Sunday, July 23, 2017

Round Two - The Eclipse

My plan has evolved to since the first beta I did a couple of weeks ago (Beta test).


After trying several different mounts, including Celestron's Heavy Duty Tripod, I have settled on a mount that I already have, the Explore Scientific Twilight I.  I was trying to use a lighter duty mount as I am flying to the location but I could not find one that has the fine adjustment that this one has.  It breaks down to about 29.5 inches which is only 4 inches longer than my camera tripod.

Main EquipmentBackyard EOS (BYE)
Orion ST80 80mm Refractor
Canon T3i/600D
Explore Scientific Twilight I
Mylar Solar Filter
Adapter - T-adapter for Canon cameras to telescopes
Computer - HP Envy
Computer Shade - LapDome

Test
I also tested the time it took to complete a six frame capture plan and a four frame capture plan with my equipment.

Results are as follows:

6 frames download to the computer
- exposure 1/2000, 1/200, 1/20, 1/8, 1/4, 1
- 46 sec to complete the circuit and download to the computer

6 frames download to the camera
- exposure 1/2000, 1/200, 1/20, 1/8, 1/4, 1
- 28 sec to complete the circuit

4 frames download to the camera
- exposure 1/2000, 1/200, 1/20, 1/2
- 18 sec to complete the circuit

Discussion/Conclusion
Based on the results, I will use the four frame capture plan and download to the camera only since it is the faster than downloading to the computer.  It is possible to get much faster frame capture (up to 3 frames per second) using a serial cable in addition to the USB cable with certain eclipse capture software as described by Jerry Lodriguss (Catching the Light).  I actually purchased one of these cables from Hap Griffin (Imaginginfinity), however, I don't want to pay for and learn a new program at this point and my computer does not have a serial port anyway (although I probably could use an adapter).

Using BYE I will set the 4-frame exposure plan to loop (repeat) a couple of minutes prior to totality and continue until after totality.  Since I am using a fixed frame, I decided to cut out the 1 second exposure which would have been affected most by Earth's rotation.  If I were using a lower focal length lens/telescope the rotation problem would be less.

We are going to Bowling Green, KY or Nashville, TN to witness this event so we will have at least 1 minute of totality.  Using my capture plan I will have a minimum of 5 frames per exposure during totality.  I hope some the just before and just after frames pick up something cool.  Also, it is very important to have a quick release filter for your lens or telescope.

Also, Fred Espenak, aka Mr. Eclipse, has great advice on how to take pictures of the eclipse, How to Photograph an Eclipse.

Most Important
I plan to watch the eclipse which is why I am doing all this to automate the imaging.  It is going to either work or not.  I will set all this all up press the button to start the sequence, check finder scope once or twice to make sure the sun is in the center of the FOV, and that is it.  If a don't get anything, oh well, if I do, it is icing on the cake!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

M8 - Lagoon Nebula

M8 - The Lagoon Nebula (NGC 6523) is a giant interstellar cloud in the constellation Sagittarius. It is between 4,000-6,000 light-years from the Earth and is 110 ly across by 50 light years wide. Although this is a Messier object it does not change my current status as I have already imaged this two years ago.  However, it was only 5 minutes total exposure taken when I was just learning.  In that image you really could not see the outline. This is far from perfect but it is a huge improvement over the image from 2015.


M8 - Lagoon Nebula
Location: St. John's Cemetery, Monroe, CT
Date: 7-15-17
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T3i(a), Backyard EOS
Telescope: Orion ED80 80mm f/7.5 Apochromatic Refractor Telescope
Barlow: None
Focal Length: 600mm
f/7.5
Focal Reducer: Orion 0.8x Focal Reducer for Refractor Telescopes
Mount: Orion Atlas Pro EQ/AZ Mount
Filter: Astrodon UV/IR, Astronomik UHC clip
Autoguiding: QHY-5L-II-M attached to an Agena 50mm Guide Scope with Helical Focuser
Exposure: 21 x 180s
ISO: 1600
Temp: 20 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom, Gradient Exterminator, Astronomy Tools, StarTools.
https://kurtzeppetello.smugmug.com/

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Decent Night with some difficulties to start (NGC 6569 & NGC 6558, M19)

So why am I shooting these two obscure globular clusters (NGC 6569 & 6558) when I could be imaging the final Messier Objects in my catalog?  I was having go-to problems with my go-to mount during the beginning of the evening, my polar alignment app on my cellphone was not behaving properly and I though I fixed it but I don't think I did which is why my alignment was off.  Once I located an object it tracked perfectly.  I was looking for M69 in fact I originally thought this was it. Oh well.  I did better with M19.

