Thursday 15 January 2015

Wednesday in deep snow behind a log block house

Confession is good for the soul - but so are excuses! I did a focus test toward the moon in the Autumn. Where is "infinitity" for my camera when I do not have any filter over the lens and I set the focus manually. (Also since I am working with the camera, a Pentax K10, on a tripod, I turn the anti-shake function off, when I remember. I did last night but not for any of the previous Lovejoy sessions.) Wed and Tues nights were very cold, -17C and -24C respectively - the camera and battery worked very well - but the images are badly out of focus and I will need to redo the focus test if I continue to work at these cold temperatures. For my European friends, I found last night warm. I was in running shoes and knee-deep in snow, no solid footing for the tracking but the problems below are mine, and not the equipment.

I saw the comet through binoculars and think I may also have seen it unaided - not as bright as M31.
All exposures are 30seconds long. The wide-angle are at 18mm FL. The following shows Taurus and Lovejoy:

The next shoot is recentred and includes the 3 stars in the belt of Orion at lower left, Capella at top centre, the "Vee" of Taurus and the Pleiades, unmarked and comet Lovejoy which really shows some extreme colour, green and blue:
I zoomed in on the Pleiades - and checked the focus -

However, the images are just a little like "donuts" - and a hot coffee to go, please.
More of the same problem with the sword below Orion's belt, M42:

Again, I am fairly certain that I checked the focus and set it at my "October" +15C setting. The shot is better than on Tuesday and similarly cropped as well as zoomed.

For those of you interested in the tracker, here is a link to
iOptron’s SkyTracker Since the review gives a guided image of Orion, I include an unguided exposure, uncorrected, no photoshop or resizing taken under light polution on Jan 8:

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