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Friday, January 31, 2014

It's over, I cant do my loved astronomical imaging anymore



Sad news, my old Meade LX200 GPS 12" telescope gave up and died.

Two nights ago, when I was imaging, my telescope stopped tracking and gave an error message "Motor Stalled".
It turned to be a fatal problem, the control board of Ra motor was fried. There is no way to fix it myself, the board has several layers and lots of microscopic components. This is a very old scope and it has been under a heavy usage in a very extreme weather conditions. Replacement parts are very hard to find, since this telescope is not manufactured any more. Even if I managed to have needed parts, it'll take the rest of the season to put all up and running again.

This instrument has been way below my level as an astronomical photographer for a years. Lots of desperate looking DIY solutions was used to make this old scope work as a some kind of imaging platform. I really need a new mount and a better optics. 

I can't afford to buy any new instruments, it looks like my days are over now. I'm not going to buy any second rate stuff, I'll rather be without, than start fighting against constant malfunctions ones again. I have spent countless hours outside, soldering some bad connectors, in a freezing wind and a bellow -20 centigrade temperatures to fix my scope, not any more. 

The only way to solve this is trying to find a sponsor. It won't be easy and it might never happen. 

An update, February 02. 2014

After a careful study of damages in my scope, I found out, that not only the Ra motor controller card was toasted. Also the motherboard, Ra motor and its encoder are burned and partly smelted too. This means, that the whole system is beyond repair, least with any reasonable costs. 


Images, taken with this deceased scope can be seen HERE.


A collection of images with the Meade LX200 GPS 12" telescope, Baader narrowband filters and the QHY9 astronomical camera
(Be sure to click the image to see it in full scale)









Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Three wide field projects, three constellations


Yesterday I published a large mosaic of Cepheus. I have done two other large mosaics from two other Constellations, Auriga and Cygnus. In this blog post I show all three at the same time. 


18-panels mosaic of the constellation Cygnus
Click for a large image, Note. 2300x1500 pixels and 3,5MB

Mapped colors from the emission of ionized elements, R=Sulfur, G=Hydrogen and B=Oxygen.
Total exposure time around 120 hours. Buy a photographic print from HERE

A blog post about this photo with more info and images:


12-panels mosaic of  the Constellation Auriga
Click for a large image, Note. 2000x1000 pixels and 2,5MB

Mapped colors from the emission of ionized elements, R=Sulfur, G=Hydrogen and B=Oxygen.
Total exposure time around 70 hours. Buy a photographic print from HERE

A blog post about this photo with more info and images:
http://astroanarchy.blogspot.fi/2012/03/auriga-panorama-gets-bigger-12-panels.html


10-panels mosaic of the constellation Cepheus
Click for a large image, Note. 2900x1700 pixels and 6,6MB

Mapped colors from the emission of ionized elements, R=Sulfur, G=Hydrogen and B=Oxygen.
Total exposure time around  92 hours. Buy a photographic print from HERE

A blog post about this photo with more info and images:
http://www.astroanarchy.blogspot.fi/2014/01/a-grande-finale-of-cepheus-project.html

(I have done many smaller mosaic images but only the very large ones are listed here.)






Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A grande finale of the Cepheus project, mosaic of ten panels with colors



I have planned this Cepheus project for a long time. Finally I have been able to finalize it. I have done some large mosaic images of nebula rich areas in our Milky way. The ultra fast camera optics, Canon EF 200mm f1.8, it's a perfect tool for the job. It has a large, flat and sharp, image field and full open at f1.8, it collects photons very fast. The final image covers an area of about 18x10 degrees. (Full Moon has an apparent size about 0,5 degrees. 720 full Moons are needed to cover this area in the sky.)

To have a color image, each of the panels have been shot three times. This narrowband image is shot with QHY9  (a cooled astronomical camera), Canon EF 200mm f1.8 camera optics full open,  Baader Planetarium Narrowband filter set for an emission of ionized elements, Hydrogen, Oxygen and Sulfur.  (H-alpha, O-III and S-III) The dimensions of the final mosaic image are 12000 x 6500 pixels.


Emission Nebulae in constellation Cepheus 
Mosaic image of ten individual panels, total exposures 92h.
Click for a very large image, 3000 pixels wide and 7MB.

