Fixing The Website

Well! What a chore that was. No other way to put it – that was a pain in the neck! I recently changed website host and ended up losing my website. Not for the first time either!

To put it simply, it turns out the website (the thing you’re looking at) isn’t the same as the domain. The domain is the www.astrofarsography.com part. So when the domain was changed, the website stayed with my old host.

The issue? I couldn’t get into the old host’s website builder. So I had to go deep into website databases, coding, and the files that makes up the very foundation of my website.

That took a long time, and I also have The Bloodstone to thank on Twitter for spending a lot of time walking me and talking me through things, as well as the customer support from my new host.

It’s going to take some time to rebuild certain areas of the website. Some photos may be missing or weirdly sized. I’m working on getting through the backlog so please bare with me!

If you find something wrong then please bring it to my attention. Until then, clear skies everyone.

Keep looking up and keep them cameras clicking.

Cleaning Telescope Optics Quickly And Safely

Cleaning telescope optics is a question that gets thrown about a lot. In truth cleaning our optics isn’t something that needs doing all that often. In fact over-cleaning them could be detrimental to their health. So clean the telescope lenses or mirrors only when they begin to get really bad, or begin to affect image quality. In this article I’ll share my workflow for how I treat my telescope lenses, filters, camera sensors and camera lenses.

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iOptron CEM70 Review

The CEM70. Observatory grade, high capacity and sleek. I was surprised and extremely excited when First Light Optics offered me the iOptron CEM70 mount to review. With great jubilee I agreed and for a few months now I’ve been enjoying this heavyweight Centre-Balanced Equatorial Mount. In this video I’m going to share my thoughts and feelings on this mount.

 

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The Tadpoles Nebula

Having been given a nice wide SharpStar 61EDPH2 telescope to review, as well as a ZWO ASI183mm Pro – a cooled mono camera – I thought I’d love to try a SHO image again. After having a browse about in Stellarium, I decided I was able to frame up the Tadpoles, Spider and Fly nebula. So with clear nights being in short supply, I set to work.

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2020 In Review

Well, what a year 2020 has been. Aside from the state of the world, the year has been a bit up and down with astrophotography also. From a nice beginning with the 533mc Pro, a scorching summer and an abysmal winter. In this post I think I’ll take some time to recap, to look back over the year, and my images. So feel free to tag along for a trip down this year’s lane as we bid farewell to 2020, and welcome in another year of opportunities, targets, and incessant cloud cover.

2020 In Review

At the beginning of the year I was still using the ZWO ASI 533mc Pro that was on loan from First Light Optics. It was actually the first piece of equipment they had loaned me. I also had the Astronomik 12nm Hydrogen Alpha filter that was loaned to me from the Widescreen centre. It was certainly strange getting items sent to me, and definitely took some getting used to. The relationship with Widescreen Centre didn’t go anywhere, however I did get on board with First Light Optics as a reviewer and I couldn’t be more thankful for such an opportunity.

The key images I took early on in the year included the Rosette Nebula, Comet Atlas and M81 & M82. These were exclusively shot with the 533mc Pro and then I was able to make my review. Which was my first camera review. I think it came out well.

2020 also included a house move from one town in Northamptonshire to another. I also moved in with my partner so I actually missed a couple clear nights during that transition period. Trying to move house, sort internet out, unpack and image deep space was too much to do at the same time really.

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Fantastic Flat Frames

Flat Frames are a special type of calibration frame that are used to correct vignetting, gradients and dust in your astrophotography. In essence, a flat frame is a evenly illuminated photo of a blank light source. I, myself, left it the longest time before I began taking flat frames and when I did, it changed my entire workflow and made editing a lot easier. If I put them off the longest time, then I bet you might be putting it off as well. In this post I’ll explain to you how to take flat frames.

 

Fantastic Flat Frames

Once you learn the art of flat frames – as well as a hack to make life easier – you’ll quickly be able to take consistent and effective flat frames. I’ll be showing you how to take flat frames with both DSLR cameras as well as dedicated astronomy cameras. Dedicated astronomy cameras are a bit more complicated, it isn’t as intuitive as using a DSLR. I’ll begin with DSLRs as I suspect if you’re reading how to shoot flats, you’re towards the beginning of your journey and may not have yet moved on towards a dedicated astronomy camera.

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How To Set The Equatorial Home Position

The Equatorial Home Position (EQ Home) is an important parking position to place your mount in. It’s the basis where your Go-To stems from, and having an accurate EQ Home will make your life easier. It improves your Go-To accuracy, makes it easier to use finder-scopes to align as well as speeding up plate-Solving.

In this post I’m going to show you how to set the equatorial home position. In this example I’ll be using my Sky-Watcher EQ6-R Pro, but the instructions here will apply to any EQ mount. For this recipe you’ll need your EQ Mount and a Spirit Level.

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Sky-Watcher Crayford Focuser Review

So I changed the focus tube on my 80ED for the uprated Crayford type, finished in glossy black. But was it worth the monetary investment? Let’s find out. Glossy black finish, smooth plastic, a fine looking aesthetic complete with additional goodies over the stock focus tube fitted to most Skywatcher series refractors; this uprated focuser looks to have everything you want.

But it isn’t that straight forward.

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Optolong L-eXtreme Review

The Optolong L-eXtreme Filter

The Optolong L-eXtreme filter is the bigger brother to the hugely popular and widely well received Optolong L-eNhance filter. The L-eXtreme is a duo-narrowband filter that lets through Hydrogen-Alpha and Oxygen-III wavelenghts.

The filter is used best on emission nebula and supernova remnants. I’ve had this filter for a while and used it between a DSLR and a dedicated astronomy camera. In this article I’ll be sharing my thoughts about this narrowband filter that was designed for use mainly with one-shot colour (OSC) cameras.

 

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Taking My Best Photo Of Andromeda Yet

The Andromeda Galaxy

The Andromeda Galaxy is a widely popular, huge and gorgeous galaxy located in the constellation of Andromeda (no surprises there). I’ve imaged this galaxy three times now with a camera and a telescope, each time slowly improving. Admittedly there has been equipment improvements as well but also my own skills and abilities have improved alongside. In this post I’m going to describe the process of photographing a sensational Deep Sky Object.

 

The image contains 4.7 hours of 2 minute exposures using a Light Pollution Suppression Filter. A modest refracting telescope. An excellent astrophotography mount and a dedicated One Shot Colour (OSC) camera. There is certainly some expensive equipment in this rig and I had high hopes for being able to do this target justice.

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