Wednesday, October 29, 2014

M81 / M82 / NGC3077 Trial Image Processing

I had nothing to do this evening and thus wanted to practice my deep sky image processing. I got to download free deep sky image data provided by AstroBert of AstroBin and try to practice LRGB processing of his free data. The LRGB data are still the property of AstroBert of AstroBin and are not mine so my only contribution on this image is to try processing it to practice my skills. With the onslaught of cloudy skies and bad weather, this gave me some time to practice image processing on the sideline while waiting for clear skies in the days to come. :)

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Solar Imaging Session - October 26, 2014

The sky this morning is very cloudy. But I proceeded to setup to try to image AR2192 Sunspot Group at around 10:00am. Clouds continue to pour in and getting darker and darker and I had already decided to pack up because of unending dark clouds. As midway from my pack up time. Suddenly surprised to see clouds opening up from nowhere and I had to scramble all the equipment back asap for me to get a shot of AR2192 Sunspot Group both in white light and Ha wavelength. But seeing condition worsens after less than 30 minutes and later got clouded out and rained. As I was imaging, I got a sad message from my friend Francia Avila that our ALP honorary director Father Victor L. Badillo, SJ had passed away this morning at the age of 84 :( I had to paused a while for a minute of silence to pray for him as he is one of my mentors during my early stage of astronomy. Philippines loses another great man in the field of astronomy. He is also our wedding priest when I got married with my wife Charito back in 2000.

ALP Honorary Director Father Victor L. Badillo SJ (1930-2014)

ALP Honorary Director Father Victor L. Badillo , S.J. passed away this morning , October 26, 2014 at the age of 84. He is one of the foremost icon in Philippine Astronomy and his works is recognized worldwide particularly IAU by designating Asteroid 4866 as 4866 Badillo. According to the International Astronomical Union (IAU), minor planet No. 4866 measuring some 13 to 30 kilometers across is now officially known as "Badillo," in honor of the Filipino priest who popularized astronomy in the Philippines. He was born in January 23, 1930. Philippines once again loses an icon in the field of Astronomy. Father Victor L. Badillo, is also the Chairman Emeritus of the Philippine Astronomical Society. Related articles: Father Victor Badillo, S.J. : A Giant Among Men by M Aleah Taboclaon ( Asteroid 1988 VB3 named Asteroid 4866 BADILLO by Edwin L. Aguirre and Imelda B. Joson

Friday, October 24, 2014

Solar Imaging Session - October 25, 2014

The sky this morning is partly cloudy but I was able to image the Sun both in white light and Ha wavelength. Seeing condition is good but I have to contend myself to wait patiently and image through cloud openings. AR2192 Sunspot Group is still huge in size and I almost fill the full image frame of my close up shot of AR2192 Sunspot Group in white light. I was also able to snap a few full disk white light image of the Sun as well. In Ha wavelength, AR2192 Sunspot Group still shows lots of solar activity inside its core. The huge , long dark filament continue to stretch in length as it cross the central meridian of the Sun. Lots of other small sunspot group are emerging from the eastern limb but has minimal solar activity for now. Small to moderate prominences can also be seen around the solar limb.

Solar Imaging Session - October 24, 2014

After a failed attempt yesterday to observe and image the Sun together with fellow ALPer John Nassr. We were able finally to get some good clear sky in the early morning to do some solar imaging session together! Seeing condition was pretty steady and good. AR2192 is still impressive after I miss imaging it last 3 days. For this session , we use John's AP127 refractor with Baader Herschel Wedge and TV 2.5x Powermate on DragonFly 2 webcam to image the giant group in white light wavelength. We then shifted to Ha imaging afterwards to image the same group as well as a huge long dark filament and 2 more nice sunspot groups AR2195 and 2194 with nice group of eruptive prominences! Ha imaging was done with AP127 refractor with DragonFly 2 webcam on Coronado SM60 and BF30 filter. It was a very nice solar imaging collaboration between me and John as we also both exchange solar imaging ideas and techniques after the imaging session. John and his wife Mae also invited me to Pizza Volante to have a hearty breakfast as well as more astro chat :) We hope to do more astro imaging collaboration in the months to come!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Solar Imaging Session - October 20, 2014 (Very Active Sun!)

The sky this morning is a bit erratic once again with lots of clouds passing by the Sun. I quickly setup and waited for a while before I was able to capture 2 video clips of giant AR12192 Sunspot Group before I got clouded out again! But seeing there are several clouds openings moving toward where the Sun is located, I waited a while before I could snap full disk image of the Sun in white light. After full disk shot, I thought the sky won't let me do Ha wavelength anymore as Ha imaging needs better sky as well as more stable seeing conditions. Since I was eager to get the most images I could before I go to my week long provincial work trip, I waited for another hour or so before I could see another small cloud clearing approaching the Sun again! I'm glad that I did so because I was stunned to see numerous solar activities in Ha wavelength! Aside from the remnants of the X-flare the other day, another beautiful feature on the Sun was a very beautiful Huge Fila-Prom in the NE limb! Wow! According to, "the AT12192 sunspot yesterday produced a long-duration X1-flare and a strong HF radio blackout over Asia and Australia. The next X-flare, if one occurs, will be even more geoeffective as the sunspot turns toward Earth." The double stacked combination of my Coronado PST-Ha coupled with my friend's SolarMax 40 front filter with T-Max tuner shows a 3-D effect of the Fila-Prom! A Fila-Prom is actually a limb prominence that erupts toward the Sun's surface instead of the usual prominence that ejects out of the Sun disk. Numerous dark filaments are also visible on the Sun's surface and I'm glad that I waited with patience for today's solar imaging session :) See you again this weekend!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Solar Imaging Session - October 19, 2014 (Huge AR12192 Sunspot Group!)

