A beautiful conjunction of the moon and two planets made the last evening of Jan 2017 quite nice. The Moon joined Venus and Mars on this evening and I just had to get some shots.
I could have used a tripod for these, but I took the images by propping the camera on the top of a car. Consequently, I had lots of rejected images due to motion blur. But, luckily, I got a three steady ones that were good enough to post. The forth image below was a repair job, but it came out OK after correcting it for my unsteady hands. 🙂
These last two are actually composites. The one right above had motion blur and as mentioned previously, I was able to fix it. But, fixing it messed up the trees. So, I had to composite the good trees back in from the original. In the second image above, the moon was replaced with a better version from the 200mm lens.
With the heavy light pollution (LP) I’ve had to deal with where I’m imaging from lately, I decided a few open clusters would be better targets than anything too faint like nebulae and galaxies. At around 10:30 pm on this particular night, M67 was in perfect position to be imaged.
The LP limited me to 1 minute exposures at ISO 400, so it is not a very deep image. Getting rid of the LP in processing knocks the colors out and I had to work hard to get a little of the colors back. Oh, well… at least I’m able to get something useful out of the data.
Here’s Comet Encke on Jan 29, 2017. I imaged it two years ago when it last came around. On this night it was very low in a very bad LP zone right above bright parking lot lights and street lights. I’m surprised anything even registered. As you can see, it was small and dim and almost, but not quite, swallowed up by the LP. 🙁
On Jan 29, 2017, a two day old moon was in the sky and I shot it first thing before it sank too low to image. This is somewhat of an HDR image in that I took a series of 4 exposures, long to short, to try and get the earthshine and details in the crescent. I aligned and stacked them in PS with about a 50% blend for each exposure.
Here’s one I have not shot in a while. I was hoping it would come out better, but unfortunately, I lost quite a few of the sub-images to bad guiding. I was supposed to get 40 or more, but only 23 were good enough to use.
I was able to shoot this again and get lots more sub-images. Not too bad considering the light pollution that I had to endure.
Another Bortle Red Zone image with a relatively short exposure of 40 minutes in 1 minute subs. I have another batch of 1 minute subs taken at ISO 800 to add to this, but here is the preliminary image for the time being.
The additional 40×60 sec @ ISO 800 subs-images are added into the mix and the updated full frame image and a close-in crop are above. 🙂
Just for fun, I added the above image with 2 previous images of M51 taken with bigger scopes and the results are below:
I’ve finally bagged a new comet after almost 2 years since I shot my last one, which was Comet Lovejoy. This one is small and dim at the moment, but it has a neat tail.
Comet Johnson is predicted to get better with the best views coming this summer. So far, it looks like it will be an easy target for the next few months. I’ll probably get more images of this one as it develops.