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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    New Bern, NC unless it's a home football game then I'm grilling on Devil's Alley

    Any Astronomy Buffs Here?

    Not astrology, and not looking for y'all that are in the buff. Leos need to keep their loin cloths on.

    But...any astronomy folks? I hate math, and astronomy has lots of it. But, I love science, and as a kid I remember going to the Duke surplus store and loading up on lenses to build my own telescopes. Some weren't half bad, but that was a lifetime ago. I've rekindled this passion a bit recently and added a new 8" dobsonian scope to the 4.5" equatorial mount reflector that I've had.
    Long story short, girlfriend and I love looking through the lenses, but capturing much with my phone isn't easy, and while my DLSR camera works well on my EQ mount, it's way too heavy for my dob.
    So I bought an entry level cam that slips right into my lens housing. I was excited, but also leery. I take pride in the fact that I'm not blind yet (getting closer, though!), so while I enjoy what I see through my scopes, I wasn't too optimistic about getting the box promised images that I was looking at when I ordered.

    Now I'm totally geeking out, eager to learn how to actually use both the camera and the software that bundled with it. Youtube is my teacher for each.

    These are shots I took tonight. Each is "stacked" images from video files that I recorded through my 8" dobsonian.

    Saturn.jpg

    Jupiter.jpg

    Obviously Saturn is at the top, Jupiter is below. Jupiter is color corrected with Photoshop.

    Any other night sky buffs here? I'm looking forward to heading to Staunton River State Park in Va in a few weeks. We go up for their "dark sky" nights once or twice a year. They have a huge field, and lots of other folks out with some scopes that will literally dwarf you.
    Q "Why do you like Duke, you didn't even go there." A "Because my art school didn't have a basketball team."

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Durham, NC
    I don't have anything helpful to offer, but that is super cool. I would love to get a telescope at some point.

  3. #3
    Those images are just awesome... especially Saturn. (Sorry, that is the extent of my expertise)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Undisclosed
    Great photos.

    I have a bit too much light pollution to enjoy astronomy as much as I would like. I have always been fascinated with the worlds beyond ours.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    New Bern, NC unless it's a home football game then I'm grilling on Devil's Alley
    Quote Originally Posted by OldPhiKap View Post
    Great photos.

    I have a bit too much light pollution to enjoy astronomy as much as I would like. I have always been fascinated with the worlds beyond ours.
    With deep sky objects, like galaxies and nebulae, light pollution is a big factor. The solar system objects, however, are really not affected by it, at least when using binoculars or a telescope. I could have my scope out in the middle of a city, and likely capture the same images as above.
    Q "Why do you like Duke, you didn't even go there." A "Because my art school didn't have a basketball team."

  6. #6

    Comparison of Sizes

    Just to compare sizes of your (very nice) picture of Saturn vs. the Orion Nebula.

    Saturn is about 1/3 of an arc minute in size.
    The Orion Nebula is 60 arc minutes in size (that is 1 degree).
    So the expanse of the Orion Nebula carves out about 180 times the size of Saturn across the sky.
    You just need a long enough exposure to gather the light.

    Larry
    DevilHorse

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Winston’Salem
    It has been decades since I have done this, but if you can find your way (by houseboat, preferably) to a remote arm of Lake Powell in southern Utah, and stay up late into the night, the astrological views set against the water and the sandstone are unreal.
    "Amazing what a minute can do."

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Greenville, SC
    Quote Originally Posted by DevilHorse View Post
    Just to compare sizes of your (very nice) picture of Saturn vs. the Orion Nebula.

    Saturn is about 1/3 of an arc minute in size.
    The Orion Nebula is 60 arc minutes in size (that is 1 degree).
    So the expanse of the Orion Nebula carves out about 180 times the size of Saturn across the sky.
    You just need a long enough exposure to gather the light.

    Larry
    DevilHorse
    The harvesting of photons is a delicate matter. When done well the results can be beautiful.*




    *Note how I resisted working the word, "reap" into the second sentence.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    New Bern, NC unless it's a home football game then I'm grilling on Devil's Alley
    Quote Originally Posted by DevilHorse View Post
    So the expanse of the Orion Nebula carves out about 180 times the size of Saturn across the sky.
    You just need a long enough exposure to gather the light.
    Quote Originally Posted by camion View Post
    The harvesting of photons is a delicate matter. When done well the results can be beautiful.*
    We are going to Staunton River in October. It is too heavy for my dob (and I don't have a way to do prolonged tracking with the dob), but I'm bringing my DSLR camera to use with my equatorial scope. I've got a T Ring adapter for it, but I haven't used it much. At the very least I'm hoping to get some decent broad Milky Way long exposure shots.
    Q "Why do you like Duke, you didn't even go there." A "Because my art school didn't have a basketball team."

