imaging the Moon, the Moon is your friend.  If not, the Moon does bad things like makes gradients.  Anyways I shot the comet for one last time with the widefield 18mm Focal Length lens.  In hindsight I probably should have gone for a larger lens with a small FOV so the gradients would not have been so pronounced but I wanted to get the Big Dipper. Oh well, good by Neowise...


Addendum:
I went out again the next night (last night) as it cleared briefly at my house.  The was brighter, however, the sky was a bit less hazy and I used a 200mm lens rather than the 18mm lens.  There were still gradients but they were a bit easier to deal with.  It is still not great better than the previous night.  I found it difficult to process at it was very noisy but that was to be expected with 4.8 min of total exposure (19 x 15s).  I tried to preserve the ion trail but was only left with a hint of it.  It is definitely greener than a few weeks ago and this was the color of the exposures.  Anyway I am done with Comet Neowise I just wanted to finish off better than than image from the previous night.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Guide to Buying Your First Scope - My First Telescope & Second & Third...(2020)

Intro
Been asked a lot about getting telescope. 

Figured I  would Show what scopes I have and make buying guide for starting out.

Important to look at up-to-date videos
Rosewell Astronomy
Testing the new Celestron StarSense Explorer DX 130AZ
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LAmx6Ict3M&t=552s

Wido Oerlemans
Best affordable telescope to start astrophotography in 2020?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LmX0OkXHoSY&t=610s

Three Main Types
Refractor (1608)
1608 in the Netherlands, when a patent was submitted by Hans Lippershey.
Durable, Low Maintenance
Very expensive with higher aperture
chromatic aberration










Newtonian Reflector (1668)
Isaac Newton
Best bang for the buck 
Must collimate before use

Cassegrain Reflector (1672)
Laurent Cassegrain in 1672 described the design of a reflector with a small convex secondary mirror to reflect light through a central hole in the main mirror
Compact, in between price



Telescope
Specs
Includes
Price
Orion FunScope
Obj: 76mm
FL: 300mm
-FunScope 76mm -20mm eyepiece
-6mm eyepiece 
-1.25" 2x Barlow lens
-Red-dot reflex sight
-Orion MoonMap 260
$69.99




Celestron FirstScope
Obj: 76mm
FL: 300mm
-FirstScope 76 mm  -20mm eyepiece
-4mm eyepiece 
54.99

Orion SkyQuest XT8 
Obj: 203mm
FL: 1200mm
-25mm eyepiece
-EZ Red Dot Finder 
-2" Crayford focuser
-2"-to-1.25" adapter
$399.99


Sky-Watcher Classic 8” 
Dobsonian
Obj: 203mm
FL: 1200mm
-25mm eyepiece
-10mm eyepiece
-8x50 Finderscope 
-2" Crayford focuser
-2"-to-1.25" adapter
$405.00



Orion ED80
Obj: 80mm
FL: 600mm
-2" Crayford focuser
-2"-to-1.25" adapter
$449.99
Sky-Watcher Evostar 
80ED
Obj: 80mm
FL: 600mm
-8x50 Finderscope
-2" Diagonal
-25 mm eyepiece
-5 mm eyepiece
-Tube Rings 
-Metal Carrying Case
-2" Dual speed 
 focuser
-2"-to-1.25" adapter
$825.00







Orion CT80
Obj: 80mm
FL: 400mm
-2" Crayford focuser
-2"-to-1.25" adapter
$99.99
Meade Infinity 80 
Refractor
Obj: 80mm
FL: 400mm
-Alt-Azimuth Mount -Red Dot Finder
-2x 1.25" Barlow
-26 mm eyepiece
-9 mm eyepiece
-6.3 mm eyepiece
$149.99







Telescope
Specs
Includes
Price
Orion StarBlast 4.5”
Reflector
Obj: 114mm
FL: 450mm
-25mm eyepiece
-10mm eyepiece
-Orion MoonMap
-Equatorial mount
-EZ Red Dot Finder
$179.99




Celestron AstroMaster
114 Reflector
Obj: 114mm
FL: 450mm
-25mm eyepiece
-10mm eyepiece
-Orion MoonMap
-Equatorial mount
-EZ Red Dot Finder
$169.99



