Orion nebula image

In March last year I obtained a photo of the Orion nebula that I was quite pleased with, but later was a little frustrated that my old 3 inch (75mm) aperture refracting telescope was a bit wobbly on my new alt-az driven mount, as it’s so long. I have been trying an assortment of long photographic lenses, but this year took the plunge and got a compact 500mm focal length telescope with a 100mm objective lens.

I have finally been able to try it out in dark skies, and was first of all really pleased by the view of M42 through the eyepiece. A few days later I was able to get the camera on the end of the telescope, and the very first image on the back of the camera had me amazed. It was just a 20 second exposure, but showed so much.

The image above is a stacked composite of 8 images, total 160 seconds exposure, ISO 1600, using RAW format. I fiddled a bit with the contrast etc to get the result here, but I can see that I will have a lot of fun with this setup.

A few people have asked about drawings and dimensions for my Moraharpa. I worked from various sources online but drew my own, and worked out what I would need for a keybox similar to a kontrabas keybox; I did not want the “authentic” original and rather limited keybox.

The body is finished now, but I am still finishing fitting the keys in the keybox!

Here’s a photo which will have to do:

Moraharpa design drawing

I have been waiting for a suitable occasion in nice weather to record this for a month or two. The tune has been on my list of those to learn properly for a while, and I think “Pigopolskan” is a great tune.

Recording near some running water seemed like quite a good idea, and I think it was. I must get a wind shield for the recorder though, there are one or two blowy moments. In fact I used this first proper take rather than the second as that one began with a loud buzzing insect on the microphone!

SpaceX Starship SN15 landing
Image above from the SpaceX video of the flight

This amazing vehicle has taken another step forward; it now flies and has landed safely, still using the same manoeuvre to get from horizontal to vertical just before landing.

Here’s the video:

It will be interesting to see what they manage next. It’s going to be a while before they get this into orbit.

Flying the Ingenuity helicopter carried on the NASA Perseverence rover is quite a feat. It has to be done completely autonomously; Mars is currently over half an hour away for round trip radio signals, so remote control is not an option. There’s no GPS to help navigation either!

A pity they couldn’t have tracked it off to the right as well, but at least it came back!

Here’s the mission website: https://mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/


I decided that I wanted to try a Bahtinov mask for focus tests on the 3 inch refractor, after having tried one on a telephoto lens with some success. The Moon was about so I thought it could be a good test. This image is what I managed purely by using live view to focus. The live view was monitored on a tablet, by using the HDMI output from the camera, and a video capture dongle. Continue reading