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It's looking good from my backyard 2/9/15

PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2015 9:18 pm
by rene-gedaly
*UPDATE* A really good night, good seeing, spotted these: the Trapezium, the "37" cluster, NGC 1981, Beta Monocerotis, the double cluster in Perseus, the Eskimo Nebula, the Beehive, and the Messier objects in Gemini and Auriga. None of these were additions to my list, though. Just having fun. Maybe I'll break out the filters and try missing list items tonight.
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I couldn't get out to the dark site this evening but it's looking really good from my backyard and driveway.

I've pulled out the 5.3" f/5 AWB (Astronomers Without Borders) reflector and plan to work the Astronomical League's Urban Observing Program. If you're in the market for a bargain priced grab-n-go scope that works surprisingly well and supports a good cause, take a look at the Sky and Tel review of the AWB OneSky:
http://www.skyandtelescope.com/wp-conte ... lector.pdf

To make sure I observe objects again and from my suburban location only (Woodlands qualifies because I can't see the Milky Way here), I've set up SkyTools to log my observations similarly to the way I do the Texas 45. There are a lot of Messier objects on the list and some easy enough double and variable stars, too.

If you're observing tonight from home, let us know how it goes.

Re: It's looking good from my backyard 2/9/15

PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2015 1:13 am
by steve-munsey
From The George Bush Park
Buster Wilson, Nate Rogers and I with my 8" F10 Meade LX200 Viewed
M42(Pleiades)
M45(Orion)
Jupiter
Sirius
M37
We got so wrapped up in conversation we didn't even think of loveJoy until after I packed the scope up.....LOL
The seeing was Great. Wish I could have stayed longer.
Maybe tomorrow

Re: It's looking good from my backyard 2/9/15

PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2015 1:39 am
by buster-wilson
Just wish my backyard was this large ! About 12 sq miles of it ! Sure was a good and fun night, sky seemed very steady. Just enough dew to help settle the sky and hardly any breezes. Very few 'skeeters. Like Steve Munsey said we did a bunch of talking about Astronomy stuff And Nate Rogers probably learned a bunch also. Sure, the soccer field lights were bright . . . for a while until they were turned off. So many bright lights for such a few players. Wonder when ever the grass gets to rest from so many lights and sunlight ? Depending on the weather some of us may come out again tomorrow night and do it again. Hope a few others can come out too even if its for a few hours or so. Equipment or not just show up. Stay tuned. *BW*

Re: It's looking good from my backyard 2/9/15

PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2015 7:28 am
by stephen-jones
Glad to hear you guys had a great time out there (and that Nate's astronomy education is going well). I think it's going to work well having a place for us to go for some urban observing on weeknights when we can't quite make it to the dark site. Personally, as I was sitting in the traffic on I-10 last night headed to the dark site, I seriously considered just pulling off and joining you guys, but I didn't because I didn't have a scope with me (I used the C-14 last night). Still, don't have so much fun out there that you forget how much better the skies are out at the site!

Re: It's looking good from my backyard 2/9/15

PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2015 8:21 am
by todd-murray
Relative newb here, I took a short video of Jupiter crossing the view from my back yard last night. Looks great on my phone, but the website doesn't allow .mov file types. The details don't survive conversion to a different format and YouTube seems to blow out the brightness. My 4-1/2 year old son was amazed!

I used an Orion XT6, Celestron X-Cel LX 2x Barlow and 12mm eyepiece (final mag 200x), and an iPhone 6 on a Snapzoom mount.

Heres a still from the video, not processed in any way.
Image

Re: It's looking good from my backyard 2/9/15

PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2015 1:07 pm
by steve-fung
Nice shot Todd. I was dying to get out last night but had some reports to finish for work. By the time I finished, the moon was starting to show over the trees. I grabbed my smallest telescope (actually a 60 mm f/3.75 finderscope with a helical focuser mounted on a camera tripod I've been experimenting) and tried various magnifications between 6.25x (nice) to 28x (too much chromatic abberation). Tried to look at some old friends - M42, M31 - but were washed out from light pollution (Got better views from Brazos Bend the night before with the same set up). Ended up staring at the moon for a while before heading indoors. I may try to go out to George Bush park if people are meeting there tonight.

Re: It's looking good from my backyard 2/9/15

PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2015 3:15 pm
by steve-fung
Todd, how do you like your Snapzoom? I've been thinking of buying something similar for my iPhone 6 to take pictures in a pinch when I don't have all my gear set up. Also, noticed you took a video (.mov). Have you tried stacking the frames to get a single image? I'm interested to see what one can get without dedicated AP equipment.


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Re: It's looking good from my backyard 2/9/15

PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2015 6:35 pm
by todd-murray
After reading quite a bit, I found that the Snapzoom is the only smartphone adapter that would fit my iPhone 6 (in its case) and also clamp over the diameter of the X-Cel LX eyepiece. The adapter holds onto both very well. Getting the iPhone clamped in the mount precisely centered over the eyepiece is a challenge in the dark, but that's about the only complaint.

Actually carefully taking photos and stacking I haven't done yet. I use a Mac so most of the better options don't seem to be available to me.


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Re: It's looking good from my backyard 2/9/15

PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2015 6:48 pm
by steve-fung
I should look into Snapzoom then.

Although I don't have a Mac, I find it hard to believe - there should be more for the Mac/Linux. Have you looked here?

http://www.astropix.com/HTML/I_ASTROP/SOFTWARE.HTM


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Re: It's looking good from my backyard 2/9/15

PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2015 1:20 am
by steve-fung
Todd, you may want to ask fellow HAS members who are Mac users on how they do image processing. I heard great things about PixInsight, which is available for Mac OS X, but I do not use it, and I do not know if it will accept video (.mov) input files.

One solution is to run Wineskin Winery, which will allow you to run Registax and AutoStakkert on OSX. Follow instructions on William Winters' website

http://williamwinters.com/registax-and-autostakkert-on-osx

All my planetary videos are processed using Registax, but I've been keeping an eye on AutoStakkert for a while. The nice thing - these are all free! You will need to convert .mov to .avi, e.g. FFmpeg

If hard pressed, you may consider running Windows under VMware Fusion or Parallels. Then, you'll have access to any Windows software.