Orion StarMax Table 
Top Mak-Cass
Obj: 90mm
FL: 1250mm
-90° diagonal
-25mm eyepiece
-10mm eyepiece
-EZ Red Dot Finder
-tripod attachment
$199.99



Celestron NexStar 90 
Computerized Scope
Obj: 90mm
FL: 1250mm
-Computerized 
  Alt-Azimuth Mount
-EZ Red Dot Finder
-25mm eyepiece
-9mm eyepiece
-1.25" Star Diagonal
-Hand Controller
$359.99





Astro-Tech AT115 
Refractor
Obj: 115mm
FL: 805mm
-dual-speed 2.5" 
 focuser with 10:1 
-hard sided case
-rotatable focuser
-camera angle  
  adjuster
-retractable lens 
 shade/dew shield
-dual hinged split 
 tube rings 
-Vixen-style dovetail
$1399.99











Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Comet Neowise (2020)

This is my only image of Comet C/2020 Neowise taken with my trusty Canon T3i (600D) and 50mm lens.  I was most happy about seeing just seeing this with a naked eye.  I am not planning to take any other photos of this given there are so many incredible images of this taken already by people who specialize in this type of photography.  I read somewhere that Neowise is most imaged comet in history and I believe it.  A new mirror less full-frame camera with a some type of telephoto lens and a tripod would be best to image this but you can achieve decent results with any type of camera and lens.


Comet C/2020 Neowise
Location: St, Johns Cemetery, Monroe, CT
Date: 7-15-20
Camera: Canon T3i/600D modified
Lens: Canon 50mm f/1.8
Focal Length: 50mm
f/4.0
Mount: iOptron SkyGuider Pro on a Manfrotto Tripod
Filter: none
Autoguiding: none
Exposure: 1 x 25s
ISO: 800
Processing: Photoshop



Monday, July 13, 2020

Fog on the Camera Window?

Sh2-155 - Cave Nebula
Home Monroe, CT
Date: 7-12-20
Camera: ZWO ASI1600MM-Pro
Telescope: Astro-Tech AT115EDT 115mm Refractor Telescope
Barlow: None
Focal Length: 805
f/7
Focal Reducer: AstroTech Field Flatterner/Focal Reducer
Mount: Orion Atlas Pro
Filter Wheel: ZWO EFW 8 x 1.25"
Filter: ZWO Ha
Focuser: ZWO EAF
Autoguiding: ASI120 Mini attached to an Agena 50mm Guide Scope/ZWO 60mm Guidescope
Exposure: Ha 1 x 240s
Gain: 139
Offset 21
Sensor Temp: -10 C
Outside Temp: 20 C
Processing: None

Other:
It was very humid and poor transparency.  Hazy clouds moved in as well.  Autoguiding was poor, the guidestar was lost several times.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Homemade Bracket for Camera and Guidescope

 

It became increasingly clear that in order image the Polaris region with my Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM that I would have to use an autoguider.  There are of course several different ways to go about this, however, I wanted to make another easily removable, modular, stand-alone setup so I decided to build a bracket out of a leftover piece of an aluminum plate used to build my main scope gadget holder (https://astroquest1.blogspot.com/2019/06/the-pegasus-astro-pocket-power-box-best.html) that secures may Pegasus Pocket Power box among other things.  There is room to switch out the camera at a later date if I choose too.  This bracket attaches to any dovetail type telescope mount but can also be attached directly to my telescope rings.


Parts:
1) 1 - Vello Camera Ring Holder
2) 1 - 8-in dovetail bar
3) 1 - 4 x 8 x 1/4-in aluminum plate
4) 2 - ZMAX 18-Gauge Galvanized Steel Angle
5) 1 - 50mm autoguider telescope with bracket
6) 1 - Canon T3i (600D)
7) 1 - Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM
8) various length 1/4-in #20 nuts and bolts


Construction Summary:
1) Cut aluminum plate to size, 4 x 8 inches (10.2 x 20.3) cm
2) Cut two additional aluminum pieces from plate for spacers, 1 x 4 inches (2.5 x 10.2 cm) - optional
3) Position camera* and guider for proper balance and mark drill holes
4) Drill holes with 1/4 inch (6.3 mm) metal drill bit into the aluminum plate and spacers
5) Cut Galvanized angles so they don not overlap (optional)
6) Check to ensure bolts line up

*NOTE: leave room for accessing the camera battery holder.
The Two small plates used for spacers were placed between the main plate and the dovetail bar.  The were needed because the Sirius mount screws hit the bottom of the plate without the spacers.  If I use the Atlas mount the spacers are not needed but no reason to remove them.


