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

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

I'm A Tak Head!

Okay, now I'm serious! This is what a real Astrophotography rig looks like (just add camera). THIS is what followed me home from NEAF last week : )

I am now the proud owner of a Takahashi FSQ Refractor Telescope and EM-200 equatorial mount. This combo is pretty much state of the art for wide-field imaging, so if my images suck I will only have myself to blame.

Actually, I'll have my camera to blame (that's the next upgrade -- shhh... don't tell Kim).

Seriously, I'm very stoked to get this system. I can at long last go for deep exposures of faint objects. The mount is incredibly precise and the refractor uses flourite glass and 4 elements for near perfectly flat color corrected images.

I can't wait for "first light" with this baby! Yeehaw!

Keep watching these pages....


Jim Belfiore said...

Bob showed me your blog this week from his studio (you and I crossed paths at LA Con). When I was getting my astronomy degree 20 years ago, we had to live, eat, and breathe in sidereal time and correct for optics and emulsion that doesn't come close to what's possible today. You've got a great setup. Bring your gear to Denver - you haven't lived until you've removed 11,000 feet of atmosphere. Awesome pictures, BTW.

I am JOhn said...

Howdy Jim! Good to hear from you.

Yeah I've been doing image processing for years (half the battle in astrophotography), but I'm just now catching-up on my astronomy. It has been really fun, like being back in school (in a good way).

I wish I could bring my gear to Denver, but alas I will probably be limited to binoculars. Yes, I wish I could get rid of all this damn atmosphere! Oh wait... that would be bad.

dave t said...

sweet!!!!!!!! refractor John. That mount looks awesome too. Thats gonna take some incredible pictures. Bet the planets look like sky and telescope.I'm kicking myself for buying the rcx. Aperature fever wears off :(((

dave t said...

John don't know if you've seen this website but its the best I've ever seen and the peeps there are super experts in every aspect of astronomy. Huge section on astrophotography


Any question can be answered in the forums to amazing detail.

dave t said...

wups, sorry john just saw your link to cloudynights

Bob Eggleton (Zillabob) said...

Nice. So that was what was in "the box". Very cool stuff John. Can't wait next time I am there to peep through your scope.

I am JOhn said...

Hey Dave,

Which RCX do you have? Have you tried to take any photos with it?
Yeah, Cloudy Nights is a great site! Really cool folks and very helpful.


Yes, the "mystery box" is revealed! It had the refractor in it -- the mount, tripod, etc. arrived a week later.

Man! This rig is just great. Slewing this mount around just SOUNDS cool! Leave it to the Japanese to make great robots and optics (and the build quality of these Takahashi are exquisite).

First light reports coming soon...

dave t said...

Hi John, I have a 14inch rcx 400. I picked it up around christmas and it is awesome!! I got a refurbished one because I thought it would have all the kinks out but I have to replace the motherboard because the software corrupts every few days :(. But when it is working well it is awesome!! I just wish I could get some sharper views on the planets. Nebulae and globs are unbelievable!! It's like you are swimming around in them.

I'm having trouble scoring some dark skies though. At first it was good in winter, but tooooooo cold , now that its warming a bit i'm getting all that wet air off the gulf hazing up the skies. Sometimes we're lucky over here in the panhandle of Florida and get your left over dry texas air! With dark dry skies in texas a big aperatur rcx (or whatever they call them now) would be the king! of the deep skies. Stick it in an observatory on a hill!

dave t said...

actually going to get a camera shortly, not sure which one though. It is not mounted equatorially so I may just go cheap for now.

I am JOhn said...

Hey Dave,

WOW, 14 inches??? That's a LOT of aperature! (sorry if that sounds like a late night commercial).

Yeah you definitely need an observatory for that. But hey, I got some dark skies if you wanna lug it to South Texas : )


I am JOhn said...

Speaking of cameras...

If you do not have an equatorial mount, you might check out the folks at Starizona -- they have a nifty Hyperstar for Schmidt Cassegrains, and that QHY camera looks pretty bitchin' for the price.

dave t said...

thx John! That hyper star looks awesome. I'm a little scred to mess with the tube but what a great invention. I wonder if it works as good as they say. I'm hoping though to one day get a big wedge. Its just a pain to move the thing off the pier. It weights #160!!! because of all the built in stuff. I'm so low on lattitude that its gonna really hang off the wedge and I hope there is room in the dome :(.
That bad boy in the hills of texas would be awesome!! Check out the new ones they are making at meade. They changed the letters and hopefully improved the quality control. Putting one of those at your parents in a 10foot Robodome would be great. Especially in the winter.

I still miss a big refractor though. The rcx is a great balance but nothing beats the crisp views from a nice apo refractor. My wife would kill me if I tried to buy another scope....
(that there'd be a cheap 14inch rcx for sle :()