Milky Way Rising

The Milky Way rising over Lake Leschenaultia

On the 23rd April I had a one-on-one workshop with a return customer of mine. This time we went to Lake Leschenaultia, my local stomping ground. It was a fantastic clear and cool night, absolutely perfect conditions. Seeing as we already knew each other it was great to just have a fun night shooting nightscapes in good company, with me helping out as we went along.

This photograph was later in  the evening, after in theory the workshop should have finished, but hey, I wasn’t going home any earlier than I had to! The Milky Way is rising beautifully in the south-east at this time of the year, it is indeed “Milky Way Season”.

Coming up in May is a workshop I’m involved in at the lake, with Russell and the staff at Midland Camera House, who are also locals to the area like me, really looking forward to it!

 

The Waning [almost] Full Moon

The Waning [almost] Full Moon. 8 photographs merged in a mosaic, so there are some blending artifacts making this not a 100% accurate “map”. But hey, it looks good.

On the 13th April after leading a Full Moon tour at the Perth Observatory I took a moment to whip out my Fuji X-E2 and snap a mosaic of the Moon. This is a mosaic of 8 frames. There are some blending artifacts so don’t rely on this being a 100% scientifically accurate map of the Moon! (but hey, it looks good)

Blending mosaics of the Moon like this has become incredibly easy in recent years. The old days of 1990’s and early 2000’s photoshopping it would be a very manual affair with masks and adjustments. Now, a simple click will blend images of different brightness in to a seamless image. Photoshop doesn’t show any sympathy for all my painful hours of processing such moon mosaics in years gone by!

Moon, Jupiter and Spica

Moon, Jupiter and Spica from the 11th April 2017. Four moons of Jupiter are visible in the image also.

Jupiter has been moving through the night sky over the last few months as it becomes more of a evening object. It has been gliding past the bright star Spica and on the night of 11th April formed a nice triangle with the bright (99.7% illuminated) Full Moon. Above is a photograph from the night and below a photograph of the equipment taking some of the images.

Photographing the Moon, Jupiter and Spica on 11th April 2017. Shown is my Canon 6D on Megrez 80 tracked by my Astrotrac mount.

Rosette Nebula near Orion

Rosette Nebula near the constellation of Orion.

Continuing with my theme of fun and relatively straight forward astrophotographs using my little Fuji X-E2 camera, this is the beautiful Rosette Nebula near the constellation of Orion. Taken through my little Megrez 90 refractor of only 90mm aperture this came up quite easily from 1600ISO 5 minute exposures.

I enjoyed teaching participants how to take photographs through such telescopes at the recent Perth Observatory workshop which focused on astrophotography using telescopes. There will be another one or two of those workshops coming up on the other side of Winter.

A busy start to 2017!

What a busy start to 2017 I’ve had! Four workshops and counting, public talks to well over 100 people, 60hours/month volunteering at the Perth Observatory and so much more! It’s no wonder that it’s hard to find time for astrophotography other than regular scripted research observations.

Here are some photographs from a recent astrophotography workshop held at the Perth Observatory. It was full day, going from 12:30pm until 10pm, but for me that means 10am until midnight.

After all these workshops it’s been good to spend a small but enjoyable amount of time in my own observatory with my simple little camera (Fuji X-E2) mounted on my Megrez 90 refractor telescope. This rewarding combination is a great fun way to reinvigorate astrophotography interest. While the following images are only short sequences, resulting in less than perfect results, it shows what can be done in a night of fun light-hearted astrophotography.

Horsehead Nebula – Fuji XE-2, 1600ISO, 10 x 5 minute exposures.

Millions and Millions – Omega Centauri with about 10 million stars.

Millions and Millions – Omega Centauri with about 10 million stars (cropped view).