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Bethesda, MD
    For the armchair astronomers, one of my favorite books ever is "Coming of Age in the Milky Way" by Timothy Ferris.

  11. #11
    Star trails are a fun and easy way to dip your toe into astrophotography, depending on how long your camera allows you to keep your shutter open. Put it on a tripod, point at Polaris, and slow that shutter speed down to several minutes or more if you can. Works much better from a truly remote dark sky location. If you've got city glow on the horizon, even in the opposite direction, your background sky isn't going to be very dark by the end of your exposure.

    Plus, at a truly remote dark sky location, you will see SO many more stars. It's like diamond dust on black velvet. Truly amazing.

    Imaging the moon is pretty easy too. But telescope stuff - even though some people manage it with P&S cameras up at the eyepiece, I never managed that or arranged it with a bracket or clamp. At some point, I realized that everyone around me has sunk more $ into their kit, it's vastly better, they'll spend lots of effort stacking images and adjusting all kinds of image characteristics - and they'll just share the results proudly and freely. It saps my motivation to do it for myself.

  12. #12
    Just to share an Astronomy/Duke story, while matriculating at Duke for Graduate school (around 1984 I think), there was total eclipse of the sun that was passing through North Carolina from the Southwest through the Northeast, but right through the Greensboro Airport. A bunch of us from the physics department got together welders masks and various paraphenalia and headed out from a very cloudy Durham, hoping we might see something. As we headed east on Route 85, a line in the clouds separated blue sky from clouds and we had brilliant lighting.

    At the Greensboro Airport, it was a geekfest (before there were geeks). All sorts of boxhole cameras and Telescopes with the lenses taken out, so they could project the image of the sun onto flat surfaces, and anyone could walk by and see: sunspots, the curved progress of the moon over the sun.. it was great.
    When totality hit, you could see the wave of darkness come over the hill we were all on. It was almost more interesting than the sun in totality.
    The temperature dropped 10 degrees, and everyone was transfixed. The carona popped out, and seemed smaller than you'd expect (pictures in text books are so much bigger). And it seemed to last so much longer than a minute. Then it was gone, and back to Durham.

    It is amazing how rare total eclipses are. I really appreciate having been to one.

    I do have another Astronomy/Duke/Basketball story.. Bob Bender transferred from Indiana to Duke and was on the Varsity Basketball team at both schools. He was taking Astronomy at Indiana, but dropped out (or took an incomplete) just before he transferred. He then took the Astronomy course at Duke when he came to Duke; it was part of the Physics Department curriculum. The strange part of it, for Bob was that the teacher of the course in Indiana was the same guy who taught it at Duke. The professor transferred that summer. I would have loved to find out what Bob's reaction was when he walked in the door that first day. I used to play cards on Friday nights with the Astronomy professor..

    Larry
    DevilHorse

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Richmond, Va

    That's an awesome post, especially

    Quote Originally Posted by DevilHorse View Post
    Just to share an Astronomy/Duke story, while matriculating at Duke for Graduate school (around 1984 I think), there was total eclipse of the sun that was passing through North Carolina from the Southwest through the Northeast, but right through the Greensboro Airport. A bunch of us from the physics department got together welders masks and various paraphenalia and headed out from a very cloudy Durham, hoping we might see something. As we headed east on Route 85, a line in the clouds separated blue sky from clouds and we had brilliant lighting.

    At the Greensboro Airport, it was a geekfest (before there were geeks). All sorts of boxhole cameras and Telescopes with the lenses taken out, so they could project the image of the sun onto flat surfaces, and anyone could walk by and see: sunspots, the curved progress of the moon over the sun.. it was great.
    When totality hit, you could see the wave of darkness come over the hill we were all on. It was almost more interesting than the sun in totality.
    The temperature dropped 10 degrees, and everyone was transfixed. The carona popped out, and seemed smaller than you'd expect (pictures in text books are so much bigger). And it seemed to last so much longer than a minute. Then it was gone, and back to Durham.

    It is amazing how rare total eclipses are. I really appreciate having been to one.

    I do have another Astronomy/Duke/Basketball story.. Bob Bender transferred from Indiana to Duke and was on the Varsity Basketball team at both schools. He was taking Astronomy at Indiana, but dropped out (or took an incomplete) just before he transferred. He then took the Astronomy course at Duke when he came to Duke; it was part of the Physics Department curriculum. The strange part of it, for Bob was that the teacher of the course in Indiana was the same guy who taught it at Duke. The professor transferred that summer. I would have loved to find out what Bob's reaction was when he walked in the door that first day. I used to play cards on Friday nights with the Astronomy professor..

    Larry
    DevilHorse
    The Bob Bender info, very Twilight Zone-ish

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Richmond, Va

    Always been into the stars and planets

    As a kid, and a son-of-a-gun at that, we lived in DC (Wheaton Woods) when I was 7 or 8, so 1969, 1970. My dad and I were in the backyard with his telescope looking at different objects when something strange happened.

