locked Pluto blink comparator astrophotography #EXOS2 #astrophotography #VIDEO


Mike Leemhuis
 

I decided last week to try to photograph Pluto since it was the only "planet" that I hadn't photographed yet with my EXOS-2.  So I used my plate solver to aim my ES 102CF and took about 40 - 1 minute exposures.  After stacking the pictures I soon realized that Pluto must either be too small or it must look like just another star because I couldn't find it in the hundreds of stars in the picture.  So I decided to repeat the process the following day and then compare the pictures to see what moves.  That would have to be Pluto.  My friend who is the head of the Astronomy club here in Lexington told me that's how Clyde Tombaugh found Pluto in 1930 although he used a mechanical blink comparator contraption to look for movement.  So I did that the modern way by using Affinity Photo to align both pictures and then made a short movie switching back and forth between the them.  I'll attach a link to the video here:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/unhlttvs1ncha10/Pluto%20Blink%20Comparator.mov?dl=0
You can play this video in a loop and replicate with today's technology what Clyde did back in 1930. Pluto pops out if you look closely.  This would be a terrific science experiment for a high school student if you ever need an idea!

Mike

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Location: Nicholasville, KY
Mount: Explore Scientific Exos-2
Scope: Explore Scientific ED102CF, Orion 60mm guidescope
Camera: QHY163C and QHY5L-ii
Filter: Optolong L-eNhance 2"
Software: ASCOM, PHD2, CDC, Stellarium, Sharpcap Pro, NINA, Deep Sky Stacker, Affinity Photo, Lightroom
Computer:  ASRock X570 Steel Legend, AMD Ryzen 7 3700X 8-Core Processor, 3600Mhz
Extras:  Lots of 3D printed parts I designed for improved usability

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