Monday, November 19, 2012

Reprocessed Horsehead RGB & HaRGB Images

After getting some rest after a tiring but fruitful Caliraya session, I reprocessed the RGB Image that I took of NGC2024 Flame Nebula and B33 Horsehead Nebula a. Image is made with 3 hours RGB and 4 hours HaRGB composites using a Canon EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 IS L lens set at 300mm f/5.6 using ATIK 16HR CCD camera. Ambient Temp during Imaging = 23 deg C 90% humidity (CCD temp = -2 deg C ) The final reprocessed image can be found below:
Previous Initial Process is below:

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Deep Sky Imaging Session - November 17-18, 2012

I went with some members of the Astronomical League of the Philippines to Caliraya to observe and image the heavenly bodies under dark sky. I brought along a semi portable imaging setup which includes the trusty Canon EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L Lens with ATIK 16HR ccd camera mounted on Vixen GP-DX mount. When I arrived at the site at around 7:00pm, the sky was very clear! I hurriedly setup before having dinner as I want to have my setup already polar aligned so that I can start early. I saw constellation Orion already rising from the eastern horizon so I prepared my imaging setup to image the NGC 2024 Flame Nebula and B33 Horsehead Nebula altogether so I calculated that I need 300mm to get a good composition of the DSO I wanted to image that evening. Aside from the imaging setup mentioned, I also brought along an autoguider system with a LX mode webcam mounted on an Orion Mini50mm guider and connected to the Starbook-S via the Shoestring Astronomy's GPUSB interface. Unfortunately, my autoguider doesn't seem to function properly as I cant command the PHD guiding software to calibrate :( Maybe somewhere the numerous steps that I might have missed to get the connection right :( Anyway, It's my first time to do autoguiding so I was expecting to confront some problem during the learning curve :) I image the Flame Nebula as well as Horsehead Nebula with a 12 x 5 minutes subexposures per channel totalling around 4 hours. This is the first time that I needed to exposed that long in order to get one object. Overall, I'm still happy to get some first nebula through the CCD camera :) Practice makes perfect I guess :)
RGB Image of NGC 2024 Flame Nebula & B33 Horsehead Nebula
HaRGB Image of NGC 2024 Flame Nebula & B33 Horsehead Nebula
My CCD imaging setup :)
My son KC never fails to join me and ALPers to every Caliraya Imaging Session :)
Image of the Crescent Moon taken by my son by himself using a point and shoot Canon A650 digicam. Following Papa's footstep :)
ALPers posed after a successful stargazing session at Caliraya!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Testing GPUSB Autoguider Interface with Vixen Starbook-S

After testing and getting good result of my ATIK 1HS II webcam long exposure mode with the LX mode parallel to serial adapter and serial to usb adapter, I now tested the Shoestring Astronomy's GPUSB Autoguider Interface connected to my Vixen GP-DX mount's Starbook-S controller's autoguider port which has a standard ST-4 compatible port. Another good thing in my setup is the ATIK-1HS II main power USB port as well as the LX mode Parallel-Serial-USB adapter as well as the Shoestring Astronomy's GPUSB autpguider interface worls well pn the USB hub so that solves my earlier encounter of running out of USB port in my last deep sky imaging session / test at PAGASA observatory last November 11, 2012. I run the GPUSB Check program and tested all the buttons on both RA and Dec if they responded and it works ! :) I then connected everything up to the PHD Autoguiding program and I can control the long exposure mode as well so that should solve the major issues of compatibility and needs realtime test left :)
My Autoguider Complete Setup :)
Shoestring Astronomy's GPUSB Autoguider Interface Connected to Vixen Starbook-S Autoguider Port
Tested the autoguider interface with GPUSB Check Program\

