Last Quarter Moon on Oct 23, 2016

Waning Crescent Moon Mosaic on Oct 23, 2016.  17 panels, 6" F/8 Newtonian, Aptina AR0130 planetary cam.
Waning Crescent Moon Mosaic on Oct 23, 2016. 17 panels, 6″ F/8 Newtonian, Aptina AR0130 planetary cam.

Another moon mosaic for the month of October.  Since the weather was so clear on this early October morning, I decided to do some more planetary-style imaging with my new planetary/guider cam.   Decent seeing and as already mentioned, very transparent skies.   It was a little chilly, but not too bad when wearing two coats.    🙂

Moon Mosaic – October 14, 2016

The Moon on Oct 14, 2016. 25 panel mosaic taken with an Aptina AR0130 Color Guider/Cam and a 6 inch F/8 Newtonian.
The Moon on Oct 14, 2016. 25 panel mosaic taken with an Aptina AR0130 Color Guider/Cam and a 6 inch F/8 Newtonian.

I stitched this together with a little over two dozen, 1280×960 pixel images taken with my eyepiece planetary/guider cam and a 6″ dobsonian.  Reasonably good seeing this night.   When I saw that the stars were barely twinkling, I figured I better get some images while the getting was good.

I let the camera take an image every two seconds while I moved the scope from bottom to top of the target and let it drift across the field of view.  In all, I got about 334 images in RAW FIT format files, which I converted in IRIS.   I had to debayer them to get color and they came out really red, since I don’t have that specific camera in IRIS.   A Nikon seemed to be the closest match as far as conversion from RAW to RGB color.  IRIS  was able to apply the same color correction settings to each image in a batch mode and then I selected and manually exported select images into PSD format for PS.

It is not the best stitch-up job, since the moon rotated somewhat in the field of view between the first images and the last.  But, I think it is reasonably good for a few days worth of work.  I had to patch a few goofs and bad spots after the original posting.  One major one I didn’t catch until a few days after posting was the original image was backwards!    It seems the camera outputs mirror images in RAW format or it was possibly the FIT file format was encoded backwards.  I’m not sure.   I still have the RAW data, so I can put together another mosaic if I get bored one day.   🙂

M42 with a Dobsonian – No Tracking

Orion Nebula Core Area. 32 frames, 350ms, Aptina AR0130 Color Imager/Guider, 6" F/8 Newtonian, Dobsonian mount.
Orion Nebula Core Area. 32 frames, 350ms each frame, taken with an Aptina AR0130 Color Imager/Guider camera and a 6″ F/8 Newtonian on a Dobsonian mount.

Here’s one for the personal record book – shooting the Orion Nebula with a scope that has no tracking whatsoever.  It was on a Dobsonian mount.

I used an eyepiece camera in video mode and just let M42 drift through the field while I tried to get the most video frames possible.   I think I got between 35 and 70 frames for each video.  Out of 8 or 9 videos taken, two of the AVI files were good enough to try stacking select frames for a better image.

I used 16 frames from one video and 16 from another video.  Each set was stacked in IRIS with the planetary work process for AVI videos, then the two images were combined in PS.

The results are poor compared to what is possible with a tracking mount.  But, I knew it could be done with the right technique and I just had to try.   🙂

The Moon on Oct 11, 2016



Three first light images of the moon taken with new guider/planetary camera.

A new camera was used to take these new images of the moon.   A six inch Newtonian on a Dobsonian mount was used, so there was no tracking.   The camera used was an Aptina-based, AR0130 1.2Mp sensor eyepiece cam.   It has good low-light capability and a wide exposure range.

I hope to use it as a guide camera on a tracking mount and do double duty as a planetary/moon camera when hooked to one of my bigger scopes.  I can also use it to take some deep sky images with various other lenses or smaller scopes.  With the right scope, these types of cameras work great for small objects like planetary nebulae and small galaxies.

Images of Comets, Nebulae, Galaxies and Star Clusters