Astronomy & Astrophotography

This has nothing to do with word origins or language, but I am also an amateur astronomer and just getting started with serious astrophotography.

Several friends have asked that I post some of my astrophotographs to the web, so I’ve added a section to the website to do just that. I’ll also probably add occasional blog posts on what works and doesn’t work about my photography of the night skies.

Bear in mind that I’m still pretty new at this and am refining my techniques, so most of these images are flawed in one way or another. But I’m learning.

Crescent Nebula

Crescent Nebula in Cygnus, 5,000 light years away.

Not a great shot, but decent. The nebula is very faint and needs a longer exposure, and for some reason I’ve yet to figure out, none of my RGB frames were usable, which is why it’s a B&W shot. That would also have doubled the exposure time.

Shot 24 October 2019; Princeton, New Jersey; Exposure: 90 minutes, f/5.2; ZWO ASI 1600 Pro 36mm narrowband, cooled, monochrome, CMOS camera & Televue NP127is telescope as lens; post-processing: DeepSkyStacker and Photoshop CC.

Transit of Venus, 2012

This is from some years ago, but I evidently forgot to post it. It’s of the 2012 transit of Venus across the sun. I only caught the beginning of it before it clouded over.

The transits happen in pairs, spaced over a century apart. The next one will be in the 22nd century.

Here’s a cropped version of the same photo:

Shot 5 June 2012; Toronto, Ontario; Canon EOS 5D & Televue NP127is. 

Pinwheel Galaxy

Pinwheel Galaxy in Ursa Major, 21 million light years away.

This isn’t a great picture. I didn’t take black or flat frames, so the image is noisy with a big light gradient. Also, I couldn’t see the galaxy naked eye, so I was pointing the scope at where I thought it was. As a result it was at the very edge of the frame. There’s some star trailing that is visible in this cropped portion, so I’ll have to shorten the exposure to 30 seconds per frame next time. Still, I don’t think it’s shabby for the first deep-sky image with the new camera

Shot 4 August 2019; Princeton, New Jersey; Exposure: 61 minutes (61 frames @ 1 min), f/5.2; ZWO ASI 1600 Pro 36mm narrowband, cooled, monochrome, CMOS camera & Televue NP127is telescope as lens; post-processing: DeepSkyStacker and Photoshop CC.

Moon, 4 October 2019

My first astrophotography image in a long while. Now with a new camera.

Shot 4 August 2019; Princeton, New Jersey; Exp 100ms, f/5.2; ZWO ASI 1600 Pro 36mm narrowband, cooled, monochrome, CMOS camera & Televue NP127is telescope as lens; post-processing: Photoshop CC.

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