Saturday, July 19, 2014

Sun Halo - July 19, 2014

After I had lunch, I saw a very cloudy sky with a faint sun glow trying to penetrate the thick clouds. I then look up to the sky and saw a nice sun halo almost overhead! I quickly try to find an open sky for me to image it even with my Samsung Galaxy S4 camera as I didn't brought with me my Canon DSLR as well as Canon UWA lens :( Unfortunately, I was still able to get some building obstruction despite my best effort to look for an open sky. Anyway, better than nothing.... :)

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Lunar Imaging Session - July 12, 2014 Super Moon (Perigee Moon)

The sky tonight was a bit cloudy in the early evening so I had to wait past 9pm already before I left my setup running and brought my new small Shitzhu named Crunch and Japanese Spitz named Bolt to the veterinary clinic for their deworming procedure. As we left the clinic, I saw the tonight's SuperMoon (Perigee Moon) shining brightly with no clouds. So I hurriedly went back home but unfortunately, The Moon has already pass by observing window so I just brought out my Canon Canon EOS 500D DSLR on EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 IS L lens set at 400mm f/11 on sturdy tripod to image the Full Moon at my laundry area. Tonight's SuperMoon is one of the 3 SuperMoons that will be visible this year. Tonight's Supermoon will be 222,611 miles away from Earth – that's about 30,000 miles closer than at its farthest distance in 2014. The moon will be at its closest this year on Aug. 10, when it will be 221,748 miles from Earth. Another Supermoon will follow thereafter again on September 9, 2014. A supermoon, also known as a perigee moon, happens when a moon turns full at about the same time it reaches perigee, or its closest point to Earth during its orbit. I also use a n older Full Moon taken last April 15, 2014 to make a comparison size against tonight's Supermoon and it is easily noticeably bigger :)

Friday, July 11, 2014

Lunar Imaging Session - July 11, 2014

The sky tonight is clear so I use this opportunity to test out the William Optics Megrez 90FD refractor as well as the Feather Touch 10:1 dual speed focuser on the Meade 8" f/10 SCT. Seeing is bad so I wasn't able to crank up the magnification. I tested the Megrez 90FD, a 90mm f/ 6.2 doublet ED refractor coupled with a generic field flattener and Canon EOS 500D DSLR to test on the Waxing Gibbous Moon at prime focus. Afterwards, I switch OTA and tested the Meade 8" f/10 with the Feather Touch 10:1 dual speed focuser to see if I can achieved before focusing then the original SCT focuser which is very bad with lots of backlash. I initially tested with a Canon EOS 500D DSLR at prime focus and needed 2 frames to capture the entire Moon so I mosaic the 2 images of the Moon. Afterwards, I use the ZWO ASI120MM webcam at prime focus of Meade 8" f/10 SCT and tried out the Vallis Bouvard region. I can say is I'm happy with the results despite the poor seeing and hope to do further testing in the days to come. Below is an image of the Waxing Gibbous Moon take at prime focus of William Optics Megrez 90FD refractor.
Here are the images taken using the Meade 8 f/10 SCT.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Deep Sky Imaging Session - June 29, 2014

I, together with some members of the Astronomical League of the Philippines headed out to Caliraya, Laguna again for a deep sky imaging session. Although the weather prediction is not that good. We proceeded as planned and were rewarded with one of the clearest imaging session that I had encountered. Absolutely no clouds!!! I brought along my CCD imaging gear which includes ATIK 16HR ccd camera on Canon EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 IS L lens mounted on top of Vixen GP-DX mount. Well, Murphy's Law is once again there to tryu to ruin my night as I had to struggle figuring out why my autoguider is failing me and cant locate star. It took me more than an hour to figure out the culprit and it was my blunder not checking that my guider had a very very out of focus star and was trying to lock on noise which I thought were faint stars in the field! :) LOL Silly old me :) LOL Nevertheless, I got my tempo back and started to image NGC7000 North American Nebula and IC5070 Pelican Nebula in Cygnus. To capture both of them at the same time, I had to use my Canon lens set at 100mm f/4.5 to frame both nicely. Unfortunately, with the guidestar blunder, I lose more than 1.5 hours of time thus I was only able to do a RGB set of 1.5 hours only as my mount had reached meridian flip mount reversal mode :( Oh well, I will try to get the luminance and Ha channel in my next imaging session . With less than 1 hour left before dawn, I quickly catch up with a short exposure of M31 Andromeda Galaxy in Andromeda to finish my imaging session. I also ended up imaging a very long crepuscular rays before sunrise :) It was a tiring but fruitful session despite Murphy's gremlins haunting me during the early evening :) Group shot taken by Jeremy Arabes.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Lunar Imaging Session - June 15, 2014

After several days of cloudy and bad weather, I was finally able to test out the William Optics Megrez 90FD f/6.2 refractor at prime focus on the Waning Gibbous Moon. Seeing is not that good as expected and very hazy as well. Nevertheless, I'm glad to be able to get first light on it despite the poor condition. Hope to be able to do some more testing at high resolution in the days to come when seeing condition is better.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Deep Sky Imaging Session - May 31, 2014

Last May 31, I was with some of my fellow members of Astronomical League of the Philippines (ALP) to do some observing and imaging under the dark skies of Caliraya, Laguna. The sky was mostly clear except for some light drizzle which last only for a few minutes or longest of about 10 minutes. I was planning to autoguide my Kenko Sky Memo sky tracker but unfortunately, the plate that I fabricated was slipping from the tangent arm because of balance issues so I had to forgo it and instead try to image NGC6334 Cat's Paw and NGC6357 Lobster Nebula in Scorpius using Canon EOS 1000D (M) DSLR with Canon EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 IS L lens set at 300mm f/5.6 . Total exposure of 1 hour at ISO 800. I had a hard time composing the 2 nebula together just looking through the camera viewfinder only as since the plate was slipping, I wasn't able to install a finderscope to help me compose the the duo :( Nevertheless, I was able to finally compose it correctly and despite the frustrations I encountered earlier in the evening. I hope to be able to do some more deep sky imaging in future sessions......

Friday, May 16, 2014

Lunar Imaging Session - May 16, 2014

I was able to get some free time to test my new filter drawer for my ATIK 16HR CCD camera on Canon EF 100-400mm lens to see if I can reach focus with it. Standard filter wheel is too thick to get enough focus distance. With everything installed. I got to test out on the Waning Gibbous Moon and was able to reach focus and capture it. Now I have confidence to use it in our upcoming deep sky imaging session at the end of the month.