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Richie's Blog

A work in progress
Written by Richie Jarvis   
Friday, 07 January 2011 19:25


You know that feeling that you are just not happy with something?  Well, I've got that at the moment.  I wanted to put M42 to bed once and for all.  Its a lovely target in our Winter skies, but how many images of M42 does a man need?

This year, I have an excuse though.  The H18 and the Televue Genesis give me a 2" field of view.  That alone is a good excuse to re-visit the area in my book, so I did.  So far this year, I've captured 8 and a half hours worth of data, and thats not including the data I threw away!  My official standpoint is 'its getting there' - Ha and Oiii have been the focus so far.  I have enough data in those bands now, giving a nice and smooth result.  But I don't like the way the Running Man Nebula (to the left of the image) is not showing his true colours.  There should be more blue evident in the image that the Oiii filter just is not picking up.

The plan?  I want to see if I can capture some Blue filter data before the end of the Winter.  With any luck, that will combine well with the Ha and Oiii filter data and finally put this one to bed.  And as for the rest of the Winter skies?  Once this is done, the Vixen will be going back on the EQ6, and its back to capture this years Messier 1 data to see if I can pickup any changes since last year.  I've left it a bit late in the season, but beggars can't be choosers!

Happy New Year and Clear Skies Everyone!


Comet 103P/Hartley
Written by Richie Jarvis   
Wednesday, 06 October 2010 21:58

Tonight saw my first attempt at capturing 103P/Hartley.  It is set to reach Perihelion on the 28th October, and is expected to reach Magnitude 5.  It will have to hurry up if its going to do that though!!

Here is a still image - a combination of 30 images combined - 2 minute sub-exposures each one:

20101006T20:00UT - 18x2minutes

And here is a video showing the movement.  This is 60 x 2 minute images taken and turned into a movie.

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Jupiter with Io Transit
Written by Richie Jarvis   
Friday, 01 October 2010 18:46

I had a little play with the images I captured the other week. These were taken with the Vixen VC200L and Lumenera Skynyx 2-1C with a 3x barlow. It really was an amazing spectacle to look at too, as I had the flip-mirror in action!

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Salisbury Star Party 2010
Written by Richie Jarvis   
Monday, 16 August 2010 19:52

This year saw another wonderful Salisbury Star Party in Sixpenny Handley in Wiltshire.  Wednesday was a great start.  It took about 2 hours to get there from East Sussex, so I was there just before dark.  Many thanks to Iain, Neil and Stephen for putting the tent up whilst I got the imaging kit up and running :)

The first target was Messier 8 - the Lagoon Nebula in Sagittarius.  I was able to spend an hour on this in the end, and am very happy with the results so far. I wish I had more data to be honest, but I think it passed muster!  Its not a target I can shoot from my observatory though, so Salisbury is my best option.

Hard Lessons Learnt
Written by Richie Jarvis   
Thursday, 22 July 2010 01:29

Tonight in the observatory has been a real lesson to me.  When I first setup the observatory, I put a steel pier in, and levelled it thoroughly.  Unfortunately, over the last 2 years, it has shifted, and I have been having increasing problems with accurate tracking.

Once I realised what the problem was, I re-levelled the pier and mount, rebalanced and drift-aligned using the excellent WCS software.  If you haven't used it - give it a try - it just requires a webcam and you can accurately drift align your mount within about 30 minutes.

Anyway, the good news is that it worked.  The bad news is that I experienced a blue-screen of death right afterwards, and it corrupted my EQMOD configuration file.  The behaviour was very strange - EQMOD would reach a particular area of the sky (around my target annoyingly - how did it know??!) in Cygnus, and would then convince itself that it was in the southern hemisphere.  Most strange.  It took around 2 hours to troubleshoot that problem!

I did manage to get a few more Sii subs for my NGC6888 Crescent Nebula - here is the result so far:

Full version and capture details available here

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