When I'm not building Iron Man, I build my space observatory.

TheOneWithNoName

Jr Member
You can make your own radio antenna. I made a few some years ago. Look up DIY radio astronomy, dipole antenna, Jupiter antenna, etc.

I guess I should note that I live inside the restrictive area for aerials of an air field at about a mile from the take off end.
Last time I Googled DIY radio astronomy, I had to go to page 500 for any good results.
 

Sandbagger

Sr Member
I guess I should note that I live inside the restrictive area for aerials of an air field at about a mile from the take off end.
Last time I Googled DIY radio astronomy, I had to go to page 500 for any good results.
The beauty of a Dipole antenna for listening so say, Jupiter rising above the horizon - is that you can suspend it a foot above the ground and only be a few metres wide.
 

TheOneWithNoName

Jr Member
The beauty of a Dipole antenna for listening so say, Jupiter rising above the horizon - is that you can suspend it a foot above the ground and only be a few metres wide.

I guess I'll have to look into one... Although ultimately I would like to have more directional control, and thus a dish. I already have two micro servos that i plan on using for controlling azimuth and altitude. I also already have a sdr dongle, so the antenna is all I have left.
 

Sandbagger

Sr Member
I guess I'll have to look into one... Although ultimately I would like to have more directional control, and thus a dish. I already have two micro servos that i plan on using for controlling azimuth and altitude. I also already have a sdr dongle, so the antenna is all I have left.
If you build your dipole attached to a low-profile PVC pipe frame, you can pick the whole thing up and turn it to become directional.
 

Sandbagger

Sr Member
I've been battling moon, clouds and software issues to get Comet C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy. This is all I've got so far from the last couple of nights.

My programs refuse to stack my 60 images, so here is a quick process on a single image of 100 seconds. I've been pretty brutal to stretch all the data out of it, so it's very grainy. Didn't help that there was a first-quarter moon up either. I am now researching other ways to solve my stacking problems.


g0ssfVP.jpg


S4ynTyu.jpg


I2XzGIA.jpg
 

Sandbagger

Sr Member
TWO CLEAR NIGHTS WITH NO MOON IN A ROW!!! As tired as I am from last night and with a splitting headache from overexposure to the sun on an open tractor all day - I can't pass up the opportunity for such clear and dark skies. Currently shooting M78 in Orion, here's last nights image of the Horsehead nebula, (Barnard 33) in Orion. 20 x five-minute exposures combined for a total of one hour and 40 minutes exposure. At 1500 light years away, this dark nebula blocks out the light with it's concentration of thick, dusty stellar material. Below it, the blue reflection nebula NGC 2023 glows from it's burrowing inner star.

bz0WbY2.jpg
 

Sandbagger

Sr Member
Processed last night's data on M78 in Orion. This was 12 x 10-minute exposures (total of 2 hours). I would have got more but I fell asleep and it was the telescope's alarm going off telling me that the desk had got in the way and the camera on the telescope was pressed up hard against it, ruining the alignment. Ah well, 12 exposures is enough this time.

zMKHcOK.jpg
 

Roku

Member
This is truly amazing! It's great to see it finished and come together. Some of the pictures you've captured are beautiful and rather breathtaking. It's amazing at how far away some of the stars are and even Jupiter. Incredible that you can even see the moons and one of them casting a shadow. Really amazing,just awesome! I'm sorry I don't really know what say but I'm really just blown away but this thread.
 

Sandbagger

Sr Member
This is truly amazing! It's great to see it finished and come together. Some of the pictures you've captured are beautiful and rather breathtaking. It's amazing at how far away some of the stars are and even Jupiter. Incredible that you can even see the moons and one of them casting a shadow. Really amazing,just awesome! I'm sorry I don't really know what say but I'm really just blown away but this thread.
I firmly believe that the abundance of beauty up there should be freely shared with the world. For those of us with the tools and resources to bring deep space to the fore, it is our duty in my humble opinion. Keep looking up!

SB.
 

Sandbagger

Sr Member
Sandbagger's Deep Space Observatory

From ASIGN Observatory II's big telescope last night, an image of 4 x 10 minute exposures totalling forty minutes of data with darks subtracted.

NGC3372 - The great Carina Nebula and surrounds is home to the massive and famous Eta Carinae star system. The nebula lies at an estimated distance between 6,500 and 10,000 light years from Earth in the Carina–Sagittarius Arm. The nebula is one of the largest diffuse nebulae in our skies.

It is brighter and some four times larger than the famous Orion Nebula.

vi2Jyav.jpg
 

Sandbagger

Sr Member
Had a really, really REALLY bad night. Everything went wrong. Crystal clear night ALL night WASTED on glitches.

