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Mike Barrett
Worked at PocketGPSWorld
Attended SEEVIC College
Lives in Essex, UK & Davenport, FL
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Mike Barrett

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Well I definitely saw Comet Lovejoy last night. I managed to get about 90 minutes of exposure on it before it disappeared behind the trees at the bottom of the garden. There is some detail in the tails, but not enough to be brought out.
I was doing 5 minute exposures with the guider on the comet nucleus making the stars trail. I tried two different methods of stacking: Average and Standard Deviation. As expected the Average shows the trailing stars, but the SD has removed the stars as the 'artefacts' do not remain in the following frames.
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Guess when new moon is?
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The text should have been "Guess when new moon is? We have had loads of cloudy nights when it has been dark, now at full moon it clears up. Guess I should take up moonbathing, can I get a moon tan?" not sure what happened to the rest :(
 
With the moon just past full the sky was way too bright for any serious astrophotography, and of course there were clear skies, I took the opportunity to do a little testing.  I have a new bar with dual cameras on one for guiding and one for imaging.  This time I am using my 200mm prime lens rather than a telescope.  This allows me to get some of the larger nebula like the veil and the Heart and Soul in a single frame. 

To test this system I stopped the lens right down to F16 set the ISO to 800 and ran a 10 minute sub.  As that worked very nicely producing perfectly round stars I then decided to up the exposure to 20 minutes.  Once again there were perfect round stars, though the sky was washed out.  Cant wait until the moon gets out of the way and I can take some serious exposures.
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Indeed, but my Ha filter will not fit on the camera lens :-(

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This is another crop of the image at 50% showing the Bubble Nebula and M52.  The whole area is covered with nebulosity which is picked out very nicely by my modified T3i DSLR
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Feel free MIke but I don't expect to get any better.

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As tonight is forecast to be clear all night I am taking the opportunity to grab some photons in my Canon T3i.  I had intended to try for the Heart Nebula, but it was too high in the sky around the meridian so the telescope could not get to it.  I therefore decided to select NGC 7635 otherwise known as the bubble nebula as my target for tonight.  

The plan is to take around 25 x 10 minute exposures a total of just over 4 hours.  With a bit of luck the tracking and guiding will be sufficient to get some good image data.
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After a completely overcast day and evening the sky was forecast to clear at about 1am.  I set my alarm and sure enough it was clear.  I then spent nearly 5 hours messing around in the dark and produced this image of M45.  Still needs a lot of work, but this has the most nebulocity I have got on this object.

I remembered to set the dew heater this time, and indeed switched it on at 10pm before I went to bed.  The telescope stayed clear all night.
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I didn't take flats for this one, but I did take and use 20 darks.  
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On Saturday it was lovely and clear for a change.  I took the opportunity to test out my new guided mount with Canon T3i camera.  I went for the Heart and Soul nebula as I have been wanting to get round to imaging them again, last time was 2 years ago.

I am reasonably pleased with the results.  This represents 40x300s RGB exposures combined with 40x300s darks.  A total of 3 hours 20 minutes of lights.  I did notice some slight field rotation when processing so I had to rotate as well as translate to get them to align properly.
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Very nice Mike

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Watch as the dramatic events of the failed Antares launch unfold pictures and video from the cameras placed on the launch pad.

Antares rocket explosion from the launch pad
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What a night last night.  Clear all the way from dusk to dawn.  I spent 9 hours imaging 4.5 lights, 4.5 darks plus a load of flats and got this result.  

The Bubble Nebula or NGC 7635 is in the constellation of Cassiopeia and was pretty much overhead when I started imaging at 12:30am.  The image is composed of 25 x 10 minute exposures taken at ISO 800 combined with 25 x 10 minute darks and 60 flats.  The resulting image was processed in Photoshop to bring out the details.  This is a crop of the full frame of my Canon T3i modified for astrophotography by Hap Griffin and is actually 100% i.e. 1 to 1 pixel.  I am very happy with the noise, but the image is over processed.  I will make some further attempts to improve it over time.
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Looks fine to me Mike :)
 
And this is my guide to Planetary Astrophotography.  Part one the equipment and capturing the images.
Inspiration for the next generation of explorers
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Time to blow my own trumpet again.  Here is my item on the Eagle Nebula in the latest version of RocketSTEM.
Inspiration for the next generation of explorers
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I did realize they weren't your Mike :) , although didn't know they from Hubble.
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Have him in circles
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Paul Scott Anderson's profile photo
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Essex, UK & Davenport, FL