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Monster Saturn Nights April 5/6th+MOREanimations !

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#1 Kokatha man

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 07:27 AM

Just edited this thread title AGAIN :grin: to let folks know that AS WELL AS adding a couple of red channel animations from Langhorne Creek plus an rgb from our first night at our original location at the old sportsground out in the Murray Mallee.....I've NOW ALSO ADDED a 2 frame RGB ANIMATION of a couple of the Langhorne Creek rgb's and will finish off with a WinJupos compilation after we get back from the Mallee tomorrow..! :)

ok - one of our usual "sagas" here for our last soujourn into the countryside.....went up to the old sportsground in the Murray Mallee to image in the morning on 5th April and captured 3 nice rgb sets before the seeing dipped and we called it a night/morning: these were shot at 6000mm f/l using the variable amplifier I posted piks of here: http://www.cloudynig...maging/Numbe...

The following day SkippySky predicted some issues with cloud & transparency for the next session but it looked as though we'd still get an opportunity so we spent a leisurely day in the caravan, but later forecast updates started to paint a grim picture for the entire night ahead...

In short a wide band of cloud was coming through which was already overhead and was not expected to disperse during the night.....but we thought we'd be no better off elsewhere so decided we'd give the imaging a miss and catch up on badly-needed sleep..! :sleepy:

We could see that this band left the Southern horizon clear and this is what the satellite images and Skippy kept on indicating would be the way it panned out - that strip of clear sky on the Southern horizon just kept on enticing us.....so around an hour before sunset we quickly packed the scope and van and drove South looking for these promised clear skies at about 1 degree South..... :shocked: :lol:

Got to a small place called Langhorne Creek around 10pm (not far from where we used to live actually) which is smack in the middle of a major grape-growing area and found a nice spot to pull up behind another sporting complex.....this one was still very much used and with its' lush green fields etc a far cry from the dry & dusty abandoned field we'd left about 2.5 hours earlier....!

To move this saga along :grin: we quickly set the scope up in the dark (a PITA tbh) and did a rough PA'ing, then lay down for an hour or so before imaging after the frantic change of locations and night-time efforts.....

Now after successfully trialling my variable amplifier recently and a discussion I had here with Ray (Shiraz) I was eager to take this a bit further.....so after shooting a couple of 6000mm rgb sets I slid the camera assembly back considerably and re-focused - well, tried to that is!!! :question: :foreheadslap:

Extending the camera back from the barlow element requires shifting the focal point inwards, but I ran out of room with the focuser completely in..!

No problemos you might say, just twiddle the primary mirror knob to bring the focus within the Moonlite's range.....but I have fixed the primary mirror with anchors on the other 2 "arms" that hold the primary rigid (the 3rd is the actual primary focus screw...)


What this modification has done is completely removed even the smallest mirror shift from the C14's heavy primary at any scope angle and is, imo, one of the reasons that our imaging has improved substantially these last couple of months as the collimation remains rock-solid at all times and even with travelling etc we rarely need to make much more than minor adjustments to collimation before imaging..... :grin:

BUT YA CAN'T MOVE THE PRIMARY WITH THE MIRROR LOCKED!!! :question: :lol:

This meant I had to release these locks, adjust the primary for the focuser's range and then reset & collimate etc before imaging.....not an easy task at 2am in the dark!!!

To make matters worse the instant we released the primary locks the finderscope and C14 became completely misaligned with each other and it took me a good 15-20 minutes to get Saturn back onscreen and the finder adjusted.....but in a bit less than an hour all this was accomplished including collimation (right out through the locks being released and re-applied...) :)

Firecap's logs indicated we were now imaging at 6600mm (they are a tad off I reckon so this is a rough f/l) and we collected several good rgb sets at this length.....

Finally, emboldened by this and wishing to test things a bit more we upped the f/l to around 7400mm and finished the morning off with 3 sets at this scale - unfortunately seeing had begun to dip a bit by then and they were not as successfull.....but judging by the best frames etc I believe that f/l could be sustained in times of good seeing!

