Sunday, April 06, 2014

in search of weird fuzzies (Blue Mountains)

8:45 PM, Sat 5 Apr 2014. Used AstroJan Tools again for focusing.

Wanted to control the camera in the Warm Room. I wondered if the powered, amplified USB cable would work.

Coyotes going again.

9:30. Viewed Nicole's video. Correlated it to the chart in TheSky. I was in the area. Her blob a bit further east of where I was pointing. Did 90 second exposures with results similar to the other night. Then 120. She had done 600 second exposures—10 minutes. Her blob was very near 5 57 38.83 +46 00 1.68 (2000), near the star 2MASS ID 1291544811, mag 13. My camera frame included her candidate area. I thought I might also be able to see the galaxy LEDA / PGC 2271984 and perhaps PGC 2276793. Nope. Kept trying longer and longer exposures. 

9:37. Put the dew shield on. Felt like the wind had died down. Hopefully it will help with the Moon light. And hopefully it wouldn't catch the wind.

In the zone. My object was in the bottom of the frame. Didn't see the planetary, IC 2149. Probably just off the frame. Added 1 minute to the exposure time.

Was definitely colder. Frost already on the observatory tables.

Adjusted the field rotation in TS6 to match her blinked video. Nicole's blob was near the mag 15.2 star 1291544865. There's a little triangle of faint stars in her image.

Checked the distance travelled in her video. Almost one arc-minute, 53 seconds. Speed? Unknown. I didn't know the dates and times between them. The position angle was 326°.

Oh boy. Might be late night...

Got out the USB extension cable. Checked the ends. Initially thought I'd test it on the observatory floor, just in the camera-computer loop, just to see if it would work. Not as long as I thought. Checked the length... Ugh. Not really long enough to lie on the floor. Just barely. Brought the netbook in from outside. The ASUS detected the active cable as a hub. Shuffled the desk, moving the laptop to the right side, affording space near the door. Hey! Looked it it was not working. The EOS Utility launched immediately but did not activate the control menu. Checked the camera status. Ah. It was off. Tried again, saw the EOS Utility lag, as per usual—it worked!

9:50. Put the camera to Bulb, programmed a 5 minute sub! With a 15 second pause for downloading. Look at that. Fire trucking eh! Back in the Warm Room!

Left the red film off, to watch for colours. Connected John Phil to the network.

Learned about a feature in Canon Digital Photo Professional. I wanted to view photos at a large size and move sequentially through them. Found a suggestion on the web, to use the "Edit Image Window" or Ctrl+Right Arrow (weird). So, select the images to view in the Main window, then go into the Edit window. It has its own toolbar including Next and Previous buttons. It has an optional navigation bar on the left, with thumbnails. Seems like the Home and End keys work. Up and Down arrows work. Left and Right don't work (as per the documentation). Anyhoo. Nice, way faster for browsing!

Also learned that it is the Main window of DPP that wants 768 pixels; it's not the preview itself.

Continued waiting for the 10 minute sub. Examined the 3 minute sub for Nicole's fuzzy. Nothing... Dimmed the red lighting. Reinstalled the red film. Cranked the LCD brightness.

10:06. Reviewed a 10 minute sub. A lot of motion in the photo. Periodic error, wind, etc. Such a weird object. I did not see anything in the area like Nicole's images.

(The trailed stars made me wonder if RASC shouldn't get a guider camera for the C14 for when member's would want to do long exposures. I couldn't remember if the SBIG had an off-axis guider. Damn. I still don't know how to use that camera...)

Still I did not see Nicole's object. I wanted to invert it. DPP didn't seem to offer that ability. Made a copy, exported it. Fired up Paint! Inverted it. Ha! Nothing. Nothing in the area.

Was very happy to remain in the Warm Room. Very enjoyable!

Decided to change position a little bit. Now that the Dell was driving the Paramount I could nudge it!

Was curious about the field of view choices in TheSky. Did not have anything for the Canon. Checked the MallinCam FOV option in the software but it was not right. Rotating. Zooming.

10:16. The next 10 minute downloaded. Blurry again. A lot of motion. Drifting. I decided to go back to 5.

