Friday, May 6, 2016

#34 - Friday, May 6, 2016 - Outreach!

[In addition to going out and taking images, I also do a lot of outreach.]

I brought the 8-inch out to the Girl Scout Camporee and set it up on Friday night, which was completely clear and the seeing was great.  It seems so small and simple now in comparison to the 11-inch!  I aimed it at Jupiter, and several groups of Brownies and Juniors came through to look.  It was really fun!  I think a lot of them had never looked through a telescope before.  After all of the younger girls went through, the girls from the 8th grade troop I was camping with and I looked at two other targets – M13, the Hercules Cluster, and M51, the Whirlpool Galaxy.  They were both pretty dim, but you could see the cluster of stars that is M13 as a dim bluish blob, and you could see the two yellowish blobs of M51 and some of the surrounding fuzz around each.  I had my tablet and showed the girls (and also many of the girls and parents who came through earlier) what it looked like when images were taken and stacked.  Before packing up, I attached my camera to show the girls how I do that, and I took a 5-minute video of Jupiter to try and stack using RegiStax.  After messing around with codecs and finally just converting the video into some 8,000 individual frame images, I did finally get it to stack, and the result wasn’t quite as good as I was hoping, but it was still pretty neat.  It did sharpen it up a bit.  But there is some color distortion on the edges that gets sharpened weirdly when I adjusted the wavelets.  Hopefully it won’t be as severe with the 11-inch without the star diagonal.  I’ll have to experiment.  I did also use the 2x Barlow – if I use eyepiece projection, it might make it better, since Plossl eyepieces are supposed to be nearly aberration-free.  It might not be for a while though – weather’s going to suck all week, and it might be clear Friday, but I have another commitment that night.
Jupiter, Nikon D3100 on my C8
Some 8,000 frames from a video, unknown ISO and shutter speed

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