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  1. Hello everyone, I'm Jonny and I live in Farnborough in Hampshire, UK. My friend and I are taking our first baby-steps into night sky photography so I'm here for all the help I can get. We're just starting out so our equipment is very basic, but I'm sure the more we get into this the more we will upgrade over time. Currently our set up consists of: Home-made Motorised Barn Door Tracker (my friend is an engineer) Canon 1100D with an 18-55mm Lens Laptop with BackyardEOS We took everything out for it's first test-drive last week and the tracker works really well. Even on very long exposures the stars remain as points and not trails so we were really pleased with how it performed. I've attached what was probably our most successful picture of the evening. It' not amazing, but it's a start. I would really love to get some photos of the Milky Way and I'm hoping you all could suggest some settings to use, imaging techniques to try out and equipment upgrades? We're on a bit of a budget but we have photographer friends from whom we can beg and borrow equipment. Looking forward to chatting with you all in time. Jonny
  2. Hi all, Newbie to the forum but I just wanted to share some shots with you that I managed to get over the weekend. Got the Milky Way and even a few of NEOWISE which was amazing to witness Milky Way - 5 x 20 seconds stacked (not tracked), 11mm, F/2.8, ISO 800 NEOWISE Landscape shot - Single exposure, 8 seconds, 16mm, F/2.8, ISO 800 NEOWISE Stack 1 - 2 x 10 seconds, 16mm, F/2.8, ISO 800 NEOWISE Stack 2 - 2 x 13 seconds, 55mm, F/5.6, ISO 1600 For a first real attempt, I'm pretty pleased with them but obviously, I have a lot more to learn! Frankie
  3. From the album: Kevin Hurleys Deep Space Objects

    Wide angle shot of Milky Way in Cygnus. 10 min total (4 subs of 2.5 min each) at ISO 100. Nikon D3200 with kit lens at 18mm (f/5.6). Tracking on a skywatcher 150p EQ3-2 mount - no guiding.
  4. James

    Moonlit Caldera

    From the album: Imaging Challenge #15 - The Milky Way - Now Closed

    A 25 second exposure from a time-lapse taken over the cloud filled Caldera de Taburiente in La Palma in the Canary Islands. Mars is the red object to the left of the Milky Way. Saturn is in there too but is lost amongst the milky way. The bright lights hidden under the clouds are from the towns of Los Llanos and Tazacorte only about 7-8 miles away as the crow flies but about 90 minutes away by car! 25 sec at f/1.8, 14mm Sigma lens, ISO 3200, Canon 6D. The scene was illuminated by a crescent moon beyond the right of the image.

    © James Mackay

  5. From the album: La Palma

    A crescent moon setting over La Palma from the north facing side of the Roque de Los Muchachos. The astronomers accommodation is visible to the far right of the picture and clouds down near sea level (about 6000ft lower) reflect the moonlight. The Milky Way is coming into view on the left of the picture. A single picture can't give you sound (yet) but at this spot the sound of the cicada's was almost deafening unlike a few hundred yards the other way in the caldera whee the sound of the mosquitos is almost deafening... 20 seconds through a Canon 6D, 14mm Samyang lens at f/2.8, ISO1600

    © James Mackay

  6. James

    IMG 0032 2

    From the album: La Palma

    The Gran Telescopio Canarias on the Roque de Los Muchachos with the Milky Way behind. The foreground is illuminated by a 4 day old crescent moon off to the right. Dust from the Sahara is present which is illuminated by light pollution from towns to the west of La Palma approx 15km away.

