Sunday, 27 April 2014

Smartphone Adapter for Astrophotography

I've shared some pics of the progress and finished smartphone adapter I've been working on. Had lot's of help from my brother, and I mean lot's; he's the DIY one.

Materials and hardware were easy to source. The adapter is made from a bar of aluminium shaped using a metal drill, pliers and file. The wing nuts make for easy adjustments. This is then attached to an old smartphone case to mount my Samsung S3 mini.

Finished product is very robust. Can't wait to give it a go on the Moon and maybe even some planets.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Observing Session Summary - Saturday 19th April 2014

Butser Ancient Farm was open Saturday so had a good chance to use the new scope. It was a moonless night so even better for some deep sky observing. I took along my copy of "Turn Left At Orion" but found I mostly used the binoculars to spot some objects and only used the scope to get a better view of those target I found. Good to know that the bins wont be left out.
Here I provide the list of targets and a summary of the observations.

Mel 111 (Coma Cluster) Open Cluster: Spectacular sight. Found very quick with bins. Was also visible to the naked eye. Counted at least 20 stars with bins. Because of the wide field of this cluster it is best through binoculars.

M 53 Globular Cluster: Used the star chart to find this one on the fly with the bins. Found the right location with the bins but could not see it. Bob had this in his 10 inch goto and said this would be a tough find with my push to 8 inch. Was chuffed because I managed to find it with star hopping :)

Mars: Had a great view of Mars. I could see surface detail on the red planet. There was a dark patch on the top right as I looked at the planet through the eye piece. Dave said I had probably the best view of all the scope out that night, even the bigger 10 inch dobs.

ISS: We had a pass of the international space station at about 21.00. As it passed I put the cross hairs of my scope a little ahead of the stations trajectory and as I looked in the eye piece I saw it wiz by with some detail. It has a rectangular shape and was. Pretty cool.

Here is a link to my session log:

I also am working on an adapter to mount my smartphone in front of the eye piece to take some photos of what I can see. I can also load the data into some software to stack the images to get some more detail out. Once I have some results I will post the images up here with some detail of what I did.