Comet 46P/Wirtanen

December 9, 2018 - Reading time: ~1 minute

I caught Comet 46P/Wirtanen in one 240-second exposure as it was passing through the constellation Eridanus. Next week 46P will pass about 7.2 million miles (0.0774 AU) from Earth, it's closest approach for the next 20 years. William Optics GT81, ZWO ASI071MC camera, Orion Atlas EQ-G

Rainy Weekend Project - December 1, 2018

December 2, 2018 - Reading time: ~1 minute

I started this--the top part with the pier made of 80/20 Series 15 T-Slot Aluminum beams and angles--about a year ago, or maybe longer. I never really used it though, because I needed some place level to anchor it. Taking some more t-slot beams I made a base for some super-duty castors and bolted an old steel AV Cart cabinet to it. This has become the base for my next set of astro sessions, where I will be wheeling this out to the driveway, leveling it (threaded leveling adjustments on each side), polar aligning, and then we'll see how the astro imaging goes. I'm looking forward to getting more of the western sky, most of which is blocked by the house when I'm shooting from the backyard.

Pier upgrade for my Orion Atlas EQ-G - November 28, 2018

November 28, 2018 - Reading time: ~1 minute

I worked on this over the weekend, but I have been planning it for a while. I now have both my mounts--Orion Atlas EQ-G and iOptron CEM25P on identical aluminum mounting plates, drilled to match the base plates on my backyard pier and my tripod. I'm using the iOptron Tri-Pier Adapter (8036-TK) for this. It comes with the heavy duty aluminum upper plate (connected to the mount), three posts, and stainless steel hex cap bolts. I drilled the aluminum plate with the same four hole pattern I use on the pier and tripod. I drilled and tapped three holes for the adapter.  This thing is solid!

Astro Session: July 3, 2018

July 3, 2018 - Reading time: ~1 minute

The Dumbbell Nebula (M27, NGC 6853), also called the Apple Core, is a planetary nebula in the constellation Vulpecula. I setup the AstroTech with 1350mm focal length, paired with the Atik 414EX mono CCD. This gives me .98" / pixel resolution and oversampling, but still managed to get some detail out of the nebula. (Imaging info: 63 x 90 second subs in OIII, 96 x 60 sec. subs of Ha. + 20 dark frames stacked in Nebulosity, processing in PSCC2018. Equipment: AstroTech AT6RC f/9 Ritchey-Chrétien, Atik 414EX mono CCD, 7nm Optolong 2" Ha filter, 8.5nm Baader 2" OIII filter, Orion Atlas EQ-G Mount, ZWO ASI120MM-S Guide Cam + WO 50/200mm guide scope)