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Dalriada n:
Kingdom of the Scots,
home of the residents

Kindrogan 2016, February

Another great week-end with Astronomical Society of Glasgow at Kindrogan Field Studies Centre. This was my third visit to Kindrogan with ASG, after February 2015 and November 2015.


For me the highlight was another close encounter with M42, the Great Orion Nebula. Best effort yet I think and using both Christmas /birthday gifts from my boys (well men now I suppose). Stuart provided a brilliant Bahtinov Mask, specially designed and manufactured to fit my Sky-Watcher Maksutov 150mm exactly. With my Canon EOS-500D camera attached it is quite difficult to focus exactly but with the mask in place and a bright star in view I can confirm it is well focused with a few short exposures:_MG_9848

Then slew to M42 via the Messier Catalogue menu on the Synscan hand controller and set up the DSLR Controller app on my mobile phone to control the camera remotely:Screenshot_2015-12-14-17-59-36

This is enabled by the little TP-Link TL-MR3040, a low-cost portable wireless router – which Robbie provided. Then DSLR Controller appears to the phone as a newly available wi-fi source, and when connected, the Android app can control the camera. A couple of test shots later at ISO 3200 and 30s exposure I retired to the lounge, chatting with Jane and Anne and Andrew, while we experimented with increasing the exposure time. The final image was with a 140s exposure. That shows great clouds of nebula dust but the centre tends to be over exposed – the original 30s exposure was better for that but the extent of visible nebula dust is much less. I have taken Anne’s advice and Photoshopped (Gimped actually) the extreme images to reach an acceptable compromise.

Here is a screen-shot from Stellarium, with its ocular window set to show the frame I could expect with my Canon EOS 500D and my Sky-Watcher SkyMax-150.Capture


And here is my actual result, with the image rotated a bit to match the screen-shot above.


I forgot to mention that I have had my camera tweaked for astrophotography by astronomiser

In general terms, removing or replacing the colour correcting filter in a Canon dSLR increases it’s sensitivity to Hydrogen Alpha light by approximately 4 x, allowing upwards of 97% of this light through, where previously only up to 25% of this light passed the colour correcting filter, depending on the camera model. … The process improves results in astrophotography across the board – emission nebulae in galaxies come through more clearly and star colours are more true improving results in all areas of astroimaging.

I had intended to have a go at Jupiter again later on with my webcam, but after all that heavy button clicking I was soon exhausted so I retired to bed early leaving the real ASG experts to get on with it through the small hours.