When the moon is full, astrophotographers often have less than an enthusiastic response. It tends to dominate the sky and wash out any hope of observing deep sky objects. I used the beginnings of tonight to try out my new folding table–a big step up from setting things on a Rubbermaid tub. I figured another good use for the bright full moon was to illuminate myself and telescope for a selfie. I tried to hold pretty still for 3 minutes while the exposure unfolded. The hope was to catch the star trails as they seem to revolve around Polaris (made more obvious with software enhanced diffraction spikes).
The color negative of the full moon looks very similar to the moon during a total lunar eclipse. This exposure (below) was taken with my 10″ f/4.5 Newtonian with a primary mirror figured and coated by Optic Wave Labs (OWL). I did very little in the way of processing the RAW file. I ran the Noise Ninja plugin to cut down on the color noise inherent in DSLRs and to sharpen things up slightly. Then I used Photoshop’s builtin color negative effect to invert everything.
Since acquiring a telescope in January, I’ve been fascinated with online images of the Orion Nebula and wanted to see it for myself. A few months ago, I viewed it for the first time through my 10″ telescope with an OIII filter in place while it was low above the horizon one morning. It’s truly a wondrous object with inherent captivating beauty.
The trees in my yard have been a major obstacle blocking clear views of objects rising in the southeast and setting in the southwest. The night before last, Orion passed through a gap between two trees at just the right height for me to take some photos. In the end, 13 of them were suitable to be combined into a single image. I think it came out really well, all things considered. The moon was bright and the sky wasn’t very transparent. I pushed the Canon EOS 6D camera’s ISO about midway at 6400 and used the long exposure and high ISO noise reduction features.
What do you think? Use the contact form to send feedback.
Tonight we sat down and thought about a site logo. I really liked the idea of incorporating a maple leaf. It’s fall in New England and the observatory site is blanketed in vibrant yellow, orange, red, and brown maple leaves. Jodi suggested that Saturn, her favorite planet, might be integrated into the design with a leaf or a maple tree. When I mentioned that the Aldrich club logo contains Saturn, as do many other organizations, Jodi burst out that the heart in the latest Pluto images would be fantastic! I loved the idea and especially the delight it brings thinking about the animated Pluto that made its way around the web. A Pluto that is overjoyed to see a satellite coming to visit it only to have it’s heart broken when the satellite continues past. So here’s the initial version of a logo that incorporates those two symbols.
Update: Galen thought it might be best without the stem shadow. After removing the stem shadow I made a version with no shadows at all. After removing all shadows he said maybe lose the stem as Canada did with their flag. So here’s the version with no stem at all (they break off in the wind sometimes anyways). What do you think? Use the contact form to let me know…