Sunday, March 01, 2015


Far, Far Away...

Muchachos, I am not over the hill yet. Not quite, but, as I’ve said before, I am getting there. I am entering in on that stage of life when most of us begin tallying up the score and thinking about the big questions:  “Is this all there is?” “Is the Universe more than just a big machine, albeit one with a few funny gears?” “Was there a ‘why’ to me being here?” “Is there a ‘why’ to the Universe itself?”

Actually, I believe I began considering such things four years ago. The questions just weren't quite clear to me yet. Four years ago, as I worked the Herschel Project, my quest to observe all 2500 Herschel deep sky objects, I found my main interest often wasn’t in the H-objects themselves, but in the dim sprites sprinkled across my fields, the tiny and distant background galaxies, the PGCs and the UGCs. I became somewhat obsessed with seeing what lay beyond the friendly old NGC/IC.

So, what does paragraph one have to do with paragraph two? You can’t begin to formulate answers—your personal answers—to the sorts of metaphysical questions I’ve begun to ask without grounding yourself. You can’t begin to know a little about your relationship to the Universe without, yep, knowing a little about the Universe itself. In other words, seeing the Universe might help me place myself in it. I hadn’t yet consciously realized that four years ago, but the wheels were beginning to turn.

Now, I am not sitting around constantly thinking Deep Thoughts. I have done a lot of that lately, but life goes on. Part of life, an important part for me, is astronomy, and one of the ways I like to practice that is by running down to that southern deep sky haven, the Chiefland Astronomy Village occasionally. When I am on the dark CAV field, I want to hit the deep sky as hard as I can, and to do that I need WORK, a project, a list. What would that be for my February dark run?

As I mentioned last time, post H-Project I’ve tried-on several observing programs. Most of them have been fun, and some of them are still being worked. Unfortunately, given my current mind-set, none seemed a good fit for this particular Chiefland expedition. I was somewhat dismayed to discover there was nothing I was fired up about seeing. I wasn’t ready to abandon my CAV vacation, though, so I did some more of that Deep Thinking.

The answer to “What will I look at?” wasn’t long in coming, but it was different from most of what I’ve done before. Not to mention maybe being grandiose to the point of smacking of hubris: I would observe as many quasars as I could see with my Schmidt Cassegrain telescope.

“Quasars?” Yep, quasi-stellar radio sources (or, since not all are strong radio sources, quasi-stellar objects, “QSOs,” if you prefer). These are the frighteningly distant objects that baffled the astronomers of the 1960s, and weren't satisfactorily explained, really, till the era of the Hubble Space Telescope. Yes, they had been presumed to be the violently active black-hole-fueled nuclei of ancient galaxies for some time, but it wasn’t until the HST was able to resolve the host galaxies of many of them that that truth (notwithstanding the theories of the late Chip Arp) became certain.

How is this different from what I’ve done before? When it comes to the deep sky, I’ve always been after details. The Quasars would be like the PGCs, however—just moreso. There would be no detail to be seen in them. They are, as their name says, just star-like points out in the dark.

Where does the “hubris” come in? Quasars aren't just far away; they are cosmic relics. Leftover features of a young Universe. Their distances are measured in billions, not millions, of parsecs. The brightest of them, Virgo’s 3C 273 is close to magnitude 13, and they go all the way down from there. The saving grace? That quasars are star-like. You can see a 16th magnitude star a lot more easily than a 16th magnitude extended object.

First things first. I would need a list of quasars to observe. I turned to SkyTools 3 as I usually do, set up a search on Quasars, hit the “go” button and—whoa—I’d have to do some paring down. While there are “only” several hundred known quasars, SkyTools also fetched similar AGN (active galactic nuclei) objects like Seyfert galaxies and BL Lac objects. Which was cool, but even when I limited the search to the declinations I can observe, there was a large number of objects on my spreadsheet. Next step was eliminating the too-dim ones.

The question then became, “How dim is too dim for my C11 and Mallincam Xtreme?” That deep sky video camera can go amazingly deep—small 17th magnitude galaxies are easy. On the other hand, I didn't want a wearyingly long list. Every whole number increase in magnitude brings a tremendous increase in object numbers, so I backed off  from my original magnitude limit of 17 to 16. That left me with a list of 350 Quasars and their near kin. All of which were very far away indeed, which was the point.

