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Showing content with the highest reputation since 17/08/19 in all areas

  1. 10 points
    Bino-viewer

    'Retirement scope' first look

    Back in 2008 i decided to purchase my first large aperture refractor, and at the time back then had my heart set on a TEC140 from the US after reading the glowing reviews over on the CN forum. They were a premium price, (too much in fact) and with no UK dealers around then i decided against importing one privately. I opted for a William Optics FLT132 (one of the early models) and it served me very well, and despite a few niggles, it provided me with some memorable views. Fast forward 10 years, and is often the case in this hobby i had quietly amassed 6 telescopes and various accessories, some bought second hand, which weren't getting a whole lot of use. I decided i'd put my name down for the scope i'd always wanted, and figured i could raise a good proportion of the funds needed for the TEC by having a clearout. I sold off 5 scopes, electing to keep just my OO 12" Dobsonian : (My WO 132, My second hand WO FLT 98, my 70mm F5 astrograph, my C9.25 and my used Meade 6" SCT all went to new homes) I also sold off all my 2" eyepieces (i was sorry to say goodbye to the 31 Nagler) a Paracorr, a pair of binocs, and a few other miscellaneous bits and bobs. Once the sales were completed, i'd raised nearly two thirds of the funds needed for the TEC, so with some savings, i hit the 'buy' button and forwarded my deposit. Towards the end of 2017, TEC announced they were discontinuing the 'ED' designed 140mm after producing over 750 units in 15 years - due to the scarcity of the FPL53 blanks in that size. Yuri Petrunin, CEO at TEC, opted to switch the design to Fluorite, which was already being used in their larger 160mm (and above) refractors. The changeover, together with a few production delays, and an already full order book for the old design, made the normal 6 month wait time rather longer..... I was actually promised the scope 6 months ago, which i thought a little optimistic, and then it all went a bit quiet. I wasn't too worried, it just gave me the extra time needed to save up my pennies. When Rupert, from Astrograph, got in touch at the end of August to say the scope had arrived, a full 13 months had elapsed since i put my initial order and deposit in place. As far as i know, i'm the first customer in the UK to receive one. While i'm here, i must say that despite the long wait, i've had excellent service from Rupert. He's been in touch regularly, and kept me up to speed all the way. I've brought from him before, and its always been a pleasure to buy from him. He even delivers the scopes personally himself. He spent an hour and a half with me, showed me the scope, and how to set it up for imaging, and we had a good natter over a cup of coffee about all things astro. The scope itself, looks pretty similar to my old FLT132. Its the same F7, a very slightly larger 140mm aperture at 980mm focal length. It even has the same focuser. It actually feels a tad lighter to me, maybe thats the lens design or possibly a thinner tube ? The suppled case is a lot smaller than my WO case which had wheels and weighed a ton, and is a much lower profile size, making transportation a whole lot easier. This one with scope inside weighs around 15kg i think, compared to the hernia inducing 22kg of the old scope. I opted for a carry handle and extra dovetail for future imaging, and also purchased the optional TEC 0.9x corrector which is a sizeable chunk of glass in its own right. One of the main reasons why i went for this particular scope is its design. Its an oil spaced triplet with a centre CaF2 Fluorite element. With only 2 glass to air surfaces (rather than the 6 in air spaces designs) cool down times are significantly reduced. I'm let to believe the scope will perform to its full potential in as little as 45 mins which is a big plus for me. A big, big plus. Its already had its first light, a daytime session this afternoon to check focusing with the binoviewer. Theres no issues there : i managed focus comfortably with no corrector in place with a full 18mm back focus remaining on the Feathertouch. Daytime views of distant objects looked rather fine, with treetops in particular very sharply defined against the blue sky. A blue sky ???? Its clear ?? Isn't the weather normally dire when a new scope arrives ? Well not this time for a change.....its time for another session with the Moon and Saturn beckoning.... More to follow.....and i'll soon be attaching a camera to the back of it. What could possibly go wrong ?? 😀
  2. 7 points
    Derbyshire Dave

    Pelican Nebula in narrowband

    Finally managed to get a decent length of time in all three filters on the Pelican Nebula. This is 75 minutes in Sii, Ha and Oiii. Aligned in DSS and processed in Photoshop. This one has been a long time coming, all sorts of technical issues over the last three weeks, so pleased to have finally got there.
  3. 7 points
    Graham

    First light for the QSI.

