Over a week ago now I had an intense astronomy evening with my tame scientist. There weren’t many hours between sunset and moonrise so we worked fast to try and prove that we had a reliable autoguiding setup, having been plagued by various failures and obstacles the last few times we’d tried (see below) We […]Read more "Deep space"
I’ve been amassing the components of my astrophotography rig over time. Before Christmas I got hold of a guide scope and I attempted to rig up a modified webcam as a guide camera. This wasn’t too successful so recently I bought a dedicated but inexpensive guide camera. After a brief experiment in my back garden […]Read more "First autoguided exposure"
Last night it was clear so I went out with my telescope for the first time in ages. It should have marked two firsts: First successful use of autoguiding and remote control of telescope & camera via laptop First field use of my CLS-CCD filter Unfortunately, the autoguiding failed spectacularly after the laptop decided that […]Read more "M42 – Now with extra Hydrogen-alpha!"
Last week a new type 1a supernova (SN2014J) was spotted in Messier 82 – better known as the Cigar Galaxy. I was desperate to photograph it but the weather was not on my side. Finally last night I stole about half an hour of observing time between clouds and managed to get 9 pictures of the […]Read more "New supernova in M82"
I haven’t managed to do any astronomy for a while because the weather has been so bad. However, last night there was a brief break in the clouds and the moon shone through. It was just enough time to set up my telescope in the front garden and attach a DSLR. You might think the […]Read more "Moon"
Being an city-dwelling astronomer, light pollution is a huge problem for me. Sure, I love the urban convenience of Tesco Extra for emergency overnight bacon but the orange glow of sodium street lights really ruins a night of stargazing. I always drive to my dark site in rural Somerset for “proper” stargazing nights and there it […]Read more "Light pollution"
Now I am getting some more experience with some of the brighter Messier objects, I decided to have a look at the catalogue and see how bright and how large some of the objects are – basically what I can expect to see in my telescope. All the copies of the Messier catalogue floating around […]Read more "How big are Messier objects in pixels?"
While the weather in Scotland and the North has been terrible today, that wasn’t the case in Somerset last night. It was still, clear and moonless, so I decided to head out for some astronomy. On my previous excursion I looked at as many bright and interesting objects as possible, but the photos didn’t do […]Read more "Horsehead nebula"
This was my telescope’s first outing since I fixed up its mirror cell. A quick glance at a bright star in the city seemed to indicate that the problem was fixed, but there’s no way of knowing for sure without trying some proper photography. Recently the three circles in this Venn diagram have been conspiring […]Read more "Finally – round stars!"
If you’ve been following my geeky astronomical posts lately, you’ll see that my new telescope suffers from triangular stars, caused by pinched optics. I’ve also been posting about the problem on Astronomy Forum. Just to recap, the telescope currently produces pictures like this. The effect is subtle, but if you click on the picture to […]Read more "Pinched optics – the cure"