Me + SCT + Mallincam + ST3 observing list sounds like a pretty normal CAV run, even if the objects I’d be running after would be different. There would be one major change this time, however: no motel. I was tired of Chiefland’s two inns, the Days Inn and Quality Inn. Or I thought I was. They are bearable, but distinctly second rate. Since Dorothy wouldn’t be with me this time—she’d be off on a trip of her own to visit her daughter the following week and needed to get ready for that—I decided to avoid them. If D. wasn’t with me, I was loath to spend a couple of hundred bucks in a motel I didn’t much like.

Yeah, I know, I know, after the horribly hot Chiefland Spring Picnic of May 2002, I swore I’d never tent-camp on the observing field again, but I rethought that. Most importantly, it sure wouldn’t be hot, even in Chiefland, Florida, in February. The weather goobs were predicting record lows as low as the mid-twenties. Secondly, a large part of my problem in ‘02 was my tent, a small one. That, I’ve discovered, is a big, huge no-no. If you cannot stand up in your tent, you will not be happy with your accommodations for more than one night, I guarantee. Also, having your sleeping bag on the ground, even on an air mattress, is no way to roll.

Those caveats in mind, Dorothy and I did a recon of Wally-World’s sporting goods section. We returned home with a decent Coleman tent, one with a max height of 6-feet, tall enough for me to stand up straight in. I also glommed onto a camp cot, which I much prefer to a freaking air mattress. Neither tent nor cot was expensive—I wasn’t going on an expedition to Everest—and it warmed the cockles of me little heart to think how inexpensive this Chiefland trip would be with no motel and with gas prices lower than we've seen in years.

Rod ain’t no dummy (well, not always); back home, I set the tent up in the backyard to make sure I could get it pitched easily and quickly on the first night with dark arriving early. Coleman claimed my new cabin tent was an “instant up,” and while it might not be that quick to set up, amazingly, I had it pitched, by myself, in about five-minutes, no foolin’. Camping gear acquired and checked, all that remained was to wait the few days till my Thursday morning departure.

Anyhoo, Wednesday afternoon, the day before my leave-taking, I loaded up the 4Runner. For various reasons that had nothing to do with the CAV or the observing I hoped to do there, I wasn't looking forward to the trip as much as I usually do.

Mid-life crises are supposed to hit in your 40s, but I missed having one then and thought I was immune. Not so, apparently. At least that is what I am calling my current state which involves considerable introspection, mostly focusing on things I did 40+ years ago that I am not happy about nor proud of—to say the least—now, and which I have finally faced. Didn't make for a very happy mindset before my vacation, but I think this self-examination, which is maybe more descriptive than "mid-life" crisis, is needful. There is nothing I can do about the things that are bothering me, but I can finally truly face them and their continuing ramifications.

Another reason for my blues was that Dorothy wouldn't be with me. I’ve been down a time or two without her over the years since she started accompanying me, and I’ve found it’s just not as much fun without her as with her. Not hardly.

Frankly, when I took a look at the weather forecast for Chiefland on Wunderground, which was predicting horrendous cold—for us southern tenderfoots—in the mid - low twenties, I was tempted to just call the whole thing off. I didn't, however; mostly because a gentleman was to meet me out on the field to buy my cast-off NexStar 11 items:  the fork, tripod, case, and wedge I had left over after I deforked Bertha. He’d responded to my Astromart ad, I’d promised I’d be at the CAV, and I didn’t think fierce cold should be enough to prevent that.

Dorothy was, naturally, skeptical about my tent camping scheme in such frigid conditions, but I had an ace up my sleeve. My Black Cat catalytic heater ought to be safe enough to use in the Coleman as long as I kept a few of the tent’s vents open. The heater doesn't produce an open flame; the major safety consideration is that it, naturally, uses up oxygen. Black Cat in the tent or under the EZ Up as needed, and I figgered I might survive the low twenties.

Wednesday evening was pleasant enough, with me turning in not long after Arrow went off. I still wasn’t as excited as I usually am on Chiefland Eve, but so what? I’d go through the motions anyway; sometimes that is enough to get me back on track. In addition to selling my astro-stuff, there were quasars to chase and my “new” C11 to check out. I’d only had the CGEM out in the backyard twice, hardly enough to give it a real shakedown.