    Treated myself a QSI 683 WSG camera. For a first light I just pointed the scope somewhere at the top of the Elephant Neb and let it go. To say I am blown away with this as a first light is an under statement. I knew the 414 was good but this is just a whole new level. I can see this camera and I are going to get along brilliantly ☺️ Massive thanks go out to Sheila and Steve for all their help with getting this up and running. This is just 4 X 600 second subs in HA. No Darks or Flats. Captured and stacked in Maxim. Slightest polish in PS 6. Click on the image a couple of times to get to full size.
  4. 7 points
    Ron Clarke

    M15 and a friend...

    M15 was in a good, dark position last night so.. Lights 25 x 180 Dks x 10 Flats x 10 and to finish an evening of good guiding, 2 x 300s + Dks and Flats..
  5. 6 points
    Sheila

    NGC6960

    Getting back into it with some darkness now paramount MyT tak 130 qsi 690 ha, sii and oiii about 9 hours total with quick process and not too good either LOL
  6. 5 points
    Bino-viewer

    Latest Purchases

    TEC 140 FL apo refractor. (from Golden, Colorado USA) 13 month wait for this 😮 A long time to be without a refractor, but hopefully worth the wait.
  7. 5 points
    Al.Grant

    Meteor Detector - Resurrected!

    Hi, Seeing Grahams recent meteor hits (images and video) gave me the inspiration I needed to get my meteor detector back up and running. It had been running in the past from 2014 - 2016 when a HD crash killed off my laptop. When I eventually got the laptop back up and running I never really got around to setting it up again. The 2m OWL Yagi antenna I had used in the past is still sitting there with all cables in place and my Funcube Pro+ dongle was still available. Theoretically all I needed to do was plug everthing back together, load up my old scripts and it should run ......... I was actually quite suprised when this actually worked first go! Initially it looked like I had an issue with the FCD, however it turned out to just need a replacement adapter between the antenna cable and the FCD's sma connector - a much quicker and cheaper fix! The antenna looks like it needs a little tidying up but not bad for being up there for about 6 years The script I used in Spectrum Lab was one given to me by Philip Norton (EMS member but looks like he no longer visits) who has a much, much better idea of how to write Spec Lab scripts than I do. I contacted him again last week and he has very kindly sent me a copy of his latest script which I have loaded up and again everything is running nicely. I've made a couple of tweaks to suit my needs but mostly just the speed of the waterfall and it's now going to be left running for a few days to see how it all goes. But at the moment things are looking good..... There are still a few things I want to tweak as the audio isn't recording correctly, but I'm fairly certain that's down to my laptop config rather than the scripts. Currently the script is set to NOT capture an image of every meteor hit. Last time it was active I soon tired of going through dozens of images each day. It is set to capture meteors above certain s/n and duration levels (configurable in the script) and will capture the 'Brightest' (highest S/N ratio) meteor, the 'Longest' (longest duration) meteor each day (12:00-12:00) and also the longest meteor detection for the current month. Eventually I'll start to upload the restults to the RMOB website and also plan to get the current images to auto upload to some spare webspace. But for now it just needs to sit there and capture some data to make sure the tweaks I've done haven't broken anything. If Philip Norton see's then thanks again for the scripts and info on configuring it. You can check out his current meteor detection images on his website here: Hykeham Observatory Not forgetting a thanks to Graham ...... his posts gave the the nudge I needed to get this back up and running 👍 Cheers Al
  8. 5 points
    Graham

    It does still exist.

    Just to prove that the sun does still exist I grabbed this this morning. With a bit of luck I can continue with the sun bothering all day. Time will tell. False colour added in PS 6.
  9. 4 points
    Chris P.

    Single-sub challenge - NGC7000 & FL on the Canon 5D

    OK - so I had an absolute nightmare last night. Couldn't get SG Pro to plate solve with the Canon 5D despite triple-checking camera sensor config and arc secs per pixel values. I wasted a lot of time. Desperate to get something for my first-light efforts, I pointed the scope roughly in the direction of Cygnus and grabbed a single 2-min sub before high level clouds and haze called a halt to proceedings. I retired to the house and immediately realised what I'd not done - which was to switch off all the in-camera noise reduction settings! I'll check it again if I get chance tonight but I think this cannot have helped the plate solving routine. It normally works a treat with my other cameras inc my 450d. Anyway, after checking the single RAW image I did get, I thought it was worth processing as a single sub because despite the 100% moon, there was some pretty strong signal in this single frame. So here it is........ Canon 5dMII (modded by Andy Ellis); Redcat 51; Altair Astro Quadband filter; ISO 1600; 2 mins exposure
  10. 4 points
    Chris P.

