Through the Looking Glass

Through the Looking Glass

9 Nights at 3RF Comanche Springs Astronomy Campus June 2013

I arrived last Friday afternoon (May 31) and have imaged each night since. That is the good news. The bad news is it has been extremely windy here even after dark. Lots of data was just too poor to use, but I have pulled out a few keepers on this sortie.

I decided to go back to Australia next March for OzSky 2014. I think my old buddy Robert Werkman will probably go, and Fay Jordan from the Isle of Wight just paid her reservation fee. I am hoping Jeanette Lamb will migrate down from Kilcoy, Queensland, and spend the week with us at Coonabarabran. 

I will be carrying a very light weight astrophotography kit with me next time The Pentax M42 screw mount SLR lenses have proven to be excellent for extreme wide field applications. My low noise QHY8PRO CCD one shot color partners well with those lenses. I have a Manfrotto tripod, ball head and geared head that will fit easily in my suitcase. I will bring a single Dell D610 laptop for image acquisition and general internet use. It can travel in a laptop case with me, or I go in the suitcase, too. I have always hated lugging around a computer, because they get very heavy very quickly. My processing will be a little limited on 3 GBytes of RAM and XP, but I have a road copy of Photoshop CS2 and can just grin and bear the slow PixInsight  routines.

I managed to find comet Panstarrs in Ursa Minor two nights ago. I imaged it with a 100mm Vivitar lens stopped at f/5.6. I worried about rotation and streaky stars due to its close proximity to Polaris; it is in the shot, in fact! I limited the exposure to 600 seconds and shot 35 subs. The processing revealed I could safely go deeper on exposure time, and I needed to get in a little closer to compose a dramatic shot. I switched over to the Vivitar 135mm last night and got 10 subs at 900 seconds. It was extremely windy; I worried that it would just be a waste of time. I will let you be the judge.

 

 

C/2011 L4 (Panstarrs) in Ursa Minor
RGB: 10X900 seconds exposure unguided
Lens: Vivitar (M42) 135mm f/5.6
Camera: QHY8PRO
Mount: Takahashi EM-10
Location: 3RF Comanche Springs Astronomy Campus
Date: June 5, 2013

 

I got some color last Friday and Saturday nights for my Cygnus Group project started in May. I still need two more nights to finish it, plus a night on the elephant trunk, too.

 

 

 

 

I have the new William Optics 81 GTF mounted on the Takahashi NJP, but haven't gotten any good data with it yet due to the wind! I have been shooting in Scorpius. I till have a few nights left.

 

I set up my gear on top of the RV hill away from the star field this time. It looks quite busy for just one person.

 

 

 

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