I decided to go back and rework some of my data from March and see what I could come up with. After reprocessing my Rosette & Cone wide field image in a simulated SHO palette, I decided to try and do the Orion and Horsehead wide field shot.
I did the stacking, channel combining and initial processing in Astro Pixel Processor then took the image over to Photoshop. I had to do it separately for the longer exposure and then the shorter exposure to create two separate images to use to try and combine them to soften the blown out core a bit. I believe my long exposures where simply too long to be real effective, but I was able to soften it a bit. I needed the longer exposure to pull out the detail in the Horsehead and Flame Nebulae, so I will need to research a bit more if I try this again in the future. I am thinking I may need to take three different data sets at different exposures and combine them over two. For reference, I have been using AstroBackyard’s Tutorial on HDR Composites. As always, Trevor Jones provides a lot of good information!
120 x 60s 60 x 10s Darks, flats, dark flats and biases for both sets . TPO Ultrawide 180 Astrophotography Lens Canon EOS Ra Optolong L-eNhanced Filter ZWO 30mm f4 MiniScope (guide) ZWO asi 224mc (guide)
We were blessed to be able to go on a quick two week trip down south from New England to see some of my wife’s family and some of mine. Unfortunately, even though I brought my entire astrophotography rig down, I did not very many clear nights. The one good night I did get, I was not in a good place to setup my entire rig (could not see Polaris to polar align, a lot of trees, etc). However, I still was able to get out and do some experimenting by taking one second exposures with the Canon EOS Ra attached to the TPO 180 Ultrawide Astrophotography Lens. One of the targets I choose to hit up was Betelgeuse. Late last year I promised a friend that if I ever had a chance to set my camera to Betelgeuse i would and I hate to admit that I simply never took the time to do so, until now.
Above is Betelgeuse with some surrounding sky with no annotation, annotated and in negative. I really had a good time experimenting while getting this shot. This data was collected in Griffin, GA.
100 x 1s (1600 ISO) 50 x 1s (3200 ISO) 20 / 20 darks, flats, dark flats and biases Bortle 6 . TPO Ultrawide 180 Astrophotography Lens Canon EOS Ra Tripod with Orion Panhead
Ever since I began doing astrophotography, both the Orion Nebula and the Horsehead Nebula were always high interest targets for me. Up until last October, once I got a mount that could track and a telescope with a focal length capable of taking images of these two targets, I had to settle for views through an eyepiece or trying to take a lot of short exposures at really wide focal lengths to try and get an image. Even once I got a mount and a good telescope, I was still restricted in getting one target at a time. I kept seeing people post pictures with both in the field of view, but due to the limitations of my set up, I was unable to do the same… until now!
TPO UltraWide 180 f/4.5 Astrophotography Lens & Guide Scope Canon EOS Ra Sky Watcher EQ6-R Pro Optolong L-eNhanced filter ZWO 30mm f4 MiniScope (guide) ZWO ASI224mc (guide)
Do to how my setup is currently with this scope, it is impossible for me to rotate the camera to frame the shot differently, but luckily the framing was good to go how it was! I will be writing a post soon going over how I have it set up with my current gear.
26 x 300s 20 dark frames 60 flat frames 50 dark flat frames 50 bias frames 800 ISO – Bortle 8
Captured in APT with guiding done with PHD2. Stacked in DSS and processed in Photoshop
Okay, because people have been asking me lately how I take my pictures, especially those of the Moon, I have decided to create a post detailing my equipment and procedures, etc.
First, my telescope:
This is my telescope. It has a Focal Length of 1200mm, of course the mirror is 150mm (6 inches). It’s Focal Ratio is 8.0. The telescope does not track, and because of this, plus its focal ratio, it is not the best telescope to take pictures with! I CANNOT do prime focus on this scope… I wish I could! The focus is too long. I called Orion Telescopes (www.telescope.com) to see if the had a lower profile focuser, but the only ones they had were 2″ focusers, and mine is 1.25″. I could have gotten the 2″ focuser, but I would have had to do some major modifications to my current scope, and since I am new to all of this (been doing this stuff for bout 8 months now) and plus the fact I don’t have a lot of money – to replace my scope when I screw it up! – I decided to play the hand I have been dealt… i.e. just go with what I got!
Next, my Camera:
Above, the three pictures show the adapter that I use. The adapter separates in the middle, and allows me to insert an eyepiece if I want. I have found, with my scope, the only plausible eyepieces to use are my 32mm and 25mm eyepiece. These are the only ones I can successfully focus – however, the 32mm eyepiece works best. Also not, on the very bottom of the adapter is a lens, similar to one found on a barlow lens. When I use the adapter with my 32mm or 25mm, I remove this lens, and it allows for a better focus. When I use an eyepiece any smaller then 25mm, the lens is necessary to provide focus.
Next, the adapter connected to the DSLR
The adaper connects by rings etc, and then connects to the camera just like a lens does.
Lastly, the whole thing together!
Again, I remove the lens on the bottom of the adapter before I connect it to my scope. Generally, most of my pictures are taken with the adapter fully extended. However, the Moon Background shots and those like it where taken with it in, to produce the wider view and enabling me to get the full half moon in the shot. Saying that, it is harder to focus the “full” moon then it is the closer in shots when the adapter is fully extended – plus, I like the close ups! I believe it is harder to focus because I do not have a flat field eyepiece… but, again, I am new to all of this, so I really don’t know!
I didn’t come up with this set up by myself, both Dr. Michael Covington from the University of Georgia (my school!) – http://www.covingtoninnovations.com and Andrew (my yankee friend from N.H.) at Above the Clouds (on my friends to the right) helped me get this all right. If you have any more questions, or advice, please let me know!!!
10,000 hits! I finally broke 10,000! Thanks so much to everyone out there who has visited this site as well as helped me out! On the Astronomy side, Andrew – Beyond the Clouds, and Ed – Flintstone Stargazing, and of course on the religious/philosophy side, my “big brother,” Fr. Mike Birdsong.
Below, I have put some of my more favorite astronomy pictures from the past eight months. Thanks again!!!
Here are some pictures I took tonight, all but the first one are with my Canon EOS DSLR, the first Orion picture is through my Canon A75. All from a tripod. Not great, but its a start! Click on them to see the full size.
Here is Orion’s Nebula from Thomaston, GA tonight. Not the greatest, but out of 158 pictures, I atleast found 4 I thought were reasonable. Photos have been enhanced with Paintshop Pro. Taken with a Canon EOS Rebel, 32mm eyepiece. Between 6 and 3.2 second exposures.
Here is what I have so far… although not great, but I think my scope is finally getting to temp. The two on the left are the Seven Sisters Nebula cluster (although I don’t think I got all seven – Andrew help me out!) the one on the left is Orion’s Nebula – or Orion A (sorry it didn’t put that last time) – it is part of Orion’s Sword, right in the middle (the middle of the three). I’m bout to head back out soon… the Moon is’t up yet, and I may attempt Saturn… never done that before, but Dr. Schmude (old Astronomy prof.) said I should!