Monday, December 31, 2012

Christmas Conjunction

Thursday, December 20, 2012


After astro imaging for a number of years now, Ive now hit a brick wall.  The quality of my pictures is not improving and the culprit, I think, is that my focusing is not what it could be.  Now seeking advice from whom ever may have a tip to improve focusing with my present equipment, or what it would take to upgrade my current scope to improve the quality of images.

After talking to a fellow astro imager, who has far more experience and expertise, it was determined that the path to better images is through the stacking process, and to stack, the pics need to be in near perfect focus.  The problem now is; how can the camera and scope be adjusted to get better focus?  Below is some examples of the best I could do without stacking with my Meade LX 200 8" scope and Canon Rebel DSLR w/o the digital view.  Any and all advice is welcome.

By the way, I am aware that an my scope is not ideal for astro imaging and that there are far better cameras out there, however, before a whole sale (not to mention very expensive) change in equipment is done, it would be nice to get the most of what I have now allowing for minimal hardware upgrades.

Thursday, December 13, 2012


One way to increasing observing enjoyment is to add music, although it may be frowned upon by other observers, so please be considerate with the volume if you try this in a public area observing session. 

This song by Train is one of the best songs that Ive heard that references many astronomical objects and constellations.

Monday, November 26, 2012


LOCATION:  Little Lepreau, NB

DATE/TIME:  November 26, 2012 0615hrs

WEATHER:  -5 degrees Celsius, medium wind, few clouds.


EQUIPMENT:  Tripod, 28-80mm lens, Canon Rebel DSLR Camera.

REPORT:  This observer was surprised on this morning to see a nice close Venus-Saturn conjunction.  It was the first time Ive observed Saturn since it went behind the Sun this summer.  After checking on my star chart, it was determined that Mercury might also be visible if a good view of the eastern horizon could be had.  After driving down to the beach(Bay of Fundy), a very faint Mercury could be seen.  Mercury can be seen in two of these images.

Canon DSLR, Focal Lenght 58mm, 8 sec shutter speed, ISO 200.
Canon DSLR, 6 second shutter speed, focal length 28mm, ISO 200.

Canon DSLR, 4 second shutter speed, focal lenght 58mm, ISO 400.

Monday, November 19, 2012


Date/Time:  Nov18, 2012 1900-2100hrs

Location:  Little Lepreau, NB

Weather:  Clear, no wind, -5 degrees C

Equipment:  8" Meade LX200, with 2" 30mm eyepiece, and 1 1/4" 25mm eyepiece, Cannon Rebel DSLR camera mounted piggy back and attached to eyepiece.

Attendance:  Brandon H., Myself.

Report:  Aligned scope on Capella and Aldebaran, which were in the east.  Go to did not work well, it would go to a position under where it was suppose to go.

First went to Jupiter with 2" 30mm eyepiece. Very nice view of four of its moons, two on each side of the big planet.  Two of its cloud lines were easily visible, with a hint of reddish color in them.  The clouds were very nicely defined and much color could be seen in the different layers of clouds.  Also, there was a star or moon that showed up when viewing and in the image just below Jupiter and to the right.  Not sure what this was.  Also, it should be noted that there was suppose to be a shadow transiting Jupiter at 2357hrs on this night.  Unfortunately, this was past my bedtime on this evening.

Imaging Jupiter proved to be difficult.  It would not seem to come into clear focus for some reason.

Then went to the Moon.  Many nice deep craters could be seen at the terminator.  Very impressive detail was viewed with 2" 30mm eyepiece.  Some of those craters must be extremely deep and mountainous, if a person was actually there.

Imaging the Moon was easier than Jupiter.  It came into focus better, although not perfectly.  This is a problem that needs to be improved upon.  Without an eyepiece, almost the whole Moon will come into the viewer.  Almost but not quite all.  The secret to imaging the moon is to use high speed shutter and low ISO.

Next to Uranus.  This has been one of my main goals this fall, to find Uranus on my own.  It has proven very difficult to find, even though I know where it is by looking at star charts and it is about as bright as it gets at the time of this observing report.  This is because it looks so much like just another star, except that you can see a disk and it does show, to me, as slightly greenish.  I actually observed Uranus on Nov9/12, through Curts' 8" Dobsonian at the SJAC 'Bark at the Park' observing session at Rockwood Park.  When focused in on, you can tell its a planet.  This is because, stars do not form disks in telescopes, only sharp points of light.  Betelgeuse and maybe a couple others being the only exception.

All of the above is why I took a large field picture of the area where Uranus is.  Its right below the great square of Pegasus.  Ive looked at the picture and it does not stand out to me.  I did the same thing with Neptune, although depended on the go to to find it.  After studying the picture, could not locate Neptune.

Other notes:  No shooting stars, or satellites were seen.


Jupiter with four of its Moons spread out.  There was a faint object that showed up in the eyepiece, just below and to the right of Jupiter.  Not sure if was a background star or a smaller moon.

Jupiter image taken with high shutter speed and low ISO.  This brings out the cloud lines.

Uranus may be somewhere in this field.

Jupiter, Taurus, M45

Neptune may be somewhere in this field.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Venus, Moon conjunction Sept12, 2012 0400hrs

Jupiter, Taurus, and M45 Sept13, 2012 0450hrs

Moon, Venus, Procyon Sept 13, 2012 0500hrs

Moon Sept13, 2012 0515hrs

Jupiter and 4 of its Moons Sept13, 2012 0530hrs

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


ISS flyover from low in the North to the SSW at approximately 2300hrs Aug17, 2012.  Focal length of lense 80mm, 15 second shutter speed, ISO 1600.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Cannon DSLR shutter set to 4.0 seconds, f5.6, lense focal length 30mm, ISO 1600.

Moon is 21% illuminated.  Also in field, between the Moon and Venus, but not visible, are the asteroids Metis, Vesta, and Ceres.  Cannon DSLR shutter set to 1/2 second, f5.6, focal length of lense 75mm, ISO 1600.

Cannon DSLR shutter 1.60 second, f5.6, lense focal length 300mm, ISO 100.

Shutter 8.0 seconds, focal length 150mm, ISO 100.

Shutter 1/4 seconds, lense focal lengh 300mm, ISO 100.


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