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, June 3, 2008

Trifids, Whirlpools, Lagoons, and Greek Philosophy!!

Wow! What a great weekend at the ranch! I finally took the new TAK scope and mount out for an imaging session under great skies.

I did my first polar alignment, so I'm not a polar virgin anymore. It was actually pretty easy using the Takahashi mount's polar scope to dial-in Polaris and the requisite off-set. So I was good to go in no time.

Image specs: ISO 1600, 66 min (200 sec. subs)

Here is my first success -- the Trifid Nebula (upper left) next to the larger Lagoon Nebula (lower right). Actually, the Lagoon is too large for me to capture all of it with the Trifid. Part of it is cropped-off. I'll probably take a photo next time of just the Lagoon.

This area of the sky is looking directly towards the hub of our Milky Way galaxy -- lots of stars! In fact, the Lagoon Nebula is a big "star hatchery".

There are two main types of nebulae -- reflection and emission. The Trifid is a good example of both! The Blue areas are reflection and the Red are hydrogen emission. Actually, there is a lot more hydrogen emission nebulosity than my camera is able to capture (since commercial cameras have hydrogen blocking filters for terrestrial photography). Guess what my next upgrade will be?

Here is a wide-field image of the Whirlpool Galaxy. I tried imaging this before with my older set-up but could not get enough exposure. Here I have MUCH more light.

I like this wide view. As incredibly huge as this galaxy is, it appears almost petite in the vastness of space.

Space is freakin' HUGE....

Image specs: ISO 1600, 40 min. (60 sec. subs)

Finally, here is the open star cluster M7. It is also called "Ptolemy's Cluster" after the Greek philosopher. He used to look up at this cluster a lot and talk about it for some reason. Hey, he was a philosopher...
Anyway, the cluster is the loose bright star grouping in the center. The "clouds" in the background are actually millions of stars (I've counted).
Again, this is looking towards our galactic hub -- a VERY dense region!
Image specs: ISO 1600, 30 min. (60 sec. subs)
I was up all night 2 nights straight shooting and observing. It was awesome. I'm still looking at my data. I'll have my first image of Jupiter coming soon!


Bob Eggleton (Zillabob) said...

HOLY SHIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That's all I can say. You da man! Amazing stuff!

I am JOhn said...


Thanks for stopping by. High praise from a fellow "space cadet" ; )

Hey, I can't paint so I gotta cheat and use a camera. One nice thing is actually being out under stars. One NOT nice thing is being covered in mosquito and chigger bites (but it was certainly worth every bite)!

Bob Eggleton (Zillabob) said...

Your thoughts on the spiral/whirlpool shot(my fave) were mine but before I even read your comment, I said "This wide shot looks amazing!" And it illustrates the true vastness of space, and there you go and said the same thing. Still, this is amazing stuff and you need to start sending stuff to the mags!!

I am JOhn said...

Yeah, it would be a kick to get a photo published one day. After I hone my skills a bit more I'll give it a shot!

In the meantime, must... grab... more... photons...

Ken Mitchroney said...

Nice work John. I haven't seen anything like this since Mark Cantrell and i set up his high doller Celestron out in Okechobee Florida. Back in the early 80's,Like the ranch, there was no light pollution and what we got was very cool too.
Keep them pictures coming!