|Image exposure: |
Best 10% of 300 video frames @ 2 seconds
|Image date: |
My second ever image of this, the eighth and outermost planet. The last time was back in 2010 with my trusty old Meade LX-90 reflector telescope, more of which I will mention below.
Neptune is a distant, mysterious planet. It’s high in the evening sky right now and at its closest to us but surface detail is not easy to capture in my amateur telescope. It has been visited only once so far, by the space mission Voyager 2 in 1989.
It’s a gas giant, weighing in at about seventeen Earth masses, orbiting thirty astronomical units from the Sun (the Earth-Sun distance is one astronomical unit) and reflecting sunlight back to us at magnitude 7.8.
Neptune takes 168 Earth years to orbit the Sun:
My aforementioned LX-90 200mm diameter telescope has been sitting in it’s container for the last four years since I bought a new refractor. “I’ll get it out again soon”, I kept saying. Well I didn’t.
It has its own dedicated alt-az mount, which made it good for eye-balling the Universe but unsuitable for serious astro-imaging. It had a GPS mounted on it.
I needed to use it on an equatorial mount.
Today I finally took the plunge, de-forking it from its alt-az fork mount and fitting it up ready to attach to the equatorial mount which I also use with my current refractor telescope. I’ll be testing it soon and with its 2000mm focal length I’m hoping it will get me some better images of some of the tinier objects.
Here in Sydney, our covid delta variant lock-down began on 26th June and will finally end on 11th October.
On day number 107.
Yes I counted the days.
New South Wales has reached 70% second dose vaccination and 89% first dose so far. It’s looking good to perhaps even reach 95% but it’s the remaining 5% of self-righteous cave-dwellers I’m bothered with.
Lives depend on a fully vaccinated population. “It’s a disease of the unvaccinated now,” people say. Yes but it’s also a disease of the vaccinated vulnerable, the vaccinated elderly and those (including children) who cannot be vaccinated. The ‘five percenters’ just couldn’t give a toss about them. 😡
During this lock-down, I’ve been using my telescope from the safety of my backyard but with a very restricted sky. I found it darker out the back but many of the objects that I wanted to image were obscured behind a tree or a house. The objects which I did choose tended to disappear behind a tree or a house before I finished. 😕
So with the lock-down about to end, I’m now free to go back to my favourite spot out on the front driveway, street light and all….
…. and my Bride and I can go out on day trips again at last….
….but we probably won’t…..
Cosmic Focus Observatory
Above us only sky….
|Telescope:||SkyWatcher Esprit 120 mm apochromatic refractor; 840 mm f/l @ f/7.|
|Optics:||Field flattener; Astronomik light pollution filter. Powermate 2X|
|Mount & Guiding:||SkyWatcher EQ6-R Pro mount.|
|Imaging camera:||ZWO ASI 071 MC cooled.|
Images © Roger Powell
I’m one of the founder members of Macarthur Astronomical Society