Beginning with astrophotography can be a bit frustrating. You bought all the equipment and now you want to see some results. Now you are out there in the field. It is already getting dark and cold and you still have to get all the cables right… You still have to do the mount alignment and then you face some IT problems… When you fixed all that and you focused the camera, it is probably already dark and it is time to move the telescope to the object of desire.
You catch the first frame and… nothing but a couple of dots. You increase the exposure time but all you get are a few more and brighter dots. Your fingers are getting already stiff and you begin to ask yourself what you are actually doing out here. Your wife is at home on the warm and cosy sofa drinking a delicious cup of tea…. welcome to the world of astrophotography!
In this little article I want to present a few sky objects which are relatively easy to locate because they are so bright. This will usually help to locate the object and center it in the telescope. Even with small exposure times you already get astonishing results.
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End of 2018 I visited the new Cherenkov Telescope on La Palma.
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Recently Dark Sky Travels Magazine contacted me and asked if they could publish one of my blog articles in their magazine. The article describes how one can use DeepSkyStacker to stack conventional DSLR camera RGB frames. Of course I didn’t say no and in the end it just happened and I saw my article on page 42/43 in Issue 4 of the DarkSkyTravels magazine!
I am very happy about that opportunity and the chance to share my experience this way.
Thanks and clear skies!
Last updated: May 18, 2022 at 9:13 am
The frames were then post-processed with rawtherapee and averaged using the ImageMagick “convert” tool. In addition 4 frames of the foreground (the house) were taken and also averaged (of course with disabled EQ6 mount). Finally the two pictures were overlaid and merged with the help of a mask using gimp.
To me it is amazing to see the Andromeda Galaxy (M31), the California Nebula (NGC1499), the Orion Nebula (M42), the Pleiades (M45) and the Horsehead Nebula (B33) clearly on this photo. This overview picture gives a good idea of the brightness, size and exact location of the objects compared to each other.
A full resolution image of the result can be found here. Another image without object descriptions can be found here. I am curious to repeat this procedure in summer when the bright part of the Milky Way will be visible again 🙂
Last updated: May 18, 2022 at 8:37 am