14/03/14: Update

March 14, 2014

It has certainly been a better week this week for astronomy, although the Moon has been quite high in the sky for astroimaging. Nevertheless I managed an image of a beautiful spiral galaxy in Ursa Major. Galaxy season is now here, so I have decided to try LRGB imaging again as the evenings aren't dark enough at this time of year for the hours of exposure demanded by narrowband imaging. I've selected a number of galaxy groupings and star clusters to target over the next couple of months.

This week I also had to replace the desiccant within my CCD camera. I had started to notice a patch of condensation appearing on the images-a sign that the desiccant needed replacing. This is relatively straightforward although it does involve dismantling the camera and opening the CCD chamber itself. It was also a good opportunity to give the filters a clean in readiness for the galaxy imaging.

On the visual astronomy front, I have spent a couple of enjoyable sessions viewing Jupiter with the 8'' Newtonian. At high power, some detail is visible within the cloud bands. Earlier this week there was a shadow transit of Io which was great to see, as was the emergence of the moon itself from in front of the planetary disk. Last weekend I spent a couple of hours tracking down some galaxies in Leo and Ursa Major. The EQ-5 setting circles aren't bad and do seem to work! The Leo Triplet was nice to see, although quite washed out in the moonlight. This will certainly be one of my next targets. I did try it a couple of years ago, but was not happy with the result. Now being more familiar with the CCD and image processing I look forward to giving it another go.



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