Astronomy and Astrophotography!

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Astronomy and Astrophotography!

Postby GusR » Thu Jun 04, 2015 8:15 pm

Thought I'd share a little bit about my (very) amateur astronomy hobby! I've recently come into quite a bit of free time, so my dog and I have found ourselves outside with the ol' telescope - thinking about bringing a grill along this weekend too. It's been cloudy/rainy the past few days, but here are some of the shots I've been able to get recently:


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Moon (big surprise)
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Closeup of Tycho Crater
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Saturn, one of the coolest things to look at up there (says I).
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Jupiter w/ Europa, Io, Callisto, and Ganymede (left to right)
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A closeup of Jupiter - first time I've ever been able to get the clouds on camera
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They're not the crispest pictures, but I'm pretty happy considering I'm just holding up my phone to the eyepiece. For anyone wondering, I'm using an 8" dobsonian. Also, due to the optics everything is going to be backwards and upside-down - you get used to it faster than you'd think.

I find it extraordinarily relaxing to just sit out for a few hours at night (possibly with a bourbon) and hunt not only the planets, but stars and deep space objects too. I'm headed to the Grand Canyon this summer with family, and as luck would have it the Grand Canyon Star Party is happening at the same time - talk about luck!

Anyone else have a telescope/stargaze?
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Re: Astronomy and Astrophotography!

Postby Kate » Fri Jul 03, 2015 9:37 pm

These are amazing.

My dad is an astrophysicist and when I was a kid, that's what I wanted to be too because I am a bit of a daddy's girl. Our vacations consisted mostly of camping trips with his colleagues, to remote locations with very little light pollution so that they could set up their huge telescopes ( ;) ) and get nice clear views of things.

It took me a long time to figure out that not everyone grew up going to star parties. I got very bored of space because...well, I mean, when your parents are dragging you to things as a preteen, you start to resent those things even if they are really really cool. TCS is kind of getting me out of that rut. I'd love to start doing this stuff again as an adult, but honestly, I don't even know where to start.
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Re: Astronomy and Astrophotography!

Postby Tesseracts » Fri Jul 03, 2015 10:54 pm

Oh man. Those are really cool. I fairly recently bought a nice camera and astrophotography is something I've always wanted to get into. My Dad has a telescope and knows people with better telescopes. Unfortunately living in a metropolitan New England area it's not the best for stars.

I actually had a dream last night I was pointing my camera directly at the sun and trying to take photos. I kept getting a lot of lens flares. For some reason I thought if I kept trying on auto mode I would be able to see sun spots. I was really stupid in that dream.

Actually this thread inspired me to go outside right now and try to get photos of the sun. Hopefully, this is real life and I'm not still dreaming. Unfortunately I can't get any sunspots because it's too hazy, but I did get a lot of lens flares. Not as much as in my dream though.
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It looks kind of like this.

My Dad is also a scientist so I also recall a couple of star parties as a kid. Must have been back when my family had anybody willing to associate with us. I also recall as a child me and my Dad used to project the telescope image onto a piece of paper so we could see the sunspots. I WANT TO SEE THE SUNSPOTS AGAIN DAMMIT. I WANT IT NOW.

One of the things I'd really like to do is take one of those milky way photos, like the kind I often see on APOD.

I have a question for everyone: does anything in outer space ACTUALLY look cool? Like, it's my understanding that the colorful nebula and galaxies and stuff are artificially colored. They're actually black and white. IS THERE ANYTHING OUT THERE WHICH LOOKS COOL OTHER THAN SATURN? DO BLACK HOLES REALLY LOOK THIS COOL?

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Re: Astronomy and Astrophotography!

Postby GusR » Tue Jul 07, 2015 3:57 am

Thanks guys!

That's cool about your dad, Kate - I get what you mean though. If you really want to get back into things, I'd be more than happy help! I found my telescope on a forum dirt cheap because the guy wanted to fund a bigger one - he even threw in a few eyepieces for free and taught me how to use it - so far I get the sense that a lot of people in the hobby are like that.

I'm definitely a beginner, but I think that being an enthusiastic amateur is one of the best places to be.

And nice shot Tess! There are filters out there that will let you see sunspots - you absolutely want to use them, since at magnification you'll get your optics/eyeballs cooked:

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I've always wanted to get one, but haven't had the chance yet. I'm in New England too - not the best place for clear skies. But sure, there's tons of cool stuff! One of the neatest things to look at is the Cigar Galaxy:

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Cigar Galaxy
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You don't see the reds, but the whole thing was kind of ice-blue when I saw it. You could see veins running all the way through like an eyeball - truly amazing stuff. The Swan Nebula is really cool too, and the Orion Nebula is awesome, plus really easy to find (just look at Orion's sword belt).

You're right though, that most of the images don't appear that way to the naked eye. I think it's a mix of artificial coloring along with composite images that look at the object in a few different kinds of light (infrared vs visible).

I just ordered a new eyepiece, and will hopefully get some new shots soon!
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