Tuesday, October 30, 2012

30th October 2012 AstroPhoMo (Astro Photo Month)

This is the western sky looking towards Lupus, Scorpius and Sagittarius.
20 Seconds of exposure at 800 ISO, Aperture 3.5, post processing in Nebulosity.

Monday, October 29, 2012

29th October AstroPhoMo (Astro Photo Month)

Lots of cloud around the full moon preventing a good sharp view but the moonlit skies and landscape provided some great opportunity.

A Panorama of 4 x 30 second shots.   See the light trail from car headlights in the left of the image.

Western sky looking at Scorpius.

27th October AstroPhoMo (Astro Photo Month)

An addition of  2 times magnification with a Barlow made the world of difference with it filling the field of view of the camera just nicely.

28th October AstroPhoMo (Astro Photo Month)

This quick unguided portrait of 47 Tucanae is pretty much just for the sake of a daily post.   Very mucky skies and not anywhere near the October 12 version .

Saturday, October 27, 2012

26th October 2012 AstroPhoMo (Astro Photo Month)

Today cloudy again but clear enough for another look at the Moon.   Day 11 now with three days to go to the full moon.  Mare Imbrium along with Sinus Iridium now fully visible along with much of the crater spray from Tycho.

This next version has less contrast between the lunar mare (dark patches) and the surrounding terrain but highlights more detail along the terminator. Some of the brighter areas are a tad over saturated too.

Friday, October 26, 2012

October 25th AstroPhoMo (Astro Photo Month)

A break in the clouds last night brought a waxing gibbous.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

October 22nd 2012 AstroPhoMo (Astro Photo Month)

Took this shot of the quarter moon after coming home from an evening shift at work, 3 pm to 11 pm.    Time was limited so I grabbed my 70mm William Optics refractor and plunked it on a camera tripod and quickly put the 300D into prime focus.   After focusing and then experimenting with exposures I settled on 1/200th second at 200 ISO.  I then took 7 shots and then stacked and processed then in Nebulosity.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

October 20th AstroPhoMo (Astro Photo Month)

I missed the opportunity to capture anything on the 19th due to an astronomy teaching commitment.  However last night's icy clouds and waxing crescent provided a lunar halo.

 To the left of the halo you should just make out the constellation Scorpius, with the tail and the stinger (Shaula and Lesuth) fairly prominent.  To the right the bright star is Altair in the constellation Aquila.
The star just off the lunar limb is Mu Sagittarius at 3.8 mag .

Thursday, October 18, 2012

15th to 18th October 2012 AstroPhoMo (Astro Photo Month)

Weather and Work have intervened the pas couple of days but I still have a 16th October South Celestial Pole time lapse sequence and a shot of a light polluted eastern horizon at dusk.

The actual naked eye view wasn't nearly as spectacular with there only being just a faint red hue.   The sensitivity of the camera does wonders to these hints of colour only just detectable to us.

Monday, October 15, 2012

14th October AstroPhoMo (Astro Photo Month)

Backyard time lapse sequence taken in my backyard at Blackstone Heights in Tasmania.  Not sure but there might be just a hint of an aurora in the left hand corner of the image nearer to the end of the sequence.  Also near the end a fairly bright object most likely a plane.

The main features astronomically speaking is Scorpius front and center with the Milky Way spread across the field of view.

It was a challenge setting the exposures etc. for this day to night sequence to get a consistent dimming across the frames but I manged to somewhat achieve this by letting the camera initially dictate the length of exposure and then once this was approaching 15 seconds I switched to full manual control during the darker end of twilight and then ramping the exposure times up to 30 seconds once the full darkness had set in.  In the end any marked variance in the shots I post processed out as much as possible adjusting the light curves in each shot to compensate for the varying sensitivity of the camera.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

13th October 2012 AstroPhoMo (Astro Photo Month)

Finally snagged a shot of the Trifid and Lagoon Nebulae in Sagittarius.  I've been chasing this all week but up till now have found that when I get out and organised they have set too far to the west behind some tree branches surrounding my viewing site.   This image is made of three frames from about thirty unguided shots. There was too much movement in the other frames.

Thankfully the using the highest ISO available to me (1600) to maximize the sensitivity of the shot in the short time of 30 the second frames has provided some good detail despite it only amounting to a minute and a half of exposure in total in the three frames used.

I really love these two nebulae and how you can combine them in the one shot.   You can see the very striking trification of the dark lanes in the smaller "Trifid" Nebula to the right of the image. Also note the very vibrant open star cluster contained within the Lagoon Nebula on the left of the image.

I think best estimates put the Lagoon Nebula at 4000 light years in distance.

Friday, October 12, 2012

12th October 2012 AstroPhoMo (AstroPhotoMonth)

I have been spending a lot of time getting better accuracy with the polar alignment of my EQ6 mount.

I revisited NGC104 / 47 Tucanae which I imaged earlier in the month with a simple Meade DSI CCD web style camera.   This one was captured with a modified Canon 350D DSLR.

I took this from 6 out of ten 1 minute frames which I stacked and post processed in Nebulosity.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

11th October 2012 AstroPhoMo (Astro Photo Month)

Had another go today imaging the sun this time with the DSI Colour CCD.  After consulting an Ice in Space thread from last year discussing CCD imaging with a Coranado PST, I got a better feel for exposure times and how to use a laptop screen outside in the day (i.e. put a tarp or blanket over you and the screen).   Consequently I've spent a good part of the afternoon under the blue tarp that usually covers my telescope when I'm not using it.

