Jump to content


Most Liked Content

#6570756 Some Personal Thoughts—From an Old Timer (A Really Old Timer)

Posted by GeneT on 03 May 2015 - 02:02 PM

Today I turned 72 years of age.


     For 70 of those 72 years, I have been looking up at the sky. When I was two, my grandmother took me out to her back porch in Minnewaukan, North Dakota, (a town of about 500) pointed up into the dark Mag 7 skies and said, ‘look at the beautiful stars.’ I had no idea of what I was seeing. All I knew was that the dark night sky was an amazingly beautiful site. From that time forward, I have always checked out the night sky every chance I could.


     Over these years, a lot of hobbies have come and gone. Photography, back in the days when there was film, I used to develop my own negatives and print up my own positives from them. Color was too complicated, and too expensive in most cases. I took up shooting pistols and rifles and listening to short wave radio and music (led a dance band in high school playing tenor sax, and bassoon in the orchestra) and played basketball in high school. Boy Scouts took center stage, earning my Star award. Then I discovered girls, and all those hobbies went away—except for girls and astronomy. I found that the young ladies also liked looking up at the night sky and were interested in learning about its various objects. I also discovered that there is nothing like being out in a dark sky, to set a romantic mood.


     Astronomy is the only hobby that has remained with me over the past 70 years. In 1946, when I was three, my mother, a school teacher, moved us to Ely, Nevada, a town of about 5,000. A hill blocked the downtown sky at night, and again, I had Mag 6.5 to 7 skies—just outside my back door. One cold February night, a friend asked me if I would like to join him and his son (a friend of mine) to drive to the mining town of Ruth, Nevada to look through a telescope. I was 10 years old. I had never looked through a telescope. The owner had just purchased a 3.5 inch Questar and he did not know how to use it. The moon was about half full. I looked through the eyepiece and saw only a bright white glob, with no detail.


     Then, I saw a little knob near the eyepiece. I turned it—and suddenly the moon with all its glory of craters, rills, and plains popped into view. I was absolutely stunned. I have never forgotten that first view through the telescope. I read somewhere that the human brain loses about 25 thousand brain cells a day. At age 72, I don’t know how many I left. However, that first look at the moon through the Questar has forever seared that image into my mind.


     Sam Brown’s book All About Telescopes took a young person through some excellent information about astronomy; Leslie Peltier’s book Starlight Nights fueled my desire to keep looking up. Now, several large bookshelves are full of astronomy books, star atlases, and star maps. More recently, some computer programs and Tablet apps, continue to serve me well.


     Back in the days that I lived in Ely, Nevada, many of the people had limited financial means. I could not afford to subscribe to Sky and Telescope, so I went to the library each month to read it. A telescope was also out of my family’s financial reach to buy one. In the comics I liked to read, I saw the ads for a 3 inch reflector, for $29.95, that would show craters on the moon, the rings of Saturn, and other sky objects. If I wanted a telescope, I would have to pay for it. I was leery that the 3 inch telescope would do all that the ads claimed. At age 15, I drooled over the ads in Sky and Telescope for Unitron refractors and reflectors in the four to 16 inch category. I was drawn to a four inch, F10 Dynascope ad. It had an equatorial mount. Electric clock drive was not yet available for most telescopes. It listed for $79.95. I could not afford the telescope. I worked all summer mowing lawns at a dollar a pop. I had already saved up about $20 shoveling walks the winter before. At 6,400 feet above sea level, Ely gets quite cold. If does not snow that often, but enough so I could make some money shoveling walks. Finally, I had the $79.95 plus delivery costs saved up. I sent off for the telescope. It arrived in perfect condition.


     In dark, pristine skies, you can see a lot even with a small aperture telescope. Today light pollution is so bad that many of us live in Mag 3 skies, and even after driving for 20 miles or so, we still only have Mag 5 or so skies. Back in the 1950’s, I was viewing with a four incher in Mag 6.5 to 7 skies. I was viewing the moon, planets, clusters, a few brighter galaxies and nebula, and found that there were numerous double stars that I could split with that small instrument. There was no astronomy club that I could join, but I did have a friend who lived about a block away who also shared a deep interest in astronomy. He and I had numerous sleep-overs in the summer where we stayed up most of the evening looking at sky objects.