November 28-29, 2012 Penumbral Lunar Eclipse

On November 28, there will be a penumbral lunar eclipse that will be visible in the Philippines as well as most of Asia. Penumbral magnitude will be around 94%. The event will start at around 8:15pm PST (Philippine Standard Time) about 40 degrees high from the eastern horizon wherein the Moon will enter the Earth's penumbral (lighter) shadow and reach maximum penumbral eclipse of around 94% , meaning the Moon will not enter into the umbral (dark) shadow, thus will only display a pale grayish shading on the northern limb of the Moon. During this time, the Moon will be in the constellation of Taurus with the Hyades star cluster and planet Jupiter close by :) The Moon will finally exits the Earth's shadow past midnight at around 12:51am. Click above image for bigger view. Image courtesy of Fred Espenak. Local circumstances prepared by James Kevin Ty of Astronomical League of the Philippines. Members of the Astronomical League of the Philippines will setup public observation as well as documentation of this event at AstroCamp Observatory in SM MOA, Pasay City. TIME (PST) / ALTITUDE / AZIMUTH Moon Enters Penumbra 20:14:59 pm 40 deg 58' / 75 deg 31' E Maximum Penubral Eclipse (94%) 22:34:07 pm 72 deg 13' / 68 deg 16' E Moon Exits Penumbra 00:50:59 am 74 deg 05' /294 deg 07' NW

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Testing ATIK-1HS II Long Exposure Mode

Despite the bad weather tonight, I just opted to test my ATIK-1HS II webcam's long exposure mode of it is working with a fabricated parallel to serial port LX mode adapter so I can connect it to my webcam's parallel port's long exposure connection. With the removal of parallel ports on all new laptops, I had no choice but to have this adapter made. Since I'm not good in electronic diagram to make the customized parallel to serial adapter, I asked a friend of mine Anthony Urbano to help me make the adapter with the diagram design submitted to him to work on the adapter. BTW, the LX (long exposure) mode design and diagram were based from Steve Chamber's long exposure webcam modification and refined by Peter Katreniak's K3CCD page to make the necessary adapter which can be seen at . I then tested the adapter by connecting my ATIK 1HS II webcam long exposure parallel port to the fabricated adapter and then to a generic serial to usb adapter then to a generic USB hub. Then it is connected to my Orion Mini50 Guider and pointed to a building window to test. I run AMCAP software to run the webcam initially at normal mode and dim down the image a bit to see of it will brighten up after i turn on the LX mode switch. Then presto! It works! The dim window was brighten by the slower exposure of course :) I then tested it to the PHD guiding software to see if it will detect the camera and it did :) Now I need to wait for a clear sky to test the setup in real time but for now, I'm satisfied with the results :)
Orion Mini50mm Guider
Parallel to Serial LX Mode Adapter
My Autoguider setup connections
My autoguider setup connection to my Orion Mini50mm Guider
Amcap Test Image under Normal Mode
Amcap Test Image under LX Mode
PHD Test Image under LX Mode

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Deep Sky Imaging Session - November 11, 2012

The sky in the evening was clear and Oliver de Guzman and me decided to proceed to PAGASA observatory in UP-Diliman , QC to do some testing of my CCD well as autoguiding setup in preparation for next weekend's imaging session in Caliraya, Laguna. Although the sky there is not that good to do DSO imaging, my main purpose is to test out the system if I will encounter any ........ I brought along my Vixen GP-DX mount and Canon EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 IS L lens with Atik 16HR ccd camera as well as Atik 1HS II webcam on Orion Mini50 guidescope as autoguider. He also brought along his Kenko Sky Memo-R mount for Oliver to do some deep sky imaging of his own as he only brought along his DSLR with him to Manila. With the session, I was able to found out a lot of things to be addressed for next week session. Some of the problems encounter were 1) the lack of at least one more USB slot for use with the autoguider setup thus he wasn't able to test out his autoguiding :( 2) Temperature was around 22 deg C and 89% humidity and initially I saw ccd condensation again on the glass window but surprisingly, it evaporated after I waited for around 15 minutes. Although some hint of condensation was still visible but it was tolerable for me to at least do one test of the ccd camera on M41 galactic star cluster in Canis Major. 3) I need to replace several allen bolts which I lost the keys for me to lock the lens and Orion 50mm MiniGuide on the Vixen saddle plate thus I was forced to use a vise grip to lock the 2 unit on the plate. After doing LRGB sessions for 5 x 2 mins each on each channel, I was interrupted by clouds after doing my B channel :( I was only able to get 1 sub for the blue but anyway, I was able to still come out with an image worth sharing as my first successful CCD imaging with my Atik 16HR ccd camera. I;m looking forward to getting better results in next week imaging session I hope :)

