Monday, April 09, 2018

20180409 Sun

0557 (UT), yet another record during my day off.  Cloud moving around, but not too thick.

Sunday, April 08, 2018

20180408 Sun

After the cold front, seeing stabilized but then the solar surface is still quiet.

I pulled out my dark cube in the hope to try it again with my new faster laptop, but then Sharpcap hangs whenever I tried to capture an AVI.  Need to figure out why, and to solve it.

Captured by ASI 120mm, 0618 (UT).

The sun is now in a strange angle from inside my home, I anticipate that I will not be able to do solar imaging after one month or so.  Will need to wait until winter again?

Thursday, April 05, 2018

DIY focusing motor controller enhanced version

The first version is made with a junk 18650 power bank, I've to remove the original USB socket and the charging circuit so as to accommodate the buttons.  Once the 18650 ran out of charge, I have to pull it out for recharge which is inconvenient.

Later I found that there is a dual 18650 version available at very cheap price without battery, so I ordered them and carry on the modification.  The idea is to keep the power bank circuit and I will only use a single 18650, so the space left could be used for the buttons.

Once the 18650 ran out of juice, I can recharge it with a standard USB cable.  This controller could serve as a emergency power bank as well.

The whole thing costs less than $3 USD, most of the parts were recycled parts.


Tonight, when I was clearing up my messy equipment cabinet, I found that I have a motorized DEC for my Sky Adventurer and it requires a socket to control.  I used to have another controller for it, but why not consolidate them as one?

Here we go, it only means some more drilling, fitting and soldering work.

So, let's test it with the DEC motor of the Sky Adventurer:

And then go back to the focuser of my NGF for my Ranger:

I even tested to use this controller for its original purpose, i.e. a power bank.... and it works flawlessly despite it only has a single 18650 rather than two.   The blue LED lit up for this mode.  On charging from the micro USB, the red LED lit up as it should be. 

Very nice one, way better than my original one.  More powerful, compact and more beautiful.

Equipment updates

Just sold a number of stuff which I rarely use:

1. GOTO Mark-X
2. Celestron C5
3. Gitzo G106
4. Manfrotto 410

My major equipment after selling the above:

1. Solarmax 60 with BF10
2. Tele Vue Ranger with NGF-S
3. Velbon tripod
4. Nexstar mount
5. Sky Adventurer mount
6. Polemaster
7. ASI 120mm and 120mc
8. Canon 10x30 IS
9. Canon 18x50 IS
10. Canon FD 300mm f2.8 modified to EF mount

Time to tidy up my equipment cabinet and the dry box.

The equipment which I use most is the Solarmax 60 Ranger combo on Nexstar mount for solar imaging indoor.  Next will be the Canon IS binoculars for casual observation during camping, or overseas trips.

Less usage will be the Sky Adventurer mount for wide field or deep sky imaging with my Canon DSLR.  So this equipment lineup is about right for me.

Monday, March 12, 2018

20180312 Sun

The cold front is weakening, and the temperature is getting up.  Moderate seeing at 5/10 and transparency dropped, I would say 4/10.

Featureless solar disc, an active region might form at the lower part of the solar disc?

0620 (UT).

Friday, March 09, 2018

20180309 Sun

A cold front came last night and temperature dropped sharply, windy and poor seeing.

0713 (UT), Ranger with reducer, Solarmax 60 + BF10, ASI 120mm

Monday, March 05, 2018

20180305 0559 (UT) Sun in H-alpha

It's a cloudy day, feels like summer in terms of temperature, humidity and the sky condition.

Due to the amount of cloud, I would rather upload the video clip rather than to stack the frames.  Just to let me glimpse the surface features.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

20180131 Total Lunar Eclipse (Blue Moon)

We have a blue moon tonight, and we have a total lunar eclipse at the same time.

Taken at 9:26pm (GMT+8)

And another one at 9:34pm (GMT+8)

Cloud moving around, we hardly got some small gaps for imaging.

I only got a simple tripod:

It was really cold and windy, and the feeling was great.  If I had more time, I will probably be using a tracking mount plus a higher power setup.  And also my Canon 18x50 IS, too!  Anyway, it's good enough to have some fun.