Crab Nebula

Shot between End of January and February 2012, with about 30 Minutes par channel on my SBIG 2000XM camera. Note the „slight“ miscollimation, not-so-good focus, and grainy image (got only a bad flat-field).

Crab Nebula, February 2012

Object: Crab Nebula (M1, NGC 1952)
Date: 29.01. – 04.02.2012
Telescope: GSO RC 12″ f/8
Camera: SBIG ST2000XM @ -30° C
Site: Santa Cristina Valgardena
Image data: LRGB (20:20:20:20), Binning 2×2

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Erstes Bild…First Image…

 Oh well, after much fiddling with the camera and especially with the pointing of the mount (still far from perfect) I got this image. It’s out of focus, and I have to remove one extension ring to get in focus, but at least I know I can see something 🙂

First CCD Image

First CCD Image

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Dome ready, telescope not

It’s always like that: Everything is ready, but the weather is not. Quite some snowfall and high winds these days, so no observing was possible. In addition, I miscalculated the backfocus of my GSO RC 12″ (it is a whoppin‘ 28cm!), so I still have to wait for some more spacers to get in focus with my camera. Anyway, the first light should take place shortly!

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Dome nearly complete

After a good month of work, and a few more months of waiting for all the equipment, my new dome is nearly complete. I only had to send in my focuser from Moonlite as it was not working.

Dome view

A view from my dome, towards the Saslong slope of Val Gardena. Note the SQM-LE sensor and the All Sky camera on the pole.

For the rest, I am quite happy now with the dome (from ScopeDome, the 3 meter version). It is not perfect indeed, but that’s the best you get for the price. Especially the not perfectly round shape of the moving part gave me some headache: When rotating, it would often „jump“ from one wheel to the other. Also, the cog-rim was abrading on some wheels. I resolved it by leveling better the wheels, and by cutting away useless metallic parts of the wheel’s holder. All in all, a good piece of fiberglass 🙂


At the time I started planning for the dome, I had a few points in mind that were really a priority for me:

  1. Automation: Try to get everything working without the need to be always present.
  2. Observatory: Avoid the need to mount and unmount all the stuff everytime I want to image.
  3. Remoteness: Avoid to stay in the cold (hey, we’re in the Alps, winter might be cold!) during the night

So automating a dome.. Alright, seems it’s not a big deal, you can open the shutter from any computer, start the scope, take a picture, and shutdown everything. But what if in the middle there comes a rain or snow storm? I knew there are some Cloud sensors out there, but they are extremely ecpensive (like Boltwood’s Clous sensor). Fortunately, I found one from AAGWare from Spain at a reasonable price. It collects data about the sky temperature (using an infrared sensor), rainfall, wind and ambient temperature; and combines it to a graph like the following:

CLoud sensor data

Cloud sensor generates this every 5 minutes, data comes from the sensor located in Santa Cristina Valgardena, Dolomites (Northern Italy)

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New York, New York

So we’re heading for New York City in April. Excited to get to the big apple, meeting a few friends there and – of course – going to try a good Steak are on top of our list:)

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Manchmal möchte ich mich gerne wie Käptn‘ Jack Sparrow fühlen, wenn er wankend mit einer Flasche Rum in der Hand durch weiße Sandstrände auf einer einsamen Insel herumläuft. Also denke ich zwischendurch auch mal nach, eine Rundreise – am besten Inselhüpfen – in der Karibik zu machen. Hier ein Paar Infos:

Wie komm ich dorthin?

Ab Deutschland fliegt anscheinend nur Condor direkt ab Frankfurt einige Inseln an. Ansonsten gibt es etliche Verbindungen mit Umstieg in London (British AirwaysVirgin Atlantic), New York (Jet Blue), Charlotte (US Airways) und Miami.

Einmal dort lohnt es sich einen Blick auf LIAT zu werfen. Diese kleine Airline verbindet haufenweise kleinere Inseln der Karibik untereinander. Alternativ könnte man auch auf diverse Fähren ausweichen, welche einige der Inseln anfahren.

[mappress mapid=“4″]

 You know, sometimes I feel like Capt’n Jack Sparrow, walking around a pristine white beach with a bottle of Rhum in one hand and a biiiiig smiley on the face. So what about going to the Caribbean and well… You know… Try to do it the same way? 🙂

How to get there

From Germany there are some direct flights from Frankfurt operated by Condor. All others seem to require at least a stop-over, either in London (British Airways, Virgin Atlantic), New York (JetBlue, among others), Charlotte (US Airways) or Miami.

Once there, the best connections over most islands seem to be from LIAT. Another way would be by taking ferries, which connect some of the islands.

[mappress mapid=“4″]


An idea would be to fly to Barbados (relatively cheap British Airways flight), explore the island, and then fly with LIAT to either St. VIncent and the Grenadines, Grenada or some other Island over there.

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Our Japan trip

Alright folks, we are again planning a new trip. This time we want to get to Japan to see some friends of Evelyn and actually see some cities and do some hikes.

Planned cities would be so far Tokio, Kyoto, Hiroshima and Osaka. We still have to see which mountains we should have a look at, hopefully Rene will help us on that 🙂

And after this, one week or so at Okinawa for some beach-time 🙂

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Malaysia in 2010

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Restyling and re-directing

Allright folks, this time I’ve changed my blog in a travel and photo blog. As most of my comments nowadays land in Facebook, I’ll keep a list of travel-related posts here, together with my girlfriend.

Ah and next trip will be: New York City!

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Travelmap für die nächste Zeit…


[travelmap-map height=400]

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New Website

Alright… after years of no-blogging (duh!), I managed to get the time for a update at the WordPress installation. I will shortly also switch the whole site to WordPress, but it will take some time to get all the photos and stuff on again. Anyhow, I’ll also try o connect this stuff to Facebook (it looks like there are plenty of plugins around, but none really working the way I’d like it to).

Stay tuned…

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My Telescope

It’s been a while since my last post. However, in the meantime I’ve got my new telescope, a brand-new LX200GPS 10″ f/10 from Meade. I like this beast, even if I need to build up a bit more muscles just to carry that monster up and down these mountains here :P.
No seriously, as now I tried it once under pretty good conditions (despite the -20°C :S), but was not really able to use it at full power. Since then I tried it several times under daylight, and I feel quite comfortable with now.
I got also the Meade LPI, a small webcam for planetary images. It works quite well (under daylight, again), so I’ll try it as soon as I get my new purchase… a JMI Mobile’s Carry Case for the Beast. It should be delivered today with UPS. Let’s see 😉

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