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Visits Since March 1999

Image of the Month

NGC6960, the Veil Nebula -- taken with an Explore Scientific 16" Dobsonian on a Dual-axis Aluminum Platform,, ASI1600MCC at -15°C, IDAS LPSV4 filter, no coma corrector. Click for full resolution image.

Registration : Registax5, processed using Pixinsight. This is a stack of 170 five second exposures. Image by Olivier Bonnaveau of France.

M20, the Trifid -- taken with an Explore Scientific 16" Dobsonian on a Dual-axis Aluminum Platform, ASI1600MCC at -15°C, IDAS LPSV4 filter, no coma corrector. Click for full resolution image.

Registration : Registax5, processed using Pixinsight. This is a stack of 630 three second exposures. Image by Olivier Bonnaveau of France.


Previous Images of the Month


NGC 891 is a spiral galaxy seen edge-on in the constellation Andromeda, some 30 million light years from Earth. A dark dust lane can be seen across the whole length of the galaxy. 23 three-minute exposures at ISO 800 were combined for this image with DeepSkyStacker software, resulting in an 69 minute exposure (taken through a 16” f/4.5 reflector “Ninja” on a dual-axis aluminum equatorial platform, camera: Baader-modified Canon 450D, coma corrector: TeleVue Paracorr Type II, guiding: Lacerta off-axis system, Lacerta MGEN autoguider). Image processing was done in Photoshop. Photo by Marcus Hagi in Switzerland.

Messier 1, the famous Crab Nebula, is a supernova remnant 6500 light years from Earth. It is the result of a supernova explosion which was observed by Chinese astronomers in 1054. The “guest star” was visible during daylight for three weeks. 24 three-minute exposures at ISO 800 were combined (totaling 72 minutes) with DeepSkyStacker software and further processed in Photoshop. Telescope: 16” f/4.5 reflector “Ninja” on a dual-axis aluminum equatorial platform. Camera: Baader-modified Canon 450D camera. Coma Corrector: TeleVue Paracorr Type II. Guiding: Lacerta off-axis system, Lacerta MGEN autoguider. Photo by Marcus Hagi in Switzerland.

A description of how Marcus uses his Platform for this imaging, as well as links to more of his work with his Platform can be found at: http://www.utopia-photography.ch/telescopes/osypowski.html.


Javier Beltran Jovani has done it again -- another stunning planetary image, this one of Mars, taken with his 20" telescope on a Dual-axis Equatorial Platform.


Markus Hagi of Switzerland took this marvelous picture of M81 in Ursa Major. Here are his comments:

"I’ve had two wonderful nights with your extraordinary platform – everything was working like a Swiss watch.
This image of M81 was taken on February 25 /26, 2014 through the 16 inch f/4.5 dobsonian telescope “Ninja” on a Dual-axis Aluminium Platform. 20 images of approximately 3 minutes exposure time at ISO 800 taken with a Baader-modified Canon EOS 450D camera were combined with the DeepSkyStacker software and further processed in Adobe Photoshop CS3. Total exposure time amounts to one hour and 5 minutes and no dark frames were taken. Guiding was done with a Lacerta MGEN autoguider and a Paracorr Type II coma corrector was used."

More of Markus' pictures taken with his Platform can be seen on these two websites: here and here.

You can also read about his procedures for using his Platform for imaging at this site.


Nineteen exposures of approximately 3 minutes were added for this Messier 20 image, totaling 1 hour and 2 minutes of exposure time. The image was taken on July 12 / 13, 2013 through a 16” f/4.5 “Ninja” dobsonian telescope sitting on an Aluminum Dual-axis Platform with a Paracorr Type II corrector, a Lacerta MGen autoguider and a Lacerta off-axis system. The camera, a Baader modified Canon 450D, was used at ISO 800 with no in-camera noise reduction. Stacking was done with the DeepSkyStacker software (with no dark frames used) and further image processing was done in Photoshop. Image by Marcus Hagi of Switzerland.


