October 23, 2011

2011-06-30 – Dumbell Nebula

Also while I was taking some pictures of the Ring Nebula, I decided to take a quick look at the dumbbell nebula.  Here I did some darkening like I did on the Orion Nebula before.  It got better, but I think some better planning, light pollution filters, etc. would make it better.
Canon Rebel XS, through my 120mm refractor, with 10mm eyepiece projection, 90 seconds
Same picture, with some processing

August 30, 2011

2011-06-30 - Andromeda

I was taking some pictures of the Ring Nebula, then moved on to see what I could do with the Andromeda Galaxy.  Unfortunately, the light pollution in Ephrata is simply too much.  It didn’t help that I was looking through my 10mm eyepiece, but you can see the dark dust lanes at least. 

Canon Rebel XS, through my 120mm refractor, with 10mm eyepiece projection, 95 seconds
Next time I’ll put a light pollution filter on and see what happens – maybe use the Newtonian or SCT for more light gathering.

July 25, 2011

Jupiter Refractor Less-of-a-FAIL

On the same night that I took the previous pictures of Jupiter through the Dobsonian Reflector 10in, I also took pictures through the EON Refractor.  Judge for yourself, but the cool part is I got some of the moons on this one.

July 24, 2011

Jupiter Dobsonian FAIL

Alrighty, so back in October of last year, I tried getting some pics of Jupiter through the 10-inch Newtonian Reflector on Dobsonian mount, just to see what would happen. Basically a fail because I couldn't magnify it (putting in an eyepiece would have changed the focal length to a spot I can't get to) and because my refractor is better for planetary observing anyway. Alas, if I don't blow up the pictures at all, you can see some detail, like Jupiter's band (Usually there are two band, but this was taken when the one band suddenly "disappeared").

The original after cropping - Shot with DSLR on 10in reflector, 1/500s, ISO 200

The "processed" picture
Overall, I'm not impressed.  I figure if I want to get good pictures of Jupiter I should:
  1. Use the Refractor
  2. Use a CCD camera and learn how to stack images
  3. Or if I want to use the 10in reflector, I think I need a focal reducer or something...

March 27, 2011

First Processing Attempt (almost) EVER!

Ok! So I decided to do a little QUICK processing of my image and found that it was actually not that hard and there was definitely a vast improvement in the picture quality (I think).  So I took the advice from this website (and changed the RGB settings based on what I liked).  I really just changed the RGB levels and contrast and brightness (after cropping it).  What do you think?
Obviously, it's not show quality, but it does give me hope for later.

March 26th, 2011 - Orion Nebula

Alrighty, so I knew that if I wanted to try getting the Orion Nebula M42 through my scope and with the DSLR, I had to try it soon since Orion won't be up for much longer and it's always setting and getting closer to more light pollution all the time.  So I went out last night and just messed around with DSLR and got some decent shots for just messing around.
150s exposure, ISO 200 with DSLR & EON refractor 
This one was my favorite.  Light pollution limited me to this long of an exposure.  Perhaps next time I'll use a nebula filter or a light pollution filter (just thought of that right now...wish I had last night).
270s exposure, ISO 100 with DSLR & EON refractor
As you may be able to tell if you zoom in on this one...tracking was a problem.  I'm pretty darn sure it's because the mount has shown to be more wobbly and moveable - this movement has increased after every star party I hold.  Lesson learned
70s exposure, ISO 400 with DSLR, 2x Televue Barlow, EON refractor
 This is using a 2x Barlow Lens to get up close a little more.  It was hard to focus, and I was running out of patience, but you can see the red vs. blue stars well because of the lack of focus.

Yeah yeah, I know I should have used my Newtonian for better light collection, but it doesn't track - perhaps I'll use the SCT next time.

January 17, 2011

Lunar Eclipse Pics - FINALLY!!!

Sorry for the long delay.  School caught up to me and has kept me incredibly busy.  I could rattle off the reasons, but I doubt you want to hear me whining. 

Alas, here are my favorite pictures (of about 500 or so) from the total lunar eclipse of December 21st, 2010. 

I had two setups going.  One was just a DSLR identical to mine (Canon EOS Rebel XS) with the 18-55mm IS Lens.  The pictures taken with those are the ones that give a wide field of view with the constellations in them.

The other setup was my DSLR hooked up to the back of the Orion Sirius EON 120ED EQ-G GoTo Refractor.  Those pictures are the close-up shots of the Moon.

Overall I was very happy with the pictures.  The lone DSLR got some great artistic shots and required not much effort.  I did have to focus using the LiveView function and zooming in 10x on a far away radio tower - but it seemed to work.  With the telescope setup, there were a few that were out of focus which frustrated me, but luckily I did get a few really good ones. 

What to do with all of these pictures?  I'd like to photoshop some of them into one single picture that shows the track of the Moon through the umbra or something like that.  I haven't gotten into Photoshop quite yet, so that's later.  Anyone have suggestions, ideas, resources for putting these images together in one shot?

Definitely my favorite shot with the DSLR only.  F4.0  30s   ISO400   27mm
 Another great one, with star trails of Orion.  F4.0  360s   ISO100   27mm
 Toward the beginning of the eclipse 1/200s   ISO100  through scope
My favorite of the bunch  3.2s   ISO400  through scope

Here are the rest of them - Total Eclipse Pictures