READY AND WAITING ::
21 Jun 2020
Now that New Zealand is back to normal, or at least as normal as normal can be, I have been able to access deliveries of some new astrophotography gear.
I have already received a new ZWO electronic filter wheel, complete with a set of LRGB filters These filters are matched to a new ZWO 1600MM Pro cooled camera which also arrived in the same package. The addition of this equipment will enable me to delve into narrow band image ( with my existing NB filters ) and to gain better images of galaxies and star clusters. I have also taken possession of a dew heater control system to tame the heavy due which has been curtailing my winter nights photographic episodes. All I need now are some clear skies. It has been cloudy for a month, apart from a single night when I was able to capture a stunning image of NGC 5128 in Centaurus. You can find that image in the observatory section of the website.
I am awaiting the arival of one more piece of equipement and I am extermely excited about this. On order from Daystar optics in the USA is a 60mm dedicated solar telescope. Once this arrives I will be able to capture, not only sunspots, but also the prominences and flares that make the sun such a spectacular target to image. So stay posted and catch my early foray into this new area of astrophotography.
15 Apr 2020
The Covid-19 lockdown, has afforded me the time to complete my website, both for my traditional photography, and also for my technical Astrophotgraphy. The latter has required some extensive programming to set up the interactive nature of the site which has taken a considerable amount of time. But this is something I am able to do during inclement weather.
The travel restrictions in force during the Covid-19 lockdown, has curtailed all traditional photography for me for some months so I have been able to concentrate solely on my Astrophotography pursuits. I have been extremely lucky with a large number of clear nights over the past couple of months and this has allowed me to complete a number of large time consuming projects.
Now that daylight saving has finished, the nights are longer, allowing me to image from as early as 6:30pm as apposed to the 10:30pm starts over the summer period. The downside is that the weather has become far less reliable and much more chilly during the setup and breakdown periods.
My astro-rig is semi automated, so once setup is manually completed ( around 30 minutes ) I am able to image from my studio where it is nice and warm and a coffee is always at hand. My desktop computer remotely connects to a laptop which sits next to my telescope ( undercover from the dew ) and this allows me to control my mount, focus the telescope, operate guide software and take images which then download to my desktop computer..
So lockdown has been relatively painless for me so far, but there are a few little accessories I would love to procure but regrettably I have to wait until the level 4 restrictions are eased to allow courier companies to delivery non-essential goods. Strange really, as these goods are essential to me !