Constellations, the Moon and telescopes.

inms4I’ve been trying out some constellation photography with my Cannon. Last winter I used my little Fuji, which gave me some nice shots, but it’s got a recurring fault, so I’ve given up on that camera. I’ve been experimenting with my Cannon DSLR. I’m only using the lens it came with, and a larger aperture, wider lens would be much better. But as usual, I’m trying to do the best with what I’ve got, rather than spend any money.
Here’s Orion on the 13th February. Five second exposure, at a grainy 12800 ASA. I don’t actually mind the grain, and my next series of shots I’ll try a longer exposure time with the same ASA. I was doing 20 second shots with my Fuji, although the field of view was wider. I’ll keep trying.
I’ve got some lunar shots that I’ve not put up. I think these are from late 2017. The first is an over-exposed shot showing Earthshine, and the second is a composite of three nights photos through the little 4″.


As far as observations go, it’s been very cloudy since November. The Trysull sessions haven’t taken off like I’d hoped, but I’ve at least managed to do some binocular astronomy out in the sticks, and some telescopic stuff at Perton Library. They had an event last Friday and despite there being thin cloud, and street lighting, I got in some nice views of the Orion nebula, and some ‘averted vision only’ views of the Andromeda Galaxy. What else? M35 seems to have disappeared, I’ve been having trouble finding it to show people. I did manage to get a look at some of the open clusters in Auriga the other night. But the clouds have been merciless.
When I’m at Perton Library, there are several none-astronomers there, who aren’t used to telescopes. I’ve found the 4″ table-top dobsonian really useful for showing people things like the double cluster in Perseus. It’s very comfortable to use. It struck me last Friday, that I was using a £99 scope to show people stuff, rather than a much more expensive refractor, which people would have to get on their knees to use. There’s a good argument for usability with these things.
The big item of interest for me lately is this dobsonian reflector with a 12″ mirror. It belongs to the Wolverhampton Astronomy Society and I’ve taken charge of it. Here it is at Perton Library last Friday.

For the last few years it’s been in a member’s garage, largely unused. We’re hoping to collimate it tomorrow. I did take it outside at Perton on Friday, and despite the thin cloud, took in a marvellous sight of M42, with structure in the nebula I’ve not seen since the days of using my 10″ mirror on my old dob. The Pleiades looked nice and bright through a 32mm eyepiece. The 12″ mirror really has some serious light-gathering capacity. It has with it a really nice set of eyepieces too.
And while I’m talking about telescopes, here’s me and a few members of Wolverhampton Astronomy Society last month, when we were re-locating a historic telescope that belongs to the society.