My first serious planet attempt, Saturn

Saturn is probably the single most imaged planet, besides Earth of course. The rings are just mesmerizing. Imaging planets is a lot different than my normal fare of DSOs, it uses a video camera instead of a normal DSLR/CCD. Because of the unsteady air and extreme magnification you have to take thousands of images and stack them keeping the best parts of each and discarding the rest. The result, can be very nice:   I bought an Orion Starshoot Solar System Imager IV for about $99 just for this and am using a Celestron CPC 1100 XLT 11 inch SCT… Continue reading

Supernova SN2012aw in M95 galaxy

Supernova SN2012aw was one of those times where you just get lucky. I was fortunate enough to image M95 on February 25th and just discovered there was a supernova in the very outer lanes of that galaxy so I imaged it again, the supernova is clearly visible. This was probably one of the closest supernova to Earth in the history of humans.   Almost exactly a month apart and the difference is obvious. One interesting thing to put this into perspective is that this did not happen in March 2013, in fact, not in this year, not in this century,… Continue reading

Comet Gerradd C/2009 P1, My first comet

Comet Gerradd was discovered by G. J. Gerradd on August 13, 2009 in Australia’s Siding Spring Observatory.You can find out more about C2009 p1‘s creator on Wikipedia. Here you see the comet visually near the galaxy NGC 6015 (upper right corner) in the constellation of Draco. Notice that the comet sports two tails, this is because the gas that vaporizes off the comet due to the sun’s heating is being blown by the solar wind in one direction while the particles of debris and dust fall off in a different direction since they are not affected by the solar winds… Continue reading

Ha with an unmodded DSLR, pushing the limits

Read online and you will hear how you can not shoot ha with a DSLR, specifically DSOs that contain Ha with an unmodded DSLR (one that has had it’s IR filter removed) because the current line of DSLRs are not sensitive to the Hydrogen Alpha part of the spectrum. Rubbish. Sure modded cameras are more sensitive, but that doesn’t mean you “can’t” shoot Ha with a DSLR that hasn’t been modded, you just have to use the “right” camera and be prepared for some really long exposures. Below is NGC1931 bottom center and IC417 in the upper left, the Spider… Continue reading

Andromeda galaxy revisited

Back on September 21st of last year my first ever DSO (Deep Space Object) was Messier 31 (M31 for short), the Andromeda Galaxy. This is a common target along with the Orion Nebula for newcomers to astrophotography because it can be captured relatively well without spending all night and locating the Andromeda Galaxy is fairly easy. I thought it was about time I revisited that target and see what kind of improvement I could muster up after four months of work. Here is the image I captured on January 13th of this year: Here is the Andromeda Galaxy image from… Continue reading

M42 The Orion Nebula, revisited

If you have been reading since the beginning you know that my second target for AP, and really more of an afterthought at the time, was the Orion Nebula M42. I was not at all pleased with the image, too many problems to really even get started. Now, a few months later, I had some ideas on how to correct some of those issues. Here is my original image of the Orion Nebula for comparison:   A little better image of M42 don’t you think? I started off with of course better focus, then added better tracking, and lastly applied… Continue reading

Solar imaging first attempt

Solar imaging solves the problem of always being asleep during the day and imaging at night (what AP guy actually has a day job? heh). I wanted to play around a little with solar and see if I liked it. If I do, of course there are dedicated Ha and Ck solar telescopes which are fairly expensive that I can use to do some pretty impressive solar work. For now though, I purchased a Thousand Oakes full aperture glass solar filter for my main scope to see what it could do and here is my first attempt at solar imaging:… Continue reading