Thursday, 29 November 2012

Morning Star Mercury & Co, over Haverfordwest...

Early this morning I grabbed the Nikon D50, plus a small tripod and headed off for an astro adventure.

I decided to walk to the outskirts of our village to afford myself a better view of Mercury..

From our garden I have no chance of seeing Mercury if it's in the East; there are too many trees and especially too many houses barring any possible view...

After setting up the camera I was lucky enough to capture this image of all three planets.....  seconds later some passing clouds snuffed out Mercury's light.

Mercury-Venus-Saturn : 06h:49m 

I then moved to a better location, about 200 yards further along.....

Now I had an uninterrupted view towards the East.

The lights of Haverfordwest were twinkling in the distance.

Mercury was once again free of the clouds, and I witnessed a beautiful celestial display of all three planets.... plus my favourite named star... Zubenelgenubi.

Mercury-Zubenelgenubi-Venus-Saturn: 06h:56m UT

There were loads of clouds to the West, but luckily the East was fairly cloud free, at least in the parts of the sky that mattered to my observations....

Mercury over Haverfordwest  07:05 UT

Happy Mercury hunting....

Clear Skies

Mark

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Jupiter on my mind....plus echoes of Mr Herschel...

Afocal method
Last night I tried a bit of Afocal photography with my little Hitachi DZHV582E digicam.

I've had this little camera for about 18 months, and in that time I reckon it's been used practically everyday for one thing or another....  Mostly it's used to capture my solar pictures and videos.

If you ever see one of these little cameras.....grab it.... it's ideal for afocal photography.

Well worth the intial £40 I paid for it...

Capturing the Jovian Light...

I trained the Tal1 onto Jupiter and placed the 25mm plossl plus x3 Barlow in the focuser....

This gave me a magnification of x96, anymore and the image started to degrade...

I then simply placed the camera over the eyepiece and over exposed the shot to capture the Jovian moons

As many amateurs know, by exposing for the satellites I completely washed out any detail in the actual planet... As you can see in this picture....

Over Exposed
I then under exposed the next shot to capture the detail in the planet  as shown here...

Under Exposed
After some copy/paste and a bit of further tweaking, I managed to secure this final image....


Now that I've figured out the camera and photoshop settings, I will be able to log many more Jupiter images on this blog...


Musings on the perfect planetary reflector:

Jupiter has always been a difficult planet to view and photograph with my small Tal1 telescope...

But considering the size of the Tal1 main mirror (110mm) I'm not going to complain too much.

For many years I've wondered about making a small planetary-only reflector...

Much has been written about the merits of a 6 inch f12 spherical mirror reflector.

Many say this type of telescope would be ideal for planetary work.

Plus a spherical mirror would hopefully be easier to produce with these Welsh hands...

Mr Herschel's 6 .2 inch/f13 reflector
I've a mind to try making a 6 inch f12 reflector......


I've read that Sir William Herschel made, and favoured a 6.2 inch f13 reflector.......

If it was good enough for Mr Herschel...then it's good enough for me....   :0)



Clear Jupiter Skies everyone....

Mark



Nearby.. a lone dog howls..

The Full Mackerel Moon will be upon us on Monday,  nearby I can hear a dog practicing its lunar howling! Up above, the slow moving clouds...