Monday, March 26, 2012

Pollen is the Enemy!

While looking at the corrector on the 14 off-axis last year, I noticed a few, small, shiny spots.  I found out that these are caused by pollen.  It settles on the corrector and burrows into the coating, eventually causing permanent damage to the coatings. I've posted a pic of what it looks like.  It's hard to remove because it is very sticky.  There are a number of  ways to treat it, which I won't go into here.  Some people recommend cleaning the optics every session during high pollen season (which I personally do not like--cleaning is the most damaging thing you can do to your optics).  Meade cleaned my corrector when I had to send the scope back for a drive problem.  As for avoiding this issue this year (with its record pollen counts) I am going to experiment with optical mylar to see if  it can be easily made into a temporary cover for the optics while the yellow-green snow is falling in my forested neighborhood.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Orion Reprocessed

Here's another reprocessed image, this time of Orion.  The focus is still lousy, but more detail is visible.  Note the faint streaks in the image.  I do not know what caused these artifacts.  I suspect they are the result of vibration from the SLR shutter and mirror mechanism at the beginning of the exposure jiggling the scope; they do seem to correspond to the imaged stars, but are displaced.

Jupiter reprocessed

The weather has not been very conducive for observing recently, so I took some time to play with some of my earlier images.  This is a reprocess of a previously-posted image of Jupiter using a different implementation of unsharp masking.  More detail is visible, and I boosted the color saturation, but ringing artifacts are also visible as a result of the processing.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Previous image processed to show edge prominences

This is the previous image with contrast and brightness boosted to show prominences at the edge of the solar disk.  Note the fine structure associated with the prominence around the 3 o'clock position. This is most likely associated with active region AR1427.

Full Disk H-alpha image March 10

This is a full disk H-Alpha image taken March 10.  Active area 1429, which continues to produce X-Class flares (the most energetic the Sun produces) is visible as a light area to the left of center.  On the right limb of the disk, a prominence is faintly visible a little above the 3 o'clock position.