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Old 03-16-2018, 05:21 PM   #101
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That Kelly astronaut DNA stuff is fascinating.
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Old 08-22-2018, 03:36 PM   #102
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Haven’t done much space related things for a while but while on vacation at my old folks house, I took out my 10” scope on the only occasion that weather permitted and got a few quick shots of some of the planets. Nothing special as I am very rusty in my astrophotography skills but here they are! Saturn, mars and Jupiter.
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Old 08-22-2018, 03:59 PM   #103
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Amazing! Especially Jupiter. Good way to bump this thread.
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Old 08-22-2018, 07:12 PM   #104
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Amazing! Especially Jupiter. Good way to bump this thread.
Thank you so much LN! I’ve been meaning to get back into it forever but the older I get, the less energy I seem to have to haul all the heavy equipment to the field and set it up and stay up till the wee hours of the morning. But I went to visit my parents in Ontario (all the way to the other side of Canada) where I have my 10”LX200 meade scope and with a week off and warm nights, I just couldn’t resist taking out my old scope. I don’t get much chances to use it since I usually visit around Christmas time and unlike when I was a teenager where I would brave the -20 degrees celcius temperatures all night long, I just can’t do it anymore. I have a much smaller scope here in Vancouver which I haven’t used since the last eclipse but I’m feeling more inspired now!

If anyone is interested I would be happy to one day write a mini tutorial on how I capture these images but for now here is the very quick version for those who may want to venture into the awesome world of astrophotography.

These photos originally started as video clips. I use a webcam style camera adopted to fit a telescope. I have a black and white one (which is usually much better than color) and have a color cam as seen in the first mars pic.

Once I Center the planet in the field of view and focus it on my camputer screen with he camera attached to the scope, I adjust the exposure, gain (much like the iso, the more gain used the more sensitive the sensor is but also the more noise that is added to the photo). And finally I adjust the frame rate of the video. It’s really a fine balance between all these adjustments and good focus to get a good image. Also, good seeing (ie the atmosphere most not be very turbulent) and good optics colimation (alignment of the lenses and mirrors) is a must for getting a good picture.

I capture a video clip of the planet (usually between 1-2 minutes long). Anything longer than that will cause blurring of the final image due to the planet’s rotation. This is especially true for Jupiter since the planet does one rotation in just 10 hours!

Once the video is captured I split the video into its individual frames. So for example a 2 minute video at 20 frames per second will give me a total of 2400 individual pictures. Since you are observing through the turbulent atmosphere (think twinkling stars), many of those pictures will be quite blurry but you may have brief moments of a very steady atmosphere so you get sharper images. You choose all those images with the sharpest seeing and discard the rest of the blurry images. Once you have selected your best images, you use a program called registack 6 to stack all those good frames into one picture. The more pictures the better. There for the more pictures you stack together the better the signal to noise ratio will be and the sharper and less noisy your image will be. Once the images are stacked, you can run a wavelet program to sharpen the image and you would be amazed at how much detail comes out of the planet.

That is the short and sweet of it but if there is interest in learning this more (if there are members here with scopes ever considering photographing the solar system), I’ll be happy to write a detail step by step tutorial and tips on getting good photos. The ones I posted above are so so, but I really felt I had to relearn how to do this especially the processing!

Once you get a decent planet pic, it’s just truly an awesome feeling!

Cheers!
PS: One can also do deepsky imaging of galaxies, star clusters and nebula, but that is a whole different animal involving very long exposures and making sure your scope is tracking very accurately which usually involves using a guide star to manually make adjustments of your telescope’s tracking during the exposure. I’ve taken a few very mediocre deepsky shots but I have yet to master it or have the patience to accomplish this.
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Old 08-22-2018, 09:19 PM   #105
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I can’t stop watching this. Truly amazing - going to Cape Canaveral on launch day is still on my bucket list.
When I was a kid I missed a space shuttle launch by mere hours! We were on our last day of vacation in Florida and there was a launch scheduled on our last day there and we were getting ready to see it, then a few hours before the scheduled launch was to occur it got delayed by a day! I was so upset. Of course if I was an adult I would have said screw everything I’m extending my stay by an extra day! But as a 13 year old kid and only one of 6 people in my family vacationing that time, I sadly had absolutely no say in trying to convince my parents to stay hahaha. And I am the only space fanatic in my family, my dad was only being very nice in trying to take me to the original launch. Hopefully one day I can make it out to see the launch of the Orión probe with people going back to the moon!
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Old 08-22-2018, 09:27 PM   #106
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Awesome tidbit on the astrophotography. You should go for the seven sisters!
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Old 08-22-2018, 09:58 PM   #107
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my favourite planet is saturn and that's an amazing pic of it, great shot dude

