Amateur Astronomy from Edinburgh2021-01-11T17:08:27+00:00

Forthimage: Amateur Astronomy from Edinburgh

This website is a place where I can post my images purely for the fun of it. You can find more information about the equipment I use on the About/Equipment page. To give me something to aim for, I have set up pages to get as many Messier and Lunar 100 objects as I can. The Deep Sky page is for objects not in Messier’s catalogue and includes some more recent lists such as the Caldwell and Finest NGC catalogues.

Light pollution is a serious problem for amateur astronomy here on the edge of Edinburgh, Scotland, so this is a battle of photons vs sodium! Please come back and visit as the site develops, I make lots of mistakes, the weather gets worse and the skies get brighter.

I am a member and webmaster of the Astronomical Society of Edinburgh and some of my pictures are displayed on their Flickr page. I also contribute data to the HOYS citizen science project, ExoClock and the BAA Mars section.

Mark

Recent posts

Sun 2021-01-01

1 January 2021|News, Sun|

Quick shot only half of the scope over the lip of the dome.

Object IDSun
AR2794, AR2795
Details2020-01-01  12:21 UT
Telescope250mm f4.8 Newtonian, MPCC
Baader solar film
CameraQHY168C
Exposure(s)1.6 ms single shot
60s 40fps avi
CaptureSharpCap
ProcessingAutoStakkert 3, Photoshop
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Sun 2020-12-30

30 December 2020|News, Sun|

Quick shot only half of the scope over the lip of the dome just before it went behind the roof.

Object IDSun
AR2794, AR2795
Details2020-12-30  13:13UT
Telescope250mm f4.8 Newtonian, MPCC
Baader solar film
CameraQHY168C
Exposure(s)0.4 ms single shot
CaptureSharpCap
ProcessingPhotoshop
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Sun 2020-12-29

29 December 2020|News, Sun|

Quick shot only half of the scope over the lip of the dome but seems the air is steady. Very snowy day.

Object IDSun
AR2794, AR2795
Details2020-12-29  12:39UT
Telescope250mm f4.8 Newtonian, MPCC
Baader solar film
CameraQHY168C
Exposure(s)67s .SER
47 fps
CaptureFireCapture
ProcessingAutoStakkert 3
Registax 6
Photoshop
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Cone Nebula and Christmas Tree cluster

22 December 2020|Nebula, News, NGC Winter, Open Cluster|

Problems with ice of dew somewhere, had to heavily crop this to remove rings and artefacts. Strange colouring also part of the problem. Not great!

Object IDNGC2264
Details2020-12-21
Telescope250mm f4.8 Newtonian
MPCC
CameraQHY168C @15°C
IDAS P2
Exposure(s)30x180s
darks, flats, dark-flats
CaptureNINA
ProcessingAPP, Photoshop, Topaz DeNoise AI
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M42 & NGC 1977 mosaic Dec 2020

20 December 2020|M31-60, Nebula, News, NGC Winter|

The annual M42 this year is a mosaic with the Running Man. APP dealt with the gradients really well after messing with the Normalisation and Integration parameters.

Object IDM42, NGC 1977
Details2020-12-19
Telescope250mm f4. Newtonian
MPCC
CameraQHY168c @-15°C
IDAS P2
Exposure(s)10x180s each pane, 2/10
Darks, flats, dark-flats
CaptureNINA
ProcessingAPP, Photoshop, Topaz DeNoise AI

Reminder:

Mosaics in APP – defaults unless otherwise stated
1. Load – all as normal – you don’t need to use separate sessions for each frame if you did it all at the same time
2. Calibrate as normal
3. Analyse stars – I needed to increase from 500 or it wouldn’t work – went 1400 – might have been the subject but I suspect it helps to stitch the mosaic together
4. Register – Registration mode – mosaic, use dynamic distortion model, uncheck same camera and optics (will be suggested if you don’t)
Scale stop = 1 (for a 10% mosaic overlap)
5. Normalize – Mode – advanced – neutralize background
LNC degree – 2nd degree, iterations 3
6. Integrate – Enable MBB – 10% because I did 10% overlap in the mosaic
INTEGRATE – and if you’re lucky it all works

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NGC 1977 test image

17 December 2020|Nebula, News, NGC Winter|

Testing out and configuring replacement laptop after old one got washed away in observatory leak! Took a few frames of the Running Man nebula. Topaz is great for removing noise in images with too few frames. This only had 4 frames and once stretched was very noisy. Looks great after Topaz-ing.

Object IDNGC1977 Running Man Nebula
Orion
Details2020-12-16 23:18UT
Poor seeing, guiding 0.8″ and a little windy
Telescope250mm f4.8 Newtonian
MPCC, IDAS P2
CameraQHY 168C @15°C
Gain/offset 2/20
Exposure(s)5x180s 1×1
darks, bias only – so a little vignetting, removed in processing
CaptureN.I.N.A.
PHD2
ProcessingSiriL, Photoshop, Topaz DeNoise AI
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Co-author in an ExoClock paper

15 December 2020|Exoplanet, News|

I’m named as a co-author in the latest ExoClock paper to be published having provided several exoplanet transit observations to the project.

