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All Blog Posts (160)

Full Time Astronomy?

Got laid off today! It was only part time work and the lay off was expected - not a big deal. So now I can spend all (well, most) of my time on astronomy.

Coincidentally, my previous employer, Xerox, announced today that they are outsourcing most engineering to India. It has been my opinion for some time now that the company was run by fools. This is proof positive.

Added by Greg Marshall on June 8, 2011 at 8:00pm — 3 Comments

Flexure and Field Flatness Tests

Neil gave me the idea of testing to see how much differential flexure I have in my side-by-side setup and I got around to doing that last night when we had partly cloudy skies such that I didn't want to try real imaging, not knowing how long it would last. My AT111EDT (with QSI 583 camera) and Orion ST80 (with Meade DSI camera) are mounted on a 3/8" aluminum plate, about 8" apart. Recently I also added an aluminum bar across the tops of the rings to couple the 2 scopes there in addition to the… Continue

Added by Greg Marshall on June 5, 2011 at 10:00pm — 1 Comment


Mazatlan sucks. I'm feeling really sorry for the people there, drug wars stopping tourism, the city is falling apart, it's super sad. But the town is going criminal in a big way as regular folks are being financially pressed to the exteme Aweful to be walking through there knowing what' coming for those people. Horrible.

Added by Charles Dunlop on June 5, 2011 at 7:06pm — 2 Comments


I am thinking of purchasing a Sony@550 which has a CMOS sensor and my current Sony has a CCD. What are the pros and cons in DSLR astro? I want the 550 for its live view and it is a 14 megapixel while mine is 10. Comments please Thanks Al

Added by Al McAdam on June 2, 2011 at 4:38pm — 5 Comments

A Direct Comparison Of 200mm f/4 and a 90mm f/7 Scopes

I've had a few conversations recently about the difference between my Vixen R200SS and my Vixen ED103S.

The R200SS

Aperture: 200mm (8")

F Ratio: f/4

Design: Newtonian

The ED103S

Aperture: 103mm (masked down to 90mm due to spacers in the light path causing unwanted diffraction spikes)

F Ratio: f/7.7 (but f/8.8 after the masking and f/7 after introducing the reducer)

Design: Apochromatic… Continue

Added by Neil Heacock on June 1, 2011 at 1:00pm — 11 Comments

New Guide Train

I bought a Meade DSI Pro mono and a William Optics 66mm Petzval scope along with some 90mm Losmandy guide scope rings all off of A-Mart. I've reduced the size and weight of my rig and my first test run of the guide train last Sunday/Monday was very successful, I think. The wind was so strong that I had bad star shapes and the PHD graph looked like my EKG the last time my wife said "I'm pregnant". Need more clear skies for testing!

Added by Bill R. on May 31, 2011 at 7:44pm — No Comments

Cool album type picture things.

Thought I'd add a blog post here about this cool thing (at least I think) I use to display my pictures. is the free client. You collect/organize your pictures into an album and you have the ability to upload it to a unix box. In my case I'm simply using a Linux VM I keep with VPSLink in Boston.

I turned BobW onto it… Continue

Added by Jeff McFarlin on May 26, 2011 at 8:19am — No Comments

Hope everyone in twister window is ok

How did everyone do in the Midwest in twister zone? That storm looks outrageously bad, hope everyoe is ok.

Added by Charles Dunlop on May 25, 2011 at 11:02pm — No Comments

New document: How to intelligently select a camera (preliminary cut)

this is work in progress. I keep getting asked questions by users as to what camera they should buy. Of course there's no single answer.

so I am preparing a monograph to examine the various factors involved in sensors and cameras appropriate for use in astro-imaging (and other imaging as well).

the first section of the work is in a pre-release form but may be useful for discussion so I am posting it here today.