     These are some of my best memories of this great hobby that gives so much positive energy to my life. Looking up at the stars connect the 70 years of my life through both the good times and the bad. I graduated from high school in Ely, but had to sell my little four incher to pay for some books when attending the University of Utah, in Salt Lake City. I could not afford another telescope for several more years. Life’s journey took me through a divorce, but then I found and remarried the woman of my dreams and was blessed with two wonderful daughters and two sons. They in turn blessed Jeannie and I with three wonderful granddaughters and two grandsons. After 28 years serving in the Air Force, we found ourselves back living in San Antonio. I went through several other telescopes over the years, but ended up with a 12.5 inch, F5 Portaball, as my final telescope.


     The night skies has provided my life continuity, and brought me peace and joy second only to that provided by my wife, children, and grandchildren. The night skies and its stellar views were a constant in my life, no matter where the Air Force assigned me. The night skies were a constant in my life through a divorce, the ups and downs of the economy, illnesses and life’s good times. I was born at the end of World War II, remember the Korean War, the Kennedy assignation, Water Gate, the Vietnam War, the dot.com bust, the more recent financial downturns, and recoveries, and the more recent wars in the Middle East.


     Auriga, Orion, Pegasus, Andromeda, Lyra, Hercules, Ursa Major and Minor, Canis Major and Minor, Leo and others were my best friends. They could be counted on to march across the heavens, and return at their appointed times, and places. The planets and moon more randomly wandered through the constellations to provide some interesting relief. But, over the years, the starry skies became my best friends—friends that could always be counted on.


     More recently, I have a friend who approached me and said, ‘if you ever want to sell your Portaball, I would like to buy it.’ What she was getting at was, ‘when you die, have your wife call me. I would like to buy your Portaball.’ However, my daughter Stacy beat her to it. Stacy said, ‘dad, when you die, can I have your telescope?’ I said sure. My wife and I have talked about one day dying, and wanted our children to know that death is not something that we are afraid of.


     We are at peace with our religious faith and have told our children that death is just part of the cycle of life. We told our children that death is just part of life’s journey. We have told our children that our deaths one day will result in helping to make up the contents of more new stars as we take our places in the heavens.


     However, it is great knowing that my children have also grown to love the night sky with one of them wanting my telescope. Before those two offers, I was thinking of having the Portaball buried with me. However, there are state and federal laws to contend with, plus even if that could happen, I probably would have to buy two grave sites. I am happy that one of my daughters will carry on the hobby of astronomy with the telescope that brought her dad so much pleasure.


     What Stacy doesn't know is that along with the telescope, she will also get a 21,13, 8, 6, and 4.7 Ethos; a 10, 8, and 6 Delos, a 9 Hutech, an 8 Brandon, a 7 TMB supermono, 5 XO and other eyepieces. I will leave her instructions in my will about the value of those eyepieces, and knowing her, she will keep and treasure those eyepieces, along with my 12.5 inch Portaball, the rest of her life.


     Old age is creeping up on me. I have to be careful when driving at night. I can’t drive and talk at the same time because my mind wanders. Testosterone shots and Viagra help keep me going. Although my telescope is very portable, it now is getting more challenging to load, set it up, and take down. I don’t know how long I will be able to do so.


     However, the night skies will always be there and beautiful to behold—even if I am limited to the one power views of my eyes. That’s all the ancients had and they marveled at the night sky for thousands of years, before the advent of optics and telescopes.


     I have lived a blessed, full life. I hope to live a few more years—before I eventually turn to dust, and take my place in the heavens, to become the stuff of stars.


Gene Townsend
San Antonio, TX

  • Dave Mitsky, CollinofAlabama, ArizonaScott and 74 others like this

#7217701 Mars with good seeing.