    © James Mackay

  7. 21 of June 2017 / 22h30 UTC+01:00 / Stargazing Conditions: 88% So, I crammed all of my new acquired stuff together and went to the darkest place I could find near my town. It's a mere 5 minute drive from my home. As I set everything up, I tried to wait for 20-30 minutes to give the 'scope a chance to acclimatize but I really couldn't! Jupiter I looked west south west to find Jupiter, pointed my finderscope at it and I was amazed by how clear the image from the 'scope was!! I had a 5 minute stare through my 25mm BST eyepiece where I could distinctly see the two belts, the north and south equatorial belt. As clearly as the belts were also three of its moons were, namely Callisto, Europa and Io, although Europa was quite close to Jupiter. The color was also great and the view, simply mesmerizing! I then switched to the 15mm BST eyepiece. First I was a little, let's say disappointed, but not that strong, by the magnification, and immediatly switched to the 8mm BST. To my surprise I wasn't convinced by the view either... So I decided to get back to the 25mm and calm down and enjoy the view as I clearly was getting hasty. As I started over, I remembered some words from a friend of mine who told me that watching the stars often comes down to 50% of actually seeing the stars and 50% imagination and concentration. So I tried the 15mm a second time and... I was hooked. I could now clearly see eight different colors and belts! I'm not quite sure what it was I saw, except the north and south equatorial belt, but I will have a look at some Jupiter maps and educate myself about the planet's surface. This will help in better understanding and watching next time, the case given that the seeing is as clear as it was that night. With the 15mm eyepiece Europa was now very distinct from Jupiter. I couldn't manage to get more detail out of the 8mm eyepiece, everything just got a tad bigger and a little fainter if my impressions were right. After good half an hour of watching the delightful planet and its moons I sat down and searched for Saturn, which was south not very high above the horizon. Saturn I switched back to the 25mm eyepiece, pointed my viewfinder at Saturn and peaked through the eyepiece. What a marvel! I clearly could see some colors on the surface and easily distinct the ring from the planet itself. As I switched over to the 15mm eyepiece, the separations on the planet's surface became a tad clearer and the ring/planet separation obviously bigger. I encountered the same problem as before of not knowing what I was looking at, which bothered me a little. I have to do a little homework here and get myself started with some fancy vocabulary. Milky Way All in all it was a marvelous first light experience and I clearly have to learn the stuff I'm looking at, but I think that's just me and my endless thirst for knowing things. I randomly gazed through the skies at the end, beeing absolutely overwhelmed by everything I saw. Furthermore, I simply was flabbergasted when I ran across the milky way in the north east... There were so many stars I couldn't see with my bare eye, but only with the 'scope (which made aiming with the finderscope a nightmare... How do you guys do that really?!). I'm glad I acquired the Skywatcher Skyliner 200P with the eyepieces. It is one of the best things I got myself and I think I will have a lot of fun with it and furthermore learn so many new things. Thanks for reading, Abe
  8. Marci

    Milky Way Widefield

    From the album: Marci’s Astropix

    7x20s@ISO1600 (EOS1000D FSM) with 18-55mm kit lens
  9. From the album: Jon's images

    Milky Way Winter Triangle
  10. This August I was lucky enough to go back to La Palma with the family for a couple of weeks. Perhaps more importantly I was able to take my cameras, and this time I hired a telescope over there rather than look at the skies wishing I had my scope with me. Same as last time we were unlucky with the weather, by La Palma standards, and several nights were lost to very thick Calima - dust laden winds blowing from the Sahara . These clog up the sky and raise the temperature quite drastically. It also severely hampered my ‘schedule’ of timelapses I wanted to get but living in the UK I can expect perhaps one night in two weeks to be clear. I can’t complain at the loss of 4-5 nights out of two weeks! Although it was frustrating to miss the Perseids again - they were on the one night it actually rained!! La Palma, perhaps surprisingly for one of the best locations for astronomy in the world, is a very cloudy island. When conditions are ‘normal’ it is usual for the inhabited parts of the island at less than 3000 ft to be frequently cloudy at night time. The cloud comes and goes but is often there and can be seen in several of my timelapses. There is an inversion later at approximately 3000ft though above which it is as clear as it’s cloudy below. So, if you can get high enough you can get above the clouds and almost guarantee starry skies. But, the same situations that give those clouds give us cloud waterfalls over the Cumbre Vieja (the ridge of hills linking the north and south of the island) and some amazing fog. I could go back to La Palma just to do timelapses of the fog/cloud! If you can get high enough it’s truly worth it. Up at altitude the skies are very steady and clear. I could see detail and texture in the Milky Way right through from beneath Scorpius/Sagittarius, right overhead and down into Cassiopeia and Perseus. The Milky Way was visible right down to the horizon and the stars were pinpoint spots of light - no twinkling, not even low on the horizon! There are various spots at the side of the road you can set up on - although be prepared for a number of cars to drive past with their lights full on! I was quite surprised at the number of cars - several of my timelapses show the observatories lit up by cars with their lights on full. Of course, arguably I was part of the problem… but then I was happy to drive around on sidelights (once I’d sorted out turning off the cars internal illumination!) I met and spoke with a surprising number of people, mostly Spanish and German. But it was frustrating whilst taking a timelapse to have people drive up and take pictures of themselves pointing a torch at the Milky Way, right in my field of view. Some of my timelapses show this despite my best efforts. I was able to take Tom up with me a couple of times (even Kate came up too one night!). I quite like being on my own at night but at altitude and with the humidity at less than 5% and the walking around often being on rocky broken volcanic surfaces it was good to have company. Of course, Tom being 10 he can see way better than me, something he was happy to point out regularly! I've put together a timelapse which I’ve called the Road to the Roque. Whether you approach the Roque from the east from Santa Cruz de la Palma or from the north west (Hoya Grande) it’s at the top of a long very switchbacked road. Driving up and down 7-8 times over the two weeks burned out the hire cars brakes - thank goodness for power steering! You can’t get to the top without going up the road - the views along the way were stunning so any timelapse I put together I wanted to include that part of the journey! The car brakes really were burned out. On the last day driving back to the airport they were noisy enough I felt it best to leave the car in second gear for the last 13km (downhill).. I hired a telescope for about a week out there from an outfit that turned out to be just 10 minutes up the road ( http://athos.org ) A German setup (the guy I spoke to, Jan, spoke perfect English!) which has to be the kind of place I’d happily just move to (just as soon as that lottery win comes in). They have a place with several small houses for accommodation, observing platforms, observatories, plenty of kit and are in a truly dark spot. Absolute Paradise! They kindly gave me a guided tour (they took care I didn’t wake up some of the astronomers that had been up all night) but the place was great. I have started siphoning off money from my joint account… (luckily Kate doesn’t go on SGL!). I hired an Evolution 6 with Starsense. My rationale was to have something I could carry around easily and for it to be smaller than my main scope at home and something I haven’t used before. It worked out perfectly, the little 6 inch was giving me much better views than my 10” Newt does a home and many an hour was spent looking at Mars, Saturn, Jupiter and Venus and looking at objects in the lower reaches of the Milky Way that we can’t normally see from the UK! The starsense was cool - level, aim north, hit a button… and it just worked! I could blether on for hours but won’t - here’s a link to the time-lapse I’ve done. Its missing some stuff I wanted to get but some stuff worked better than I’d expected so I can’t complain. A couple of the timelapses were done in strong dusty winds, in one of them