The idea is to add to this work each week and to… Continue

Added by Richard Crisp on May 24, 2011 at 8:39am — 19 Comments

Something Old and Something New

It is always fun when you realize that you have actually accomplished something…I don’t mean the obvious stuff that you notice right away like scoring in a sporting event, or completing a work project early and under budget…no, I mean the types of accomplishments that you are not even immediately aware of until some time after the fact. Usually these types of accomplishments come at the end of a long learning process and it is not until you take the time to stop along that road and look back…


Added by Trevor Woodrow on May 24, 2011 at 12:37am — 1 Comment

holy moly it worked

My setup totally worked, I'm kind of in disbelief. Took a shot of M5, short exposure, not very good visibility tonight, but I'll combine and post no matter how it looks just because it's sort of monumental for me to finally have a setup working. STOKED!!!!

Added by Charles Dunlop on May 23, 2011 at 11:15pm — 2 Comments

selenology today 24

selenology today 24
On line with three articles, including a study for old TLP and three meteoroidal impacts recorded on April 2011
The issue and more is present in the webpage
Raffaello Lena

Added by raf lena on May 23, 2011 at 11:59am — No Comments

clear patch

Going into a clear patch, and begging for my computer system and everything else to be fully operational and stable. Tonight is mostly clear, and then sunny until next week. holy moly. I'm on it!!! Need that computer system to work out.

Added by Charles Dunlop on May 23, 2011 at 10:01am — 1 Comment

Computers computers

windows 7 64 bit uinstable for me. IT guy thinks I might have a bad peice of RAM, will figure that out next week. But for right now, I went to work on a laptop that was sitting around the office, 32 bit XP pro, we installing windows now and will reinstall all my software once again.. Kind of a lot of work actually. oh well, I'm on it!! Just want CCDware to be stable and working without issue, it's an amazing program when coupled with SkyX pro and CCDsoft. :)

Added by Charles Dunlop on May 21, 2011 at 5:05pm — 1 Comment

Planet Nabu

Tomorrow is the end guys, been nice knowing you, think I'll go visual scoping tonight, and find the planet Nabu crashing into us to destroy humanity.

Added by Charles Dunlop on May 20, 2011 at 2:09pm — 1 Comment

A Post I Sent To The Stark Labs Group on PHD Settings

I thought some folks here may find this helpful. This is the response to a person's request for help with his PHD Brain settings because his graph was all crazy and his stars misshapen after making some changes and not being clear on what he was changing.

On May 20, 2011, at 1:56 AM, Neil Heacock wrote:

1) RA aggressiveness at 120 means that you are going to apply 120% of the correction to the RA movement. This is probably too much. Anywhere from 80 to 100 should…


Added by Neil Heacock on May 20, 2011 at 3:00am — 3 Comments

My first astrophoto............

My first digital photo of the moon was taken in 2006, but I actually started many, many years earlier.

In 1957, comet Arrend-Roland was bright in the sky. A friend of mine had a decent camera......can't remember exactly what it was. But we set it on a tripod and started clicking away with B&W film. Both of our dad's had… Continue

Added by Barry Brence on May 16, 2011 at 9:30pm — 3 Comments



I've just joined AstroGab on the recommendation of a friend. Here's some details on my interests and techniques.

Photography has been my primary hobby for the last 20 years. I got interested in astro-photography somewhere along the line and did some experiments with a film camera on a barndoor tracker, but didn't start seriously pursuing it until 6 years ago. Although I like science in general and astronomy in particular, it has always been the aesthetics of deep-sky… Continue

Added by Greg Marshall on May 14, 2011 at 12:12pm — 3 Comments

How did you get started in astrophotography?

And......if you knew then what you know now, would you do it all over again?

I think I probably started like most of hand-holding a point & shoot, cheapo digital camera up to the eyepiece of your telescope, at the moon. In my case it was a 6" Dob. I think I shot 30 or more frames that first time. Most of them were out of focus or not centered right, but a few just knocked my socks off. I was amazed it could be done!

That lead to some ill-fated attempts to… Continue

Added by Barry Brence on May 13, 2011 at 3:47pm — 7 Comments

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