Astronomy 🔭 (other space stuff too)

Thought I would make this given that a few members seemed interested, and would be a good place to put space news and such as well.

First post, I got more images! Still learning how to process them, but getting some encouraging results.

Had some ringing with the outside of Jupiter, but got some decent color detail out of it.

Here’s the same image with softer colors, before doing wavelet processing:

saturn

I really struggled with Saturn due to just how small it is. Next time, I’ll probably switch to my 9mm eyepiece, or add a barlow to hopefully get more detail.

Lastly, the moon:


Changed my white balance a bit, hence the change in colors.

Not too bad considering a slightly foggy night (very foggy afterwards, my equipment was soaked from dew), a dobsonian telescope, and a homemade phone mount.

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This was my entire setup, using the 3D printed mount. Pretty simple!

Then processed the files, using PIPP to crop, center, and convert the initial video, then AutoStakkert to align and stack the frames, and then RegiStax6 for wavelet processing, to bring out the colors embedded in the image.

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That is so cool!!
I like the idea of the thread too!
Do you have to take any precautions when it’s foggy out? I’m assuming the inside bits of the telescope are sealed up? How often do you have to wipe the lens to clear the dew?

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Great question! So, for the most part, no real precautions. Electronics like my laser collimator, I put back in the foam and box to keep it dry.

The telescope itself is pretty resistant, due to the intended use often involving dew. The glass is all 100% fine, and as long as you place it inside to dry, there’s no real issues. I leave all of my caps off slightly, so no moisture can build up.

Nothing is sealed in the scope itself! A Dobsonian is essentially just a hollow tube with the primary at the bottom and the secondary mounted near the top on a little spider crossbeam piece. As long as the aperture cover is off, it’ll naturally dry and evaporate. It’s why they’re able to be somewhat affordable, the primary mirror itself is the most expensive component by far.

The eyepieces and such are all sealed ideally. Don’t want to get them super wet, but they’re usually okay. I keep mine in a little organizer box, which helps keep them dry in the early morning.

For the mirror itself, my scope actually has a built in fan under the mirror to defog it during use. You just plug in a little battery pack, it seems to work well.

If you can avoid it, you never really want to touch the mirrors of a Newtonian reflector, esp the primary mirror. It can actually get surprisingly dirty before viewing degrades at all, thanks to the sheer amount of light the mirror captures (especially 8" or larger like mine). Even large scratches are pretty hard to notice in the image. In the absolute worst case, you can pull them out and wash them a particular way with soap and water, but it’s a complex procedure to do it just right.

The most you ever really do is using one of those little air puffers, like you use with camera lenses, and blow the dust off gently. I haven’t had to do that with mine yet, as long as I keep the aperture cover on when I’m not using it, it’s been fine.

Pics of the scope and the inside (still has a little moisture on the mirror haha):

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Awesome! Thanks for the detailed answers!

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These are amazing! Really awesome job. I remember the first time.i saw a little spec of Saturn with rings around it… the overwhelming sense of scale and distance hit me like no photo ever could. My eyes were witnessing real light from a distant planet… seeing is believing, or something like that.

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I still vividly remember a year ago, when I first got my telescope, looking at Saturn for the first time. It’s always been my favorite planet, ever since I was a kid I was mesmerized by it, and to actually see the rings with my own eyes was life changing. As you said, the fact that actual photons had traveled from the sun, to Saturn, and then into my eye, absolutely amazed me.

My dad for many years had mentioned that it was something he wanted to see before he died, bucket list thing. He figured to get a good amount of detail, he would have to go to an observatory or something.

It took a few days to get a clear night, and figure out the time and part of the sky that Saturn would be in (live in a semi-urban area, lots of houses and trees and power poles in the way). Finally, got a good night for it.

My dad told me to come wake him up if I was able to see them, so I went in and got him. It was maybe 1 or 2am, he has to wake up at 6am for work. He’s never willingly woken up for anything before like that.

He came out in his pajamas, and for a few minutes, it was just the two of us, standing in the crisp night air of late summer, in awe of the universe around us. One of the biggest bonding moments I can remember in the last few years, especially while I’ve been away at college.

It’s also why I try to participate in outreach events, to give other people that experience without the barriers. I need to rejoin the Indiana astronomical society, I let my membership lapse a month or two ago…

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What a great gift to your dad… you and :ringer_planet: :slight_smile:

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How do you figure out where the planets are?

My caveman brain assumes an app that you just point up to the sky and it kind of overlays on the screen so you can get an idea…

That’s the easiest way, yeah, and very helpful for finding less bright things, and getting your bearings. Stellarium is sort of the go-to, I use Star Walk 2 for most things, despite it being bloated and terrible. I use it b/c it’s generally faster at just showing me “PLANET HERE”, and that’s all I need it for.

Over time, it becomes a lot easier to see the layout of things. Jupiter is always SUPER obvious once you see it a few times, it’s bright as hell and looks distinct, and thanks to the plane of our solar system, you can find the others that way as well (follow the arc in either direction).

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That’s awesome. It really does make your appreciate astronomers from the past and what they had to do to get to where we are now

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Thought this was pretty neat!
Going on my ever growing want to do list lol

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Not sure if the full file is available online somewhere, but even that screenshot is pretty impressive

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That’s amazing!

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Most people never think about it, but the ISS is super easy to see if you just look up at the right time. Pretty obvious too, as it’s hauling ass across the sky. Heavens Above will tell you when and where to look. Also it’ll point you to all sorts of things like spent rocket boosters and satellites.

No equipment necessary, just go outside and look up.
https://www.heavens-above.com/

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Yep, Heavens-Above is great. I use it a lot when doing radio stuff with satellites (like pulling satellite images from the NOAA sats).

ISS Detector is great as well, lets you set notifications for various satellites and space stations. It was neat to see Tiangong. A little more user friendly. It also lets you point your phone at the sky and see where it’ll come into view and where it’ll leave your view. There’s a pro version as well, and it’s on Play Pass.

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I have a weakness for websites that haven’t had a style update/change since the late 90’s. Just feels more real to me. :nerd_face:

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Why is the ISS always visible during the busiest weeks and at the worst possible times?

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They’re also faster and not anywhere as bloated as modern sites.

Just so im not completely off topic. I’ve seen the ISS passing overhead and i wished that i had a good pair of binoculars. Its almost clear enough when the sun is reflecting off of it to see its outline without magnification.

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