M 51 taken by Yann Le Gall of France using his 15" Dob on a Dual-axis Aluminum Platform. Yann autoguided a batch of photos, each 4 minutes long, and then stacked them to create this remarkeably deep image of the famous galaxy. Yann comments that "the Equatorial Platform autoguides very well!" The total exposures were:

Luminance 184min (46X4min)
Red 24min (6X4min)
Green 20min (5X4min)
Blue 24min (6X4min)


Saturn taken on May 24th 2012 by Marc Delcroix in France.

Equipment used was a Dobson SkyVision 318mm on Dual-Axis Equatorial Platform, a powermate x5, an ASH Atmospheric Dispersion Corrector, LRVB Astronomik and R+IR Baader filters, and a Basler acA640-100gm camera. Mr. Delcroix explains:

"Despite the low altitude - Saturn is culminating at 40° this year from my observation location, I could take a good image of the planet thanks to a Atmospheric Dispersion Corrector. LRGB Saturn has been processed with Avistack, Iris and Photoshop."

Mars taken by Javier Beltran Jovani in Spain on February 27, 2012. Javier used an 18" Dob on his Dual-axis Equatorial Platform to capture this image.

Jupiter taken with a 16" Dobsonian Telescope on a Dual-axis Aluminum Platform. Image by Rik ter Horst and Emil Kraaikamp in the Netherlands. Here are Rik's comments:

"The camera we used is a Basler Ace acA640-100gm and the effective focal ratio was F/28.5. Date: October the first, around 23:53h (UTC). Image was taken during very good but foggy conditions. We constantly had to use a hair dryer (in fact it was a paint stripper!) to keep the optics free from moisture."

Markus Hagi in Switzerland took this photo of planetary nebula NGC 6905 using his "marvelous, fabulous, remarkable Dual-axis Aluminum Platform." Here are the details of how the photo was produced:

" Taken through a 16" f/5 Martini Dobson with Zambuto mirror on a Dual-axis Aluminum Platform (Canon 20Da, TS off-axis system, Paracorr Coma Corrector, Lacerta MGEN guider). The image is a combination of three images with 8 minutes exposure each (with dark frame subtraction done by the camera).

The three images were put in different layers of the same Photoshop file, the first having 100% opacity, the second having 50% opacity and the third with 33% opacity (layer mode “normal”). The layers were flattened and some work on the curves was done."



Javier Beltran Jovani of Spain has been doing cutting edge planetary imaging for years with his 18" Obsession on one of our Dual-axis Platforms. This is one of his latest images of Jupiter, showing Ganymede close to Jupiter and ready to go behind the planet. Note the amazing detail, not only on Jupiter itself, but also on Ganymede.

For a special treat, here is an animated gif showing the moon moving behind the planet.


This beautiful portrait of M65 and M66 was shot by Markus Hagi in Switzerland with his new Dual-axis Aluminum Platform, using a 16" f5 Martini Dobson with a Zambuto mirror. Equipment used were a Canon 20Da, a TS off-axis system, a Paracorr Coma Corrector, and a Lacerta MGEN guider. The image is a combination of three images with 5, 6 and 8 minutes exposure times.

For processing, Mr. Hagi says, "I put them in different layers of the same Photoshop file, the first having 100% opacity, the second having 50% opacity and the third with 33% opacity, flattened the image and did some work on the curves. I then put a fourth image with 2 minutes exposure time on top of it with a layer mask (masking out all parts of this image except the center of the galaxies)."

This is Mr. Hagi's first photo taken with his new Equatorial Platform, using an autoguider.


