Thursday, August 27, 2015

Dumbbell Stacked

Following some advice on the Mallincam Yahoo Group, I decided to try stacking some of my Xtreme images of the Dumbbell Nebula. The result is pretty pleasing!

The reddish, internal "knots" are quite visible in the image, as is the central star of the nebula. Considering this represents just a few seconds of exposure time, it shows the capabilities of near-real-time video imaging pretty well.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Some test images

I've been taking some test images with my Mallincam Sky Raider DSm and my Mallincam Xtreme using the 14 inch scope in the Indiana POD observatory (IPOD). Here are some results:

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

A Good Night with the Mallincam DSm!

I had a good night last night with the DSm. I did not go to the observatory, but set up my ETX125 OTA on my EQ Pro mount in the driveway. I used an Orion .5x focal reducer and Skyglow filter. Thanks to everyone who dropped by my NSN broadcast—your thoughts and comments were helpful and appreciated.

I focused on just one object last night—the Ring Nebula—and gave the camera a “workout” on this object. The final and best images were captured with a gain of 5(!) and a 30-second integration time with dark field processing (just 2 darks captured during the session).  The results were very good—dark field processing really does remove any noise more or less completely. I discovered this when I was taking the darks themselves: the images taken showed some noise, but I accidentally left the scope covered for the first exposure after I enabled dark field correction. When the screen updated, the image went from a noisy field to a deep, velvety dark—impressive indeed. The subsequent images were all taken at high gain to minimize the unguided exposure time. While this would normally produce very grainy images, the dark field correction did a superb job.

Below are 2 images--the first is the "raw" image from the camera and the second has been tweaked (levels only) in Photoshop. Click each for a larger image.

The Ring Nebula image de-interlaced and with boosted levels. Note that the central white dwarf star is clearly visible

The original "raw" image as captured by the DSm

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Grab n' go imaging with JrPro

I decided to try my grab n'go with the Jr Pro this weekend (8/7). The ST-80 is F5, but I used a Barlow lens for the images of the Dumbbell and the Ring Nebula. Planetary nebulae have a small angular diameter and they are vanishingly small in the ST-80 FOV. I cropped the images and made some adjustments in Photoshop (it was a warm night and the Jr Pro is uncooled, so there was significant noise.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

A Meandering River of Fire on the Sun 8-01-2015

Imaging ARs 2391 and 2392, I found an interesting feature--what looks like a meandering river of white hot fire (just above and beginning right of center in the image below). Many times the size of earth, this feature is a flow of plasma following twisted magnetic fields on the sun. Imaged with PST-DS and ASI 120MM. Stacked in Registax 6 with unsharp mask, cropping and colorizing in Photoshop.

Below is a view of a larger portion of the sun's disk. The imaged area is close to the disk center.

Blue Moon From My Yard

Friday's full moon (July 31st, 2015) was a Blue Moon. Of course, it wasn't blue in color. A Blue Moon commonly refers to the second full moon in a month. As the Lunar Cycle is 28 days, it is a pretty rare event. In fact, that definition, first published in Sky and Telescope, is incorrect. But so many people now use that definition, that it has entered common usage.  Strictly speaking, in a year with 13, rather than the usual 12 full moons, a Blue Moon is the third moon in a season with four moons.

However you look at it, it's a relatively rare event, happening only once every two to three years. I took this pic in my yard of the Blue Moon rising over the dense treeline.