Test:
I did a preliminary test using the Ring Nebula region in Lyra.  I used this because there was not anything bigger in my viewing window plus I was mainly interested on how the stars looked anyway.  I was on this object for 30 minutes and with no drift and this is the most round the stars have ever looked using this lens so I think I am ready for some more interesting objects in the future.  The image is was made with 21 x 45 sec subframes and what 30 minutes of processing can do.




M57 - Ring Nebula Region, Lyra
Location: Home Monroe, CT
Date: 7-6-20
Camera: Canon T3i/600D modified
Lens: Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM
Focal Length: 200mm
RGB f/3.5
Mount: Orion Sirius
Autoguiding: QHY-5II attached to an Agena 50mm Guide Scope with Helical Focuser
Exposure: 21 x 45 sec
ISO: 800
Temp: 17 C
Processing: APT, BYEOS, PixInsight, Photoshop

Sunday, July 5, 2020

LDN 1235 - Shark Nebula (The Head)

So this the Shark Nebula a.k.a. Lynds Dark Nebula 1235 (LDN 1235) or at least the front portion of it.  It is composed of interstellar gas and dust and unlike some other objects, this one really does resemble a shark.  It must be a Great White as it is larger than my field of view.  It is huge at 15 light-years across and relatively close at 650 light-years away in Cepheus.  Also located within LDN 1235 are Van den Bergh149 & 150 (Vdb149 & 150) after Sidney Van Den Bergh who produced a catalog of bright reflection nebula with embedded stars in 1966.  Vdb150 is the blue reflection nebula located at the back of the shark's head while Vdb149 is located on the bottom.  Vdb149 was first talked about in 1957 while Vdb150 goes back to 1918 when Annie Jump Cannon and Edward Pickering noted it.

I really enjoy dark nebula and like to image them even though they are the hardest DSOs to capture in light polluted areas - no reason not to try.  I captured just under 10 hrs of data but had to reject a fair amount due to what I call 'fake clear skies' - poor transparency.  The night sky has not been clear since at my location so this will be my last DSO for a while. 

Although I enjoy dark nebulae they are tough to process and this was no different.  I find it difficult what to highlight and how much color to add without overdoing it while at the same time keeping the noise down.  I thought I was done three times and then decided on another adjustment to make.  I ended up merging two of my slightly different processed images so I got the best of both worlds. 

Date: 6-24-20, 6-25-20, 6-26-20, 6-27-20

https://kurtzeppetello.smugmug.com/
http://astroquest1.blogspot.com/
http://youtube.com/c/AstroQuest1



LDN 1235 - Shark Nebula
Home Monroe, CT
Date: 6-24-20, 6-25-20, 6-26-20, 6-27-20
Camera: ZWO ASI1600MM-Pro
Telescope: Astro-Tech AT115EDT 115mm Refractor Telescope
Barlow: None
Focal Length: 805
f/7
Focal Reducer: AstroTech Field Flatterner/Focal Reducer
Mount: Orion Atlas Pro
Filter Wheel: ZWO EFW 8 x 1.25"
Filter: ZWO L, R, G, B
Focuser: ZWO EAF
Autoguiding: ASI120 Mini attached to an Agena 50mm Guide Scope/ZWO 60mm Guidescope
Exposure: L 206 x 90s, R 75 x 90s, G 47 x 90s, B 70 x 90s (9.95 hrs)
Gain: 139
Offset 21
Temp: 18 C
Processing: APT, NINA, PixInsight, Photoshop.

https://kurtzeppetello.smugmug.com/
http://astroquest1.blogspot.com/
http://youtube.com/c/AstroQuest1