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Stargazing The Pleiades: an underrated glory of the night sky

  1. Aug 31, 2016 #1

    sophiecentaur

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    I was doing my usual untargeted tour of the sky last night and checking the objects I'm now familiar with when I saw a new twinkle down on the NE horizon. The binoculars made it look interesting so I looked at it with my telescope. What a fantastic fairyland of light. No wonder the Pleiades are rich in lore. With my widest eyepiece, they nearly fill the field of view I was staring at them for about a quarter of an hour is total amazement.
    Everyone, even with binoculars, should really get to look at them on a suitable night.
    I apologise for my beginner's enthusiasm for optical stargazing but what I could see was of the sort of stunning quality that many of the 'things to see' are only available in their glory to posh astrophotographers.
     
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  3. Aug 31, 2016 #2

    sophiecentaur

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    I am so pleased with all those 'likes'. Those Pleiades are a treat for me to look forward to over the next few months. I guess I could try my k10D on them. Astrophotography here I come.
     
  4. Aug 31, 2016 #3

    davenn

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    woohooo :smile:

    Pentax K10D ?
    still have one of those around somewhere. It was my first digital SLR camera
    followed by the K7D and K5D in Pentax before moving to Canon ( I got sick of waiting for Pentax to come out with a full frame sensor dSLR)


    Dave
     
  5. Aug 31, 2016 #4

    davenn

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    not far from the Pleiades is the Great Andromeda Nebula. Naked eye galaxy from a reasonably dark site. very easy target in binoculars

    D
     
  6. Aug 31, 2016 #5

    sophiecentaur

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    Trouble with that is you can easily see the central fuzzy blob but the 'background / foreground' has got to be below the brightness of the elliptical bit. Ain't seen that yet.
     
  7. Aug 31, 2016 #6

    davenn

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    yup, hence the need for a dark sky to get that contrast

    I was having a look at it ( M31) through binoculars several weeks ago when I was up for the Perseid meteors
    M31 doesn't get far above the horizon for us, ~ 15 - 20 deg
    Really do have to try and photo it with the zoom lens and tracking some time. Have only done it with the 50mm lens and ~ 20 sec exp.


    Dave
     
  8. Sep 1, 2016 #7

    sophiecentaur

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    The k10D is my first and only DSLR but, looking at the best of my past pictures, I'm not dissatisfied with it. However, I'm summoning up the courage to get a more advanced Pentax. It has to be Pentax because I have a bag full of Pentax lenses. And the sensor will have to be small so that I can use them. It seems that, if I want to be an Astrophotographer, I would be better off with a dedicated camera and they seem to be quite good value. But then I will need a laptop etc. etc. etc.
    That's the nice thing of the Mark 1. eyeball: mine may not be too hot but I'm not tempted to get an upgrade.
     
  9. Sep 1, 2016 #8

    davenn

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    tho it's getting a bit long in the tooth now, ~ 9 years old ( the model) it's still a good general use camera

    yeah know that feeling ... I was in the same boat, I still have Pentax lenses left over from my film SLR cameras. But as I commented above, I really wanted to move to a full frame sensor camera and Pentax weren't keeping up with the times. I went out and spent a zillion bucks on a top camera and top lenses studio lights high end tripod ... yup, "the whole 9 yards" haha. And so pleased I did.
    It wasn't till the beginning of this year that Pentax finally released the K1 full frame camera.
    https://www.dpreview.com/reviews/pentax-k-1

    and it can make use of many of the older lenses ( mainly ones from around 1990 onwards)

    The main advantage of the newer models ( ignoring the gimmicks) is lower noise levels with higher ISO settings and better resolution
    as a result of better sensors and onboard processing ... great for astro work ( and imaging in general)
    Other things, still not gimmicks, include faster focussing, better metering, more frames per second <--- sports photographers love that last one

    all the Pentax dSLR's will take the APS-C mount Pentax lenses. The APS-C refers as much to the mount type as it does the sensor size.
    From a sensor perspective, it is referring to a crop sensor, regardless of the brand of camera.

    Presumably you are referring to a astro imaging camera ? as in ones like this .....
    http://www.bintel.com.au/Astrophotography/61/categorylist.aspx [Broken]

    Seriously, don't worry about any of those for a while, if at all. So much awesome astro imaging can be done with just a camera, some different lenses and a
    stable tripod for wide angle short exposure time milky way 30 sec or less exposures, through to longer exposures of deep space objects with a camera, zoom lenses and a tracking mount .... nay a telescope in sight :biggrin:

    some food for thought

    Dave
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2017
  10. Sep 1, 2016 #9

    Andy Resnick

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  11. Sep 1, 2016 #10

    sophiecentaur

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    I passed on contact lenses and I passed on laser treatment so I'm not likely to go for one (two???). AAA cells in each ear to power them. Lol
     
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