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Mark and Nigel Stronge Astrophotography

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June 2003

More sunspot images taken on 24th June 2003.

The first pinky image is taken with a Minolta Dimage 7, Scopetronix MaxView 40mm, 12 images @ 1/20 F3.5 ISO100, cropped, stacked in K3CCDTools and processed in Registax.

Sunspots 387 and 391 taken with Minolta Dimage 7

The second image is taken with a TouCam 740 unmodified, 1/1000 shutter, 5fps, gamma at zero, 225 images stacked and processed in Registax. Seeing the laptop screen was difficult so next time we'll get a towel :-)

Digicam night
On Tuesday 10th June, the forecast was looking good and I called up John McConnell, EAAS chairman, to see if he was interested in a night's observing at Castle Espie, Comber. I did manage to limit the phone call to under one hour so that left time for the night's observing! John and David Goudy arrived around 2330hrs, around the right time for the skyis just getting dark at this time of year. We packed the 10" SCT and accessories into the car and headed down the road for some observing. First stop was the moon and we got quite a nice image of Sinus Iridum, Plato, the Alpine Valley and the rainbow craters, one of which is called Pythagoras. (The set of 3 craters on the northern end of the terminator.)

Next stop was some deep sky and while we could just make out the arms of M51, only the core was visible using the Dimage 7 at it's maximum exposure time, and the sky was not really very dark. M57 was better and an acceptable image of the Ring Nebula was produced. This image is the result of a stack of 5 ISO400 30second exposures using K3CCDTools (it can handle megapixel frames). With only 5 stacked imagesin K3CCDTools, we were able to see stars down to 15th magnitude which is quite pleasing, though image noise is apparent. While the image was unguided, the GOTO on the Meade LX-200 was active which allowed us to get resonably round stars. Vignetting of the lesser variety is visible with a brightened centre image. Next time I will attempt a flat field image to reduce this problem. The observing finished at 0315hrs when we got a glimpse of Mars that was just visible through the atmosphere. Next time, we will image Mars, as it is currently flying towards us and getting bigger, brighter and more sociable :-)

Astro-Day, Saturday 7th June
Below are two images of the sun taken on 7th June at the Astro-Day at Ballyrobert Primary School. Both images were taken using a Minolta Dimage 7, 5 megapixel camera by Mark Stronge. With thanks to Philip Baxter for the use of his 8" SCT Meade LX-90.

Sunspot 375
Click on picture for larger image

May 2003

The Solar Eclipse of 31st May 2003 was the first I have ever seen with the naked eye. Only able to get pictures with camera, not telescope but they turned out quite well. Through the binoculars, I could see clearly a large sunspot on the opposite side to the moon and it was clearly visible throughout the eclipse. I only wish I could have used the scope. I was in the Isle of Man on Saturday and so didn't have scope with me.

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If you have any photos or video of the sky at night that you would like shown on the EAAS website please get in touch using the e-mail below:

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