Welcome to my Astrophotography Blog!
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....
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Every month there are several competitions in astrophotography (DSLR, CCD, Beginner, Sketching). I entered 2 images...
In the "object of the month" challenge, my NGC 1333 won
And in the Group Challenge (a sort of "best of" from all the categories), my M42 won
Cloudy Nights is a great forum and resource for the aspiring astronomer and/or astrophotographer. The competitions are friendly and fun, with bragging rights and a t-shirt the ultimate reward. Plus, the winner gets to pick the next "object of the month". It is a great way to challenge yourself and work on your skills, as well as see other folk's take on a similar object.
My M42 photo will appear on the Cloudy Nights homepage next month : )
Monday, December 15, 2008
My Takahashi FSQ 106ED telescope is alive and well and will continue to get a workout for many years. But the Tak is a wide field scope for imaging large objects. To image SMALL objects I need a much longer focal length (think of it as changing lenses on your camera).
Galaxy season is coming up and there are not that many wide field targets in the spring, so this time around I will be ready! After much debating, I settled on a Meade LX200 ACF 10" SCT telescope. It has a long focal length, larger aperature, flat coma-free field, and a mirror lock. In other words, it is a good choice for narrow field astrophotography.
I am still putting this rig together. I am slightly worried about the weight on the mount, but the Tak mount is pretty darned robust. I may go with a lighter guidescope (the one on top), but for now I'm going to give this a try and see how it performs.
I am eager to try this out on galaxies and planetary nebulae. It should be a fun challenge! Stay tuned...
Thursday, December 11, 2008
The first night in Atoka was perfect, and very cold. The next night started well, but clouded up as I tried to image the California Nebula. So I packed up early and headed back to town around midnight. It is a bummer to bail on a session, but the upside is a nice warm bed!
Anyway, the image before you is M78, a reflection nebula in Orion. I shot this with the FSQ 106 taking 11 x 20min exposures for a total exposure of about 3.6 hours.
As I was processing the image I noticed I had captured an arc of red nebulosity in the upper right corner. I was not sure what it could be. But as I worked on pulling out the details, I was struck by hunch. After researching a bit I discovered my hunch was correct -- the red arc is part of the famous Barnard's Loop!
Most images I see of M78 are close-ups. But since my field was wide, I picked up the Loop in my shot as well. I knew the Loop was in Orion, but I had no idea it was so close to M78. It was really fun to "stumble upon it", then figure out what it was -- like making a discovery (even though all seasoned astronomers would certainly know exactly what it was immediately).
This quote really captures the idea...
"When you make the finding yourself - even if you're the last person on Earth to see the light - you'll never forget it."-Carl Sagan.