Contributing to the Citizen Science Project on Variable Stars

Over the last few months, CADSAS has been contributing to this Citizen Science project on variable stars.

We capture images of specific night sky objects, process those images using dark and flat frames and then send them to the project leader Dr Dirk Froebrich of the University of Kent.

The project is studying newly-formed, blue stars. Our target winter objects are currently NGC 2244, NGC2264 and NGC1333. We have submitted 8 images so far.

CADSAS are one of a small number of amateur contributers to this project.

Lunar Images From Our Recent Autumn Skywatch Public Meeting

We held an Autumn Skywatch on 10th October for our members and the general public who wanted to come along. The clouds did not look promising that afternoon, but cleared pretty well by 8pm.

Many of our telescopes were set up outside and a good range of astronomical targets were observed, guided by our more knowledgeable members.

Here are three images captured that night with our big telescope, the Alan Young. They have been reduced in resolution for the web.

Clvius and Tycho

Clavius and Tycho

Archimedes and Plato

Archimedes and Plato

Monte Apenninus and Caucasus

Monte Apenninus and Caucasus

Jupiter and big Moon close approach tonight 23 Feb 16

Our member reports…

Captured this picture tonight at home. My Canon SLR did not want to take it, though I tried. (Could be operator faultiness)

However, the mobile phone camera came up with this below. Jupiter close to the Moon. Very bright and splendid. I hoped to dim the full Moon’s brilliance with a bush. Not sure it worked that well. I’ll get my coat..

Jupiter and Moon conjuction by cell phone

Jupiter and Moon conjuction by cell phone

Digital Photo Magazine Star Field Tutorial

One of our members tried the interesting Photoshop tutorial about star field images, in the March issue of Digital Photo magazine. It’s all about capturing a night sky image in RAW file format and then processing it, so you can use it as background in a finished composition, or just as an astronomy night sky image.

First step was to download the (free) Adobe RAW file plugin for Photoshop, together with their DNG (digital negative converter) to convert the .CR2 files from the Canon camera. Some version juggling and a couple of hours, was needed to make it work with an older version of Photoshop. But it did!

Applying the suggestions from the magazine to a night sky image already taken and already on the laptop, it was encouraging. First stage only, but below is the star field image produced, ready for use in an image composition.

And below the processed image, there is a small section cropped from the BEFORE version of the same image, to the same scale.

AFTER

Processed Star Field Image

Processed Star Field Image

BEFORE

Section of the  same image BEFORE processing

Section of the same image BEFORE processing

IC443 Image (the ‘Jellyfish’ nebula)

IC443 the Jellyfish Nebula by G Caller

Image of IC443 by Graham Caller

Another excellent image by our member Graham Caller. This time it’s IC443 also called the Jellyfish Nebula.  It’s a supernova remnant in the constellation of Gemini.

Click the thumbnail image above for a larger version, though note that this has been reduced in resolution for the web.  The original is even more impressive.

Graham comments:

Last week was IC443 week. A couple of clear nights and I grabbed 8 hours worth of 15mins subs. Topped up this week with another 2.5 hours to improve the signal to noise ratio further.
Resultant image stacked in PixInsight and processed.

Oh! this was taken using an Ha filter.

We are hoping Graham will give us a lecture in the future, on his astroimaging techniques.

BAA Spring Meeting at Ashford, Kent

Our local friends at Ashford Astronomical Society are hosting the 2015 One-Day Spring Meeting of the British Astronomical Association at The Stour Centre in Ashford on Saturday 25th April 2015.

The theme is ‘Amateur and Professional Collaboration’.  The meeting has been designed to help us find out how we can be involved in real science, working as an amateur with professionals.

There will be a series of talks throughout the day, on how amateur astronomers can work in tandem with national and international projects.  The ticket price includes refreshments and a buffet lunch.

Download the booking form here:  Ashford BAA Spring Meeting Ticket Booking Form

Dumbell, Cigar, Triangulum, Orion, Pleiades and Moon Images

Here is a collection of astronomical images captured by our member Simon Powell. (click each thumbnail for a larger version of the image)

All were taken using a Skywatcher 200PDS telescope on an HEQ5 Equatorial mount, with a Canon 70D DSLR at prime focus. The deep sky shots were stacked in Deep Sky Stacker with darks, bios shots and flats. Post processing was done with Photoshop.

Simon comments..

“Most of these were taken from central Maidstone, so light pollution is an issue, hence the Dumbell and Cigar have a lot of noise in the image. Now I’ve moved to Biddenden I’m hoping not to have that issue again!”

We welcome Simon to our area and our astronomical society!