Sunday, October 28, 2018

It's Red and Round and Going in a Box

More tinkering with astronomy gear this weekend.  

Perhaps that is what is causing the bad astronomy weather.  Usually, it's the purchase of new equipment that invokes the cloudy sky curse.

This is an update to my "It's Round and Red" blog post.

Joystick Prototype Circuitry

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Mars, Brightly Shining

With Mars long past opposition and zooming further and farther away from us, you'd think it would cease being an interesting sight in the sky.

Not so!

This image was taken in the backyard with my cell phone camera last week.

Hello, Mars!  Shoo, clouds.  Image is from October 17th, 2018.
It shows Mars near the crescent Moon shortly after sunset.  They are separated by about six degrees.

They make a beautiful pair.

Everyone can enjoy the night time sky.  It is just a matter of going outside and looking up.  No fancy telescope or camera needed.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Racing Clouds!

Last night's observing session started out nicely.

Mars was going to cross the meridian early in the night, so I started dragging the equipment out shortly after sunset.  I wanted to give the OTA plenty of time to thermally equalize before trying to image Mars.

The sky was gloriously clear.

Astrospheric, my go to site for astronomy weather predictions, claimed that it was going to cloud over in a couple of hours.

"Nah, that can't be right," I thought.  The sky was gorgeous.  The Milky Way was brightly overhead.

As I connected the imager to the laptop, I looked over to the western horizon and saw a wisp of a cloud bank very low in the sky.

I pointed the telescope at Mars, attached the imager, and started FireCapture.  After getting Mars into focus, I took another peek at the western horizon.  "Hmmm.  That is a fast moving bank of clouds." 
FireCapture and Mars

Racing Clouds Bonus Image

With Mars playing peek-a-boo through the clouds . . . 

(See this post)

I looked at the sky and decided to try finding a DSO in the small remaining hole in the clouds.

This DSO was in my observing list and was in just the right part of the sky.

NGC 7479 
This image is a result of live stacking via SharpCap.  It was merely nineteen stacked frames with four second exposures.  Gain was set to 506.

I wanted to improve the capture, but after creating a dark image to apply to the next live stacking, the clouds had finishing closing out the sky.

NGC 7479 certainly is a "spirally" spiral galaxy, isn't it?

Thursday, October 4, 2018

It's Red and Round

It's red and round.  And it's Mars inspired.  Sort of.

Another weekend approaching and the weather (again) doesn't look conducive for astronomy.

Rather than pout about it, I'm going to spend some more time tinkering on an astronomy related project.

Red and Round
How is this an astronomy related project?  And what is it?

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