Tonights viewing was an attempt to obtain some better webcam footage of Jupiter. As usual though, it was very low in the sky, and I have only a short timeslot due to gaps between buildings. In fact I stood the XT10 on top of my patio dining table to give it sufficient height to see over the garage rooftop. Aligning the scope when standing precariously balanced on the chairs and/or table is not very good, and it took ages to get everything set up well enough to start capturing Jupiter.
Managed to get some short captures using K3CCDTools at prime focus, and reasonably sharp focus thanks to the new dual-speed crayford, but when attempting to get Barlowed capture it was incredibly blurry from bad seeing, and with probably only 15 minutes til Jupiter set below the rooftops. I will see whether K3CCD or Registax can pull anything better from these captures.
Next took some new Webcam footage of the Moon, something I have not done for quite a while. Moon is 1 day from full, and very bright tonight in an almost cloudless sky. Seeing is giving the classic underwater effect on the Moon’s surface. This time I have not used the moon filter, but instead adjusted the gain right down, and FPS up, so as to give a nicely dim image, with plenty of detail, and as well-focused as I could. Again the dual-speed Crayford is doing a fantastic job of focusing very finely. Got several passes captured to video which can be worked in Registax later on.
Did some extensive experimentation of video capture settings with the webcam to see what magnitude of stars the webcam could pull out. Some of the primary stars in Cassiopeia and Auriga were nice and bright with diffraction spikes clearly visible on the bright stars, and still picking up fainter stars probably down to approx 8th or 9th Mag. For the faintest 5fps was required with absolutely minimum (slowest) shutter speed, and almost max gain, max contrast, and centre brightness. Monochrome image, and picture enhancement off. The Pleiades was also a good test, clearly able to capture the brighter stars, although I’m beginning to realise that the field of view of the webcam is rather restricted, and capturing the whole of the Pleiades is impossible, it only manages to get 2 or 3 of the seven sisters at once. So while this might be hopeful for getting images of bright starfields, it seems like I now need a new lens for the webcam to give a wider field of view.
Finished experimenting with the webcam and decided to just do some normal observing. Tonight the sky is very washed out by the almost full Moon, so it was interesting to see how deeply I would be able to see using the SWA 38mm, and Hyperion 13mm EP’s, in Perseus, around Mirphak. Comparing against Stellarium I could make out down to about 11th mag, which I thought was quite good, and once again proves not only how good the XT10 is at bagging as much light as possible, but also that first impressions of a poor night sky are usually proved wrong, and that it is worthwhile getting the scope out. In Auriga I hunted out M36 and M38 successfully, but was unable to view M37, which the Moon was overpowering, and my star-hoppping was unable to locate.