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11/30/-1
    
Saturday, April 24th, 2010
A Couple of Firsts
Although the clouds were obscuring the moon and rarely could I see arcturus, the sky was supposed to clear so I set up and waited although I was productively shooting darks while I waited. Then I turned to the moon which was eerily coming in and out through the clouds.

Lunar AVI and Registax
So I thought I'd take a crack at using my camera in Live View mode to do some lunar shooting and stacking with Registax. It was semi successful.

After acquiring the video (no barlows or anything) I pulled the 1200 frames into registax and had nothing but trouble if I used more then one alignment point. It kept breaking up the image into segments and leaving these terrible lines.

I ended up just using a single, large alignment box and that seemed to work okay. I don't have many lunar shots to compare. Included inthe gallery below is a single frame from the video (in the video you can see the clouds moving across the surface but that's difficult to see in the single frame) and then the stacked and processed frame.

Peltier Cooling Chamber
I also used my Peltier cooling chamber last night. It takes just under an hour to settle at it's maximum temp drop which last night was 11 degrees. I was mostly shooting darks once it settled because of the clouds, but they eventually went away and left a high haze so I decided to shoot a bright target. M29.

You can see some info and pictures of the Peltier chamber here:
http://www.myastronomyjournal.com/user_images/nheacock_images/PeltierTest/

Critial Element: My noise level went from 320 to 49 with the aid of the cooling chamber making me able to really pull out the color of the stars without ridiculously pulling out color noise in the background. Yay!

M29 - The Cooling Tower Cluster
Scope: Vixen ED103S with WO Flat 2 0.8x FR/FF
Mount: Orion Sirius EQ-G with GoTo
Guiding:  Meade DSI Pro and PHD Guiding
Guide Scope: William Optics ZenithStar 66 SD
Camera: Canon EOS 1000D (Modified)
Special Settings: None
ISO: 800
Exposure: 24 minutes (3 x 480s)
Processing Software: Acquired in Nebulosity with high dithering, Stacked in Deep Sky Stacker (Kappa-Sigma Clipping for all frames), Levels, Curves, Astronomy Tools, Gradient XTerminator and Noise Ninja in Photoshop
Support Files: 40 flats, 40 bias, 8 darks
See Gallery below for image


Image Gallery For This Session
01 Moon Screenshot 02 Moon LiveView
02a Moon Snapshot 03 M29
   

01-Moon-Screenshot.jpg
Click picture above for larger version
If the picture seems too bright or too dark, try adjusting the brightness below.
Brightness:
|
  



Comments:
On 05/01/10 at 09:22pm Neil Heacock wrote:
Thanks Kent. I'm really looking forward to using the cooling chamber in the summer. It's clearly working and working well already. I intent on using it at all times, but we'll have to see how it ends up in practice. I don't see a reason to not cool the camera since I have the means now.

I'll have to add to my comments where the spikes came from (I thought I did, but I guess not). I used Noel Carboni's star spikes tool. Just to spruce up the image a bit.

-Neil

On 05/01/10 at 09:14pm Kent wrote:
Neil...

Great shot of M29. I've been thinking of building a Peltier cooler for my DSLR which , based on your experience, appears worth the effort.

I am curious where the diffraction spikes in your M29 shot came from. Usually you don't get those with a refractor.

On 04/26/10 at 12:59pm Barry wrote:
Hey, nothing wrong with these. If the "screen shot" is a raw video frame, the seeing must have been way above average. The "Live View" is the 1200 frame video processed in Registax? This would have been the night to bring out the 3x barlow for a close-up of Copernicus or Plato. The snapshot looks pretty good too.

M29 was one of my very early deep sky objects.....probably the best shot I ever got with the old Meade DSI and NexStar mount.



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