Howdii and Andi imaged the recently discovered Supernova 2017eaw in NGC 6946, on May 18, 2017. They had to fight gusty wind and bad seeing, but somehow managed to get some useable images. Read Howdii's Report in German).
iOptron ieq45 Pro - Howdii got this mount for a customer and tested its performance. He subsequently wrote a Test Report (in German, April 2017) about this model and referred also to the evolution steps of the ieq45. Howdii found fine guiding performance on this sample, which he carefully documented. This model of the ieq45 Pro provides refined gearing and stepper motors, whereas formerly servo motors were used. This new model has a real time clock, so it's no longer needed to wait for the GPS satellite fix. A new and quite unique feature allows the mount to recover from power failure during the session. So one simply is able to continue the session without loosing position of the scope or star alignment. A rigid hard-wood tripod is highly recommended for this mount.
Howdii and Andi observed and imaged comet 41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresák during the last days of March, 2017. Read Howdii's Notes about this comet in German).
Howdii observed Mercury at dusk during the last days of March and first days of April, near Mistelbach. Read Howdii's Observation Report, in German.
Howdii delivered the EQ6-R mount to his customer and surprisingly, at this site was a pretty clear night. What else to do than put the mount on its stand and attach a telescope to it? Howdii wrote a short report (in German, Feb 27, 2017) about those observations. The telescope was well-known for him, it was his ex-presentation model of the Bresser 152/1200 achromatic refractor.
Skywatcher NEQ6-R SynScan - Howdii got this mount for a customer and tested its performance. He subsequently wrote a Test Report (in German, Feb./March 2017) about this revised model. Howdii found fine guiding performance on this sample but also a surprising detail, which he carefully documented, and generally attributes the NEQ6-R good characteristics and handling. This revised model is better in many respects than its venerable predecessor, the NEQ6. Like the NEQ6 the NEQ6-R is best mounted on a rigid hard-wood tripod.
Howdii tried to observe Pease 1 (a Planetary Nebula within the Globular Cluster M15) with his 5.7" f/6 Maksutov-Newtonian and, succeeded. It wasn't that hard as expected. So Howdii tried to do this with the 102/1100 Achromatic Refractor. What about it? It's more the problem to find the location of Pease 1 than to see this object with this 4" lens - well, for a very experienced observer. Read Howdii's Observation Report, in German.
After some observations with the Vixen VMC 260L Howdii returned this telescope to the owner. There they had a quite good sky and observed some deep sky objects near Ratten, Styria. Read Howdii's Observation Report, in German.
Howdii observed some deep sky objects during a moonlit night at the observatory site of the Leiserberge Sternwarte club near Klement/Au on August 13th, 2016. Read Howdii's Observation Report, in German.
Howdii and Andi observed the Perseids and caught some meteors photographycally on August 11th, 2016, near Mistelbach. Howdii again observed some Perseids near Klement/Au on August 13th, 2016. Read Howdii's Observation Report, in German.
After some visual observations with the Vixen VMC 260L Howdii was eager to do some astrophotography with it. But what mount for it, because of the long focal length of this scope. Fortunately, Howdii got also a Celestron CGE mount for testing, so there he went. Howdii and Andi used a quite dark sky at Mistelbach, however, seeing was only mediocre. Despite this, they managed to get the mount in guiding to image M57 and M27. Howdii has written a Test Report (in German, August 2016).
Howdii got an APM 140/980 Doublet SD-APO for a customer and testet it visually as well as photographically (July/August 2016). This scope features a retractable dew shield, a handle on top of the tube rings, a Losmandy style dovetail rail, a 2.5" RPA focuser and a mounting base for finder scopes. The optics shows pinpoint stars across the field and a nearly textbook-like star image at high power. There is a trace of pinching, and a bit of spherical aberration. The color correction is good for a lens of this size and type. Visually, bright stars show up in their true color, however, traces of red to blue are shimmering in the diffraction rings. Photographycally, bright stars do show some false color. There isn't enough clearance between dovetail rail and dew shield, so these two parts accidentally can get in contact what causes scratches on the back ring of the dew shield. This is annoying. The vendor has promised to solve this problem. Howdii wrote a Test Report, in German.