Mapped colors from the emission of ionized elements, R=Sulfur, G=Hydrogen and B=Oxygen.
Buy a real photographic print from HERE


About 1:1 detail from the image above
Click for a full size photo

Lots of stars out there.


Cepheus Nebulae in visual spectrum
Composed from the narrowband channels

Image is in Natural color palette from the emission of ionized elements, 
R=Hydrogen + Sulfur, G=Oxygen and B=Oxygen + Hydrogen.
 Buy a real photographic print from HERE


B&W image with an emission of Hydrogen alpha only

Image of light, emitted by an ionized Hydrogen.
 Buy a real photographic print from HERE


A labeled image and orientation

Some main objects are labeled here


An orientation in constellation Cepheus. The mosaic image covers an area of ~18x10 dgrees.

Technical details

I have used lots of an older material for this image. I have shot this area for years, with a different instruments, with different focal lengths and apertures. The total exposure time for the final mosaic image is calculated by adding the exposures for the actual mosaic to the exposures for sub-images used.  

List of the sub-images used for a large, 10 panels, mosaic of Cepheus


Panels, shot for a final mosaic


Processing work flow

Image acquisition, MaxiDL v5.07.
Stacked and calibrated in CCDStack2.
Deconvolution with a CCDStack2 Positive Constraint, 33 iterations, added at 50% weight
An extra background normalization in CCDStack for a mosaic match.
Color combine for each panel in PS CS3
Panel composition in PS CS3
Levels, curves and the final color matching in PS CS3.

Imaging optics used for the mosaic image

Meade LX200 GPS 12" reduced to f5
Tokina AT-X 300mm f2.8
Canon EF 200mm f1.8

Cameras and filters

Imaging camera QHY 9, with a QHY filter wheel
Guider camera, Lodetsar
Active optics unit SXV-AO with Meade LX200 12" telescope
Baader Filter set, 7nm H-aplha, 8nm S-II and 8.5nm O-III

Total exposures used for a mosaic image

H-alpha 160 x 1200s Bin 1x1
O-III 66 x 1200s Bin 1x1
S-II 50 x 1200s Bin 1x1

Total exposures 276 x 1200s = 92h


Saturday, January 25, 2014

A zoom in series of the Cave Nebula, Sh2-155



Now and then I have published some zoom in series of various objects imaged by me.
The purpose is to show the apparent scale in the sky. Beside that, this series shows nicely the fractal nature of our universe.  Series are possible to make, since I have shot many objects with various focal lengths.
Like this one is shot with 200mm, 300mm and ~2000mm  focal lengths

The Cave Nebula, a study about the scale in the sky
Note. A circle, size of the Moon, in the images as a scale. (An apparent scale of the Moon is 0,5 degrees, or 30  arc minutes.)

All images are in Mapped colors from the emission of ionized elements,
R=Sulfur, G=Hydrogen and B=Oxygen.


Orientation in constellation Cepheus

An orientation in constellation Cepheus. The mosaic image covers an area of ~18x10 dgrees.









Friday, January 24, 2014

A new header image, Oxygen emission of the Eastern Veil nebula



I have added a new header photo. It shows a small portion of the Veil Nebula supernova remnant in Cygnus. Image shows the Eastern veil but only in light emitted by ionized Oxygen, O-III.

I have published this image at January 7 this year. A blog post about it can be seen HERE.


An emission of ionized Oxygen in Eastern Veil Nebula.


The Veil nebula SNR

This is an image about the whole Veil Nebula. A blog post about this image can be seen HERE
A detail image above can be seen at left edge of the image bellow. Click for a large image.






Thursday, January 23, 2014

A supernova remnant in Cygnus (Not a Veil nebula) reprocessed



I found six hours of unused H-a data, for this SNR, from my hard drive! Now the dim background emission of an ionized hydrogen is in balance with O-III emission of supernova remnant. The overall look and feel of the image is much natural, I think.

This is a rarely imaged target. I haven't been able to find an other color image of it, showing the whole supernova remnant. This is also one of the most difficult targets, I have ever shot. Due to a very dense star field, large angular dimension and a very diffused structure this is even more difficult target, than a Simeis 147 supernova remnant in Taurus. Total exposure time of 38h was needed to have this image.

