Thursday, August 9, 2018

More from my new Atik Horizon

Last night I took advantage of clear skies and imaged from home again.  I was out there from about 9 PM to 4 AM.  I used a small RavPower battery pack for my laptop and my new (light) 200WH Portable Generator for my scope and camera.  I was pleased to get about 7 hours out of the two!

I continue to get a bit better at getting where I want and what I want with regard to imaging.  A few things I want to keep in mind below (i.e. note to self):

  • Before beginning, use eyepeice and make sure image will be centered.  StarSense will do this.  Go to known star, center, and press Align - etc.  After centering, press Back to continue.
  • To focus, slew to object and focus on set of nearby stars.  On my FeatherTouch focuser, the camera will be focused about 80 mm.  Set Video mode to about 4 seconds exposure and make sure Stacking is OFF.  Use the FWHM (Full Width Half Maximum) AND visual to optimize.  Looking for the smallest FWHM (range 3 to 5 is good).  Make sure to allow A LOT of time between focus adjustments - especially at the beginning of the session.  Watch for the "jiggle" and the green status bar at the top to know the image on the screen is updated.  Plan to focus a bit after moving.
  • The Infinity software seems to freeze on me.  I think it froze about four time during this session.  A work around will be (maybe) to be sure and record the session so it can be processed later.  Also, save images as they are stacking.
  • To get best image, turn on the Fine Histogram option near the bottom left menu - select black, orange, white.
  • Take care when slewing between objects.  If there is concern telescope might run into mount, manually slew scope to approximate location and then use goto.
  • One BIG thing I think I did find out is that the presence of wispy (high-level) clouds will add a grey / white background to stacked images - this makes sense.
All-in-all, I'm haveing a BLAST viewing "stuff" from home like this.  Things just don't pop out or can't be viewed without stacking.  It's SO enjoyable watching images "come alive".  It's also "fun" playing around with the histogram while gathering those cute little photons =)

NGC 7662 Blue Snowball Nebula
 NGC 6888 Crescent Nebula
  NGC 6888 Crescent Nebula
 M16 (again) Eagle Nebula
 M19 Globular Cluster
 M27 (again) Dumbbell Nebula
 M31 Andromeda Galaxy (first stab =)
 M57 Ring Nebula

 M81 Galaxy (very low when imaged)
 M82; Cigar Galaxy (very low when imaged)
 NGC 457; E.T. Cluster in Cassiopeia
 NGC 6995 Part of the Veil Nebula in Cygnus

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I've lived in southeastern Iowa all of my life, now with my wonderful family ~ husband and 3 children. 

I've been teaching science now at the local community college for over 10 year now.  I teach both in the class room and online settings.  I have a passion for ALL PHYSICAL SCIENCE! 

Sometimes I both drift off to sleep and wake up thinking of science.  Science ROCKS ~ but even more so the Creator whose imagination thought up this wonderful universe we call home ROCKS EVEN MORE!  lol