From my previous post, you’ll see that I was set up in my backyard on Saturday, August 10th, with my Celestron NexStar 8SE, stock alt-azimuth mount, an iPhone XS Max phone running Night Cap software, the Phone Skope smartphone adapter, and a 25mm Celestron Plossl. My second set of targets for the night was planets. The moon was pretty close to Jupiter, so that was a wash, and not that far from Saturn, but I thought I might as well try since I was already out.
With digital zoom maxed out the wazoo (never a great approach to get good results), ISO at 50, and duration at 1/10s, I did a couple of single frames of Saturn. I have to say, while they’re not great, they didn’t completely suck either.
There’s even some colour in there. Shocked me that I could get ANYTHING with digital zoom and so close to the moon, but hey, I’ll take it. » Read the rest
Having finished the Carp star party on August 2nd, we headed up to the inlaws cottage for the weekend. It’s kind of a small family compound, and there are usually three or four sets of “aunts and uncles” (i.e., Generation 2), a handful of cousins and spouses (i.e., Generation 3), and sundry grandkids (i.e., Generation 4). It can get busy and 30+ is not an uncommon total number of people. This weekend was a smaller bunch, we only had 28.
After we arrived on Saturday, I was frequently asked, “Did you bring your scope?” I hadn’t this time — we just brought Jacob’s smaller scope. The Celestron NexStar 4SE is WAY more portable than my big 8SE, and it has the advantage of having crisp clear images given that it’s a Maksutov-Cassegrain design. We considered setting up on Saturday night, but there was a huge cloud moving in from the north, as there has been on several previous visits. » Read the rest
We did the Carp star party on Saturday, July 27th and I already blogged about it (AstroBlog 2019, outing #11 – Star party in Carp…). It was touch and go for the clouds earlier in the day, but we declared GO and hoped for the best. Unfortunately, the best was somewhat less than our hopes. Clouds covered good-sized swaths in the sky, and while we got to show Jupiter and Saturn quite extensively, not much else was on the agenda for the evening. While it was a fun night, and we had a good crowd, it was hard to say it was a “success”. However, a couple of members suggested giving it a go for the backup night too, and with the permission of our location hosts, we did the Star Party again on Friday, August 2nd.
The night was good and the weather was solid. Since I had someone else ready to act as the closing “marshal” for the event, it meant I could leave early. » Read the rest
I already blogged about the new Phone Skope adapter that I was able to review as a demo unit. On August 1st, I took it back out to see what I could get for Jupiter and Saturn. Between July 31st and August 1st outings (i.e., during the day on the 1st), I revisited online what various people were doing with different scopes and smartphones to get seemingly much more impressive results than I was. I knew, for example, that Andrew Symes used video, and I had experimented a bit with video, but without much luck.
But when I reviewed a whole bunch of posts online on Facebook, google images, and Cloudy Nights, I had a small eureka moment. Not only were all of them using video, they were all using WAY more power than I was. While I was going up to a 15mm Plossl on my scope, which gives me about 135x magnification, I was reluctant to go much higher at risk of introducing too much turbulence and noise in the images. » Read the rest
On July 31st, I did a full test of the Phone Skope adapter while imaging in my backyard (full review available at Review – Astrophotography using a Phone Skope adapter). The various pieces fit together nicely and it has much nicer weight than the Celestron NexYZ behemoth. However, while it was a great test of the adapter, I wouldn’t say I made great success on my imaging technique.
I got a couple of shots of Jupiter:
I relied heavily on digital zoom, and found one of the moons photobombing:
And Jupiter is great, but everyone wants to see Saturn, right?
I even managed a shot of Albireo, not that you can really tell that is what it is.
A good test of the demo adapter I borrowed from Phone Skope, and a couple of interesting images in there. But the digital zoom is too noisy and I still need to improve my focus. » Read the rest