NGC7635 – The Bubble Nebula

NGC7635 – Bubble Nebula
LRGB (1h each), H-Alpha (13.6h)

NGC7635, the Bubble Nebula. This strange object is the result of stellar winds produced by the star visible on the lower left, causing a shock wave on the clouds nearby. The propagation is not symmetric due to the differing density of those clouds.

This picture took nearly 14 hours of 300-second H-Alpha exposures, combined with one hour of each Red, Green, Blue and Light-Pollution filtered exposures. The length of the narrowband exposures is generally problematic with my mount as guiding deviations would often cancel capture, but the location of this particular object in the sky made that impact minimal. After those sessions, I started getting haze on the guiding sensor itself from lack of proper heating, causing even more disturbance to guiding. This made me close the project.

The LRGB integrated frames were first assembled and background-corrected, stretched and had stars removed. The Ha integrated frame was then denoised, stretched, had stars removed and was enhanced with masked curve transformation and HDR multiscale processing. The stars extracted from the photometrically corrected LRGB frame and saturated to emphasise their color. In order to avoid a tint to appear when adding the stars back on the final red-tinted frame and keep their photometry correct, their blue component was saturated slightly more and their magenta component corrected.

I thank user vnc1218 on CloudyNights for his very detailed processing of the Cygnus area, which inspired me on this activity.

All exposures taken with KStars/Ekos (v3.5.0 pre-release) and INDI, using the excellent Atik Horizon 2, Skywatcher HEQ5-PRO, Orion ED80T, with Atik 314E and Orion 50mm GuiderScope for guiding. Processed with PixInsight 1.8.8 and RawTherapee 5.8.

KStars v3.5.0 is released!

KStars v3.5.0 is the result of a few months of incredible work in terms of performance and stability. The Team could integrate in Ekos the excellent StellarSolver library, providing fast source extraction, HFR computation and plate-solving, and the very helpful Analyze module, giving an overview of the full observation session in a glance. My contribution to the project was a full framework of User Interface tests that runs headlessly in CI, and that the Team will be expanding as new features and bugfixes are implemented. Read more at Jasem’s Ekosphere.

ASCOM support for Omegon EQ-500-X

Following my porting in C# of its INDI driver, I’m pleased to announce ASCOM support for the Omegon EQ-500-X equatorial mount. Look it up on the scope driver page!

This ASCOM driver is available in version 1.2 and passes the conformance tests successfully. It provides slew-to-coordinates and timed pulse-guiding functionalities, and was tested with Stellarium and TheSkyX.

Note that the ASCOM conformance tester reports two issues, related to the precision of the coordinates. While the validation expects sub-arcsecond precision, that is, with seconds as decimal, the mount does return right ascension and declination with integer seconds. The mount is actually able to adjust under one arcsecond, but will just not report that much precision.

The driver runs with with ASCOM 6.4, and supports 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 7, 8 and 10. The installer package can be downloaded from my GitHub repository. The source of 1.2 is released under the LGPL-2.1 license.

INDI Support for Omegon EQ500-X

I’m pleased to announce INDI support for the Omegon EQ500-X Equatorial Mount.

The EQ500-X is a sturdy and efficient mount that is relatively lightweight. It has a pad which controls rate and movement. With a polar alignment tool to speed installation up, it is a neat equipment for backyard astrophotographers.

The INDI driver, available in release 1.7.8, provides geographical location support, precise go-to, safe positioning with meridian flipping, coordinate syncing and timed pulse guiding.

Check INDI Device Entry support page and the product page.

Testing wheels for the observatory.

Roll-away Observatory - 2018
Roll-away Observatory – 2018

50% weight test on the roll-away observatory shows that rubber wheels sustain the load, but display damage due to rough concrete floor. Planning for wood rails… And single door was cut into double doors to balance the installation. #astrophotography