Latest Local Weather

[Back to Club Images]

Stronge Astrophotography

Previous -(8)- Next

May/June 2004


Solar Limb sunspots

Name

Mark Stronge
Location
Comber, County Down, Northern Ireland
Website
(if you have one)
Photo Title
Solar Limb sunspots
Time and Date taken
19:33 and 1935hrs BST, 14th June 2004
Equipment used
(including barlows, mount, filters)
Orion ED80mm, Vixen GP mount, 2inch WO diagonal, IR blocking filter, Baader Contrast Booster, 2x barlow, Baader solar filter, Vibration isolation pads
Capturing device used
(e.g. Philips TouCam Pro)
TouCam Pro
Technical details
(eg. ISO, exposure time, frames per second, number of frames, processing software used)
 

1/100 shutter speed, 5fps, 400 frames aligned and stacked in Registax with final processing in Paint Shop Pro 8

1/100 shutter speed, 5fps, 1000 frames aligned and stacked in Registax with final processing in Paint Shop Pro 8. Image from Registax was duplicated on two layers consisting of the odd and even interlace. These were then combined using the "multiply" layer tool in PSP8 which brought out greater contrast and crisper detail in the sunspots.

6 days after the Venus transit, there is now some activity on the solar disk as up until now there had been none. The left image shows a group of 3 sunspots with clearly defined faculae around the spots. The right image of sunspot group 634, shows an already well developed grouping. I used wavelet processing to enhance the granulation in each image which also clarifies the sunspots, faculae and pores. Also notice how that the sunspots seem to look like depressions in the photosphere because they are close to the limb. This observation is called the Wilson effect.

In 1769 a Scottish astronomer named Alexander Wilson noticed that the shape of sunspots noticeably flattened as they approached the Sun's limb as the Sun rotated. These observations showed that sunspots were features on the solar surface, as opposed to minor planets or objects situated above the surface. Moreover, he concluded that sunspots were in fact slight depressions in the surface of the photosphere.


24th May Moon Mosaic

Name

Mark Stronge
Location
Comber, County Down
Website
Photo Title
Moon Mosaic
Date and Time taken
2250hrs GMT 24th May 2004
Equipment used
Orion ED80mm, Vixen GP mount, 2inch WO diagonal, IR blocking filter, 2x barlow, Vibration isolation pads
Capturing device used
Philips TouCam Pro
Technical details
 
28 sets of 30second captures were used in the Moon Mosaic. Captured with K3CCDTools at 5fps 1/50second exposure. Stacking 100 frames each in Registax with wavelet processing, mosaic in iMerge, final processing in Paint Shop Pro 8

The Moon is 5 days old in this photo and is a beautiful waxing cresent. This is my first Moon mosaic using the Orion ED80 and I am quite pleased with the result. Final image resolution is 2500x1300 pixels.


M51 : The Whirpool Galaxy

Name

Mark Stronge
Location
Comber, County Down
Website
Photo Title
M51
Date and Time taken
0100hrs GMT 21st May
Equipment used
Orion ED80mm, Vixen GP mount, Vibration isolation pads
Capturing device used
Canon 300D Digital Rebel digital SLR
Technical details
 
ISO1600, 13 frames of 30 seconds, stacked in Registax with final processing in PSP8

I was intending to image Comet NEAT again but some low cloud changed my mind to the meridian. M51 has been well placed for viewing and imaging for some time. Even though the skies do not get completely dark at this time of year, I found M51 fairly easily (for a change) and started capturing. It was fairly windy though the scope was quite sheltered. I wanted to take alot more frames, but the clouds came over and they didn't look like they were on a flying visit :-( This is my very first image of M51 and I'm fairly pleased with the result. A longer exposure is probably my next goal and higher magnification. This was a very wide field capture and I have only used the central area of the image.