Posted by RAC on 15 May 2016 - 06:53 AM

I had some good seeing tonight so I have a few videos to look at but for now here's a quicky.




DIY 20" f3.8 newtonian on AltAz mount

Televue 5 X powermate,

IR/UV block filter.



  • Special Ed, Carol L, Sunspot and 51 others like this

#7230466 3 planetes seen with the 1 meter Telescope of the Pic du Midi Observatory

Posted by J-Luc Dauvergne on 21 May 2016 - 01:49 PM

Hi all,

I don't come very often here but I have some good images to share.
May be you remeber this popular topic with images from the Pic du Midi observatory.


I'm back with good images from the last night.
Let's star with Mars


It's even better on Jupiter and Saturn, I post it as soon as possible.


  • Dave Mitsky, Sunspot, PrestonE and 50 others like this

#7164300 Is an 80mm good for planetary?

Posted by BillP on 15 April 2016 - 09:52 PM

I often read others say that planetary observing does not get "interesting" until you get to 120 to 130mm of aperture, or that an 80mm and even a 100mm scope is too small for this odd thing called "serious planetary" :lol: .  Well, all I have to say to that is poppycock ... and please don't any newbies listen to that kind of advice!


So tonight it is very clear and steady, but it's Friday and I just didn't feel like the hassle of one of my larger scopes.  I keep the Vixen 81S Apo next to the back door mounted on a Porta II and when I looked at that I just smiled. 


Rear Quarter Shot (web).jpg


OK, what to observe?  Well the Moon is out and could get some nice terminator action, but Jupiter is right there too.  I decided to start with the less bright Jupiter.  On the Vixen I had my Baader Zeiss 1.25" T2 prism diagonal and put my 25mm Sterling Plossl in to find my target.  Once acquired I moved immediately to my 6.5mm Morpheus which would give me about 100x, so a nice starting magnification for this large planet.  I was greeted with a beautiful view and even at 100x could clearly see four primary belts plus nice gradations of shading in both polar regions and one of Jupiter's moons was just outside Jupiter's disk casting a beautiful jett black shadow onto NEB.


The scope was of course fully acclimated as it is 80mm and had been cooling for more than 60 seconds, so I moved to the 4.5mm Morpheus for almost 140x.  WoW was I treated to a glorious view of Jupiter.  Now NEB was clearly showing its knotty structure, SEB was showing its nicely undulating upper and lower boundaries and internal the whitish separations within the belt were clearly showing.  NTB and STB were also nicely defined and within NTB there appeared to be either a dark knot or perhaps a barge.  I also like how this season SSTeZ and NNTeZ are both so clearly showing and appear very prominently lighter in hue than the contrasting belts and polar regions they are near.  SSTeZ I felt was particularly interesting as it was just so much wider than I am used to seeing it from years past.  Watching the shadow of the moon move across the lower region of NEB was also a treat, and as time marched on I began to see a disturbance in the corner of SEB.  After a few minutes it was obvious that GRS was making it around into site.  And as it came more into view, it also clearly showed a ruddy orange color and the white separation around GRS into the SEB was clearly visible, as was that the GRS itself was not uniform in hue but darker and lighter in different sections.  Finally I moved to observing the moons themselves and the color of Ganymede was just so different and a had a nice orange-yellow character to it.  It was actually quite interesting to observe being noticeably larger and of a different color than the other moons.


