Sunday, February 18, 2007

Frustration in the field

Last night I braved the cold and took the LX200 out into the country. The wife and kids were out for the night near Houston with one of my wife's teaching friends, and I had the night free to do whatever I chose. The skyclock showed some pretty ordinary conditions, but I couldn't resist.

Thing is, it got REALLY cold, unexpectedly dropping to about 34 degrees by 9:30 or so. I was pretty well rugged up but the cold really got to me, so-much-so that it became a real distraction from my attempts to take decent photos. While I messed with the collimation and managed to pull off a very nice barlowed collimation (which gave me some lovely views for the rest of the night), I quickly ran out patience for astrophotography. I took a few attempts at this and this and will publish anything worthwhile. The DSI is not an great experience "out of the box" as Meade seems to say. Not sure what I am doing wrong but I'm following the instructions to the letter and the images are not that great - sometimes I can't even see the objects on the screen, and the software is really annoying. For example, it is supposed to autoexpose the image but it always seems to overexpose the images, and I end up with ultrabright images that I can't do anything with post-processing. And to be quite honest, I'm missing some good viewing being huddled over the laptop cursing at it all! I'll try and find someone who has a similar set up and see if they can walk me through step-by-step to see what I am missing.

To the right is a Saturn shot I did take last night, colors brought out a little in Photoshop. I enhanced a bit of the surface detail but the rings came out pretty good. It's hardly taking a nice colorful image though...

Another interesting shot I did take is below. Saturn, obviously, a little underexposed but I think I can tweak that. Look to the left of the planet and you will see a reddish speck. Yep, you have look hard but it is there. Seems like it's Titan, Saturn's largest moon. Bit of a fluke with this but it's fairly interesting.


Observer said...

If that's Ganymede, then you've got a real keeper of a photo since Ganymede normally orbits Jupiter! :) Probably Titan.

Phil said...

I said Titan ;-)