Im reading about radio astronomy at the moment so I enjoyed this lecture at the other end of the EM spectrum from Dr John Quinn at UCD. His work is imaging in X-ray and Gamma ray. Interesting that he refers to energies such as 1 TeV whereas the radio people work in wavelengths or frequencies. A very enjoyable evening – also met Dr Kate Russo who is a serial solar eclipse chaser!
Maybe, if I keep at it, I can do this some day-
Glad to have a clear night to observe Orion with my Nexstar 8SE. Nice views of M42, M43 and M78 then onto the more difficult stuff. I found the combination of Sky Safari 3 Pro and Deep Sky Browser very helpful in checking I was in the right star field. tracking was good all night.
I compared the TeleVue Delos 17.3mm with the Vixen VLW 22mm eyepieces. The Delos certainly is flat and sharp right to the edge of the image but somehow looked a bit “processed”. Stars looked a little more natural in the Vixen. The 72 degree field of view in the Delos was impressive and appeared wider than the 68 degree field of the Vixen.
I just couldnt see some of the bright nebulae in and around Orion – I suspect I will need long exposure imaging to see them at all. Here’s the list of new targets:
NGC 2022 PN Orion
NGC 1999 EN RN Orion Rubber stamp nebula
NGC 1788 RN Orion
NGC 1977 RN Orion Running man nebula
NGC 1980 EN Orion
NGC 2194 OC Orion
NGC 1647 OC Orion
NGC 2169 OC Orion Shopping cart cluster
Collinder 70 OC Orion
LDN 1616 Dark nebula Orion
NGC 1647 OC Taurus
NGC 1746 OC Taurus
I have just started to use a much more detailed app – Sky Safari 3 Pro. Its as easy to use as the others but gives much more detail and lists many more catalogues than just the standard Messier, Caldwell and NGC/IC listings.
It also allows you to save a list of targets for later review.
For example, when I reviewed the DSLR image I took recently of M45 Pleiades, I could see 3 areas of nebulosity corresponding to reflection nebulae. Sky Safari 3 Pro identified these as:
Near Merope: NGC 1435 RN
Near Electra: vdB 20 RN van den Bergh 20
Near Taygeta: Ced 19e RN Cederblad 19e
Id never heard of the van den Burgh or Cederblad lists before!
Tonight was quite cloudy and misty but looking at the star map of Orion, near Orion’s “head”, SS3 Pro identified a Collinder OC, Cr 69, near the star Meissa. This was easy to spot with Canon 10x30IS binoculars. Here is the map:
I bought a small Vixen wedge that allows me to attach my camera directly to my Ioptron mini-tower 2 mount. This means the camera can “track” stars allowing much longer exposures than could be achieved with a tripod.
I tried this out last night with a Canon 5D mark II and a 70-200mm f4 IS L lens – it worked reasonably well. I had to be careful about focusing but the biggest problem was a circular orange artefact in the middle of every image. I didnt bother to put the lens hood on and maybe the problem was related to this (I researched this – it’s just vignetting – camera lenses aren’t really designed for low light long exposures. Also I had the lens wide open at f4 whereas it’s recommended it should be shut down by even 1 stop for sharpness and to avoid vignetting).
I tried to stack a few images in Registax 6 but it seemed to struggle with the 5000 x 3000 pixel files – perhaps using smaller jpegs might be better.
The image below is just a small part of the much larger widefield images that were taken. There is just a hint of nebulosity seen around the lower two stars in the cluster. Happy for a first effort but a long way to go.