NGC 6558 is a globular cluster, located about 24,000 light years away in the constellation Sagittarius NGC 6569, also a globular cluster located approximately 35,000 light years in the constellation Sagittarius (source: wikipedia)

Messier 19 (NGC 6273) is a globular cluster in the constellation Ophiuchus. It is about about 28.700 ly from Earth and is near to the Galactic Center (source: wikipedia).

NGC 6569 & 6558 Wide Field

NGC 6569 & 6558 Crop

NGC 6569 & NGC 6558
Location: St. John's Cemetery, Monroe, CT
Date: 7-15-17
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T3i(a), Backyard EOS
Telescope: Orion ED80 80mm f/7.5 Apochromatic Refractor Telescope
Barlow: None
Focal Length: 600mm
f/7.5
Focal Reducer: Orion 0.8x Focal Reducer for Refractor Telescopes
Mount: Orion Atlas Pro EQ/AZ Mount
Filter: Astrodon UV/IR
Autoguiding: QHY-5L-II-M attached to an Agena 50mm Guide Scope with Helical Focuser
Exposure: 22 x 60s
ISO: 1600
Temp: 20 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom, Gradient Exterminator, Astronomy Tools, StarTools.
https://kurtzeppetello.smugmug.com/

M19 Wide Field

M19 Crop

M19
Location: St. John's Cemetery, Monroe, CT
Date: 7-15-17
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T3i(a), Backyard EOS
Telescope: Orion ED80 80mm f/7.5 Apochromatic Refractor Telescope
Barlow: None
Focal Length: 600mm
f/7.5
Focal Reducer: Orion 0.8x Focal Reducer for Refractor Telescopes
Mount: Orion Atlas Pro EQ/AZ Mount
Filter: Astrodon UV/IR
Autoguiding: QHY-5L-II-M attached to an Agena 50mm Guide Scope with Helical Focuser
Exposure: 24 x 60s
ISO: 1600
Temp: 20 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom, Gradient Exterminator, Astronomy Tools, StarTools.
https://kurtzeppetello.smugmug.com/

Thursday, July 13, 2017

IC 4665

IC 4665 is one of the brighter Milky Way clusters missing not only in the Messier Catalog, but also in the NGC, because it is so loose and coarse. This cluster, located in Ophiuchus, is a good object for binoculars or wide-field telescopes such as the ED80. The cluster is estimated to be 36 million years and at a distance of 1,400 light years. Also, IC 4665 is heading towards us at 12 km/sec (source: messier.seds).

So I imaged IC 4665 from the Happy Frog while waiting for M24 to appear from behind some trees. I think selecting objects to image will be much easier once I am done with the Messier catalog as I just have to point to whatever object happens to be visible at the time I am outside. That is pretty much what I did for IC 4665, I was not planning imaging it, I just had the time and it was in the right location for me to observe it.


IC 4665
Location: Happy Frog Observatory, Monroe, CT
Date: 6-27-17
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T3i(a), Backyard EOS
Telescope: Orion ED80 80mm f/7.5 Apochromatic Refractor Telescope
Barlow: None
Focal Length: 600mm
f/7.5
Focal Reducer: Orion 0.8x Focal Reducer for Refractor Telescopes
Mount: Orion Sirius EQ-G GoTo Telescope Mount
Filter: Astrodon UV/IR
Autoguiding: QHY-5L-II-M attached to an Agena 50mm Guide Scope with Helical Focuser
Exposure: 15 x 90s
ISO: 1600
Temp: 20 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom, Gradient Exterminator, Astronomy Tools, StarTools.
https://kurtzeppetello.smugmug.com/

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

M24 - Sagittarius Star Cloud

I think M24 is the only Messier object that is considered a star cloud.  It is referred to as the Sagittarius Star Cloud and is in the constellation of Sagittarius. It is sometimes known as the Small Sagittarius Star Cloud to distinguish it from the Great Sagittarius Star Cloud located to the north of Gamma Sagittarii, however, at 600 light years wide it does not seem small.

