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....

JOhn

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, July 13, 2010

Aussie Rig is GO!

Kim and I will be heading to Australia and New Zealand soon and I am planning on photographing the southern skies as much as I can! We will be traveling fast and far and I need to go very light, so I have assembled a rig that is not only very accurate but very light and small.

Using a QSI 583 camera (mono w color filter wheel) tracking on an AstroTrac mount, I can get 10 min sub frames with nice round stars. I am using a set of Nikon lenses (instead of a heavy/bulky telescope) that I can also share with my Nikon D700 camera. I am controlling everything with a little Toshiba netbook. All of this will fit into a backpack.

Here is my first test shot I took last weekend with the rig -- a wide field in Cygnus using a Nikon 85mm lens. I'm very pleased with this QSI camera!

So why go to all the trouble to carry this stuff all over Australia and New Zealand for several weeks? Because there are sights in Southern skies that we cannot see in the Northern hemisphere. The sky is very different! Not only is the core of the Milky Way straight overhead, but there are incredible objects like the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds (viewable with the naked eye), as well as BUNCHES of constellations and nebulae that one can see nowhere else.

Kim and I are also going to attend a couple of nights at the Border Star Gaze -- a star party near Albury. We just happen to be there at the same time.

Hopefully I will have many new photos to share soon (but they may appear upside down)!

4 comments:

ed said...

John,

I like your travel setup. What type of geared head are you using?

Thanks,

Ed Atkin

Neutronman said...

Hi Ed,

I am using the AstroTrac wedge to mount the AstroTrac, and then a Acratech Ball Head to mount the camera -- very light but strong package!

Here's bit closer shot
http://www.astroclassifieds.com/gallery/data/526/DSC_2804.jpg

Doug said...

Hi John, Great to meet you at Border StarGaze. It was a shame we couldn't put on some better weather for your visit but that the way it goes some times. I enjoyed the evening we had sharing our images. I do hope you enjoyed yourself and made it safely to Melbourne through flooded Victoria.

Cheers
Doug Braidwood

Neutronman said...

Hi Doug,

We had a great time despite the crazy weather. I even managed some imaging on a couple of nights (the only 2 clear nights of our trip) : )

Yes, it was fun sharing images and critique, and meeting and chatting with you and all the good folks at Border.

We are planning to come back in 2012 for the Coonabarabran star party. Hope to see you again!