Friday, February 13, 2015

Some odds and ends for a Friday the 13th...

AL Bright Nebula Imaging Planning
I took some time to plan my imaging for March and the Messier Marathon night. The tentative lineup, all to be imaged using the AT65EDQ, includes four objects. The Cone Nebula (NGC 2264) and Hubble's Variable Nebula (NGC 2261) in a single frame. Both of these are Lynds brightness 1 objects and available from the onset of darkness until about midnight (3 hours or so) meaning I can probably do a nice LRGB of them. After that it's on to LBN 10, high enough for imaging until about 3 A.M., and  then LBN 1122, good from then until dawn about 2 1/2 hours. LBN 10 is a brightness 6, so it may only be L; 1122 is a 4, so maybe that will get the LRGB treatment. Dan Crowson's scheme is usually 12x600s for L and 8x300s binned 2x2 for each color channel, giving a total exposure time of four hours. I'll probably go with a much shorter plan; 12x300 L and 8x180 RGB (132 minutes) for the two bright nebulae; 20x300L and 8x180 RGB binned 2x2 for LBNs 10 and 1122.

If a miracle happens and we get some good weather in March, these plans could change to include more objects. Let's hope.

Good Luck
While planning the imaging around the Cone Nebula area I noticed that another AL Bright Nebula, LBN 943, was nearby. In fact, 943 is essentially a part of the Rosette Nebula, and it shows up in the image I had of the Rosette. I had overlooked this and failed to enter it in the "done" list. It's included now, pushing my total to 78. I wish they were all this easy!

NFeeder Progress
Not much in the last couple of days. I've designed the interface for setting up the camera, using the PHD command, and providing temperature control (including a programmed drop to the setpoint).

I've decided to split scripts into three pieces: general setup  before image capture; the imaging commands; follow-up commands (such as a slow warm up, disconnecting from the camera, and shutting down Nebulosity). I'm not sure if this is a good idea at this point.

The weather continues to misbehave
Cloudy and warm evenings punctuated by rare clear and cold nights. The long range forecast suggests no imaging for at least the next week, by which time February will be 3/4 past. Good riddance.

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