Monthly Archives: June 2016

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 […]

Summer Sun

Now that Summer is upon us, I’ve been using a hydrogen-alpha solar telescope to take pictures of our Sun: Taking pictures of the Sun is quite different from the “deep space” photography that I normally do.  It actually felt weird to be taking pictures in the observatory during the day.  And the exposures are so short!  With deep space images you need to capture multiple long exposures and “stack” (combine) them to reveal the dim details.  You can’t do very much stacking with solar images because the details actually change pretty quickly, so they would become blurred in a combined […]

Price Updates

For the first time since… well, pretty much ever, I am updating the prices on Wa-chur-ed Observatory products.  In most cases the change is an increase and the reason is increased labor costs.  I see that as a good thing, since it means that people all along the supply chain are being paid more for their work – including me.  Over the years the component and material costs have increased only a little and I have been able to offset those costs with increased efficiency in my manufacturing processes (such as moving to CNC routing of some components), but it […]

News From LIGO

The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) has announced a second gravitational wave detection.  The first detection happened on Sept. 14, 2015 and was announced in February, 2016, and the second was detected on December 29th, 2016 and announced just today.  The reason for the long delay is that the data has to be very carefully processed and analyzed to extract the precise meaning and ensure that it is a real gravitational wave event. Like the first, this event is thought to be the merger of 2 black holes, although this pair is significantly smaller than the first.  It was detected […]

Celestial Critters

In addition to the wide-angle shot of the Milky Way (previous post), I thought I had captured 3 targets at the Maupin star party last weekend.  I can usually tell from an individual raw image whether I’ve got what I want, but when the object is exceptionally dim you sometimes have to just trust that it will show up when you stack multiple exposures.  Unfortunately, stacking doesn’t help if you don’t have the telescope pointed in the right direction!  I had planned to photograph the “Angel Nebula”, but when I googled that to get the coordinates I instead got the […]

The Milky Way Over Maupin

I just got back from the first star party of the year (for me), in Maupin, Oregon.  Yes, it is rather late, but I’m not sorry!  It was only 3 nights and one of those was cut short by clouds, but the sky was excellent the other 2 nights.  I captured several deep-space targets with both large and small telescopes, but haven’t processed any of those images yet. But I also got to test the Canon 6D full-frame camera and 24mm f/1.4 lens, which produced this shot of the Milky Way over the star party.  The red lights you see […]

PSU Student Film Festival

I’m very happy to be going to a star party this weekend, except that it means I will miss this:  One of the films selected for the festival is Brian Crabtree’s documentary “Astrophotographer”, a look into the life of your favorite astro-photographer(?), me! Meanwhile, I’ll be out in the wilderness under the stars and, hopefully, capturing some more deep-space images for your enjoyment.  It’s supposed to get up to 98 degrees (F) on Sunday, so please think cool thoughts for me.