After spending some time with Jupiter I moved to Luna and was quite moved at the clarity and level of detail.  I always enjoy the several mountain formations just outside of Plato on the Maria and today they were showing super clear and bright.  Montes Teneriffe was being bisected by the Terminator but still could see lots of bumps and structure to what was showing.  Mons Pico and Pico 3 were also appearing super bright and white with good structure and detail.  I just love these little mounds, their shapes, and how they are so bright white on the background of the Maria floor.  I then decided to go Bino for a while and popped in the APM 2.7x ED Barlow with my WO Binoviewers with the standard LOA-21 eyepieces without the 3D arrays.  This configuration gets me close to 90x which was plenty to show lots of details for some long term observing, later adding a small extension to get that setup to 110x.  Not being able to push this setup to much higher magnifications, I then switched back to mono viewing and put the APM 2.7x in with the 9mm Morpheus for about 190x and this was just perfect!  Details were exploding everywhere and image scale was nicely large.  With this more magnification I moved to another favorite lunar target, the mountains around crater Chinge-Te (i.e., Noth Massif, South Massif, Sculptured Hills, others).  At almost 200x in the little 81mm Apo all these mountains very clearly showed their heights above the lunar floor and visually appeared as little towers in the region.  Overall, a beautiful sight and very satisfying observation.


I could go on and on as I kept switching back and forth between Jupiter and the Moon.  This very capable lunar and planetary telescope, the Vixen 81S Apo, was providing a wealth of details, all sharply etched, and a satisfyingly rock steady view.  So are small 80mm scopes unworthy of being considered planetary instruments?  Resoundingly NO I say!  So if you are thinking of getting a small scope for planetary observing, don't be swayed by the ramblings of the aperture addicts.  A little 80mm in good seeing provides a wonderful level of planetary detail and can easily make a very satisfying planetary instrument for critical planetary study.  Remember that the trick to satisfying critical planetary observing is never the instrument, but is always the observer.  So study your target before you observe, then skillful use of even a small 80mm instrument will be more than sufficient aperture for the task!


Oh yes, and before I turned in tonight I had to give a quick look at the double star Castor.  80mm scopes are so nie for doubles as they always produce such beautiful and stable little airy disk balls.  This beautiful and bright double sure made a really nice "goodnight" observation!  80mm scopes are da bomb and just fine for "serious" planetary observing  :hamsterdance:

  • Daniel Mounsey, Scott Beith, Ron Walker and 50 others like this

#7067849 Astro-Physics 180 f9 - First Light

Posted by daveCollins on 21 February 2016 - 09:05 PM

I purchased this scope on auction last year. I think from the point of view of the history of Astro-Physics, this scope occupies a special place. In particular

  • No other AP 180 f9 has been produced with the same tube geometry and paint. So this is a unique scope from Astro-Physics.
  • It is my understanding that this will be the last large refractor they will build.
  • This is the only scope Astro-Physics ever sold as new on auction.
  • This is the most expensive new refractor ever sold by Astro-Physics.
  • The glass for the scope was in storage since the mid-1990s. So it is a new scope with the newest coatings, but old "special" glass.
  • The scope was sold with no engraved cell ring. So it has a Prototype feel to it.

I am not speaking for Astro-Physics. I want to be clear that nothing I am saying has been said officially by Astro-Physics. But I am making statements based on facts and my own sources of information. One other note is that the other scopes auctioned by Astro-Physics were not new. Some such scopes sold for more than this scope. The point being that this was an unused scope and was sold as new on auction.


So it looks like in the long history of Astro-Physics, this scope is the end of the road for large refractors. I like the fact that this scope was slightly modified by Roland for the purposes of visual observing and so with this last scope, he used his creativity to create something that realized his vision. This is fitting for the end of the story.


I picked up the scope in person and Roland and Marj where kind enough to be photographed with the scope as it left their hands. This was 3 days before Christmas 2015.







I had some weather challenges and timing issues and so first light took a while. I traveled to a site two mountain ridges outside of DC. First light was during a full moon with slightly

poorer seeing than average, but with clear-ish moments.


  • Absolutely beautiful day for February 20th. In the 60s, clear, medium wind, full moon (92%).
  • I was the only one of the mountain so I was able to thoroughly enjoy the solitude with the stars for this first light experience.





In the following, you can see the moon rising:






And now the excitement is building ...




