Chris Baker Lecture - Remote & Robotic imaging

Chris Baker came to Woodrow on Wednesday 18th February to talk about Remote Imaging and Robotic Imaging.  Fifty one of our members attended.  

Chris is a keen photographer based in the U.K. who started observing in 2000 and bought himself a Schmidt Cassegrain telescope and then had his own observatory.  In 2012 he bought, shipped out, and set up his own equipment at a hosting site on a mountain at Nerpio in Spain. We saw images of the site which showed various telescope installations, including his own equipment.  He recommended  remote imaging from the U.K. first before embarking on setting up abroad he did not do this, as it is essential to get good advice beforehand which fortunately he did have.    

He talked about his own experiences, the various hosting sites available around the world, equipment needed, software, and the support needed to make it a workable project.  He also gave us details of the rental cost, and said that some host sites were a lot more expensive than others

Chris is very keen on deep sky objects, and showed us some of his first attempts at remote images, and also some more recent ones that have won him prizes, and have been printed in the well known Astronomy magazines.   We saw many images of well known Messier objects including The Beehive Cluster, The Whirlpool,  Andromeda (which took 16 hours of data to produce), the Heart, Horsehead and Flame nebulae, the Rocking Horse cluster,  The Lagoon, the Bubble Nebula, the Jellyfish, Witches Broom in the Veil Nebula, the Monkey Head, Pelican, Cocoon, Rosette, and The Triangulum Galaxy. They were all stunning.  He also talked about the various wavelengths and processes he uses to take and process them.

He talked also about the differences between remote imaging and robotic imaging, saying that with robotic imaging he sets up his equipment to do things automatically without hands on intervention, but that this was not failsafe, and that it can be quite a challenge to get it right.

Unfortunately it was not possible to do a live remote link, so he went on to show us how to process some of the remote images so that we could see how the final results were achieved. Our members were keen to ask questions afterwards, and Neil then thanked Chris for a very interesting and informative talk.

Chris very kindly offered a raffle prize for a chance to use his telescope remotely from the U.K, with his help.  This was won by Jonathan Glenny.

Tea and Coffee was available, and the evening closed at 10.00pm.