New hobby keeping me busy during COVID

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audioengr

Re: New hobby keeping me busy during COVID
« Reply #40 on: 17 Apr 2021, 11:38 pm »
Owl Nebula (M97):




Three nights of captures combined to get this image.
« Last Edit: 18 Apr 2021, 01:44 am by audioengr »

Nick B

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Re: New hobby keeping me busy during COVID
« Reply #41 on: 18 Apr 2021, 12:01 am »
I'm Bortle 2 here, almost none.  Problem is clouds and wind.

Here's another, the North American Nebula NGC7000:




Here it is before I final process it, an ocean of stars on top of the object (all from the Milky Way BTW):




These 20 stacked frames already have some intensity stretch and color saturation applied or you would only see black and stars, no nebula.  Here is a single frame:




Looking at these again, it looks a bit like eyes and definitely like a pig’s snout... 🐷

undertowogt1

Re: New hobby keeping me busy during COVID
« Reply #42 on: 18 Apr 2021, 12:32 am »
hold up.....you can see images like that with a consumer telescope? to get that type of quality image how much cash are we taking for the gear? is this like a 10 000 dollar and up telescope ( I have no idea on this stuff)

audioengr

Re: New hobby keeping me busy during COVID
« Reply #43 on: 18 Apr 2021, 01:27 am »
hold up.....you can see images like that with a consumer telescope? to get that type of quality image how much cash are we taking for the gear? is this like a 10 000 dollar and up telescope ( I have no idea on this stuff)

You can spend as little as $4K to get this, but it's difficult.  Closer to $10K.  Even at that price, the telescope is only semi-automated with a lot to learn about the capture and the post-processing.

My telescope is an 8" aperture EdgeHD Schmitt-Cassegrain from Celestron, about $6K with the accessories.  The camera is another $1K.  Then there are cables, focus masks and other accessories.  This is just for the captures.  I also have a set of 2" aperture eyepieces for viewing.  These are in the $3K range.  Better cameras can run up to $3K.

A typical capture involves:

1) assemble/attach the telescope to the mount and wait for darkness
2) power on the telescope and wait for it to sync with a GPS satellite and discover the alignment camera
3) start auto-alignment and wait for it to complete - it usually takes shots of 3 points in the sky - this is how it maps the sky into the mount computer
4) use the go-to to slew to the star Polaris
5) use SharpCap polar alignment software to capture the stars around Polaris using the capture camera
6) manually slew the mount so it's 90 degrees rotated on the right ascension axis - this is how the earth rotates on it's axis
7) note the polar mis-alignment error in SharpCap and adjust the wedge so that the error is very low
8 ) go-to a star close to the object you want to capture
9) insert the focusing mask on the front of the OTA (telescope optical tube assembly)
10) use the focus controls to bring the star into fine focus using the motorized focuser
11) remove the focusing mask and go-to the object you want to capture
12) find the object in the camera FOV (field of view) and center it
13) if it needs rotating, loosen the camera lock and rotate the camera until it's oriented properly
14) open the intensity histogram in SharpCap
15) adjust the exposure time and gain until the histogram shows the object is brighter than the background noise
16) start the guiding software and logically connect to the guide camera and the mount
17) start cycling the guide star view and pick a star to guide with
18) if the guiding control needs re-calibration, do that for the guide camera and mount
19) start guiding
20) start the capture and leave the telescope to do it's thing for 2-4 hours

And this is on a warm night.  On a cold night, one must use dew shields and heaters to keep things from frosting up.  Many of these shots were captured in November, December and January on cold nights. October is probably the best month for captures, but only certain objects are visible.  Lots of Nebulas during that period.

The telescope will track any object in the sky, but the object will creep out of the FOV over a few hours, so it's necessary to use guiding software and a guiding camera to keep the telescope finely locked onto a star and thereby the object, when capturing.

Most of the objects I have shown you are not visible to the eye using this telescope, only the center part of Andromeda and part of Orion Nebula.  In order to see the others at all, you must do long exposures with a camera.  Colors are virtually non-existent to the naked eye, except for the planets and some colored stars.  The camera is needed to resolve the colors as well. The moon is amazing through the right eyepiece BTW.

charmerci

Re: New hobby keeping me busy during COVID
« Reply #44 on: 18 Apr 2021, 02:33 am »
I'm not sure that one has to spend that much to get something decent - though not as spectacular as your photos. A decent 6-8" telescope with a motor and a camera attachment adapter for your digital DSLR or full frame camera should give some nice photos of places in our galaxy and solar system as well as Andromeda - which surprisingly is about the size of the full moon.

