Welcome to my Astrophotography Blog!

This is a journal of my adventures in astrophotography -- taking images of distant celestial objects. Please look around and feel free to add your comments, questions, and critique to any of the entries by clicking the "comments" button on the bottom of each entry -- or just say "howdy!

And don't forget to click on the images for a larger view!

So choose either the Red pill or the Blue pill and follow me down the wormhole....


Comanche Springs Star Party

Comanche Springs Star Party
Doin' my thang at the Comanche Springs Astronomy Campus (where I often become a "red ghost")

Dallas Sky

Rancho Venado Sky

Atoka Sky

Camanche Springs Sky

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Astronomical wonder of the age -- the WEBCAM!

Since both Mars and Saturn were in opposition recently (i.e. the biggest they will be for a while), I decided to try to image them. One would think that planets would be a lot easier to image since they are so much closer than nebulae and galaxies, but they are actually tough -- they are so small! They are also very susceptible to atmospheric "seeing". This is the turbulence in the atmosphere that causes stars to "twinkle". You can think of it this way... the atmosphere is like a RIVER of air that flows over us. Just like a river of water, it cause things to "ripple" if you were to look through it. But sometimes this river above us is calm and the rippling stops, then things come into very sharp focus and the "seeing" is said to be good.

What does this mean? Well, for one thing you need to use a very short exposure for bright planets and the moon try to catch them when they are not rippling (and blurring your exposure). As crazy as it sounds, the best camera for this is a cheap ass webcam!

Basically you just attach the webcam to your telescope focuser, plug into your laptop, and let it rip for about 30 seconds. Next you run this AVI through a free software called Registax (the software picks only those frames that look sharp, then stacks them -- easy)!

Here are my first attempts with a ToUcam at Mars and Saturn.

1 comment:

Bob Eggleton (Zillabob) said...

That..that green flare coming from MARS! "The chances of anything coming from Mars are a million to one, he said.."

Awe inspiring.