The Lunar eclipse on Sep 27, 2015 happened when the Moon was at perigee, the point in its orbit which is closest to Earth. Not only does the moon appear just a bit bigger then, but, when it coincides with a Lunar eclipse the Moon can get deeper into Earths shadow, making for a particularly dark eclipse.
I shot this with a 952 mm focal length (f/7.5) APO refractor. This is a combination of 40 shots, a mix of 2 seconds at ISO 400, 1 second at ISO 800 and 0.5 seconds at ISO 1600.
Another low res image, a 1289 x 906 crop from a full frame. This one uses all 12 exposures of 300 seconds at ISO 1600 that I shot on the f/7.5, 127 mm Apo. There were other galaxies in the frame, but the full size image detracted from this pretty galaxy, which was the main target.
This is pretty low resolution, a 1220 x 907 crop from the middle of an 18 megapixel frame. It is also lacking in detail because I could only use the best 7 of 12 images at 300 seconds each At ISO 1600 on the f/7.5, 127 mm diameter apochromatic refractor. Shot without an LP filter.
Well, I spent a lot of time processing this image, but I spent most of it discovering that I could not torture it as hard as I normally do. The more I picked at it, the worse it got, and at last I would throw it away and start over. (Often, I will save, start over and eventually combine the previous try with the one I am working on.)
This is combined from the best 20 of 27 exposures of 360 seconds each at ISO 1600 on the 127 mm apochromatic refractor. Shot without an LP filter.
Revisited a portion of this target with the 127 mm f/7.5 tube. As expected, with nearly 5 times the focal length, I got a lot more detail. That I used 8 exposures of 1200 seconds each did not hurt either. Shot April 17, 2015.
This picture involved a lot of experimentation. I ended up using around 50 exposures of 300 seconds, at f/2.8, f/3.2, and f/4 And ISO of 1600, 3200 and 6400. Shot with the 200mm lens on March 27, 2014. There are a couple dozen galaxies in this picture, including elliptical galaxies M84 and M86 (the two brightest galaxies in the shot) and spiral galaxy M99 up at the top left.
Best viewed at full size. After the picture loads click to zoom in and click again to zoom back out. (Works in IE, not sure in other browsers.)
I treated this as a high dynamic range object, alternating 10 minute and 15 minute exposures, but started a little late in the evening, and had a couple of throw-away shots, so only got 5 at each duration. Still, I not only got more definition than ever in NGC 6207, the galaxy towards the top right corner of the frame, but also a galaxy I didn’t even know about. IC 4617 is just less than halfway from the top edge of M13 to NGC 6207.
Shot with the 127 mm Apochromatic Refractor (f/7.5, 952 mm Focal length) at ISO 1600.
This was the third salvageable shot I took at Alamo lake on March 21. Too bad about all the problems I had, because this could have been a really awesome shot. If I view this full size (click the pic to see the larger image, then click that again when it finished loading so see it at full size of 5148 x 3420) I count 15 galaxies in this shot. Made from 13 exposures of 240 seconds at f/2.8.
This was another attempt March 21 at Alamo Lake. I am using a new camera which is not yet modified to pass hydrogen spectrum, so I lost a lot of the red in M82, but I got way more detail in M81. The top picture is the shot from Alamo Lake, and the second one is an attempt to combine that with the older, more colorful shot below. The new one is 13 exposures of 240 seconds at f/2.8.
This stack is composed of 23 shots of 300 seconds each at ISO 1600 through the 6″, f/4 reflector, selected from 50 shots taken starting around 10 pm on May 3, 2014.
This is the 5th Comet Lovejoy, currently en route to the Sun. This is a very difficult object to shoot, so I’ll give myself a “not terrible for an amateur” grade for it. I can’t touch the quality and detail you can find on APOD, but I did manage to catch 6 or 7 degrees of the tail of the comet. This is the best 11 exposures of 180 seconds at f/1.8 and ISO 400 on the 85mm lens. That is M45, the Pleiades in the upper right corner.
This is the head and shoulders of the constellation Orion, turned sideways. Betelgeuse (lower right) and Bellatrix (upper right) are the shoulders, and the little line of five stars near the center (and enlarged in the inset at lower left) make up what appears to be the one faint star that is Orion’s head. In fact, Orion’s head is so faint, that you need rather dark sky to see it with the naked eye.
When I first saw this through the eyepiece of a telescope, I immediately thought of the old Jefferson Airplane album title (also the title of this post. Much to my surprise, it turns out that Orion’s head is really a huge ball of hydrogen gas, excited by the light of nearby stars.
I took this shot Thanksgiving weekend, and only got five exposures before my power went out, so this is pretty noisy, and not really a very good astrophoto, but it is the best I have so far.