It is comprised of stars, clusters and other objects which are part of the Sagittarius arms of the Milky Way galaxy.  M24 fills a space of significant volume to a depth of 10,000 to 16,000 light-years. This is the most dense concentration of individual stars visible using binoculars, with around 1,000 stars visible within a single field of view (source: wikipedia).

This is the 97th Messier object I have obtained for my catalog, only 13 more to go...
https://sites.google.com/site/messierobjectsed80/


M24
Location: Happy Frog Observatory, Monroe, CT
Date: 6-27-17
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T3i(a), Backyard EOS
Telescope: Orion ED80 80mm f/7.5 Apochromatic Refractor Telescope
Barlow: None
Focal Length: 600mm
f/7.5
Focal Reducer: Orion 0.8x Focal Reducer for Refractor Telescopes
Mount: Orion Sirius EQ-G GoTo Telescope Mount
Filter: Astrodon UV/IR
Autoguiding: QHY-5L-II-M attached to an Agena 50mm Guide Scope with Helical Focuser
Exposure: 24 x 90s
ISO: 1600
Temp: 20 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom, Gradient Exterminator, Astronomy Tools, StarTools.
https://kurtzeppetello.smugmug.com/

Monday, July 10, 2017

M22

Messier 22 (a.k.a. NGC 6656) is a globular cluster in the constellation Sagittarius and is one of the brightest globulars that is visible in the night sky. It is relatively close to Earth at a distance of about 10,600 light-years away and is has a diameter of about 100 light-years (source: wikipedia).

This is the first globular cluster I have imaged in 2017 and the first time I have ever taken a photo of this object.  It is very low in the horizon and not even visible from my yard which is why I never imaged it before.  I am quite happy with how it turned out being so low. 

I seem to have picked up a UFO while imaging M22 (see the cropped photo with the red circle). It could be the Vulcans wanting to make first contact but then deciding against it after seeing the state of affairs.  Maybe someone in Astrobin-land has an idea of what it is.  The actual date and time is:  6/27/17 at 00:49-01:28 EST or 05:49-06:28 GMT.  At first I thought it was bad tracking when I looked at the subframes before stacking them.  The object moves slightly relative to other stars in each subframe.  If you look closely you can see the overall movement.

Wide Field

Crop

Crop UFO

M22
Location: St. John's Cemetery, Monroe, CT
Date: 6-26-17
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T3i(a), Backyard EOS
Telescope: Orion ED80 80mm f/7.5 Apochromatic Refractor Telescope
Barlow: None
Focal Length: 600mm
f/7.5
Focal Reducer: Orion 0.8x Focal Reducer for Refractor Telescopes
Mount: Orion Atlas Pro EQ/AZ Mount
Filter: Astrodon UV/IR
Autoguiding: QHY-5L-II-M attached to an Agena 50mm Guide Scope with Helical Focuser
Exposure: 33 x 60s
ISO: 1600
Temp: 20 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom, Gradient Exterminator, Astronomy Tools, StarTools.
https://kurtzeppetello.smugmug.com/

Sunday, July 9, 2017

M7- Ptolemy Cluster

M7 (a.k.a. Ptolomy Cluster or NGC 6475) is an open cluster in the constellation of Scorpius.  I am really liking these summer open clusters as there is a tremendous amount of gas and dust associated with them since they are in the direction of the center of the galaxy.  The cluster is estimated at a distance of 980 light-years and is 25 light years across.  M7 is detectable with the naked eye and I was actually able to see it along with M6.  Also visible in this image is a small globular cluster, NGC 6453, located to the right of M6 (source: wikipedia). 

I am definitely seeing the end of the light as I have only 15 more objects Messier objects left to image for my own complete catalog.  


M7 - Ptolemy Cluster
Location: St. John's Cemetery, Monroe, CT
Date: 6-26-17
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T3i(a), Backyard EOS
Telescope: Orion ED80 80mm f/7.5 Apochromatic Refractor Telescope
Barlow: None
Focal Length: 600mm
f/7.5
Focal Reducer: Orion 0.8x Focal Reducer for Refractor Telescopes
Mount: Orion Atlas Pro EQ/AZ Mount
Filter: Astrodon UV/IR
Autoguiding: QHY-5L-II-M attached to an Agena 50mm Guide Scope with Helical Focuser
Exposure: 29 x 60s
ISO: 1600
Temp: 20 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom, Gradient Exterminator, Astronomy Tools, StarTools.
https://kurtzeppetello.smugmug.com/