The trip down was as uneventful as uneventful can be. I’d normally have been listening to music on the satellite radio, but without Dorothy to talk to and just music on the stereo, I thought my mind might be apt to turn down pathways I didn't want it to turn down. Instead, I had a massive audio book, Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep, the sequel to The Shining, which I'd been meaning to listen to or read for months and months.

Thanks to Mr. King’s Grand Guignol tale, the drive east to Tallahassee on I-10 didn't seem overly long, and I was soon turning off at the well-remembered exit, refueling at the Sunoco station, and picking up Highway 19, the Florida – Georgia Parkway, gateway to the Nature Coast and points south.

It seemed odd to drive right past the Days Inn and Quality Inn, and I nearly stopped at the latter. The forecast I’d looked at on my phone at the filling station was now predicting even colder weather. But, no, I’d stick to my plan and at least try tent camping. If it was too much, I’d get in the truck, drive back to town, and check into one of the motels no matter how late the hour.

I was pleased to find a handful of hardcore Chiefland Observers including my friend Paul Lavoie (with his beautiful A-P mount and refractor) on the field Thursday despite the dire prognostications of the weatherman, and I began setup feeling better than I had all day.

The CGEM mount is not much harder to assemble than my VX. Oh, the head is heavy enough, but it’s nowhere near as heavy as the old fork/OTA combo was. Not that the C11 tube is a lightweight, even without the fork. And you have to slide the dovetail into the saddle from one end, not tip it in like a Vixen dovetail. But it really wasn’t that difficult, and since I’d have it up for two or possibly three days, no prob. One thing was sure; the old girl looked good on her new mount.

Two or three days? Don’t I normally stay through Sunday morning? I usually do, but, again, I wasn't in the mood this time. I thought that as soon as the NexStar GPS stuff deal was done on Saturday, I would turn the 4Runner, the ever-faithful Miss Lucille Van Pelt, for the Swamp and home. Foregoing Saturday night would to some extent depend on how much observing I got done Thursday and Friday, but it looked to me as if Saturday would be a weak night, with poor transparency probable, scattered clouds likely, and considerable overcast possible.

Scope on mount and EZ Up erected, it was time to get to something that had been worrying me:  the tent. Sure, I’d set it up in the backyard, but I was far from home now and darkness wouldn’t be long in coming. That situation is always an invitation for Mr. Murphy and Mr. Finagle to come calling. I needn't have worried. I was tired from the drive down, and it took me twice as long to get the tent pitched as it had at home, but that was still only 10-minutes. What had taken the longest was getting a big tarp, the ground cover for the Coleman to go on, laid-out and staked down. There were frequent gusts of frigid wind and the tarp almost got away from me a time or two.

All that remained was to tie-wrap three tarps to the EZ Up to form its sides and get the computer and Mallincam Xtreme ready. I decided to take a break at this juncture, however, and make my supper/Walmart run. At Wally-World, I confined my purchases to an inexpensive extension cord (forgot one), bottled water, and snack items.

Supper? BBQ Bill’s was tempting, but it wouldn’t have been fun without Dorothy, and I didn't want to waste time waiting to be served in a real restaurant with work still to do on the field. I settled for Taco Bell’s notorious and delicious Dorito Taco Big Box. Scarfed that down and hurried back to the CAV.

Got the tarps on the canopy without much trouble despite the wind, which wasn’t dying down, and proceeded to mount the camera on the scope's rear cell and hook it to the laptop and to my monitor and Orion DVR. Yes, I am still using the little digital video recorder I bought toward the end of the Herschel Project. I tried running the Mallincam's video to the computer via a frame grabber for a while, but didn't like working that way. I do control the Mallincam with a laptop, but the video goes to either my monitor (my old portable DVD player) or the DVR via a composite video switch box.

It was then that I realized I'd left an important but not critical piece of gear at home, my JMI Motofocus. I’d been in such a mood that I hadn't followed my gear-loading checklist as attentively as I should have. I did video for years without a Motofocus, however, and I could get by without it, but there was no denying I’d miss the widget—a lot.

I was darned tuckered by the time I finished the last of the afternoon’s preparations—setting up the tent hadn’t been that much additional work, but it sure felt like it. I am of the opinion that the next time I do a tent on the observing field in the winter, I will try for an earlier departure from home. Nothing is worse than scrambling around trying to get everything ready with dark coming.

