Friday, 28 December 2007

Christmas Moon with the G600 RGB and Greyscale versions

Here is another image that i think is better. One is RGB and the other is the Greyscale version of the same image.

Christmas Moon with the G600

Had a gap in the clouds Christmas night and got some handheld images of the moon with my G600 mobile phone. Did get some avi's with the webcam but it seemed to drop alot of frames so gave up there. The 2 nearly full moons were taken with my Celestron, 26mm ep, 50%ish zoom and ISO200. The 3rd, Mare Crisium, was a 9mm ep with 100% zoom. All run through Gimp quickly.

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Problems with images....

I have had problems with my computer and all the images look fine through the desktop until i look at them on another computer when they look terrible. I will try and see if i can re process them and see if any improvements can be made. On a desktop the background looks nice and black and the details seem to come out but not when i look on a laptop. Asking for some advice through some friends and hopefully will get this sorted.

Friday, 14 December 2007

Getting there

Re-stacked one of the avi's i got Tuesday night but this time i found some other functions that seemed to make a big difference. 599 frames stacked in registax4 then instead of arguing with Gimp and these RGB split images i played about with RGB in registax. Was amazed at how much more detail came out before i even got round to running it through Gimp. Slowly but surely i'm getting better, just need to sort out the focusing problem and get a 3x barlow to enlarge the image some more. I'm very pleased with this one, more so when i compare it to the others i have done.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Getting better(I think!!)

Had another go at Mars last night(12th) and took 605 frames of which 600 were stacked. Focusing is still a problem so when i can i will try imaging Mars with my Skywatcher and see if that makes a difference. Can't get the hang of this RGB split in processing, keep getting either a very red or blue Mars?!?! Practice and some reading up should help there(with a little help from my lovely friends)

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Another Mars

Had a go through some of the avi's and practiced a bit more with the processing in Gimp. This is the finished result, a lot better i think than the others. More detail seems to be coming through and the redness doesn't seem to be so overpowering. I used the updated version of Gimp which does have some extra features and found a tool that allows you to put different filters on. I'm sure this has made a big difference.

First go at Mars

Managed to actually get outside the last 2 nights, not for long but hey, i'm not complaining, better than nothing. Gave Mars a go for the first time Friday night . Took a little while for me to find it on the ccd chip and got 5 avi's before the cloud rolled in. Wasn't very happy with the first results as Mars seemed very orange and i couldn't work out why!?! Last night i gave it another go and noticed a setting i had missed on my webcam. Changed it slightly and presto, not so orange. Still think it needs a bit more toning down but still a massive improvement. Took 8 avi's at 450 frames each with my Celestron before the wind got too bad and then attempted to process in Gimp. Not quite the same as processing the Moon so lots more practice needed but i'm very happy with the end result for a first go.
The larger image and more orange colour was my first attempt last night at processing which i don't think is too bad but the smaller image i think is much better. More detail coming through and not so orange. Think the focusing is better in that one as well.
One thing i don't like about this Celestron is the focusing, very difficult to get focus and once you do have focus you have no way of marking where you reached it. Think a crayford focuser is needed!!

Thursday, 15 November 2007

HD Moving image of the Moon

For roughly a month now the Japanese spacecraft Kaguya or also known as Selene, has been orbiting the Moon at an altitude of 62 miles to re-create the image that Apollo 11 took, Earth-rise. Well, they have gone one better and managed to get a High Definition version, Earth-set, along with a moving image. They are breathe taking, just shear beauty. Here are a few links for some of the images and the movie.The title is also a link to an article on spacespot. Enjoy...

Friday, 9 November 2007

Retry at the Rosette Nebula

Thought i'd give this another go after fiddleing around with Chris's images. I think it's alot better than my last attempt, the pretty version i done. Used Gimp but updated version which is a little easier to use and some extras all for free. Rick has given me the specs on this image and i was amazed he still uses film. Excellent results Rick
Equipment used are:- Classic C-8, Olympus OM-4, Chilled gas-hypered Kodak Royal Gold 100 film. 2 Hour hand guide expsoure using off axis guider. Then scanned in at 1200 DPI from large format print

G600 Colour Moon

Not had much chance to test this phone out properly but did manage a couple of shots. Taken on the 5 mega pixel option with 50% zoom and iso200. Scope used was the Celestron 4 Se with 26mm EP and 2xBarlow. Not bad, do like the way the colours came out in the images taken and all i had to do was fiddle a little in Gimp2 to bring them out more. Found my U600 was easier to use but might get some better results when i get more time to fiddle around with the settings. Unlike the U600 i had to use the Moon filter in some as it was just too bright, could just be a setting i haven't found yet.
Getting hooked on this mobile phone experminenting. Now what phone could i try next

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Where to look for Comet 17/P Holmes

Comet 17/P Holmes

I managed to see Comet 17/P Holmes last night for the first time. Cloud has plagued me all week and if not cloud something else has stopped me from enjoying the view. As you all should know it was only supposed to be Mag +17 but due to an outburst it has become a naked eye object of +3.8. I have not seen one before so this is the first for me and WOW what a beauty it was. Didn't stop smiling all night. As soon as i went outside last night i could see it as clear as day, even under the BAD LP here in London. My Celestron gave me lovely views and am going to get the 5" out tonight as well to try and get some images. A friend of mine took these images which are fantastic but i want to try and get some afocal images to add to my little collection. Fingers crossed.

