Imaging Astronomy in France

We are fortunate that our house in France is in a small village in the middle of nowhere, on top of a hill and with very little light pollution.   As a consequence I have installed a 10.25″ Celestron Schmidt Cassegrain telescope so that I can do some star watching.  I think the only other place where I have seen better skies is in the middle of a desert in Namibia.   It can be absolutely breathtaking  to see the Milky Way in its full glory and some of the star clusters are mind blowing.

One of my closest and  long standing friends John lives near Limoges and he is similarly smitten by things mechanical, optical and horological.   He recommended that I invested in a webcam to mount on my telescope to take some digital imagery of the planets.    As a result I picked up a NexImage Celestron camera on Ebay and was ready to experiment.

The process is fairly simple (in theory) ….. you find a planet and lock the telescope to it and then record a few seconds or minutes of video.   The video is made up of frames and you use software to select the best frames and then stack the frames ‘on top of each other’ to enhance the image.   (iCap to get the video footage, PIPP to filter the best images, Registax to stack the images). The results are startling in that you start with a wobbly blob in the eyepiece and end up with a pretty clean image of the planet in question.   Thankfully there is a lot of help and assistance out on YouTube to get you to a result.

So here is my first attempt at Jupiter which I was pretty pleased with.

celestron-icap-pipp-registax
Jupiter image processed with Registax

Yes I know you might be thinking how many other things does this guy play at ?? ….

Some people when they get to mature years want to travel the world and see places.  I just like to make things, experiment with stuff, stretch and widen my technical knowledge.   Do stuff that I never had time to do while busy working in order to give me me time and resources to do stuff when I stopped working ….. keeping the grey matter active.

Fortunately I have a wife that tolerates my eccentricity and for that I am eternally grateful.

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