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My first attempts at Astrophotography

First post
Author
SabotNoob
Doomheim
#1 - 2011-10-11 18:10:04 UTC  |  Edited by: SabotNoob
I recently joined a local astronomy organization and they guided me on my purchase of equipment. I'm out almost $2,000, lol, but it's been fun and I'm hoping to get better.

Link to some pictures I took

You can make them almost full screen. Click on the big picture, then click on it again, then you can progress through them in large view.

Astrophotography is a little more rare than regular viewing Astronomy, since it involves a fancy camera and learning about picture taking on the manual setting and image processing. You basically attach a DSLR camera to your telescope.

I think I'm set in terms of equipment. I can control the camera and telescope mount from my laptop, AND THEN control that laptop remotely from the warm and comforting environment of my room, while updating market orders in between! Big smile Some call this cheating, but damn it gets cold out there sometimes.
Myfanwy Heimdal
Heimdal Freight and Manufacture Inc
#2 - 2011-10-11 18:25:39 UTC
Excellent stuff.

That posting has perhaps cost me a couple of grand. You swine!

Pam:  I wonder what my name means in Welsh?Nessa: Why?

Sofa Raddis
Gravity Waste Management
#3 - 2011-10-11 18:49:21 UTC
Beautiful.Shocked
CCP Zymurgist
C C P
C C P Alliance
#4 - 2011-10-11 19:20:55 UTC
Outstanding! I love your image of the Orion nebula.

Where these done close to a large city? I moved into a large city and pretty much gave up on doing any astronomy related things at home due to light pollution. Oh and my father stole my telescope but that's a story for another day....

Zymurgist Community Representative CCP NA, EVE Online Contact Us at http://support.eveonline.com/pages/petitions/createpetition.aspx

CCP Phantom
C C P
C C P Alliance
#5 - 2011-10-11 19:28:47 UTC
That are very nice pictures! The seeing seems to be quite good as well.

Did you use any filters for the nebula? And what sort of equipment do you use? $2000 seems to be a good price for the stuff you describe.

The moon seems to be a bit blurred though. But an excellent choice of time, the terminator is at the right place!

CCP Phantom - Senior Community Developer

CCP Fallout
C C P
C C P Alliance
#6 - 2011-10-11 19:37:45 UTC
My tale is a sad one :(

I have a Celestron 127EQ, which is a GE reflector. Not too bad for a starter scope, except I live in NYC. At the edge, which wouldn't be too too bad, except I live right by JFK, so there's light pollution galore. Because I'm a novice, this turns out to be a very good thing. It means that I can check out the brightest of objects and not have to worry about aligning. I simply use StarWalk (iPad) on a setting that mimics the sky for me, so I can easily pick out objects.

I've seen Jupiter and Saturn, but the colors were washed out. Disappointed, but considering what I'm up against, not too bad :D

CCP Fallout Associate Community Manager EVE Online @ccp_fallout

SabotNoob
Doomheim
#7 - 2011-10-11 19:55:00 UTC
CCP Zymurgist wrote:
Outstanding! I love your image of the Orion nebula.

Where these done close to a large city? I moved into a large city and pretty much gave up on doing any astronomy related things at home due to light pollution. Oh and my father stole my telescope but that's a story for another day....


Most of these were done in the mountains about 1.5 hours away from the city. Unfortunately, there was over 50% cloud cover that night when they originally predicted 11% (damn weather forecasters suck, seriously).

The sky is great at that location; it's where we as a group go once a month. The elevation is only 5,000 feet so it doesn't help, but the distance away from the city makes the difference.

I got INCREDIBLY lucky with the Orion Nebula as there was a huge break in the clouds in the eastern sky. The rest came out hazy because of the clouds.
SabotNoob
Doomheim
#8 - 2011-10-11 20:08:23 UTC  |  Edited by: SabotNoob
CCP Phantom wrote:
That are very nice pictures! The seeing seems to be quite good as well.

Did you use any filters for the nebula? And what sort of equipment do you use? $2000 seems to be a good price for the stuff you describe.

The moon seems to be a bit blurred though. But an excellent choice of time, the terminator is at the right place!


No filters for that nebula! That was done with stock stuff. It blew off my socks when I saw it because I wasn't expecting that awesome of a picture.

I have:

Orion 80ED Refractor
Celestron CG-5GT computerized mount (tracks with the Earth's rotation- a must if taking long exposure pictures).
Canon T1i DSLR camera

Additionally, I have a second finder scope mounted to the 80ED refractor. This second scope has what's called a Guide camera attached to where you stick the eyepiece. The purpose of the second scope and guide camera is to lock onto a star near the object you're photographing, and help your computerized mount track the hell out of it. This is so that you can take a much longer exposure without seeing movement (streaks instead of round stars) in your picture. The movement is caused by the Earth's rotation. The mount can track well on its own, up to about 20 seconds of camera exposure time. That's good for bright objects, but not so good for distant and darker objects. With the guide camera/scope, I've taken exposures up to 10 minutes! Going to try longer next time. The longer your exposure, the more detail/color you see in your pictures.

