Thursday, December 1, 2011

Imaging laptop, software installation completed

Finally it is done !! All the required software is installed, last one was Nikon Camera Control Pro2. My Lenovo EDGE11 currently looks like this:There is still some tweaking left for the used software, like defining imaging setup focal lenght, aperture sizes etc. Laptop has to be fitted in the rigid case, Pelican 1450.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Imaging accessories, USB hub ordered...

During last months, I have been preparing my imaging setup (mainly for DS photography, partially for solar system imaging also). I will connect all the equipment to one hub, thati s located in the mount. Then I only have to route one USB cable to the mount from imaging laptop. I have selected a MOXA 407-T industrial USB hub for my purposes, delivery is esimated in two weeks. Short specs are:

wide operating tempetature range, -40 to 85°C
DC power input, 12-40 VDC
7 USB ports
metal casing
inputs ESD protected

The prize of this hub is very high, to be honest. I hope this will be "The Hub", that will last for a lifetime - or even longer than that....

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Opinion poll, light pollution in Finland

Light pollution, this is the area of nature conservation, that has been ignored way too long. Day by day, less people are able to see the magnificent wonders of beautiful night sky with thousands of twinkling stars. There is also a risk that light pollution affects to humans natural day / sleep rhythm - especially if bright lights are shining through the night. The affects to nature, like birds, needs more investigating. This problem is getting bigger and bigger. Now it is time to make a difference !

Finland’s environmental administration has introduced opinion poll. There you can share your concern of the light pollution problems. For more details about poll and web feedback form (in Finnish only), use following link here.

Imaging laptop, accessories arrived

On last week, I got packet delivery from UPS, ordered accessories arrived:

So there is now a rigid Pelican 1450 -case for imaging laptop (Lenovo EDGE11). All the stuff is needed to put in (laptop, powersupply, display heater, heater controller, usb / ethernet cables). Case also needs suitable connector panel, so there is many things to solve...

The company (, where I ordered the equipment, did not make any effort to protect the Nikon CCP2 software package. In the big box, there was no softening material inside at all !!! The disk case has suffered, from the rough handling (see broken lower right corner of plastic cover). CD -disk seems to be in good condition.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Astroimaging, EL foils arrived

Last week I got a a delivery from Glowhut. Feels like christmas now, yippee :-) Both 12V powered A5 and A3 foils will need some enclosure or similar frame, that would support the structure. More on that, later on...

Monday, October 17, 2011

Astroimaging, accessories...

Preparing my photo system this time. I do not yet have a decent solution to take a flatfield calibration images. Many astrophotographers today, use a convenient EL-foil solution. The foil is thin, and provides even illumination. So It was time get ones for myself also:

A5 EL-foil (white)
12V inverter

I will use these in combination with Nikon D200 & 300/4.5 tele lens.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Imaging laptop, controlling Nikon DSLR...

Plan is to dive into the world of deepsky photography, mainly galaxies and star clusters. These will be first targets, since my current camera (Nikon D200) is not yet modified for astrophotography, when H-alpha band is considered. I have planned to use 300mm MF Nikkor tele lens.

For controlling Nikon from the imaging laptop, I have purchased following stuff from Shoestring Astronomy:

DSUSB contoller
Nikon 10pin interface cable

My mount (HEQ5) has certain faults in bearing, tightened propably too much. And go-to kit I already have - that is to be installed. I will use USB2EQ5-cable to connect laptop to the mount.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Imaging laptop, accessories...

Only one "mandatory" software missing, Nikon Camera Control Pro2. Carrying case for the laptop, there was one suitable model from Pelican. Today I placed an order of following gear:

Nikon Camera Control Pro2 upgrade

Pelican 1450 case

Both of them were out of stock currently, delivery shall be estimated in two weeks...

Saturday, September 24, 2011

UARS deorbit information

Yesterday and a day before that, eyes around the world - have been watching the sky more often. NASA's atmospeheric satellite UARS has been lowering in its orbit, and burned (partially?) in the atmospehere. Some of the biggers part may have survived to fall into ground. Not sure where the debris has been landed to. Here is the NASA update:

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Imaging laptop, setup continues...

Most of the astronomy related software is already installed, some still to-do. Hopefully job is completed, within one week (no real hurry since I do this after my daily work hours)

Also ordered an AC / DC combo adapter, to use my ThinkBad laptop on the field with 12V battery system. I had a good old Targus DC -adapter, too bad there was no proper "tip" available for my new laptop model.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

New imaging laptop

Since time is passing by, and my oldie faithful laptop (IBM T43) almost dying, it was time to get new one. Smaller and lighter Lenovo Thinkpad EDGE 11" lies now on the table.

Following days will be spent by installing win7 and all the required software. First thoughts of the laptop are pretty ok, but a clear minus is from the special keys in the keyboard. PgUp / PgDn too small, not responding well. Also Delete and Insert keys are tricky to use, maybe since I have used to larger keys in older IBM laptops. Normal keys with alphabets - those are responding well. Markings on the function keys, is too difficult to find in low lightning (since used red text).

Compared to old laptop with win XP, the startup and shutdown times are totally different. I do not have to wait for 5 minutes for the computer to start, and couple of minutes to shut down.

Basic laptop specs are:
Lenovo Thinkpad EDGE 11
Display size 11"
System memory 4GB
Windows 7 Pro 64 bit
Intel core i3 processor

Start of aurora season

Two messages about auroras and both sides of the summer... It maybe (?) is a sign that nights are getting darker. Last friday/saturday night, there was a good display at Espoo.

Peak of the show happened little bit before 1am, lasting about 10 minutes. Auroras were easily seen on the northern sky. They were expanding all the way between NW and NE sky. Greenish curtain showed approx in 20 degrees height, all the way up to near zenith. Little movements were visible and vertical "bars" rised to zenith over the curtain.

I messed up with my camera, so no photos this time. Nice aurora disply, still...

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Auroras at Espoo

Yesterday evening and last night - there was a faint auroral belt on the northern sky of Espoo city. The belt rise approximately to 25 degrees. It looked like fuzzy / diffuse arc. It was visible all the way from the northeast to nortwest part of sky.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Course on DSRL astrophotography

Back at home, after a weekend at Hauho. There we spent a nice weekend, with other enthusiastic colleagues.

Some info sessions were held on image processing technology. One session that was most most important for me, was held by Petri Kehusmaa. Also other items were covered, like stacking of the images and softaware details - with AviStack, RegiStax and IRIS.

I enjoyed of being there, and got many new ideas and tricks to use in my own astronomy hobby. Thanks for the organisers, lecturers and colleagues for the good weekend.

The collimation result is not the most important thing, it's the high quality time spent doing that on a good company :-)

Nacreous clouds

I had nice suprise, when I was returning to Espoo from "digikuvaajat" meeting held at Hauho. Sun was setting behing the treelines, and sky was colourful. Low in the sky at direction of sunset, there was some wavy clouds visible. Nacreous clouds !!! It is first time for spotting them in 2011. Latest really beutiful nacreous clouds, I have seen man years ago (too long in my opinion). If I correctly remember, it was 1995.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Blog updates

Since it has been a long time, without posting anything here -> would have to say that I've been busy with recently. On the first days of May 2010, I had a possibility to watch the auroras at Espoo. In period of november 2010 to January 2011 - it has been only few clear night, so no things to mention with planet / moon imaging. On the year 2011, I will continue with planets, and preparing my equipment for DS-photography for 2011 autumn.