Archive for the ASTRO Category

Sun in H alpha – May 28, 2018

Posted in ASTRO on May 28, 2018 by maxpho

Some H-alpha activity today, imaged with the 150mm homemade refractor.

A nice large prom:

Large Prom May 28.jpg

And two active regions, one visible only in H-alpha:




High Resolution lunar images – May 22, 2018

Posted in ASTRO on May 24, 2018 by maxpho

Another lunar session with good to very good seeing conditions. Again, the main scope was the 355mm homemade Newtonian, with a 3x barlow lens in one configuration, and with another 2x barlow attached to the first one, in the second configuration. The cameras used: ASI 174MM and 1600MM, both with a red filter. Seeing: 6-8/10.

The results:

Craters Maurolycus and Stofler:


Another crater tat I’ve waited for a long time to image: Boussingault.


The complex-looking floor of crater Ptolemaeus is always a nice view at the eyepiece:


Crater Langrenus under high Sun:


One large image showing some of the central and southern craters or other details. This was imaged under decreasing seeing values, with only a rather low number of frames acquired for each section. The sensor was the ASI 1600MM camera with a red filter. The image might take a few seconds to open.

large area.jpg

Craters Albategnius (up) and Hipparchus, with a hint of Ptolemaues to the upper right corner. This is one of my best lunar shots to date, in terms of actual resolution at the surface: smallest craters are in the 500-550 meters range. The very good position of these craters nearly at the center of the lunar disc helps a lot with the detection of small craters 😉


The sharp-edged crater Werner near the terminator:


The lovely double crater Messier, with its butterfly-like ray system, under high Sun illumination:


Proclus, with its razor-sharp edges, at the “entrance” of Mare Crisium:


Lacus Mortis with the well defined crater Burg. Note the many rilles on the floor of this giant crater:


And a large four-frame mosaic around Rima Ariadaeus. Many interesting features here, and a nice blueprint for the old lava activity in this and other lunar regions:


Almost forgot about this image, showing a large region of the Moon around crater Janssen:


And the poorest quality image of the session, but showing a very nice terminator view with Moretus in the shadows:



ISS transiting the Moon – May 23, 2018

Posted in ASTRO on May 24, 2018 by maxpho

Sometimes when observing the Moon you may see some objects transiting its surface…

Sometimes these objects are rather large…and illuminated, so one can actually see it approaching the Moon without any telescope…

This was the case with this event, both myself and my wife observing the ISS rising and moving faster and faster towards the Moon…What a fantastic event!


Th above animation was acquired with a modified 200mm F/5 Newtonian and ASI 174MM camera. The transit was predicted via CalSky website.


H-alpha Sun – May 5, 2018

Posted in ASTRO on May 5, 2018 by maxpho

Not the best seeing today, and not the best activity on the Sun either, but from time to time it is nice to image the Sun in the light of ionized Hydrogen. SO, a few shots from today, using the homemade 150mm refractor and Quark Chromosphere filter with the ASI 174MM as the imaging sensor. Seeing 5/10.

Active regions May 52018.jpg

new active region.jpg

And a couple more proms:


Astronomical drawings

Posted in ASTRO on May 4, 2018 by maxpho

A few years back, having no money for large size scopes or very expensive CCDs, I was observing the sky only visually through either homemade small scopes or the larger (up to 12 inch) scopes of the “V. Urseanu” Astronomical Observatory in Bucharest.

This is the case with the following collage showing the planet Mars at its closest opposition in 2003. Back then I was using my recently homemade 114/900 mm  Newtonian on an altazimutal mount from the balcony of an apartment on the fifth floor of a building not too far from the center of Bucharest. Again, in 2003, Romania’s biggest city was way friendlier to Astronomy compared to these days: not too much light, fewer cars, more trees… The seeing was rather good and occasionally I could see the Milky Way…

Now, the Mars drawings: you may notice that a few of the drawings show something reminiscent of Giovanni Schiaparelli’s “canali”. Interesting 😉

mars 2003.jpg


One galaxy, two galaxies…many galaxies

Posted in ASTRO on May 4, 2018 by maxpho

Galaxies…the islands of the Universe.

They are the furthest objects in the Cosmos that you can either see at the eyepiece or photograph. And normally, except for some very few cases (Andromeda Galaxy, the Magellan clouds, and our own Milky Way), you cannot observe or image such objects without the “right” instruments (large diameter scopes on good tracking mounts and high tech imaging sensors).

Well, technology has advanced so much in the last few years that you can glimpse the island of the Universe with a relative simple and highly portable setup.

This is the case with the following image, acquired by my wife and processed by myself. The setup included a small 100mm lens and a Canon DSLR camera (quite old actually). These were mounted on the very small and thus portable mount Star Adventurer from SkyWacther. The whole setup is light enough to be carried around and assembled by a pregnant woman 🙂

With the right alignment procedure this mount allows for shots of up to 3 minutes with a 100mm lens to be acquired, with pinpoint stars.

Of course some manual dithering is required to get good shots, and my wife did this perfectly, despite the fine requirements of such a procedure.

So, the shot now, which shows the Virgo Galaxy Cluster, with Markarian’s Chain, and a lot more galaxies all around; please zoom in 😉

Virgo Cluster.jpg

And the color version:

Virgo cluster Color.jpg


Jupiter in Infrared – April 28, 2018

Posted in ASTRO on May 2, 2018 by maxpho

My first shot of Jupiter this apparition. Since the giant of the Solar System is hanging at only 29 degrees above my Southern horizon, my hopes for high-resolution Jovian images are not high. Despite this I did give it a try on a night with rather good seeing for the altitude of the planet. Only the IR (near infrared) channel was acquired since the other filters showed nothing similar to the giant planet…

First, the animation showing 28 minutes of rotation. The strange looking satellite in the upper right corner is Europa. I did not process the images to show it better…


And the derotated image: