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Everything posted by nickaltair

  1. This year's Practical Astronomy Show is on Saturday March 19th 2022 PAS2022 is your chance to see and buy products from the major astronomy equipment manufacturers, as well as attend free talks from leading astro imagers and amateur astronomers. Unlike any other astronomy show, the show is completely FREE to attend, and the talks are FREE too - talk tickets will be available at the show. The venue is also well lit, and easy to get to. Parking is free on-site, and refreshments are available on-site. Full disabled access is of course provided. Show location: Kettering Conference & Leisure Village (click for map) Talks: Paul Money "Choosing and using your first telescope" Robin Glover “How to Polar Align accurately with SharpCap” Helmut Kessler "Hydrogen Alpha Etalons and Solar Telescopes" Gain Lee "An introduction to Backyard Astro Imaging" Ivaylo Stoynov "Introduction to APT Astrophotography Tool Software" Damian Peach – "Imaging the Solar System" We'll release talk times closer to the show. Hope to see you there again, and here's some pictures from the last show:
  2. Hi there, starting shortly today! Mark Thompson's Ultimate Space Lecture, a Guinness Book of Records attempt to exceed the previous record lecture of 139 hours, 42 minutes and 56 seconds! That requires some stamina! Fundraising for Children's charity Barnardo's. You can contribute here: http://www.markthompsonastronomy.com/gwr/ Setup is ready! Starting now watch here live!
  3. Hi there Thursday lunchtime images showing a nice active sun for a change! - Altair 150EDF - Altair Contrast Booster filter - Altair Solar Wedge - Various Altair Barlows - Hypercam26M Camera - iOptron CEM120 Mount Terrible seeing but quite a nice collection of spots
  4. Quick image taken at lunch today between clouds with new Altair 540nm Solar Contrast Booster filter Altair Hypercam 26M Camera Altair #150EDF Refractor Altair 3x Flat Field APO Barlow
  5. Altair Solar Contrast Booster filter is in stock and shipping now. Improves contrast and visibility of fine structures such as sunspots and granulation (convection cells) in the solar continuum / photosphere. Works with any telescope, mono or colour CMOS camera, or naked eye. Gives a particularly good improvement with Achromatic refractors. Please note: Only for use with a Herschel Wedge, solar filter, or Baader solarfilm!
  6. Hi there, we've developed a new Altair Dual-Band 7nm filter for extreme light pollution - 6.5nm Oiii, 7nm Oii FHWM very steep bandpass for excellent contrast - OD4 99.9% blocking of unwanted wavelengths - Flat top profile for fast focal ratios - Complements Altair TriBand and QuadBand filters for those with severe light pollution - Easily image from central London Bortle 8, check out customer examples in the Altair Facebook group
  7. Check out the Altair 60EDF Refractor here - V3 is in stock now and shipping worldwide. No longer a Wolf in sheep's clothing either 🙂 (re-posted with images and links fixed!)
  8. Hi there, after a long wait for prisms (thanks to Covid-19) Our latest production run of Altair ADC's is now ready to ship! ADC stands for Atmospheric Dispersion Corrector just in case you're wondering, and improves image quality when imaging or observing the planets or moon, especially when lower on the horizon. This would be perfect for Altair GPCAM owners, especially with the new ADC Alignment Assistance Feature in SharpCap 4.0.
  9. Well, finally my 3D design models have been machined and assembled into telescopes... Updates to external and internal structures, lens cell, focuser. The product has come a long way since 2010 when we first started them off. You'll see this product appear shortly on the Altair website 🙂
  10. Hi there All, we gave it a little time for votes to come in for this one and now I've been told the winners and runners up are: 1st Place WINNER "Whirlpool Galaxy" by @Hogarth - winner of £100 in Points to spend at www.altairastro.com 2nd place Runner up "Propeller" by @Carastro 3rd place "Cygnus Loop with OSC" by @William Shaw Thanks all for entering - and congratulations! Here's the winning images:
  11. Hi there, quick update as supposed to be on holiday 🙂 Altair 120mm D-ERF solar pre-filter with 115mm clear aperture is available in a nice new holder cell, shipping from Friday! I have designed more holders for various apertures, and will post that up soon. thanks for looking
  12. Hi there, learning how to use the blog feature today... Here's some quick test solar images with Altair Hypercam 174M, Altair 102EDF11 refractor plus some other bits.