Howdii reobserved some of the objects of his last observing sessions and some other objects with an APM 140mm f/7 SD-Doublet Refractor on July 29th, 2016. He had a quite dark sky at the Oberleiser Berg. Read Howdii's Observation Report, in German.
Celestron Ultima 8. This 8" f/10 SC was produced from 1989 onward. It features a heavy-duty fork, and this sample was supplied with the heavy-duty wedge, however, PEC is not available on it. The Ultima 8 was well known for its stability and for its good optics, as well as for the accuracy of its RA drive. Howdii got this scope for inspection. Some parts were missing, and the RA drive did not work. He was lucky to supply the missing parts and could fix the drive electrics. The optics proved very good, and, as a surprise the collimation of the optics was spot on. The stability of the scope is ok, it shakes when bumped, but the vibration damping is good, about one second. Howdii wrote a Test Report, in German, July 2016.
For the fun of it Howdii reobserved some of the objects of his last observing session with a 102mm f/7 Triplet APO Refractor on July 10th, 2016. He chose the hill on the east of Mistelbach as observing site. The sky was quite good, however, not as good as last time at the Oberleiser Berg. Read Howdii's Observation Report, in German.
Howdii and Andi had a pretty good sky at the Oberleiser Berg on July 6th, 2016. Howdii used a Vixen VMC 260L Field-Maksutov telescope for visual deep sky observing, Andi did this with his Celestron 8" SCT. Howdii spotted some quite tough globular clusters and observed some planetary nebulae, as well as some typical summer sky highlights. Read Howdii's Observation Report about this night, in German.
Howdii has tested a Celestron C9.25 SC. The C9.25 is well know for good optics and lesser field curvature. This comes along with an increased tube length and a larger central obstruction, where the Fastar secondary locking ring adds some millimeters. However, this sample proved a smooth backlash-free and shifting-free focuser as well as excellent optics. Simply said, it's the best SC telescpoe Howdii has ever seen. Howdii has written a Test Report (in German) about it.
Howdii has tested a second-hand (in near mint condition) Lacerta 72/432 ED Refractor both visually and photographically (togehter with a 0.85x Reducer). This little Lacerta ED scope features a nice Octo 2" focuser. Visually, the performance is fine. There is only a bit false color and a trace of spherical undercorrection, nothing else. This lens is sharp. Photographically, it is capable of delivering nice wide field images. Howdii has written a Test Report (in German) about this telescope.
Howdii has tested a vintage second-hand Scopos 90/600 ED Triplet APO both visually and photographically (June 2016). Visually, the optics proved ok. The color correction is really good. There is some spherical undercorrection and a trace of pinching. However, nothing else. This lens will take some time to cool down. The Crayford-style focuser is a bit tricky, but can be tamed if carefully adjusted. Photographically, this triplet-lens is capable of delivering quite nice images. Howdii has written a Test Report (in German) about this telescope.
Howdii and Andi imaged Supernova 2016cok in M66 and Supernova 2016coj in NGC4125 via DSLR and CCD. They also tried to observe those Supernovae. SN 2016coj was quite easy to spot, but Howdii also succeeded to catch the faint Supernova 2016cok. They imaged also Mars via Webcam. They used three nights, on May 31, June 6 and 7, 2016, at and near Mistelbach. Read Howdii's Observation Report in German.
Howdii and Andi observed the transit of Mercury, the passage of this planet across the surface of the sun on May 9, 2016 near Ladendorf. They used Howdii's 100/800 Triplet APO for visual observing and afocal projection photography as well as Andi's 102/1000 achromatic Refractor for focal photography. Read Howdii's Observation Report in German.
Howdii and Andi attended the Weinviertel Teleskoptreffen near Klement/Au on May 6th and 7th, 2016. For those two nights they brought along four telescopes: Howdii's 5.7" f/6 Maksutov-Newtonian, a 102/1100 Refractor, a Vixen VMC 260L Field Maksutov and a 102/714 ED Refractor. They observed Jupiter, some Galaxies and some typical highlights for such an event. Read Howdii's Observation Report in German.
