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

Monday, July 18, 2011

Cocoon over North America

Aha! At last, a new astrophoto! See? I told you I'd have a new one soon.

Yep, after a lengthy haitus (working on observatories, dealing with weather, etc.) I finally have an image to present.

This wide field mosaic stretches from the North American Nebula (lower right) to the Cocoon Nebula (upper left). That's about a 13x10 degree chunk of sky. To accomodate that field of view, I imaged 8 panels to be stitched together into this mosaic image. Total exposure was a little over 12 hours.

I actually started this project at the Texas Star Party back in May, but was unable to complete it due to clouds. I then finished it down at my BuckSnort observatory a couple of weeks ago.

Summer is wide field season, so be on the lookout for more to come!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Farewell Atlantis

Last Friday July 8th I finally realized a dream and attended my first (and last) Shuttle launch. I just barely made it. Atlantis is the last Shuttle to fly... ever.

The Shuttle program had promised to make space flight routine and common place. It actually worked too well -- many Americans stopped being impressed and/or paying attention. And I too admit to procrastinating up until the very last flight. In fact, if it wasn't for my friend John who works at NASA, I would not have been given the chance. But last week, Kim and I were invited to view the launch as NASA VIP guests!

It was indeed an exciting 2 days. On Thursday, we attended a briefing and were given a tour of the pad (bussing up to the infield fence, right next to the pad itself). Then on Friday, we were taken to the Banana Creek viewing area, the same area from which the astronaut's families view.

And the launch was spectacular!

It was also bittersweet. Since this launch brings the Shuttle program to an end, many of the NASA personel who stood and cheered are transitioning into other areas or being laid off. Surely a shame, especially since the NASA folks I met were extremely impressive and passionate individuals -- real "top shelf" people.

Another thought occured to me as we drove back to the hotel from the launch. For the first time in my life, my country does not have the ability to launch an astronaut into space. I've always felt that NASA and our space program represented the high water mark for America -- especially the Apollo missions. Of course the Shuttle program cannot last forever, but the problem is there is nothing to take its place. And so, if we want to put an astronaut in space we have to ask the Russians. So who won the space race afterall?

I try not to get political in my postings here, so I will stop before I rant. Instead, I'll just say a big THANKS to all the folks at NASA for their great work and great hospitality. It was a fantastic experience!

See more pics here