  • Color
    • My first target had to be the moon. It wasn't my original plan, but it just grabbed me and pulled me in. The image put up by the scope was free of color. There was no green, yellow, blue, violet .... just a sharp pristine white crisp limb.
  • Moon Details
    • Crater Pythagoras - The central peak was illuminated only at its top. The shadow of this illuminated section was cast onto the opposite crater wall (inside wall). So I could see the shadow from the other wall as a line with the peak's contribution above that line. It was an impressive site. The scope showed fine details such as ridges on the inside crater walland structures leading into the crater.
      • A few hours later I came back to find the entire inside of the crater illuminated. I even with full illumination, the contrast from the scope showed fine details and was a pleasure to experience for what seemed like half an hour.
    • Around Pythagoras there are some "flat" crater areas. I could see subtle differences in the colors of the surfaces. My moon atlases don't do the moon justice. Astro-Photography doesn't give me the sense of fine detail that look through this scope does.
  • Jupiter
    • Jupiter was 20 or 30 degrees away from the full moon. Not sure if this would have any effect, but I thought I would emphasize this contribution to the sky conditions. Due to moisture in the air, the moon generally illuminated the entire sky with a glow.
    • I could see details in the two central bands, while the other bands sort of came and went without much detail. But in the central bands, the effects of swirls varied along the length of the bands.
    • I watched the transit of Io. For most of the transit, I was watching Io's shadow which traversed a single band. It looked like a tiny black dot, clearly visible. At the end of the transit, I could see Io while it was still over Jupiter. I could easily see the moon as a small white sphere over the planet. As it moved of Jupiter's disk, it was well defined and slowly separated from the limb.
    • A couple of hours later, I went back to Jupiter and watched the end of the Occultation with Europa. Just as with Io, I could see a well-defined orb separate from the planetary disk.

Both Jupiter and our Moon where wonderful objects to enjoy on this beautiful evening with warm temperatures. I was able to relax and enjoy the show. I was happy with this scope's

performance especially considering the tough conditions of a full moon with illuminated moister in the air and slightly challenging seeing.


Mounting of the scope. I am 5 feet 10 inches, 60 years old, and I don't lift weights or exercise other than lots of walking. I found the scope simple to mount. I had no trouble lifting

it cradled in my arms onto a mounted set of rings. I don't know what else to say other than for me the whole process was so easy as to not even be a consideration.


  • M3 Globular Cluster
    • This showed as a fine sprinkling of stars. Even with so so seeing, it was fun to observe and showed fine details and had a 3D look with averted vision.
  • M5 Globular Cluster
    • Similar to M3. Lots of fine detail as well as a few bright stars mixed in. I don't know if the brighter stars are in the cluster or are just optically co-located.
  • M13 Globular Cluster
    • What was surprising with this is that I could see similar detail in M3 and M5. This is probably due to conditions. M13 was only 30 degrees off the horizon in an area of moon induced glow without a single star visible. I couldn't even see the little dipper asterism. I could easily see Polaris naked eye, but I couldn't make out the asterism itself.
  • Rigel
    • Rigel was a surprise. Even with the sky glow I could see the companion clearly even though Rigel was a fuzzy sphere. With all the challenges, the scope performed well.
  • Sigma Ori
    • Great star system. All stars were easily visible, although the dim "C" companion was a sharp pinpoint but much dimmer than the others.

I am happy with the scope. Before first light I was nervous about the scope since it was expensive. But on the other hand, I would have accepted the scope for what it is due to its specialness to me. As it turned out, no excuses were needed since the scope performs well and has a well figured set of lenses. The in-focus rings and out-focus rings are as good as any that I've seen. With the evenings seeing conditions, I could not see any difference between the two. It is a well-constructed high quality instrument that I'll enjoy for a long time.

  • Paul G, Joe Bergeron, Scott Beith and 49 others like this

#7115718 She just said WOW!

Posted by orion61 on 21 March 2016 - 07:38 AM

I set up my 6" Refractor last night to view with a bit of help of my Daughter.

My 12 yr old has picked up the Bug from me, she now owns her own 80mm Refractor.

I had a pair of 15's in my Binoviewer with a Neutral Density filter. Jupiter looked about the size of a Golf Ball held at Computer screen distance.