  • PHD tracking program kept tracking west and losing the guide star, even though it was bright and sharp. Pointing accuracy of the mount was so bad I could not find a single target.

    Right ascension and declination keys on the hand controller are reversed with no obvious way to change them back, so up down is left right and vice-versa.

    Drift alignment was tedious to say the least as the adjustments on the mount are clunky and difficult.

Very capable mount, but VERY poorly designed for alignment and solid lock once there. Up until just after 3am trying to fix it all. No joy. Still scratching my head and filled with a loathing for technology that works then all of a sudden stops for no apparent reason. Another one of those nights I'm fortunate there's no bulldozer sitting in the cul-de-sac with the keys in the ignition.

As the telescope was misbehaving last night, I ended up processing images from the previous two nights.

The Lagoon Hydrogen emission nebula is a giant interstellar cloud in the constellation Sagittarius. It is one of only two star-forming nebulae faintly visible to the naked eye.
The Lagoon Nebula is estimated to be between 4,000-6,000 light years from the Earth. and is 110 long by 50 light years wide.

NSs2myS.jpg


The Trifid Nebula is a hydrogen II region located in Sagittarius. Its name means 'divided into three lobes'. The object is an unusual combination of an open cluster of stars; an emission nebula (the lower, red portion), a reflection nebula (the upper, blue portion) and a dark nebula (the apparent 'gaps' within the emission nebula that cause the trifurcated appearance.
It is approximately 5000 light years away from Earth.

i5Ql9WT.jpg


The Sombrero Galaxy is an unbarred spiral galaxy in the constellation Virgo located 28 million light-years from Earth. The galaxy has a diameter of approximately 50,000 light-years, 30% the size of the Milky Way. It has a bright nucleus, an unusually large central bulge, and a prominent dust lane in its inclined disk.

nW94ntv.jpg
 

Master Builder

Jr Member
This is just amazing! Every time I look at these photos I get tremendously inspired! It keeps reminding me of games like mass effect. Makes me wonder if we'll ever be able to travel to these, oh so very distant places. But more so on the method of travel.

Did you manage to fix any of the software problems?
 

Starrmont

Jr Member
This is just amazing! Every time I look at these photos I get tremendously inspired! It keeps reminding me of games like mass effect. Makes me wonder if we'll ever be able to travel to these, oh so very distant places.
In Mass Effect, Star Wars, heck, even Star TREK, they almost never leave the galaxy. Hop all over it, sure, but intergalactic expansion is waaaaaay past intragalactic domination. :(
 

Sandbagger

Sr Member
From a few nights ago. I finished up at around 3am but fell asleep on the floor next to the telescope. Woke up at 6 with ice dripping onto my cheek from the dome above.

3 hours 20 minutes of exposure on the Omega Nebula.

The Omega Nebula is between 5,000 and 6,000 light-years from Earth and it spans some 15 light-years in diameter.

MgCIEsa.jpg
 

RobTC

Member
Popped in here once or twice before, but now I just sat down and read this whole thread, loved it! The construction, the space stuff and the photo stuff, all of it. That oiled wood is just stunning. I too am one of those "jack of all trades" types who kinda refuses to not be able to do something, so that aspect was super fun.

When you say you need 6m focal length on the new CF open frame 'scope to zoom in far enough, does that mean you can literally push that front (collimator? lens? mirror?) end out of the dome hatch? Or buy screw-on extension frames or something? Or did you just mean you were limited to 2.7m regardless of what the subject needed?

What's the difference between your star camera and the planet camera? Do they have built-in sensitivity settings or fixed lenses or something? What's the advantage of those over a DSLR mount?

Is the steel I-beam construction sufficient to deaden your/vehicles' vibrations? Is the whole thing (or just the scope mount) on an isolation pad? I'm assuming even though you're stacking to avoid thermal noise, that each shot is probably about 30 seconds to get the hours of exposure time necessary, but if you mentioned vibration isolation I must've missed it. Maybe it gets averaged out by the stacking software, but I would think at those focal lengths it'd get pretty important.

Honestly I kinda fell out of the astro/theoretical physics stuff when I was a teenager in favour of the more "practical", engineering-oriented aspects like thermo and motion, so I never really got into astrophotography, but it's still cool to look at. My favourite pic is the closer-in second pic of the Horsehead Nebula. That thing never gets old. :thumbsup

Oh, and did you ever get the video for the BH&G segment? I saw the other two interview links, but wanted to see that one in particular.
 
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