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ASTEROID HUNTING WITH A QUESTAR-SMARTPHONE

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#26 LorenBall

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Posted 23 May 2019 - 02:25 AM

Yes, all of them, and one more, Chris.   :)

It is very satisfying to end an imaging session where everything goes perfectly.
 

I was able to start the first series of asteroid images at 8:57 PM and finished the 25th asteroid on my list at 11:55 PM.
 

One more asteroid was added to my list because I liked the name.
 

564 Dudu.​ Magnitude 13.1


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#27 starblue

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Posted 23 May 2019 - 04:28 PM

As impressive as the photos are, I'm even more impressed that you could use the Q's setting circles to identify a unknown faint starlike object in under a minute. I think I know what I'm doing, but I've never found them particularly accurate. My high-power EP (the 80/160x Erfle) has a TFOV of only 1/2 degree, and it's 50-50 whether the target will be in the field *anywhere*, much less near the center--and that's a *wide-angle* EP (AFOV 70*). I can't even imagine using Brandons with the setting circles.


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#28 LorenBall

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Posted 23 May 2019 - 04:57 PM

Well, I have a slight advantage, Starblue . . .

My Questar is used on the 250 pound permanent pier in my observatory that once held my 16" Schmidt Cassegrain.

The polar alignment is virtually perfect.

I find that my setting circles are accurate enough to place any given star in the 1 degree fov 100 times out of 100. 


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#29 starblue

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Posted 23 May 2019 - 06:02 PM

Where you're at, can you visually see the asteroid to compare against your map, or is it that you've got your technique down to such a science that you know it'll show up in the central part of the photo? 

 

I'll admit to not having such precise polar alignment. I don't have a permanent setup. My scope rides on a photo tripod that has zero provision for polar alignment and coarse controls for alt/az adjustment. It's OK for the view-camera studio environment that's supposed to be its home, but Questar repurposed it to hold its scope outdoors for astro use. Sturdy--yes; ease of polar alignment--no. 


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#30 LorenBall

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Posted 23 May 2019 - 06:24 PM

With my Questar-iPhone SE, anything as bright as magnitude 11-12 is visible on the screen of my smartphone live. It makes a good finder.
 

A ten second image makes anything brighter than mag 13-14 visible.
 

I use SkySafari 6 Pro on my iPad to locate anything in the night sky. It is wonderful.
 

As you can see in this image, everything is at my fingertips.
 

I have been hunting asteroids for a long time, so this is pretty easy for me now.
 

https://en.wikipedia...i/Loren_C._Ball

 

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  • IMG_0549_sRGB.jpeg

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#31 LorenBall

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Posted 23 May 2019 - 07:30 PM

After all these years, I have gotten pretty good at patern recognition. 

It is easy to look at the star diagram on SkySafari 6 Pro, and match that to what I see on the screen of my iPhone SE.

I find myself laughing out loud sometimes in my observatory because this works so well.


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#32 LorenBall

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 12:29 AM

When I was imaging a few double stars last night, I found the beautiful globular cluster, Messier 3, to be close by, so I gave it my attention for a few minutes.

 

My little Questar-iPhone SE is woefully inadequate to do this enormous cluster justice. Only the very brightest stars are resolved in this image.

 

89mm f/14.6 Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope, 16mm Brandon eyepiece, iPhone SE camera, NightCap Camera, ISO 8,000, 30 individual 7 second exposures stacked with Nebulosity 4. Processed with Apple Photos and GIMP.

 

The field of view is about 1/2 degree.

The limiting magnitude is about 14+.

Imaged May 23, 2019.

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  • M3.jpeg

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#33 cbwerner

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 07:27 PM

It's still amazing. Who would have thought it, 10 years ago? applause.gif


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#34 LorenBall

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Posted 26 May 2019 - 03:10 AM

Zubenelgenubi (Alpha Librae) is magnitude 2.75, and it has a close companion star at magnitude 5.2.

