Viewing report 24th February 10pm 2023

22:00 – 01:00

Tonight was all about further testing of the travel scope which is now the Esprit 100 refractor. M78 would be the target along with a quick peak at Comet C2022 E3.

Comet C2022 E3

Moving to the Comet and having a quick look I could see how green it was and the the stars were very sharp.

I then slewed to M78 and took a single 600s exposure, however I remembered I had the ZWO Duo-Based filter left in so the reflection nebula is not very apparent, whilst part of the Orion molecular cloud can be seen clearly to the upper right.

So overall a good evening testing the equipment and ready for another trip to Tenerife in March.

Viewing Report 5th January 2022

17:00 – 02:15

went out and put ZWO ASI120MC on the back of the ST80 guide scope. Refitted the Lodestar to the off axis guider. I then setup the FoV indicator on TSX and also got the guider to focus.

Took a bunch of M78 frames LRGB to start with. Then tried a 600s Ha but that showed very little.

Then joined by Bob joined and he reminded me to image JWST.

Then around 12:30am I started imaging M78 again on the other side of the meridian. I must sort out imaging with a frame so that it is easier to get the object inside the FoV and lined up as it took me quite some time this evening. Plate solving was also not working again within SGP so I need to look at that on the next night out.

Viewing Report 4th January 2022

17:53 – 02:34

Clear night! So I’m going to setup and let the dome run all night if it stays clear which is the forecast as I have work tomorrow.

All Sky Camera

I have run the guiding assistant on PHD2 so that I can hopefully better track objects. The drift in frames from the last time out whilst using the ST80 as a guide scope was less than ideal. I have now put al the new settings suggested into the PHD setup and have swung round to do a focus run on a star near to M32.

PHD2 new settings

After successfully running autofocus in SGP at 23,560 on Luminance I have now slewed to M32 to gather more data that is desperately needed to resolve the outer spiral arms of the companion giant galaxy M31.

SGP Focus Run

So it is now just gone 9pm and whilst the guiding is managing to stop trailing of stars, the image is moving between frames, enough to loose the object over the course of 4-8 hours. This is clearly not good enough and it does look like the focal length of the ST80 is simply not long enough.

To get around the problem this evening I have turned guiding off, as the exposures are short (3 minutes) the trailing of stars is not an issue. At midnight I took flats for M32. I then centred on M78 for the rest of the night. Before starting I performed another focus run as the focus point had changed over the night with the temperature drop.

Auto Focus

I choose the same exposure settings and Gain 139 and Offset 21 settings as for M32. -25C was the temperature but this time I rotated the camera by 90 degrees to also fit in NGC 27309.

M78 & NGC 27309 and a satellite trail

So I left the scope running and it completed at around 2:30am with 40 frames taken across 4 filters giving me 30 minutes per channel. This will be enough to get started and if clear tonight I will setup for another run at M78 and hopefully improve the guiding.

Update. On reviewing the files this morning it looks like I forgot to select the filter in SGPro which means all my M32 and M78 images from this evening are in fact luminance only! Which is ok for M32 but for M78 I need some colour. Below is the weather data for last night.