Boring! Nothing to do when you shoot long subs! Ha. Got find something else to do while waiting... Considered new CAO supervisor candidates.

In my 10 minute image, I could just make out the pair of faint galaxies LEDA (aka PGC) 2276793 and LEDA 2276774 [ed: correction] galaxies near the top-right of the frame. And PGC 2273637 just at the bottom edge of the frame. ST3P showed LEDA 2276674 just east of the pair but I could not see anything obvious. Crazy faint, all of these.

Did a tiny slew to offset a bit. Chose star GSC 3361:989... Moved east a bit. Started a photo run.

Considered my object, what started this whole chase. Such a strange shape. Most unusual pattern. Very bright. Not in Aladin! Possibly a cometary globule? A galaxy lensed?! Meanwhile, Nicole spotted something that appeared to be moving, but did not see my object. Possibly a comet? Two things going on. Or two flaws?

10:31. The first 5 minute image finished. Made my SkyTools match her photo/video by manually setting the zoom. Blinked it. I spotted something near GSC 03361-0989. A point or an extended point below the star, quite bright, about magnitude 15.0 to 15.5. Brighter than mag 16.0. A comet? No. Probably just a star to the west not in the chart. [ed: the companion star shows in the Aladin previewer...]

10:50. Slewed back to my original area. Wanted to re-shoot at 5 minutes.

11:11. Set an alarm 1 hour away to return to the Auriga area.

Nicole forwarded an email from Pete. He thought that her "moving thing" is an artefact in the T20. He talked the collimation mark on the mirror, taking flats, etc.

12:12 AM. Psion reminder alarm went off to return to the Auriga area.

Felt I was losing time, while trying to spot the supernova in Lynx, with Auriga setting in the north west. Opened the roof all the way, for a better view. The roof worked! Minor protesting from the contactor but no apparent strain to the motor. Whew.

1:15, Sun 6 Apr 2014. I returned to Aurgia. Back in the zone. Did a 2 minute sub again. Little bit too high. Pretty well where I was supposed to be.

The focus was off. Refocused with the Optec TCF from approx. 3625 to 3525. Shot another 2 minute exposure. Wondered, out loud, if I could do focus control in the Warm Room. Then I'd be able to do everything. [ed: Yes. Optec offers software control. There are ASCOM drivers.]

Felt colder in the observatory. Spotted my mystery object. Focus looked a bit better. 

1:32 AM. Went 50 less on the focuser, 3475. Changed the sky position a bit.

While waiting for image acquisition, I looked at the browser. Noticed a special weather statement from Environment Canada. Great. Wet snow! 10 centimetres in some areas. Crazy. Current conditions for Collingwood as of 1:00 AM. Temperature was 0. Actually -0.4. Dew point -0.6. Wind is 9 km, chill -4. Humidity 65%. Temp dropping to -8. Pressure was 102.1, rising. Reviewed the forecast from 3:30 PM. Tonight, clearing in the evening. Wind west 40, gusting to 60, 20 after midnight. Light after midnight. Low -8. Sunday is clear and sunny.

Focus looked better again. Could have shifted the field more. Decided to take the focus down another 50. And the frame was still a little high. Went back to a 5 minute exposure.

Tried to hit Divide on the Sony. The memory filled up on the recorder. Nooo. 1 minute left... Oh oh. Switched to hand-typed notes. Damn.

1:41. Continuing the imaging run. 5 min subs. The Optec was at 3422.

I checked the current apparent data from the Auriga area. Going through 2.9 airmasses. It would further deteriorate the image.

The first 5 minute image came in. I didn't see anything moving from earlier this evening.

1:47. Checked the Davis weather station. Our locale conditions at the Carr Astronomical Observatory. Wind from the west. Humidity was 85%. The outside temp was -3.4. Dew point -5.6. The barometer was at 1021.2.

OK. Done. Done chasing these weird objects.

1 comment:

SciDomer said...

Your fuzzy is 7° 00' 59" from Capella in position angle 93.2°. I recommend you try imaging the star HIP51892 with the same imaging setup. That star is a similar angle and position angle away from Regulus. I think it's an internal reflection inside the telescope.