The good thing, I reckon, was that by the time my preparations were done sunset had arrived, and I didn't have to sit around waiting. Polaris was soon popping out and shortly thereafter, bright alignment stars. I essayed a 2+4 goto alignment, an AllStar Polar Alignment, and a second 2+4 to ensure goto would be dead-on after moving the mount in altitude and azimuth to polar align.

All went sweetly easy. Just like with the VX. I operated the CGEM with NexRemote using a Logitech Wireless Wingman gamepad as my “hand control,” and centered the stars with the video camera, which can be set to display a set of cross-hairs on the video screen. Easy as pie, and my test goto to M79, Lepus’ little globular cluster, put the target dead center on the screen. We were off to the races.

The only question was which races we’d be off to. I was tired and already feeling cold despite my coat, sweatshirt, long sleeve shirt, and long johns. I had the suspicion I wasn't up to chasing dim quasars on the first night. Might be best to spend the evening checking out the new scope/mount combo and seeing if I still knew how to work the Mallincam Xtreme after not using it for months.

The CGEM performed superbly. I was working with a small field of view, but any object I requested, from one horizon to the other, was always in the camera’s narrow field—which was smaller than it was when the scope was in its fork configuration.

Since I didn’t have to use a diagonal with the scope on the CGEM (had to with the fork or the camera would bump into the drive-base), I didn't have enough spacing between the Xtreme and my Meade f/3.3 reducer to provide much focal reduction. With the Mallincam inserted into a visual back screwed directly onto the reducer, I got maybe f/4 – f/5. Field looked to be maybe 10’ x 20’. I’ve got some spacer rings and an SCT prime focus adapter I can use to get a wider field next time.

There was actually some benefit to the smaller field, though; I was getting big, detailed pictures of objects. The famous edge-on galaxy in Andromeda, NGC 891, just slammed onto my monitor, showing mucho detail in its equatorial dust lane. In fact, every object I looked at Thursday was superb. There was a reason for that that had nothing to do with the scope:  a crazy-good sky.

Shortly after NGC 891 was in the can, I stuck my head out from under the tent canopy and looked up. “Well, darn…looks like haze moving in.” Venus in the west was set against a hazy background that spiked upwards towards the zenith. Then it hit me:  “That ain’t haze (you dummy), that’s the Zodiacal Light!” When conditions are right, the CAV skies can still amaze.

Unfortunately this crazy-good transparency was accompanied by crazy-bad temperatures that began dropping sharply at mid evening. They had hovered on in the upper 30s for some time, but as nine p.m. approached, the low thirties arrived and I guessed the mercury would not stop falling anytime soon.

I placed the heater in the tent to warm up my accommodations, since I believed it wouldn't be long before Big Switch Time. I was tired, I was cold, and I was not my usual ebullient self. I did a few more goodies including the Horsehead Nebula, M78 (which was as good as I’ve ever seen it on video), M81, M82, and several more before bowing to the inevitable.

Or starting to bow. I was here to get quasars, and I would get at least one on this night. Which one? “Old Faithful,” the Twin Quasar, QSO 0957+561, in Ursa Major was decently high so I went there. One of the best things about this magnitude 17.0 object (so SkyTools says; I believe it may be as much as a magnitude brighter) is that it’s easy to track down. It’s close to a bright galaxy, NGC 3079, and a dimmer galaxy that’s still easy in the Mallincam, MCG 9-17-0 (magnitude 15.4). Best of all it is adjacent to a distinctive pattern of field stars.

When the CGEM stopped, I immediately picked out those stars in a 30-second exposure. I thought I might be seeing the QSO too, but the interests of being sure I upped the exposure to 1-minute. Yep. There it was. A little pinprick of light. Not much different from what it had looked like in the eyepiece of my Dobsonian when Dorothy and I were at the 1999 Texas Star Party. Or…maybe it was different.

As its name suggests, the Twin Quasar consists of two QSOs positioned next to each other, a brighter one and a slightly dimmer one separated by 6-arc seconds. Except there aren't really two quasars there; the two are the same QSO. A massive foreground galaxy, YGKOW G1, is creating a gravitational lensing effect, causing an additional image of a single object to be formed. Peering closely at the monitor, I was thunderstruck to realize I was resolving the Twin. Its "ghost" image was surprisingly easy, actually.