G65.3+5.7 SNR has about the same angular dimensions, than brighter and more famous remnant in Cygnus, the Veil Nebula The angular dimensions are about 3x4 degrees.
NOTE, this image is updated at 20.01.2014. There is now a better H-a channel and the background is practically full of ionized Hydrogen, H-alpha.

G65.3+5.7 SNR, reprocessed with extra H-a data
A supernova remnant in constellation Cygnus

A bicolor image of the supernova remnant. An ionized Hydrogen emission (H-alpha) can be seen as Red and an ionized Oxygen emission (O-III) as Blue. Buy a photographic print from HERE

A detail image of G65.3+5.7 SNR
So many stars...

A closeup from the full resolution image, click to see it at maximum size.


Orientation




Technical details

Processing work flow:
Image acquisition, MaxiDL v5.07.
Stacked and calibrated in CCDStack2.
Deconvolution with a CCDStack2 Positive Constraint, 33 iterations, added at 33% weight
Levels, curves and color combine in PS CS3.

Optics, Canon EF 200mm camera lens at f1.8
Camera, QHY9
Guiding, Meade LX200 GPS 12" and a Lodestar guider
Image Scale, ~5 arcseconds/pixel
H-alpha, 69x1200s = 23h
O-III, 45x1200s = 15h
Total exposure time 32h

A single calibrated and stretched 20min O-III frame
O-III is the stronger channel!

Heavily stretched 1200s frame of the strongest channel, ionized Oxygen (O-III), doesn't show much.





Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Sh2-221, a supernova remnant in Auriga


I think, this is the first three band color image, showing the whole Sh2-221, in the World.

This was one of the most difficult targets I have done so far. Supernova remnant Sh2-221, SNR G160.4+02.8, HB9, locates in constellation Auriga and has an angular dimensions about 2.5 x over 3 degrees. I never seen or red about the extended ionized Oxygen area, visible in my image as blue.
About 33h of exposures with extremely fast camera optics, Canon EF 200mm f1.8 @f1.8, was needed for this image. Total exposure time for the mosaic image, with a Planetary Nebula Sh2-216, is about 58h.

This could be the very first narrow band color image in the world out of this target. Generally, there are very few images of it. I couldn't find an other image showing the whole remnant  nor other channels, than H-a.
I have shot this area before but at the time part of the Sh2-221 was missing. This new image of mine is much more accurate and deep.

Sh2-221,  Sh2-221, SNR
A supernova remnant in Auriga, Ra 04 43 21 Dec 46 42 06

Mapped colors
Mapped colors from the emission of ionized elements,
R=Sulfur, G=Hydrogen and B=Oxygen.
Buy a photographic print from HERE

Visual spectrum
Image is in Natural color palette from the emission of ionized elements, 
R=Hydrogen + Sulfur, G=Oxygen and B=Oxygen + Hydrogen.
 Buy a photographic print from HERE

INFO

The Supernova remnant Sh2-221 (SNR G160.4+02.8, HB9) locates in constellation Auriga, about one degree West from Capella. (Doesn't show in my image) The distance from the Earth, 2600 light years,  is determined recently at 2007. This object was recognized as a supernova remnant back at seventies.


A two panel mosaic image of Sh-221 and Sh2-216
Two ways to end a life of the star in a same seven degrees field of view!

Just next to Sh2-221 locates a closest known planetary nebula, Sh2-216. This is also a very rarely images target, due to its low surface brightness and large angular dimension. This mosaic image covers over seven degrees of sky vertically. (The Moon has an apparent dimension of 0.5 degrees.)  Mosaic is made out of my new data of Sh2-221 and an older material of Sh2-216. Some new exposures was taken for the Sh2-216 to match the background for a mosaic image. 

Image shows two different ways to end a life of the star. At left, as a Supernova and at right as a Planetary Nebula. (Massive stars will go to a Supernova, after burning out all of the Hydrogen. There will be a Neutron star or a Black Hole left behind. Lighter stars, as our Sun, will turn to a Planetary Nebula, after ran out of Hydrogen. There is a core of the star left behind, it's called a White Dwarf  and it will cool down gradually. ) 

Mapped colors
Mapped colors from the emission of ionized elements,
R=Sulfur, G=Hydrogen and B=Oxygen.
Buy a photographic print from HERE

Visual spectrum
Image is in Natural color palette from the emission of ionized elements, 
R=Hydrogen + Sulfur, G=Oxygen and B=Oxygen + Hydrogen.
 Buy a photographic print from HERE

A labeled image

Note. A circle, size of the Moon, is marked as a scale. Both objects are very large targets, as can be seen.

