Archive for Astrophotography

M34 Open Cluster at Perseus Constellation

Posted in Astrophotography with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 2013/10/12 by computerphysicslab

Very close to Tringulum galaxy M33 we may spot a bright open cluster towards Perseus constellation. Its name is M34 and here it is a picture I took today through a remote 6 inch apochromatic refractor on New Mexico that shows colorful stars. Enjoy it!


Moon scratched by the claw of a bear

Posted in Astrophotography with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 2011/08/31 by computerphysicslab

Near Bullialdus crater (at top-right side of the picture) there is a quite interesting region called Rimae Hippalus. Hippalus crater is the big one (left-center side of the picture). It is a big crater. In this image, shadows in this crater due to a low altitude sunlight creates a visual effect, as if a great creature had stamped his bare footprint in lunar soil. Do you see it?

Bright nebulae at Milky Way core

Posted in Astrophotography with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 2011/07/04 by computerphysicslab

Summer views of Milky Way are spectacular because the galaxy bulge is brighter and broader than its spiral arms visible the rest of the year. Located near Sagittarius and Scorpius constellations, the bright nebulae and dark lanes of the area creates a beautiful contrast in brightness and colors.

This picture is a 4-pane mosaic ensambled with free software Fitswork 4.40. Every pane is a 10 minutes exposition through a 55mm lens attached to a Canon EOS 450d (Rebel XSi) DSLR camera, mounted over a motorized equatorial mount, Sky Watcher EQ6.

Mosaic - Sagittarius Scorpius - Milky Way core

A full resolution picture is available at AweSky

Aristarchus crater (Moon) with Meade Lightbridge 16 inch

Posted in Astrophotography with tags , , , , , , , on 2011/04/17 by computerphysicslab

Aristarchus crater (Moon) with Meade Lightbridge 16 inch:

Aristarchus is a large impact crater on the Moon, is in the northwest of the nearside of the Moon. It is considered the brightest of the large formations on the lunar surface, its albedo is nearly double that of most other geographical spots. The crater is bright enough to be visible to the naked eye and is stunning when viewed through a large telescope. It is also easy to identify when most of the lunar surface is illuminated by reflection of light on Earth.

The crater is located on the southeast edge of the Aristarchus Plateau, an area that contains several high volcanic features, such as wrinkling rimes. This area is known for it have been detected in a significant number of transient lunar phenomena of nature as well as by recent emissions gas radon to be measured by the spacecraft Lunar Prospector.

EQ6 periodic error

Posted in Astrophotography with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 2011/04/06 by computerphysicslab

I took a bunch of 30 seconds shots aiming M42 nebula as regular, in order to stack them later. Polar alignment was also regular, using EQ6 polar scope, probably not perfect.

I think M42 is a good target to measure periodic error in RA movement due to its near 0 degrees declination.

In order to show the drift, I stacked the shots without drift correction using a free software called startrails that gets the brightest pixels per shot, obtaining that way the best startrail you can achieve.

To measure the length of the drift, I requested a single shot solved plate from They provide an exact width in arcminutes of the field. Then, I divide the width field by the width in pixels of my DSLR camera sensor, obtaining the resolution per pixel in arcseconds (a number close to 1 arcsecond/pixel for a 1,200 mm effective focal length telescope).

Then I measure the height of RA drift pattern with my regular post-processing free software, Fitswork4, and multiply that value by the previous resolution.

That is the way I have found that my EQ6 mount drifts around 40 arcseconds in RA movement. Dividing total exposure by the number of cycles (top peak to lower peak) I got the elapsed time needed to fulfill the periodic error: around 6 minutes long.

Moons of Saturn through telescope

Posted in Astrophotography with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 2011/03/09 by computerphysicslab

Titan, Tethys, Rhea, Dione, Iapetus are five bright moons of Saturn, the ring planet in our Solar system. They can be observed through amateur telescopes with at least 100mm (4 inches) of aperture. The following picture was taken through a 5 inch telescope, a Celestron NexStar 5 SE XLT. It is an image composed of 84 single subframes of 1 second of exposition each one.

It was taken on 2011-03-06 02h10mUT using a DBK 21AU04.AS Imaging Source CCD camera. Planet was recorded in a different exposition through a video stacked (shift and add) using Registax free software.

Check out the JPL simulation matching the picture above.

Mare Crisium and Palus Somni

Posted in Astrophotography with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 2011/02/28 by computerphysicslab

Mare Crisium is one of my favorite Moon areas. There is a lot of details inside Crisium, but it is not easy to detect, because it is very fine. High aperture telescopes are needed to spot the small impact craters inside this maria, because its typical lengths are 1 or 2 kilometers wide.

Near Mare Crisium there is another big area called Palus Somni (below), that is visible in this picture made with an amateur telescope. The big and bright crater in the middle is Proclus:

The telescope used is a Celestron Nexstar 5SE and the camera is a Canon EOS 450d (Rebel XSi) DSLR. The picture actually is a mosaic made of two panes.