Archive | January 2012

M42: The Orion Nebula

I love looking at the Orion nebula. Its always a lovely object to look at – its even better to take photos of it. I’ve not managed a properly deep image yet and the one that I’ll show you below was affected by a pretty bright Moon. The Orion Nebula (Messier 42) is a diffuse nebula situated south of Orion’s Belt and is a really easy binocular target.
M42
M42
The same photo with different contrast levels chosen to highlight different parts of the Nebula.

Convert 3gp to a better format

By default my phone camera takes video in 3gp format – which isn’t the best for sharing around… so here is how to convert it using ffmpeg on linux:
Firstly you might need to install ffmpeg and some libraries:
sudo apt-get install ffmpeg libavcodec-extra-52
You can just do:
ffmpeg -r 1 -i VIDEO0032.3gp -f avi -r 24 -vcodec libxvid -acodec libmp3lame movie.avi
but this gives some crapy quality – a better way is:
ffmpeg -r 1 -i VIDEO0034.3gp -f mp4 -acodec libmp3lame -ar 44100 -ab 128 -vcodec mpeg4 -maxrate 2000 -b 1500 -qmin 3 -qmax 5 -bufsize 4096 -g 300 -r 30000/1001 outfile2.mp4