Russell Dawkins

Re: New hobby keeping me busy during COVID
« Reply #45 on: 18 Apr 2021, 07:09 am »
I'm not sure that one has to spend that much to get something decent - though not as spectacular as your photos. A decent 6-8" telescope with a motor and a camera attachment adapter for your digital DSLR or full frame camera should give some nice photos of places in our galaxy and solar system as well as Andromeda - which surprisingly is about the size of the full moon.

I guess we are talking about something a little beyond just "decent" here.
I am still surprised that this level of quality can be obtained at an affordable price from the ground with an 8" telescope. I don't think images of this quality came from Mt. Palomar untill modern photo manipulation techniques like image stacking made it possible.

audioengr

Re: New hobby keeping me busy during COVID
« Reply #46 on: 18 Apr 2021, 05:19 pm »
I guess we are talking about something a little beyond just "decent" here.
I am still surprised that this level of quality can be obtained at an affordable price from the ground with an 8" telescope. I don't think images of this quality came from Mt. Palomar untill modern photo manipulation techniques like image stacking made it possible.

Absolutely.  Many of these software technologies were developed in the 1990's to solve the issues with the original Hubble telescope.  Also, things like having sensitive high-resolution digital cameras, cheap massive memory and a supercomputer on your desk enables these technologies to be used by everyone.

audioengr

Re: New hobby keeping me busy during COVID
« Reply #47 on: 18 Apr 2021, 06:18 pm »
Hercules Globular Cluster (M13):




audioengr

Re: New hobby keeping me busy during COVID
« Reply #48 on: 21 Apr 2021, 10:06 pm »
Thor's Helmet (NGC2359), a difficult target:




Nick B

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Re: New hobby keeping me busy during COVID
« Reply #49 on: 22 Apr 2021, 01:30 am »
Thor's Helmet (NGC2359), a difficult target:




This one is stunning

audioengr

Re: New hobby keeping me busy during COVID
« Reply #50 on: 22 Apr 2021, 05:15 pm »
This one is stunning

Believe it or not, this one has about 50% of the stars removed/reduced.  Too many stars....

FullRangeMan

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Re: New hobby keeping me busy during COVID
« Reply #51 on: 25 Apr 2021, 04:54 pm »
Hi Audioengr,
These are beautiful images, I think the most interesting subject in the night sky is the near moon, there is a lot of things happen there, mainly in the infrared range or full spectrum. If you have moon images please cheers us  :thumb:

audioengr

Re: New hobby keeping me busy during COVID
« Reply #52 on: 25 Apr 2021, 06:30 pm »
Hi Audioengr,
These are beautiful images, I think the most interesting subject in the night sky is the near moon, there is a lot of things happen there, mainly in the infrared range or full spectrum. If you have moon images please cheers us  :thumb:

Here are some moon images:
















Russell Dawkins

Re: New hobby keeping me busy during COVID
« Reply #53 on: 25 Apr 2021, 08:11 pm »
Amazing how nearly perfectly spherical the moon looks, thanks, I guess to the molten core. Hard to grasp the fact that the core is still liwuid iron after all this time and with no atmosphere to speak of to insulate it.

FullRangeMan

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Re: New hobby keeping me busy during COVID
« Reply #54 on: 25 Apr 2021, 09:09 pm »
Oh nice, thanks for posting.
I suppose these photos are visible light.

audioengr

Re: New hobby keeping me busy during COVID
« Reply #55 on: 25 Apr 2021, 09:32 pm »
Oh nice, thanks for posting.
I suppose these photos are visible light.
Yes.

audioengr

Re: New hobby keeping me busy during COVID
« Reply #56 on: 26 Apr 2021, 09:29 pm »
One of my Mars captures from last fall:




You can plainly see the icecap and darker areas.

These are an entirely different game than nebula and galaxies.  You take a 2-4 minute video and then stack thousands of frames.  This is necessary because of the atmospherics causing the image to distort and wobble.  Also I use entirely different software to stack and process the images.  They are bright objects compared to nebula and galaxies, so the camera background noise is a non-issue.  No need for calibration frames like you use with nebula and galaxies.