Another great part is not having to use the handheld control for the mount to move it around, which is tacky. I connected a cable to the controller and ran it to the laptop, and use a free program called Stellarium to find things and move the scope (via the mount).
Mortis vonShadow
Balanaz Mining and Development Inc.
#9 - 2011-10-11 20:09:38 UTC
You did a fanstastic job! Keep at it, please. Its the small things like that, in life, that make the mundane things bareable.
+1 for your effort.

Some days you're the bug, and some days your the windscreen.                   And some days, you're just a man with a gun.

Zagam
Caldari Provisions
Caldari State
#10 - 2011-10-11 20:10:44 UTC
Impressive photos, keep it up!

I'd love to get into astrophotography, but since I live in SE Texas (about 150' above sea level, with nothing above 3000 feet for about 500 miles)... I'm kinda doomed. Also, if I dumped $2k on anything, my wife may kill me.
Myfanwy Heimdal
Heimdal Freight and Manufacture Inc
#11 - 2011-10-11 20:18:16 UTC
SabotNoob wrote:


I have:

Orion 80ED Refractor
Celestron CG-5GT computerized mount (tracks with the Earth's rotation- a must if taking long exposure pictures).
Canon T1i DSLR camera



Canon models tend to change name from country to country; is that the full sensor body?

I'm in Nortth Wales whre we somimes get clear skies (55% of of the time t's raining, 55% of the time it's overcast and the rest is clear) and I am thinking of upgrading my telescope. My last one corroded with the dampness and the mirror silver peeled off an seelingly dissolved.

I'll look these items up because living here on the Llŷn Peninsula the skies can be quite dark.

Pam:  I wonder what my name means in Welsh?Nessa: Why?

SabotNoob
Doomheim
#12 - 2011-10-11 21:06:50 UTC
Myfanwy Heimdal wrote:



Canon models tend to change name from country to country; is that the full sensor body?


Not sure what you mean by full sensor body, but this is what I have:

Link to Camera specs

Apparently, I can send this camera to this company here via mail, along with $300, and they can modify it. The modification basically removes some type of filter within the camera, which then greatly enhances the camera's sensitivity to a certain type of light. It allows you then to take pictures of objects that you couldn't detect before. I may do this at some point.
Vicker Lahn'se
Stryker Industries
Ocularis Inferno
#13 - 2011-10-11 22:54:11 UTC
SabotNoob wrote:


Additionally, I have a second finder scope mounted to the 80ED refractor. This second scope has what's called a Guide camera attached to where you stick the eyepiece. The purpose of the second scope and guide camera is to lock onto a star near the object you're photographing, and help your computerized mount track the hell out of it. This is so that you can take a much longer exposure without seeing movement (streaks instead of round stars) in your picture. The movement is caused by the Earth's rotation. The mount can track well on its own, up to about 20 seconds of camera exposure time. That's good for bright objects, but not so good for distant and darker objects. With the guide camera/scope, I've taken exposures up to 10 minutes! Going to try longer next time. The longer your exposure, the more detail/color you see in your pictures.


Can I be your friend? =)

I have somewhat of an obsession with feedback circuitry. Your picture taking apparatus sounds amazing.

Vyktor Abyss
The Abyss Corporation
#14 - 2011-10-12 14:14:44 UTC
Love the Orion Nebula photo...

I studied astronomy at university and have just started getting back into the observational part of it. If I can achieve photos of your quality I'll be a happy chap. Keep it up!
Christine Peeveepeeski
Low Sec Concepts
#15 - 2011-10-12 15:51:14 UTC
Nice pics you have there! Keep it up and it would be nice to see more. I can't do anything like this because I live in such a light poluted area (the sky at night even in the local countryside is orange :()

Bloodpetal
Tir Capital Management Group
#16 - 2011-10-12 16:14:12 UTC

That picture of Orion Nebula is BITCHIIIIIIIIIIIN.


Love it, great job. You're making me want to look into this stuff.

Where I am.

Herzog Wolfhammer
Sigma Special Tactics Group
#17 - 2011-10-12 16:39:53 UTC
Wow I'm impressed.

Last spring I did some research into those special cameras. There is currently one such camera being used as a rifle scope, which surpasses all but Gen 4 night vision PASSIVELY (no IR illumination). That scope cost $1300.








Bring back DEEEEP Space!

Bull Eramix
Tir Capital Management Group
#18 - 2011-10-12 16:41:20 UTC
Those pictures are awesome. Hopefully you can keep posting more of them.
SabotNoob
Doomheim
#19 - 2011-10-12 20:09:18 UTC
Thanks for all the comments guys!

I'll post up some more at the end of the month. We're going up to the mountain again on October 29th, so stay tuned. Hopefully the weather will be ok enough to get some better shots up there this time.

If anyone is interested in getting into this, you can message or chat with me in-game. I'll be glad to help. Just remember that it gets expensive fast and can be frustrating initially. The guys that are guiding me, have spent $20,000+ on their gear. ShockedShocked
RubenX
The Drifters
#20 - 2011-10-12 23:47:40 UTC  |  Edited by: RubenX
I tried the same thing but with a $19.99 telescope from Wallgreens and a $14.95 web cam from Walmart. Results were less than stellar....

Oh and the darn moon moves a lot. Every 2 minutes or so it flies outside the field of view.
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