Archive for October 2009

New camera, old problems

southernSouthern highlands.


Set up etx-125 alt-az alignment.  Tried three times, each time, got an alignment, and the autostar quit.  Finally got out the hand-paddle controller, and let the moon drift across field of view for each exposure,  1280×960 16 bit, eight exposures from a hundred to three hundred frames.  Conditions pretty awful, actually, with a cloudy haze, or a hazy cloud cover.  The only things visible in the sky were airplanes, the Moon, Jupiter, and Vega.  Any more sharpening brings out the waves of cloud drifting across the moon.  I received a C to T/2″ adapter, and connected it to a T to T focal reducer I bought and could not use several years ago.  It has a 1.25 inch eyepiece to T connected to it.  The focal reducer is a big glass lens.  Screwed in the IR filter and grabbed what frames I could.  These two were typical, reduced to 2/3 original size, then WordPress reduces them another fifty percent.


Posted October 26, 2009 by finkh in Uncategorized

My Orionids   Leave a comment

Tuesday Night:  I was testing some ebay-bought binoculars, 7×35 Jason, and 7×50 Nikon.  The Jasons have nine degree view, the Nikons seven degree.  10pm, up on the roof, looking for M31, which was near the zenith.  Once I found it, I could nail it pretty quickly with both binocs; appearance about the same:  a bright fuzzy.  I let my eyes dark-adapt:  lying below the parapet of the roof nearly all direct lights were blocked.

Just soaking in the view of the Great Nebula in Andromeda with two bright stars framing the field of view, a meteor shot right through, about fourth magnitude.

I went up on the roof about 3:30am Wednesday, the supposed peak of the shower, just looking.  Waited.  Twenty minutes and no meteors.

This is the second time I’ve experienced a Manhattan Meteor Shower:  one meteor.  The last time was in January, with the Quadrantids–one bright fireball immediately, and nothing else  for forty-five minutes.

Posted October 21, 2009 by finkh in Uncategorized

Northern Mare Serenitatis   Leave a comment


An almost exact copy of a page from “The Full Moon Atlas” which I took May 30 with an Imaging Source 1.4 megapixel color camera.  This is a 50% reduction of a cropped portion of the image, which by complete coincidence, nicely matches b4 of the atlas.  From the atlas:

The northern shores of Mare Serenitatis (along the lower center section of the photograph), with Lacus Somniorum (right of center) and Lacus Mortis (above center; Crater Bürg is located at its heart).

The large craters Aristoteles (upper left), Eudoxus (left of center) and Posidonius (lower right) are prominent in this region, as is the Montes Caucasus range (lower left). Slightly north of Posidonius’ rim is Posidonius J, which was given the honorary designation Michael Joseph Jackson in July 2009 as a memorial to the legendary entertainer.

The extreme eastern sections of Mare Frigoris (upper left corner) and Mare Imbrium (bottom left corner) are also visible here.

The Full Moon Atlas takes its images from the Consolidated Lunar Atlas:

Posted October 18, 2009 by finkh in Uncategorized

Scorpion: First Light   Leave a comment


I purchased a Point Grey Scorpion, a 12-bit monochrome 1.4 megapixel CCD Firewire camera, new old stock on ebay.  $225 for a 2007 camera, when released it was $1,795.  (The price has since gone up to $275)  A serious astronomy camera, which would benefit from dark frames, flat fields, cooling, none of which was done for this image.  500mm focal length voyager, with 2x barlow for f8.8, no tracking.  Maybe 100 frames or so.  I’m using Astro IIDC software for image capture and processing:  a long learning curve ahead.

This is a 16-bit greyscale image originally 640×480.  Never quite in focus on an 84% illuminated moon, nevertheless I see detail I’ve overlooked before, especially the ridges around Messier and Messier A.

Posted October 17, 2009 by finkh in Uncategorized

High Line October 13, 2009   Leave a comment

Albert Depas took these pictures of High Line observing last Tuesday.


Richard Rosenberg, Howard Fink, and Joe Delfausse.  I’m the one who’s keeping warm.  Joe organized the High Line Observing sessions, and Richard is President of the Amateur Astronomers Association


Around 12th St on the High Line.  About 270 degrees visible, from the Northeast to the Northwest the long way around.  The Standard Hotel blocks the north.

My travelscope setup.  The 4.5″ Bushnell Voyager has a ball mount.  The cradle and telescope fit in the five gallon bucket, and the bucket, inverted fits on the top step of a folding ladder.  The cradle legs are a snug fit on the lip of the bucket.  It is a moderately stable setup.  For Jupiter I use a 26mm eypiece, a 2.8x Klee barlow, and with the 500mm focal length of the telescope, get about fifty power and a one degree field.

Posted October 15, 2009 by finkh in Uncategorized