The Central Cygnus Region around the stars Deneb and Sadr is a prominent Milky Way area full of stars, light and dark nebulae, and many other objects. Photo taken with a modified Canon 350D and a zoom lens sent to 70mm during my Astro-Expedition to the Großglockner-Hochalpenstraße in September 2015.
A pair of images taken by Walter during his Astro-Expedition to the Großglockner-Hochalpenstraße in September 2015: Sharpless 155, the Cave Nebula in Hα and as HαRGB color composite. It is a colorful mix of emission, reflection, and dark nebulosity in Cepheus. Some image editing was necessary to keep the blueish reflexion nebulosity in the HαRGB composite.
Finally, one astrophoto from my Astro-Expedition to the Großglockner-Hochalpenstraße in September 2015: Sharpless 82, also called the "Little Cocoon Nebula" due to its simularity to the famous Cocoon Nebula, including a rich Milky Way star field and a dark lane running towards the nebula. Sh2-82 is an emission nebula located in Sagitta, just 2 degrees south of the Coathanger asterism, and is surrounded by a reflection nebula as well, making for a nice color contast.
Howdii and Andi observed some Deep Sky objects near Niederleis on October 5, 2015. They observed with a 152/900 Astro Professional lens scope. Despite a somewhat hazy sky they had some fun. Read Howdii's Observation Report in German.
Walter's report of his 15th Astro-Expedition to the Großglockner-Hochalpenstraße where he stayed for two very cold nights on top of the Edelweißspitze at 2570m above sea level. The first night was windy and partially cloudy, the second night excellent. During the days, while not sleeping, Walter went hiking and exploring. More astrophotos will be added to this report soon! In German, September 2015.
Howdii presents here the story about the 25" Dob project. He explains also his design goals and shows some images of this telescope. Even if this project looked "gaga" for some time, it finally came to an end. Read Howdii's Report about his work (in German, August 2015).
The central star of the famous Ring Nebula in Lyra is known as an elusive target for visual observers. There are rumors about it to be variable and/or blueish. Sometimes it is easy to spot in large telescopes and sometimes difficult. But what about small aperture telescopes? Is there any chance to see it at all? Howdii tried to catch it in a 4" Refractor and - finally succeeded! Read Howdii's Observation Report and discussion about this topic, in German.
Howdii, together with Roland and Andi had a grand night at the Ebenwaldhöhe on July 10, 2015. They observed with a 25" f/4.5 Dobsonian (made by Howdii). It was the quasi dark-sky-first-light for the 25" after months of intense testing. This scope is equipped with optical encoders and Argo Navis as DSC as well as ServoCAT drives for Goto and Tracking capability. Read Howdii's Observation Report in German.
Walter's image of a famous galaxy pair in the constellation Canes Venatici: NGC 4631 and NGC 4656 - Whale and Hockey Stick. He used a monochrome and a color CCD camera to take the exposures with his trusty 9.5" Newtonian during two different nights in May 2015. The result is not bad for a light-polluted backyard, but the correct sky background correction required a lot of work...
It may be a bit off-topic for an astronomy website, but it is also some sort of "sky photography": Walter flies regularly between Vienna (Austria) and Zurich (Switzerland) due to his profession and uses the free time to take photos of the passing landscape, especially of the Alps and the cities, from above. He has published a selection of these photos in his daylight photo album Zürichflug.
A pair of images of taken by Walter in his backyard using his 9.5" Newtonian: NGC 7000, North American Nebula - Central America Region in Hα and Near-Natural Colors using individual exposures of the Hα, [OIII] and [SII] emission lines with narrow-band filters to combat light pollution. The exposures are mixed so that the resulting colors closely resemble the visible spectrum of the human eye.
Howdii and Andi witnessed the partial Solar Eclipse on March 20, 2015 at the Friedenskreuz near Ladendorf. They imaged this event through Howdii's 100/800 Triplet APO Refractor and observed it via pinhole projection. Read Howdii's Observation Report in German.