    M31 and surrounding star field

    Hi everyone - more practice shots with the Samyand 135mm. This time it's our old friend Andromeda, sat right in the middle of a beautiful star field. Really happy with the natural star colour this lens provides. 88 x1min exposures at ISO1600 and f4 from my modded Canon 450d. 🙂
  11. 3 points
    8472

    A DSLR/Mirrorless Peltier TEC Project

    As these warm summer nights wreak havoc on uncooled imaging, I thought about designing a non-invasive (no cold finger mods!) and cost-effective way of cooling my cameras and hence reducing the noise a little bit. I'm not quite ready to jump into cooled mono + filter imaging, so I did a little research into what some DSLR imagers were experimenting with. I don't need sub-zero sensor temperatures, as that brings it's own set of issues with moisture and condensation. Just something a little better than present. I thought about peltier (TEC) cooling via an enclosed and insulated aluminium box, and even went as far as ordering the raw materials, but after much thought, I decided against it, as I thought that while feasible for a GEM, it seemed a little bulky for a smaller tracker-type mount. Enter Plan B A small group of imagers have gone down the route of cooling the back of their cameras with TEC cooling devices. This is fine, If the camera in question has a flip out screen, but not much use for other varieties. Another solution, chronicled in an epic CN thread, is to TEC cool the camera via the base and tripod mount screw. Although not as efficient, the beauty with this, is that it can be fitted to a variety of different cameras, as they are all mounted through the common 1/4 UNC tripod mount. Here's the obligatory beer mat sketch. My 12v power source feeds a 2KW, 40A PWM Controller ... which (where necessary) smoothly throttles the 70w 5.8A TEC's supply voltage... and is then cooled with a 90mm HSF. The TEC and is then mounted to a 1.2mm copper plate (which I bent to 90 degrees) and drilled a hole to fit the tripod screw. Ideally, I would like to have made the horizontal length shorter than 70mm depicted, to improve the TEC's efficiency, but was constrained by the need to read the display on the back of one camera (T3) and flip the screen out 90 degrees on the other (E-PL5). (0.7mm test plate pictured - not the final product). Assembled device with camera fitted. Along with an internal modification a performed to my cameras to improve the thermal conductivity from the body to the sensor area, I also lagged most of the exposed copper with closed-cell foam (This is the cold side, and you really have to minimise the loss of cooling as much as you can, as this is where the device is least efficient). As per the initial sketch, I've also fitted a simple temperature probe which sits sandwiched between the copper and the insulating foam (not pictured). This obviously doesn't give you true sensor temperatures, but what you do get is a rudimentary way of matching Lights and Darks temps to a rough roundabout level. Throttling the PWM can fine tune this, to a certain degree - Pun intended. Coming Soon - Dark Frame Noise Testing...
  12. 3 points
    Al.Grant

    Meteors 19-15 Aug: First full week

    So my meteor detector has been up and running for a little over a week. The first few days saw me messing around with a few things but for the past week it's been settled and happily counting meteors. Detection rates vary from 20+ per hour down to 2 or 3 per hour. From 00:01 Monday - 23:59 Sunday my system picked up a total of 1,479 meteors. The only blank hours I had during the week was when the Graves radar went off-line for maintenance for a few hours. When it wasn't transmitting I got zero hits which was good as it shows the system isn't counting general 'noise' as meteors. During this outage I took the opportunity to lower my signal threshold a bit to check background noise levels, I took it down to a point where I was still not getting any interference, left it for a couple of hours to be sure the threshold level was above the background and then I took it up a couple of points just to be safe. As soon as Graves came back online I started getting hits again. The image below shows the duration vs hour of the day. This doesn't show all the meteor detection - just the different duration values seen over the week. As of yesterday I finally got the audio to work but I still need to adjust the trigger level on that one, so now I can see the imges and hear the ping. Overall ...... very happy for the first full week. Just a bit disapointed in myself for setting this up after the current shower peak! Al
  13. 3 points
    Bino-viewer

    Latest Purchases

    The darkside has been calling me for a while Andy.... I've always enjoyed photography and like the idea of taking images of the heavens. Trouble is, i have little idea of what i'm doing and my PP skills are almost non existent. Big learning curve for me, but it will be fun trying, of that i'm sure. 😀
  14. 2 points
    Graham

    Solar from today 01.09.2019.

    A decent bit of prom activity this morning. False colour added in PS 6.
  15. 2 points
    Ron Clarke

    M31 - The Andromeda Galaxy

    I like that Chris, well done 👍
  16. 2 points
    seven_legs

    M31 - The Andromeda Galaxy

    Amazing!
  17. 1 point
    BAZ

    Happy Birthday Graham.

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRAHAM HAVE A GREAT DAY.
  18. 1 point
    Chris P.

    Happy Birthday Graham.

    🍺 happy birthday @Graham
  19. 1 point
    Ron Clarke

    Happy Birthday Graham.

