Friday, June 3, 2016

Saturn at Opposition 02-Jun-2016

Although you'd be hard pressed to see a difference from one night to the next, here is Saturn at Opposition 02-Jun-2016. For views of what Saturn has looked like over the course of the last 12 years, see http://www.pbase.com/wjshaheen/saturn_ring_tilt


Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Saturn 2016

Taken @ 00:25am MST on 31-May-2016 (0725UT on 31-May-2016).
Although Saturn won't be at opposition until June 3rd, its distance at this point won't matter much.

Best 30 of 300 frames taken with the Celestron NexImage5 planetary imaging camera, Celestron 1100 EdgeHD telescope, no barlow, fl = 1960mm. Image scale 0.23 arc-secs/pixel. Video processed in ImagesPlus6.5 with RGB color channels split, aligned and re-combined.

North is up and east is to the left.

20160530_Saturn_CombRGB_IPadj-TPadj.jpg

Mars at its closest 30-May-2016

Taken @ 11:33pm MST on 30-May-2016 (0633UT on 31-May-2016). Although Mars was at opposition on the 22nd of the month, tonight it was at its closest to the Earth for this year. 


Best 30 of 300 frames taken with the Celestron NexImage5 planetary imaging camera, Celestron 1100 EdgeHD telescope, no barlow, fl = 1960mm. Image scale 0.23 arc-secs/pixel. Video processed in ImagesPlus6.5 with RGB color channels split, aligned and re-combined.

North is up and east is to the left (of course) :O).

20160530_Mars_CombRGB_IPadj-TPadj.jpg

Monday, May 30, 2016

Mars in 2003

 
I was doing some video housecleaning this morning and came across some from the Great 2003 Mars Close Approach. So, I took one of the videos and used today's newer software to process.
 
 


See sky charts from 2003 and today - http://www.pbase.com/wjshaheen/mars_2003 
 
 

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Jupiter and Great Red Spot 28-May-2016

If you have a telescope, try to catch Jupiter in the next couple weeks while it's still overhead at a reasonable time in the evening.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Mars at Opposition 22-May-2016


Taken @ 12:22am MST (0722 UT) on 23-May-2016. Although Mars was at opposition at this point, the red planet will be at its closest to the Earth on the 30th, but the size difference will be negligible, at best a few tenths of an arc-second. Current diameter is 18.4 arc-seconds (angular width). This was from the best 30 of 300 frames taken with the Celestron NexImage5 planetary imaging camera, Celestron 1100 EdgeHD telescope, no barlow, fl = 1960mm. Image scale 0.23 arc-secs/pixel. Video processed in ImagesPlus6.5. North is up and east is to the left.
See source video at https://youtu.be/4wIabDYpKyk

Monday, May 9, 2016

Transit of Mercury 09-May-2016

 
 
 
You had to be there to see it - visually, through an eyepiece. But, if you couldn't, this is the next best thing. Other sizes here: http://www.pbase.com/wjshaheen/image/163182013/large

 
 
 
 

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Unchoking the Light


Replacing the adapter between the telescope and Off-Axis-Guider really opened up the light cone.

First night's test using the new PreciseParts adapter. See the full story and photos here.

See video showing how the part was designed on-line here.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

M27 - The Dumbell Nebula 20-Apr-2016





Distance 1,360ly, in Vulpecula

Telescope configuration: Celestron EdgeHD 1100 with the Celestron 0.7x focal reducer (fl=1960mm, f/7.0).
Camera: Nikon D5300. Exposures: 3 @ 5 min., Ambient temp 59f.
Image capture scale: 0.41 arc-sec/pixel (un-binned). Resized to 50% in ThumbsPlus. Final image scale/resolution 0.82 as/p. Field of view (horizontal) = 24.5 arc-min. Image capture using ImagesPlus Camera Control 6.0.
Mount: Orion HDX110 German equatorial mount. Autoguided with an SBIG Sti autoguider and a Celestron OAG (off-axis guider), with PHD2 autoguiding software, not dithered.
Post processing: ImagesPlus 6.5: NEF conversion and calibration, alignment, stacking/combining using 0 dark frames, a 5 bias frame master and 0 flat frames, Average combined. HDR Stretch, Curves and multiple enhancements in ImagesPlus. Cropped and resized to final dimensions, one pass unsharp mask, contrast, saturation, gamma in ThumbsPlus.

