Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Needle galaxies

There are a whole lot of galaxies in Virgo, and among them there are nice although small spiral one - NGC5364. This one and its neighbours I have chosen some time ago for a frame. Photons were collected at the end of April, 2016 from my suburban backyard - it is total 450 minutes of exposition (with 5 minutes single sub). There are several needle shaped galaxy also in the frame - these are viewed from the edge. 
NGC5364 spiral galaxy and others (above tau Virginis star)
And the luminance channel only annotated (watch the 1.1 billion light years distant galaxy cluster to the right):
NGC5364 galaxy area annotated
Clear skies!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Hunt for TrES-3b exoplanet transit

Nights in June are very short in central Europe - not even three hours. Fortunately the TrES3-3b exoplanet minimum lasts only about hour and on the June, 5th I managed to record the minimum. The egzoplanet traversed between the star and us and it caused the very small star brigtness reduction - about 0.02 magnitude, that is near the limit of detection of my setup. But, eventually, exoplanet transit has been recorded:
MaxIm photometry session of TrES-3b exoplanet transit

Lightcurve

TrES3 star position
Gears used: TS130/910 refractor with 0.79x reducer, Atik383 mono camera with Baader L filter, EQ6 mount, OAG guided. Single exposure - 120 seconds.
So - exoplanet detected from the backyard - yay !

Clear skies!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Mixed location Whirlpool

160 minutes of luminance made in Zatom. 120 minutes of RGB made in Nieborowice. Some time for processing, and here it is - M51 - Whirlpool galaxy. One of the icons of night sky, impressive spiral galaxy seen en face together with its smaller company - NGC5195. And decorated with some stars plus a few fainter fuzzies.
Refractor TS130/910 0.79x, Atik383, EQ6.
M51 galaxy and surroundings

Close up view
Clear skies!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Coma Cluster

It's been over three years since I pictured Coma Cluster in the astrojolo Deep Field One entry. This cluster is about 320 million light years away and is dominated by two supergiant elliptical galaxies. This to the left is NGC4889 - real monster. Its central part is about 240 000 light years in diameter, that is a size of whole Milky Way. However outer faint halo extends to 1.3 million light years, and NGC4889 mass is estimated to be a thousand times more than our Galaxy.
This time is in the wider context. TS130/910 0.79x, Atik383, EQ6, suburban sky:
Coma Cluster, 580 minutes LRGB
Coma Cluster, 400 minutes L inverted
Clear skies!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Imperfect Sun

AR12546 is the symbol of sunspot group (Active Region) that has been passing over sun disk since one week. It is pretty huge and can be spotted without any optical instrument but WITH some kind of solar filter (never look directly to Sun). Last weekend eventually I have been able to take a look at this monster and also take some pictures. 
Sunspot is quite dynamic, it's possible to notice changes within 1 hour. Below two pictures of this region made with SCT8", ND5 + Baader SC filter and ASI290MM camera (Earth picture is for size comparison):

AR12546 on May, 21st
AR12546 on May, 22nd
You can easily notice Sun cellular granules, a photospheric feature of size about 1000km that cover whole Sun surface except the areas occupied by sunspots.

Clear skies!

Friday, May 20, 2016

ASI290MM - hot stuff

It's been already over one week since ASI290MM camera arrived to me directly from Shangai. It is a new ASI product, very low noise, 2.13Mpx back illuminated CMOS sensor mono camera https://astronomy-imaging-camera.com/products/usb-3-0/asi290mm/ . 
ASI290MM camera with 2.1mm wide lens and 1.25" nosepiece
In the box there is standard ASI equipment - camera, nosepiece, 2.1mm lens, ST4 cable and USB3.0 cable - more about USB cable later.

Camera IMX290 sensor is panoramic, 6.5mm diagonal, and pixel size is 2.9um. Despite its small size pixel has quite a lot of place for signal - full well depth is 14500e. Read noise is 3e with gain set to 0 and drops to 1e for gain 30dB. It gives pretty well dynamic range - 12EV for low gain and still over 8EV for 30dB gain. 
Camera panoramic 2.13Mpx back-illuminated sensor
Very low read noise comes together with high sensitivity. Absolute QE value is about 70%, but the camera is very sensitive in red and infrared range. Its sensitivity drops to half at 860nm - for example for ASI120MM it is 670nm. 
Camera drivers installed without problems and at Toshiba Satellite L50 ASI290MM reached maximum full resolution speed 172fps / 8bit and 78fps / 16bit with SharpCap 2.8 and FireCapture 2.5.
At Lenovo T420s there was a problem with USB3.0 Renesas driver, so connected to USB3.0 port camera camera randomly hanged. After removing driver and installing Microsoft 0.96 driver version and replacing the USB3.0 cable camera works also at my Lenovo laptop.

Below a few recently made pictures with SCT8" and TVx2:
Tycho lunar crater - IR pass filter

Montes Alpes HD full resolution - IR pass filter

Jupiter with two moons

Jupiter - first light of camera

Camera has met my expectations - its very low noise, pretty sensitive in wide range up to 900nm, fast and has reasonable resolution 2.13Mpx, so it is possible to create lunar panoramas and picture quite a lot of Moon and Sun surface at once. It also helps to find a target :)
Comparing to my previous ASI gear - ASI120MM, new camera has obvious less noise and is more sensitive in IR - it is visible when imaging Moon with IR pass filter. Low noise and high dynamic range allows to extract subtle details when imaging Moon with 12 bit resolution, and for planets we can shorten exposure to freeze seeing or decrease gain to lower the noise.

Clear skies!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Moonwalk May 14-15

First lights of ASI290MM camera with SCT8" - getting used to the new gear and preparing for mosaic. Filters Baader R610nm and Baader IR pass 685nm, barlow TVx2.
May, 14, lunation 8.16 days
Archimedes, Sinus Lucinus

Alpes

Aristoteles, Rima Hyginus, Alphonsus, Albategnius
May, 15, lunation 9.10
Alphonsus, Arzachel, Alpetragius

Alpes

Eratosthenes

Tycho

Tycho and Clavius HD - open full size

Alpes and Caucasus HD - open full size
Clear skies!