    While planes were coming and going, an object appeared in the sky, to us just a single light quite far off in the distance. It hovered, then made a series of very sharp turns and twists (zig-zagging) for several seconds before disappearing out-of-sight at a very high rate of speed. I didn't know any better that this was unusual, but my dad, being an Annapolis grad, knew this was beyond strange and called the Navy (observatory?) to report it. Don't remember ever hearing anything more about this sighting. Summer time.

    To this day, I can picture what I saw and have always been fascinated with the Heavens. Complete believer in visits from other worlds. Watch lots of UFO shows.

    Never seen anything close to that bizarre since.

    I do have an uncle claiming to have seen a(n) UFO out on his family's farm in Goochland County in the 60's. But he's done plenty of drugs, so I question it-a little.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    New Bern, NC unless it's a home football game then I'm grilling on Devil's Alley
    Quote Originally Posted by duketaylor View Post
    As a kid, and a son-of-a-gun at that, we lived in DC (Wheaton Woods) when I was 7 or 8, so 1969, 1970. My dad and I were in the backyard with his telescope looking at different objects when something strange happened.

    While planes were coming and going, an object appeared in the sky, to us just a single light quite far off in the distance. It hovered, then made a series of very sharp turns and twists (zig-zagging) for several seconds before disappearing out-of-sight at a very high rate of speed. I didn't know any better that this was unusual, but my dad, being an Annapolis grad, knew this was beyond strange and called the Navy (observatory?) to report it. Don't remember ever hearing anything more about this sighting. Summer time.

    To this day, I can picture what I saw and have always been fascinated with the Heavens. Complete believer in visits from other worlds. Watch lots of UFO shows.

    Never seen anything close to that bizarre since.

    I do have an uncle claiming to have seen a(n) UFO out on his family's farm in Goochland County in the 60's. But he's done plenty of drugs, so I question it-a little.
    Very cool story.
    Q "Why do you like Duke, you didn't even go there." A "Because my art school didn't have a basketball team."

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by duketaylor View Post

    I do have an uncle claiming to have seen a(n) UFO out on his family's farm in Goochland County in the 60's. But he's done plenty of drugs, so I question it-a little.
    The head secretary at the physics department at Duke, for many years, was Mrs. Gooch.
    She had a major diverging strabismus. Very disconcerting.
    She was very kind.

    The plot thickens.

    Larry
    DevilHorse

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Vermont
    I love Astronomy and should mention that I'm a Gemini...

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    New Bern, NC unless it's a home football game then I'm grilling on Devil's Alley
    Last night was pretty cool just to look up. I didn't take my scopes out, but in one small chunk of the sky the moon had both Jupiter and Saturn on either side of it; they looked like smaller moons in orbit around the big one.
    Q "Why do you like Duke, you didn't even go there." A "Because my art school didn't have a basketball team."

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    New Bern, NC unless it's a home football game then I'm grilling on Devil's Alley
    Quote Originally Posted by DevilHorse View Post
    I do have another Astronomy/Duke/Basketball story.. Bob Bender transferred from Indiana to Duke and was on the Varsity Basketball team at both schools. He was taking Astronomy at Indiana, but dropped out (or took an incomplete) just before he transferred. He then took the Astronomy course at Duke when he came to Duke; it was part of the Physics Department curriculum. The strange part of it, for Bob was that the teacher of the course in Indiana was the same guy who taught it at Duke. The professor transferred that summer. I would have loved to find out what Bob's reaction was when he walked in the door that first day. I used to play cards on Friday nights with the Astronomy professor..
    Quote Originally Posted by duketaylor View Post
    The Bob Bender info, very Twilight Zone-ish
    Stalker!!
    Next North American total eclipse is in 2024, going through Niagara Falls. (And a bunch of the rest of the country.)
    We went to Charleston for the last one, and saw some, but never totality as a thunderstorm for the ages came up on us right at the worst moment. I'm still drying out my shoes from that day.
    We are hoping to make a camping trip to Niagara in 4 years.
    Q "Why do you like Duke, you didn't even go there." A "Because my art school didn't have a basketball team."

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Undisclosed
    Quote Originally Posted by CameronBornAndBred View Post
    Stalker!!
    Next North American total eclipse is in 2024, going through Niagara Falls. (And a bunch of the rest of the country.)
    We went to Charleston for the last one, and saw some, but never totality as a thunderstorm for the ages came up on us right at the worst moment. I'm still drying out my shoes from that day.
    We are hoping to make a camping trip to Niagara in 4 years.
    We were in the 90% eclipse zone. I was skeptical of driving to see the total eclipse -- how much different could it really be?

    Decided to drive about an hour north towards Clemson to see it as a total eclipse. Wow.

    I am totally planning on Niagara/viscinity in 2024.

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