clear sky chart

Job 9:9

Job 9:9-10
9 He is the Maker of the Bear and Orion,
the Pleiades and the constellations of the south.
10 He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed,
miracles that cannot be counted.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Reporcessed Cherry Springs Photos

OK, the past week, I reprocessed some of my photos I took the week before at Cherry Springs.  I knew I could get a little more out of the Horsehead, and also got rid of most of the nasty gradient along the top.

I also reprocessed M42, and did MUCH better with it.  The one I posted earlier was way over exposed.  This one used about 15 - 1 minute frames, and some 8 second frames of the core.

And last but not least, I re-did the Andromeda Galaxy.  Think I got the colors better this time.

Think I improved on all 3.  Seems I've had more detail on Andromeda in the past, so I'm not certain whats up with this one.  I think it was also over exposed.  Overall, the images are better this time.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Cherry Springs

Spent a week at Cherry Springs to image the sky under pristine conditions and I've learned a lot due to my own inexperience.  Let me give you some tips before you start imaging from a site 4 hours away...

1.  Make sure your camera settings are right.  Mine was set to iso 400, and the first 2 days were almost spoiled because of it.

2.  Image deep.  Keep the shutter open a long time.  This requires an autoguider, which I dont have.  I'm not going back there again until I have one.

3.  Use a high iso.  I found that iso 1600 on my digital rebel did a fine job.  I've never imaged at 1600 with that camera before because it was maxxed out at that setting.

4. Darks, Flats and Bias frames matter even more under dark skies.  Take a good set and use them!

Now I imaged about 15 or so objects, and because of stupid mistakes, some didnt come out too good.  I did have some good pictures though, and I'll post the best ones here.

Although I've seen wide field images of the Milky way that are far superior to mine, I thought mine came out pretty decent, as I've never been able to really image it before.  Here's mine, looking at the core of the galaxy.

Next is the Deer Lick Galaxy Cluster.  I used the 1100D on both this and the Milky Way above.

I also imaged the core of the Andromeda Galaxy, which I'm not sure if I like or not, but I'll post it anyway...

The color isnt right on the edges, which I'll take care of one of these days.

This is the Triangulum Galaxy, and it didnt come out as good as I expected.  I can probably do better from home.

Here's the bubble, taken at iso 1600.  Not great, but its ok....

M42, and I'm not sure what went wrong with this one, I've done so much better last year.

Now the next 3 images made the trip worth while.  First is the Helix Nebula, which I doubt I'd be able to get nearly this good from home as it is so low in the sky.

The Pleiades is incredible from Cherry Springs!

And then, theres the Horse Head and Flame Nebula, which I've tried to get last year, but this one rocks in comparison...

Last but not least, I also imaged the Trifid.  It is about the same as the one I took a couple months ago...

So, did I waste my time?  I dont think so.  After fixing some stupid mistakes, I got some decent images.  Next time however, I'll be guiding, and I'll also get deeper and more numerous frames of each object.  Trouble with going to a site like that is that you want to get as much as you can, trouble is, one can easily get ahead of himself and try to do too much.  I believe if I had gotten say 50 frames of each object, my images would have been far better.

Also, I have to mention, they had a star party there the weekend we left.  Participants came early, and was kinda crazy.  I didnt know about the star party or I would have registered, therefore, I didnt attend the event.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Jupiter & the Great Red Spot

Recollimated the scope in anticipation of my trip to Cherry Springs next week, and thought I'd test it by imaging Jupiter.  The Great Red Spot would be visible on 9/6, so I got up at 5AM and shot some AVI's.

The little black dot below and to the left of the redspot is the Oval BA.