I haven’t been out with the telescope in a long while, but have decided to get back into it. The biggest change since I was last out is that I have a more modern laptop, now running Windows 8.1, so I needed to get the NexImage software and drivers re-installed.
My first obstacle was the fact that I have lost my NexImage installation CD-ROM! Thankfully there is a way around it, the details of which can be found here in the Celestron Knowledgebase.
Essentially, you need to download the drivers for the Philips SPC900NC/00 camera application (which the NexImage camera is based on) – the download links are on the Celestron link above, along with clear step-by-step instructions.
Then you can download AMCap (for the actual video capture) and RegiStax (to turn a stack of images into one SUPER image) from here.
So, my software and drivers is set up and ready to go …. now I just need to re-assemble the telescope….
JTW Astronomy are giving away a telescope! To enter, click Like on their Facebook page, then get over to our YouTube channel, simply subscribe, rate and comment “Pick Me!” on this video – www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-7GPs?Cd_Fc
The prize is a 6″ Newtonian telescope on equatiorial mount, with accessories including a planetary camera! Prize is valued at around 250 euro!
I haven’t been out with the telescope for quite a while, but couldn’t resist having a look at Mars tonight!
The photograph shows little more than a fuzzy red blob, but it’s the best I could do 😉 If it’s clear tomorrow, I might have a try with NexImage to see if I can get a better result.
I also took a few more of the moon…
My coursework arrived today for Introducing Astronomy through the OU – very excited! It’s going to be a BIG learning curve and looks like it’s going to take a fair amount of brainpower … but I think I’m going to really enjoy it!
All I need to do know is polish off my Digital Photography coursework (just a final panel of images and accompanying written document to submit) and I’ll be ready to focus completely on Astronomy.
1 Nov 2009 – Rise: 15:26, Set: 05:48 (99.0%)
2 Nov 2009 – Rise: 15:42, Set: 07:14 (Full at 19:14)
3 Nov 2009 – Rise: 16:05, Set: 08:42 (99.8%)
4 Nov 2009 – Rise: 16:40, Set: 10:08 (98.0%)
5 Nov 2009 – Rise: 17:34, Set: 11:21 (93.4%)
6 Nov 2009 – Rise: 18:47, Set: 12:16 (86.4%)
7 Nov 2009 – Rise: 20:14, Set: 12:54( (77.2%)
30 Sep 2009 – Rise: 17:30, Set: 02:38
1 Oct 2009 – Rise: 17:39, Set: 03:54
2 Oct 2009 – Rise: 17:47, Set: 05:10
3 Oct 2009 – Rise: 17:56, Set: 06:28
4 Oct 2009 – Rise: 18:06, Set: 07:48
5 Oct 2009 – Rise: 18:19, Set: 09:12
6 Oct 2009 – Rise: 18:37, Set: 10:38
23 Sep Rise: 13:43, Set: 20:11 (26.3% illuminated)
24 Sep Rise: 14:51, Set: 20:51 (35.8% illuminated)
25 Sep Rise: 15:44, Set: 21:45 (45.7% illuminated)
26 Sep Rise: 16:22, Set: 22:52 (55.6% illluminated)
27 Sep Rise: 16:48, Set: ? (65.1% illuminated)
28 Sep Rise: 17:06, Set: 00:05 (74.0% illuminated)
29 Sep Rise: 17:19, Set:01:21 (82.1% illuminated)
From Moonrise & Moonset Times
… but it didn’t go well! I took a few shots with the 2x barlow but when I checked them on the PC, they were just like bright fuzzy blobs. Which has led me to the conclusion that I’m using too high an ISO setting on the camera and am therefore over-exposing the image. In my head, I just assumed that because the sky is very DARK, I’d need to use ISO 1600 … but I now think that the sky may be dark but Jupiter is actually quite BRIGHT, so a lower ISO setting will actually work better.
Unfortunately, Jupiter disappears behind our house quick sharply, so I’m out of time tonight – but this will be my experiment on the next clear night: to use different ISO settings.
(And, by the way, turning the telescope tube round worked a TREAT! I even got to sit on a chair while I was taking my pictures!)
This is my first bash at Jupiter with the new camera – it’s not great, but it’s a starting point!
Jupiter with Canon EOS 300D & 2x Barlow
I need to get the step ladder out, as I have to look into the camera in order to try and focus but the size of the camera makes it too high up for me (even with the telescope legs at their lowest setting). I tried standing on a garden chair tonight but that made me too HIGH and it was killing my back having to lean over! It’s very hard to get a focus because I’m looking into a tiny wee camera viewfinder so I think it’s a case of trial and error – take a picture, check it on the computer, re-focus and try again etc. etc.
Am looking forward to trying with the moon again next time it’s up and about – think it’ll be an easier target for me to practice with!
UPDATE (an hour or so later):
Just struck me that I can just turn the telescope tube round a bit, so that the bit for the eyepiece / camera etc. is at the side, rather than the top … then I don’t need a step ladder! I don’t think there’s a reason I can’t do that?!?!