Blog

  • Instructions for SBIG AllSky 340

    Click on the link below to view instructions for the SBIG Allsky 340 Camera

    Instructions

  • Starlight Xpress Oculus Instructions

    Click here to view instructions for using the Starlight Xpress Oculus.

  • Lagoon Nebula with Optolong L-eNhance Filter

    Lagoon Nebula Region in Sagittarius
    Optolong L-eNhance filter, shot in June 2, 2019
    Copyright: Scott Tucker
    Technical card
    Imaging telescopes or lenses:SkyWatcher Esprit 100 ED f/5.5 APO, Samyang 135mm f/2 135mm F/2
    Imaging cameras:ZWO ASI294MC Pro, Apogee U16M
    Filters:Optolong L-eNhance, Astrodon 5nm H-alpha 50mm
    Frames:
    Astrodon 5nm H-alpha 50mm: 7x1200" -15C bin 1x1
    Optolong L-eNhance: 129x120" (gain: 120.00) -20C bin 1x1
    Baader Luminance 50mm square: 14x300" -15C bin 1x1
    Resolution: 2000x1973
    Dates:June 2, 2019
    Integration: 7.8 hours
    Locations: Mt. Hopkins, Tucson, AZ, United States
  • QSI System Chart

    Systemchart

  • Christmas Comet Shines in Tandem with Geminid Shower

    Comet 46P/Wirtanen, commonly dubbed the ‘Christmas Comet’ thanks to its festive timing, is visible now and will reach its peak brightness on the 16th of December, 2018. Look to the Eastern horizon near the Pleiades cluster as it rises early in the evening.  The comet will be visible all night.  As we near the middle of the month, the green glow surrounding the comet should balloon to approximately twice the apparent size of the Moon making the comet appear as a diaphanous green orb. Head to dark skies to help boost natural night sky contrast and bring a telescope or binoculars for the best views.

    For astrophotographers and night sky photographers, 46P-Wirtanen’s arrival with the Geminid meteor shower offers a great opportunity to capture the green comet in tandem with a light show. The nights of the 13th and 14th of December are your best bet when the shower reaches its peak.

    Discovered in 1948 by Carl Wirtanen, an astronomer at Lick Observatory in California, 46P has been visible during every pass save one - in 1980 it was too near the Sun to see. This comet is a member of the Jupiter family whose orbits are controlled by the planet and are thought to originate from the Kuiper belt, a massive celestial lagoon of icy masses residing outside of Neptune. Their orbits are relatively short, typically less than 20 years. These are comets that we potentially see pass by Earth often. However, they are not always bright enough to see with the naked eye. Many meet an early demise by striking a planet or breaking apart in the atmosphere of one, such as Shoemaker-Levy 9 famously did in July 1992, or degrading in the intensity of the Sun.

    Jupiter family comets are not known for being very bright due to the rapid decline of their structures as they pass through our solar system. Of the over 400 Jupiter family comets known, 46P will be among the brightest to pass near Earth recently and is expected to reach a maximum magnitude of 4.2 at the nucleus as we near the middle of the month. Comet 46P holds the record for the smallest comet nucleus ever recorded.  Measured in 1996 at a likely charitable 1.1km. To give some idea of its size, that’s 1/10th the size of Halley’s comet and 1/13th the size of Hale-Bopp.  While it will not be as bright as a larger comet might have been and may not have much of a visible tail, 46P-Wirtanen is expected to reach a magnitude of 4.2 which is well into the visible-with-the-naked-eye range. This is also the closest the comet is expected to pass near Earth again.

    The comet isn’t the only one putting on a show this time of year. The Geminid meteor shower reaches its peak on the 13th and 14th. The most reliably brilliant shower every year, the Geminids put on a unique light display of noticeably slower meteor trails than other showers.  They often seem to skip and glide across the night sky sometimes lasting seconds or leaving behind green dust trails for minutes.  Because Geminid meteors are not the remnants of a typical comet tail but rather the rocky trail of a large mass called 3200 Phaethon, their composition is denser and the result is brighter longer lasting streaks of light as they enter our atmosphere.   This shower can reach peaks frequencies of up to 120 meteor per hour, promising a good showing even from suburban areas with moderate light pollution.  Peak times are about 2am your local time.

