Sunday, December 29, 2013

Images from December 27 DMK 31 Revisited

After seeing the long awaited results from Bill's new DMK 41 I was inspired to go back to my DMK 31 and give it a go for the barlow'd images These images are all from the 27 and were done with my 31 at various focal lengths . My conditions were pretty good but using the 2.5 Powermate was pushing it a bit .These images have restored my faith in the slower DMK 31

1000mm Focal Length

1600mm Focal Length

2500mm Focal Length

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Cloudy day activity

I have been looking at articles for amateur astronomy radio telescopes. I finally decided that I'm going to assemble a simple one for use on those cloudy days and see how that goes.   Here is a link for anybody that might be interested. There are many more of course.

The first piece of equipment has arrived.

The second major component is in the mail.  Update:  The second major component is in my hands.  Work shall commence directly.  :D

I have the antenna mounted on my Dob base, a terminator on the extra LNB port and the power cord fabricated.

The first test run was encouraging.  I pick up a strong signal from the sun.  As it turns out my service monitor has the ARRL RT circuit board with audio output installed,  I had read an article describing this circuit board   IBT Build   and I was going to build one but...  it is already there.  :D  I put a lighter plug on my power cord so that I could power the monitor from my home made battery box that I use for my scope mount.
I have the SkyPipe  SkyPipe   charting software installed on my laptop and I just need to finish the audio interface cord and I will be ready for the next test.

The winter weather has stopped any further testing at the moment.  I do have a pack of Teflon washers coming.  these washers will be added at the antenna and antenna mount pivot points so that the hardware can be tightened but the antenna altitude angle can be changed without the use of tools.

Teflon Washer

PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene) Flat Washer, 1/4" Hole Size, 0.253" ID, 0.562" OD, 0.062" Nominal Thickness, Made in US (Pack of 25)
I installed the Teflon washers yesterday and that really improved adjusting the antenna altitude.  I snugged down the pivot point bolts and put a washer under each adjusting point nut and snugged them down.  Now you can re-position the antenna angle easily and it stays put without having to loosen and tighten the adjustment nuts.
I'm looking in to VLF (Very low frequency) receivers for detecting natural radio emissions.  They can detect solar flares by the disturbance in the magnetosphere, radio emissions from Jupiter, lightening strikes and so on.  I would connect this receiver into another input for SkyPipe to record with the input from the antenna dish.
Radio Jove
WR-3 VLF Receiver
Inspire VLF-3

Here are some recorded sound tracks of Natural radio signals.  These are definitely worth a listen.

  I have decided to add to my radio telescope  ability by building the Radio Jove radio receiver and using it also to monitor the solar activity.  The output of this receiver can be monitor by Radio-SkyPipe concurrently with the dish output.  I still don't know if the dish output will be useful but the Radio Jove receiver output will be meaningful.  It has that added ability to also monitor radio emissions from Jupiter.  This radio is from an ongoing NASA program.  I will also be getting the Inspire VLF-3 receiver to be able to listen to the Natural Radio signals at a lower frequency (see recordings above.).
  Today I happened on to another idea that I may well apply to the dish antenna in the future.  This setup would actually receive and record Ha emissions data.

Natural radio explained -
Natural Radio

Radio Jove receiver -

I have started to gain some experience with the dish antenna.

January 01, 2014
I was trying to match up my recordings from today with solar flare data and not having any luck. I just noticed on Space Weather.Com a report of an X-Ray solar flare at 2200 UT. The middle chart shows the biggest spikes that I recorded today. Shortly before this the recording was pretty much a flat line and after the spikes subsided. Most solar flares monitor receivers are on a much lower frequency then what I'm using so a big maybe here.

Earlier recording (Time is UT) -


Recording at time of X-Ray flare -

Right after -
February 02, 2014
Today AR1967 produced a flare staring at 21:24:00 UT peaked at 22:04:00 UT and ended at 22:14:00 UT. I had some recording runs at that time and I may have caught some of the action. There was a lot of activity at this time. See the strong signal at 21:36:04 UT.

This one I'm thinking is a continuation of the action out to 22:02:40 UT.

At 22:27:00 UT A1968 produced a C8.4 flare and I think that the right side of this trace is some of that action.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Imaging Source DMK 41 first images

I have a few images from December 24, 2013.  I finally got to take my new camera, the DMK 41, for a test run.  I am quite pleased with the results so far.  :-)  The conditions were less then ideal but good enough to give the camera a try.  The first two images were taken using my 2.5 Powermate although the sky wasn't Powermate worthy.  The first image was taken using my DMK 21 camera -

The second image is of the same area using the DMK 41 -

The difference in coverage is stunningly obvious here.

The next two images were taken using the DMK 41 and a polarizing filter to lower the light level.  All images slightly cropped to deal with 'Sweet spot' issues that will hopefully be resolved with by the latest modification that I have made to my scope.  
( See Bill's modified scope link.)

Western limb -

Ar1931 and AR1934 -

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Images From December 8

I caught another break and was able to image on Monday There was lots of activity , a few nice filaments ,  average proms  . and an array of large sunspots

Conditions were not too bad so I tried some 2.5X Powermate shots

Friday, December 13, 2013

Books About The Sun 

The weather has been hard on Mike's and my imaging attempts so I thought that during the lull in the action I would post a list of books that I have that are about the sun.  I myself never get tired of reading about our star. :-)

The 23rd Cycle
 The 23rd Cycle traces the previously untold history of solar storms and the ways in which they were perceived by astronomers -- and even occasionally covered up by satellite companies.

The Sun's Heartbeat
 And Other Stories from the Life of the Star That Powers Our Planet.

