SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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NGC 4725 (Spiral Galaxy)

Mouse-over to see annotations. (Requires Javascript) Click to see high-res version.

Image Details:

Camera: Mofidied Canon Rebel XT (350D): Hutech Type I Filter Replacement
Mount: Celestron AS-GT
Scope: Celestron C8-N (8" f/5 Newtonian)
Configuration: Prime Focus
Additional Optics: Celestron/Baader Multi Purpose Coma Corrector (MPCC)
Filter: None
Effective Focal Length: 1000mm
Effective Focal Ratio: f/5
Exposure: 20 x 8min @ ISO 400
Total Exposure: 2hrs, 40min
Date: 5/16/2007 9:28:57 PM PDT (Start)
Location: Saratoga, CA, USA
Acquisition: DSLRfocus
Focus: DSLRFocus
Dithering: GADFly 1.0.5
Guiding: GuideDog via Philips ToUcam Pro II (840k) through Orion ST80 w/ Celestron 2x "Kit" Barlow

Processing:

  • IRIS: Dark subtraction, registration, gradient removal
  • JimP: Flat field, Kappa-Sigma Stacking, White balance, ASINH stretching
  • Photoshop: Sharpening, levels, cropping, JPG conversion
  • Neat Image: Noise reduction

Image Description:

This is NGC 4725, aka, the “One Armed Galaxy”, a spiral galaxy in the constellation of Coma Berenices. NGC 4725 is a Seyfert Galaxy, suggesting an active galactic nucleus containing a supermassive black hole. A higher resolution image is also available. North is up.

 
M42 (The Great Nebula in Orion)
SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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M42 (The Great Nebula in Orion)   [obsolete]

Mouse-over to see annotations. (Requires Javascript) Click to see high-res version.

Image Details:

Camera: Mofidied Canon Rebel XT (350D): Hutech Type I Filter Replacement
Mount: Celestron AS-GT
Scope: Orion ED80 (80mm f/7.5 APO Refractor)
Configuration: Focal Reduced
Additional Optics: William Optics 2" APO 0.8x Reducer/Field Flattener
Filter: None
Effective Focal Length: 480mm
Effective Focal Ratio: f/6
Exposure: 31 x 4min @ ISO 400 (nebula), 11 x 30sec @ ISO 400 (core/trapezium)
Total Exposure: 2hrs, 9min
Date: 2/20/2006 7:53:30 PM PST (start)
Location: Saratoga, CA, USA
Acquisition: DSLRfocus
Focus: DSLRFocus
Dithering: GADFly 1.0.5
Guiding: GuideDog via Philips ToUcam Pro II (840k) through Orion ST80 w/ Celestron 2x "Kit" Barlow

Processing:

  • IRIS: Dark subtraction, registration, gradient removal
  • JimP: Flat field, Kappa-Sigma Stacking, White balance, ASINH stretching
  • Photoshop: Compositing, Levels, cropping, JPG conversion

Image Description:

This is my annual attempt at the sword region of Orion, featuring M42. I wasn't crazy with last year's attempt and, of course, this ancient one, so I gave it a run with the new focal reducer. This one is cleaner and deeper than the previous two, the William Optics focal reducer matching up well with the ED80. Mouse-over the image above to see the annotations, and see the links to the older images for more information about this target. A higher-resolution image is also available. North is left.

 
NGC 6384 (Spiral Galaxy)
SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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NGC 6384 (Spiral Galaxy)

Image Details:

Camera: Canon Digital Rebel (300D)
Mount: Celestron AS-GT
Scope: Celestron C8-N (8" f/5 Newtonian)
Configuration: Prime Focus
Additional Optics: n/a (Prime)
Filter: None
Effective Focal Length: 1000mm
Effective Focal Ratio: f/5
Exposure: 15 x 4min @ ISO 400
Total Exposure: 1hrs, 0min
Date: 8/11/2004, ~12:30am PDT
Location: Saratoga, CA, USA
Acquisition: DSLRfocus
Focus: DSLRFocus
Dithering: None
Guiding: Manual through Orion ST80 w/ Celestron 2x "Kit" Barlow

Processing:

  • IRIS: Dark subtraction, flat field, registration, Kappa-Sigma stacking
  • Photoshop: Noise reduction, cropping, JPG conversion

Image Description:

NGC 6384 is a small, faint spiral galaxy in the constellation of Ophiuchus. This image could have used a lot more exposure time and also should have been shot at a higher ISO setting, since this image shows signs of quantization noise. You live, you learn. North is up.

