Comet NEOWISE and Milky Way Nebulae

Decided to head out to Tierra Del Sol on the night of July 20, 2020. Beautiful night out with no clouds. I had trouble with the Star Adventurer mount before but this time I brought the PoleMaster with me to help with polar alignment. With the correct polar alignment the mount worked really well and I was able to do 30s exposures with 100mm and 60s exposures with 50mm. I probably could have gone longer but my focus was a little off, I need to bring a bahtinov mask next time to help with focusing.

Comet NEOWISE at Tierra Del Sol on July 20 2020.

100mm f2.8 ISO 1200 30s x11, ISO 3200 30s x6, ISO 800 30s x5, ISO 400 30s x5, ISO 1600 30s x7, x16 30s dark frames

Milky Way Nebula at TDS July 20 2020

100mm f2.8 ISO 3200 30s 20x, ISO 1600 30s 20x, 12x 30s dark frames

North American Nebula at TDS July 20 2020

50mm f2.8 ISO 1600 60s x30, 10x 60s dark frames

Photos where taken with a Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer mount with a PoleMaster and a Canon T3i connected to a laptop using APT. Processed using DSS and Photoshop.

Oakoasis Star Party in Southern California

I just purchased a new 8″ Zhumell Z8 Dobsonian Reflector Telescope and have been wanting to take it out for a test drive. It came with a 9mm and 30mm eye piece. The Oakoasis Star Party sounded like a good place to try it out so decided to head out there on the night of Aug 10, 2019.

The Oakoasis Star Party is put on by the San Diego Astronomy Association on the second Saturday of every month. It’s located in the “Staging Area” parking lot in the Oakoasis County Preserve. There is a nature hike that begins around sunset and if you want to setup a telescope it might be best to get there 30 mins to 1 hr before sunset.

The weather was really nice out, and I checked the Clear Sky Chart before I headed out to make sure there was not going to be any clouds.

There was a great turn out and had some great observing that included Jupiter, Saturn and the Moon. I ended up taking pictures through my telescope’s eye piece by just putting my phone up to it. Below are the raw images that came out of my camera.

Moon with 8″ Dob 9mm eye piece
Jupiter and 4 moons with 8″ Dob 9mm eye piece
Saturn with 8″ Dob 9mm eye piece

I used these raw images from my phone and then enhanced them a little with Photoshop to remove some of the noise and bring out the detail. I played around with the Levels adjustments in Photoshop to clean up Saturn and Jupiter. Below is the finished result.

Astrophotography software and drivers

Download ascom platform

Download and install “system driver” then “ascom driver” then “ezPlanetary”

Download PHD2

Download APT

Download Stellarium

Download Cartes du Ciel

Download and install PoleMaster driver and software

Download and install EQASCOM for mount control

Download and install this driver for serial to usb

Follow these steps to control mount