Jan 04

M31 – The Andromeda Galaxy

On a recent trip to Hawaii I went to a star party hosted on the northern part of Hawaii at the Dillingers Air Base.

One of the main astronomical items I wanted to see while in the northern hemisphere was the Andromeda Galaxy. Since it is very low on the horizon where I live and unless I find a tall viewing point with clear views north I don’t get the chance to see it yet alone take images.

At the star party I did get to see it, along with a fantastic view of the night sky, it was so clear the number of stars visible was amazing.

As for imaging it, all I had was my DSLR (Canon 550D) with a 50mm f1.8 lens on a basic tripod. I took quite a few images but many had star trails from too long exposure with no tracking so I managed to pick about 16 reasonable frames, cropped them down and stacked them. The result was pretty ok considering:

M31 Andromeda Galaxy

M31 Andromeda Galaxy

If I’d known it’d work so well I’d have taken lots more and stacked for a better result.

Still inspiring for me.

Need to process all the other photos from the trip and add them to a gallery…



Apr 16

New Project

Hi all,

Yet another project on my current list, or two….

Been building a CNC machine for a hardware project I’ll be working on with a friend. Currently a 3-axis machine controlled by LinuxCNC system, eventually it will accommodate a machining tool, a pick and place tool and an extruder (for 3D Printing). I’ll also be building an embedded stand-alone controller so it can operate independent of the computer.

It will machine parts for me.

it will print parts for me (like new gears for the telescope mount).

and it will build circuit boards for me!

Speaking of the telescope, yes it needs better gears, current ones were hacked together so its not smooth or linear enough for me, also I plan to re-do parts of the code to improve its handling.

I really have too much to do in my spare time, need to win the Lotto so I can work on them full-time… 😛

Anyways, here’s some pretty pictures of the machine until next update 😉
20130401_214949 20130403_215924

Aug 23

Source Code

Quick post,

As requested here is the current source code for my Scope Tracker. It’s not clean but it works for me.

Two main files, – main.c & scopetrack.h – in this zip file

I’ll get some schematics up later

One important thing to note, the redlib library that is supplied for NXP Programming has a bad file that unless they’ve fixed it since WILL need to be fixed of this code wont work, basically there is a bad offset in the port mapping, I’ll see if I can track down the file I changed to fix it and add it to this post…

edit: Found the file: #include <NXP/LPC17xx/LPC17xx.h> I had to fix the offsets for FIO2 & FIO3 references (I think – check differences with your own version and change as needed)


Jun 04

Happy Lunar Eclipse!

Just been outside in the freeze taking some photos of tonight’s Lunar Eclipse. Only a Partial but still an event! Even gave the motorized mount a use for it!

Bit of cloud around fuzzing up the pics but still reasonable.

Thanks for reading!