  It was a slightly average night seeing but her first view with the Big Glass. She stood there for a few seconds, and I heard this long soft,....WOW!

The best thing is there was only the slightest hint of color, a sliver on the far edges of faint blue and red, I had to actually LOOK for color.

I was very lucky to come across this C6R. it is the best out of 4 of them I have owned, I don't know how they do it?

There was so much detail it was overwhelming, not only in the Equatorial Belts but in the Northern and Southern Temperate belts!

We were watching the large brown spot as it evolves this year, but white Ovals and wisps of Brown, Tan, and Blue. Things would blur for a couple seconds but then come back. Jupiter's Moons were east to tell one from another due to the size and color.

This is kind of a Big deal since I had my 3rd Heart Attack in late January. It was a major STEMI event 100% Blockage and the Ambulance took over an hour to get me to the Hospital, (Life Flight was fogged in). Last night was special as they lost me once on the table, and last night may not have happened!

At least I know where my equipment will go. But hoist those big Achromatic Refractors with pride! Now you know how to take care of the Color.

  When I was in High School, I could have only Dreamed of a scope like this. One of the stable of hand collected scopes, picked over 45

years of swapping and buying in the hobby.

  • Paul G, jimandlaura26, Scott Beith and 47 others like this

#7223574 My best Mars so far(reprocess)

Posted by RAC on 18 May 2016 - 04:30 AM

I did a bit of a reprocess and gained some better detail and it's a bit nicer to look at also(softer).



Mars_Drizzle15 small.jpg




  • Scanning4Comets , Sunspot, PrestonE and 45 others like this

#7221866 Cat's Eye Nebula: 2 years and 130 hours

Posted by josh smith on 17 May 2016 - 09:39 AM

Whew! It is finally over. Not sure if I will do one of these again, but my favorite target in the night sky is the Cat's Eye Nebula and I thought it deserved my utmost attention. After getting a good head start last spring, I just decided to park on it nearly every clear night I was at home whether it was for an hour at the end of the night this spring or an hour for the beginning of the night last fall. There were quite a few nights where it was all I shot as well. By the image details, you can see that my goal was to get as much range as possible in this image including the super bright core which is 10000 times brighter than the extremely faint outer Ha regions and somewhere in between are the concentric shells surrounding the bright core. It took exposures of all different filters and lengths to reach the full range of this target.


The total acquisition time ended up being somewhat inflated due to the horrible lp in Pittsburgh and my new house in Florida as I wanted to make sure I had a very nice and deep sky background as well to complement all the work that went into the Cat's Eye. This took a lot of broadband data!


To some extent, I'm not thrilled with the picture as the Cat's Eye itself isn't quite as clean as I'd hoped for. However, it's not so much how clean it was as how overpowering the signal was that was surprising. It made it very tough to emphasize the delicate features while showing the full extent of the emission data. It was a very delicate balance and now that I've finished, I'm still pretty pleased. This was a good exercise in viewing the power of stacking and SNR buildup as well as the disappointment of diminishing returns. The quality is clearly far superior to last year when I was at 30 hours but certainly not 4x better.


I certainly have my new home in Florida to thank for making this project possible. The weather has been astounding this spring with night after night of clear and steady skies. I suspect our astronomy season is drawing to a close, but I'll be ready to hit the ground running again next winter :)


As always, thank you so much for viewing and any C&C's you have are very much appreciated!




Different channels, acquisition details, and focus...







Special thanks to David Ault, Hytham, and Bobby Gross for some feedback, commentary, and assistance in background modlization before publishing.

  • Ricky, nytecam, Ron Walker and 45 others like this

#7266673 M83 first light colour ASI1600mm-cool

Posted by Shiraz on 10 June 2016 - 01:48 AM


have been hoping for more data, but the weather...