Javier Beltran Jovani has just obtained another of his excellent planetary photos, this one of Saturn showing the persistent storm raging on its surface. For other photos Mr Jovani has taken, see his large gallery at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/javier_beltran/


More amazing planetary photos by Javier Jovani, taken with his Platform, can be seen at this website:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/javier_beltran/




The Dumbell Nebula (M27) and Ring Nebula (M57)

Images by Bob Brunck
Date and Location: August 9, 2007 from Soap Creek Valley, at Corvallis, Oregon
Imaging Scope: Obsession 25" f/5 on a Tom Osypowski Dual Axis Aluminum Equatorial Platform
Guide Scope: Orion 8" f/4 with a 2x Barlow
Autoguider: Phillips ToUcam Pro II, Shoestring Astronomy GPUSB guideport adapter, and PHD guiding software
Camera: Canon EOS 10D at prime focus with a Lumicon minus-violet filter (keeps out dust and moisture)
Exposures for M57: 9 x 120 sec at ISO 800, 3 x 120 sec Darks
Exposures for M27: 6 x 120 sec plus 3 x 180 sec at ISO 800, 3 x 120 sec Darks and 3 x 180s Darks
Processing: Raw files converted with Photoshop CS3 to 16bit TIFs. Calibrated, aligned, and combined in Images Plus. Final color and luminance adjusted in ACDSee. The original 3036 x 2024 pixel image was resized to 67% and a 1024 x 768 crop taken for the final image.

 Description:

Picture taken by Bob Brunck
The Veil Nebula
This portion of the Veil is designated as NGC 6960
It is also known as the Witch's Broom
The bright star is 52 Cygni
Constellation: Cygnus
Distance: 1400 to 2600 light years (the distance is not known accurately)

09-11-2010
Imaged at Soap Creek Valley
Corvallis, Oregon
12.5" f/4.8 with Lightholder primary
CCD Labs Q453 (QHY8) Camera with Televue Photo Paracorr and Hutech IDAS LPS-P2 filter
3 x 300 sec plus 1 x 480 sec subframes acquired with Nebulosity 2.2.1 with Offset 90 and Gain 21 (33%)
It was cool and damp out (46oF) with dew forming everywhere
Tom Osypowski Dual Axis Aluminum Equatorial Platform
Autoguided with PHD software
8" f/4 Guidescope
CCD-Labs Q-guide camera with Televue Paracorr
Image processing with ImagesPlus 3.75, PixInsight, and Photoshop CS4



 Description:

Picture taken by Glen Schaeffer
NGC 7635, also called the Bubble Nebula, is an emission nebula in the constellation Cassiopeia. It is positioned close to the open cluster M52. The "bubble" is created by the stellar wind from a massive hot 8.7 magnitude young central star.

Even with my 20" scope in dark skies, visually this is a very challenging object.
Photographic Details:

Date & Location: October 16th, 2009, Fort Mckavett, Texas.
Scope: Obsession 20” f/5 on a Tom Osypowski Dual Axis Equatorial Platform, Orion 100mm f/6 Guidescope.
Autoguider: Orion Starshoot Autoguider and PHD Guider software.
Camera: Canon XS DSLR (self-modified), Canon's own capture software.
Filters: None
Conditions: Temp 55F, Humidity 82%, Winds calm, Transparency 8/10, Seeing 7/10.
Exposures: 16 x 120sec @ 1600 ISO Sub Frames, 9 Darks average combined for master dark.
Post-processing: 3904x2900 Raw files converted to Lossless 16-bit FITS, calibrated, aligned, and combined with ImagePlus 3.75. Final processing Adobe Photoshop CS.



 Description:

Picture taken by Swiss astrophotographer, Martin Mutti
Galaxy M33 in the constellation Triangulum
Date & location: September 30th 2009 Gurnigel, Switzerland
Conditions: Temp 53F, Humidity 70%, Wind 0 mph
Transparency 8/10, Seeing 8/10

Scope: 12.5'' Dobson f/4.5 "Ninja"
http://www.aokswiss.ch/d/tel/spiegelteleskope/dobs/ninja320/ninja320.html
Mount: Dual-axis Aluminum Platform by Equatorial Platforms.