On another note shifting to this greater image scale again and checking collimation demonstrated that last week's indication that the self-centring really worked was correct, that collimation remained stable when adjusting this unit! (I'd been smart enough to set the primary position with respect to the focuser's range to cover all possibilities now!!! :lol:)

Pat's designated the image scales as "Regular" (5400mm) "Large" (6000mm) "Jumbo" (6600MM) & "Super Jumbo" (7400mm) - no fries with any of them though! :grin:

I have a lot of data to finsh processing including WinJupos compilations and animations etc.....here is one of the 6600mm rgb's (classic, not W/Jupos) at 185% of capture scale for silliness and then again at 150% cap scale.....I haven't processed the rings separately yet and really need to processing these again a bit better overall - but I think they are good enough as first-processings. :)

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#2 Kokatha man

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 07:29 AM

.....a little more sensible scaling at 150% of capture scale: :)

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#3 Kokatha man

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 07:32 AM

Plenty more images tomorrow when I can devote the time, but here's a little composition I made to demonstrate the scales we've been employing with the variable amplifier these 2 nights... :)

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#4 Baron

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 08:07 AM

This saturn is awesome! :shocked:

#5 darbyvet

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 09:09 AM

wow-mouth hanging open........

#6 lcd1080

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 09:49 AM

I love to see a so called "amateur" astronomer work every bit as hard as a full time "professional". And indeed you do Darryl, I stand in awe of what you and Pat have accomplished.

I think we all could benefit from using a variable amplifier such as yours. I'm not sure of whether you indicated that you left the primary mirror permanently unlocked. It would be nice to regularly have access to all the images scales that Pat designated (with or without fries) :grin:

Pete

#7 Kokatha man

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 10:18 AM

Thanks Paolo, Carl & Pete - your comments are appreciated..! :)

Pete, if you've ever tried to thread a setscrew through 2 inline thread-holes in any device you'll appreciate that it requires very carefully application regardless of how accurately the holes are aligned.....to do that with the scope on the mount is well-nigh impossible with everything at an angle and the mirror's weight creating even very minor misalignment, so I just brought the lockscrews up snug against the primary support arms: because the OTA was pointing fairly steeply upward this was sufficient to stop any mirror shift at the time.

I'll lock them in situ when I think of it, now that it's back on the floor at home where I store it standing on its' head (corrector plate end...)

This way it is relatively easy as long as you take care, the mirror's weight acting straight down centres/aligns all the relevant screws & screw-holes - as to the settings I now have the primary mirror position set such that the focuser can bring the image to focus regardless of whatever focal lengths we dial in..!

Here's the red channel from the rgb image above - more tomorrow! :)

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#8 rik ter horst

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 10:30 AM

Congrats on these images! Simply amazing, a joy to look at!

#9 ToxMan

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 10:46 AM

Superb. What a great collection of images this apparition!

#10 Space Cowboy

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 11:03 AM

Great images Darryl they take the big scale very well. You are clearly the ultimate "Saturn chaser".

#11 REC

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 12:45 PM

Fantastic, looks like the Hubble!

#12 R Botero

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 12:47 PM

Oh man,great shots Darryl! Thank you for sharing them with us 50+ latitude dwellers! :bawling:

Roberto

#13 Az Frank

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 04:03 PM

Had a feeling some of the best is yet to come! Outstanding Darryl!

#14 ZielkeNightsky

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 04:59 PM

Stunning - I want to see more...

That red image looks perfect.... more....

more....

#15 corpusse

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 07:28 PM

As per usual I am blown away. I do have one question. Are you traveling all around for other reasons or are you chasing the best possible seeing?

#16 bunyon

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 08:45 PM

Another awesome set. Very envious but more happy to see what can be done. Looking forward to seeing the rest.

#17 Kokatha man

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 09:11 PM

Thanks very much also Rik, Paul, Stuart, Bob, Roberto, Frank, Lars, Andrew & Paul - Pat & I appreciate your kind comments! :)

Andrew, we live right next to the sea and whilst imaging can produce excellent results at home there are strong gully winds from the escarpment about 5 miles behind us that can often cruel otherwise very good conditions (not in the direction of the prevailing winds which are mostly off the water, but very strong at times of the year...)