Monday, 29 October 2007

First Mosaic of the Terminator

This is my first attempt at stitching my images together. Taken on the 20th October but have only just managed to sort them all out. Equipment used was my Celestron 4 SE, Toucam pro II with 600 frames stacked and processed then put together in iMerge. Another lot of free software that a friend of mine showed me, very easy to use. I'm very pleased with the result being as it's my first but was unable to get the balance right towards the middle, no matter what i tried, but hey, all comes with practice. I have put 2 up as the one is in JPEG and the other in BMP. Can't decide myself which one i prefer...

Monday, 15 October 2007

Trifid Nebula by Chris Dixon

Needed to practice my processing with DSO's but haven't had much luck with my own images(if you can call them that!) so Chris very was kind and let me use his images. This one of the Trifid Nebula is one of my favs, just one word to descibe his image.....Beautiful. Chris has done an excellent job, better than any of mine. The first image is my attempt, the other is Chris's original.Using Gimp I played about with unsharp mask and then sharpened it up a tad, added a little more hue and saturation and finally adjusted the curves to darken some of the background and the blueish tint towards the bottom. To be completely honest i had no idea what i was doing and just played about with different functions to see what the result would be. I don't think it's that bad but do prefer Chris's to mine.

Saturday, 13 October 2007


Seems to be a few chances from tonight to catch a glimps of the ISS passing over. All passes are very bright so you won't miss it. Here is a table for the times and where to find it. The minus in the mag coloum means it's bright ie: -2.4 is brighter than 0.2 and 0.2 is brighter than 1.2. Hope that makes sense.
DateMagStartsMax. altitudeEnds
13 Oct-2.419:08:0910W 19:11:0188NW 19:13:0717E
13 Oct0.220:43:1710W 20:44:3022W 20:44:3022W
14 Oct-2.519:31:2110W 19:34:1685NNE19:35:1835E
14 Oct1.221:06:3010W 21:06:4211W 21:06:4211W
15 Oct-2.418:19:2310W 18:22:1888NE 18:25:0910E
15 Oct-2.519:54:3110W 19:57:3073S 19:57:3073S
16 Oct-2.218:42:3310W 18:45:1677WNW18:48:1810E
16 Oct-0.820:17:4210W 20:19:4133WSW20:19:4133WSW
17 Oct-2.419:05:4010W 19:08:3874S 19:10:3118ESE
17 Oct0.620:41:0310W 20:41:5415WSW20:41:5415WSW
18 Oct-1.519:28:4810W 19:31:3543SSW19:32:4626SSE
19 Oct-2.218:16:4410W 18:19:3875S 18:22:2910ESE
19 Oct-0.319:52:0610W 19:54:2722SSW19:55:0421SSW
20 Oct-1.418:39:4910W 18:42:3844SSW18:45:2110SE
20 Oct0.820:16:2710SW 20:17:0811SW 20:17:2810SW
21 Oct-0.119:03:0410W 19:05:2523SSW19:07:4610SSE
22 Oct1.019:27:1910SW 19:28:0511SW 19:28:5110SSW

Tuesday, 2 October 2007


This was taken on the 21st September using a 2xbarlow lens. 450 frames stacked and processed. Am really pleased with this, one of my fav craters of the Moon.

Copernicus n Plato

These were taken on the 21st September with my toucam pro. 30 sec avi's, 450 frames stacked and processed.The closer image was taken using a 2xbarlow. I think i'm starting to get the hang of it all now, time to move on to other objects me thinks :)

Copernicus n Plato

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Space Shuttle Simulation

Someone from the spacespot forum found this website. Looks great and very COOL!!! The site is still adding so there is only so much you can do but the simulator really does look like fun. Will definitely be getting this when it becomes available. Have a nose and make sure you watch the video......

Saturday, 15 September 2007

Very nice surprise.

