Astronomical Photography

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amberwolf
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Astronomical Photography

Post by amberwolf » Aug 11, 2016 4:39 am

Mostly this thread is for pics I (or others--post 'em if you've got 'em :) ) of the night sky, but first some backstory (cuz what post would be any good from me, if it didn't ramble on first).

I've almost always been interested in the sky, especially at night, and once I learned what is (or might be) actually up there, and each bit more I learn, the more interested I became.

I've had little telescopes (mostly junk kids' stuff from yardsales/etc); I found a decent Meade at Goodwill some years ago but it needs it's tracker gearing fixed, and I still don't know if I still ahve the hand control unit (taht also lets me hook it up to a PC), cuz so much stuff was lost in the post-fire cleanup.
(some posts about that one
https://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewt ... 23#p697923
https://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewt ... de#p701042
https://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewt ... de#p701492 )

Before the fire I was going to make a mount to use the Canon DSLR that GMUseless had sent me, to start taking good pics with it, but I didnt' get around to that before I lost that camera in the fire. I didn't even get back to looking for the scope stuff until a while I after I moved back into the house a couple of years ago. (feels longer).

I'd wanted to make a mount for the one Hora from OHBB had sent me afterward, but I never got around to it; and that camera began a slow death, getting random lines and heavy on the green in the images. (I suspect a loose connection inside but didn't open it up as I don't know that I could put it back together afterward; most of these things aren't built to be disassembled without factory tools, and I don't see or move as well as I used to).


So....on to now.

Now I have a "new" old camera, from Cvin; it's a Sony DSC-H9, and it's manual settings and such are better than the old lost Canon DSLR. By itself it can take some pretty decent star pics.... I wasnt' actually trying to do it at first, but accidentally snapped a pic of sky while trying to figure out the flash and stuff, and then figured out the other stuff like turning off autofocus (which can't even be done on a lot of cameras these days, making them useless to me for most things).

I did have to develop a system to get the right star/etc in frame, by turning on the Nightshot mode, which makes even reasonably faint stars show up on the LCD realtime (where they won't in any othe rmode without long exposures of several seconds), then when I've got it centered I turn off Nightshot and then manually set focus to infinity, and leave it in Aperture mode whcih does better so far than any other (dunno how to fully use manual mode yet).

Anyhow, some of the better pics, which include the Plieades, Orion (you can even see part of the nebula; looks like a fuzzy star), the moon, etc.
I had to upload them as full resolution, though...otherwise nothing much shows up. :(


One problem, though...at max 15x zoom, the earth's rotation causes all stars/etc to turn into short lines rather than nice sharp points. :/ That's where the whole telescope thing comes in...if I can find the handheld thing for the Meade, and fix it's gearing, I could make the mount to hold this camera on it and use the scope and whatnot to do star-tracking, and get much better pics.
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Hillhater
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Re: Astronomical Photography

Post by Hillhater » Aug 11, 2016 6:59 pm

There is nothing more spectacular than the night sky on a clear night/ morning after the moon has gone down.
It can be a real shock for city folk and kids who have never been able to get away from the light pollution around our cities and get to remote areas to really see what is up there.
Down here we are blessed with huge areas of uninhabited outback desert with huge flat plains that allow the whole sky to show its glory.
No photo i have taken has ever really captured the true effect of the experience, but I actually like the time exposure shots that show the movement of the earth relative to the stars...and of course the Hubble pics that are just incomprehensible.!
Incidentally, have you seen the Nat Geo /History channel doco on the Hubble project ? And how they screwed up the main lens manufacturing such that it was useless when they first tried it in space, and how they devised a solution to rectify it ?
Really inspiring story of human ingenuity (and falibility !)
https://goo.gl/images/qSku9q
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Re: Astronomical Photography

Post by amberwolf » Aug 11, 2016 9:13 pm

Hillhater wrote:There is nothing more spectacular than the night sky on a clear night/ morning after the moon has gone down.
It can be a real shock for city folk and kids who have never been able to get away from the light pollution around our cities and get to remote areas to really see what is up there.
Down here we are blessed with huge areas of uninhabited outback desert with huge flat plains that allow the whole sky to show its glory.
I used to live out in farm country in Texas, so we could see even the Milky Way, a bit, and thousands of stars....the sky glowed from those rather than reflected light like here in the city. I've been out to the desert here in AZ and it's even more spectacular (since it's drier, I guess), especially in winter. Orion looks incredible.




