9/1/2017 A Good Evening at the River Ridge Observatory

I went up to the RRO Friday evening, arriving just at sunset. Now that it is September, that is about 7:35 rather than 8:28. My goal was to shoot Saturn before it starts getting too low.  By the time I set the 9.25″ SCT (aka Night Ranger) it was dark enough to start looking at Saturn if nothing else.  Saturn is just past the meridian at sunset now so it won’t be long before it will be too low to try to image.

I started with the color 120MC that I have ignored lately and took a couple series of images at prime focus (f/10 2345mm) before switching to the monochrome 120MM with a red filter. Both cameras are 2.4 megapixels but since the color divides that into red, blue, and green the monochrome is higher resolution.  Also, the red filter can help reduce atmospheric shimmers. After a few series at f/10 I decided to get out of my comfort zone and add a 2x barlow and shoot at f/20. This of course meant 4x the exposure and increased chance of shimmers in the image. Nevertheless I think it turned out okay.

The first image is the color at f/10, you can tell cause it is in color.  The other shows a fair amount of detail if I say so myself. Some of the concentric rings in the rings might be processing artifacts but I don’t think the belts in the atmosphere or the polar hexagon are. Those are legitimate.

When I got done with Saturn, the Moon was too bright to work on some Astronomical League observing programs so I decided to shoot the Moon too. I went back to f/10 but kept the red filter.  I just wandered across the surface looking for interesting features.

Copernicus and Eratosthenes region

Mare Crisium Region

Mare Frigoris region with Plato

Plato and Sinus Iridum region

Tycho region

Clavius Region

Gassendi region



7/3/2017 Rainy Day Project

I’ve been thinking of a way to mount one or two cameras to my Nexstar SLT mount so they can track the sky. Hopefully here it is. I’ll remove the straps when the time comes to reduce weight. The plan is to have the larger camera (EOS T5)  zoomed to 300mm for the eclipse which should be enough to capture all of the corona. The other, an SX50 HS, can zoom much farther to close in on the disk. A third camera will be set up stationary separately and wide angle to capture the entire 3 hour event with the Sun moving across the field of view. There is a third 1/4-20 post near the centerline for when I’m using one camera.

Visible in the second picture is a mini-ball mount to give me greater control over the direction and tilt of the cameras.  I’m already thinking about drilling holes in the disk closer to the edge to give me room to tilt. Determining the relative direction of the Sun’s axis on game day would let me orient the cameras to match.

I’m hoping for clear skies soon to test the rig.

7/2/2017 Day 30 of the New Knee Project

I haven’t posted anything in a while.  In the last post, I had driven a little. Now, like Toonses the Driving Cat, I drive all over the town. Only without the carnage. I’m also walking without the walker though I try to keep it handy just in case.  I favor the leg but its getting stronger every day. I’m also mowing the yard again.