Well, i got a lovely surprise yesterday morning when i opened this months Sky At Night magazine and popped in the cover disc, my pic done with my mobile was featured!! This is the first photo i have ever sent in and am amazed. Very chuffed with myself, means i must be doing something right,lol. This is the photo, taken 21st July. It is posted on here but a little further down so if you'd like to read how it was taken just go to the next page;)

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Toucam pro II, first images

Managed to get a few avi's on the 26th August with my new Toucam pro II. Very happy with the results, more detail can be seen. You can compare to one of the very first images i posted that was taken back in April with the cmos webcam, how much better it is, especially now i've cracked the processing.
This was taken in not very good conditions as the moon was very low and light cloud came rolling in. On top of that it wasn't far off from being a full moon, that doesn't help at all. At the moment i have to attach the webcam directly to the eyepiece holder so can't use any barlow lens or filters but i do have an adapter on the way. All things considered i'm am very happy with it, now all i need is a goto scope to make it that bit easier :)

Monday, 6 August 2007

More from that wonderfull phone

These were taken on the 4th August with my U600 mobile phone. The first was taken with a 26mm eyepiece and the phone zoomed at 50%, ISO200. Second was 9mm at 50 zoom and the last 2 at 100% zoom. All were processed in Gimp, as much as i like the functions on the phone to edit, you do need a bigger image to work with. Really pleased with them, better than my Kodak compact. There is a little blur but keep in mind these were all taken handheld, it's very hard or close to impossible to keep your hands still enough to get no shake.

Monday, 30 July 2007

Full Moon with U600

This is a nearly full moon via my mobile taken last night. Not as happy with this one but i put that down to the brightness and having to use a Moon filter.

Sunday, 22 July 2007

Samsung U600 Mobile !!

I am gobsmacked at the quality of this image. Got a new mobile yesterday with all this new photo editing stuff on and a excellent camera, so i'm told, so i thought i'd give it a go. Got a clear patch but it was still light so didn't expect a lot. Held it up to a 25mm eyepiece as steady as i could and snapped away. There were some terrible ones but a few came out well. Then i tried this editing stuff and again was amazed. Brightness, contrast, cropping and resizing and sharpen was done via the phone then tweaked a little in Gimp to get the background darkened. Here is the result.............I'm over the Moon(scuse the pun!!)

Sunday, 15 July 2007

Rosette captured by Rick Snydersmith, processed by me in Gimp

Wish i could say i took this but i can't. A friend of mine in America took this and then sent this for me to have a play with in Gimp. To be honest, i did not have a clue to what i was doing but played around with the curves and layers to bring out the red. Saturation and hue was decressed a little and then put unsharp mask on the final layer. Had a few goes and in the end went for the pretty version,LOL. Alot of learning still to go but i was happy with the result.
When i can i will put up the details of the equipment used by Rick to capture this object.

Terminator 7thJuly

Weather has been so bad lately i have only managed one nights veiwing, last saturday. Moon was very low and not well placed for me but still had a shot. Not great, couldn't get focus right and then problems with Registax4. Here is my attempt for the 7th July.

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

A gap in the clouds!!!

Haven't had the scope out a lot recently due to the weather but managed to catch a gap in the clouds on the 20th. Got a few avi's but not great viewing, bloody clouds. Played about a bit more in Gimp, starting to work it out bit by bit. Quite pleased considering i haven't got a clue,LOL.

Friday, 15 June 2007

Rework....Yep, that bored!

The weather has been crap lately, haven't had the scope out for over week due to rain and clouds. Got so BORED that i decided to go through some of the avi's from May. Had a play about with Registax using multi-point alignment then run through Gimp. Found that when i played about with colour balance in gimp, it bought out a bit more detail. I'm quite pleased with this one, i know it's not excellent but i'm definitely learning more about this stacking and processing stuff.

Sunday, 10 June 2007

My first attempt with a 2xbarlow. Took a 30 sec video, aligning had to be a bit more precise. Again stacked in Registax 4 and then contrast and brightness and hue and saturation was fiddled with in Gimp 2.2. Labeled using the Virtual Moon Atlas. I'm very pleased with the result as it really didn't seem to be a good video, the Moon jumping about all over the screen. But once in Registax, went through each frame and manually aligned with the best frame, I was left with a decent image. Slowly learning what all the different functions in Registax do and with playing around found that manual aligning gives better results.

These were all taken with a very basic Kodak easyshare camera held upto a 25mm eyepiece with a 2xbarlow.

First images March and April

These are my first attempts with a webcam. There is no barlow or filters used, just a webcam adapter attached to the lens part of the webcam. Placed webcam into the eyepiece holder, set gain low/down on the webcam settings and fiddled around with brightness until i was happy. Then i took at least a 15 sec video. I have found that roughly polar aligning the scope is quite sufficient for short videos. Video was then stacked in Registax 4 and run through Gimp 2.2.

Saturday, 9 June 2007

My first image with a webcam back in March 2007. Equipment used was Skywatcher 130pm and quickcam cmos webcam. Stacked in Registax and processed in Gimp 2.2