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Latest astrophoto

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  • Latest astrophoto

    A while ago I made new drive gears for my telescope to improve the tracking performance.

    Since then the weather has not cooperated until last night when it was only about -10C. Conditions were clear, the moon was down and all my equipment actually worked.

    This is another image of my target of choice this winter, M42. Also known as the Great Nebula in Orion, it is a feature rich target with a wide range of detail and colors. It is also huge, spanning about 24 light years across so even though it is 1500 light years distant it still has an apparent size in the sky of twice the width of the full moon. It is barely visible to the unaided eye in good observing conditions as a very dim patch of mist in the middle of the 3 stars that make up the sword of Orion the Hunter in the southern sky during winter.

    This is my best photo so far of this object. There is room for improvement though.
    Last edited by Evan; 01-20-2009, 10:40 AM.
    Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

  • #2
    Beautiful image Evan! Nice work on the gears as well.
    I'm sure most people don't realize how many different things have to come together in order to produce an image such as this.
    At least you have some control over the quality of the equipment, but you are still bound by the opportunities that nature extends.
    Home, down in the valley behind the Red Angus
    Bad Decisions Make Good Stories​

    Location: British Columbia


    • #3
      That is a neat picture Evan. I don't understand much about how the tracking equipment is setup but I do know enough about night sky photography to know that you need it for all but the fastest of exposures. What was the exposure time on that picture and what was the focal length?
      Jonathan P.


      • #4
        Very nice shot!


        • #5
          Great Shot

          Thanks for the photo's. Would like to see more of your gear cutting. JIm


          • #6
            It was several 2 minute exposures combined taken with a six inch f4.5 telescope and my Canon 300D at prime focus (no lens). Most astrophotos taken now are a composite (known as a stack) of more than one image. This technique was impractical with film but is now standard practice with digital. It increases the apparent resolution by adding new information from each stacked frame and reduces noise buildup because of the short exposure times.
            Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here


            • #7
              That's amazing. I never knew that nebula was so large. How large of a portion of the sky does your image show?


              • #8
                that is a beautiful picture evan... would make a nice poster


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Evan
                  There is room for improvement though.
                  Not much room, I'd say. The nebula is beautifully captured.

                  Those star spikes, are they images from your curved secondary mirror spider?
                  Allan Ostling

                  Phoenix, Arizona


                  • #10
                    That entire image is about a 3 degree x 3 degree field. If you stick a quarter on a post and look at it from 9 feet away that is the apparent size of the moon or sun which is 1/2 degree. So, this image is an area of the sky about the size of a 6x6 array of quarters 9 feet away. The sky is full of very large extended objects. The problem is that they are much too dim to see with your eyes.


                    Those are the diffraction spikes from my six blade spider. It is so thin that it only produces spikes on the brightest stars. It's also a unique signature of my telescope as that spider is the only one like it as far as I know.
                    Last edited by Evan; 01-20-2009, 11:44 AM.
                    Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here


                    • #11
                      Nice M42! You must have great skies up there (drooling). I'd also like to know more about the mount and scope. Either/both homemade?



                      • #12

                        You will find links to the telescope and related items on this page:

                        Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here


                        • #13
                          Fantastic picture Evan, thanks for posting it.



                          • #14
                            I should mention that all here are free to use my photos that I post here in any way that doesn't involve money or profit. I do reserve copyright including moral copyright which is different from legal copyright. Moral copyright is also spelled out in law and cannot be transferred, disposed or sold. It means that if you use a photo of mine in a way that may reflect badly on me then I may tell you to stop even if I sold the rights.
                            Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here


                            • #15
                              It's a beauty, Evan. I got a call from my wife last night who wondered if we were having clear skies in Eastern Washington (nope) because there was a brilliant star to the south that seemed to leap out of the sky (Sirius). I asked if she could see a reddish star a bit higher in the sky near three very bright stars strung in a row. And she did see it and noticed it was fuzzy. I sent her a link to Orion so she could see it in it's full splendor.

                              These cold dry nights are good for something!

                              And nice work on the gears.