So, best I can do for now is 126x60second lum + 59x60second colour for a total of about 3 hours at gain 100. 250f4 Skywatcher CF Newtonian, 180mm guide scope. Tried to get as close as I could to the Hubble APOD as a colour reference, so it looks pretty red. The camera is low noise, so no calibration was used - also dithering was not functioning for most of the luminance. Vignetting is an issue with the 1.25 filters, so I have cropped the image, awaiting a decent set of sky flats. Stars need work, but will do that when/if there is more data to work with.

attached image is down-sampled - full res available at http://www.astrobin....6/0/?real=&mod=


Not a geat image, but probably enough to suggest that there is no major issue with the camera. Thanks for looking. Ray

Attached Thumbnails

  • aaam83finalsmall.jpg

  • Joe Bruessow, Magellanico, Ron Walker and 43 others like this

#7247975 Post a picture of your refractors (PART 7)

Posted by Derek Wong on 30 May 2016 - 07:57 PM

I finally got my FTX v2 to try with the Moonraker 80mm f/15





Moonraker 80 #1.jpg


Moonraker 80 #2.jpg


  • Daniel Mounsey, Stu_Travelbee, Paul G and 43 others like this

#7125247 Jupiter - C14, Very Good Seeing

Posted by RBChris on 26 March 2016 - 02:02 PM

Here's an image of Jupiter I acquired with my C14 Edge HD last night. Seeing was predicted to be average at best, but, to my surprise, it was quite passable when I started imaging and became very good by the end of the session. I believe this is my best Jupiter image so far. 



Attached Thumbnails

  • j2016-03-26_07-14_rgb_rch.png

  • PhilCo126, Sunspot, Ron Walker and 42 others like this

#7217572 Mars - 13May2016 - CFF350 - Arizona

Posted by djhanson on 15 May 2016 - 02:12 AM

Finally met up with Mars this year!  cheers, DJ


  • Carol L, Deep13, Sunspot and 40 others like this

#7518679 Major Craigslist score

Posted by Darren Drake on 03 November 2016 - 08:49 PM

I just picked up a minty Discovery 12.5 inch pdhq. It came with many extras and digital setting circles and 2 eyepieces. Its the type that breaks into 2 pieces. It was donated to a church and then they put up on cl for a fraction of its value. I got everything for $375. This will be my preferred outreach scope. The star test is one of the best I've seen. Fantastic optics and it's actually clear tonight and gonna be clear all weekend. Wohoo. ..

Attached Thumbnails

  • 2016-11-03 20.35.20.jpg

  • Ricky, Jon Isaacs, PrestonE and 39 others like this

#7191689 Hubble's Variable Nebula Animation - 22 Frames in 24 Weeks

Posted by Tom Polakis on 30 April 2016 - 05:01 PM

The fan-shaped cloud that extends northward from the bright, illuminating star in this frame is called Hubble's Variable Nebula. As dust swirls in the immediate vicinity of the star, it casts shadows on the walls of the large shell, resulting in an ever-changing appearance.


This time-lapse GIF uses images that I have taken about weekly for the past six months.


It will be too close to the sun to observe for the next three months, but will return in the pre-dawn sky in August.


Images were taken with a 12 1/2" f/6.7 Dall-Kirkham telescope from my backyard in Tempe. They are typically averaged 5-minute exposures with an SBIG STXL-6300 camera that produces an image scale of 0.88 arcseconds per pixel. I  doubled the image scale in post-processing so viewers don't have to lean into the display so much.





  • Carol L, ManuelJ, Ron Walker and 39 others like this

#7309805 Saturn: plenty of disk activity...plus Mars...

Posted by Kokatha man on 05 July 2016 - 07:59 AM

Hi all, very limited chances to image in South Australia lately due to the weather: arrived home last night & was greeted with a real deluge as over 2 inches of rain fell within a few hours...this is a virtual "cloudburst" down here! ;)


Imaged at Carrieton & I created havoc & carnage while we were there: testing some new equipment which is progressing nicely but at one stage stepped down from a step-ladder right onto my power box that distributes the 12 volts from our battery bank...very lucky to be able to make a patched-up repair to continue, which requires more work now that we're home... :(


Mars showed good detail & a nice onscreen feed but there was a constant high-speed jitter in all the captures which probably took the edge off of them...the first r-g-b set looked like the best & I haven't even bothered processing the rest yet...


