Monthly Archives: January 2019

More Paint Daubs in the LMC

The weather in Australia has been awful lately, so there are no new images from there that I can share with you, but this is one that was captured some time ago and I didn’t get around to processing it until now. NGC1955 is an open star cluster and emission nebula in the constellation Dorado.  I have posted several images from this region, which is part of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), and I have commented on how they look a bit like daubs of paint on a black background.  But this one has a bit more detail and structure […]

Orion in the Palms

In an earlier post I shared a photo of these same palm trees with a nearly full moon behind them.  Now that the Moon is gone (until much later tonight), I can compose a shot with a much darker object behind the trees, the Orion constellation (most of it).  The large bright spot in the lower center is the Orion Nebula, and you can just barely see signs of Barnard’s Loop, a large, but very faint semi-circle of red around the left side of Orion. The trees are lit by artificial light.  I don’t know for sure what type of […]

Patio Heart

As promised, here is a full color version of the Heart Nebula.  In addition to capturing the O-III and S-II bands, I went back to capture more H-a, so the total is about 6 hours of H-a and 3 hours each of the other 2 bands.  The color processing is (in my system of notation) H(SOO_starless), which means that I created a bi-color image with S-II as red and O-III as green and blue, then removed the stars from it, and applied the H-a image as luminance over the bi-color image.  This leaves out a lot of details, but indicates […]

Witch Headache

The Witch Head Nebula above is a target I’ve wanted to capture for a long time now.  It is a very large, and very diffuse reflection nebula, and therefore very dim, and must be captured with broadband (RGB) filters – from a dark sky site.  In the Winter.  Back home in the Pacific Northwest I never venture out to dark sky sites in the Winter because it’s too risky.  That is, even if you don’t get caught in a storm or stuck in a snow drift, there’s a good possibility that the weather will change and the whole trip will […]

There’s My Eclipse!

We did not get completely skunked!  Despite the forecast for heavy clouds, peaking around the time of eclipse totality, I went out to the desert and got set up before dark.  It was very cloudy then, and a bit windy.  As it was getting dark I got some interesting shots of the pre-eclipse Moon (thinking that this might be ALL that I would get): I had set up at the same spot as the earlier picture of dinosaur sculptures, thinking that I might be able to use them as foreground to some lunar eclipse photos, but it worked pretty well […]

A Glowing Heart

The sky has been mostly clear the last couple of nights, but with the Moon nearly full it’s not possible to shoot anything in “normal” RGB, and no reason to go out to a darker location, since the Moon is producing far more light pollution than anything around here.  So I set up to do narrowband imaging from the patio behind our apartment.  The Heart Nebula is a great target, and fits beautifully in the field of view of the WO Star71 telescope and ASI1600 camera.  The above image is just the Hydrogen-alpha (H-a) band, as I haven’t yet captured […]

Not from Around Here, Are You?

The weather has been bad in Australia lately, so image data collection has slowed to a trickle.  But that is only part of the reason I haven’t posted any images from Australia lately.  The main reason is that I’ve just been too busy to process the images that were captured many weeks ago.  Another reason is that I’m moving to a different application for the the front end processing.  I have been using MaxIm DL for many years (for both capture and front-end processing), and am now moving to CCDStack.  I like the simplicity of MaxIm DL, but it wasn’t […]

Where’s My Lunar Eclipse?

  There will be a Total Lunar Eclipse this coming Sunday night, and we’re keeping our fingers crossed that the weather will cooperate and give us a good view of the dark, red Moon.  For people in the Portland, OR area there is probably not much hope, as the forecast (unsurprisingly) calls for heavy cloud cover all week.  That’s why we’re down here in southern California!  The forecast here, however, is quite annoying, calling for fairly clear skies for at least 2 days either side of it, but not so good at the actual time of the eclipse! On the […]

First Light in the Desert

We had a beautiful day yesterday, with no clouds, and temperatures approaching 80 degrees.  The night before was also very good, and was my first real opportunity here to do some serious imaging.  So it was “first light” for desert imaging, but also for the new ASI1600 camera. Although I had some issues with both the camera and the mount (a Celestron AVX, which I rarely use, but was small enough to bring on this trip), the results were quite satisfying.  This is the Rosette Nebula, captured with narrowband filters H-a, O-III, and S-II.  This is a large target, so […]

Desert Play

Greetings from sunny southern California!  It’s hard to believe that we’ve been here 6 days already.  They have been busy days, but mostly not involving astronomy.  Above is the beginning of a portrait of 2 dinosaurs playing in the desert near where we’re staying.  They are actually metal sculptures, of course, but supposedly life-size.  The images are inverted in a crystal ball that my wife gave me for this purpose.  I also captured the scene with focus on the statues and the background.  When they are suitably combined everything will be in sharp focus. Slightly more astronomy related is this […]