Astrophotography in Central Mass 

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March 2016 Jupiter Astrophotography

Published on 2016-04-03, by

Jupiter 2016-03-30

Jupiter 2016-03-30

Jupiter with Io and a healthy Great Red Spot

Last week, I was able to produce my best image of Jupiter to date. The seeing indices were quite poor due to a rapid jet stream and the night was gusty; we’ll take any clear sky we can get in Massachusetts!

I shot approximately 30 second videos with my Basler A102f and Firecapture using LRGB filters. I then processed the sets of four videos with PIPP followed by Autostakkert!2 (alpha version) and finally some processing in Adobe Photoshop. I have been using Noise Ninja to sharpen the images with good success.

PIPP Setup for Jupiter 2016-03-30

PIPP Setup for Jupiter 2016-03-30

I loaded each video into PIPP in batch planetary mode. I won’t provide an exhaustive list of the options chosen in this post. If you are curious send me a message using the contact form.

Autostakkert!2 Setup for Jupiter 2016-03-30

Autostakkert!2 Setup for Jupiter 2016-03-30

Finally, I processed each resulting mono video in Autostakkert!2. I also experimented with the alpha release version checking out the Gaussian blur pre-processing feature that sometimes help with aligning frames. The end results were fed into Photoshop as layers that were colorized and stacked LRGB with screen blending for the colors and luminance blending for the top lum layer.

 
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Hunter’s Moon

Published on 2015-10-27, by

Last night the full moon dominated the sky from dusk until dawn. The temperature dropped below freezing and the grass and leaves were covered in frost. I used the night to fine tune the alignment of my optics.  I’m not entirely convinced the secondary mirror is at the ideal/correct placement and orientation.  The laser collimator was used to ensure the secondary is in correct relation to the primary, which I center-spotted.

For the previous many nights, I had noticed that stars on the left side of the camera frame had more coma or perhaps astigmatism (elongation).  I rotated the secondary mirror ever so slightly, readjusted the collimation of everything using the laser and stars, and now I perceive that the stars stretch towards the edges of the frame evenly on both sides now.  I’m still very new to all of this and so lots of experimentation is required.

After allowing the primary mirror to cool to equilibrium, which seemed to take a long time, I decided to snap a few shots of the moon.  Lunar astrophotography (can we call it that?) has the opposite challenge of deep space astrophotography.  The moon is incredibly bright and instead of long exposures, tracking the object as accurately as possible, I reverted to the shortest exposure my camera would allow without any tracking.  Any other targets were a loss with all of the light from the moon and the poor atmospheric conditions.  I found an interesting article this morning which describes last night’s moon as the last supermoon of the year and also a bit of history around this full moon’s moniker, The Hunter’s Moon.  You learn something new every day! ;-)

I sharpened this image every so slightly.  It’s possible to sharpen it up and increase the contrast so that all of the subtle craters pop out and yet I felt that the moon looked rather artificial when enhanced to that degree.

Hunter’s Moon 2015

 
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Full Moon Negative

Published on 2015-10-25, by

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.

LIGHT_Tv14000s_800iso_+79f_20151025-21h26m02s264ms_Negative

LIGHT_Tv14000s_800iso_+79f_20151025-21h26m02s264ms_Negative

 
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Possibility of Intelligent Life Elsewhere in the Universe

Published on 2015-10-21, by

Possibility of Intelligent Life Elsewhere in the Universe Possibility of Intelligent Life Elsewhere in the UniverseUnited States. Congress. House. Committee on Science and Technology. Subcommittee on Energy Research and Production.; University Press of the Pacific 2001WorldCatLibraryThingGoogle BooksBookFinder 

 
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Observer’s Handbook 2015

Published on 2015-10-21, by

Observer's Handbook 2015 Observer’s Handbook 2015Royal Astronomical Soc of Canada; Royal Astronomical Soc of Canada 2014WorldCatLibraryThingGoogle BooksBookFinder 

 
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Space: a visual encyclopedia

Published on 2015-10-21, by

Space: A visual encyclopedia Space: A visual encyclopediaDK Publishing; DK Publishing 2010WorldCatLibraryThingGoogle BooksBookFinder 

 
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Space Encyclopedia: A Tour of Our Solar System and Beyond

Published on 2015-10-21, by

Space Encyclopedia: A Tour of Our Solar System and Beyond Space Encyclopedia: A Tour of Our Solar System and BeyondDavid A. Aguilar; Scholastic Inc. 2013WorldCatLibraryThingGoogle BooksBookFinder 

 
© 2015 Charles Kelley Stevenson