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Swansea Astronomical Society Blog

Friday, July 23, 2021

 

Jupiter and moons

Jupiter imaged on the morning of 22nd July 2021 through a Meade ETX125 using a ZWO ASI 462MC colour CMOS camera. I exposed the planetary disc at 37 Milliseconds and the Galilean moons at 131 Milliseconds. Both image sets comprised 700 frames captured with AstroDMx Capture with 90% of the frames stacked in Autostakkert!3 and post processed in the Gimp. Photoshop was then used to combine both of the stacked and processed images to give a representative view of the planetary system at the time of observation.

Click on the image to get  a closer view


Chris Bowden


Thursday, July 22, 2021

 

Imaging the Sun in Ca K-line light with a CaK PST and a DMK 31AU03.AS monochrome CCD camera and AstroDMx Capture for Linux

The DMK 31AU03.AS monochrome CCD camera has a blue body and when doing solar imaging it absorbs heat from the Sun and becomes hot. To protect the camera from excessive heat it was wrapped in aluminium foil to act as a reflector.



This had the desired effect, and the camera ran much cooler than on previous occasions.

The DMK 31 AU03 camera was placed at the focus of the CaK PST which was mounted on a Celestron AVX mount.

AstroDMx Capture for Linux was used to capture two 1000-frame SER files of overlapping regions of the Sun. The SER files were stacked in Registax 5.1 and the resulting images were stitched into a mosaic with Microsoft ICE. The resulting image was post-processed in the Gimp 2.10.

Click on an image to get a closer view

Screenshot of AstroDMx Capture collecting a SER file


Final image of the Sun in Ca K-line light 393.4 nm

There are 6 numbered active regions visible in this image and they are divided into two bands, one in the north and the other in the South. From left to right at the top half of the image are active regions AR2846, AR2848, AR2842. In the bottom half of the image are active regions AR2849, AR2847 and AR2845.
These regions are associated with pale areas of high magnetic flux.

Steve Wainwright 

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

 

Using Optalong L-eNhance narrowband filter with an SV305M Pro monochrome camera and AstroDMx Capture

A Bresser Messier AR 102xs f/4.5 ED refractor was mounted on an HEQ5 GOTO mount. An SVBONY SV305M Pro was fitted with an Optalong L-eNhance narrowband filter. This filter has two bandpass zones with high transmission. The bandpass at the longer wavelengths in the red, includes H-alpha but not SII. The other bandpass includes the peaks of H-beta and OIII.

The spectral lines of sodium and mercury, two major components of artificial light glow, comprising light pollution, are filtered out. This filter passes about 95% of the light from H-alpha, H-beta and OIII nebulosity, cutting out the rest of the visible spectrum that could lighten the background of an image.

These experiments were to capture monochrome images in the wavelengths of H-alpha, H-beta and OIII all at once, using an SVBONY SB305M Pro monochrome camera.

AstroDMx Capture for Windows was used to capture 60 x 60s exposures with matching dark-frames and 50 x bias frames. 

Two subjects were chosen:

The Bubble Nebula NGC 7635 in Cassiopeia.

The Dumbbell nebula M27

The images were stacked in Affinity Photo and also DSS. The resulting images were post-processed in Affinity Photo, the Gimp 2.10, Fitswork and Neat Image.

The Bubble Nebula

The Dumbbell Nebula

The filter revealed lots of nebulosity after processing, that is often overlooked and demonstrated the potential for using the L-eNhance filter for obtaining luminance data in narrowband imaging.

Future experiments will involve using the L-eNhance for its intended purpose, to produce a narrowband image with a One Shot Colour (OSC) camera.

Steve Wainwright and Nicola Mackin


Monday, July 19, 2021

 

Milky Way and Bioluminescence at Rhosilli Bay and Worm's Head.

Rhossili Bay with the Milky Way and bioluminescence in the sea; taken last night with my mobile phone. Settings were 30s and 3200 ISO.

Click on an image to get a closer view.



Chris Playle


Sunday, July 18, 2021

 

Milky-way over Cefn Bryn with a mobile phone camera

Milky-way over Cefn Bryn last night with my mobile phone. Settings were 25s and 1600 ISO.