The image is made of 10 x 1/250 sec frames with flats.   As the subject matter is so bright all the smudges and dust on the ccd show up too.  The flat basically subtracts these out of the final picture.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

10th October 2012 AstroPhoMo (AstroPhotoMonth)

Considering the recent reports of the last few days with solar and aurora activity I managed to capture this per focal with the PST using an Olympus compact digital.   One of the biggest flairs I've observed personally.  
Unfortunately the camera does not do justice the actual view through the eyepiece where you can see much of the granularity of the solar surface as well.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

9th October 2012 AstroPhoMo (Astro Photo Month)

Just rain, clouds and light pollution this evening.

Monday, October 8, 2012

8th October 2012 AstroPhoMo (Astro Photo Month)

This image is the upshot of my attempts to align the telescope mount to the south celestial pole by imaging and adjusting as I went.   After about an hour or so I managed to get the pole within reason near the center of the image.  The adjustments are very fine so any further attempts might just make it worse not better.  As the Orthopaedic Surgeons at my work say "Better is the enemy of good!". 

 This is the final image I took and was taken in the wee hours of this morning and is 40 minutes continuous exposure. 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

7th October AstroPhoMo (Astro Photography Month)

Just on the dead knock.   A 2 minute star trail of the south celestial pole. Taken thought the 80mm Refractor when parked.  Took a little while of adjustment to get the south celestial pole as central as I could.

And the masterpiece of the night is this.  Although I did not process it with a dark frame.  Too impatient I guess. Taken with my Canon 300D and 11-16mm wide angle lens.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

6th October 2012 AstroPhoMo (Astro Photo Month)

When considering I had to work this evening and the rain is apparently on its way too, at the stroke of midnight almost immediately after posting for the 5th I took a couple of shot in the wee hours but not what you might be expecting.

The first is a 30 second  wide angle shot of the telescope and the southern sky along with a light trail of headlight as I moved in and out of the frame as the camera was exposing. If you look closely you can see the Southern Cross and Pointers just above the tree line center right. At this stage after midnight the sky was illuminated by the rising moon off to the left out of the frame and some cloud cover (reflective).

Finally as I parked the telescope which technically should be pointing straight at the south celestial pole ( the point at which the sky pivots) I wondered even though I had drift aligned my mount for accurate tracking of the sky whether or not it was completely aligned 100 percent accurately.   So I took a star trail shot hoping to see nice concentric cirlces radiating out from the center of the shot.  This is what I got.

So next session I will be adjusting the mount and hopefully I will post some nice concentric star trail circles along with some more accurately tracked short exposures shots of some of the brighter deep sky objects.
If I get time I might start the trouble shoot the autoguiding.

Friday, October 5, 2012

5th October 2012 AstroPhoMo (Astro Photo Month)

Unfortunately my auto-guiding and PC aided image capture has gone to the dogs so despite bringing out the big gun tonight, i.e the Canon 350D I has to restrict myself to short exposures.
following is the Large Magellanic Cloud and Tarantula Nebula.  This made from a stack of 5x5 second exposures  and of course unguided.
If it weren't for my month long commitment I might have thrown in the towel with the auto-guiding not working but its interesting how a deadline changes your attitude to at least have a go and get something imaged and posted..

And by sheer dumb luck I managed to snap three 30 second shots of the lagoon.  What a difference more exposure can make.

Adjusted the hue here to a more yellowy colour.
All pre and post processing done in Nebulosity.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

4th October 2012 AstroPhoMo (Astro Photo Month)

Spent the evening chasing an asteroid to no avail.  With little time to spare with the midnight deadline approaching a slewed to NGC104 or 47 Tucane, a bright globular cluster and compiled this shot from 3 x 1 minute exposures unguided with my Meade DSI colour. Now that's a bit of a walk down memory lane in Astro-photography terms.  There's even for nostalgia's sake a bit of amp glow.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

3rd October 2012 AstroPhoMo (Astro Photo Month)

More solar images today.  I managed to catch the full rim using an Olympus 5 MP Compact digital.

The two pics here are at different filter settings.  The first is adjusted to enhance the granularity and surface detail on the sun including sunspots and filaments.

The second is adjusted to enhance activity on the limb showing solar flare activity.  You can just make out some activity at the bottom at 5 and 7 o'clock.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

October 2nd AstroPhoMo (Astro Photo Month)

Today's effort is a cloudy Sun take through an ED80 Refractor with the Canon 350D.

I also managed to grab some (also very cloudy) frames with a Meade DSI ccd  through a Coronado PST. You can just see some solar flares/prominence around the limb at approximately 10 and 2 o'clock respectively.

 Here's the telescope setup for today. The two standard refractors have special solar filters in order to view the sun without causing damage to person or equipment.  NEVER LOOK DIRECTLY AT THE SUN WITHOUT PROPER EQUIPMENT!!!

Monday, October 1, 2012

October 2012 AstroPhoMo (Astro Photo Month)

The goal is one Astrophoto or Night Sky Picture taken and posted per day for at least a month.

Clouds pretty much ruined the sky for an Astrophoto but still got Night Sky shot with the the Canon 350D and Tokina 11-16mm WA Lens as a plane coming into land at Launceston Airport flew by.