Basic Astro-Imaging talk at LUMS (April 20, 2018)

SPADES is a Science & Engineering society at The Lahore University of Management Sciences. They organised a symposium on Astronomy where i talked about basics of Astro Imaging.

Solar Outreach in UMT University

Solar outreach at UMT today in Lahore.  Started with delivering a presentation on our Sun and how to see it safely and then moved out in the ground for the observation session.

Some 100 people showed up.. asked many good questions!

Temperature dip in the observatory after opening the roof

Upper Graph: Inside observatory temperature 

Lower Graph: Outside observatory temperature

So the highest temperature today went to about 35 C. I kept the roof of the observatory closed and opened it around 22:30. Notice the sudden dip in the upper graph. This shows the sudden release of the heat trapped inside the observatory even after 4 hours of sunset and then the heat loss ratio became stable.

Lower graph shows the temperature loss outside the observatory.. of course no sudden dip around 22:30.

Solar Outreach in UET University

UET Science Society invited us for a Solar Outreach activity at UET, today. Not many people came there, it seems the event was not publicized and organised.

We did enjoy, talking with those who came there!

Solar outreach in LGS EME School

The weather is getting hot now.. In the direct sunlight, it is getting hard to stand and keep talking to hundreds of students.. of course, who cares about that!

Today i met super charged students of LGS EME branch.. Some 400 kids from 6th and 7th grade. They saw the Sun through Solar Glasses donated by CBSAP and my Lunt 152 Hydrogen Alpha Solar telescope; i use this scope with B3400 which gives a bigger field of view of the Sun.

They were shooting questions about every thing they could think of in the entire Universe.. Extra-terrestrial life forms, Black holes, Alien planets, Formation of Stars, planets and moons, Space Missions and what not! I was speaking at the maximum possible speed my sound system could manage with continuously taking water to keep it running. At the end of it all, some 3 hours later, the sound system broke and i am very very happy with that!

Students of LGS EME, you are great!

LAST's April 2018 Monthly Meeting

Lahore Astronomical Society meets every first Friday of every month, except Ramadan. This month it was yesterday where Schehrzade Syed gave a presentation on Life of late Stephan Hawking and his most famous works. It was extremely entertaining and there were many video clips embedded. I felt like i was meeting with the family & friends of Hawking through the entire presentation.

Good job Schehrzade!

Solar Outreach at COMSATs

Being under the burning sunlight, standing for hours, constantly talking to hundreds of people, continuously repeating every time to a new observer what to see, how to see and what is being seen.. this all does not drain me at all; On the contrary, it gives me such energy which i cannot explain in mere words.

Just give me a crowd.. hundreds? yes.. thousands? even better! I have been doing it for decades and will do it everyday.. all my life!

Today i went to COMSATS, Lahore and took my Hydrogen Alpha Solar Telescope with me, CBSAP Glasses and spectral rings. Alpha who is new to our Astronomical Society's core group also came and helped a lot!

Mare Crisium

Here is how a sunset looks like on Mare Crisium, a beautiful crater on our Moon.

Telescope: Celestron, C14

Mount: Losmandy Titan, tracking in Lunar mode

Camera: ZWO ASI 174 mono version

Filter: Luminance

Image Exposure: 1/1000th of a second

Total Frames: 4000

Stacked: 1000

Software: Fire Capture, AviStack, Registax, Photoshop CC.

First image of the moon from ASI174 camera & C14

Seeing was behaving tonight.. So this image is form my main telescope, C14 and the new camera ZWO ASI 174 mono. Fire capture is so simple and intuitive to use.. probably the most colorful software that i have ever used. This software controls ZWO cameras and filter wheel flawlessly; i got an AVI of about 4000 frames using a luminance filter with this.

Autostakkert, Registax and Photoshop CC were used to process the video file into this image. Not bad! Can you guess the craters? (Hint: It is the eastern limb)

Testing the New Camera ASI 174 mono

Recently i bought my first ZWO cam, ASI 174 mono version. We are still having our monsoon season so still not being able to test it thoroughly but during a break in the clouds i captured this video and some more, which i will put up in a few days.

This is from C14 telescope; i had attached 2.5X powermate at the backend, which had made the focal length to 10,000mm with an f ratio f/28.

Seeing is never good in the monsoon season.. so i am waiting for this weather to end. This video was shot at 317 frames per second and i captured around 20k frames in about a minute!

This camera seems very promising.. In the future, i will be using ZWO filter wheel (already have one) and various filters that i have. Sadly Jupiter and Saturn are on their way to the sunlight but i have my eyes on Mars now. 


Water Cooling for CCD

SBIG advises Not to cool the water which is going through the camera to cool the CCD inside.. it can cause dew to form inside the camera body, which can fry the electronics! 

But here in summer the temp goes way to high.. so a few months back i had built a custom water cooling system where i can set the temperature with a micro controller. Now i keep the temperature of the water above the dew point and everything works fine!

Here is a comparison.. 31 Celsius goes in the camera and 35 Celsius comes out and drops in the water cooling box.


Changed position of the Weather Station

My weather station was fixed closed to the ground, some 2 feet above it. The observatory buildings are very near to that place and the wind speed gets effected by it. i knew i had to change the position of the weather station.

Today i changed the position of the station and fixed it on a 15 feet high poll! I will test the measurements in the coming days.