6/24/2020 First Light with Hyperstar

I had my first chance to try out my new Hyperstar V4 with my 11″ Celestron SCT (Elf). With this configuration, Elf becomes an 11″ f/1.9 lens with a focal length of 532mm.

This was not a night for long integrations. It was just a shake down cruise. Below are some images of, top to bottom, Omega Centauri, Centaurus A, and Markarian’s Chain. In this configuration, the camera has a 2 degrees by 1.4 degrees. Each of these images are 50 sixteen second images combined. Minor stretching was done but no other post processing. I want you to see it almost as it came out of the camera. Click for a larger view.

The greated globular cluster of them all, Omega Centauri was 9 degrees above the horizon when I shot it. Amazingly this was not too unlike what you see after one second. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omega_Centauri

Centaurus A is about 3 degrees higher than Omega Centauri. Obviously a little small for this scale. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centaurus_A

Markarian’s Chain starts with M84 in the upper right and proceeds in a backwards J to NGC 4459 at center left. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Markarian%27s_Chain

5/30/2020 Piggyback DSLR Astrophotography

Here are a couple images taken in the early hours of Saturday May 30, 2020 from the River Ridge Observatory. The Moon didn’t set until 2 AM so I spent several hours essentially piddling around and then stayed up all night. I used my Canon Rebel 800D with a 50mm f/1.8 lens riding on my 11″ SCT while it was busy imaging something else. I used a so called “city light suppression” filter to try to mitigate some light pollution. By the way, this was to the south from the RRO and Little Rock was to the southeast. Each image is a combination of six 5 minute frames then processed in Photoshop. My Photoshop skills are still a work in progress. The CLS filter tends to cast a green tint so that had to be removed. The dark circle in the lower right is the telescope.

Antares region with dark rivers in the Milky Way. My goal was these dark rivers. Antares is the brightest star near the center and the scorpion’s pincers are to the right. Click image to see it full size.
Lagoon Nebula and the Sagittarius Star Cloud. The pink cloud near the center is the Lagoon, an area of star formation. Near the top and slightly to the right , rather like a thumb print, is the Sagittarius Star Cloud. Click image to see it full size.

1/18/2020 Barnard’s Loop and the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex

Here is a picture of most of the constellation of Orion taken with my Canon 800D and a 50mm lens at the River Ridge Observatory Saturday January 18, 2020. My friend John Reed did the post processing. I used my Celestron AVX mount as a tracking platform and took 12 5 minute subs for one hour of data combined in DeepSkyStacker. The ISO was set at 800 and I was using a “city light suppression” filter to try to mitigate the light pollution.

My main goal was to capture Barnard’s Loop around the Orion Nebula and I did that. Inside the loop, near the center you can see three blue stars that make up the belt of Orion. “Attached” to the bottom star are the Flame Nebula (below and to the left of that star) and the complex that includes the Horsehead Nebula (below and to the right of that star). Further to the right is the Orion Nebula. All of this nebulosity including the big ball of fluff on the left is part of the huge Orion Molecular Cloud Complex.  Only some of it is illuminated by nearby stars, stars being born there now.

In the lower left quadrant is the star Betelgeuse, in the news recently because of it dramatic dimming. It’s still bright but is more like top 25 bright instead of top 10 bright. In the upper right is the bright blue star Rigel.