Poor Astronomy

(Since Bad Astronomy is already taken.) The clouds lifted for the first time in 2 weeks in NJ, so Srini came over last night for some stargazing. We saw some good stuff but it was also frustrating. We saw Jupiter and Saturn but Mars was already too low down for us to catch. I had several problems with my gear:

  • I had decided earlier in the week to get over my fear of collimation and just do it. I think I ended up worse off than when I started. Especially with the high-powered eyepieces I couldn’t really get stuff in focus. This may have been due to the weather. I’ll have to try again with the collimation.
  • I couldn’t get my new Barlow lens to work at all – I ended up with an image that couldn’t be focused. Again, not sure if this is due to the collimation issue above or not.
  • We managed to get Jupiter into the viewfinder of the NexImage camera for a brief moment but a) it was moving too fast to keep in frame and b) it was just a blazing white dot.

Looks like I need to go back to the manuals for all these things and see where I went wrong. Still, it was fun to see what we could, and the view through Srini’s ETX-90 was very nice too.

4 Responses to “Poor Astronomy”

  1. oda says:

    It’s cute that you and Srini hang out. =) I can’t wait to get a house to get a telescope (but I’m still years away from that).

  2. Don’t you wish you had a sealed Maksutov-Something scope with an electronic goto drive right about now? :)

    I guess I’ll just wait until Natalie is older and buy an LX200.

  3. Mike says:

    Yeah, Maks still need to be collimated though.

  4. Starwolf says:

    Try lowering your exposure times. On a clear night, I use (for Jupiter or Saturn) 0.088 seconds at most. If it’s clear I will go down below 0.045 seconds exposure time. Also, try stacking. I was having the same problem up to about 3 months ago until I actually stacked my first photo. The result is like night and day. Set the histogram lower also. I always like to “under” expose a photo. At least you can pick out detail. I have a tutorial with the “beginner” in mind on my webpage under Astrophotography. Try checking it out. I have only been shooting for 3 months but I have already got some great shots.