Images from the Oregon Star Party

Since returning from OSP I’ve been busy catching up on a backlog of orders, on top of the usual chaos here at Wa-chur-ed Observatory.  But I took a break from that to do a quick processing of a couple of images I captured at OSP.  These were both done with my “work horse” system; the AT111EDT refractor and QSI683wsg.  First is the Iris Nebula: I’ve captured the Iris several times before, as it is one of my favorite targets, but have never been really happy with the images.  This is definitely the best one so far, showing a lot more […]


Perseid Meteors

You have undoubtedly heard that we are in the midst of the annual Perseid meteor shower, and that it is expected to be about double the usual rate of meteors.  I wasn’t able to go to a very dark location (as you should, to really enjoy a meteor shower), but did go to a spot with a good foreground scene, the Portland Women’s Forum, near Corbett, OR. I was expecting a handful of people and that I would be able to sit in my car with the camera & tripod nearby.  Boy, was I wrong!  There were hundreds of people […]


Five Good Nights and a Free Light Show 1

Just back from the Oregon Star Party – 6 nights in the high desert at Ochoco National Forest.  5 of those nights were good for astronomy (most of them very good).  And then there was Friday.  Folks from the Forest Service came by to warn us that a severe electrical storm was likely in the evening, which made people pretty nervous.  I don’t think we’ve ever had any injury or damage from lightning, but wind is a very common problem that has caused a lot of damage in the past, so most people secured their outdoor furniture and such, and […]

Portland PhotoFair

One more post before I leave for the Oregon Star Party:  On Saturday, August 13, the first ever Portland PhotoFair will be held, and I will be a guest speaker (see  PhotoFair began in California’s Bay Area in 1975 and continues to do annual shows there, as well as satellite shows in other cities. My presentation is titled “Astro-Photography for the Terrestrial Photographer” and is an introduction to AP aimed specifically at experienced photographers.  It will have a brief introduction covering astronomy equipment and concepts, then jump into specific techniques for photographing several types of night sky images. I […]

Night Visions

The 2016 Oregon Star Party

I haven’t posted anything for quite a while here – and it may be another while before the next post – because I’ve been consumed with preparations for the Oregon Star Party (OSP), which will run from Aug. 2nd to the 7th (see for details).  This year I will have more images, and more prints of all kinds, than I have ever had before.  In fact, I haven’t yet figured out how I’m going to display everything in my “mobile gallery”/motorhome, Gamma Pictoris. First among all the things taking up my time is the new 2017 Calendar: This calendar […]


Saturn Visits the Edge of the Milky Way

Another photo from last weekend’s star party: You might recognize the area in the lower right corner from earlier photos I’ve posted.  The large yellow/red blob is the star Antares (bloated by its extreme brightness), to its right is the globular cluster M4, and above that, surrounded by blue dust, is the Rho Ophiuchi complex.  But this very wide field image (more than 25 degrees across) shows how this area resides at the edge of the Milky Way.  The dense stars and dust of the Milky Way appear as glowing red and black on the left edge, gradually fading to […]


Lagoon, Trifid, and Cat’s Paw

Last weekend’s star party was relatively relaxing, largely because the target I was after could be photographed for only a few hours each night, so I got to bed by 2 or 2:30 each night.  The target was 3 nebulae in the constellation Sagittarius, the Lagoon (M8), Trifid (M20), and Cat’s Paw (NGC6334).  All of these are primarily emission nebulae, but are often photographed in broadband color (RGB) to include some reflection components, especially the blue region on the north side of M20.  North is down in this photo, and this blue region shows only very faintly as a light […]


Night Hike

For several years now I have been wanting to take a “night sky” photo from my favorite local hike, Silver Star Mountain.  I recently got the chance, and got a few interesting photos, although the main lesson from this experience is that you really have to make your plans around light pollution: This is more or less the image I had planned.  It would have been a bit better if I had waited a couple of hours so that the Milky Way came up to the right of the peak, but it was probably going to get cloudy by then.  […]


A Swan of a Different Color

Here are a couple of new images from the constellation Cygnus, the swan.  Both are fairly wide views (done with the WO Star71 telescope) and both are narrowband images with somewhat unusual color rendering.  First is the North America Nebula, NGC7000: I have to explain that you may be seeing something like the shape of the United States here, with the dark “hole” being the Great Lakes region, rather than the shape of North America.  But if you turn it clockwise 90 degrees the hole becomes the Gulf of Mexico and the entire continent is included. NGC7000 is one of […]


Sunset at Wa-chur-ed Observatory

Clouds are the natural enemy of astronomers, and I like clear skies as much as the next astro-guy, but sometimes you just have to appreciate the beauty of clouds, such as in this recent sunset in the field behind Wa-chur-ed Observatory.  Many astronomers are also amateur meteorologists and could tell you all about these clouds.  I just think they’re wonderful! With the Oregon Star Party just 5 weeks away, this is a very busy time for me.  In addition to all the astro-photo prints and other stuff that needs to be prepared, I can’t afford to miss any opportunities to […]