These are a few of my newest Images
I have always lusted after the images of the Witch Head Nebula I have seen on the internet. Finally, on January 1, 2014, I was able to devote an entire evening to attempting to get my own version of the Witch Head. The image below was taken with a monochrome Nikon d90, mounted on a Hyperstar equipped N11GPS. It is a result of a large number of 30 second images stacked using Deep Sky Stacker. Final processing and colorization was done in Photoshop. The framing of the image could be better, but IC 2118 is so faint that I wasn't even sure I was actually capturing the nebula until I had the time to process the image a day later. Given that, I am pleased with my image. The Witch Head is also known as NGC 1909, but there seems to be some disagreement about that designation.
This next image is of NGC 2359, Thor's Helmet, and it is also known as IC 468. It is just a newer version of the first object I ever captured with my new Nikon d90. I have gotten some additional narrowband filters and perhaps improved my processing skills a bit since that first image. By the way, the Ha and Oiii subs for this image were taken with an exposure time of 50 seconds. The image was taken with my N11GPS with the Hyperstar 3 lens system installed. This image was captured from the driveway in Tempe on Jan 11, 2014.
This is my latest effort at the Orion Nebula, taken 10/30/13. Like Andromeda, I have taken many shots of M42 over the past few years. It is big, bright, and easy. But I am always trying to get a better image. I used my "monofied" Nikon d90 and an Astromik Ha clip-in filter mounted on an N11GPS telescope with the Hyperstar 3 lens system installed. The longest exposures used were 30 seconds, the shortest were 4 seconds.
This shot, also taken in Tempe on 10/30/13 with the Nikon d90, is an image of Barnard 33, the Horsehead Nebula. The Horsehead is a huge cloud of gas that partially obscures IC434, the nebula behind the Horsehead. Once again, I had the Nikon camera with the Ha filter in place riding the N11GPS telescope and I was using the Hyperstar 3 lens system to allow me to shoot at f/2.0. In essence, the Hyperstar system turns my 11inch, f/10.0 telescope into an 11inch, f/2.0 camera lens. The images used were 15 seconds long, but at f/2.0, you can get away with pretty short exposures...
This shot of M27, the Dumbell Nebula, taken on 9/20/13 and 9/25/13, is a combination of Ha images with Oiii images. Once again, I had the Nikon d90 camera riding the N11GPS telescope and I was using the Hyperstar 3 lens system to allow me to shoot at f/2.0. In essence, the Hyperstar system turns my 11inch, f/10.0 telescope into an 11inch, f/2.0 camera lens. All of the images taken were 30 seconds long, but at f/2.0, you can get pretty good results with very short exposures...
NGC 7380, the Wizard Nebula, is an open star cluster that is embedded in a complex of emission, reflection and dark nebulae. I took this shot on 9/20/13 and 9/25/13 using my Nexstar 11 GPS with the Hyperstar lens system installed. The brightest part of the nebula is Sh2-142... I used the Nikon d90 with Ha and Oiii filters installed.
This next shot is of Caldwell 27, the Crescent Nebula. Taken in narrowband with the Nikon d90 using the N11GPS. This image was taken on 6/16/13 using the Hyperstar system, and has be artificially colorized using PhotoShop.
This shot is of Caldwell 11, the Bubble Nebula, was also taken with my monofied Nikon d90 on 9/20/13 and 9/25/13 using narrowband filters.
This shot, taken 10/21/11, is of Caldwell object number 65, the Sculptor Galaxy. I really like this object, but unfortunately, it moved behind a group of pine trees before I managed to get a full run of exposures of it. Still, it is not a bad image, just not as clear as I had hoped...
This image of the Elephant Trunk Nebula was taken with my mono Atik 314L+ camera with an Ha filter installed. The Atik camera was mounted on my N11GPS telescope with the Hyperstar 3 lens system installed. The false color data was created using Photoshop, and image was taken in Dewey on 6/30/12.
On our latest "road trip" vacation, we spent several wonderful days up in Nutrioso, Arizona, under the darkest skies I have ever seen. I didn't have a complete telescope mount (oops!!!), but I did have a camera tripod and my Canon 1000D with the Canon EF 50mm, f/1.8 lens. I had never tried to take a photo of star trails before, but I just could not waste that beautiful black sky, so on 9/28/11, I gave it a try. Star trail astrophotos are made by simply pointing the camera at the star, Polaris, and holding the shutter open for a very long period of time. Either that, or stacking a collection of photos taken one after another. The stars "appear" to move in a circular motion. This is a stack of nine ten-minute exposures. Hope you like it...
On September 3, 2011, I tried for my very first comet astrophoto. We were under the semi-dark skies of Dewey, AZ. I found and took a series of shots at Comet C\2009 P1 (Comet Garradd) using my Canon 1000D and my Nexstar GPS 11 with the Hyperstar lens installed. For a first time, I think it came out pretty well. At least I like it!!! Rain was expected later in the evening, so I rolled the N11 out of the garage for some fun rather than setting up the CGEM in the back yard. The CGEM is a beast of a mount and I did not want to try to take it down in a hurry if the rain showed up.
I have wanted a decent photo of the Rho Ophiuchi nebula complex for a number of years. Well, I finally got one. The star in the yellow section of the complex is Antares (Alpha Scorpii), and the star in the blue region (IC 4604) is Rho Ophiuchi. The star in the bright red section of the complex is Sigma Scorpii, and the globular cluster near the complex is M4. This shot of the Rho Ophiuchi nebula complex was taken on 5/28/11 under the relatively dark skies of Dewey, Arizona. It was taken with a modified Canon 1000D riding piggyback on my Orion 102mm premium APO refractor, sitting on my new CGEM mount. The lens used was a Canon EF 50mm, f/1.8 lens. This lens is pretty inexpensive, but seems to work well. No guiding was necessary. I must mention that the night was VERY windy, and that CGEM mount didn't wiggle a bit in any the strong gusts of wind. Now, that is one beefy mount!!!
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