Category Archives: Moon

The Moon, A Comet and A Star Cluster – Jan 28th, 2024

Comet 144P/Kushida. 15x180 sec, AT60ED, QHY294C, Antlia Triband filter.
Comet 144P/Kushida. 15×180 sec, AT60ED, QHY294C, Antlia Triband filter.
Comet 144P/Kushida. 15x180 sec, AT60ED, QHY294C, Antlia Triband filter. Star Freeze version.
Comet 144P/Kushida. 15×180 sec, AT60ED, QHY294C, Antlia Triband filter. Star Freeze version.

It was a clear Sunday evening on Jan 28th, 2024 and I had to do some tweaking to the scope, so I took advantage of the good weather and did some imaging to test the results.

After the tweaks and adjustments for the scope, I went straight to Comet 144P/Kushida, which was well placed in the early evening sky.   I took 45 minutes worth of subs and above are the two images I generated from this data.

M35 Open Cluster and NGC 2158, taken on Jan 28th, 2024. 40x180 sec, QHY294C, Astro-Tech AT60ED, Antlia Triband filter.
M35 Open Cluster and NGC 2158, taken on Jan 28th, 2024.  40×180 sec, QHY294C, Astro-Tech AT60ED, Antlia Triband filter.

I shot of few sub-images of M35 the last time I was out and wanted to return to it now that I tweaked the scope.   I got two hours of data on it and it came out reasonably well.

By the time I finished M35, the moon had risen high enough to drown out any dim nebulae and whatnot, so I shot the moon itself.   It was still rather low in the sky, but did not come out too bad:

The Moon on Jan 28, 2024. QHY294C, Astro-Tech AT60ED, Antlia Triband filter.
The Moon on Jan 28, 2024. QHY294C, Astro-Tech AT60ED, Antlia Triband filter.

I resized it 200% for this display image and did some sharpening with the AstraImage Maximum Entropy Deconvolution filter in PS.  Yes, not too bad at all for a 60mm scope.

Sunday, Dec 17th, 2023 – The Moon and Two Nebulae

It was a very clear night after a cold front had passed and enough time had gone by for the winds to calm down again.  I setup before sunset and got ready.

The Moon, early evening, Sunday, Dec 17, 2023.
The Moon Composite image. 2 images taken Sunday, Dec 17, 2023 blended to show the stars and the moon’s features on the sunlit and dark sides.

The Moon was out and in conjunction with Saturn, which was right above it.   Unfortunately, the field of view was too narrow to include both in one frame without rotating the camera to another angle.   So, I just shot the moon

I composited together an overexposed shot and the first image and blended it to show the moon among a few stars.  Not quite what I was hoping for, but you get the idea.

The Pleiades. 3 hrs of 3 minute sub-images. A “killing time” image.
The Seagull Nebula. Combined data from Dec 14th and Dec 18th sessions totaling nearly 6 hours of exposure (118x180 sec.)
The Seagull Nebula. Includes data from Dec 14th and Dec 18th sessions totaling nearly 6 hours of exposure (118×180 sec.)

The Pleiades is one of those images I end up with when I want to kill time while waiting for what I really want to image.  In this case, it was the Seagull Nebula, which was my main target for this session.

I maxed out for one night with 4.5 hours on this object, which when added with the session from last week, gave me nearly 6 hours on the Seagull.  Finally, an amount of time that gives very smooth results – once you add them all together properly.

A Friday Night Imaging Session – Nov 3rd, 2023

Veil Nebula Complex – 18 x 180 sec, QHY294C, Astro-Tech AT60ED at F/4.8, Optolong L-eNhance filter.

Well, it was clear on Friday evening for a while when I started shooting the above.  The forecast was for it to remain clear.  I had setup and planned go the distance all night.  But, before too long, high cirrus clouds came in and parked over my location.   It was during the first exposure run on the Veil.  I took 40 shots and between clouds and guiding issues, only 18 were any good.

I took this small amount of L-eNhance filtered data and tried to combine it with the previous UHC-s filter data and the image below is what I got.  I was hoping for 3 hours worth, but it was not to be.

Veil Nebula Complex – Previous UHC filter data and L-eNhance data combined.

Not satisfied with the above image, I recombined the 18×180’s with the starless data I had from the previous session and came up with this rendition:

Veil Complex, 18×180 sec with L-eNhance filter and 58×180 sec with UHC-S filter.

With Halloween just passed, I was reminded that I haven’t checked out my old friend the Ghost Nebula since last year.  So, I gave it a whirl when the clouds gave me a break for about an hour.

Ghost Nebula and Gamma Cas – 14 x 180 sec, QHY294C, Astro-Tech AT60ED at F/4.8, Optolong L-eNhance filter.

Unfortunately, the clouds came back and the only thing left to shoot was the moon rising in the east.  It was boiling and unstable low in the muck, but I got a shot of it regardless.

I called it a night after that and packed it in and went to bed.  But, wouldn’t you know it?  I woke up before dawn the next morning and went outside and looked at the sky.  It was crystal clear.   D’oh!

Moon Rising on Nov 3rd, 2023, 11:57 PM.

 

The Full Hunter’s Moon of October 28, 2023

The Full Hunters’ Moon of October 28, 2023. 10 frames, AT60ED at F/4.8, QHY294c, UHC-S filter. 1.5x Drizzle processing.