    Happy Birthday Graham, hope you had a great day mate.. See you at kelling..🎂
  20. 1 point
    Streetbob

    Happy Birthday Graham.

    Best wishes of the day. Enjoy it.
  21. 1 point
    BAZ

    Single-sub challenge - NGC7000 & FL on the Canon 5D

    That's a massive area of sky and it looks good for one sub and the moon giving it large.
  22. 1 point
    Ron Clarke

    NGC7023 - The Iris Nebula in RGB

    Think you made a very good job of that Chris, well done 👍
  23. 1 point
    Chris P.

    Helix Nebula NGC 7293

    I really like that Ron. Well done mate
  24. 1 point
    Bottletopburly

    Sol 6-9-2019 ha

    Very nice steve
  25. 1 point
    philjay

    'Retirement scope' first look

    Very nice
  26. 1 point
    BAZ

    Latest Purchases

    Wow! That should keep you happy for a while.
  27. 1 point
    Doc

    Zero G Experience

    Amazing experience, you must have been well excited.
  28. 1 point
    BAZ

    Zero G Experience

    Awesome. That's some memory.
  29. 1 point
    Ron Clarke

    This is going to keep me busy!

    Cute!! I'd like to take daisy to Kelling but I think it's too much hassle!
  30. 1 point
    Derbyshire Dave

    Picture of the Month August 2019

    Steve, That is amazing. The squid just hangs there beautifully. I simply can't contemplate that long an integration time Your sheer persistance and doggedness in taming this is an inspiration to us all..
  31. 1 point
    seven_legs

    First light for the QSI.

    Liking it a lot. Well done Graham, look forward to more great shots
  32. 1 point
    Ibbo

    Picture of the Month August 2019

    Thanks folks Cheers Phil as I said before its madness and sheer bloodymindedness
  33. 1 point
    Ron Clarke

    Picture of the Month August 2019

    Well done Steve, a difficult target! Thanks again Phil...
  34. 1 point
    Bino-viewer

    Luna 27-8-2019

    Maybe my Mac settings are different. I'm not complaining ; i'm getting the full res version on here. I know it is because it won't fit on the screen. (only about 2/3 of it) When i click (double click) it opens a new window with a full size but smaller image, and i am then able to '+' it, but its the same size & detail as the original on the main page. I have a 27" 5k and it looks great when i scroll down.
  35. 1 point
    Ron Clarke

    new lens 100-400

    It was fairly local for me when I lived in Peterborough, but not so now although I call in if I am going to Rutland Water..
  36. 1 point
    Derbyshire Dave

    Wymeswold IC1805

    Brilliant Kev, excellent tracking for the 600’s, spot on focus. Lovely detail, well done!
  37. 1 point
    Graham

    Sol 26-8-2019 Ha

    Looks a bit better Steve. Proms look great 👍
  38. 1 point
    Ron Clarke

    Focuser Repair

    Love the Moonlite!!
  39. 1 point
    Bino-viewer

    Saturn from tonight 25.08.2019.

    Very similar (top image) to how it looked through the scope last night. I only could detect 2 moons through all the murk. Jupiter was the same.
  40. 1 point
    Derbyshire Dave

    NGC 869 The Double Cluster in Perseus

    Lovely Ron. Particularly like the star colours
  41. 1 point
    Ibbo

    N America & Pelican in Ha and first light my new lens

    Nice field of view. I have been looking at that lens for a while . New alternator has put that on hold.
  42. 1 point
    philjay

    Sol 23-8-2019 ha nice bit of prom action

    Nice one. Good to see a bit of prom action again up there.
  43. 1 point
    Streetbob

    Happy Birthday Dave.

    Hope you are enjoying your day. 😁
  44. 1 point
    Smithysteve

    Happy Birthday Dave.

    Happy Birthday Dave! Have a good un! 👍
  45. 1 point
    Bino-viewer

    Happy Birthday Dave.

    Happy 52nd Dave : you've caught me up again ! 😀 Have a fun day, whatever you're up to 🎂🎁🛸🔭
  46. 1 point
    Brantuk

    Happy Birthday Dave.

    Happy Birthday Dave 🙂
  47. 1 point
    philjay

    Happy Birthday Dave.

    Have a good day Dave
  48. 1 point
    Graham

    Happy Birthday Dave.

    Here's hoping you have a great day
  49. 1 point
    Bottletopburly

    messier 17

    quick process only 7 x 120 sec probably a better target for the quadruplet ,bit noisy but considering only a few subs came out well
  50. 0 points
    Graham

    Sol 11-9-2019 ha

    Definitely no chance down here ☔
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