28 Dec 2011

Minor progress

Weather has been really awful! During last month there has been two nights with clear sky for longer than 15 minutes.

First one I got the mount polar aligned. I used PAM (polealignmax) which is really easy, fast and precise way to do it. After four runs I had error less than 1 arcsec.

But I noticed that the virtual COM-ports are not so handy to use! When I needed to switch mount control from PAM to MaximDL, I'd had to shut down both programs before I could use the other one. If I tried to disconnect one and connect to another there was an error with the driver. weird...

Last night was the second clear night, but there was a huge storm which cut down the electricity for my observatory too...

12 Dec 2011

Driver update

The weather forecast showed partly cloudy for yesterday evening so I head to the observatory.

I saw stars for about 5 minutes wich after started to snow... So much for my plans for the precise polar alignment!

But, something good because of the clouds! I removed all the hidden COM-ports of my laptop and got the ASCOM-driver working! That's really good news because now I can let the computer do all the hard work of the polar alignment and all that I have to do is rotate the adjustment knobs. And now I don't have to use TheSkyX Pro as a mount control and a planetarium program for the CCDCommander (it's quite heavy for my old observatory computer) because I can do them with the ASCOM. Hopefully weather will get better soon...

10 Dec 2011

First power-up of the mount

My work was keeping me busy and I was away for over 3 weeks. But at this week I had time to power up the mount.

First the bad things: I can't put the dovetail plate holder directly to the mount! There are few skrews which are higher than the underside of the plate holder (they will jam the motion!). I had to lift the dovetail plate holder for about 3mm to prevent it attaching to the skrews.

Ok, this should be figured out when making the mount but this really isn't a big disaster!! I put thick 10mm washers under every locking skrew and that's it!

After figuring that out I put my 80mm APM to the mount and made a rough polar alignment. Then I took some time for visual observing.

I had plans to make precise polar alignment also but I had problems with ASCOM drivers on my laptop. StellarCAT is using virtual COM-ports with USB connection and for some reason my laptop didn't connect to the mount. Everything worked fine with TheSkyX Pro and servocat drivers so no need to worry! But I couldn't use Polealignmax. Hopefully ASCOM drivers will work on my observatory PC.

20 Nov 2011

Mount on pier

Today I had time to place mount on my pier! Job was easier than I thought, I had to make one hole with threads for 8mm skrew. Took about 10 minutes...

The mount is huge comparing to my previous EQ-6. Counterweight bar's diameter is 40mm...

19 Nov 2011


After over 4 months of waiting I finally got it! Brand new MesuMount2.

The mount is friction driven by stellarcat servomotors and should carry weights up to 100kg. Periodic error should be less than 4 arcsec (peak to peak).

I'll write more when I get first real tests done!

21 Sept 2011


Still waiting for the mount... It's few weeks late now and the manufacturer is expecting some more delay. Hopefully not for too long!

26 Jul 2011

Updating equipment

I planned to update my mount (EQ-6 SynTrek) to better one  for this season. I have been quite satisfied with it but I wanted more accurate one.

I had saved enough to buy one I had in mind. But the same day I was placing an order for that I found another manufacturer's mount with good accuracy and payload and the most important thing, about half the price! So suddenly I had few "extra" Euros to spend...

So today UPS brought me big and heavy Pelican case from U.K (thanks Brian). Inside was HUGE filter wheel (FW8-STL) with eight 50mm filters (Baader's LRGB+HaOiiiSiiHb) and remote quide head.

Behind the wheel is SBIG's STL-11000XM with class0 chip. Camera has large (36mm*24,7mm) chip with 11Mpix (4008*2672).

And now I have to wait about a month for a dark night... First one with astronomical darkness will be 24th of August.

24 Jul 2011

Observatory v2.0

Here's really short update of what have happened since last summer: I decided to make dome as a  "real" dome, not a roll of roof...

So I started to make a Geodesic dome. I made two models, pentagon and hexagon. (here's good calculator: DesertDomes)

These were used as a mold for fiberglass parts. Here's an assembly diagram where you can find these pentagon and hexagon figures:

After making 5 pentagons and 12 hexagons I started to attach them.

And finally a complete dome
And next the shutter system:
And finally:
Here's domes rotation and shutter control box: (lesvedome)
As you can see, I'm not an electrician.... But it's working!!

8 Apr 2011

Elephant's Trunk - Reprocessed

Here's reprocessed version of the Trunk.

I tried to make image brighter and enhance contrast.

3 Apr 2011

NGC4244 and NGC4214

Here's only Luminance channel for now. I took all color channels also, but somehow image center moved so the NGC4214 is too close to the edge of the frame. So I have to take them again...

NGC 4244, also Caldwell 26, is an edge-on loose in the constellation Canes Venatici. It is part of the M94 group (the Canes Venatici I Group), a galaxy group relatively close to the Local group containing the Milky way. It shines at magnitude +10.2/+10.6. Its celestial cooridinates are RA 12h 17.5m, dec +37° 49′.

NGC4214 is a barred irregular galaxy about 13 million light-years away.

Total exposure of this Luminance image is 6hrs (15min subs binned1*1).

1 Apr 2011

IC1396 - The Elephant's Trunk Nebula in HaRGB

I got 1 hour of each color last night, so here's the HaRGB image of IC1396.

Total exposure is 9hrs (360:60:60:60). All binned 1*1, Ha 30min subs and RGB 10min subs..

26 Mar 2011

IC1396 - The Elephant's Trunk Nebula in Hydrogen-alpha

I had one galaxy project going on, but about 70% of moon made me take some Hydrogen-alpha images.

I aimed my set-up towards Elephant's Trunk Nebula which is a concentration of interstellar gas and dust in the star cluster IC 1396 and ionized gas region located in the constellation Cepheus about 2,400 light years away from Earth (wikipedia).

I took 10*1800 sec exposures, 5hr total. Here's quickly processed version.

22 Mar 2011

DWB111; The Propeller Nebula

Another one taken with APM 80/500 triplet. This was also imaged in early March, but it took almost two weeks to process it. This can be found in constellation Cygnus.

Exposure of this HaRGB image is 9*1800 sec of Ha (bin1*1) and 6*450 sec of RGB (bin2*2). Total 6h45min.

15 Mar 2011

Messier 53 with NGC5053

I wasn't satisfied with my EQ-6's performance with C8 so I changed to a smaller scope, APM 80/500.

Last week I took pictures of three different objects but hadn't had time to process them. These two globular clusters was a perfect shot for the short refractor. They can be found in constellation Coma Berenices.

Exposure of this LRGB image is 285:30:40:45 minutes.

6 Mar 2011


Here's really late opening for this season... But better late than never!!

NGC 5033 (mag 10.8) is an inclined spiral galaxy located in the constellation Canes  Venatici. The galaxy has a very bright nucleus and a relatively faint disk. Significant warping is visible in the southern half of the disk.

Here's LRGB image with exposure of 375:35:30:50 minutes. Luminance binned 1*1 (10 to 15 min subs) and colors 2*2 (5min subs). Weather wasn't so good either, poor visibily with high clouds.