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

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Got Cepheus?

The Cepheus constellation is one of my favorite areas of the sky (along with Orion and Scorpius), and it is slowly coming into view for photo ops -- I can't wait! I'll be trying to hit some Cepheus targets from The Texas Star Party in Fort Davis next month (I'm a sucker for the Iris nebula).

Anyway, I was playing around with the new CCDStack 2.0 upgrade (which includes support for native DSLR Camera RAW files) and dug up some old DSLR data from the last Okie Tex that I never processed -- a wide field in Cepheus, focusing on IC1396. I had not collected many subs before getting clouded out, so I never processed the data. Though not terribly deep, it actually turned out kinda cool.

AstroTrac mount
Canon XSI ISO 800
85mm Nikon f/4
18 x 4min

CCDStack, CS4

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Cabbage Slice

There are many catalogs in astronomy -- Messier, Caldwell, NGC, IC, Abell, LDN, LBN, VDB, etc. Why so many catalogs???

Well, for one thing there are a LOT of objects out there. I'm talking DOZENS (as in billions of dozens). People keep trying to divide them into various groupings for easier management. Plus its just fun to count things, right? Right!

So this galaxy is called NGC 4236. That means it has the privilege of being object number 4236 in the NGC catalog (where NGC stands for "New General Catalog"). But like the hero Number 6 from my favorite TV show, The Prisoner, surely a galaxy resents being reduced to a mere number.

Some galaxies are more fortunate. If a galaxy is especially shapely, then it transcends its' numerical prison and is given a catchy nickname, like "Whirlpool", or "Sombrero", or "Sunflower". So even though this little galaxy in Draco may not be on anybody's top ten list, I think it deserves better than a mere number. So let's hear it -- what would YOU call it? Until somebody suggests something better, I'm calling it "Cabbage Slice".

Taken at the Ranch a couple of weeks ago...

TEC 140
STL-11000M -30C
LHaRGB (180, 90, 40, 15, 25) RGB binned 2x2
CCDStack, CS4 (and a dash of Carboni's Star Spikes Pro)

Also of note, the little galaxy at the upper left called PGC 40367 (that's right, another catalog).

Sunday, April 4, 2010

On Newsstands Now!

Just tootin' my own astro horn! I currently have a couple of images published in two different magazines out now...

My Orion image got "pic of the month" in the April ish of the UK mag Astronomy Now. They even sent me a check for 25 pounds, so I am officially stinkin' rich now.

My NGC 1333 image was also published in the gallery of the May ish of Astronomy Magazine. The kicker is my buddy Phil Jones has his image published right next to mine -- us Texas astrophotographers are takin' over!

Both of these can be found at Barnes and Noble.