Category Archives: Uncategorized

Oops.

That moment when you set up your camera with an intervalometer to make a time lapse video of the night sky by taking a picture every minute–over 200 pictures–to find, hours later, that you did not remove the lens cap after taking dark shots for photo stacking correction purposes.

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Just shoot me now. Please. It’ll be an act of mercy.

Thankfully, other photos worked.

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How to Take Deep Space Images with a DSLR

One of my eventual goals with astronomy is astrophotography, the art of taking photos of what is in the sky.

This is a good discussion of the equipment and processes involved in looking at deep space objects.

Of course, all this equipment isn’t completely necessary, unless you desire to take pics of deep space objects. There are plenty of pictures out there of other kinds of objects that come out just fine.

The photos I have taken, for better or for worse, are from my Canon 60D on a tripod. The imaging workflow he mentions will bring out more of the colors, of course, and the software if free or cheap.

Of course, I have gear envy and would love to get all of the stuff he has. Who wouldn’t?

14-1-20 12am Observation (Pleiades/M45) [Obs #2]

This is my second official observation for the purpose of working on observation programs for the Astronomical League.

This post covers the Pleiades, an open star cluster that is part of the Universe Sampler Program and the Binocular Messier Program of the AL.

Below is a scan of the sheet I used for the observation of the Pleiades.  It is inverted in order to better bring out the sketches.

Observation sheet for the Pleiades (M45)
Observation sheet for the Pleiades (M45)

The Pleiades, also known as the “Seven Sisters,” is part of Messier’s catalog of deep space objects.  It is also famous for being the easiest cluster to see with the naked eye.  I am partial to it because my favorite car ever was a Subaru, and the logo is based on the Pleiades (which is called “Subaru” in Japan).

Taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Subaru_logo.svg#filelinks

Here is a link to an Wikipedia article about the Pleiades.  There is also information about the Pleiades’ many cultural references.

Finally, here are some Pleiades-related photos from this observation.  Click on them to see them more fully.

Taken on the night of the observation.  Star trailing is evident.
Taken on the night of the observation. Star trailing is evident.

Here is a stock image that is of better quality and shows some nebulosity.

pleiades
Pleiades, or “Seven Sisters”. Taken from Creative Commons licensed material. Photo from Jim Keller (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jimkster/). Rotated clockwise once.

14-1-20 12am Observation (Orion) [Obs #1]

This is my first official observation for the purpose of working on observation programs for the Astronomical League.  At this point, I’m working on the Binocular Messier Program, the Constellation Hunter Program, and the Universe Sampler Program.  It won’t be as hard as people think, as there is a bit of overlap in these programs.

First up, the constellation Orion, part of the Universe Sampler Program and the Constellation Hunter program.

Scan sheets, Wikipedia, Photos.

Observation Sheet for the Orion Constellation
Observation Sheet for the Orion Constellation

Above is a scan of the sheet I used for the observation of the constellation Orion.  It is inverted in order to better bring out the sketches.

Orion is one of the biggest constellations that just stands out, particularly in the winter sky.  The other big constellation in the sky is the Big Dipper.  Both are used as orientation guides when looking at the night sky and getting bearings.

Following are two links for Wikipedia articles about Orion:  Orion (the constellation) and the Great Orion Nebula, which is located in the set of stars directly below Orion’s belt on the left side of the belt.  These include plenty of information about this famous constellation.

Finally, here are some Orion-related photos from this observation.  Click on them to see them more fully.

Orion the Hunter
Orion the Hunter.
A color photo of the constellation of Orion.   It is also documented proof of my daughter staying up waaaaay past her bedtime.   The area I live in has a significant amount of light pollution, which was present tonight.
A color photo of the constellation of Orion.
It is also documented proof of my daughter staying up waaaaay past her bedtime.
The area I live in has a significant amount of light pollution, which was present tonight.
B&W photo of the constellation of Orion.
B&W photo of the constellation of Orion.
The Great Orion Nebula.  Although taken from a tripod, I made the mistake of using a zoom lens at the full extension, so there is some trailing.  The fuzziness around the brighter stars is the nebulous part.
The Great Orion Nebula. Although taken from a tripod, I made the mistake of using a zoom lens at the full extension, so there is some trailing. The fuzziness around the brighter stars is the nebulous part.