Archive for afocal

M57, the Ring Nebula

Posted in Astrophotography with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 2010/09/21 by computerphysicslab

The Ring Nebula (also known as the Planetary Nebula M57, Messier 57, M57 or NGC 6720) is a prototypical planetary nebula in the constellation of Lyra. This is one of the most famous nebulae often used as an example of this type of astronomical objects. It is located at 0.7 kpc (2300 light years) from Earth and was discovered by Antoine Darquier de Pellepoix in 1779.

Their joint magnitude V-band (green filter) is equal to 8.80. Its real form is possibly a bipolar nebula seen with an inclination of 30 ° from its axis, and calculated that it has been expanding around 1600 years.

From their radial velocity, -19.2 km/s, it follows that approaches Earth more than 69120 km/h: this rate is caused by the combination of the sun’s orbital speed around the nucleus of the Milky Way and the speed of the Earth itself.

M57 is illuminated by a white dwarf at its center of visual magnitude 15.8.

This picture is a single shot of 30 seconds exposition through a SkyWatcher 6 inches refractor telescope at prime focus. Fitsworks4 was used to remove a bit the background noise.

Polaris A & Polaris B

Posted in Astrophotography with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 2009/10/18 by computerphysicslab

Polaris has a close neighbor at 18 arcseconds that can be spotted easily through a telescope.


This is a 15 seconds exposure through a Meade Lightbridge 16-inch, a Dobson with no tracking, but fortunately Polaris moves very slowly through its small circumpolar path, due to its proximity to north pole in the sky. The camera used was a Canon EOS 450d, also known as Rebel XTi. The method employed was an eyepiece projection using a 14mm Meade Series 5000.

Reaching Binocular focus

Posted in Astrophotography with tags , , , , , , on 2009/09/29 by computerphysicslab

Someone asked me for help recently using this comment:

“Hello, I have 16×50 binoculars and a 7.1 mega pixel camera with 4x zoom and I’ve done what you said and looked at the Moon and the images are no where near as close as yours. The image blurs once the picture is taken of the moon and doesn’t seem no where near as close to the moon as yours. Please help.”

I would like to share the answer just in case someone is also interested.


16x and 4x should mean a final 64x optical zoom. That is as much as when seeing through a telescope. If you are capturing frames at 7 MegaPixels this is to say they are around 3,000×2,500 pixels in size. When creating a video you need a final image size of 1,000×700 as much, so if you crop a frame of 3,000×2,500 into a final frame of 1,000×700, it would be equivalent to apply a 3x additional zoom to the image, because (1,000×700) * 3 is more o less equal to 3,000×2,500.

Bottom line: do a crop to your 7 Mpx image and you will get an effective 182x magnification.

Respecting the blur, don’t panic. The blur may be a product of the weather conditions, or a thermal issue in your binoculars.

Try to avoid make photos of the Moon when it is located directly over the roof of a neighbour. This is a very frequent source of blurring problems.

Try also to cool down your binoculars before the observation, trying to get a thermal equilibrium with the outdoor temperature.

Be sure that your digicam is functioning with a infinite focus mode. The focus must be achieved manually using the binocular focuser.

If you have the option of taking continuous shots, use it. The majority of the images recorded may be blurred, but sometimes you may get one more clear and sharp.

Well. I hope this helps you to get sharper images.

Good luck.

Mare Tranquillitatis in color

Posted in Astrophotography with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 2009/09/11 by computerphysicslab

Color contrasts in the Moon are interesting even beautiful. The following picture shows Mare Tranquillitatis area and the southern part of Mare Serenitatis in full color. It was taken 4 days after full moon. The shadows in the terminator show the orography of the landscape. Mare Tranquillitatis seems to be mainly blue. This is due to its peculiar chemical composition.



Posted in Astrophotography with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 2009/09/09 by computerphysicslab

Pitiscus, Hommel, Ideler and Spallanzani are the only four craters of the picture with proper name. The rest of them are named by letter surnames like Ideler R or Ideler L. They are located in the South-East area of the Moon. The picture was taken on 2009-09-09 05h 20m U.T. and the terminator was passing across Pitiscus, Hommel, the two big and shadowed craters. Pitiscus is 85 km wide and Hommel is 129 km (76 miles). The smallest craters of the image are 7 km wide, that is 3.5 arcseconds, 1.75 arcseconds for the bright spot and 1.75 arcseconds for the shadow spot. Image detail could then be better for a 6-inch telescope (this is the equipment used to take the image, an scope capable up to 0.7 arcseconds of resolution). 622 subframes were recorded with the Manual-Crazy-Tracking system and stacked in Registax 5.



Posted in Astrophotography with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 2009/09/08 by computerphysicslab

Posidonius is a big crater of the Moon on Mare Serenitatis. There is a lot of interesting details to observe inside: peaks, ridges, craterlets, … In the following image taken yesterday night, 4 km wide craters can be spot as small white points in the smooth surface of Mare Serenitatis.

Posidonius measures 95 km in diameter. The second biggest crater (a bit ghostly) in the picture is Chacornac, just below Posidonius. Inside it is visible a small craterlet called Chacornac A (it measures 5 km in diameter).

The third biggest crater of the picture is Daniell (31 km wide) located in the upper middle side. Its shape is not circular, but oval. This is the cause of a strange effect in perspective when comparing it with the craters nearby.


PosidoniusPosidonius is a lunar impact crater that is located on the western edge of Mare Serenitatis

Dorsum Oppel

Posted in Astrophotography with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 2009/09/07 by computerphysicslab

Dorsum Oppel is a wrinkle ridge of the Moon in Mare Crisium. 2 days after full moon is the best moment to observe it. It is a very large formation and the landscape along is quite impressive, full of small craters, tiny mountains and the smooth floor of Mare Crisium. It is important to reach a high magnification to enjoy the view (150x at least).

My setup is a 6-inch telescope, but I bet it is possible to observe it comfortably with a 4-inch refractor.

Dorsum Oppel

The bright and overexposed crater is Proclus. I have to work harder the dynamic range issue next time.

Swift and Peirce are the pair of craters in the upper side of the picture, near the lunar terminator. Below Peirce should be visible a 2 kms wide craterlet, but unfortunately my picture cannot yield such a resolution. According to a quick calculation, 3 kms is the smallest visible feature in theis image, and that corresponds to 1.5 arcseconds. A bit far still to the maximum theoretical resolution of a 6-inch telescope (that is around 0.7 arcseconds)

Yerkes is the big ghostly crater in the right side. Apparently there is a central peak in its center. I have been looking for a confirmation of the existence of that peak, but I haven’t found any reliable source where it is mentioned. Any hint here, I would be thankful…