Friday, June 27, 2008

I Don't Think I'll Be Applying For This Job

I'm not really looking for a job, but I still get listings in my email. This one's been showing up for a while now; I wonder why?

Responsibilities - Doing the bidding of the Lead Artist, no matter how ridiculous his demands

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

First Jupiter of the Year

There are forces larger than myself conspiring against me. Here's the deal with planetary imaging. (Bear with me, it'll maybe make sense in the end.) I hope you already know that the Earth is tilted on its axis--that's why we have summer and winter. The plane of the solar system is called the ecliptic; it's the path that the sun and the planets appear to follow across the sky. In the summer, the sun is very high in the sky. The opposite side of that is that at night, when we're facing away from the sun, the planets are very low in the sky. That means that taking a picture of a planet in the summer requires shooting through miles and miles of turbulent atmosphere. It also means that from my back yard, shooting over the roof of my house, as it radiates heat like a blacktop road. All that to say I'm stunned this photo came out as well as it did. The moon to the right is Europa, and the black spot is Ganymede in front of the planet. The Great Red Spot is just visible on the lower right.

1000 frames each RGB with the DMK in the LX200 @ f/25. Processed with AstroIIDC.

Monday, June 23, 2008

M13, The Great Globular Cluster in Hercules Revisited

A little tighter than last year's shot, and maybe nicer color.

10" LX200 @ f/6.3, 19 x 120 sec, EOS 350 D @ 800 ISO

Friday, June 20, 2008


Came across this on a message board today, talking about measurements:

Up here in canada a metre is a metre and a foot is something you find in the ocean!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Final Night at TSP

I had already packed everything except my chair and binoculars for the last night at Texas Star Party, so I wasn't too upset when clouds started building up that afternoon. By 11:00, it was pretty obvious we weren't going to get any astronomical observing in that night. (Which is OK, since I was trying to leave by eight the next morning.)

First time I've seriously tried to shoot lightning. Man, it's hard to find focus in the dark!

NGC 6992 & NGC 6960, The Veil Nebula

NGC 6992, Veil Nebula (East), aka Network Nebula. The modified camera shows a lot more detail than my stock Rebel. The extra stars I attribute to the dark West Texas TSP skies.

NGC 6960, Veil Nebula (West), aka Witch's Broom. The bright star is 52 Cygni.

M20, The Trifid Nebula
and M8, The Lagoon Nebula

I went back and re-shot M20 (top) and M8 (bottom) together from TSP. One of my best deep sky photos.

Southern Milky Way

Looking back toward the center of the Milky Way galaxy from the Texas Star Party.

Friday, June 06, 2008


The Moon is 2.67 days old here. The bright star is 52 Geminorium, in Gemini.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Moonset From Texas Star Party

The 31-hour-old new moon sets over the trees at Texas Star Party on Wednesday:

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Two More From Texas Star Party

First up is M20, the Trifid Nebula. A much nicer shot than the one from two years ago.

Next is M16, the Eagle Nebula. I really should have spent more time on the focus on this one. I may reshoot it if I have time. Definitely looks different with the modded camera than it does in this shot from last year.

Both shot with the AT80EDT on the LXD650 mount, guided with PHD. Modified Digital Rebel XT @ ISO 1600. The guiding on the mount seems to be dialed in just about right; I'm getting nice round stars, and as I flip through each exposure, it looks pretty much just like the previous one. Yay me!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Texas Star Party 2008

OK, so I'm a day late reporting. Send me a bill.

According to the GPS:
Avg Speed: 65.8
Max Speed: 77.3
Trip Time: 6:47
Total Distance: 447 miles

I didn't see a thermometer when I got here, but it was probably about 100°. I think the official term is "fookin' hot." Somehow managed to avoid passing out from the heat and the altitude while I got setup, and even managed to sneak in a nap before it got dark. Nothing special to report about Sunday night, except that it's really dark here. =)

Monday night was some of the best skies I've ever seen. The seeing was just so-so, maybe 3-4/5, but the transparency was just outstanding. Twilight ends about 10:00 p.m., so it takes a while to get started. Nice display of zodiacal light at sunset. I'll try to find the gegenschein tonight, but I'm not sure I'd recognize it if I saw it.

I finished the regular observing program, "Globular Glory" last night and got my pin. I was inspired by the folks observing next to me with a 20-inch dob, and decided to do the list without using goto. I almost made it, but there were 2 objects I needed a little help with. It was pretty rewarding though to use some skills to find things.

Meanwhile, I had the camera shooting away in the 80mm and made this photo of M8, the Lagoon Nebula. Just a little better than the first two times I've shot it. =)

AT80EDT on the LXD650 mount, guided with PHD. Modified Digital Rebel XT @ ISO 1600.