The Twin’s stats are amazing (and kinda scary). The light from the core of this ancient galaxy, which is nearly 8-billion light-years from us, set out before the birth of the Solar System. Most amazingly, I was seeing it with my modest telescope and my modest camera in a relatively modest sky. That was almost enough to impel me to push on no matter how cold I was. But not quite. I threw that accursed switch, covered Bertha, and headed for the Coleman.

Surprisingly, the tent felt almost too warm at first. I got my heavy coat off, set up the PC on the camp table, inserted the DVD of Aliens, poured out several finger of Rebel Yell, and was warm and cozy for quite some time. Eventually, the outside temperature dropped enough that the little heater couldn’t keep up, and I decided my sleeping bag was a good idea, but it was never tremendously cold in the tent.

That wasn’t the problem. The problem came just after dawn when I needed to use the facilities. Nature’s call impelled me to brave temps that my phone claimed had dropped to freaking 19, which must be close to a record for this part of Florida. I got to the clubhouse only to find the toilets were frozen up. There’s a heater to prevent that from happening, but we were all so fixated on the fantastic sky that we forgot to turn it on.

I ruminated on what to do. I’d like to use the bathroom, and there was also the matter of the (open to the sky) showers. I didn't believe it would be warm enough even in the afternoon to encourage me to take one. Solution? Jumped into the 4Runner and made tracks to the Quality Inn.

There, it eventuated that a room for Friday would not be a problem, but one for Saturday would be. There was a big funeral being held in town and both the Quality Inn and Days Inn were booked up. I figured the same would even be the case for the modest Manatee Springs Inn, the town’s single remaining hostelry. I told the clerk I’d take the room for one night. Sounded as if my decision about staying/going on Saturday had been made for me. I doubted I'd want to move back to the tent after enjoying the hot shower, breakfast, and cable TV of the motel.

Late Friday afternoon, refreshed, I motored back to the field for what it appeared would be the last night of my dark run. If it were to be that, I needed to get as much done as I could. After viewing that one quasar Thursday, I’d got a good feeling about the new project and thought a magazine article might come out of it. Maybe even more than that. So, I needed to see as many QSOs as I could on this evening. I could no doubt get quasars from the club dark site back home with the uber-sensitive Mallincam, but I knew they’d still be easier in Chiefland.

Once again, the CGEM and C11 performed admirably. You hear a lot of grumbling about the mount—there’s no denying it had a somewhat bumpy introduction—but I am here to tell you that if your requirements are similar to mine you will love it. For visual/video with an 11-inch or smaller SCT it is unbeatable for the price. Is it an A-P Mach 1? Of course not. But I don’t need such a thing, you might not either, and you may be surprised to hear that, despite what’s sometimes said about the mount on Astro-BBSes like Cloudy Nights, the CGEM is capable of doing deep sky imaging. Long exposure, guided, prime focus imaging.

Will I use the CGEM all the time? No. It’s heavy, and the combo of the VX mount and Edge 800 SCT (or one of my APO refractors) has proven to be a powerful one for me. It’s just so easy to get into the yard or the observing field, and the gears and motors of the VX are a step up from those of earlier mounts like the CG5 and, yes, the CGEM, in my opinion. Still, there are times when I want the horsepower Big Bertha can bring to bear. The CGEM is allowing me to continue to use her, and I didn't pay a lot for that privilege.

The night’s observing? It was like doing the Herschel Project, just a little harder. I’d issue a goto command with SkyTools 3, which was connected to the mount through NexRemote’s virtual port feature (no QSOs in the NexStar HC database). The mount would make her sounds, which I gotta say are a little more like the weasels-with-tuberculosis noise of the old CG5 than the more refined hum of the VX, and when she stopped I’d take a look at the video monitor. That’s where things got a little “interesting.”

Before I could get going good, however, I had to deal with a bad video cable. I’d had several incidents Thursday where the video glitched. Wiggling the cable always brought it back. Friday night, no matter how much I wiggled I couldn’t restore the picture. Luckily, I had a spare cable, which cured the problem. The fault was really mine; I knew I had a bad Xtreme cable and a good one, but it had been so long since I’d used the camera that I’d forgot which was which. If I’d been smart, I would have trashed the bad cable just as soon as I received a new one from Jack Huerkamp, but you know how I am about throwing anything away.