Incidentally, have you seen the Nat Geo /History channel doco on the Hubble project ? And how they screwed up the main lens manufacturing such that it was useless when they first tried it in space, and how they devised a solution to rectify it ?
I havent' seen the NG show, but I watched and read of it as it happened, thru TV and friends that worked at various agencies/universities that were to process the information from Hubble, and from some of the engineers at Honeywell (where I worked at the time) that knew other engineers in the project.

I still find it incredible that the manufacturer could have messed it up (via an incorrectly built piece of test equipment) and even found the problem and then ignored the test that caught it as being wrong (instead of retesting it)...but that sort of thing seems to happen a fair bit (like teh wrong units' use by one contractor vs another that lost a Mars probe, the management call to launch Challenger despite engineers' warnings about the cold, etc).



But I don't think anything I can ever make will even compete with other amateur astronomers; I just want to do it because I want to see stuff "with my own eyes" (albeit I'm still only seeing it after digital processing...its as close as I'l ever get, especially as my eyes get worse with age, and I know I'll never get around to making my own telescope, as much as I always wanted to do so.

I think Emiyata has, though--I think it's even a stereo telescope. I knew a guy here in Phoenix, Pete Manly, that came up with a "new" variation on the Newtonian Reflector, but I never got to see it (in action or otherwise). :( It might be in this book of his: https://books.google.com/books/about/Un ... 00G41OEE4C but I never got to do more than see the cover on his shelf. He's one of hte people that made me want to make my own, and start actually reading about how to, back then.

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Re: Astronomical Photography

Post by Miles » Aug 12, 2016 2:20 am

I live a few minutes walk from the Old Royal Observatory in Greenwich. Every year they host the exhibition of the winning entries in the Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition.

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/astronomy-phot ... on-1552398

Some od the shortlisted images for 2016: http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/across-univers ... st-1572666

Archive of previous years: http://www.rmg.co.uk/discover/astronomy ... er-gallery

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Re: Astronomical Photography

Post by Dauntless » Aug 14, 2016 12:14 am

Any sufficiently advanced technology is INDISTINGUISHABLE FROM MAGIC!
- Arthur C. Clarke

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Re: Astronomical Photography

Post by amberwolf » Nov 23, 2017 12:19 am

I found a new telescope tripod and mount at goodwill today; was a few bucks so I skipped buying the hamburger at the grocery run I was heading to and got the tripod instead.

This tripod has the balancing weight and the flexible-rod type slow motion controls to more precisely point it without shaking it as much. It's probably the lowest-end version of this type of thing, but it's WAY better than what I had before.

I think it is called an Equatorial mount (vs an Alt-Azimuth); this type is easier to track things with once setup. Presumably the autotracker mount would also be that type, but I don't remember.


The only not-as-easy part is twisting the scope itself to keep the eyepiece oriented where I can easily look into it, as I pivot it around to look at different things. This is because I had to use two hose clamps to secure the scope to the mount, rather than the simple clamp on the old tripod/mount. I'm sure I can come up with something better later that's easier to use.


There's also three lenses with it, plus a 90-degree adapter Star diagonal, and a 3x barlow tube, but none of them fit the mount on the scope; they're the small .96",diameter instead of the larger 1.25" . Have to make an adapter to use them.

linking here in case I forget how to adjust the mount (which I have never done for this type...so have to learn it first) https://themcdonalds.net/richard/wp/pol ... ial-mount/


Regarding the old tripod/mount, if it didnt' have broken plastics in the holders/gearing, the tripod/mount I already have (Meade autopointing type) would be great, and easily / precisely pointed wherever I wanted, via the hand-controller and motors (and autotrack). Since I haven't found the right parts to replace any of it (and Meade has never replied to me about buying spare parts), I have to manually point the mount, which is difficult and imprecise because the broken gearing jams up while moving it, meaning I have to really loosen up the mounting screws and hand point the thing, then tighten them back down to keep it from flopping around.


The forum is taking forever to even start to upload the pics, so I'll try again tomorrow to add them. Or just get better ones in daylight and add those instead.

It looks almost exactly like this one, except it's an EQ mount not an AZ type, and the center plate between the legs is triangular instead of round. And all the adjustment "knobs" are metal flat types instead of plastic tri-sided ones. The legs themselves appear almost exactly the same, as well as the tripod's top end, the slow motion controls, etc. Just missing all the EQ type stuff (vs AZ).
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