We're "semi-retired" and are bush people at heart so we think nothing of taking our well equipped caravan off to these locations about a 2 hour or so drive from home, especially as the outdoors is so nice and also the seeing is more stable generally..... :)

A lot of people think a C14 is too big to travel with, but I'm 63 and with the setup we've perfected over time we can arrive at a destination and get the scope setup with PA, laptop & cabling etc all ready to go and be sitting down in the caravan with the kettle boiling for a hot drink in less than an hour.....even in the dark after a long drive from one location to another at 10pm such as we did for the second "leg" of this soujuorn..! :lol:

And of course some good outcomes are icing on the cake so to speak: I hope to post a few more images and an animation or 2 later today/tonight our time if possible. :)

#18 Freddy WILLEMS

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 09:24 PM

Better than any NASA spacecraft flyby !

#19 zjc26138

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 09:37 PM

Darryl,
Awesome pictures! Keep them coming. :)

#20 BKBrown

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 10:29 PM

Absolutely brilliant amigo! :applause: :applause: :applause:
If it's this good now Darryl, I can't wait to see what you get around opposition :grin: I am starting to get a handle on the ASI120mm and it is successfully pulling in all channels at over 100 fps...but I'm sure my C11 Edge has my gain settings rather higher than yours :smirk:
Keep up the great work my friend, it's inspirational...

Clear Skies,
Brian :waytogo:

#21 wenjha

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 04:59 AM

Amazing Darryl!
I am curious which one will be the best saturn though variable aimplifer?

#22 Kokatha man

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 08:29 AM

Thank you very much Freddy, Zach, Brian & Sam..! :)

Freddy - what are you doing lately.....I haven't seen any of your first-rate imaging outcomes for quite a long time now - have you moved from Hawaii..?

Brian, I have become an advocate of "don't get too concerned over the amount of gain you use" - when you have 10000 or even 15000 or more frames to cull and stack you're not usually too worried about noise: and on the issue of noise I believe in leaving a small amount in my images usually.

And it is all "luck" in the end re the seeing, even with the great elevation Saturn is at down here these days.....we had a good first night at the ole sportsground but it would've been inviting bad luck to stay there instead of moving for that second night....! :shocked: :lol:

For you folks in the Northern Hemisphere the ability to operate at fast frame-rates is one of the excellent characteristics of this particular camera - despite your low elevations I think you'll find it delivers real benefits this apparition: I hope you grab some imaging outcomes that you can be proud of also amigo....! :waytogo:

I discovered earlier in this apparition when the seeing and elevation was lower that these uber-fast framerates were a real bonus (well, lower elevations relatively speaking when we imaged earlier in the night, with daylight saving time now over in Oz Saturn is presently culminating at 1:45am atm - a much more "genteel" hour of the night than (say) 4:30am as it was not so long ago....! :) )

Sam, I think the answer to your question is very much dependant upon the seeing: you can see by looking at those "best red frames" in this thread that the largest image scale's best was pretty good, but the seeing had definitely dropped by the time we employed that scale: I might post an image using that focal length/image scale (7400mm) later, but it wasn't up to those using 6600mm which were taken around culmination in the best seeing that night.

This makes me fairly confident in saying that on a night of excellent seeing we might score some crackerjack images around opposition (still 3 weeks away! :) ) using this scale or close to it.....personally I think we've had a couple of nights of "very good" seeing so far this apparition but not the "excellent" we still hope for..! :fingerscrossed: :fingerscrossed: :fingerscrossed:

Here is a red channel animation but filesize limits meant I could only post a 2-framer at 120% of capture scale with 25 minutes separating the capture times......followed by a 4-frame animation (90% of capture scale and also non reversing, due to the filesize limitations.) :(

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#23 Kokatha man

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 08:32 AM

.....the non-reversing 4 frame red animation at 90% of capture scale (the moons suffered re visibility by this filesize reduction...)

I'll post a link to another site when I've uploaded the fully-reversing 4-frame red animation at 120% of capture scale there. :)

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#24 Kokatha man

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 08:34 AM

Lastly (for now! :lol:) another rgb but this time from the first night when we were at our original location before we went to Langhorne Creek - quite nice seeing but not as good as at L.C. :)

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#25 ToxMan

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 08:44 AM

{{{speechless}}}






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