Solar Imaging Session - November 10, 2012

The sky this morning is clear but seeing is bad. A nice group of sunspots designated AR11611 and AR11612 are a joy to look at in white light and Ha wavelength. AR11610 Sunspot Group is starting to be active as well. Several nice large prominences can also be seen on the Sun's limb.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Solar Imaging Session - November 8, 2012 (Huge SE Hedgerow Prominence & Twisting Dark Filament !!!)

The sky this morning is cloudy again so I have plans to forgo this morning solar imaging session. But at around 8:30am, the Sun started to peeked out from the clouds and I decided to quickly setup once again to check out if the huge ejected prominence in the SW limb is still visible or not. Unfortunately, it is already gone and only a small remnant of the huge prominence can still be seen. But the SE limb has a huge hedgerow prominence as well as the huge twisting dark filament that was visible the since the other day add spice to this morning imaging session. I could also see a new possible AR11609 Sunspot Group that is emerging from the eastern limb.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Solar Imaging Session - November 7, 2012 (Cloudy Sky with Huge Ejected Prominence)

The sky this morning was cloudy and I had a hard time getting a clear shot of the Sun :( But I got a small maybe less than 5 minutes of window for me to get my only shot of the huge ejected prominence I imaged yesterday which is still visible but has tone down a bit but still nice to look at despite passing clouds lowering the resolution of the image a bit. But I'm not complaining :) I hope it is still there tomorrow.......

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Solar Imaging Session - November 6, 2012 (Huge SW Ejected Prominence !!!)

The sky this morning is fair and seeing condition is also good. KC and I observe this morning together through the Coronado PST-Ha and saw a huge Ejected Prominence in the SW limb!!! It was a session as my son is starting to appreciate also the Sun :) Anyway, this huge SW ejected prominence together with the SE Huge Twisting Dark Filament spiced up a rather quiet Sun this morning!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Lunar Imaging Session - November 4, 2012

After I was returning to home from SM Mall of Asia after letting my son KC ride bicycle there, I saw the waning gibbous Moon rising low from the eastern horizon, I decided to image with it my Canon EOS 500D DSLR with EF100-400mm IS L lens on sturdy tripod from the hood of my car along the road. But unfortunately, clouds suddenly covered the Moon as fast as I setup my camera. Feeling bad about it as I missed the Moon so much, I proceeded to return home and after going up to my room, I decided to take another peek at the Moon and finally saw it still low from the horizon but I have a small window of opportunity to image it before I get obstructed by our roof, I fire a few shot and got what I needed with my portable lunar image setup :)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Solar Imaging Session - November 4, 2012

The sky this morning is clear but seeing condition is poor. With AR11598 Sunspot Group going to exit the SW limb, the Sun is becoming quiet again but there are still several small sunspot groups for us to observe and image but they are mostly inconspicous in appearance. But in Ha wavelength, at least several large hedgerow prominences are visible on the SE and SW limb to spiced up the Sun today.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Solar Imaging Session - November 2, 2012 (Huge Prominences Galore !!!)

Once again, I wake up late due to tiredness so I had to frantically jump out of the bed to quickly setup my solar imaging setup asap! Seeing condition is good and not much clouds present. The SW huge eruptive prominence that was visible yesterday is almost gone with small traces of small prominences left out of its original size. The SE eruptive prominence has grown a bit in width and shows a beautiful hedgerow appearance today :) AR11599 Sunspot Group is about to exit the SW limb with AR11598 Sunspot Group trailing not far behind :0 2 new possible sunspot groups which might possibly be designated AR11604 and AR11605 Sunspot Groups can be seen near the NE limb. Also very interesting to monitor are a group of tall projection prominences that are visible near the NW limb. :) I was also able to get a shot of AR11598 Sunspot Group before I got obstructed by our darn roof! Sigh! :( No full disk solar image was taken because of the obstruction issue :(