  13. Hi there, the Hypercam 26M 16bit Mono CMOS camera is back in stock, and can be ordered now... Thanks!
  14. Hi there, if you own a Starwave ASCENT 70ED Refractor, you can upgrade your tube rings with the Altair X-Rings!
  15. The Altair Solar Wedge v2 is in stock now - perfect for the partial eclipse this week
  16. Hi All, hope you're all well and enjoying these last few weeks of unusually clear skies (in the UK at least!) The judges have informed me of this month's competition winners, which are: 1st place Winner: "Rosette Nebula" by @Szymon Then we have a tie for 2nd place this time (the judges gave them both the same score) with "Whirlpool Galaxy" by William Shaw @William Shaw and "Pinwheel Galaxy" by @Hogarth Thanks all and congratulations! 1st place Winning image: 2nd place ties!
  17. Hi All, after some deliberation the judges have voted for the March BYA Astro imaging competition winner and runners up! Congratulations on these great shots! @John Slinn - Winner with his 8 Pane Solar Mosaic @Astro_space_stuff 2nd with his M101 Galaxy @Astrobdlbug3rd with his Rosette Nebula
  18. That's a nice image! In AltairCapture 8Bit mode, I found it helps to run the camera with gain or exposure set, such that the histogram meets the line at less than 100 levels. I often aim for about 60-80 which is pretty low - but that means I can stretch without blowing out crater walls and other bright features. The resulting .SER video looks quite dark in Autostakkert but to see what you're doing, you can increase the brightness when stacking without affecting the image data. It's that small +/- button thingy, top rightish menu. Hope that helps a bit. Here's a screengrab showing my histogram:
  19. Here's a review of the Altair Hypercam 26C 16bit colour astro imaging camera in BBC Sky at Night Magazine Happy holidays!
  20. Hi there, Hope you're all well and enjoying the nice weather today! Final firmware and production tweaks have been made, and I'm satisfied enough to release the Altair GPCAM 287M Nickname "Baby Shark" thanks to the amazing frame rate of 540fps! Some thoughts about this camera from my experiments so far: This is more a camera for advanced mono solar and planetary imagers because of the big 6.9um pixels. If you want a larger field of view, the Hypercam 174M is still the goto choice for solar imaging with it's 174fps at full resolution. However there is something very special about this little camera for high power imaging. The read noise is very low for a Pregius sensor. I'm sure you'll agree when you see the lunar shots I've taken with it during some reasonable seeing 6/10 a week or so ago. You'll need a decent machine to get that frame rate in USB3.0 mode. I'm using a quad core Xeon laptop, and it easily does 525.5fps with the drive nearly full, and about 540 with the drive half empty. SSD is best as always. The test shots below taken with my 10" and Altair Flat Field Barlow, best 1000 of 10,000 frames, stacked in Autostakkert, Wavelets in Registax. Something else struck me aside from the frame rate - the resulting .TIFF files were so easy to sharpen! Just one slider in Registax and done. Usually I play around quite a lot to get the balance between noise and sharpness, but this was so very easy and done in seconds, drag slider to right and off you go. For mosaics and batch processing that's very handy. Now I do tend to capture quite dark files and stretch later, so I don't blow highlights like crater walls and such, so I used 1.0 - 0.8 millisecond exposures and gain 1.0 (basically zero gain). What this really shows is that the camera is quite sensitive. That has nothing to do with the relatively large (for CMOS) pixel size by the way, the two are unrelated - but just that the QE is good. I'm waiting patiently to try this on the sun now with my 150EDF and Quark for some high resolution imaging. I don't think any advanced solar or planetary imager will be disappointed with this camera, and I was certainly quite thrilled with Baby Shark 🙂 Oh, and before I forget, for guiding with a OAG or long focal length guide scope, I think this camera will be just the ticket with those big pixels. It's certainly more than sensitive enough.
  21. Hi there, here's the new Starwave ASCENT 115 ED Triplet APO with some sample images by Gary! You can order with the reducer and / or finder on the web page.
  22. Hi Terry you can use the Altair Solar Wedge without any filters in front of it on refractors up to 165mm diameter, (I will test on a 180 soon) and you can tune the brightness too to get faster frame rates or to use less gain. Best, Nick
  23. Here's a diagram showing the clamping range for the various Baader solar filters sold by Altair Astro
  24. Hi there, you can order Altair Lightwave Premium 2" SCT and Refractor Diagonals here
  25. PS: Please excuse me if I don't respond straight away. We are extremely busy with some new products at the moment and I will always respond but may need a nudge every now and then 🙂
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