ExoClock Project: An open platform for monitoring the ephemerides of Ariel targets with contributions from the public
arXiv:2012.07478 [astro-ph.EP]

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Mars 2020 updated 2020-12-01

1 December 2020|Mars, News|

Lots of Mars images clogging up my newsfeed so one image “to rule them all…” to be updated through the apparition.

Dec 01 – Think this is the end of my Mars season. Too small to capture much detail now but it’s been a good one!

Just going to keep updating this throughout the apparition rather than keep putting new images up. Also marked out a few of the more interesting and well known features. I was delighted when I managed to find Olympus Mons although it seems to be brighter this year than in previous apparitions.

Seeing variations make a big difference to detail that can be seen as does my ability to process them. Seeing was much worse later on in the season as Mars receded and got smaller.

General details
250mm f4.8 Newtonian, MPCC
ZWO ASI290MC, IR block
180s SER files, 3 – 50% stacked depending on conditions
100-160 fps
Captured in FireCapture
Processed in AutoStakkert 3, Registax, Photoshop

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Mars 2020-11-22

24 November 2020|Mars, News|

Dust storm is still visible but fading and getting smaller.

Object IDMars
Details2020-11-21 17:47 UT
CM 81.5°
Seeing 2/10
Telescope250mm f4.8 Newtonian
x3 Barlow 4500mm fl
CameraZWO ASI 290MC
Exposure(s)180s 124 fps video
25% frames used
CaptureFirecapture
ProcessingAutoStakkert 3, Registax 6, PS
Drizzle 1.5x
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Mars 2020-11-19

19 November 2020|Mars, News|

Taken during a live stream to the Astronomical Society of Edinburgh members, in some of the worst seeing! Dust storm is more visible at this CM. BAA Mars Mapper 2020 for comparison.

Object IDMars
Details2020-11-19 19:29 UT
CM 134°
Seeing 1/10
Telescope250mm f4.8 Newtonian
x3 Barlow 3600mm fl
CameraZWO ASI 290MC
Exposure(s)120s 99 fps video
30% frames used
CaptureFirecapture
ProcessingAutoStakkert 3, Registax 6, PS
Drizzle 1.5x
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Mars 2020-11-17

17 November 2020|Mars, News|

Another quick cloud gap but very strong winds and some of the worst seeing. Still managing to get something out of it. Must be getting better. Showing some form of cloud where marked by an arrow, possibly the local dust storm. Sent to the BAA and got this back from the Mars Director, so maybe:
“Yes, you caught it. Well done, not many in the uk did. Nuttall, myself and you so far.”

Object IDMars
Details2020-11-17 21:05 UT
CM 176°
Seeing 2/10
Telescope250mm f4.8 Newtonian
x3 Barlow 3600mm fl
CameraZWO ASI 290MC
Exposure(s)120s 139 fps video
20% frames used
CaptureFirecapture
ProcessingAutoStakkert 3, Registax 6, PS
Drizzle 1.5x
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Mars 2020-11-15

16 November 2020|Mars, News|

Quick gap in the clouds. Lots of processing artefacts. Getting harder to do Mars now as it recedes.

Object IDMars
Details2020-11-15 21:42 UT
CM 203°
Seeing 5/10
Telescope250mm f4.8 Newtonian
x3 Barlow 3600mm fl
CameraZWO ASI 290MC
Exposure(s)180s 169 fps video
25% frames used
CaptureFirecapture
ProcessingAutoStakkert 3, Registax 6, PS
Drizzle 1.5x
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Sunspot group AR2781 Nov 2020

4 November 2020|News, Sun|

Object IDSunspot groups AR2781
Details2020-11-04  11:21UT,  2020-11-05 11:19UT
Telescope250mm f4.8 Newtonian, MPCC
CameraZWO ASI290MC
Exposure(s)120s .SER file
100 fps approx
CaptureFireCapture
ProcessingAutoStakkert 3, Registax, PS

I had hoped to monitor the development of this group regularly but the weather hasn’t allowed that. So now the group has lost its complexity and is just a single spot.

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Flaming Star Nebula

28 October 2020|Nebula, News, NGC Autumn|

An unexpected clear night when forecast said not. Poor transparency and needed longer exposures than the sky conditions could take.

Object IDFlaming Star Nebula IC 405
Auriga
Details2020-10-28 20:29-
Telescope250mm f4.8 Newtonian
MPCC
CameraQHY168C @-10°C
2/20 gain/offset
IDAS P2
Exposure(s)30x180s
darks, flats, bias
CaptureNINA
ProcessingAPP, Photoshop
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Cygnus Wall in NGC 7000

27 October 2020|Nebula, News, NGC Summer|

Last one was narrowband, this attempt is full colour with the CMOS camera. Also first time using NINA for capture. Looks a great tool.
Replaced image after trying demo of Topaz de-noise – excellent.

Object IDCygnus Wall
Tail of NGC 7000 North America Nebula
Details2020-10-24 20:38-
Telescope250mm f4.8 Newtonian
MPCC
CameraQHY168C @-10°C
2/20 gain/offset
IDAS P2
Exposure(s)25x180s
darks, flats, bias
CaptureNINA
ProcessingAPP, Photoshop, Topaz De-noise
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