Saturday, 14 February 2015


Here's my attempt at Comet Lovejoy via my 8" SCT, with 2 focal reducers at f/4. The image on my DSLR is vignetted at this focal length (800mm), but rapidly builds image exposure, helping capture moving images such as this comet. It is on its close passage by Earth here, and I hope to capture it again soon. I have added a rotational gradient shot that shows the knot structure in the tail well.

The million kilometer plasma filament

I popped down the observatory to try some solar imaging with the sun low in the sky Sunday 8th Feb. After dodging clouds, I was amazed to spot this filament so clearly through the eyepiece of the solar telescope. I got 20 pictures of it with my DSLR and stacked in PIPP and Registax. The large images taxed my laptop somewhat. Here's the result, exposed for flares (red) and surface detail (green) simultaneously. What an amazing structure this is, about the width of the Earth, suspended above the surface of the sun by magnetic fields. It would wrap around Jupiter's equator with length spare, and fit between the earth and the moon and back! If it fell back on the surface a Hyder flare would erupt, but it hasn't done so in the last few days. The sun is certainly more interesting than you may think!

A winter favourite

When testing and setting up guiding and imaging with the Atik 383L camera on the C925 on the iOptron mount, you have to go for a nice bright, interesting target like the Orion Nebula. Unfortunately we need a spacer to make the guide camera the correct distance from the imaging camera, if we're using the off-axis guider prism unit. We could either guide or image, so here's the image, unguided, which isn't bad!