clear sky chart

Job 9:9

Job 9:9-10
9 He is the Maker of the Bear and Orion,
the Pleiades and the constellations of the south.
10 He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed,
miracles that cannot be counted.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Jupiter 11/30/2011

Seeing was somewhat better this evening, best its been in some time.   Began the evening photographong the moon, but being it was so cold out, the telescope needed to cool off.  By the time it had cooled, the moon was getting too low in the sky to do any good work, so I waited a couple hours and waited for Jupiter to get as high in the sky as it was going to get and I went and photographed it.  Seeing was quite good by looking at these pictures:

The first one seems a lil better.  I am getting more detail in the equatorial zone.  For some reason these images have quite a bit more contrast between the zones and bands,  and I'm not certain why.  These pictures were taken with the 6 inch dobsonian sitting atop the Ponset platform, both consist of about 500 frames stacked in Registax.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Some Photos Taken 11/21

I took a few more images than what I posted on 11/21.  Took these a little later in the evening, with the proper frame rate for good quality.  I think some of these are the best images of Jupiter I have taken so far.

This is a full frame.

I'm thinking this one is one of my best images of Jupiter to date.

This one also I think isnt bad, its a full frame image.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Jupiter 11/25 - Collimated the optics

I aligned the optics in the dob today and I think I have it pretty close now.  Took a few images, some are better than others.  I was able to capture Europa beginning its transit across the disk, as well as Ganymede to the left and Io on the right.

I believe Europa is the bright spot in the bottom left of the disk.

Here are a few more that I captured....
This one is a little noisy, not sure how many frames I used, but you can see Europa just beginning to transit the disk.

This one has some blur, I dont think I had the focus correct.  I'm still not certain about the Ponset,  It appears to jump around somewhat.  I must not have a bearing quite correct.  There may also be some vibration going on due to the stepper motor I'm using.

Jupiter 11/23

Had the scope out and took a few images with the dob on the platform.  It seems to work pretty well with the new motor, but the new motor with the worm gear has to run pretty close to top speed to track.  Here is a picture of the scope setup...

This is the dobsonian that I purchased at the state auction for $22.

This next image is one of Jupiter that was taken just after the above photo was taken.

There are 2 moons visible, I believe one is Io and the other is Europa.  As you can see, there is some detail, and was not too bad an image.  This image consisted of about 500 frames.

When I had the scope out, I also noticed that the scope's collimation was a bit off.  It is something that I'll have to take care of the next time I have it out.  Not sure how much better the images will be when its all adjusted correctly.

Monday, November 21, 2011

First Light With the Ponset Platform

As promised, I'm going to post the first image using the 6 inch dob and the Ponset platform.  There are some bugs in it, for one thing, the motor turns too fast and blurs the image if I slow it down so the image stays put, so I'll have to use a different stepper with a worm gear to drive the threaded rod.  I took this image quick, using 10 fps, and it has bad onion skinning, but the detail is pretty good.  T took 1000 frames and used most of them for this image:

This was the only image I was able to take, as it clouded up soon after.  It was partly cloudy when I took this image, which is why I only took the one at the faster frame rate.  Detail in the SEB is better.  The GRS looks like its about to rise, as you can see it on the western limb.  I was never able to resolve it that close to the edge before.  Once I get the bugs worked out, I believe this will be a very useful tool. 
I also didnt have it aligned quite right, as the image creeped upward on the screen.  It is probably an error in the construction as to the elevation of the north pole.  I'm not certain it can be totally fixed, but I will attempt to elevate the north side of the platform to correct the error.  This Ponset is a test platform.  Its pretty ugly, and i did hurry to build the wooden parts just to see if it works, which it appears to.  I may build another, while paying more attention to detail.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Poncet Platform

Because my main interest in astronomy is in photographing the planets, and I am having some success with the dobsonain, I thought I would build a Ponset platform.  I found this device online, and they are not too difficult to make.  Basically, it is a small platform that you sit your dob on which tracks the sky for about an hour or maybe hour and a half.  The design is too complex to do a complete description in a simple blog post, but a nice writeup is here -->

I dont fully understand all of the math involved, but they have to be designed for your lattitude, there is an Excel spreadsheet file here -->

I have not yet had the opportunity to test the mount, but the next clear night I will post photos of the results.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Jupiter 11/10

I'm not sure, but I think the collimation is still a little off.  I'm not getting the resolution I was getting, and the focus appears to change ever so slightly as it wanders across the screen.  I'm going to have to aim at polaris and fine tune it... but in the meantime, I think I'll just go ahead and post this image:

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Some Old Moon Pics - Taken 10/5

I did a blog post of the Appenine Mts on 10/5, but I took a lot more than just the Appenine's.  I found some really nice photos, all taken with the Dob, each only consists of about 20 frames or so, so I could not sharpen a whole lot...fortunately I didnt have to do much processing on them, they're quite sharp as they were.  The sharpening was lightly done, but still they came out good.

Here is Maginus Crater

 Here is one of the Straight Wall...

 I think these are probably the highest resolution images I have ever taken of the moon to date.