i wish i lived in a place where i could stargaze. i can barely see anything but the brightest stars and planets.
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Old 08-22-2018, 10:18 PM   #108
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Oh c’mon Dave you’re in Canada! Colder skies and a few miles drive and you’ll be swell to see some great stuff.
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Old 08-22-2018, 11:06 PM   #109
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Fuck, that's cool.
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Old 08-22-2018, 11:14 PM   #110
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Oh c’mon Dave you’re in Canada! Colder skies and a few miles drive and you’ll be swell to see some great stuff.
...i live in downtown toronto.
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Old 08-23-2018, 12:22 AM   #111
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So go on a Canadian adventure
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Old 08-23-2018, 12:57 AM   #112
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i don't have a car, so i can go on an adventure about as far as barrie or niagara falls if i don't want to get on an airplane or a long-distance bus.
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Old 08-23-2018, 03:57 AM   #113
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awesome photos!!

we have really clear skies here in the middle of nowhere, so got to see lots of shooting stars last weekend... can still see Mars quite clearly too at the moment... i love sky watching - saw something really bright, quite large (compared to the usual satellites and planes), moving pretty fast in a steady line across the sky a couple of weeks ago - my daughter reckoned it was the ISS - awesome to think there may have been people up there!
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Old 08-23-2018, 09:42 AM   #114
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i don't have a car, so i can go on an adventure about as far as barrie

What an adventure that would be...
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Old 08-23-2018, 09:48 AM   #115
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What an adventure that would be...
i shall undertake a quest to find a person under the age of 70 at casino rama. and a great and mighty struggle it shall be...
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Old 08-23-2018, 11:52 AM   #116
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Get on your horse backwards and ride it to the nearest poutine place. Bring enough ketchup chips, pop, and apologies for the journey.
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Old 08-23-2018, 12:00 PM   #117
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my moose is going to be very upset to hear that you called him a horse.
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Old 08-23-2018, 12:21 PM   #118
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my moose is going to be very upset to hear that you called him a horse.


Riding Bullwinkle was not what I had in mind, but I suppose a moose is nothing but a horse with handlebars.
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Old 08-23-2018, 04:28 PM   #119
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my favourite planet is saturn and that's an amazing pic of it, great shot dude

i wish i lived in a place where i could stargaze. i can barely see anything but the brightest stars and planets.
Thanks Dave!!! Yes I hear you about living in dt Toronto! Having lived in Mississauga for a good chunk of my life, I know toronto’s Light pollution is horrible especially downtown! And not having a car makes it next to impossible to cary a telescope out to some field away from the city! My problem is not the light pollution (in fact where I just recently bought my condo, 20 minutes away is a dark sky reserve where you can see the Milky Way) and I have a vehicle, my problem is my laziness to haul my equipment out to the field and I never feel comfortable observing on my own in the dark sky reserve as there are bears and Abbotsford (where I currently live in) is not exactly the safest city in terms of crime. I do get some nice peekaboo views of the planets and moon from my balcony so I can take photos from there, but air currents from my warm building don’t make it too easy to get steady views of the planets and it’s next to impossible to view deepsky objects! But I am thinking of joining the Fraser valley astronomical society next year where they have star parties at the dark sky reserve. I’m just not joining yet cos it costs money and since I just bought my first place I’m trying to watch my money.
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Old 08-23-2018, 04:35 PM   #120
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awesome photos!!

we have really clear skies here in the middle of nowhere, so got to see lots of shooting stars last weekend... can still see Mars quite clearly too at the moment... i love sky watching - saw something really bright, quite large (compared to the usual satellites and planes), moving pretty fast in a steady line across the sky a couple of weeks ago - my daughter reckoned it was the ISS - awesome to think there may have been people up there!
Thanks Mama! That is awesome that you live in a very dark area! Not very many people can truly enjoy that now a days! In fact I am very sad that most kids of this generation have never experienced a true dark sky where they can see the Milky Way! When I was a kid and lived in Argentina, we lived in the countryside in the middle of nowhere and I swear the sky was white with stars!! They were brilliant and there were millions of them! It is one of those childhood memories I will always cherish! I wished more people now could experience this but sadly as population continues to grow, so does light pollution and I don’t ever see it getting better

Oh yes forgot to answer your question, I think your daughter might be correct and could very well be the ISS that you saw. I found a great website which tells you when the iss will pass in front of the moon or sun in any location you set it to. This is great to get great pics of the moon with the silhouette iss in front. The name of the site escapes me now and it was saved on my old phone. When I find it I’ll post it up here! I am sure there are also lots of sites that also tell you when the iss will fly overhead in your area. I’ll post links of what I find soon!
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