Swung the C14 over to Saturn & although the jittering was still there the images onscreen were noticeably sharper...captured 2 sets plus an iR610nm image before returning to Mars to see what that looked like as it began to drop significantly...


Biggest regret was being too tired to get up to image Neptune & Uranus  later at around 4:30am...we were extremely tired from a lot of work at home plus it was literally freezing at that time...will just have to wait to try & image the storm spots again another night...  :(


Very pleased to pick up a lot of disk activity on Saturn where the onscreen feeds also displayed plenty of Saturn's banding...here are the Saturn images, & the RGB with the individual channels...


Click on the thumbnails for the full-sized images...





  • Sunspot, Magellanico, Ron Walker and 38 others like this

#7522650 The return of the King...

Posted by yock1960 on 06 November 2016 - 12:52 PM

...not me :lol: ....Jupiter!


It's just possible to catch a half hour or or so of Jupiter before it gets too bright. This is still under 30 degrees elevation, but after not being quite on the ball yesterday, I made a concerted effort to image this morning and was rewarded with some nice seeing....considering. I anticipated that this would be a mostly IR session, but after focusing I said....nah! I still haven't bought a new camera, so still the venerable ASI120MC. This is 9 minutes derotated and with the C9.25.





Attached Thumbnails

  • 2016-11-06-1149_2-L.jpg

  • Sunspot, Mike Phillips, DesertRat and 37 others like this

#6165843 500 Best DSO list

Posted by Starman1 on 16 August 2014 - 07:00 PM

I just reduced this is size to something I can post.

A lot of you have requested this from me, so I am posting it here.

It is a list of the 500 best DSOs, as seen in a 4" refractor and 5" Maksutov in modestly dark skies over a couple of years.

It started as a list of 2000 favorites culled from my much larger log, then got whittled down as I re-observed every object.


There will be some challenges here for the newbie, and there will be some really spectacular objects in larger scopes.


So enjoy.  I include a LOT of information about each object.

Attached Files

  • Dave Mitsky, rtomw77, Doug Culbertson and 37 others like this

#7256300 The milestone of Mars imaging history in SHENZHEN

Posted by ZuoZhao on 04 June 2016 - 12:36 PM

I believed this is the milestone of Mars imaging history in SHENZHEN.

On Children's day ,heavy wind,a cloudy night. I just dont think I can have a imaging.

But Jack,one amateur local in SHENZHEN with me. He took out his Obsession DOB22 to fight the luck.

We want to capture Mars for several times,but fail due to rain season,though some successes myself. :p

This time he success,he got one set from the gap,only one!

Here,I processing from his videos and share.

How wonderful details he captured! I take care processing,though it seemed dont need and "processing".

I suffer the unmatch G and B channels. They reveal the seeing not good(of course not bad).

However,this is the best Mars in SHENZHEN untill now.I hope my processing good enough!



  • Sunspot, FXM, Ron Walker and 36 others like this

#7052819 Jupiter Feb.12th from Bangkok

Posted by Tizianobkk on 13 February 2016 - 11:04 AM

Dear all,

attached an image from last night, under good seeing but poor transpareny.

It's the combination of 3 RGB images, 90 s per channel, derotated by Winjupos.

Best Regards


Attached Thumbnails

  • 20160212_1834_oliv.jpg

  • Deep13, Sunspot, Ron Walker and 36 others like this

#6886675 Moon high resolution images taken with C14 on August 6

Posted by ch-viladrich on 12 November 2015 - 04:58 PM

Dear All,


At last, I've found some time to process a first group of images of the moon I took last August 6 with the C14 and a Basler 1920-155 camera.


Clavius :






Deslandres :



Straight Wall :



Triesnecker :



Best regards

  • wes, Carol L, Scott in NC and 36 others like this

Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics