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Saturday, 25 November 2017

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Comet 103P/Hartley
Written by Richie Jarvis   
Wednesday, 06 October 2010 21:58

Tonight saw my first attempt at capturing 103P/Hartley.  It is set to reach Perihelion on the 28th October, and is expected to reach Magnitude 5.  It will have to hurry up if its going to do that though!!

Here is a still image - a combination of 30 images combined - 2 minute sub-exposures each one:

20101006T20:00UT - 18x2minutes

And here is a video showing the movement.  This is 60 x 2 minute images taken and turned into a movie.

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Jupiter with Io Transit
Written by Richie Jarvis   
Friday, 01 October 2010 18:46

I had a little play with the images I captured the other week. These were taken with the Vixen VC200L and Lumenera Skynyx 2-1C with a 3x barlow. It really was an amazing spectacle to look at too, as I had the flip-mirror in action!

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Salisbury Star Party 2010
Written by Richie Jarvis   
Monday, 16 August 2010 19:52

This year saw another wonderful Salisbury Star Party in Sixpenny Handley in Wiltshire.  Wednesday was a great start.  It took about 2 hours to get there from East Sussex, so I was there just before dark.  Many thanks to Iain, Neil and Stephen for putting the tent up whilst I got the imaging kit up and running :)

The first target was Messier 8 - the Lagoon Nebula in Sagittarius.  I was able to spend an hour on this in the end, and am very happy with the results so far. I wish I had more data to be honest, but I think it passed muster!  Its not a target I can shoot from my observatory though, so Salisbury is my best option.

 
Hard Lessons Learnt
Written by Richie Jarvis   
Thursday, 22 July 2010 01:29

Tonight in the observatory has been a real lesson to me.  When I first setup the observatory, I put a steel pier in, and levelled it thoroughly.  Unfortunately, over the last 2 years, it has shifted, and I have been having increasing problems with accurate tracking.

Once I realised what the problem was, I re-levelled the pier and mount, rebalanced and drift-aligned using the excellent WCS software.  If you haven't used it - give it a try - it just requires a webcam and you can accurately drift align your mount within about 30 minutes.

Anyway, the good news is that it worked.  The bad news is that I experienced a blue-screen of death right afterwards, and it corrupted my EQMOD configuration file.  The behaviour was very strange - EQMOD would reach a particular area of the sky (around my target annoyingly - how did it know??!) in Cygnus, and would then convince itself that it was in the southern hemisphere.  Most strange.  It took around 2 hours to troubleshoot that problem!

I did manage to get a few more Sii subs for my NGC6888 Crescent Nebula - here is the result so far:

Full version and capture details available here

 
Testing a Vixen VC200L
Friday, 21 May 2010 20:47

I've been testing a Vixen VC200L recently for a review.  Vixen Opticron have been very supportive, and have helped me immensely by providing just the right kit to hookup my SXV-H9 to the Vixen.

I am also using a focal reducer, which reduces the scope from its native F/9 to F/6.3.  With this setup, the scope is performing very well, and giving well resolved and crisp images.

I did have a bit of a problem initially with Polar Misalignment, which caused star trailing over long sub-exposures.  Anything over 5 minutes was giving nasty trailing, which made things rather challenging!  I've now solved the problem by drift aligning the mount with WCS, and am able to run 20 minute subs.  I think the drift alignment could definitely be improved, but that will have to wait until after I've done the Observatory roof!

Here is a recent shot taken at the beginning of the month over 3 nights of Messier 51 the Whirlpool Galaxy.  You can see the full sized version, with the image capture details here

 
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