Friday, August 21, 2015

First Stacking of DSO from Crest Astro-Shack

I guess I can call this the first "official" deep sky image from the new observatory since I did stack these with a dark filed.  Seven shots at ISO 1000, f/6.3 with Canon 60Da, CLS filter, Meade LX200 classic 12", StarShoot Autoguider on piggyback Orion 80ED Apo, and 5 minute exposures. 
Stacked with DeepSky Stacker and Gimp processing.  
Nothing special, I can complain about a lot of things in this image, but I have a lot to re-learn about this since I've been away for a couple years and forgot a lot!


Just some pretty photos

Just some pretty photos of the observatory during a recent colorful sunset, and in operation at night.
Sunset over Crest Airpark's only observatory

Nothing better than warm summer nights!

First light!

Not sure if the official "first light" should be something really pretty, stacked, processed, Photoshopped, then proudly displayed.  These are just some rough "test images" while I work out guiding issues.  I did take a series of M33 that are probably good enough to stack and tweak, but I'll get to that next.
Last night I was able to find comet C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy at 10.5 magnitude quite easily, so things are running well enough to find the dim fuzzies!

M33 at f/6.3 ISO100 5mins

M13 at f/6.3 ISO1000 2mins
Guiding problems, but the comet is in the middle

Latest Astro-shack update

Building the computer
Once again, it's been a long time since I added any updates to this page.  So here is the latest.   I got a new main computer for my home use, so my older Windows 7 machine was assigned to the duties of being the new observatory machine.  I did some drive swapping and put a solid state hard drive in there for fast boot (for when the thing crashes, I don't want to sit around waiting too long!).  Fortunately, the Microsoft anti-piracy check let me install it without a call to India for activation, since it was the same motherboard and just a new drive.  (Don't ask me my opinion on that crap!).
Corner operating desk
All the astro stuff has been installed and I built a little corner desk in the observatory to put the monitors and keyboards.  I still need to work out the optimal place for the computer since there are a lot of cables that run through the place to control the dome, scope and cameras. I started in the opposite corner, tripped over things a lot, then move it to a place next to the pier.  I'll probably build a raised floor with a computer space underneath for the next project.
So I guess it's operational now, and have just been doing tweaks on alignment and other things.  ASCOM drivers are finally working well, and the dome syncs up with the telescope! (Or getting close at least).
It's alive!
I recently found a good deal on a 50mm Williams Optics guide scope and camera, so I'm playing with that as a guider option.  Still seem to have some drift that I need to work out.  I think it's almost down to the PHD Guider software that I just need to get the right settings in. 
A few very rough samples of photos have been taken, mostly  just mess with autoguiding rather than anything pretty.  That will come soon I hope!

Nice Ebay find for $270!

The little white thing is the new guider.