Astrophotography

 

A collection of  astrophotographs taken from my backyard through light polluted skies.   Eventually I will annotate each photo, so please bear with me.

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One of my Astrophotography Setups.

A Celestron 11 inch schmidt-cassegrain telescope mounted on a heavy duty German equatorial mount drive.  The light blue telescope mounted on top is a cheap scope used as an autoguider scope.  Images are captured with a dedicated 8 megapixel astronomy camera cooled to -26C that is attached to the rear of the Celestron.  Another high sensitivity black and white camera is attached to the blue scope for autoguiding (accurate tracking).  The whole contraption is controlled by a laptop computer.   I also use refractor telescopes for imaging.

Safe Sun Viewing

This is a dual setup for safely viewing the sun in white light and the hyrdrogen alpha spectrum.  The large black telescope is a 120mm apochromatic refractor equipped with a million to one light blocking filter on the front lens.  The combination of the refractor and filter allow safe viewing of sunspots.  Since this scope has a larger aperture, it is possible to get high magnification views of sunspots.  Since it is limited to full spectrum lighting, it is impossible to see solar flares and prominences.

The smaller gold telescope is a Coronado PST dedicated solar telescope.  The PST is a narrow band hydrogen alpha filter, so it is possible to observe solar flares and prominences as well as surface details on the sun.  The small 40mm aperture size limits the magnification.  Hydrogen alpha telescopes are insanely expensive and the PST is cheapest of the lot at around $499.  To get something better, one needs to spend over $2000.

A Simple Observing Telescope

This is my Sky-Watcher 12 inch newtonian reflector telescope.  It is mounted in a simple Dobsonian mechanism, where the base rotates and the scope can be tilted up and down.  It has no motors or computerized parts, but it is big “light bucket” than can serve up some remarkable views of the evening sky.  It’s as basic as you can get.  One needs to see the constellations to find anything and the light pollution in my area is so bad, most constellations are hard to see even on a clear night.

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