     

  • Eagle Manager Update

    EAGLE Manager update

    Last version 2.5 10/10/2018:

    1) Improved support to ECCO environmental computerized controller
    2) Bug fixes

    Version 2.3 18/07/2018:

    1) Added support to ECCO environmental computerized controller
    2) Improved ON-OFF management of USB ports
    3) Added "remember my choice" in power window
    4) Improved stability
    5) Bug fixes

     

     

    Click here to download.

  • Fish Head Nebula with Pixinsight by Tim Connolly

    Hello!
    Goodbye Photoshop! Today was the first day I used Pixinsight. After spending the last few days watching tutorials and reading guides, I gave it a shot with Fish Head Nebula (IC1795), at the bottom of the Heart Nebula, in the constellation Cassiopeia. At first, Pixinsight appeared very foreign to me and overwhelming, but I started figuring out the different features through trial and error. I still have much to learn, but I am more than satisfied with the software. I used Image Integration and Image Calibration to register and stack the images. I then used LRGB to combine the channels and produce the Hubble Palette mapping the Sulfur II channel to Red, Hydrogen Alpha channel to Green and Oxygen III channel to Blue. I then went through and tried different processing with the curves, histogram and background processes. I really found the masks to be easy to use and found different methods to make the masks. I’m going to redo my previous narrowband images of Elephant Trunk Nebula, Cygnus Wall and Wizard Nebula with Pixinsight.
    Ha - 15 - 300 second exposure images
    OIII - 15 - 300 second exposure images
    SII - 15 - 300 second exposure images
    Darks - 25
    Bias - 25
    Flats - 20 (each filter)
    Orion 8” F3.9 Newtonian
    ZWO ASI 1600 mm-pro
    ZWO 7nm narrowband filters
    Celestron CGEM DX Mount
    Captured using SGPro (Trial Version)
    Calibrated, Stacked and Processed in Pixinsight (Trial Version)
  • Warren Keller Fall 2018 Workshop

    California here we come! Warren Keller and Ron Brecher are teaming up to present a 3-day workshop, September 28-30, 2018 at Astro-Hutech in Lake Forest, California. This is a convenient commute for many imagers, whether from home or SNA and LAX airports. Register today!

    The cost for three full days of PI instruction is $595.00 USD. Registration is now open and is limited to about 20 attendees. Take your PI skills to the next level, working in an intimate setting with personal attention from two experts. Follow the link below for a detailed agenda, accommodation information, and to register. Consider that with the Advanced Imaging Conference (AIC) back in 2019, we'll not be able to repeat this class next year!

    Things our students said

    “… 5 stars. You guys are exceptional.”
    Richard Payne
    “I LOVED the hands-on approach.”
    Prof. Samantha Blair
    “I liked the fact that you covered so many topics and included many tips and shortcuts.”
    Greg Piepol
    "Instructors were very personable, entertained questions, and were available for hands-on help and pointers.”
    Bob Taylor

    This Introductory-Level course will focus on the following objectives:

    • Get you comfortable in the PixInsight working environment
    • Demonstrate a simple workflow to produce a good-looking image from raw data
    • Reveal intermediate techniques for further improving your images
    • Build your skills by processing your own data, with individual coaching from the instructors

    While the course is aimed at those nearer the beginning of their PixInsight journey, astrophotographers of all skill levels will learn new tips and tricks for successful deep-sky astro-image processing.

    Day 1 focuses on learning the user interface and processing environment, and takes a simple data set through a complete processing workflow.

    On Days 2 and 3, we'll dig deeper, mining more complex tools and techniques to enhance your workflow. The workshop includes three 'Process Your Own Data' sessions where the instructors will provide targeted coaching and advice based on individual interests and needs. These are great opportunities for the more advanced processor to get what they need from Warren and Ron.

    Follow the link below for a detailed agenda, accommodation information, and to register. Do not hesitate to contact us with any questions. Thank you!

    Register Now

  • Party Under the Stars

    Click here to check out this blog post!

  • Join LAAS at the Boeing Santa Susana Field Lab Star Party- Sept. 15th!

    Join the Los Angeles Astronomical Society on September 15th at the Boeing Santa Susana Field Lab.  This is a rare opportunity to star party at this site, and with very few lights in the surrounding 2600 acre facility, it is sure to be an enjoyable night under the stars.

    We need 72 hours advance notice for equipment set up. If you are interested in bringing your equipment, please let us know by filling in this contact form, let us know what equipment you plan to bring and we'll be in touch with more details.

    Contact Us

     

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