SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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Jupiter and Moons   [obsolete]

Image Details:

Camera: Canon Digital Rebel (300D)
Mount: Celestron AS-GT
Scope: Celestron C8-N (8" f/5 Newtonian)
Configuration: Negative Projection (Barlowed)
Additional Optics: TeleVue 2x Barlow
Filter: None
Effective Focal Length: 2844mm
Effective Focal Ratio: f/54.2
Exposure: 9 x 1/2 second @ ISO 800
Date: 6/22/2004, 9:28pm PDT
Location: Saratoga, CA, USA
Acquisition: Manual
Focus: Manual
Dithering: None
Guiding: None

Processing:

  • IRIS: Dark subtraction, flat field, registration, stacking
  • Photoshop: Compositing of IRIS moons and Jupiter images, sharpening, saturation, scale, JPG conversion

Image Description:

An interesting shot of Jupiter and the four Galilean moons. The f/ratio is so high because I put the aperture mask on the end of the telescope, effectively turning the 200mm obstructed Newtonian into a 52.5mm unobstructed offset-Newtonian. For those familiar with telescope optics, the Newtonian design has a secondary mirror in the path of the light that hits the primary mirror, and this so-called "obstruction" can cause a loss of contrast, especially on objects like planets that have low contrast to begin with. By putting the aperture mask on, the secondary is out of the path of the light hitting the primary (now effectively only 52.5mm instead of 200mm), preserving all of the contrast. However, the lower effective aperture could conceivably cause a loss of resolution, but since this is a relatively low effective focal length (2844mm), that loss of resolution isn't evident, and is overwhelmed by the seeing conditions in any case. [In retrospect — what was I thinking!?!? <grin>]

 
NGC 6820 & NGC 6823 (Emission Nebula & Open Cluster)
SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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NGC 6820 & NGC 6823 (Emission Nebula & Open Cluster)

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: 40 x 4min @ ISO 800
Total Exposure: 2hrs, 40min
Date: 8/30/2005 9:41:31 PM PDT (start)
Location: Saratoga, CA, USA
Acquisition: DSLRfocus
Focus: DSLRFocus
Dithering: Manual
Guiding: GuideDog via Philips ToUcam Pro II (840k) through Orion ST80 w/ Celestron 2x "Kit" Barlow

Processing:

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

Image Description:

This is a "do over" of NGC 6820, an Emission Nebula in the constellation of Vulpecula. In my previous attempt with an unmodified camera, I was unable to capture the faint Hα emission nebula, and was only able to capture the open cluster NGC 6823. The modified camera excels in shots like this. A high-resolution image is also availble. North is up.

 
NGC 6826 (Blinking Planetary)
SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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December: Test shots with new scopes/mounts

Dec 21: TMB 80/480 Arrives!

Dec 3: AP1200 Arrives!

Nov 30: TMB 152/1200 Arrives!

Links:

NGC 6826 (Blinking Planetary)

Image Details:

Camera: Canon Digital Rebel (300D)
Mount: Celestron AS-GT
Scope: Celestron C8-N (8" f/5 Newtonian)
Configuration: Negative Projection (Barlowed)
Additional Optics: TeleVue 2x Barlow
Filter: None
Effective Focal Length: 2844mm
Effective Focal Ratio: f/14.2
Exposure: 51 x 30sec @ ISO 800
Total Exposure: 0hrs, 25min
Date: 7/15/2004, ~2am PDT
Location: Saratoga, CA, USA
Acquisition: DSLRfocus
Focus: DSLRFocus
Dithering: None
Guiding: None

Processing:

  • IRIS: Dark subtraction, flat field, registration, Kappa-Sigma stacking, Wavelet processing
  • Photoshop: Compositing, cropping, JPG conversion

Image Description:

NGC 6826, the Blinking Planetary, is a planetary nebula in the constellation of Cygnus. It is so named because when you stare directly at the central star through the eyepiece of a telescope, the surrounding nebulosity all but vanishes. But when you avert your vision (i.e., look slightly off too one side), the nebula blinks into view. Why does this happen? Well, the human eye "sees better" off of center; i.e., you can see dimmer things not when looking directly at them, but by looking (slightly) away from them. So, when you're looking straight at the central star, the eye has trouble seeing the faint nebula that surrounds it. But when you look slightly away, your peripheral vision is sensitive enough to detect the nebula. It's very cool to try this in a decent telescope. It's a pretty amazing effect.

I used IRIS's Wavelet Processing capabilities to bring out details in the nebula. However, that made the surrounding stars and the sky background look icky, a technical term. So I used Photoshop to composite the wavelet-processed nebula with a non-wavelet-processed background using layer masks. There, I feel much better for coming clean. Also, I was very careful at every step of the aquisition and processing chain not to clip any of the nebula or its central star, in order to preserve the color and appearance of the nebula. This is a crop of the full-size image. North is up.