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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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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Using A Remote Telescope With Telescope Live
There’s been a particularly bad run of weather currently in Britain. I know that we’re famous for it, but it’s really been taking the cake right now. So when I was approached by Telescope Live to use some of their kit for a bit I couldn’t say no.
I was aware of remote telescope services already. I had even looked into one before but was quickly dissuaded by the price tag. Alex, from the Telescope Live team, made himself known, we had a call. Long story short you’re now reading a blog post about that experience. In this article I’m going to try and convey what to expect when you sign up to and begin using remote telescopes. Some of the best gear we can have access to, in some of the most pristine and darkest skies going. A way to access horizons and hemispheres we don’t usually get the chance to see.
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Reduce star sizes in GIMP! This is a definite way to immediately add punch to your image. By reducing the star sizes you can remove distractions. To me, the stars – whilst pretty – can detract from some images by blanketing them with hundreds of points of light which takes your eyes from the deep sky object. Which is the main focal point of the image, right?
So in this tutorial I will be showing you a way you can use the free image processor GIMP to reduce the star sizes.
If you’re new to editing in GIMP anyway, I have a full tutorial that can be found at the bottom of this page.
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With clouds rolling in and a touch and go forecast, I went and took a photograph of Comet Neowise.
C/2020 F3 NEOWISE is a bright comet that is currently located due north in the northern hemisphere. It was discovered on March 27th 2020 by the space telescope NEOWISE and towards July – particularly mid July it was visible just before sunrise. About 2-3am. If you wanted to see this target, or take a photo of it, you had to be an early riser (or just don’t go bed – like me).
C/2020 F3 Comet Neowise
To begin with, this comet is a big and beautiful naked eye comet. Particularly in July. To my knowledge it was the first comet that could be seen with no visual aids (binoculars, telescopes etc) at all. All you needed was your eyes since 1997 and Hale-Bopp. Even in Bortle 6 skies I could see it, through LED street lighting as well. It’s a large extended object that was absolutely beautiful and breathtaking to look at – as well as absolutely bizarre.
It was bizarre because of its orientation and its tail. As you can see (or might’ve seen). The nucleus of the comet (that’s the bright part) is pointing to the ground. The large tail (ion tail) is pointing towards the zenith. This makes it look like it’s storming its way down to the ground. And yet it actually goes in the opposite direction and follows generally the conventional rotation of the sky.
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Optolong L-eXtreme First Impressions
On Monday I took receipt of the new Optolong L-eXtreme Dual Narrowband Filter. This puppy lets through Hydrogen Alpha and Oxygen-III only. As luck would have it, Monday night was also clear. As was Wednesday and Thursday. So I screwed it onto my trusty Sky-Watcher Reducer Nosepiece and got ready for a night of astrophotography with this new Optolong filter.
L-eXtreme First Impressions
Like most gear, there’s a learning curve. Even a filter can take you a little bit to familiarise yourself with. As such, I chose a really easy target that absolutely lent itself to this L-eXtreme filter – NGC 6992 The Eastern Veil Nebula. This supernova remnenant primarily consists of Hydrogen Alpha and Oxygen-III. So it was the perfect candidate of low hanging fruit I wanted, in order toget used to a new filter.
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The California Nebula
The California Nebula is a large bellowing bunch of gas in the sky. It’s a beautiful and iconic nebula in Perseus and gets its name from looking like the state of California in the United States of America.
At Magnitude 6 and about 1000 light years from Earth, the California Nebula is reasonably easy to image. Using very modest gear I was able to capture this target in February 2019.
NGC 1499 lies within Perseus, named after the Greek God of the same title. A great time to image this nebula is late November through to January. It raises early and stays high in the sky for the entire night, allowing you plenty of imaging time. So naturally I shot it in February. Not the end of the world though, but it was on its way down.
In this article I’ll talk about what it’s like imaging The California Nebula as well as why would you choose narrowband over broadband as well as challenges I faced. Continue reading “The California Nebula”
Powering My Telescope With The Nevada PS-08
The Nevada PS-08 is a “regulated linear” power supply unit (PSU). It is used as a main power hub to power equipment. I’ve been able to use this now for a while, supplied from First Light Optics. Alongside the Nevada unit I was sent the Lynx Astro 4 Port Dew Controller. They now live in a box together and work alongside each other to get me going.
In this article I’ll be reviewing the Nevada PSU as well as the Lynx Astro 4 port Dew Controller which I used to power my equipment.
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Photographing Markarian’s Chain With A Stock DSLR
Imaging Markarian’s Chain was something I tried last year. To a poor degree in my opinion. I was imaging with the Altair Hypercam 183c and it was a struggle as you can see in the video where I fought for the image.
Fast forward to the next year and after having given back the ZWO ASI 533mc Pro that I had to review, I was left with an unmodified Canon 450D and there I sat – trying to find targets.
In the end I decided to revisit this old nemesis of mine. Markarian’s Chain; a group of galaxies located in the constellation Virgo.
After all for me: nothing says “Galaxy Season” more than a huge chain of galaxies spanning a vast distance in space.
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Optolong L-eNhance Narrowband Filter
The Optolong L-eNhance is a not-so-secret weapon in the war against light pollution. The enemy. The result of urbanization and un-optimal street lights. Every night when a lot of us try to view or take images of the night sky, we need to fight the pollution.
To that end narrowband filters are a great addition to the arsenal. The L-eNhance falls in more specifically as a multi-bandpass filter.
In this article I’ll be sharing my thoughts and feelings about this filter after having used it for several months. It was loaned to me from First Light Optics for review, and that’s exactly what I’m about to do.
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