Monday, August 21, 2017

Eclipse August 21, 2017

Spur of the moment pictures I took of the eclipse.  I had the telescope out and figured why not give it a shot.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Star Party at TJC Center for Earth & Space Science Education

I brought my photo rig with me and here's what I shot.

M13 - Hercules Cluster
Shooting nearly straight up gave me a pretty clear view of this globular cluster.

M13 - Hercules Cluster

Dumbbell Nebula
My first time trying for this one.

Dumbbell Nebula

Friday, March 14, 2014


For 5 years I've wanted to see features on Mars.  Last night I finally did and here is the proof :)

Mars in motion (5 frames rotating back and forth).

Here are the 5 keepers from my shoot.

Shot 7 Still

Stellarium Screengrab for reference

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Day and Night viewing

This is my first decent sun picture.

  • Stellarvue SV70ED
  • Canon EOS T3i unmodified
  • Orion glass solar filter
  • 25 shots stacked using Registax 6
  • ISO 100
  • 1/500th of a second shutter speed

click for larger

This is my first try for the Crab Nebula (Messier 1)

  • Stellarvue SV70ED
  • Canon EOS T3i unmodified
  • 10 shots stacked using Deep Sky Stacker / then Photoshop for levels
  • ISO 1600
  • 90 sec exposure (15 min total exposure)
click for larger

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Canon T3i and a Full Moon

Last night at CESSE (TJC Planetarium) I tried out my new camera by taking some shots of the moon.  It was pretty much full so not a lot of surface detail, but with around 6 shots I made this large mosaic in natural color.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Capturing Saturn and seeing a Meteor

It's been a while since I've had my rig out and I was worried that I'd miss Saturn.  After upgrading my firmware (Motor Control and Hand Control) I can now do All Star Polar Alignment.  The idea is even if you can't see the North Star you can do an accurate Polar Alignment...

What they don't tell you is it's not much fun to do and even harder than doing a regular polar alignment using your polar scope.  They need to make an easier way to adjust the alt and az instead of doing the screws that are hard to reach while looking through the EP.  Anyway - once I was aligned it seemed to work OK.  I really need a dome so I can setup and stay aligned, but that's another issue to be dealt with later ($$$).

Saturn - the reason I was out there to begin with.

Here's my best shot of Saturn - I doubled the pixels to get it larger.  In the future I need to work out how to barlow my flip mirror, but for the time being I'm happy with the surface detail I achieved by limiting my exposure time to 4:10.  Any longer than 5 minutes and the planet rotation blurs the details - thanks Jerry Lodriguss for teaching me about that.

Below is all of the good shots with their ISO and shutter speed / exposure time (taking 1:1 video) - each one gave me about 3200 stills so that's not bad for lucky imaging.

These are 1:1 pixel sized so this is exactly the size I got from the camera.  You can see they are pretty small so my 2.5 barlow would have made a huge difference... I just need to work out how to stack the equipment up without being unstable.

Things to do next time
  • Set up a little earlier when it's getting close to dark and use a real compass to align the mount so I'm relatively close.
  • Use my barlow to get 2.5 x magnification - with my C8 I'm getting plenty of light, just need to get up close.
As a plus I saw a nice meteor in Scorpius (see below for the location from Skymap HD).  I haven't ever really done any good watching for meteors, but since I was already pointed in that general direction I saw a really nice one during this relatively minor shower (2/hour isn't anything special so seeing one is cool).

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Panstarrs C/2011 L4 and more

We had a great time at the Mineola Nature Preserve on 03/13/2013 looking for PanStarrs C/2011 L4 (Magnitude 1).  While we were waiting I did get a shot of the moon 1 day after New (so a fingernail to be sure).  Once it darkened up I tried my luck with the Double Cluster in Perseus, Horsehead Nebula in Orion and Andromeda's Galaxy

Fingernail Moon
PanStarrs C/2011 L4 in the twilight sky

Double Cluster in Perseus

Flame Nebula (left) and Horsehead (right) in Orion

My first attempt at Andromeda's Galaxy