The sky this morning is very erratic! Seeing condition can vary from fair to worst in just a few seconds!!! It was a very frustrating imaging session as I not only had to fight with bad seeing condition but also fast moving clouds that tends to test one's patience trying to wait for a good opportunity to capture even a short video clip! There was even a frustrating moment when I gave up the session already after getting a good focus, then clouds rolled in totally. After waiting for a hour, I disassemble my entire setup and brought inside the house then the clouds, suddenly cleared up! Damn! I setup again fro scratch and when I'm done already, its clouded out again! I was only able to get a short clip of a few seconds before I got clouded out again and add insult to injury, our obstruction from our roof adds in into my frustration!!! I thought of calling it a day for this session but clouds is trying their best to taunt me all morning long, it even open a semi large clear sky part near the Sun for me to have another try on the Sun again but I had to move the entire setup to the other corner of our laundry area for me to get some more clearance to image the Sun! I was able to get another clip of the Sun again then got clouded out totally. Sigh! As I was thinking how can I can get a decent image out of these 2 frustrating video clip I made all morning long till 1pm in the afternoon? Guess what? I think I have a decent shot of the AR12192 Sunspot Group after all and it came from the less 10 second shot I made from my first attempt this morning! The rest are too rubbish and frustrating that I delete them off asap to lessen my frustration. From that short clip, I think I got a 2/5 seeing condition image that shows nice faculae as well as nice penumbral structure of the sunspot group. It's the only image I got from a 9:45am-1:00pm session ! :) LOL Better than nothing at all :0

Friday, October 10, 2014

Solar Imaging Session - October 10, 2014

The sky this afternoon is very hazy and seeing condition is even worst!!! I try to view the Sun in Ha with the Double Stacked Coronado PST-Ha and the visual view was really dim! Nevertheless, I still proceeded to try imaging it. As expected it was very difficult to image and all my exposure settings has gone crazy that I'm using a 120fps camera at 10fps in 640x480 mode! That was how bad the haze is under my imaging session. But I still force myself to capture a few images to share, There is a huge faint eruptive prominence near the SE limb near AR12186 Sunspot Group as well as a huge long dark filament near the center of the Sun. Departing AR12182 Sunspot Group is a bit quiet as it near the SW limb. Overall, the session is a learning experience again for me to dealing with double stacked Ha scopes that it is more challenging and demanding that you have a good clear sky to get good results :)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Total Lunar Eclipse Imaging Session - October 8, 2014

The forecasted weather was not very good but ALP President James Kevin Ty and member Alberto Lao proceeded to setup at Albert's residence roof deck which is about 26th floor high. They were joined by GMA7 reporter Katrina Kaye Son and her video crew that evening. James set up his Canon EOS 500D DSLR with Canon EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 IS L lens set at 400mm f/5.6 mounted on top of Vixen Polarie star tracker. Albert on the other hand setup his Sony Nex 6 with AF500mm f/8 mirror lens mounted on Ioptron Star Tracker.The Moon was not visible until around 6:15pm as it faintly show its dim eclipse glow behind a hazy sky background. During that time, the Moon had already entered totality phase. The sky was clear all the way until end of umbra wherein clouds started to cover up the sky again. During totality phase, I was able to locate planet Uranus as well as 2 moderate bright stars WW Piscium and SAO 109563. Overall, the group coverage of the total lunar eclipse was still successful. As they say, despite against all odds, sometimes MIRACLE do happen as they were blessed with good sky under a very bad predicted weather outlook that evening :)

Monday, October 6, 2014

Solar Imaging Session - October 6, 2014 (Testing Double Stacked PST-Ha)

The sky this morning is partly clear but seeing condition is poor. I was able to borrow a Coronado SM40 from my good friend and ALP VP Jett Aguilar to connect it to my Coronado PST-Ha. This is mostly referred to as Double Stacked Coronado PST-Ha. Installing the SM40 in front of the Coronado PST-Ha narrows down the Ha bandwidth from the standard 1 Angstrom to around 0.5 Angstrom which should extract more contrast on surface details such as dark filaments and flares. Drawback is considerable dimming of the image. My initial testing this morning draws a conclusion that it indeed improve my Ha wavelength imaging in terms of enhanced surface details! The western huge hedgerow prominence is still visible this morning while the other large prominences visible yesterday has reduced in size a bit. With the double stacked setup, dark filaments are very contrasty as well as the flares specially on AR12178, 12177 and 12181 Sunspot Groups. I hope to be able to do further testing next weekend. I was also able to do some white light imaging as well but due to bad seeing conditions, images are nevertheless still ok.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Solar Imaging Session - October 5, 2014

The sky around lunchtime is partly clear with some passing clouds. Seeing condition though is very good. There is a huge hedgerow prominence visible in the western limb that is a joy to look at. 2 more large prominences are also visible in the NW and S limb. Several sunspot groups are visible but most interesting are AR12182 and 12178 Sunspot Groups which shows good solar activity inside its core. As I was trying to image the Sun in Ha wavelength in wide shot, clouds started to cover the sky thus I wasn't able to image in white light wavelength :(