Chris Playle


Saturday, July 17, 2021

 

Had a go at capturing the Lunar "X" last night with some success. I started imaging at 22:50 and ended just before midnight. I was able to see the "X" develop as the time went on, but the Moon was very low in the sky when the "X" was at its best. I did mange to view the moon visually as it set into the sea through my scope at 00:34 which was amazing as the last sliver of orange moon disappeared into the sea. I took some wide field images too, as it looked splendid as it set over the estuary at high tide and it even attracted some revellers who entered the sea captivated by its beauty. I caught the ISS rising and passing by Arcturus too.




Chris Bowden

Thursday, July 15, 2021

 

Mary McIntyre FRAS Zoom lecture to the Swansea Astronomical Society: 'A History of Women in Astronomy'.

Mary McIntyre FRAS gave a Zoom lecture to the Swansea Astronomical Society on 'A History of Women in Astronomy'. The lecture was meticulously researched and brilliantly presented. Those of us who thought that we knew quite a lot about the subject found that we learner far more than we knew.

Mary presented the lecture from the point of view of equality of opportunity for the sexes in the history of astronomy and science, spanning time from ancient Mesopotamia to the present, and she beautifully demonstrated that even in today's so-called enlightened world, we have still got a long way to go.

The lecture was both very interesting and very informative and I look forward to hearing Mary speak to us on one of her many other astronomical topics in the future. 

Thank you very much Mary McIntyre FRAS!











After Mary's main lecture



SJW

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

 

Imaging M13 with a motor-focus modified Skymax 127 and AstroDMx Capture, with an SV305M Pro camera

A Skymax 127 Maksutov that had been modified with a slow motion motor focuser was mounted on a Celestron AVX mount. A 50mm, F=190mm guide-scope was attached with a monochrome QHY 5-II camera as the guide camera.

An SVBONY SV305M Pro monochrome CMOS camera was fitted with a 0.5 focal reducer, and placed at the focus of the Maksutov.

Click on an image to get a closer view

The equipment used


The telescope was pulse auto-guided using PHD2 running on a Fedora Linux laptop.

Screenshot of the auto-guiding screen



The SV305M Pro is a very sensitive 12 bit camera, which enabled relatively short exposures to be used.

100 x 10s FITS exposures of M13 were captured with AstroDMx Capture for Windows. 25 matching dark-frames were captured along with 200 Bias frames.

Screenshot of AstroDMx Capture for Windows capturing data on M13

The images were calibrated, registered and stacked in Affinity photo and the final image was post processed in the Gimp and Affinity Photo.

The final image of M13

The motor-focusing of the Maksutov enabled focusing without shaking the scope, and facilitates the finding of the best focus point, which, with this telescope, is easy to go through focus. The focal reducer brought the focal length of the system down to 750mm, enabling M13 to more or less fill the sensor.

Steve Wainwright and Nicola Mackin


 

Imaging the Moon with a Chromebook and AstroDMx Capture for Chrome OS Linux

A Skymax 127 was modified for motor focusing so that focus could be adjusted without shaking the scope. A Skywatcher motor focuser was used with a belt and wheels normally found on a 3D printer. The device was held in place with Sugru, mouldable glue that required several days to cure thoroughly.


An SVBONY SV305M Pro CMOS camera was placed at the focus and SER files were captured of different parts of the Moon. The camera was oriented so that the maximum amount of the lunar image fell on the sensor.

Click on an image to get a closer view

Screenshot of AstroDMx Capture for Chrome OS capturing lunar data

The final image


All of the software necessary for capturing, stacking and processing the data are also installed as Linux applications, making the Chromebook a self-contained imaging system.

Steve Wainwright and Nicola Mackin



 


 

The milky way with a mobile phone camera

Milky-Way and a shooting star taken at Broadpool Cefn Bryn, Gower, with my Huawei P30 Lite mobile phone. Settings were 30s and 3200 ISO. 



Chris Playle



Wednesday, July 7, 2021

 

Russian Tux: Astronomical imaging with a Chromebook and AstroDMx Capture

Tux:

'Tux' is the name given to the familiar penguin that is the Logo of the Linux kernel and operating system. The fat penguin was adopted by Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, because it was not typical of a corporate logo. There are apocryphal stories about Torvalds having been bitten by a penguin, but it seems that is just what they are. The fat penguin is an open source logo that can be used and modified by anyone who has a Linux related product to promote.

