Thursday, June 23, 2011

Lagoon and Trifid - Modified T1i

My 2nd attempt at prime imaging with my newly acquired Canon T1i. 

16 x 120 sec, no darks, no flats, no bias
Canon T1i @ ISO 200
W.O. 0.8x Focal Reducer/Flattener
Vixen ED80SF APO
CGEM stock mount
QHY-5 + 50mm Autoguider

Captured in average seeing conditions, and 70 degree temps.  I walked away not realizing I had a slight cable snag creating drag on the mount.  Stars are slightly out of shape as a result..  Bummer..

This camera is exceeding my expectations as I was bracing myself for dealing with high levels of noise with an uncooled camera in warm temps.  It's actually quite mild and can easily be processed out in stacking, evident in the fact I used no darks, and a very small stack of lights.  It's more sensitive than anticipated since I pulled a fair amount of detail with such short exposures.  Not my best Lagoon, but now that I'm a bit more familiar with the nuances of this camera, I will be making a more agressive pass on a target tomorrow night and through the weekend.

Here's a link to the image in my ASTROPHOTOGALLERY

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Finally a break in the fire conditions - Sagittarius cloud quick pass

I haven't been outside in about 2 months due to regional fires, business travel, etc.  Last night was the first time in a long time that most of the sky was visible through the blanket of smoke and ash that has kept us under siege for weeks from the AZ Wallow fire.  Despite the sky still being degraded, and the Moon blazing away, I decided I needed to shoot something.  So I made a quick pass at Sag and surrounding areas with my newly acquired DSLR - this is only my second attempt using it for AP.

240 sec x 12, no darks, no flats, no bias
Canon T1i modified - Unguided on stock CGEM mount
Canon 18-55mm "nifty-fifty" lense @ F/4.0 ISO 200
Captured in 70 degree temps, and poor seeing
Acquisition - Backyard EOS
Stacking and balance - Nebulosity 2
Post processing in Photoshop 7

Couldn't push any further with the conditions, so I'll make another pass at this with more intensity pretty soon.

Click a second time after loading to maximize the image.

Picasa really compresses these shots something terrible.  Another copy of it is on ASTROPHOTOGALLERY.

I'll write up my own assessment of Backyard EOS shortly as this was my first time using it.  Absolutely wonderful software for this purpose and a little more friendly with DSLRs than Nebulosity as far as connectivity and settings.  A screenshot below.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Another Firey Sunset

The AZ fire continues, unchecked, and now burning over 350 square miles of land.  It's now posing a threat to towns in NM.  I tried again to get my dob up before sunset.  I had it up, went to put in an EP and focus.  Saw a sunspot perfectly.  Went to grab a camera and attach it, and the sun moved below my fence line.  Tomorrow I'm going to get this shot I want - an unfiltered shot of sun activity through a telescope, even if I have to drive to a field behind my house to do it.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Arizona Fires

Today is day 5 that New Mexico has been under siege from the Arizona Wildfire.  I just returned home from a day trip to San Diego and found it worse than ever.  It was raining ash the size of giant snow flakes.  Visibility on the west side of Albuquerque is down to maybe 800-1000 ft.  Normally I can view 11,000+ ft Mt. Taylor about 60 miles away with little problem.  I got to my house about 55 miles from the airport and the sun was barely visible as a red glowing orb.  It was perfect density to look at surface features naked eye.  By the time I got in my house and rushed to get the dob out to take high res pics unfiltered, the smoke had thickened too much.  I did snap a few fast ones with the digicam just to give you some perspective of how bad it really is.  I'll note that on my flight in, once we crossed the boarder into NM, the sky was fire orange/red the whole way in to the airport.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Leo Trio

16x90sec, no darks, no flats, no bias.  Canon T1i modified, Vixen ED80SF, WO .8x FF/FR.