Camera: Canon EOS5d, IR-Filter modified by Baader Planetarium
Baader Coma Corrector

Autoguiding: SBIG ST-4
Guiding scope: 2.5'' f/13 with a 2x Barlow

Exposures:
10 x 5min @ 800 ISO, 14 Darks, 12 Flats

Processing:
Pre-processing: Fitswork http://freenet-homepage.de/JDierks/softw_en.htm
Post-processing: Photoshop CS4


 Description:

M27 - The Dumbbell Nebula
Planetary Nebula
Constellation: Vulpecula
Distance: 1250 ly

Link to more information

08-23-2009
Imaged at Soap Creek Valley
Corvallis, Oregon
25" f/5 with Nova primary
CCD Labs Q453 (QHY8) Camera with Televue Photo Paracorr and Hutech IDAS LPS-P2 filter
8 x 120 sec subframes acquired with Nebulosity 2.0 with Offset 90 and Gain 19 (30%)
It was cool (49oF)
Tom Osypowski Dual Axis Aluminum Eq. Platform
Autoguided with PHD sofware
8" f/4 Guidescope
CCD-Labs Q-guide camera with Televue Paracorr
Image processing with ImagesPlus 3.75, PixInsight, and Photoshop CS4

Images Copyright by Bob Brunck


 
This image of M42 was taken by Bob Brunck with a 12.5" f/4.8 Dob on a Dual-axis Aluminum Platform with a Canon 40D (un-modded) and a Televue photo Paracorr, at ISO 800. It is the combination of 6 x 10s, 6x30s, 6 x 60s, and 6x 120s image frames processed in ImagesPlus and Photoshop CS4. The exposures were autoguided with a piggy-backed 8" reflector.


M104 by Glenn Schaeffer
Date and Location: April 4th, 2008, Fort Mckavett, Texas.
Scope: Obsession 20? f/5 on a Tom Osypowski Dual Axis Equatorial Platform, Orion 100mm f/6 Guidescope.
Autoguider: SC1 Mod Celestron Neximage Cam, Shoestring GPUSB guide port interface adapter, and Guidemaster software.
Camera: Canon 20D DSLR (non-modded), homemade serial control shutter release cable, and DSLR Shutter from Stark Labs.
Conditions: Temp 49F, Humidity 29%, Winds calm, Transparency 9/10, Seeing 7/10.
Exposures: 64 x 60sec @ 3200 ISO Sub Frames, 10 Darks average combined for master dark.
Post-processing: 3504x2336 Raw files converted to Lossless 16-bit FITS, calibrated, aligned, and combined with ImagePlus. Final processing PhotoImpact Pro



Henrik Bondo is an amateur astronomer in Denmark who specializes in lunar photography. He recently received a new Dual-axis Aluminum Platform for his 20" Obsession, and has sent some "First Moonlight" pictures taken with the scope on his new Platform. Mr. Bondo's interesting website is at:

http://inet.uni2.dk/~d120588/henrik/FirstMoonlight.html

A mosaic of ten images taken with a 20" Obsession Telescope on a Dual-axis Aluminum Platform. Click on the image to see the remarkably detailed full shot. Deslandres region of the moon photographed on subsequent nights.


The Dumbell Nebula (M27) and Ring Nebula (M57)

Images by Bob Brunck
Date and Location: August 9, 2007 from Soap Creek Valley, at Corvallis, Oregon
Imaging Scope: Obsession 25" f/5 on a Tom Osypowski Dual Axis Aluminum Equatorial Platform
Guide Scope: Orion 8" f/4 with a 2x Barlow
Autoguider: Phillips ToUcam Pro II, Shoestring Astronomy GPUSB guideport adapter, and PHD guiding software
Camera: Canon EOS 10D at prime focus with a Lumicon minus-violet filter (keeps out dust and moisture)
Exposures for M57: 9 x 120 sec at ISO 800, 3 x 120 sec Darks
Exposures for M27: 6 x 120 sec plus 3 x 180 sec at ISO 800, 3 x 120 sec Darks and 3 x 180s Darks
Processing: Raw files converted with Photoshop CS3 to 16bit TIFs. Calibrated, aligned, and combined in Images Plus. Final color and luminance adjusted in ACDSee. The original 3036 x 2024 pixel image was resized to 67% and a 1024 x 768 crop taken for the final image.

