New shot of the sun. If you didn’t know, we have a satellite in orbit that takes pictures of the sun all the time, never stops. (http://sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov/data/) I usually check the site to see what the sun is up to every couple of days. I’ve been waiting for these HUGE sun spots to come around center for about 3 days now. Was lucky enough to have clear skies this afternoon so that I could capture my images. This is by far my best attempt at the sun. I took 42 images and had a program average the best 9.
Yes. My mount is an equatorial style and I try to get a good polar alignment every time I use it. For photography, it can track well for about 45 seconds to 1 minute. If I piggyback with my 60D and a 70mm lens I can track for 4-5 minutes. Can’t go longer cause I don’t have an auto guiding setup yet. Looking in to getting one this summer. There are many options, trying to find what will work best for me. My local astronomy club has a Celestron C14 Schmitt scope on an Astro Physics 1200 GOTO. I use that sometimes, longest I’ve shot was 3 minutes at nearly 4000mm and it tracked perfect the whole time, without guiding! But thats why it costs $12,000.
Saturn is up! This was my first attempt to photograph Saturn with my equipment. Used my 60D in the 10x Crop mode to get as much zoom as I can without a larger scope or extension tubes. I shot a 1 minute video that produced 3600 pictures. Then used Registax to search through and find the best sharpest 50. Registax then averaged the 50 together to increase signal quality so that I could sharpen and improve contrast and color.
I shot this when Saturn was about 22 degrees above the horizon. Looks like she gets up to around 38.46 degrees at her highest right now, and that is around 1:30AM my time. So I’m either going to pull a late night soon or wait 2 more months to try again looking through less atmosphere. Also will try to use the observatories 14in scope to get a larger image.
First try at a 9 day moon. Turned out much better than I expected. Only 14 images were captured at 1/80th ISO 100. All 14 were stacked with Registax 6 and then I took about 1 hour worth of getting the Smart Sharpen in Photoshop to sharpen it just right. Seeing for the night was only average on the charts, but I think it turned out to be very good seeing because this is the most resolution I’ve been able to squeeze out of the moon yet. And still only on a 6in Reflector!
Orions Belt and Sword. I want to try this one from a darker location a little further from Baltimore City. Try a bunch of 4 minute exposures. See if I can get more detail out of the very faint Horsehead nebula.
I saw my first Comet!
Hey look, it’s Comet PanSTARRS! Tonight was my second attempt to find the comet in the setting sun. With no clouds in site, I drove 5 min down the road to a park that is up on a hill and very flat. With nothing in the way, I braved the freezing cold wind, set up the tripod and camera, and began searching for the comet. It took about 5 minutes and then out of the blue I could see her on the camera screen! I looked up and tried to find it with my bare eyes, but could not see it. Its a very small white dot and not very bright compared to the setting sun. But the camera and 400 mm lens could see it plan as day. I snapped a few pictures @ 400 mm and then some more around 200 mm that included a foreground so you could get a feel for its size in the sky. If you could see the tail easily, it is about the size of the full moon! Hopefully I’ll be able to photograph Comet ISON in December with my telescope!