OT - a new telescope and imaging the moon
Generally bad weather over the past two months - lots of clouds, and even snow mid January - is one primary reason for my inactivity on the satellite observing front. Another is that mid-winter isn't the best period of the year at 52 N due to the "winter blackout" of many objects in LEO. Third, I am occupied these months by a few other things, including the "Super Secret Project" which I obviously can't talk about yet (but is very exciting).
The generally bad weather over December and January meant that I could not yet fully use my new toy. Near the start of December, I obtained myself a new telescope, partly with the proceeds of the Van der Bilt Prize. The telescope is a Celestron C6 Schmidt-Cassegrain (15 cm f=1500) on an SGT Advanced Goto equatorial mount. Here is me showing it off:
For quite a while I wanted a slightly bigger and optically better telescope than the simple Meade ETX-70 and small and very old 4.5" Newton I already had, yet found it just too expensive. The extra money from the Van der Bilt Prize meant it became just feasible for me to finally buy something better.
Since I have no option for a permanent setup and live small, it could not be a very large and heavy setup, so I choose this 6" Schmidt-Cassegrain (the mount is heavier than I expected though). Even though I have not been able to use it extensively yet, I so far like it very much!
Twice in January I could test it out on the moon. Here are some images shot on January 22nd. First, an old-fashioned single shot photograph of the moon disc (C6 prime focus with F6.3 flattener/reducer, and Canon EOS 60D, 1/160s at ISO 200). Seeing was quite mediocre, the air was not quite steady (the image was "wavy" as if reflected on the surface of water):
I also used the HD movie capabilities of my Canon EOS 60D to shoot a few short movies, and then stack frames from these movies using Registax. This results in a dramatic increase in detail. The images below are each the result of stacking 200 movie frames, selected out of movie sequences of ~550 frames each, and are my first ever experiments with Registax (which is quite complex to use for a novice):