A full moon night, but it was clear and relatively transparent.  I needed to test some scope adjustments anyway, so I figured I would just do a few of those things, get a shot of the moon and call it a night.    I ended staying up all night and shooting a variety of objects, even with a full moon from the metro.

Not only was it a full moon,  it joined Jupiter for a conjunction, and I got a shot of that plus a few others:

The Moon and Jupiter. QHY294c, UHC-S filter, AT60ED at F/4.8.
North America Nebula. 20×180 sec, QHY294c, UHC-S filter, AT60ED at F/4.8.
The Rosette Nebula. 30×180 sec, QHY294c, UHC-S filter, AT60ED at F/4.8.
The Flaming Star Nebula and the Tadpoles area.. 60×180 sec, QHY294c, UHC-S filter, AT60ED at F/4.8.

The Solar Eclipse of Oct 14, 2023

Maximum Eclipse – South Louisiana
Tele Vue Optics’ TV-85 at F/5.6, Thousand Oaks polymer solar filter, QHY183c astro camera at 1C, 6.8ms, Gain 11, Offset 0. There are 14 frames total in this animation.

I got up early and setup, polar aligned, etc.   Started taking images just before it started and got a few during the eclipse.   After the eclipse, I got a few more images of the sun and its spots.

Tele Vue Optics’ TV-85 at F/5.6, Thousand Oaks polymer solar filter, QHY183c astro camera at 1C, 6.8ms, Gain 11, Offset 0.
Sunspot Closeup – Televue TV-85 at F/5.6, Thousand Oaks polymer solar filter, QHY183c astro camera at 1C, 6.8ms, Gain 11, Offset 0.

Bonus!

Tele Vue Optics, Inc., put a link and screenshot to the animation I posted on Instagram in an article on their blog.  Click here to see the story:  “Tele Vue Optics’ Blog – Rings of Fire: 14 October 2023 Annular Eclipse Photos” 

Blue SuperMoon of August 2023

Best 20frames of 87, 1 ms each, stacked with AutoSkakert. QHY183c at 0C cooling, gain 11, offset 50, UV/IR filter, Astro-Tech AT60ED at F/4.8.

This session was also a test for a new SkyWatcher GTi mount with EQMOD software, which worked right out the box, since I’ve been using it with my Atlas EQ-G for years. I didn’t have to reconfigure anything for it to work, which was great.

After the moon, I did some guiding tests and took some 60 second images with only a UV/IR filter, despite the heavy LP at my location.  Not too bad, but definitely harder to process out.   I tested on the Crescent Nebula and the M22 globular cluster.   11×60 for the Crescent and 30×60 for M22:

Crescent Nebula. 11×60 sec, QHY183c, AT60ED at F/4.8.
M22 Globular 30×60 sec, QHY183c, AT60ED at F/4.8.

Moon and Mars Conjunction/Occultation of Dec 7th, 2022

Moon and Mars. 37 x 1/1000 sec, Gain 11, Offset 17, Astronomik L-3 UV/IR filter, QHY183c at -20C, TPO (Askar) 40mm, F/4.5, Atlas EQ-G.

Tiny Mars right below the full moon of Dec 2022.  Here in Cajun Country, we saw a near miss of Mars being occulted.  Further north and west was where you could see it go behind the Moon.

I used the smallest scope I have to take this (only 180mm of focal length) because it was ready to go and I didn’t have much time to prep.  Sure wish I would have had my old C-8  for this instead.  Oh, well…

This crop is at 100% of the camera’s native resolution.

The Lunar Eclipse of Nov 8th, 2022

AutoStakkert processing of 41 sub-images with the best 20 used for the moon. The background stars were processed in IRIS and all 41 sub-images were used. The two images were then composited together. Equipment: TPO (Askar) 180mm UltraWide Astrophotography Lens (40mm objective, F/4.5) and a QHY183c at -20C, gain 11, offset 17, exposures of 4 seconds each.

Enhanced version of above with harder push on star brightness.

10 sub-images added together in AutoStakkert with color and sharpening in PS. Astra Image Maximum Entropy Deconvolution PS plug-in filter used for final sharpening.

I woke up at about 3:00 am after just a few hours of sleep to catch this.  I had setup the scope earlier that evening and was ready.   I have images from throughout the event, but these were the better ones during totality.

Canon T3 with Astro-Tech AT60ED scope at F/4.8, 4 seconds at ISO 800.

Bonus:  In addition to the eclipsed moon, in the wide angle crops or full-frame images, the planet Uranus and at least one of its moons are visible at the extreme left edge:

 

The LIVE shots I posted to IG while taking the images:

 

 

 

Lunar Eclipse, May 15-16, 2022

Lunar Eclipse – Totality. 1×4 sec, Astro-Tech AT60ED, QHY183c, UV/IR filter.
Lunar Eclipse – Near End of Totality. Stacked image – 5×4 sec, Astro-Tech AT60ED, QHY183c, UV/IR filter.
Lunar Eclipse – Totality. 1×8 sec, Astro-Tech AT60ED, QHY183c, UV/IR filter.
May 15, 2022 Lunar Eclipse. Before totality. 2 sec @ Gain 11, Offset 50, QHY183c, UV/IR filter, AT60ED at F/4.8.

Clear to partly cloudy skies and a little humid, but good enough to get shots of most of the eclipse.   The four images above were some of the better captures.