Mercury Transit May 09, 2016

I know it has been a while since I have posted anything, but I finally got some images stacked and edited from the May 9, 2016 Mercury Transit. I had an issue getting Registax to work properly under Linux through Wine, but I realized that, for whatever reason, Registax 6 didn’t like me using images (tif, CR2, and jpeg all didn’t work) although Registax 5 is perfectly fine with me using RAW files straight from the camera. Now that I got that figured out, here is one of the best shots from the Mercury Transit which contains about 50 of the best 100 images. Also included is my sketch of the event.

May 09, 2016 Mercury Transit

May 09, 2016 Mercury Transit Sketch

NGC 2023 – Horsehead and Flame Nebulae 01-06-16

That was a tough processing challenge working through all that light pollution to reveal the Horsehead and Flame nebulae. This is the best I could produce with my minimal knowledge of Pixinsight, switching between Harry’s Astroshed tutorials and scavenging online for other tips and tricks to editing DSLR images in PixInsight. I’m pretty pleased with this as it is hard to pull out much detail after removing light pollution without adding too much of that blotchy grainy noise in the background.

NGC 2023 – Horsehead and Flame Nebulae 01-06-16

Taken from a light polluted zone (red Bortle scale)
Telescope: Omni XLT 150
Mount: CG-5
Orion Starshoot Autoguider
Guiding in Linux with Lin_Guider
Modded Canon 350D

42 images at 5 minutes a piece. With 30 Flats, 30 Bias, and 40 Dark frames.

Straight out of the camera single image.

Andromeda – M31 September 04, 2015

This image is of the Andromeda galaxy taken on September 04, 2015. This image contains 6 images at 5 minutes a piece, along with 20 flat frames, 20 bias frames, and 20 dark frames. Processing, and post processing were all done in PixInsight.

Andromeda 09-04-15

This is only the second image I have ever processed completely in PixInsight so this is still a learning experience for me. I followed a tutorial on Light Vortex page on the steps to get a fully processed image using masks, and HDR tools.

I know I have been slacking on updating and posting here to my blog and I hope to get out more in the near future to continue imaging and editing the cosmos for you all to enjoy.

Omni XLT 150
CG-5 Advanced Series Go-To
Lin_Guider in Linux for autoguiding
Orion Starshoot Autoguider
Modified Canon 350D
Baader MPCC Mark III Coma Corrector

More good news in the telescope and Linux combination

Not only did I get autoguiding to work under Linux, and not only did I get images to instantly download from my Canon 350D to Linux instantly so that I can preview on something other than the tiny screen, but I just got in my Celestron cable and my rs232-usb cable, and successfully got them to work using Stellarium to select an object and slew. One step closer to a sentient life form automated telescope. Getting closer and closer to having full control over my telescope via computer.

Why is that awesome? I suppose if you have to question it then you don't quite understand the addiction of astronomy and astrophotography. After polar aligning and all-star alignment I can control everything (except focus, and long exposures) via my computer. The long exposures I use an intervalometer so I'm not too worried about having computer control over that… yet, give it time and I'll want that too. Focus is another thing I'm not too worried about having computer control over… again, give it time. 

Really the plus side to it all is that I wanted to have these abilities for astrophotography purposes, and for joining +Global Star Party hangouts to share live views of deep sky images. Everything has tested successfully and I'm ready to participate in bringing galaxies, clusters, and nebulae to the public through the awesomeness that is G+ star parties. Now all I need is the skies to cooperate and rid me of these clouds. Of course the clouds came packaged in the cables I ordered since they are for astronomy purposes. They typically ship a minimum of a weeks worth of clouds for every astronomy related item you purchase.

Brace yourselves winter is coming long exposure deep sky objects are coming to you live in the near future.