Focusing was my main problem as looking through an optical viewfinder is quite dim compared with an eyepiece. Ideally, I could have gone to a bright star and focused on that and then gone back to M51 without changing focus but it was quite dim to find and would have been impossible to locate again without changing the focus when using an eyepiece. An off-axis guider would be ideal for this job. Instead, I took 20 second exposures and looked at the image at high magnification and adjusted the focus accordingly. This was a very slow method but worked well as I achieved a very fine focus on the dimmer stars.


Venus and the Moon

Name

 
Mark Stronge
Location
  Comber, County Down
Website
 
Photo Title
 
Venus and the Moon
Time and Date taken
 
2126hrs GMT 20th May 2004
Equipment used
 
Camera and Tripod
Capturing device used
 
Canon 300D
Technical details
 
  1. ISO400, 1/8sec, f4.5, 80mm F.L
  2. ISO100, 2.5sec, f5.6, 400mm F.L

This sight is always awe inspiring. The 1 and a half day old Moon and Venus in the evening sky.


Comet c/2001 Q4 (NEAT)

Name
Mark Stronge
Location
Slieve Croob, County Down
Website
Photo Title
Comet c/2001 Q4 (NEAT)
Date and Time taken
2323hrs GMT 18th May 2004
Equipment used
Orion ED80mm, Vixen GP mount, Vibration isolation pads
Capturing device used
Canon 300D Digital Rebel
Technical details
ISO1600, 30second exposure, 10 frames stacked in Registax with final processing in Paint Shop Pro

I took this image from Slieve Croob. The skies were quite clear with the Beehive cluster naked eye visible. Coma Berenices was visible as a large open cluster. Limiting Magnitude was around 5.5 and I estimated that the comet was around Mag5 coming very near to the limit of naked eye visibility. Unfortunately, the wind was very strong, around 30mph, so I could not take very long exposures without blurring. Still, after some heavy processing in Paint Shop Pro, you can see the nucleus, coma, a bright dust tail and a faint dust tail stretching out horizontally.


Sunspots 609, 608 and 612

Name
 
Mark Stronge
Website
 
Photo Title
 
Sunspots 609, 608 and 612
Date and Time taken
 
1631hrs and 1636hrs GMT 16th May 2004
Equipment used
 
Orion ED80mm, Vixen GP mount, 2inch WO diagonal, IR blocking filter, 2x barlow, Vibration isolation pads, Baader solar film
Capturing device used
 
TouCam Pro
Technical details
 
300/500 frames @ 5fps, 1/500sec. stacked in Registax with final processing in Paint Shop Pro

The image on the left is of sunspot 609 which split in two to form Sunspots 609 and 608. Notice the very small black sunspots in and around the main sunspots which usually last only a few hours and are called pores. You can clearly see that 609 is split closely in 3 parts and the bridges between are brighter than the surrounding sun surface. I used wavelet processing to enhance the granulation which is caused by convection in the photosphere (visible surface) of the Sun. The dark umbrae are surrounded by the lighter pemumbrae in which you can see a crochet pattern which is quite difficult to image. The right image shows a nearby sunspot, 612 to the far right. Notice that even though the right image was taken only five minutes after the first, sunspot 608 has changed slightly in shape and structure over that brief period.


Sun Photosphere

Name
 
Mark Stronge
Website
 
Photo Title
 
Sun Photosphere
Date and Time taken
 
1705hrs GMT 16th May 2004
Equipment used
 
Orion ED80mm, Vixen GP mount, Vibration isolation pads, Baader solar film
Capturing device used
 
Canon 300D Digital Rebel digital SLR
Technical details
 
10 frames, ISO1600 :-( , 1/4000sec. stacked in Registax with final processing in Paint Shop Pro

Yes, OK, so I didn't check the ISO setting before taking the picture. I should have used ISO100 but didn't realise in time to take any more. The final image is a bit noisy compared with last month's image but I thought I would include this to show the Sunspots in context of the full disk.

 

 

Previous -(8)- Next

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:

Club Chairman:

 

[Back to Club Images]