 


 

The Great Orion Nebula is the brightest nebula visible to the naked eye, forming the middle part of the Hunter's sword in the famous constellation Orion. It is a breathtaking view in dark skies with my 20" Obsession where tendrils of gas can be appreciated. This is my “second light” with my Canon 20D and scope setup. I wanted to practice my imaging and processing techniques with an easy and bright target. The objective of this shot was to observe different ISO settings and the amount of noise from each. Because no flats or darks were taken and short shutter times, graininess was observed in the darker areas around corners of image. This shot shows the approximate FOV that my camera/scope has at f/5. Image by Glenn Schaeffer. Photographic Details:Date: January 30th 2006
Scope: Obsession 20” f/5 on a Tom Osypowski Dual Axis Equatorial Platform, Orion 100mm f/6 Guidescope
Autoguider: SC1 Mod Celestron Neximage Cam, Shoestring GPINT-PT guide port interface adapter, and Guidedog software
Camera: Canon 20D DSLR (unmodded), homemade serial control shutter release cable, and DSLRControl remote shutter software
Filters: None
Conditions: Temp 48F, Humidity 51%, Winds Calm, Transparency 7/10, Seeing 6/10
Exposures: 20 x 10sec @ 800 ISO, 18 x 10sec @ 1600 ISO, & 16 x 20sec @ 3200 ISO (no flats or darks)
Post-processing: 3504x2336 Raw files converted and resized 1200x800 (non-linear) using Canon’s Digital Photo Professional. Aligned, optimized, stacked, and stretched with Registax 3. Slight use of Wavlet filtering in Registax as well as color balancing with the Histogram function. ISO 800 & 1600 used for core region. Final processing in Photoimpact SE


Moon images take by Robert Schulz of Austria with a 12.5" Portaball Telescope on a Dual-axis Platform.
Click images to view full size.

Clavius
Heinzel
Hesiodus
       
Kopernikus
Plato
Ramsden-Marth




Glenn Schaeffer of Santa Fe, TX took these images of Mars. Here are his comments: "Thanks for the compliment. Of course you may use my Mars image for your site. Make sure you let your customers know that this was my "first" imaging session with your platform!!!!

I used 823 of 1232 and 585 of 902 frames respectively. Was track and stacked with Registax3 and processed with the waveletts filters. Final editing was done with Ulead Photoimpact SE.

I obtained f/20 by using my 2x Super Barlow coupled to an old 2x Meade Shorty barlow. Kinda of a poor man's 4x Powermate. Seems to work ok for me.

I've posted my results so far to my Club's user group (Johnson Space Center Astronomical Society), Toucam and Obsession Yahoo user groups. Been getting rave reviews with my image obtained with your platform. "

NGC 891

M27

M13
Click Images To Enlarge

All three of these images were taken by Bob Brunck through a 25" f/5 Obsession with a 4.0" diagonal on a Dual-axis Aluminum Platform. All were guided manually with an 8" f/4 scope, using a 10 mm illuminated reticle eyepiece and a 2x barlow. All were taken with a standard Canon EOS 10D with a minus violet filter, without a Coma corrector, all with ISO 800. M13 is the combination of 2 x 10 sec, 2 x 30 sec, and 3 x 60 sec exposures. NGC 891 was the average of 1 x 120 sec and 3 x 180 sec exposures. M27 is 3 x 120 sec. Images were combined and enhanced with ImagesPlus and ACDSee7.


Jupiter - Moon occultation.

Taken by Becky Coretti with Bill Williams, using a 15" Obsession and a Tom O Compact Platform.   A ToUCam was used with a TeleVue 4x Powermate.


Total Eclipse of the Moon on October 27, 2004.

This image was taken by Gary Meehan with a 12.5" Dobsonian on an Equatorial Platform. Gary says, "This was about a 6 second exposure using a Canon PowerShot A70 and a 40mm Tele Vue Plossl. There's no way I could have made this shot without such a terrific product!"


