Thursday, April 25, 2013

Imaging Platform Progress

The imaging platform is now pretty much complete!  Today, I mounted the Orion ED 80 on the 14 with a set of counterweights and balanced the system as well as I could.  The blurry pic below shows the result.

I had hoped to do some alignment today, but the wind at the observatory was too blustery and I was concerned that the roof might take off if I tried to roll it off.  Perhaps tomorrow or the weekend the win will drop and I can align the scopes. If the weekend weather is good, I might be able to have First Light at Walnut Ridge!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Color Moon Image, Orion ED 80

I just received an Orion ED 80, which will be the guide scope on the 14.  I also plan on using it to image.  Orion says the ED 80 is an apochromatic refractor, producing negligible color fringing.  I am amazed at how much the images look like those produced by my ETX 125.  The image above is a color image, captured with a Nikon D40 at prime focus.  As you can see, there is no visible color fringing and the image is sharp, even though I did not spend a great deal of time perfecting the focus.  This appears to be one fine scope.

Mosaic AR1726 for April 22, 2013

A Closeup of AR1726

Today's image is a composite of several processed images taken with the PST-DS of the area around sunspot AR1726.  Each capture was 400 frames, stacked in Registax 5.1 and processed in Registax 6.  Final processing was performed in Photoshop.  AR1726 has the potential to produce earth-directed X-Class flares.

AR1726 and environs

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Partial Panorama April 9, 2013

I managed to capture three images before the clouds swept in today.  It's windy and warm here in Indiana with a chance of severe storms; I don't think I'm going to get any more images today, so I'm posting this partial panorama.


  • 3 captures, 400 frames
  • Stacked and optimized in Registax 5.1
  • Wavelet processing in Registax 6
  • Panorama constructed in ICE
  • Final finishing (despeckling, sharpening, image multiplication, coloring) in Photoshop

Sunday, April 7, 2013

A shot at mosaics

I've been drooling over the mosaics posted on the Yahoo PST group.  Fortunately, the folks there very generously share their processing tips.  I tried to put together a couple of mosaics. I can't get the even illumination that others have achieved, but at least I've made a start!  These two images were merged in i-merge, but processed a little differently.

Another Observatory Update

The observatory is almost ready for First Light.  Today, I moved in the observer's desk and installed another lock. With temps in the 70's, it was a lovely day to be out at Walnut Ridge, although the sky filled with hazy clouds in the later part of the afternoon, effectively putting an end to any hopes I might have had about doing some observing this evening.

The observer's desk with the 14 inch under its tarp

The plaque commemorating the "official" groundbreaking for the observatory last year
The 14 inch LX 200ACF covered in a cotton sheet and 2 tarps

The extra lock installed.  The mounting screws are secured by two wooden blocks on the inside of the door
A final look at the observatory on a glorious Spring day

The Sun on April 5, 2013

Despite this being a relatively quiet period for solar activity, there's still plenty to see on our favorite star.
AR 1711, with the dark spot, is in the center of this image