C/2013 A1/Mars Encounter, Oct 19, 2014. 10 x 180 sec @ ISO 1600, 20 x 60 sec @ ISO 6400, TV-85 at F/5.6, IDAS-LPS, Modified Canon T3.
Update October 20, 2014: Above is an updated image with more time added. Compare to the image below which was made with only 20 minutes of data shot at ISO 6400 (20×60 sec sub-images.) I took an additional 30 minutes of 3 minute sub-images at ISO 1600, so the combined total is 50 minutes.
Comet Siding Spring and Mars. 20×60 sec @ ISO 1600, TV-85 at F/5.6, IDAS-LPS, Modified Canon T3.
Well, the big comet encounter of the year took place tonight, Oct 19, 2014 and Mars and Comet Siding Spring (C/2013 A1) both survived. LoL. Seriously, it was a very close encounter if you had darkness when it was closest. Here in southern Louisiana, it took place during daylight, so I had to catch it after closest approach as C/2013 A1 was bidding Mars farewell.
I had a strange night with some issues, but I managed to get some decent data and also lucked out with some good weather for this event. This image is from the first set of images I took and it is a composite of comet-only processed and star background processed image stacks. The comet moved a good distance in the twenty-five minutes it took to get the sub-frames, so I had to isolate it with different alignment and stacking techniques than I use for normal deep-sky images.
M31, The Andromeda Galaxy. 77×60 sec @ ISO 6400, IDAS-LPS, TV-85 at F/5.6, Modified Canan T3.
Here’s another ISO 6400 test image and I think it came out pretty well. Temps were only in the mid to low 60’s, so noise was an issue. However, the test reveals that with enough sub-images, the noise can be smoothed out. I did notice that there was a remnant pattern noise that I see when guiding was off and tracking in a certain direction. Dithering during guiding would help for that, but I did not set that option during my imaging session. For sure I’ll try that next time.
Comet Siding Spring on October 17, 2014. 13×60 sec @ ISO 3200, TV-85 at F/5.6, Modified Canon T3.
Detail view of Comet Siding Spring.
Well, I finally managed to catch that small comet that is about to side-swipe Mars. It was a last minute effort and I caught the comet late and a little too close to the horizon. It was so low, that I had to throw out the last six sub-images because they were way too red. At that point, the comet was only 2 degrees above the horizon. That’s probably the lowest angle I ever tried to image something.
The actual close approach to Mars will occur on October 19th, 2014. Hopefully, I’ll get a chance to shoot it again at that time. It’s a little runt comet, but at least it is newsworthy. lol
For this image, I had to travel a few miles from home to find a western horizon free of obstructions, since from my backyard it is impossible to see. I ended up staying there most of the night since the sky was so nice.
The Crescent Nebula Area. Mosaic of 117x60sec ISO 6400, 9×720″ ISO400,
11×480″ ISO800 (5.21 hrs.) Data acquired on Oct 17, 2014, Nov 2, 2013, Nov 6 & 7, 2010 and Oct 1, 2007.
A mosaic of the Crescent Nebula area. Exposures from 4 different years were used. The base image was acquired on Nov 2, 2013 and was 40x60sec ISO 6400. I imaged it again on October 17, 2014 with 77 images and added that into the mix. Two nights of imaging in Nov 2010 of 9×720″ ISO400, 11×480″ ISO800 sub-images were also added in (for a total of 5.21 hours integration time.) Finally, data from an image of just the Crescent Nebula itself, taken with my SN-8 telescope was used and it was made with 57×180″ ISO 1600 sub-images taken on Oct 1, 2007.
I used RegiStar to manipulate the data. The beauty of software like RegiStar is that it can combine data taken years apart. In this case, over 7 years. I was able to take the nebulosity caught with a high ISO stack of sub-images, but with a noisy background and combine it with stacks of subs taken at lower ISO values which had a much smoother background. The stacked mosaic-like result let me bring out more of the dim nebulosity that pervades the Crescent Nebula area and keep the noise at bay, somewhat. A little more detail in the Crescent itself was enhanced with data from my larger, 8″ scope.
Lunar Eclipse on October 8, 2014. Shot with a JVC HD Video Recorder.
The eclipse of the Moon on October 8, 2014. This was shot with a JVC HD Video Recorder. I made stills of the moon from the movie clips I took. Some were used to make this composite image. I never tried a video camera before for an eclipse, so this was a learning experience.
Unfortunately, before the eclipse got going good, fog came in really heavy and the totality part of the eclipse was seen for just a minute or so. Before I knew it, the moon had sank too low into the fog and was swallowed by it. I barely got a shot off. Oh, well… at least I did not scratch. LoL
The Andromeda Galaxy – M31. (Re-worked from data obtained on Oct 22, 2011.)
Recently, I purchased a new monitor (a Dell 22″ LCD) and needed a good background image for it. My M31 data from 2011 had some issues, so I re-worked it a little and rotated it to a landscape orientation instead of the portrait orientation that I had used before. Now, it makes a great background image for that new monitor!
This image of the Pleiades was a combination of data from October 2013 and October of 2011. I sized it to be used as a screen background for my current monitor.