Jupiter taken through a 15" Obsession on a Compact Platform by Becky Coretti and Bill Williams at 1:15 AM EST on Feb. 7,2004. They used a Phillips ToUcam Pro 240K. The images were combined with Registax and processed in Photoshop by Tony Hallas. Here are Becky's comments: "Ganymede has detail!! Woohoo! The shadow of Ganymede is seen to it's immediate left. The shadow below Ganymede's is not a shadow at all - rather it is Callisto, whose dark features make it appear as if there are two shadow transits! Kinda cool, huh?

Thank you so much for your excellent workmanship. The platform is beautiful and exceedingly functional!"

Comet Linear c/2002 T7. This is a combination of 20 - 30 second exposures taken by Doug Askew through an 18" Obsession Telescope riding on a Dual-axis Aluminum Equatorial Platform. Doug used an SBIG ST-5c to autoguide the exposures.
 
M76. This is a combination of 9 - 60 second exposures, taken with the same equipment as used for the Comet Linear image.
Saturn imaged with a Philips ToUcam using a 15" Obsession on a Compact Equatorial Platform. Photo by Becky Coretti and Bill Williams.

Mars imaged with a Philips ToUcam using a 15" Obsession on a Compact Equatorial Platform. Photo by Becky Coretti and Bill Williams



A movie of Mars rotating, taken by Robert Schulz in Vienna, Austria. Click to download the image. Warning: It is a large file. Mr. Schulz used a 12.5" Portaball Telescope on a Dual-axis Equatorial Platform. Here are his comments:

"Your platform is excellent. The frame of the webcam is only 40arcsec wide, and tracking must be perfect to obtain such results. With the two axis fine correction, centering of a planet is a snap. Thank you for this beautiful, technical, and precise platform...it is as important as the optic itself!"

NGC 4298
NGC 4565
NGC 4725
M91
M88
NGC 4244
M51   M10
CCD images by Doug Askew with an 18" Obsession on a Dual-axis Aluminum Platform. All are multiple UNGUIDED exposures taken with a Starlight HX9 camera. (Click image for a larger view.)

taken by Doug Askew with an 18" Obsession on a Dual-axis Aluminum Platform. The image is a combination of 20 10sec unguided exposures taken with a Starlight HX9 CCD camera."

The Helix Nebula
. One hour exposure on Kodak Multispeed Ektapress at prime focus of 12.5" f/5 with coma corrector and ST-4 autoguider. Photo by Del Johnson

M42
- Photo by Del Johnson. 45 minute exposure using Fuji ISO 100 Superia print film. 12.5" f/5 prime focus with Lumicon coma corrector and ST-4 autoguider, off-axis.

Leonids streaking through Orion
. Photo taken with an Olympus 50mm lens at f2.8, piggy-backed onto a Dob on a Platform. Exposure was 10 minutes unguided, using Fuji 400 print film. Picture by Tom Osypowski. Image scanning and processing by Hallas Digital Services.

M42 -- the Orion Nebula
. This image is a digital composite of two negatives taken on Ektar 1000 print film. Exposure of each negative was 7 minutes. The telescope was a 16" f5 Dob on a Dual-axis Equatorial Platform. Guiding was done with the Platform's hand control through a separate guide scope. Images by Tom Osypowski. Scanning and image processing by Tony and Daphne Hallas at Astro Photo.

M65, M66 and NGC 3628 in Leo
by Del Johnson. Prime focus of 12.5" f/5 reflector using the Lumicon Coma Corrector. Summation of three separate one hour exposures on Kodak 35mm Multispeed Ektapress print film, autoguided with ST-4 CCD. Negatives scanned and digitally stacked by Astro Photo.

Horsehead Nebula
: 60 minute exposure at prime focus of a 12.5" f/5 reflector with a Lumicon coma corrector, Kodak PJM Ektapress Multispeed film. Guided with an ST-4.

M13
: a 10 minute exposure through a 16" f5 Dobsonian on a Dual-Axis Equatorial Platform, Ektar 1000 film. Image taken by Tom Osypowski. Image scanned and digitally processed by Jim Eiselt.