Monday, December 29, 2008

Departing by way of Orion

Well - my last night on the big scope. Here's the last shot I got - the Orion Nebula - M42. Yeah, Yeah - the compulsory target for every novice astrophotographer . . . OK - I'm outta here!

M42 through a 6" F/9 APO refractor onto a Canon EOS 5D. The sum of twenty 300 second, ten 30 second, and five 5 second exposures at ISO 800 and F/9. Processed in ImagePlus and PSCS3.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Piggy Back

How often does an amateur astronomer get to use a 2.3 meter telescope for astrophotography? And even better - use it only to piggy-back their cameras on the massive 6 ton mount to use as a tracking platform. Well - here are a few shots taken with such a setup.

NGC 2239 through a Canon EOS 5D and a 400mm lens. This is a sum of 25 5 minute exposures at F/4.0. Processed with ImagePlus and PSCS3.

M33 shot through a 6" F/9 APO refractor with 0.63 Focal Reducer onto a Canon EOS 1D MKIIN. 32 4 minute exposures at F/5.6 processed with ImagePlus and PSCS3.

IC434 shot through a 6" F/9 APO refractor with 0.63 Focal Reducer onto a Canon EOS 1D MKIIN. 35 5 minute exposures at F/5.6 processed with ImagePlus and PSCS3.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Kitt Peak

Up at kitt Peak for the next few days - engineering on the 2.3 meter (90 inch) telescope to check primary and secondary mirror collimation and do some astrophotography. the sky cleared late but the humidity is 93% and we can't open the dome. Temperature is now 18 degrees fahrenheit - BRRRRRRRR!

Xmas 2008

A couple of snapshots from Xmas @ the Harvey house . . .

The grandkids showed up to get their share - 4 boys (youngest not seen as he was not feeling well). They move way to fast!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Where in the World is Dave?

Mt. Graham - the Vatican Telescope - a decent place (at best) in the summer - in winter however, the ghetto of the artic. Its about 25 degrees fahrenheit at noon. Snow and rime ice. The wind is blowing at about 20 knots. Lovely, just lovely.

Monday, December 1, 2008


Well - the conjunction of the year - the Moon, Venus and Jupiter - happened in less-than-perfect sky conditions tonight. But I managed to get a shot of the grouping in late twilight. Canon EOS 5D | 300mm F/2.8L IS @ F/4.0 | 2 seconds | ISO 200

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

More from the edge

A shot of Messier 45, Messier 33 and Messier 31 taken with the same equipment as last night.

Below - the Orion complex taken with an 85mm F/1.2L @ F/2.0 and ISO 800. A light Fog filter was used in front of the lens during the Five 2 minute exposures that were then median combined in MaximDL. Edited in PSCS3.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

North America

The North American Nebula in Cygnus. Ten - 3 minute exposures median combined in MaximDL. Obtained with my 400mm F/2.8L lens @ F/3.5 | ISO 1600 | Canon EOS 5D. Taken from Kitt Peak National Observatory under clear moonless skies.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Temples of Deterrence

Spent the day on a "reality field trip" with the family - a late afternoon tour of the Titan Missile Museum and San Xavier del Bac Mission. One a temple of the philosophy "walk softly and carry a big stick" - the other "thou shalt not . . ."

See if you can figure out which is which.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

VATT Slack

Back at the VATT Telescope again - had time to slack off and catch a few images of the SMT, the LBT and the VATT. Here they be.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Fine Frakin' Art . . .

A couple of weeks ago I was dragged to a charity auction by my loving and beautiful wife. Not wanting to seem unsupportive and petulant, I decided to make the best of the situation and brought my camera - least I have something to occupy myself with in the event the outting proved interminable.

Not having used my lensbaby in many months I thought I could experiment with the darker side of photography - that of "Fine Art".

Now - to explain - "Fine Art" photography to me has always seemed a polite synonym for "pictures you couldn't sell to your mother." In my experience, any photographer who calls themself a fine art photographer has a perversely odd sense of subject and composition along with an over inflated sense of self-worth. In the computer programming world they are akin to "hacks".

Not wanting to be left out - here are my submissions to the "Fine Art Photography" genre . . . My photographic vision? Yeah - whatever.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Full Impluse Power restored.

Thursday night, the 23rd of October, under pristine clear skies and no moon, the VATT telescope came back on-line for the first time since the major network and computer upgrade that took place this summer. Astronomers gave the ship a full shakedown, and after a few minor leaks were plugged - science is being done once again on the good ship VATT.

Much thanks goes to the VATT engineering crew - Ned Franz, Chris Johnson, Gary Gray and Ken Duffek. Warp engines should be back on-line next week!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Big Glass

Spent the night last night up at the 2.3 meter telescope at Kitt Peak - an engineering run to look into lunar tracking and modify the control system software user interface.

While waiting for the moon to rise, got to do some high magnification photography through the telescope. The scope is equivalent to a 20,700mm F/9 lens! A full frame Canon 5D digital camera has a field of view through this system of just 6 x 4 arcminutes! - that's just 0.1 x 0.067 degrees!

Seeing was above average for the site and most of the shots here are limited by the scope slightly out-of-collimation optics.