Here are a couple of lovely pictures of the night sky at our Observatory. Captured by a Cranbrook School student, while at one of our recent observing evenings.
Our member reports…
Captured this picture tonight at home. My Canon SLR did not want to take it, though I tried. (Could be operator faultiness)
However, the mobile phone camera came up with this below. Jupiter close to the Moon. Very bright and splendid. I hoped to dim the full Moon’s brilliance with a bush. Not sure it worked that well. I’ll get my coat..
One of our members tried the interesting Photoshop tutorial about star field images, in the March issue of Digital Photo magazine. It’s all about capturing a night sky image in RAW file format and then processing it, so you can use it as background in a finished composition, or just as an astronomy night sky image.
First step was to download the (free) Adobe RAW file plugin for Photoshop, together with their DNG (digital negative converter) to convert the .CR2 files from the Canon camera. Some version juggling and a couple of hours, was needed to make it work with an older version of Photoshop. But it did!
Applying the suggestions from the magazine to a night sky image already taken and already on the laptop, it was encouraging. First stage only, but below is the star field image produced, ready for use in an image composition.
And below the processed image, there is a small section cropped from the BEFORE version of the same image, to the same scale.
These are single frame images captured with the Alan Young Telescope on 15 January 2016
Lovely image of M51 captured by CADSAS member Simon Powell. It’s from 60 images at various ISO and exposure times, but nothing over 2 minutes.
Another excellent image by our member Graham Caller. This time it’s IC443 also called the Jellyfish Nebula. It’s a supernova remnant in the constellation of Gemini.
Click the thumbnail image above for a larger version, though note that this has been reduced in resolution for the web. The original is even more impressive.
Last week was IC443 week. A couple of clear nights and I grabbed 8 hours worth of 15mins subs. Topped up this week with another 2.5 hours to improve the signal to noise ratio further.
Resultant image stacked in PixInsight and processed.
Oh! this was taken using an Ha filter.
We are hoping Graham will give us a lecture in the future, on his astroimaging techniques.
Our local friends at Ashford Astronomical Society are hosting the 2015 One-Day Spring Meeting of the British Astronomical Association at The Stour Centre in Ashford on Saturday 25th April 2015.
The theme is ‘Amateur and Professional Collaboration’. The meeting has been designed to help us find out how we can be involved in real science, working as an amateur with professionals.
There will be a series of talks throughout the day, on how amateur astronomers can work in tandem with national and international projects. The ticket price includes refreshments and a buffet lunch.
Download the booking form here: Ashford BAA Spring Meeting Ticket Booking Form
Here is a collection of astronomical images captured by our member Simon Powell. (click each thumbnail for a larger version of the image)
All were taken using a Skywatcher 200PDS telescope on an HEQ5 Equatorial mount, with a Canon 70D DSLR at prime focus. The deep sky shots were stacked in Deep Sky Stacker with darks, bios shots and flats. Post processing was done with Photoshop.
“Most of these were taken from central Maidstone, so light pollution is an issue, hence the Dumbell and Cigar have a lot of noise in the image. Now I’ve moved to Biddenden I’m hoping not to have that issue again!”
We welcome Simon to our area and our astronomical society!
Lovely image of the Orion nebula captured by Ted Pearson on 30 December.
Here is another go by Kevin Brown at M31, the Andromeda Galaxy. This time using sub-images captured in Canon 1000D RAW format.
This resulting image is made from 5 lights plus 1 dark, each of 180s exposure at 1600 ISO, stacked using Deep Sky Stacker software.
The settings used with DSS were rather random (more experience needed), so a better final result is probably possible…