I spent an hour hunched over the camera on it’s tripod holding a large black cloth as a shield for me and the camera from virtually gale force winds. Amazingly that one worked well although my shoulders weren’t so happy! Getting lost on the path on the way back down to the car was a bit hairy (the caldera was 20 ft to my right) but a bit of judicious Maps usage on my phone (most of the island provides at least 3G) enabled me to figure out that the all but invisible path I needed was just a few feet back from where I was… Finally, all else aside, I can’t overstate what having dark skies does. I live in a dark part of Devon and am grateful for that but the skies there were obscenely dark. The little villa we were staying in near Puntagorda on the north west of the island - you could walk literally straight out of the lit kitchen onto a patio and bang, there was the Milky Way, better than we even see it here, visible clearly in completely un dark adapted eyes… five minutes later and it’s enough to make you think… I could work from here you know, no need to go back to the UK…. I’ve started blethering again. Here’s the timelapse, I hope you enjoy it!
  11. Set up Star adventurer mini for a few 60 second runs with a rough polar align in a very dark area a way from our hotel, only had 12 minutes astro darkness so had to work quickly . It was spookily dark ... Could see the milky way faintly reflected on the ocean. As the moon started to clear the mountains a Polish chap appeared with his camera but no tripod so we managed to communicate and I let him put his camera on my Sam. Then again as packing up a German chap arrived so we did the same again for him. It was quite interesting trying to explain the Sam and how it worked. Here is the one decent image I managed, as you can see when zooming in, focus is off ? Still a nice memory of a holiday booked by the wife as it's a beautiful dark island ( coinsided with full moon though) Thanks for looking. Single Raw file converted with Nikon NX2 and contrast tweaked in CS2. 60 seconds @ F4 and ISO 3200
  12. I'm ecstatic that I finally got a chance to see the aurora - I usually miss them whenever they make an appearance! It gave me a chance to try out my new lens (Samyang 14mm f2.8) with my Canon 70d, and I can tell it's going to be a firm favourite! Having never imaged the aurora before (and generally being pretty useless with processing software) I wasn't entirely sure how best to process them, but I think they turned out ok in the end!
  13. I was lucky enough to spend two weeks on La Palma in the Canary Islands this August with my family. Whilst we were unlucky with the weather in the first week (it rained, was cloudy and the air was very dusty blowing across from the Sahara) the second week was much better with some stunning skies and views to be seen. My original plans for various time-lapses was thrown out of sync (not entirely unusual for any UK based astronomer) and I ended up with just 4-5 nights to capture what really needed about 8-9. Whilst there's a lot I couldn't do, I was able to get a fair amount including two nights up in the vicinity of the Observatories on the Roque de Los Muchachos. Some of La Palma's most striking views involve clouds - the Caldera de Taburiente (a stunning sight from wherever you look) regularly fills up with clouds looking like a bubbling cauldron and sometimes clouds cascade over the Cumbre Nueva - a mountain ridge across the middle of the island. This ridge often holds back those clouds - it's not unusual to drive from the sunny west side through a tunnel onto the east side where it's cloudy, raining and much cooler. I was able to capture a quick time-lapse of clouds cascading over the Cumber Nueva from the Mirador El Time whilst enjoying a coffee at the cafe there. It doesn't get much better than that!! The earlier time-lapses were captured in the vicinity of the villa we stayed in, El Sitio in Fagundo, Puntagorda. Some of the later ones were captured at the 'Hacienda La Palma' from about 4500ft (1370m) altitude and some from in or around the Roque de Los Muchachos. The skies at Hacienda La Palma and up at the Roque were stunning with virtually no light pollution. Even lower areas had skies far better than usually seen in the UK. Phenomenon such as the Zodiacal light (where dust particles along the plane of the ecliptic are illuminated) were very obvious and whereas in the UK the predominant colour I have to process out of images taken is orange from light pollution, in La Palma the skies' natural green glow was very obvious in my images. That said, La Palma is a cloudy island - most of the clear nights in my second week there were due to my being at higher altitude. It was a common sight to see overcast skies hundred of metres below but not a cloud above. This video is a compilation of some of the time-lapses I did get. I made plenty of mistakes on these time-lapses, not least I should perhaps have gone when there was more moonlight to light up the ground a bit, a little different from the approach to astroimaging we're more used to.. all the more reason to go back and try them again of course Hope you enjoy.. don't forget to make sure the HD button is on when watching and turn the sound up, or down depending on preference Kate and the kids are visible in a couple of spots, I deliberately left them in - but I removed the selfie taken at the top of the Roque de Los Muchachos just after sunrise one morning as I looked about 90!!! Four sleepless nights hadn't done me any favours! Equipment: I used a Canon 6D, modded Canon 650D, 24-105mm Sigma lens, 14mm f/2.8 Samyang Lens and a 8mm Samyang Fisheye. Tracking and panning were done using a Vixen Polarie with a time-lapse adaptor. https://vimeo.com/139641078