Alpha Librae is actually a visual binary consisting of two stars separated in the sky by an angular distance of 231". It is easily seen in binoculars as a bright, wide pair of white and yellow stars. The two are probably a physical pair, as they move through space together.

In 2007, Hipparcos data was revised, which put the brighter, magnitude 2.75 star at a distance of 75.80 light years. It is a bluish-white star of spectral type A3.

In 2007, Hipparcos data was revised, which put the fainter, magnitude 5.2 star at a distance of 74.95 light years. It is a yellow-white dwarf star of spectral type F4.

 

Courtesy SkySafari 6 Pro, Universe Guide, Wikipedia

 

This was taken with my 89mm f/14.6 Questar. The focal length is about 1,300mm, and the filed of view is about 1 degree. The limiting magnitude is about 14.

24mm Brandon eyepiece, iPhone SE camera, NightCap Camera, ISO 8,000, 36 individual 10 second exposures stacked with Nebulosity 4. Processed with Apple Photos and GIMP.

Imaged May 26, 2019.
 

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#35 rcwolpert

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Posted 26 May 2019 - 09:45 AM

All of this is very impressive and inspiring! Thanks! Keep posting!

 

Bob


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#36 LorenBall

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Posted 26 May 2019 - 11:37 AM

Zubenelgenubi (Alpha Librae) is magnitude 2.75, and it has a close companion star at magnitude 5.2.

This image was taken through the internal finder of my Questar. The focal length is about 107mm, and the field of view is about 8 degrees.

The view is very similar to what I saw last night with my 7X35 binoculars. The limiting magnitude is about 9.

iPhone SE camera, NightCap Camera, ISO 8,000, 18 individual 10 second exposures stacked with Nebulosity 4. Processed with Apple Photos and GIMP.

Imaged May 26, 2019.​

 

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#37 rcwolpert

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Posted 27 May 2019 - 02:51 PM

You’ve inspired me, Loren. I’ve downloaded Nightcap for my 7S which has version 12.2 software. I also have 2 of the iPhone 4S sitting around for years, so I’ve made one into a dedicated finder/camera using the last Nightcap Pro version for that model with the 9.3.5 software. I’ve “permanently” centered and mounted it to an eyepiece that I wouldn’t otherwise be using. Now I need to get out and practice with it.


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#38 LorenBall

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Posted 03 June 2019 - 02:55 AM

This image is far different from what I normally post. In fact, it is so different that I am going to have a hard time explaining what this thing actually is.                              
3C 273 is a magnitude 12.9 quasar located in the constellation Virgo. It was the first quasar to ever be identified, and was discovered in the early 1960s by astronomer Allan Sandage.
 

"Quasar : A massive and extremely remote celestial object, emitting exceptionally large amounts of energy, and typically having a starlike image in a telescope. It has been suggested that quasars contain massive black holes and may represent a stage in the evolution of some galaxies. Quasars live only in galaxies with supermassive black holes — black holes that contain billions of times the mass of our Sun."
 

If 3C 273 was at a distance of about 30 light years, it would be as bright as our Sun. So, how far away IS this quasar?
It is at a distance of about 2.5 billion light years. The Andromeda galaxy is at a distance of about 2.5 million light years. That means 3C 273 is 1,000 times more distant.
The spectral lines of 3C 273 are shifted to the red by 16 %, so this bizarre object is moving away from us at 16 % of the speed of light, or about 30,000 miles every second. Let that sink in for a moment . . .
 

3C 273 sometimes brightens to magnitude 11.7, but can fade to magnitude 13.2.
To put things into perspective . . . sure . . . The radius of our Universe is about 46.5 billion light years.
 

My inane reason for imaging 3C 273 with my Questar-iPhone SE  is quite simple. This is probably the most distant object I will ever grab with this telescope-camera.
This is about as faint as I can image with my gear, short of committing a crime.
 