This may be home for the remaining human race in 100 years if we don't stop polluting the Earth by burning fossil fuels and wood. This is why I drive an electric car and heat my house with electric from hydro.  I'm doing my part, but no one else is, it seems.  I'm getting so tired of trying to make a difference. Humans are just destined to become extinct and take most other living things with them in the process.  Enjoy this planet while you still can.
« Last Edit: 26 Apr 2021, 11:08 pm by audioengr »

Photon46

Re: New hobby keeping me busy during COVID
« Reply #57 on: 27 Apr 2021, 12:18 am »
I'm getting so tired of trying to make a difference. Humans are just destined to become extinct and take most other living things with them in the process.  Enjoy this planet while you still can.

Very possibly. However, the balance of nature might possibly reassert itself in a manner most unkind to Homo Sapiens. WHO scientists working in Africa have nightmares about a pathogen emerging which combines the lethal virulence of Ebola and the recent Covid variant's transmissibility (or worse.). Every year they find several people in Africa who died of new and previously hitherto unknown Ebola like illnesses. Black Death swept civilization not long ago and reset the balance of man and the environment, it can definitely happen again. As our numbers grow larger and mankind moves in greater numbers into previously unpopulated areas, the likelihood of such an event grows more likely.

Also, 250,000,000 years ago, a long period of Siberian volcanic eruptions caused hydrocarbon gas emissions on the scale humanity is now dumping into the atmosphere. There were runway greenhouse gas emissions and the planet warmed to the point a massive extinction event occurred. However in time the earth cooled and new forms of life evolved.

audioengr

Re: New hobby keeping me busy during COVID
« Reply #58 on: 27 Apr 2021, 01:43 am »
Very possibly. However, the balance of nature might possibly reassert itself in a manner most unkind to Homo Sapiens. WHO scientists working in Africa have nightmares about a pathogen emerging which combines the lethal virulence of Ebola and the recent Covid variant's transmissibility (or worse.). Every year they find several people in Africa who died of new and previously hitherto unknown Ebola like illnesses. Black Death swept civilization not long ago and reset the balance of man and the environment, it can definitely happen again. As our numbers grow larger and mankind moves in greater numbers into previously unpopulated areas, the likelihood of such an event grows more likely.

Also, 250,000,000 years ago, a long period of Siberian volcanic eruptions caused hydrocarbon gas emissions on the scale humanity is now dumping into the atmosphere. There were runway greenhouse gas emissions and the planet warmed to the point a massive extinction event occurred. However in time the earth cooled and new forms of life evolved.

As for Pandemics, I believe that technology will stop them from eradicating the human race.  Humans can deal with and understand the consequences of a pandemic because the effects are fast and obvious, so they act decisively.

Global Warming is a much slower death for the planet and it's life.  Humans are notorious for ignoring such slow effects until it's killing them and then it's too late.

If you study the plots of CO2 in the atmosphere over earths history, most of the greenhouse gas increases occurred over a time scale of thousands of years. Current Global Warming has happened over hundreds of years, really accelerating in the last 50 years.  There is no historical precedent that compares to the super fast increase of CO2 in the atmosphere and in the oceans caused by human Global Warming.  I have studied this for a decade and given presentations to groups locally.

Humans can still stop the warming from getting a lot worse, but the timescale to do so is in 1-2 decades.  I cannot see Americans 100% adopting electric cars in 10 or even 20 years. They will not stop burning fireplaces or convert their homes from natural gas to electric.  Cement will still use fossil fuels and the military will use fossil fuels.  The only way out of this IMO is to convert most power plants to low-risk nuclear and mandate that all gas cars be replaced with electrics. Mandate that all houses be converted to electric and boost the electric grid and provide storage on the grid with new battery technology. It's a big ask.

Russell Dawkins

Re: New hobby keeping me busy during COVID
« Reply #59 on: 27 Apr 2021, 04:51 am »
I feel compelled to mention that a great book that addresses these questions in such a way as to create a valid, realistic perspective is "Whole Earth Discipline" by Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Catalogue editor. He is intelligent, well connected and thus well informed. Published in 2009. it still seems entirely relevent. To him 'Generation III or IV' nuclear reactors are the most rational interim source of energy by a long shot—even over wind, geothermal and solar, to bridge the imagined 50 year gap between now and the development of a hoped-for alternative.