I tried imaging some stars, and I thought it would be relatively straight-forward. People online basically tell you to use a magnifying glass to look at your phone screen, zoom in, make sure they are pinpoints, and BAM! You’re good to go.
I’ve always loved looking at Antares, and the way it twinkles red, gold, and blue at times. It was putting on a show on Saturday the 8th, and my wife loved it. I tried imaging it later at ISO 2304 (why?) and duration of 10s (a setting a friend online has had a lot of success with). Anyway, it did NOT turn out like my wife was used to seeing it:
I tried to grab Polaris too with a 10s duration, but for some idiotic reason, I forgot to put the ISO back down to normal and instead, it went at 9000+:
My frustration levels are off the chart with my astronomy hobby. I just can’t seem to raise my capacity high enough to have a consistently positive outing. This is what I was afraid of when I bought the scope and was the main reason I went with the scope I did — a Celestron NexStar 8SE. Designed as an “easy” entry scope, it comes with a bunch of computerized innards that basically allow you to point it at three bright stars, tell the computer in it where they are, the computer figures out which ones are which, and bob’s your uncle, the scope is fully aligned. On a stock alt-azimuth scope, there’s not much finesse for the user to worry about in the setup. Or so I thought.
However, early on, I was using it and I could find a few things once aligned, but not much that wasn’t already visible to the naked eye. » Read the rest
Last weekend, I was beset with lousy viewing due to low lying haze. Despite a fantastic forecast, I had haze going up to around 20-30 degrees above the horizon, so much so that Jupiter was nothing more than a round orange-y blob in the scope. We saw Arcturus and Antares, and a low-quality sight of Saturn, but I couldn’t get the scope to align. No biggie, I was also having power problems, and I thought that was the cause.
Last night though I headed off to the AstroPontiac viewing site. My friend Stephan is spearheading the initiative to bring a dark sky viewing site to the area, and he has been working on it for just over 7 years. I’m on the board and manage the website, but the yeoman duties fall to him for most of it. The site is next to Gatineau Park’s Luskville Waterfall Trail (sentier de les chutes de Luskville), and it is relatively stunning. » Read the rest
I posted awhile ago about restarting my hobby (#50by50 #05 – Re-start my astronomy hobby), and some other posts over the last couple of years about trying to figure out proper alignments and use of my Celestron 8SE scope. This past weekend, we were heading to my wife’s family’s cottage near Fenelon Falls and Bobcaygeon, and I was debating whether or not to take the scope. Their property has a lot of trees so Eastern views are out, but if I put my scope next to the lake, I have a pretty good SW view.
I hemmed, I hawed. Then I pulled up the Clear Sky Chart for Fenelon Falls (who knew there was even one for the area?), and the decision was made — every indicator for Saturday night was off the charts. I’m usually doing viewing in the Ottawa area and lucky to get medium predictions for quality (3/5), while the one for Saturday in Fenelon had 4s and even 5s! » Read the rest