Astrophotography – Some objects for beginners

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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An article from lost-infinity.com in the “Dark Sky Travels Magazine”!

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!

Andromeda Galaxy (M31) – The first time from La Palma

Date2018/12/31
LocationLa Palma / Spain
ObjectAndromeda Galaxy (M31)
CameraAtik383L+
Guidingyes, QHY5-II Mono via OAG
Telescope8" GSO Newtonian
Barlow lensnone
MountEQ6 Syntrek
Cooling-10°C
Luminance6x 600s, bin: 1x1
Red5x 150s, bin: 2x2
Green5x 150s, bin: 2x2
Blue5x 150s, bin: 2x2
Dark2x
Flat10x
Total exposure~1h38m

Tonight I again decided to image the Andromeda Galaxy (M31) – the first time from La Palma. The seeing tonight was very good – around 1.5~2″ which was extraordinary! Also the weather conditions as shown by La Palma HDMeteo were excellent. Back in 2013 I already imaged the Andromeda Galaxy with the same equipment but from Boeblingen.

It is interesting to see the difference here. For post-processing I used the free software DeepSkyStacker and GIMP. The full resolution images is available here.

Clear skies!

Last updated: June 16, 2022 at 11:57 am

Trifid nebula M20 & open cluster M21 from La Palma

Date2017/07/20
LocationLa Palma / Spain
ObjectTrifid nebula (M20) & open cluster M21
CameraAtik383L+
Guidingyes, QHY5-II Mono via OAG
Telescope8
Barlow lensnone
MountEQ6 Syntrek
Cooling-10°C
Luminance8x 600s, bin: 1x1
Red7x 150s, bin: 2x2
Green7x 150s, bin: 2x2
Blue7x 150s, bin: 2x2
Dark2x
Flat10x
Total exposure~2h12m

Tonight I decided to image the Trifid nebula (M20)
which is quite “close” to the Lagoon nebula M8 from my last session. The seeing tonight was around ~2.4″ which could have been better – but certainly it was still sufficient.

Back in 2013 I already imaged the Trifid nebula with the same equipment but from Boeblingen. It is interesting to see the difference here.

For post-processing I used the free software DeepSkyStacker and GIMP. The full resolution images is available here.

Clear skies!

A look at the “Lagoon nebula” from La Palma

Tonight I was able to proof that the “Lagoon nebula” M8 was still there ~4100 years ago – wow! With a teapot, a sunlounger (probably better a starlounger) and the right music the night passed quickly 🙂

The total exposure time was ~1h36m. The seeing conditions were around 2.2″. It was a clear night without wind. I used my 8″ GSO newton telescope with an Atik383L+ camera (see here). And again I am amazed which image quality is possible with this equipment on this dark sky within this short exposure time. Below is just the luminance part of the image which shows some sharp details of the nebula.

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