2015-10-10, first winter session

The first indication of winter; a strong easterly wind bringing clear skies. Mark-Jaap and myself headed for the observatory for some astrophotography. First object was comet C/2014 S2 (PanSTARRS) very close the Polaris. Piggybacked my William Optics Star 71 on the observatories’ AP 1100GTO for some unguided 1 minute shots. Next tried to locate comets Lovejoy and Jacques, but these seem to have gone out of reach for my setup. Ended the session with a couple of 2 minute shots of NGC7000, the North America nebula.

M31, Andromeda nebula

Finally started processing some of the photos shot during my last summer holiday (2013) at the Tivoli Southern Sky guest farm. Just for fun I made a quick stack of M31. Although M31 was only at 15 degrees altitude, this stack of 5 x 3 min. at ISO1250 shows some real potential.


Canon EOS 5Dii, FSQ106 (f=530mm), 5x3m, ISO1250, Fornax 51 mount.
Stacking and digital development was done in ImagesPlus,
gradient removal with Fitswork4 and finishing touches with PaintShopPro.


Comet C/2012 K5 (LINEAR), 2013-01-12.

After months of mild and wet weather the temperature dropped below zero and the skies cleared. Koen and I wanted to check the modifications we made to our equipment so we headed for Public Observatory Bussloo. I made an adapter plate in order for the Vixen Polarie travel mount to be mounted on an AstroTrac wedge. The Manfrotto geared head 410 that I was using before, shows a considerable amount of flexture making precise polar alignment difficult. Bolted 2 pieces of aluminium together and mounted it on the Astrotrac wedge. Less flexture now, but still room for improvement. Comet C/2012 K5 (LINEAR) was shot with a Canon EOS60D, EF 135mm/2L @ 2.8, ISO1250, stack of 6 x 1min. Guided with the Vixen Polarie. Comet C/2012 K5 (LINEAR), 20130112, 2124UT, Canon EOS 60D, EF135 @F2.8, ISO1250, 6x1min. Vixen Polarie travel mount.

M45 was used for the first test sequence. Same equipment as above; stack of 22x1min.



Supernova 2011fe in M101.

Despite horrible conditions (hazy sky and severe light pollution), I had a go at supernova 2011fe in M101. The telescope used was a WO 123mm F/6 that I got on loan from my telescope dealer. Due to the ever increasing light pollution in downtown Almere, I had to limit the exposure times to 20 seconds. The image is a stack of 20 x 20 sec. at ISO1600 with a Canon 40D. A Televue TRF-2008 reduced the focal lenght to 590mm. 2011-09-19, 22UT.

Tivoli, Namibia, night 2.

During the day the sky quality was not very good; hazy with lots of dust. However, during dinner (Springbok with red cabbage and rice) the very strong wind made it disappear completely. Temperature dropped to just below 0°C. Spent some time with Michael and Hubert observing with the 50cm dobson. Omega Centauri, galaxy Centaurus A, 47 Tucanae, Tarantula nebula: indescribable! New personal record in  SQM value: 21,86. Also the first time I saw the Cirrus nebula in Cygnus with my 8.5 x 42 binoculars.

Photography was a bit of a challenge with these strong winds (Bft 5), but nevertheless managed to capture a fairly decent image of the Scorpius-Ophiuchus region. Canon EOS 1000D (modded) and Canon EF 35mm/1.4L at F/2.8, 14×5 min. at ISO800 on AstroTrac mount.

Scorpius - Ophiuchus complex