The Sun Observers Guide
A practical guide that explains how to safely observe the sun: what to look for and how to record and photograph solar images and eclipses.

Observing the Sun with Coronado˜ Telescopes
Dated but informative.

Nearest Star
The surprising science of our sun.

The Sun a Biography
This is a comprehensive biography of the sun.

The Enigma of Sunspots
A story of discovery and scientific revolution.
Music of the Sun
The Story of Helioseismology

Guide to the Sun
With minimum technical language, this book gives an account of what we now know about the sun's interior, its surface and atmosphere, its role in our solar system, and its relation to other stars.

Restless Sun 
Smithsonian Library of the Solar System

Guide to the Sun 
Might be everything that you wanted to know about the sun.

If I were to start with just one book I think that I would select Nearest Star .  You can also create books through Wikipedia Press.  I had a book printed that contained everything on WikiPedia about the sun.  You can select paper back, hard back, color images, book cover and inscription.  Actually this Wiki book is a must have also.

The Sun
This is a Wikipedia Book, a collection of Wikipedia articles that can be easily saved, rendered electronically, and ordered as a printed book.

Related topics -

A New Sun

The Solar Results From SkyLab

Light Years

An Exploration of Mankind's Enduring Fascination with Light


A book about a technical subject that anyone can read with interest and understand



Friday, December 6, 2013

December 4 Images

These images are from the second test since re configuring my mod . My conditions were not good and these were shot through a consistently moving layer of thin cloud .. The good news is that everything I tried ,eyepieces , barlow's and cameras came to focus with the etalon remaining 200mm into the optical path . The sweet spot was also much easier to manage .

Not the best conditions for a barlow , this is what I managed with 1.6X

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Bill's equipment update -

I received the PST Etalon adapter set from AOK Swiss Online  They were great to deal with and if you are contemplating doing a PST Stage 2 modification and need adapters this is the place to go.  (You will need to use Google translate.)

I also received today a Mini-Lens Pen that was recommended by The imaging Source for cleaning their camera sensor lens.

Tomorrow I will be receiving The Image Source  DMK 41 mono camera.  The frame rate will be reduced from what is achieved with the DMK 21 that I currently use but the resolution is considerably higher.  From the reviews that I have read the lack of frame rate will be off-set by the higher resolution.  I'm hoping that that is true and for some good weather to find out.
DMK 21 Max frame rate - 60    Resolution - 640 X 480 (307,200 pixels)
DMK 41 Max frame rate - 15    Resolution - 1280 X 960 (1,228,800 pixels)

December 05-  I received my DMK 41 today.  Here is a comparison of the sensor sizes.  DMK 21 on the left and the DMK 41 on the right.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Due to bad weather Mike and I haven't had a lot to post Image wise so I thought that I would post some information about the solar spectrum broken down from the light from the sun.
Information taken from Wikipedia. 

Fraunhofer lines -  named for:

 Joseph Fraunhofer, ennobled in 1824 as Ritter von Fraunhofer (6 March 1787 – 7 June 1826) was a German optician. He is known for the discovery of the dark absorption lines known as Fraunhofer lines in the Sun's spectrum, and for making excellent optical glass and achromatic telescope objectives.

The major Fraunhofer lines, and the elements they are associated with, are shown in the following table:
Designation Element Wavelength (nm)
y O2 898.765
Z O2 822.696
A O2 759.370
B O2 686.719
C Hα 656.281
a O2 627.661
D1 Na 589.592
D2 Na 588.995
D3 or d He 587.5618
e Hg 546.073
E2 Fe 527.039
b1 Mg 518.362
b2 Mg 517.270
b3 Fe 516.891
b4 Mg 516.733
Designation Element Wavelength (nm)
c Fe 495.761
F 486.134
d Fe 466.814
e Fe 438.355
G' H 434.047
G Fe 430.790
G Ca 430.774
h 410.175
H Ca+ 396.847
K Ca+ 393.368
L Fe 382.044
N Fe 358.121
P Ti+ 336.112
T Fe 302.108
t Ni 299.444
Our images are at the 'C' line which is the Hydrogen Alpha wave length 656.281nm.
(nm = nanometer or one billionth of a meter)  Another wave length available to amateurs is the H and K line (Calcium) .  The Coronado Ca scope has unfortunately been discontinued.
There are many other solar features to see at different wave lengths, some of which do not pass through our atmosphere.  Check sites like to see these features.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Mike's Modified 102 Update

With all the clouds we have been getting lately Bill and I have been extensively discussing ways we can get more out of what we love to do .The way we modded our scopes was functional but did not offer the "ideal" configuration . The issue we discussed was the fact every time we focus our scopes we change the position of the etalon . The ideal situation is to have the etalon in a fixed position 200mm into the optical stream of an F 10 scope . The pic below is my original configuration with a  2" extension in place to create some distance and place the etalon further up stream closer to the desired 200mm .  .

 The ideal situation is to have the focuser behind the etalon so the etalon can remain fixed at the desired 200mm . My local scope shop had a used Moonlight without an adapter for a good price so I purchased it and made the adapter I needed for this purpose . The pic below is the re configured mod utilizing the Moonlight .

 I had one more issue I needed to deal with and that was the focuser that I was using in the scope . I had adapted a "low profile" focuser designed for a Newt , I used this short focuser to avoid having to cut the tube . The issue it had was the short body focuser did not offer enough support to prevent the optical train from sagging . The solution was to shorten the tube by 3" and go back to the original focuser as it offered better support and can be locked squarely . It's purpose now will be to position and lock the etalon , all focusing will be done with the moonlight .
 The images below are from the first test run with this new combination .