James Stanley

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Telescope tracking with software auto-guiding
Wed 23 January 2019
The Earth rotates around its axis at a rate of ~360°/day, or ~15°/hr (it's actually slightly slower than this because "1 day" is the amount of time it takes for the sun to come around again, but we are also moving around the sun, so we don't need to rotate a full 360° per day). When zoomed in with a field-of-view only 0.25° wide, objects that are not very close to the North star appear to move quite quickly across the frame. For this reason, my telescope control software continually updates the coordinates that it wants to point at, in order to keep the scope pointed at the same part of the sky. Read more

Imaging the Orion nebula with the PiKon telescope
Tue 8 January 2019
On Friday night I took some photographs of the Orion nebula with my motorised PiKon telescope from my back garden. There is lots of light pollution around, but this is the final image I got: Read more

First Light in the PiKon telescope
Sun 16 December 2018
On Thursday night I had an opportunity to try out my motorised PiKon telescope for the first time. Emma and I drove to a cemetery that is about 5 minutes away. It is not an ideal astronomy spot, but it is better than our back garden as it is a bit further from trees, tall buildings, and street lights. Read more

My PiKon telescope hardware
Mon 3 December 2018
Since the last post I've been working on the hardware of my telescope. I think the hardware is basically done, I just have a bit more software to write, and then need to wait for a convenient and cloud-free night in which to try it out. Read more

Ramblings About a Computerised Telescope
Mon 19 November 2018
The PiKon telescope is a brilliant design for a cheap but powerful telescope using 3d printed parts and a Raspberry Pi. It is a Newtonian reflector telescope, designed to be mounted and aimed with an ordinary camera tripod, and then the Raspberry Pi camera is used to capture images. It uses a relatively inexpensive concave "spherical" mirror for the primary mirror, and has no secondary mirror: the Pi camera is small enough that it is simply mounted in the centre of the tube and captures light where the secondary mirror would normally be placed. Read more