I am still recovering after getting back yesterday from the annual Winter Star Party. I was a boy in a candy store! We had three Paramount models setup near the wheelhouse and I was in “imager central” with some other nearby imagers, including another Paramount MX right behind me. Steve and Colleen Bisque came down for about half the week as well and we gave a presentation on Wednesday on the new Software Bisque imaging workflow.
The proof of the pudding is in the eating as they say, and after my last blog with all that hot air about how great our software was for imaging, as well as our talk on Wednesday, I must say to my tastes, the pudding is pretty good.
Entirely on a Mac, and entirely with Bisque software, plus PixInsight and some Photoshop for good measure, I took 4.5 hours of RGB data on M81 and M82 with my Veloce and a QSI 683 CCD camera. This was guided with our new guiding feature in the Camera Add On and the SSAG that I wrote the X2 plug-in for.
The weather was fantastic every night for at least half the night, and I pulled three complete all nighters until dawn. I had to MAKE myself stop on the night before last as I knew I had a long drive home with an over stuffed SUV full of equipment! I have enough image data to keep me busy for weeks I think. Time to revisit some of those PixInsight tutorials!
My favorite moment however was when I won first place in the astrophotography contest for the wide field category. Without doubt, I had the most over mounted DSLR on the field! I used image link and the camera add on to do TPoint runs with this camera and lens to refine my alignment, and then did an hour's worth of unguided 5 minute exposures of Orion’s sword and belt regions. I had to do a dozen one minute exposures too as the core of M42 was blown out in the 5-minute exposures.
Larger versions of these and other photos from the 2013 Winter Star Party, as they become available, will be posted to my astro-image gallery at www.eveningshow.com.
I did some work too on the Canon plug-in, and I still have the 60Da for a couple more days. I hope to have an update for customers ready before the end of this week so you can start shooting full color DSLR data too.
A fellow software developer friend of mine who is in my local astronomy club, set up right next to us. He brought his 8” Celestron scope and iPad. I’ve made him a beta tester for our iOS app (he’s a visual guy… no imaging), and two of the nights we controlled this scope without a laptop using a WiFi adapter to connect to his scope. He’s a great tester and found some bugs for us, but right away he preferred using the iPad over his laptop for controlling the scope and searching for objects of interest to look at. The future is wireless ;-)