Today Venus was a very delicate crescent, with only about 4% of it’s visible disc illuminated by the sun. I used the 127mm f/8 refractor with a 1.4x teleconverter and took a number of images using the Nikon D750. 20% of 46 individual images were used to create this image using the software Autostakkert:
The sun shows only few spots when near solar minimum. Today the Spots AR2629 and 2628 were clearly visible.
Inspite of all the beautiful stars, I have a fascination for the dark stuff lurking between them Today I managed to get almost an hour of exposures of the Taurus molecular cloud,
The lights of the town Isny in southern germany paint the sky with unwanted light, nearly washing out the intricate features of our home galaxy the Milky Way.
These days the large sunspot AR2456 is very prominent on the sun’s disc:
Today the tiny disc of mercury crossed in front of the sun. The weather didn’t cooperate fully, and I had to switch mounts as the Meade randomly stopped tracking in RA, and the WiFi router for the roof didn’t work as expected and tested… but I was still able to get some decent images… Read More
At the beginning of the evening, a short session imaging Jupiter, then I switched over to some galaxies.
This is a short animation made from multiple AVI sequences:
In spite of bad seeing and strong gusts of wind I did set up the big refractor to do some astrophotography. I spent quite some time to get things running – in the end the spring galaxies were already too far west in the glare of the train station, so I switched my targets to two globulars and a planetary nebula. Here is a list of what went wrong:
- I wasn’t aware that the D750 uses a non-standard USB port on the camera, I had to search for half an hour to find the original cable
- the laptop I usually use has been upgraded to Windows 10, installing the drivers for the guiding camera did not work
- on the backup laptop guiding with PHD worked, but Backyard Nikon crashed and/or got no connection to the camera, I tried many combinations of USB extension cables, USB ports, removing the SD card, formatting the SD card, upgrading to BackyardNikon 1.0.5, in the end I focused using live view of the camera and used the built-in interval timer of the camera to shoot 30 second exposures…
- the seeing was really terrible, making focusing difficult, and bloating the stars during the exposure
- for reasons unkown (user error?) the quality setting on the camera was changed to FINE, so I only took JPEG images instead of NEF( Raw)
Today I was making sure everything is in working order for Monday’s transit of Mercury across the sun.
I was able to fix the issue of the declination runaway motor of our club’s LXD-650 mount, and took some images using the 127mm refractor with a 1,4x teleconverter.