H-alpha Sun – September 23, 2016

Posted in ASTRO on September 23, 2016 by maxpho

Some good seeing today for these images.

AR 2596 (up in the images) looks very interesting with a whirlpool of plasma around it. AR 2593 has a plasma mountain next to it. Both promise a good show as they get closer to the solar limb.

Equipment: 150mm F/8 SkyWatcher achromat, UV/IR cut filter, Quark chromosphere, ASI 174MM. Best 700 out of 4000 frames. Seeing: 6/10.

ar2596 sept 23.jpg

And a slightly better shot of the same area, but a few moments later:

ar2596 sept 23HDR.jpg

And a small active area with a nice filament:


Three different processing of the same filament from the above image:


And one last shot, showing the limb with some spicules and a prominence:


H-alpha Sun – September 22, 2016

Posted in ASTRO on September 22, 2016 by maxpho

Today I had one of the worst solar imaging sessions: bad seeing and a few clouds forming right around the Sun.

I did however managed to get a few glimpses of the departing active region named AR2595. The region was right on the limb, so a lot of activity was observable.

First, two shots in more stable seeing conditions:

ar 2595 sept 22.jpg

ar 2595 sept 22 10 40 ut.jpg

And a third image, acquired before the above shots, in poor conditions:

ar 2595 on the limb two.jpg

Also, a very nice filaprom was visible for a while, with a tall arrow-like tip:


H-alpha Sun – September 16, 2016

Posted in ASTRO on September 17, 2016 by maxpho

A few shots in H-alpha light that present a small flare and an interesting prom on the limb. The small flare occurred in AR2592. The seeing was not good, but it did allow some images.

Equipment: 150mm F/8 Refractor, Quark chromosphere with UV/IR-cut filter, ASI 174MM.

09 37 utsep16.jpg

09 37 utsep16bw.jpg


09 25 sept 16.jpg

And a short sequence showing the evolution of the “strange” prom in about 15 minutes:


Penumbral Lunar Eclipse – September 16, 2016

Posted in ASTRO on September 16, 2016 by maxpho

Seeing quite a few lunar eclipses along the years, I thought that this eclipse will not be a memorable one, especially being a penumbral eclipse. I was quite wrong, and from the moment I’ve noticed that the penumbra was well visible with the naked eye, I’ve mounted my gear in order to get a few shots of it.

The image below shows the maximum of the eclipse:


The difference between what the camera acquired and what I could see with the naked eye was quite big. This is why I’ve also made a comparison image of the two views.


The RGB data was a bit saturated in order to get the different hues of the lunar soil. Equipment: 90mm F/12 Maksutov, 0.5x reducer, RGB filters, ASI 174MM camera.

Another shot, also RGB, showing a more detailed view of the Moon, 10 minutes after maximum. This time the camera was directly in the focal plane of the small scope.


And a full eclipse shot with the camera at the focal plane of the 90mm Maksutov. This is a five-panel mosaic:


Moon – September 15, 2016

Posted in ASTRO on September 16, 2016 by maxpho

 After performing the first “H-alpha light” with the “new” 150mm F/8 Refractor, I’ve decided that collimating the instrument must be the next logical step.

And that I did, together with my brother in law, after the Sun went down. The best way to properly collimate an astronomical instrument is by viewing a star at very high magnification. For that I was “forced” to use a magnification of 350x, by using two Barlow lenses and a 26mm eyepiece. After verifying the collimation we’ve decided to observe the Moon for a few tens of minutes. Despite the purple halo inherent to achromatic refractors, the view of craters at 100 to 200x  was fantastic, and that with the Moon rather low above the horizon. Of course, I had to get some images, but also to test a few combinations for further imaging sessions.

I’ve started by acquiring a full-disc shot using the 0.5x Reducer and ASI 174MM camera, and a Green filter (which apparently works best with this refractor).

The end result is a 500-frame (out of 3000) stack processed at normal resolution (no re-sampling).


And a few more shots, this time with a 3x barlow lens. The seeing was poor due mostly to the low altitude of the Moon above the horizon, but a few good moments allowed for some rather fine details to be captured.

First, Plato and SInus Iridum in poor seeing (3-4/10):


And part of the terminator (a three image mosaic), with Vallis Schroteri and Rima Marius well visible:


At the end of the session, Copernicus in “acceptable” seeing (5/10):


And a short “strange” processing, to better reveal the subtle ray system:


H-alpha Sun – September 16, 2016

Posted in ASTRO on September 16, 2016 by maxpho

Another shot with the “new” 150mm refractor. This time the seeing was better compared to the last session, and the potential of this new instrument is becoming apparent. There are a few issues that must be addressed concerning the focuser and the balance of the entire setup, but for now I will let it just as it is.

First, a shot of AR 2592 , a new active region that has some potential for small flares. The image was flat-corrected since at F/33 all the small dust particles from the optical elements become apparent, and also due to the uneven contrast of the Quark filter.

ar 2592 sept 16, 2016.jpg

And a small prominence:

small prominence sept 16, 2016.jpg

And some H-alpha art. I don’t especially like this type of processing (but I might change my opinion in time), since it does not say the “true” story of the Sun’s surface, but it does add an apparent 3d effect to the surface features. This type of processing is done by adding an inverted view of the original onto a slightly overexposed version of the original; in this way the prominences remain visible, but the surface is now inverted.


First “H-alpha light” of the 150mm Refractor – September 15, 2016

Posted in ASTRO on September 15, 2016 by maxpho

I’ve just bought an used 150mm F/8 SkyWacther Achromat Refractor for the sole purpose to get “deeper” into the H-alpha imaging. Of course, as with all my instruments, the weather did not cooperate. This time it was the seeing that was horrible (usually it was “only” the clouds that did not allow any testing). A value of 3/10 with some “spikes” at 4-5/10 was all I’ve got for about one hour. Still, the potential of this scope is apparent already. Just one image pair for now:

ar 2590 sept 15.jpg

And other proms:

09 52 ut.jpg

And a differently processed view, with inverted surface, just for fun:

09 52 ut playground.jpg