Monday, June 30, 2014


Yes, it has been a LONG time since the weather and my schedule lined up, more the weather than my schedule, though!
So last night I got out under the clearest skies since winter and here are some results!

I broke out my small Bushell scope (see earlier post for a review of it) and captured the thin crescent moon:

First up, some test "wide field" views with a 40mm "pancake" lens on my Canon Rebel t3i:

Here you can see what I have to deal with when looking south from my observatory position: lots of tall pine trees! You can see Antares in the lower center.
Here is Cygnus (The Swan) nearly overhead at midnight, swimming in the Milky Way.
I know this is a rather mundane shot of the "Big Dipper" otherwise known as Ursa Major (The Big Bear" but it helped me locate M101 galaxy!

This is my first attempt at this galaxy and I only stacked about 5 images in Lynkeos, using my old Orange C8 scope with Celestron's focal reducer and prime focus (cropped for this image).
But other objects lured my attention last night as well!

Next up: Mars!
Earth is moving away from Mars now and it is smaller with less detail than it had only a month ago. You can also see that it is no longer round, due to the fact that we are seeing it at an angle now.

Ah, but Saturn was serenely calling for a view!
Saturn was spectacular last night! In a good moment you could just make out Cassini's Division in the the two rings! This image you can also see a faint band on Saturn itself.

But here is what it looks like in color:

But my night wasn't over yet! The Ring Nebula was beautiful, too!
Again, I had the focal reducer on the scope to let in more light and keep the exposure times shorter. I will make this object the subject of greater efforts to get more detail out of it this summer!
Finally, I just had to photograph M13, the great globular star cluster in the constellations Hercules. It was overhead and just a joy to view and photograph!
Wow! God's creation has so much variety and is wondrous to behold!

Stay tuned more more!