First autoguided exposure

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 gardenContinue reading “First autoguided exposure”

M42 – Now with extra Hydrogen-alpha!

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 thatContinue reading “M42 – Now with extra Hydrogen-alpha!”

New supernova in M82

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 theContinue reading “New supernova in M82”

Light pollution

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 itContinue reading “Light pollution”

How big are Messier objects in pixels?

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 aroundContinue reading “How big are Messier objects in pixels?”

Finally – round stars!

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 conspiringContinue reading “Finally – round stars!”

Pinched optics – the cure

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 toContinue reading “Pinched optics – the cure”