When I was hunting Herschels, it came down to deciding which deep sky object on the screen (there were often multiple ones) was the target. That could be trying at times, but usually there weren't enough faint fuzzies to make it a pain. Not so with quasars. They are star-like points. The targets on my list that aren't are a few Seyfert galaxies, which might—might—present disks. What I had to do to identify my targets was match star patterns on the screen with those on a chart or photo.

At first, I was concerned about being able to do that in the field, in the cold, when I was tired. In truth, it wasn't as much of a problem as I'd feared. SkyTools’ excellent charts (POSS plates didn’t seem to be as much help), which were easily sized to the same field dimensions, approximately, as that of the camera, made it as easy as such a thing can be.

One other help? You often hear quasars referred to as “blue point-sources,” but even so, I was amazed to see some actually showed an obvious blue tinge with the Mallincam, which made picking them out substantially easier. Somewhat like when I was doing small Herschel elliptical galaxies and learned to look for their golden hue. Color helps.

So, was it fun? You bet. Surprisingly so. Part of it was the sense of accomplishment. When the run was done, I’d corralled twenty of the suckers (including the Twin Quasar Thursday night). Even more satisfying was thinking how deep I’d gone. The dimmest objects Friday were at my self-imposed magnitude 16 limit. As a sprout, reading what little I could understand in the S&T articles about these weird new objects, would I ever have dreamed I’d easily image down 16th magnitude and push out toward the edge of the visible Universe with my personal telescope? Not hardly, friends, not hardly.

Nineteen objects doesn't sound like a lot of objects for all of Friday night, does it? I considered just trusting the CGEM to make things go faster. Trusting that the object of my desire was somewhere in the field of the camera when the mount stopped, and reviewing the images at home to identify my quasars. The CGEM never, ever missed an object, but I still demurred. I wanted to be sure, and I wanted to say I had seen my objects out on the field. Not seeing them until I got back home just seemed a step too far removed from “amateur astronomy” to me.

What mainly kept my object count down, however, wasn’t the time it took to identify the quasars. After a while, I got pretty good at that. It was the sky. The night was (a little) warmer than Thursday, but it was also not as clear. I was seeing real haze, not the Zodiacal Light. The wind was gusting, too.

Bertha and the CGEM handled the wind remarkably well, no doubt thanks to the TPI spreader on the tripod, but eventually the stars in my exposures began to elongate as strong winds caught the big sail of the C11 dew shield. Not long after that, the sky background on my images (and on Paul’s DSLR images) began to turn brown, a sure sign of haze. Formerly easy 15th and 16th magnitude QSOs suddenly became harder. It was well before midnight, but there was no denying it was time to call it.

Back at the motel, I spent considerable time with the cable TV (my beloved ghost shows) and Rebel Yell. I was feeling good. Better even than Thursday night. Not only had my run been still more successful than Thursday’s, I had a warm room, a warm bed, a hot shower, and the prospect of a hot meal in the morning.

Saturday a.m. after breakfast (scrambled eggs, biscuit—ONE biscuit—and gravy) I checked out and headed to the CAV to pack. Which took a while given that I had to strike the tent and get it back in its bag. I took my time since I knew the fellow who was buying my gear likely wouldn't arrive before noon. That was OK. The additional hours at the CAV after Miss Van Pelt was loaded let me spend some time with my friends and have a leisurely lunch.

Once I turned over the NS11 gear to its new owner just before 2 p.m., however, I was more than ready to skedaddle. A look at the sky, which was now crisscrossed by multiple jet contrails, showed conditions were  unlikely to be better than the previous evening's, and might be considerably worse (a storm front was moving in from the east). I hit the highway, drove straight through with one stop for gas and nothing else, and made it back to the New Manse at 7 p.m. after passing through torrential rain along the Florida Panhandle.

Best Chiefland run ever, Muchachos? Nope. The weather, the cold weather, if nothing else prevented that. The upside was that I did get a couple of things accomplished. I also became reacquainted with how much I love our avocation. I started out not really in the mood to observe, but once I was out on the field with the scope humming, I had a cracking good time. What more can you ask than that?

Next Time:  Star Trek and Me II...

Another great report of an observing session. Some terrific shots on the video, it's amazing to think how deep you can go these days compared to 20-30 years ago. Keep 'em coming!

nice piece of work ! ,, should make a great S&T article showing how using video, proper software and a common gem mount one can find and image very dim objects...... many applications besides quesars. Howard
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