We have discovered that it is possible to use just three astronomical cameras to capture images via AstroDMx Capture running on a Chromebook, using a system called Crostini, a system that I have likened to a Linux Russian doll, that I have dubbed ‘Russian Tux’.

Russian Tux


How it is possible to do astronomical imaging with a Chromebook is explained HERE.

Nicola has produced a version of AstroDMx Capture for Chrome OS Linux. It has a dark theme and has now been released here: https://www.astrodmx-capture.org.uk/


The only astronomy cameras that we have discovered can be used for imaging with AstroDMx Capture for Chrome OS Linux are the SVBONY SV305, SV305 Pro and SV305M Pro, which are low cost, high quality cameras.

Steve Wainwright and Nicola Mackin



Thursday, July 1, 2021

 

Scorpius over Broad Pool, Gower with a mobile phone camera

Scorpius over Broad Pool Gower. The phone camera settings were settings were 30s, and ISO1600.


Chris Playle


Wednesday, June 30, 2021

 

The Sun in Ca K-line light at 393.4 nm

The Sun in Ca K-line light today. Captured with with AstroDMx Capture, a CaK PST and a DMK 31AU03.AS monochrome CCD camera.

Two overlapping areas of the Sun were imaged by capturing 500 frame SER files. I was imaging in infrequent gaps in the clouds, other wise ten times the number of frames would have been captured.

The mono SER files were stacked and wavelet processed in Registax 6. The resulting 2 panes were stitched in Microsoft ICE and post-processed in the Gimp 2.10 and Affinity Photo.

Click on the image to get a closer view

Solar disk in Ca K-line light 393.4 nm

AR 2835, AR2836 and AR2837 are clearly visible along with bright areas of high magnetic flux in the chromospheric network.

Steve Wainwright and Nicola Mackin


Sunday, June 27, 2021

 

Astronomical Imaging with a Chromebook... at last

Nicola has made an implementation of AstroDMx Capture for Linux that will run properly in a Chromebook in the Linux virtual machine. This is the first time that it has been possible to do serious astronomical imaging with a Chromebook.


The downside is that at the moment, the only astronomy cameras that will work in Chrome OS are the SVBONY SV305 series of cameras. The reason for this is probably due to the USB implementation in the camera. USB cameras are generally not supported by the Chrome OS Linux, although USB device support is being improved. The SV305 series of low cost astronomy cameras just happens to be a match for the USB pass through implementation in Chrome OS, so the camera can be controlled and functions normally with AstroDMx Capture for Linux (Chrome OS version).

We obtained first light with an SVBONY SV305 camera, a refractor and AstroDMx Capture for LInux (Chrome OS version) last night by imaging M13.

The whole process, from capture to stacking, to post-processing was done entirely in software that can be installed in the Chrome OS Linux virtual machine, Crostini.

Google have integrated Crostini into Chrome OS as they have also integrated Android apps. This means that software that is installed in the Chrome OS virtual machine is available to launch in the normal way and can even be pinned to the taskbar, or the ‘shelf’ as it is known in Chrome OS, as can Android apps.

Screenshot of the shelf in our Chromebook


Click on the image of the shelf to make it larger and you will see two Linux applications there: AstroDMx Capture and the Gimp, you will also see the Android app, Stellarium.

Screenshot of AstroDMx Capture for Linux (Chrome OS version) capturing data on the globular cluster M13


For full details of the experiment click HERE where you will also see all of the images.

This is the first time that it has been possible to do astronomical imaging with a Chromebook, albeit with a very limited number of astronomical cameras. We expect things to improve in the future, and there are other things to try...

Steve Wainwright and Nicola Mackin



Thursday, June 17, 2021

 

Zoom Meeting with Bob Mizon

Bob Mizon gave a fascination talk on his many 'Hours with the night sky'. He discussed various aspects of the night sky as well as some times when the sky goes dark. The talk was followed by discussion and then notices and recent images by SAS members.























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