(Courtesy SkySafari 6 Pro, Wikipedia, NASA)
 

89mm f/14.6 Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope, 16mm Brandon eyepiece, iPhone SE camera, NightCap Camera, ISO 8,000, 60 individual 10 second exposures stacked with Nebulosity 4. Processed with Apple Photos and GIMP.
The field of view is slightly over 1/2 degree.
The limiting magnitude is about 15.
Imaged June 2, 2019.

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  • 3C 273.jpeg

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#39 rcwolpert

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Posted 03 June 2019 - 05:41 PM

Wow! Truly amazing what the mighty Questar 3.5 can do in the right hands!

 

Thanks for posting this.


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#40 Terra Nova

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Posted 05 June 2019 - 11:42 AM

Wonderful work Mr. Bell. I am so impressed! Wow!! And like Bob W, inspired as well. I just wanted to mention, because it hasn’t been mentioned yet in this thread, and presumably some don’t realize it, for iPhone users: There is a little button on your standard cabled iPhone earphones. It is located in a little piece where the two individual earbud wires join to the main cable. That button acts as a cable shutter-release or bulb for the onboard iPhone camera. These headphones were included with all iPhones ver. 6 and earlier (at least through ver. 4, that’s when I shifted over to iPhones). Beginning with ver. 7, earphones became wireless. If you have a 7 or later you need a Lightening Connector to plug the standard earphones with this feature into.

 

We now return you to your scheduled program. ;)


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#41 rcwolpert

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Posted 05 June 2019 - 02:29 PM

Wonderful work Mr. Bell. I am so impressed! Wow!! And like Bob W, inspired as well. I just wanted to mention, because it hasn’t been mentioned yet in this thread, and presumably some don’t realize it, for iPhone users: There is a little button on your standard cabled iPhone earphones. It is located in a little piece where the two individual earbud wires join to the main cable. That button acts as a cable shutter-release or bulb for the onboard iPhone camera. These headphones were included with all iPhones ver. 6 and earlier (at least through ver. 4, that’s when I shifted over to iPhones). Beginning with ver. 7, earphones became wireless. If you have a 7 or later you need a Lightening Connector to plug the standard earphones with this feature into.

 

We now return you to your scheduled program. wink.gif

 

and. . . if you have an Apple Watch, you can view the iPhone image on the watch and operated the shutter with the watch. Very convenient!


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#42 LorenBall

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Posted 05 June 2019 - 05:59 PM

Thank you all.   smile.gif

There are many ways to get the exposures rolling with our smartphones.

I use an app called NightCap Camera ( $2.99 ) on my iPhone SE. It is by far the best iPhone app that I have tested.

By selecting a 3 second pause, I can touch the shutter button, and all vibration is gone by the time the exposure begins.

It gets better . . . This app includes an Interval Programer. I can set this to take a series of images by touching the shutter 1 time.

If I want a series of 100 lunar exposures at ISO 25, 1/200th of a second each, I touch the shutter once, and then I watch it do its magic.

Last evening I installed a 7" f/15 Maksutov Cassegrain in my observatory. It will be interesting to compare the images with my Questar. The Mak has a tall hill to climb.


Edited by LorenBall, 05 June 2019 - 06:11 PM.

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#43 LorenBall

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Posted 05 June 2019 - 06:10 PM

The actual capability of our Questar-Smartphone combination has yet to sink in with most amateur astronomers.

Using Nebulosity 4 to stack the images, I typically use the best 40-50 of a series of 100.

 

This image was taken with a 16mm Brandon eyepiece and the internal Barlow lens, using my iPhone SE camera.​

The large crater at the center is Copernicus.

 

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#44 Matt Looby

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 02:58 PM

My smartphone attachment is quite inexpensive, but it works so well for me that I have not explored other devices, John.

https://explorescien...rtphone-adapter

 

Hi loren,

 

Thanks- We ordered two!

 

Matt



#45 rcwolpert

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 04:38 PM

Amazing photo!


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#46 Terra Nova

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Posted 18 June 2019 - 03:59 PM

Amazing photo!

I second that! 




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