Tuesday, September 22, 2015

PLEASE give your name when you post

Identify yourself and claim ownership for your work on the blog please.
It will be greatly appreciated by our readers and for future follow-up.

Monday, September 21, 2015

INSTRUCTIONS: For Re-calibrating Luna II

We all Make mistakes, weather it be forgetting to turn off the coffee pot, spilling a drink, or not hibernating a telescope. So if you have crashed Luna II or are going to use it and think you may, this is the instructions for re-calibration of Luna II our second largest telescope at NJAA.

So, you've crashed Luna II or you showed up and it was not calibrated, but don't worry this will only take 10 minuets or so! If you are already familiar with Celestron's three star alignment, don't Read any further, because you already know how to align the scope.

Step 1: Switch Position. Select a three star alignment using the 6 and 9 keys to scroll. It will now say "SET SWITCH POSITION". Press "ENTER" the telescope will now slew to the polar north. Since  Luna II on a permanent mount, it is already polar aligned, so you can just say "ENTER or ALIGN" to that; keep in mind that the Celestron paddle has instructions scrolling on it all the times and press the keys it tells you to!

Step 2: First Alignment Star. After you have completed the first step you should be on a screen that says "SELECT FIRST ALIGNMENT STAR". Using the 6 and 9 keys, scroll through the list of stars and pick a bright one or a star you are familiar with. Since this is the first star, the telescope will be considerably off mark. Use the attached Telrad finder scope and center the star with the arrow pad on the paddle. You can change the slew speed by pressing "RATE" and then the number you want. Usually I use speed 9 for centering the object in the Telrad, and 5 for fine adjustment in the eyepiece; anything below 4 is so slow that the movement will be unnoticeable- even at 3910mm! Once the star is in the center ring of the Telrad, it should be in the eyepiece. Center the object in the eyepiece in the same manor that you did with the Telrad, but with a slower slew speed. When you're done press "ALIGN"   

Step 3: Second Alignment Star. The procedure is the same as the first alignment star, but the telescope will be more exact, the Telrad may not even be needed. please REMEMBER TO TURN OFF THE TELRAD, because its annoying when you show up and the thing dosen't work!
When you're done press "ALIGN".

Step 4: Third Alignment Star: The procedure is the same as the Second alignment star however it should be pretty close to centered in the eyepiece. Center it and press "ALIGN". now you can press "UNDO" until you are at the main "CGE READY" screen, unless you want to add more alignment stars.

Congratulations! You Have Successfully Realigned Luna II! Now go go browse the cosmos with Celestron's most advanced mount and telescope!  Thanks for Reading,
Judson Graham

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Lunar ~ Venus Conjunction was on 10 Sept 2015

I almost forgot to post my shot of the conjunction of the Moon and Venus last week.
I was staying at the shore in Ocean Grove, NJ when I remembered the event was early that morning of 10 September 2015.
I ran outside and it looked great so I used the only thing I had to capture it ~ my phone camera...
Keith Marley

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Solar Activity Is Moderate

The Sun is currently in Cycle 24 and moving toward minimum which should happen around 2018-2019. We are still in the maximum half of the cycle but the sun seems a bit under-the-weather so to speak....
For those AstroPhotographers that like imaging the sun, a great link to identify the sunspots is: 

Moderate size sunspots 2415 & 2418 are approaching midway through the face of the sun at this time while 2414 is soon departing. I took these two days ago so it has rotated a bit from these images.

Sunspots 2415 & 2418:

Sunspot 2414:
White-light solar imaging is easy and fun so start imaging....
Keith Marley

Saturday, September 5, 2015

NJAA AstroPhotography Group Image Publication - NGC7000

The journey to deep field AstroPhotography is fraught with technical challenges all along the way.
However, when dedication and perseverance are applied, the results are indeed rewarding.  
The NJAA AstroPhotography Group has combined their efforts to capture NGC7000 and The Cygnus Wall using Luna 1.
Luna 1 is configured with a Takahashi TOA130 Refractor (1100mm) and a Starlight Xpress 8300 monochrome camera.  For this capture, a narrow band HA (Hydrogen Alpha) filter was used.  Automated digital focusing was applied between subs to maintain uniformity.  During the capture, the camera was electronically cooled to help reduce the inherent noise in CCD’s from long exposures.  This link will take you to view a gallery of images showing Luna 1’s imaging system. 
The image is a series of 16 x 20min captures for a total of 5.3 hours of total exposure that was gathered over several days.  
Post processing included registration, stacking, calibration, noise reduction, minor levels adjustment and cosmetic retouching.  Final crop and frame to enhance the viewing.
As you can see in this remarkable image, there is an extraordinary amount of nebulosity detail to investigate.  Also the ability of the telescope to resolve the smallest degree of separation between the stars is simply amazing.
This image is a wonderful example of what can be accomplished by our NJAA members.
NJAA Members interested in joining the group to learn more about AstroPhotography, be sure to attend our meetings that take place the first Friday of each month at 8:00PM.  
Also, be sure to read “Research and AstroPhotography” on the “Members Only" page so that you can signup for the groups eMail list and be notified when members are going to the observatory to image for the evening.
If you are not a member of NJAA and would like to join to participate in our group, please visit www.njaa.org.
Clear Skies,
NJAA AstroPhotography Group