Howdii wanted to escape the heavy haze of the Weinviertel skies but ended up with, well, a bit less hazy sky at the Hegerberg near Stössing. He used a fine TS 110/770 ED Refractor for visual observing. Highlight of this night was the scope for itself or, maybe Jupiter. Read Howdii's Observation Report (March 18, 2015) in German.
Another LRGB image of Comet C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy) taken by Walter under better conditions but still from his light-polluted backyard. The comet moved quickly during the 50 minutes of exposure. I again used a double-setup to shoot an LRGB composite of the comet with two parallel-mounted telescopes and two different CCD cameras.
Howdii wrote an article about his observations on the edge of visual perception and his considerations about the telescopic limiting magnitude. Read his Article (February 2015, in German).
Walter had his "Murphy´s Night" a few nights after Howdii. He tried to take astrophotos at the Ebenwaldhöhe on February 14th, but this turned out to be an frustrating and ultimately expensive undertaking. Read Walter's Astrophotography Report (February 2015, in German).
Walter's image of the famous Needle Galaxy NGC 4565, taken in his backyard in May 2012. Walter used both a monochrome and a color CCD camera to take this image with his 9.5" Newtonian during two different nights.
Howdii wanted to observe some more or less elusive winter deep-sky objects at Steyersberger Schwaig. However, he experienced something like a Murphy's night. Read Howdii's Obervation Report (February 2015, in German).
Howdii and Leo observed, Howdii and Andi imaged comet C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy. Read Howdii's Notes about this comet in German).
After some failures, Walter finally managed to photograph Comet C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy), but under not-so-favorable conditions: A half-moon up in the sky not far from the comet, a moderately humid night, and a light-polluted observation site. In spite of all that, the result looks not bad. The comet moved quickly during the 40 minutes of exposure. I used a double-setup to shoot an LRGB composite of the comet with two parallel-mounted telescopes and two different CCD cameras.
Two starfield images taken by Walter in September 2014 with a DSLR camera which was mounted piggy-back on my telescope rig: The Western Part of the constellation Vulpecula and NGC 7822 and Environment . Both images were taken with a zoom lens set to 70mm. I have marked the constellations and a number of deep-sky objects in the mouse-over overlays. With these two images my report of the 2014 Astrophoto-Expedition to the Emberger Alm is finally complete.
Another pair of images taken by Walter during his Astrophoto-Expedition to the Emberger Alm in September 2014: M20, the Trifid Nebula in Hα and as color composite. M20 was already low in the sky and due to various problems (guiding errors, clouds near the horizon) only 3 x 10-minute frames could be taken in both Hα and color. Thankfully, for the HαRGB composite, older color images of the same object taken by the author could be mixed in.
Howdii and Peter found a superb dark sky above the high fog at Steyersberger Schwaig on November 23, 2014. They used Howdii's fine 102/1100 Refractor for visual observing and Peter's 120/900 ED Refractor for imaging. Howdii observed some autumn and winter deep sky objects. Highlight of this night was for sure the Cone Nebula, which was surprisingly easy to see. Read Howdii's Observation Report in German.
Cederblad 214 is part of NGC 7822, a large emission nebula located in northern Cepheus, which is actually the northernmost emission nebula in the sky. I have taken Hα images and color images to create a HαRGB composite of this nebula. Conditions during the exposures were good, but not excellent, it was humid and thin cirrus clouds reduced the transparency. The images were taken during my Astrophoto-Expedition to the Emberger Alm in September 2014.
van den Bergh 126 is a reflection nebula in Vulpecula. It is located in front of a rich starfield of the Milky Way, which also contains several dark nebulae. I have taken Luminance images and color images to create a LRGB composite of this nebula and its surrounding region. Conditions during the exposures were moderate, it was very humid and thin cirrus clouds reduced the transparency. The images were taken during my Astrophoto-Expedition to the Emberger Alm in September 2014.
Walter's report of his 2nd Astro-Expedition to the Emberger Alm in Carinthia, where he stayed for three nights. However, the first one was clouded out, the second one foggy and the last one plagued by Cirrus clouds. However, Walter managed to take some astrophotos and used the days for hiking in the mountains. During his stay, a telescope meeting (the ITT) took place at the Alm. In German, September 2014.