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Neil Heacock's Blog (13)

Indian Trail Spring - July 2018

I've been working around the clock these days, quite literally. For nearly 3 years I've not had a chance to go to a dark sky outing, or take any pictures. The gear is getting dusty and my knowledge of how to run it getting rusty.

My friend Scott is moving to Nashville in a few weeks and wanted to go to Indian Trail Spring one last time before he goes. I needed a break bad. Get some rest, get some viewing in, and get some killer bro time. The timing for going to ITS couldn't have been…


Added by Neil Heacock on July 15, 2018 at 7:30pm — No Comments

SkyView Acres September 2015

SkyView Acres September 2015

It's a real treat to go out in September. Would be even more of a treat to go out in January! But having the fall objects nice and high and the winter objects rising a bit it real nice.

I don't think I'll go back to SkyView Acres in July, August or September as the wasps out there are so bad it really takes the relaxation out of the daytime. I was cooped up in the RV again. Booo!

Even still, I had some wonderful…


Added by Neil Heacock on September 13, 2015 at 1:30am — No Comments

Oregon Star Party 2015

Five wonderful nights at Indian Trail Spring. Bortle 1 goodness!

Although the first two nights were spotted with clouds and haze that made imaging pretty pointless, so I left them covered. Poor guys sat for 2 nights not even polar aligned. Friends and neighbors tried their hand at imaging, but I'm not sure if anyone got anything decent. It did make me wish I brought my lenses though as some haze can be a friend for wide-field imaging as it makes what can be appealing diffused…


Added by Neil Heacock on August 16, 2015 at 3:30pm — No Comments

July 2015 SkyView Acres

Under a Bortle 2 sky with friends. 3 nights, but one was a bust with haze or likely smoke from a local fire. I wanted to be at the other location we frequent, but unfortunately it was closed due to large fires in the area. So, the fact that I got 2 decent nights was far better then getting nothing at all.

SkyView Acres is a good spot because it's closer in (only 2.5 hour drive) and nice paved roads all the way to the location. The downside is that there are many distant lights…


Added by Neil Heacock on July 18, 2015 at 2:00pm — No Comments

First Star Party In Quite Some Time

So I've been at this dark sky outing for the last few days. Greg Marshall invited a handful of imagers from the Rose City Astronomers and we have a good turnout here. It's so odd to me being at a star party and everyone is imaging. I have my 16" Dob with me an I've been taking in some wonderful views while the camera is shooting away... one other imager was using his Edge HD 11 for visual as well as imaging, so I wasn't completely alone absorbing photons into my eyeballs!



Added by Neil Heacock on June 14, 2015 at 4:00pm — 2 Comments

It's been a long time... too long!

It's hard to believe it's been 3 years since my last entry.

I've been to a few star parties since my last journal entry in June of 2012. OSP 2012, OSP 2013, and a lonely 4 night outing to SkyView Acres on Memorial Day Weekend in 2014. None of those did I take any imaging equipment to. Just the 16" dob to keep it simple and enjoy soaking in the views.

OSP 2013 was such a bummer. It was cloudy almost the whole time. I went 2 days early to get a little more viewing in. I'm…


Added by Neil Heacock on May 29, 2015 at 12:30pm — No Comments

Venus Transit

I watched the Venus transit from this afternoon to this evening along with Richard and Scott who come over to join me.
I started to setup at about 2:00 and was ready to go by the time Venus started to crest the limb of the Sun. It was cool watching it begin to chip away at the Sun. Just as it started to do that, the clouds came in and hid the Sun. When they cleared, Venus was about 3/4 of the way past the limb and I was looking forward to watching the full disk come…

Added by Neil Heacock on June 5, 2012 at 9:30am — No Comments

First Planetary Imaging Session

I can't hardly believe we are getting back to back nights. It's been less then a year, but it seems like forever since I've been able to enjoy astronomy multiple nights in a row all night long without fog or clouds or haze or something ruining the pleasure of the evening.

In preparation for the star party this weekend, tonight I didn't break out the imaging gear which I've been testing for the past few nights, just the Dob (16" Lightbridge). Drinking in great views of…

Added by Neil Heacock on May 13, 2012 at 3:42am — 2 Comments

The Skies Are Back!

After a solid 8 months of horrible skies (and an occasional decent sky of which I was working or some such thing) I finally got out to test my gear changes and I'm happy to say that I'm very pleased with the results.

The Atlas w/Vixen ED03s and ZenithStar 66 Guider

The Atlas was trouble from the beginning. I didn't expect that. I had (and still have to a degree) issues with the altitude adjustment. It's tight, it slips, the tongue inside is…


Added by Neil Heacock on May 12, 2012 at 9:00pm — No Comments

Chosen For The Astronomy POD

Tonight I went to check the Astronomy POD page to check out the latest images posted and to my surprise todays shot was my own. Woot!


I really like the Astronomy POD images because they seem more attainable to me. The NASA APOD shots are stunning, but it's pretty rare to see a DSLR shot posted there. There certainly are some, but not many.


There was a particularly cool thing this time where I happened to have 2 chosen shots within 20 days of each other putting…


Added by Neil Heacock on July 8, 2011 at 3:53am — 6 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

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

The First Annual Deschutes River/White River/Shearer's Bridge/Tygh Valley Star Party

LOL... well, maybe not, but it was a good spot, good friends and a good time!

A small group of us were at the corner of White River and Deschutes at a group camp site in the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Reservation (I didn't realize the reservation extended that far). A nice little camp site in a Bortle 2 sky, although it was a bit bright for Bortle 2 because of moisture in the air. A clean bathroom (a decent forest service outhouse really), a rushing river, and a railroad…


Added by Neil Heacock on April 29, 2011 at 12:00pm — 2 Comments


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