Mar
08
2011
0

Astro CCD Camera and 50mm F1.4 = Mag 9

Auckland weather has turned in the last week. Evenings must be about 5-10 degrees cooler now meaning the atmosphere is more stable and ultimately better sky viewing conditions.

I set up my Mintron camera with the 50mm F1.4 Lens I picked up and played around to see what sort of results I could get.

I have to say I’m very impressed, even over the light polluted skies of Auckland City (I’m very central city at the moment), I was able to get the following images (Annotated using astrometry.net).
(more…)

Jan
28
2011
0

Satellite Tracking Camera – Progress Update

Regular readers of my blog will know that I’ve been working on building a satellite tracking system. The plan is to end up with a fully automatic Pan/Tilt positioning system with a high sensitivity video camera, millisecond accuracy video time overlay, and automated image processing of automated frames.

I’ve been busy the last two weeks converting code and waiting for deliveries to arrive.

I finally received the 50mm F1.4 lens I ordered off ebay. This lens is a lovely unit, especially for US$50. It’s nice and heavy with manual aperture and focus controls. A quick test on the light polluted skies of Auckland resulted in me being able to image stars of Magnitude 4, so it’s well within the limit for the project.

The 50mm F1.4 Lens attached to the CCD Camera


(more…)

Jan
06
2011
0

ASCOM and Communications protocols

I hope you all had a great New Year and have big plans for 2011.

I don’t have much new to report on the Satellite tracking platform.

I’ve been looking into equipment for the system and at communications protocols.
(more…)

Dec
13
2010
1

Removing Excess Weight

I carefully looked over the entire mechanism to decide which parts to keep.

The main circuit board worked and using serial could be commanded to go to a position or even store positions, but it lost out due to not supporting the speeds I wanted to control. I specifically wanted to be able to go from 1 revolution per day (About 0.0007 RPM), up to about 15 RPM.

Even if the board couldn’t be used whole, it still contained bipolar stepper motor drivers. It used matched pairs of L297’s and L298’s. I quickly decided against using these due to the simplicity and size of the EasyDriver.

Out came the 48VAC to 24VAC toroidal transformer and I was left with this:
(more…)

Dec
11
2010
2

New Project – Satellite Tracking Camera

I recently acquired a second hand Pan Tilt mechanism from a CCTV camera system.


(more…)

Dec
10
2010
0

2010 Geminids Meteor Shower

The Geminids Meteor Shower for 2010 will peak on the 13th & 14th December this year.

Expectations are high, with a peak ZHR (Zenithal Hourly Rate) of up to 120. The moon will set in the west around midnight giving nice dark views of the Northern sky.
(more…)

Written by John in: Astronomy |
Jan
11
2010
1

Photograph the moon on the 30th January

The full moon on the 30th January will occur only three hours before perigee (the point where the moon is closest to earth). This will be the closest full moon of 2010.

On top of this, the earth is at perihelion at the moment (the point where earth is closest to the sun), so the moon will also be extra bright.

Calculations show that the moon should be 33 arcminutes and 30 arc seconds (just over half a degree) in size.

While you’re at it, put a reminder in your calendar to photograph the moon on the 24th August – this is a full moon at apogee (the point where the moon is farthest from earth), where it will appear to be only 29 arcminutes and 24 arcseconds in size.

When you take your photos, I suggest noting down the zoom, iso, shutter speed and aperture so you can compare both the size and relative brightness with August.

Here is a link to a previous post about this.

Source: Wikipedia

Source: Wikipedia

Written by John in: Astronomy |
Dec
11
2009
0

Don't forget the Geminids meteor shower

On the 13th and 14th December, we’re expecting the best meteor shower of the year.

The Geminids are a meteor shower caused by 3200 Phaethon which should result in around 120 to 140 meteors per hour. On top of this, the best dates to view it are two days before a new moon so the sky should be nice and dark.

The meteors should radiate from the constellation Gemini, which is right next to Betelgeuse in the Orion constellation.

For more information on the Geminids, try the spacedex website.

Written by John in: Astronomy |
Nov
13
2009
0

13 November 1969 – Today in Apollo History

Apollo 12 stories from Newspapers on the 13th November 1969.
(more…)

Written by John in: Astronomy |
Nov
12
2009
0

12 November 1969 – Today in Apollo History

Apollo 12 stories from Newspapers on the 12th November 1969.
(more…)

Written by John in: Astronomy,General Randomness |