  14. After a strategy mistake with the scopes last session, I put the VX10 in the strike zone for the bright lower split in the Milky Way and man did it strut its stuff. The sky offered intense structure in the Milky Way tonight after the storm and the Lagoon shone as a bright patch naked eye in my intended target area- a really good sign. You know the Lagoon nebula is such a detailed object with its crossing of dark lanes in it and the 21E and 30 ES chewed this object up nicely- kudos going to the Lumicon OIII and UHC! Up to the Swan, what a bright sight! no filter needed here either but the UHC showed extensive nebulosity surrounding the Swan feature... Lagoon's, Swans Trifids all were floating about ready for us to see here, and see well. I tried some toughish no filter objects, the North American neb, the Pacman, Veil, Pickerings Wisp, Crescent - all were easily seen. IC1318 co- operated tonight showing its track like feature (UHC). Come to think of it I revisited the Scorpion and associated Bubble neb but my prize was viewing the good old Lobster Claw area- this can be tough but with so much to see. Near the end of the session I said hello to "ET" in Cass as well as the Rosette and not forgetting the prop in M13 again! what a jingle jangle of stars. If you get a chance try the section of the MW where the Lagoon and Swan live... you won't be disappointed!
  15. Hi All, Sharing with you my latest pic, it's been a while since I was imaging since I have been stuck at the eyepiece for the last few outings... and my imaging gear won't see light until my obsy, aka modified shed, is complete. During a particularly clear and transparent night, just after packing up my Dob, I took out the DSLR and grabbed a few subs of the Galactic center in Sagittarius... At the top right is Scorpio stinger, center frame is Sagittarius and bright "star" far left middle frame is Saturn. Few nebulae are visible in the exposure, Lagoon, Trifid and the Cats Paw... Taken using just the unmodded Canon 7D with a 24-105mm lens set at 24mm (no scope) for 6 minutes, 18 x 20sec ISO6400 Subs... I thought it turned out not bad from my backyard for a last minute quickie after packing up. Clear skies, Mariusz
  16. I've been going to star parties for about 10 years now and more recently have taken up time lapsing - partly to get around the lack of clear skies (time lapsing isn't as dependent on completely clear skies as regular astro-imaging is) and partly as it means less kit to cart around... although I now seem to have accumulated too much again. Attached is a time-lapse I've put together of several timelapses taken at Kielder Star Camp last year, spring and autumn, and this years spring event we've just had. Star parties are about the stars/astronomy of course, but are also social events (it's usually cloudy after all) and it' always great to catch up with old friends and make new ones. But... if the skies are clear get things get very busy! The most recent star camp was warm and sunny over the Saturday and Sunday (rather rare!). When it's looking pretty likely it will be clear everyone is out making sure their setups are working, batteries are charged and so on and there's usually a general sense of anticipation that builds as it gets dark. These timelapses show the red lights used by astronomers (red light doesn't ruin your night vision) and if you are sensitive to flickering lights maybe don't watch the time-lapse :) I hope you enjoy this... it's been enjoyable (albeit cold!) capturing the timelapses although processing them afterwards can be a time consuming pain ;) If you've got a fast internet connection its best to watch the time-lapse in at least HD (1080p) - 4K is better. Detaily stuff... Most taken with a Canon 6D, 25 second exposures at ISO3200 using a Samyang 14mm lens. Orion picture taken with an astro-modded Canon 650D. Processed in Lightroom with LRTimelapse. James PS Looking forward to the SGL star party in the autumn
  17. This is a 8 panel mosaic shot the other night during a clear spell. Its great to see the Galactic centre rising above the trees again! This image spans from the constellation of Cassiopeia on the left all the way to the red supergiant star Antares in the constellation of Scorpius. Although the skies are quite dark here, the small village over the hill towards the South does give off some light pollution most nights. In this image it has worked quite well in combination with the clouds. Eposure Details: 8* 20 seconds, f3.5, ISO 3200 Taken with a Canon 1100D at 18mm.
  18. Alright, my first contact with light pollution... i was able to rescue the picture to a certain extent. Level adjustment was made with cinepaint 0.24, basically a GIMP offspring that can deal with floating point and 16 bit TIFFs. It can even work with FITS, but it has some file export issues--
