In my previous posts, I had the same three targets. The moon is easy (ISO24, 1/250s), although the fuller it gets, the more washed out if I don’t use a filter:
And I can see some single frames of Saturn are worse than others (ISO32, 1/10s):
But I was REALLY setting up so I could play with my camera centring. As I noted in a previous post, the feedback from an online FB group was that my EP wasn’t centred. So I wanted to ensure 100% that I was centred last night. For one of my stars off to the side, defocused into a doughnut, I was clearly NOT centred (screengrab of Night Cap below):
But I moved the stars around a bit in the EP and managed to get something a little more balanced:
And then BAM, I got this:
Only minor differences in positioning, no difference in my centring over the EP. » Read the rest
I have blogged previously that I’ve set a goal for myself of figuring out how to work my iPhone to take pics through the telescope, and I’ve had earlier success for the moon. But to be honest? The moon is dead simple. If I set an ISO between 24 and 50, and play with my duration to be between 1/100th of a second to 1/300th of a second, and it’s relatively in focus, I can get “something”. The more moon there is showing, the brighter it is, and it’s easy to get washed out without a filter, but any of the setup problems virtually disappear when it’s the moon.
On Saturday, August 10th, I stuck my head out of my back door, saw the moon and went ahead and set up. As always, I’m setting up a Celestron NexStar 8SE, stock alt-azimuth mount, and an iPhone XS Max phone running Night Cap software. » Read the rest
The night of Saturday, July 27th was our attempt at our monthly star party in Carp, suitable for public stargazing. The forecast at mid-day was pretty iffy, but I crowd-sourced some other views, and we said “GO!” hoping for the best. What we got was considerably below “best”.
At 9:00 p.m., we were about 70% clouded out to the North and West. To the South, we had some windows between a few clouds, enough for Saturn to put in an appearance. Oddly, it showed up before Jupiter just because Jupiter was playing hide-and-seek still. A new member needed help setting up a Dobsonian, and I got him going just in time for Saturn to appear and for him to try it. He nailed it first try and by all accounts, seemed pretty happy overall for the night.
I was surprised — sure, we called a “GO” for the night, but generally, most people who are coming look up and change their minds if the weather is lousy. » Read the rest
Almost everyone who is into astronomy as an adult has either experienced themselves or heard the stories about kids getting gifts of department store-quality telescopes and being so frustrated with the scope, and their inability to find anything, they end up giving up on the hobby. Some find their way back as adults, some don’t.
The destruction of interest haunts all amateur astronomers, we want others to share our excitement, and it is the principal driver between so many amateurs setting up their scopes to share the experience with anyone and everyone. Star parties, Scouts and Girl Guides, classrooms, corners, parking lots…we’ll set up almost anywhere.
There are fewer department stores around these days, but that doesn’t mean the crappy scopes are gone. Some even have semi-trustworthy names. National Geographic has licensed their name to a number of low-end toys, not really functional scopes, and you can frequently find them being sold off on FB or Kijiji for $20 or less, evidence of abandoned dreams. » Read the rest
Continuing my imaging attempts on June 11th, I did some more of the moon from my backyard. All of the images are single frames with the iPhone, only flipped horizontally (I have a diagonal so have to flip the image to get it “right” looking). For all photos, I’m using:
Celestron NexStar 8SE
iPhone XS Max, f/1.8 lens
Night Cap software
Settings of ISO 24 and 1/250s were the sweet spot for me for the night given the brightness of the moon. I did a series of single frames, and this was the best:
Then, because I had a series, I tried stacking them in various software packages. This was the best one I got, but way too pale, I will need to work on that if I want to get true 3D depth in some of the images.
For fun, I used the zoom feature on the iPhone just to see what I would get, and I took three shots, capturing the craters Plato, Copernicus and Tycho. » Read the rest