20160420_M27_CombAvg-IPddpadjnr-TPadj.jpg

Monday, April 18, 2016

A Marvelous Coincidence



The Sun and Moon have nearly the same angular size a seen from Earth and so make total solar eclipses possible.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

M16 - The Eagle Nebula 13-Apr-2016




Distance 7,000 ly, in Serpens

Telescope configuration: Celestron EdgeHD 1100 with the Celestron 0.7x focal reducer (fl=1960mm, f/7.0).
Camera: Nikon D5300. Exposures: 3 @ 10 min., Ambient temp 56f.
Image capture scale: 0.41 arc-sec/pixel (un-binned). Field of view (horizontal) = 10.9 arc-min. Image capture using TSXPro Camera Add On (Software Bisque).
Mount: Orion HDX110 German equatorial mount. Autoguided with an SBIG Sti autoguider, a Celestron OAG (off-axis guider) and a Starlight Xpress SXV-AOLF (Adaptive Optics Large Format) device using PHD2 autoguiding software, not dithered.
Post processing: ImagesPlus 6.5: NEF conversion and calibration, alignment, stacking/combining using 0 dark frames, a 5 bias frame master and 7 flat frames, Min/Max Exluded Average combined. HDR Stretch, Curves and multiple enhancements in ImagesPlus. Cropped to final dimensions of 1600x1600. One pass unsharp mask, downsized 50% in ThumbsPlus. Final image scale/resolution 0.82 as/p).

20160413_M16_CombExcAvg-IPddpadj2-TPadj-IPnr-TP2.jpg

Galaxy M66 in Leo 12-Apr-2016




Distance 36 ± 5.0 Mly

Telescope configuration: Celestron EdgeHD 1100 with the Celestron 0.7x focal reducer (fl=1960mm, f/7.0).
Camera: Nikon D5300. Exposures: 4 @ 10 min., Ambient temp 55f.
Image capture scale: 0.41 arc-sec/pixel (un-binned). Field of view (horizontal) = 19.4 arc-min. Image capture using TSXPro Camera Add On (Software Bisque).
Mount: Orion HDX110 German equatorial mount. Autoguided with an SBIG Sti autoguider, a Celestron OAG (off-axis guider) and a Starlight Xpress SXV-AOLF (Adaptive Optics Large Format) device using PHD2 autoguiding software, not dithered.
Post processing: ImagesPlus 6.5: NEF conversion and calibration, alignment, stacking/combining using 0 dark frames, a 5 bias frame master and 7 flat frames, Min/Max Exluded Average combined. HDR Stretch, Curves and multiple enhancements in ImagesPlus. Cropped to final size. Two passes unsharp mask, downsized 50% in ThumbsPlus. Final image scale/resolution 0.82 as/p).

20160412_M66_CombExcAvg-IPddpadj-TPadj.jpg

NGC3628 - The northern galaxy in the Leo Triplet 02-Apr-2016

NGC3628 - The northern galaxy in the Leo Triplet 02-Apr-2016

For details see here
 



Sunspot AR2529 - 17-Apr-2017

Sunspot AR2529 - 17-Apr-2017

Didn't get a chance to take a shot at this until today. Still, pretty respectable size as far as sunspots go.
 
 
Taken with a Nikon D5300, 1/640th sec at ISO 100 through an Explore Scientific 127mmED refractor. Original 6000x4000 frame cropped to 3000x2000 and resized to 50pct.
 

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Recent Work - May, 2015

After a brief hiatus, I'm back to astrophotography.

Here is a sampling of photos taken with the Celestron 14 inch EdgeHD and the Canon 6D (full frame) camera: http://www.pbase.com/wjshaheen/apod_submissions

And, here is a gallery of cumulative work done over the years:
http://www.pbase.com/wjshaheen/astro_images_by_subject

William Shaheen
Gold Canyon, AZ
USA

Friday, April 8, 2016

Astrophoto Flat Field Illustration

This is to demonstrate the effect of taking "flat" frames to clean up errors in the optical system, such as due to dust-motes or vignetting. (Bias and dark frame subtraction are another matter.)

First up is an unprocessed single frame light image ....





Now, here is the flat frame, taken the next morning. (Note the dust mote just above and left of center and the more pronounced ones toward the bottom.) ...

 
And here is the resulting frame after applying the flat frame.  (Still needs a little work but I think you get the point. Another reason to crop) ...
 
 
No noise reduction or bias frames were applied, just to show only the effect of applying a flat frame.
 
Flat frames are worth the effort.
 
William Shaheen