 
NGC 7293 (Helix Nebula [test shot])
SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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NGC 7293 (Helix Nebula [test shot])

Mouse-over to see annotations. (Requires Javascript) Click to see high-res version.

Image Details:

Camera: SBIG ST-2000XM
Mount: Astro-Physics 1200GTO
Scope: TMB 152/1200 APO Refractor
Configuration: Prime Focus
Additional Optics: n/a (Prime)
Filter: Astrodon Hα OIII 6nm Filters
Effective Focal Length: 1200mm
Effective Focal Ratio: f/7.9
Exposure: {1 Hα, 1 OIII} × 16min @ -20°C
Total Exposure: 0hrs, 32min
Date: 12/5/2007 6:46 PM PST (Start)
Location: Saratoga, CA, USA
Acquisition: CCDSoft
Focus: Manual
Dithering: None
Guiding: Self Guided

Processing:

  • IRIS: Dark subtraction, registration, White balance, ASINH stretching
  • Photoshop: Dust and Scratches, JPG conversion

Image Description:

This is a test shot of NGC 7293, aka, the “Helix Nebula”, a planetary nebula in the constellation of Aquarius. This is First Light for my new TMB 152/1200 APO Refractor and my new Astro-Physics (AP) 1200GTO German Equatorial Mount. I snuck in these two exposures, one each of my Hα and OIII, before the clouds wiped me out. I didn't even bother to really nail the focus, which I think I missed slightly. Nonetheless, I found the shot interesting enough to post. This is a pseudo-“True Color” image, with R:G:B = Hα:OIII:OIII. A higher resolution image is also available. North is up.

 
Mercuryset over the Pacific
SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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Mercuryset over the Pacific

Mouse-over to see annotations. (Requires Javascript) Click to see high-res version.

Image Details:

Camera: Canon 5D
Mount: None
Scope: Canon EF 24-105 mm f/4L IS USM lens
Configuration: Prime Focus
Additional Optics: n/a (Prime)
Filter: None
Effective Focal Length: 82mm
Effective Focal Ratio: f/4
Exposure: 4 sec
Total Exposure: 0hrs, 0min
Date: 5/6/2008 8:59 PM PDT
Location: Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve
Acquisition: Manual
Focus: Auto
Dithering: None
Guiding: None

Processing:

  • IRIS: RAW conversion, Dark subtraction, Bayer interpolation
  • JimP: Flat field, ASINH stretching
  • Photoshop: Shadows/Highlights, Levels, Resizing, JPG Conversion

Image Description:

This is a shot of the Moon, the planet Mercury, and the bright star Aldebaran (α Tauri) setting over the Pacific Ocean, captured with my friend Rob's Canon 5D and EF 24-105 mm f/4L IS USM lens. (Thanks Rob!) The Marine Layer can be seen covering the Pacific Ocean and the foreground coastal area. The camera is facing roughly in the direction of Half Moon Bay from where the tripod was set up. See also my image of the Sunset that preceded this shot by about 50min.

The Canon EF 24-105 mm f/4L IS USM zoom lens is nice and sharp, but it vignettes substantially at 82mm f/4 over the Canon 5D's full 35mm-sized chip. But any astrophotographer worth his salt will immediately think “Flat Fields!” in order to correct such things. And, sure enough, the image shown above has been corrected by Sky Flats. Mouse-over to see just how much vignetting was present before the Dark- and Flat-Fielding operations corrected it.

To capture this shot, I ventured up to the Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve, as it presented a perfect angle to the WNW and was sufficiently above the marine layer to prevent a fog-out. Of course, I had no business being there after sunset, and a not-very-amused Ranger kicked me out shortly after this image was taken. He did me a huge favor in so doing, however, as I was too brain-dead to remember to bring a flashlight with me and it was getting real dark at this time. Here's a map of the approximate place I set up my tripod to capture the shot:


View Larger Map

A higher resolution image is available. North is as indicated on the mouse-over.