  19. Hi Again, While the Luminance for the mosaic didn't quite work out at 5x5 panes, due to the Eagle getting its wings clipped, I had to add another row to the top. I missed the final pane in the top right. This is something I hope to finish soon, and which will will then give me a wider view of the top, allowing the eagle lots of room to flap. Anyway in this version I have managed to angle a crop to get the Eagle, just about, in the frame. So now this just leaves the final 3 rows of RGB, or I guess 4 rows really. This is 60mins Lum per pane, and a crop of 29 frames. Taken with the Tak FSQ106N and Atik 11000, between May 2012 and June 2013. While this region has been done before by Rogelio, and the phenomenal 50 pane picture from Stephane Guisard, both were taken with the focal reducer, so while I can't match Stephanes picture for data, this is of a higher resolution. Another one for the wall at home if I can find a wall big enough. Even though there is only an hour per pane, this is a bright region of the sky so there is a good signal present. Stitching was done by creating a base layer with Star Align in Pixinsight. Then using Gradient Merger Mosaic, I created a better more accurate base layer from the star aligned files. I then had to go to Registar to individually match each pane to the base layer, which I then stitched together in CS2. The same GMM PI base layer was then used for the RGB panes to match to in registar. So despite some small areas where the join was not perfect, I do hope to be able to combine the RGB data, and the Lum as 2 huge but separate layers either for PI or PS. This will help a lot with colour saturation, balancing the image for brightness, contrast, and sharpness etc.. I've posted an image on Flickr which might be a bit larger than this attachment. http://www.flickr.co...N02/9157592351/ There are lots of beautifully shaped dark nebulae in the image, open and globular clusters and even small planetary nebulae in there that I did not notice until I went to check the stars charts.
  20. Hi SGL, I started this galactic center project last year, but ended up changing objects due to time constraints. So far I have a lot more Lum data, but here are the bottom 2 rows of just RGB. Its 90mins of RGB data, with the Tak FSQ106N and the 11000 Atik. This is a 5x2 mosaic, and I hope to get more data next Summer to finish this and make it a 5x5 image. From B72 up to the Eagle, taken from Spain. This is my last picture from my adventures over there. Not fully processed, yet I want to wait until I have the entire RGB mosaic complete before I start the colour tweaks, balancing, micro curves etc... This just had a crop, curve push and some rough colour saturation applied. No real subtlety to the process on my end. I'll post the Lum data later when I have played with it a little more. Flick image here: http://www.flickr.co...N02/9152704948/ Thanks Tom. For some reason my enter button does nothing in the posting field so excuse the way this pic is attached.
  21. My attempt at the Scutum Star Cloud. It was a difficult target as my garden has a 6 foot brick wall to the south which my camera FoV was barely peeking above (the wall was in part of the frame at the beginning until the area of sky reached the meridian). The wall caused some indirect reflection resulting in the purple haze at the bottom of the image. Given the circumstances I'm happy with the result. My first image since April, a refreshing feeling and I'm re-energised for some great August viewing/snapping Canon 1000d (modded), CLS filter clip 70-300mm sigma lens @ 70mm 13x 6 minute exposures darks taken on the fly captured, processes in images plus software. quick crop in PS bolted to EQ6 & Ed80 for tracking /guiding Thanks for looking
  22. Hi All, I finally got around to adding the the first section of RGB to the L frames. This is 60mins L with 90RGB taken with the Tak FSQ106N and 11meg Atik. Its still pretty low here in Spain, only getting to about 25 degrees. It should get a little easier if I can get to adding the frames up towards the Eagle. Thats the plan anyway. I've only done 2x2 mosaics before so this is new territory for me. I'm trying to make the Lum layer firsts, stitch them, then register all the RGB frames to the flattened Lum mosaic. So far so good, but we'll see what happens when the next strip is complete. I guess I'm hoping to go North rather than the mosiac project going South!. Attached is what I hope a full screen shot. Or try Flickr here http://www.flickr.com/photos/28192200@N02/8247606720/in/photostream T.
  23. From the album: Deep Sky Imaging

    This was imaged using a astro modded Canon 40D through a 50mm prime lens for the wide coverage, piggy backed on my SCT, so tracked and guided using my 80mm frac as a guide scope. Total Exposure was 2 hours, consisting of 30 x 120s, 15 x 60s and 30 x 30s subs at ISO800 With in we can see part of the stars making up the Scorpius constellation, Milky way, Rho Ophiuchus, Antares, M80 and M4 among the gas, dust and nebulosity.

    © Mariusz Goralski

  24. From the album: Widefield Images

    A section of the Milky Way centred roughly on Cassiopeia. 14x 3 minutes exposures using a modded Canon 650D, Sigma 24-105 lens at 24mm, f/4.5. The Perseus Double Cluster is visible at the bottom with a whole string of DSO's right up to the Elephants Trunk area in Cepheus.

    © James Mackay

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