Orientation in Auriga



Technical details

Processing work flow:
Image acquisition, MaxiDL v5.07.
Stacked and calibrated in CCDStack2.
Deconvolution with a CCDStack2 Positive Constraint, 33 iterations, added at 50% weight
Levels, curves and color combine in PS CS3.

Optics, Canon EF 200mm camera lens at f1.8
Camera, QHY9 with the Baader narrow band filter set, H-a, S-II and O-III
Guiding, Meade LX200 GPS 12" and a Lodestar guider
Image Scale, ~5 arcseconds/pixel

Exposures for the Sh2-221 SNR
H-alpha: 51 x 1200s = 17h
O-III:  21 x 1200s = 7h
S-III: 27 x 1200s = 9h

Exposures for the Sh2-216 Planetary Nebula
H-alpha: 30 x 1200s = 10h
O-III:  18 x 1200s = 6h
S-III: 27 x 1200s = 9h
Total exposure time 58h


Animation of the narrow band channels

In this animation each color channel of Sh2-221 is shown separately. A special technique of mine, Tone Mapping, was used to dig out some extremely dim data.

A set of individual 20 min. exposures for used channels.

Note. 
Images are calibrated with Bias corrected Flats and Darks. A very strong none linear stretching is performed to the images. A hint of the Planetary Nebula Sh2-216 can be seen at most right.

H-alpha, the light emitted by an ionized Hydrogen

A single 20 min. exposure of H-alpha

S-II, the light emitted by an ionized Sulfur

A single 20 min. exposure of S-II

O-III, the light emitted by an ionized Oxygen

A single 20 min. exposure of O-III




Saturday, January 11, 2014

An experimental 3D-studies of Melotte 15 in IC 1805, the Heart Nebula



Images are for two different viewing methods, the first  is for the Parallel Vision method and the second one for the Cross Vision method. Viewing instructions can be seen HERE.

Anaglyph versions , for the Red/Cyan eyeglasses, can be found from my portfolio HERE.

NOTE! This is a personal vision about volumes and shapes, based on some known facts and an artistic impression.

3D-freeview stereo pairs of the Melotte 15
An emission nebula in heart of the Heart nebula, IC 1805

Parallel Vision
( A Cross Vision versions are just after this set.)

My original photo of Melotte 15, with technical details, can be found from HERE.

A wide field view
The Melotte 15 can be seen at center of the Heart Nebula at bottom middle.





Cross Vision




A wide field view
The Melotte 15 can be seen at center of the Heart Nebula at bottom middle.







Thursday, January 9, 2014

soul Nebula, an experimental 3D-study



Images are for two different viewing methods, the first  is for the Parallel Vision method and the second one for the Cross Vision method. Viewing instructions can be seen HERE.

Anaglyph versions , for the Red/Cyan eyeglasses, can be found from my portfolio HERE.

NOTE! This is a personal vision about volumes and shapes, based on some known facts and an artistic impression.

3D-freeview stereo pairs of the Soul Nebula, IC 1805
An emission nebula in Cassiopeia

Parallel Vision
( A Cross Vision versions just after this set.)

Soul Nebula


Soul nebula detail 1


Soul nebula detail 1


Cross Vision


Soul Nebula


Soul Nebula detail 1


Soul Nebula detail 2

My original images, with technical details
http://astroanarchy.blogspot.fi/2012/12/soul-nebula-up-close-personal.html




Tuesday, January 7, 2014

NGC 6992, Eastern Veil, an ionized Oxygen only


Eastern Veil was my opening image of the Autumn season 2013.
I just made a new image out of it. This photo shows only an emission of the ionized Oxygen.


NGC 6992
A portion of the Eastern Veil in Oxygen light

An emission of ionized Oxygen in Eastern Veil Nebula.


An original image shows three emission lines, H-alpha, Sulfur II and Oxygen III

Link to an original blog post with the technical details HERE.


Three emission lines as an animation