Monday, September 24, 2012

AR 1575 and some long filaments

AR 1575 has the potential to create M-Class flares, but it looks quiet in this image.  Captured and processed with my usual workflow.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Observatory Part 10

Insulation!  I am insulating the roof and walls of the observatory to reduce heating in direct sun and also to reduce condensation.  This is just R5 polystyrene and I have installed it rather crudely, but it will do the job and (most importantly) it is very inexpensive. The next step is to install the rest of the studs and to install the drywall to give the interior a more finished look.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

M27 -- The Dumbell Nebula

I captured this image last night with a Nikon D40 DSLR, running at 3200 ISO.  Only about 4 of the captured images were actually stackable, so this image represents around 3.5 minutes of actual imaging time. The resulting image was, of course, very noisy.  Noise reduction has softened the image somewhat.

SLR imaging is a cheap way to get into deep sky captures, but it is far from perfect.  The D40 does not have mirror lock up, so I had to cover the scope aperture when I began the exposure, otherwise the vibration caused by the movement of the mirror in the camera causes distortions in the star images (they usually look like little chevrons).  It takes about 5 seconds for the scope to damp down the vibrations after the shutter has been opened.  I stacked the images with DeepSkyStacker, which does a much better job with DSO images than Astrostack.  Histogram stretching was performed in Astrostack, with final processing in Windows.

If you decide to try imaging with a DSLR, I would also remove the strap.  When I started imaging, I noticed that stars were showing very anomalous and varied shapes.  At first, I blamed tracking, but ti turned out to be the breeze moving the camera strap and causing vibrations!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Active Areas and Prominences

Today's image shows active areas and prominences on the sun.  Seeing was not very good today; there was lots of moisture and ripples in the atmosphere.  The active area towards the center is AR 1564, which is capable of producing M-Class flares.