Jul 122022
 

We had four relatively clear nights in a row. Some didn’t start great but all four produced usable imaging time even if the nights aren’t much more than 4 hours of astronomical darkness this time of year.

A couple shots with the Canon 6D DSLR and a Rokinon 135mm wide open at f/2.

vdB 123 – Taken with FSQ-106ED and QHY268C OSC CMOS Camera on an AP900GTO Mount, 58 x 5min exposures totaling 4.8 Hours Exposure across two nights.

Sh2-136 Taken with FSQ-106ED and QHY268C OSC CMOS Camera on AP900GTO Mount, 79 x 5 minute exposures totaling ~6.6 Hours Exposure time across two nights.

M20 – The Trifid Nebula: ZWO 533C OSC CMOS Camera with AP92 Refractor on Atlas EQ-G Mount. 57 x 5min exposures for a total of 4.75 hours captured across two nights.

Sep 262021
 
Hoping for Clear Skies
Frank caught red handed covering up evidence of proprietary Rubbermaid Astro-technology theft 🙂
The Bubble Nebula (AKA NGC 7635, Sharpless 162, Caldwell 11) is seen here next to Open Cluster Messier 52
The Bubble Nebula region Annotated
Circumpolar Star Trails
Nov 082020
 
View of the barn and new stage under construction from the ridge where we typically setup for astronomy.
Looking SW’ish where most of the informal star party group was setup.
Looking NE on the ridge
Sh2-155 The Cave Nebula
SVQ-100 with ASI533MC OSC CMOS on Orion Atlas EQ-G Mount
IC 342
SVQ-100 with ASI533MC OSC CMOS on Orion Atlas EQ-G Mount
Galaxy NGC 891
SVQ-100 with ASI533MC OSC CMOS on Orion Atlas EQ-G Mount
Sh2-136
SVQ-100 with ASI533MC OSC CMOS on Orion Atlas EQ-G Mount
Sh2-150
FSQ-106ED with SX-46 Mono CCD on AP900GTO

Nov 062020
 

This trip to Cherry Springs State Park promised an amazing clear stretch but was marred by dense smoke obscuring much of the sky from the wildfires raging in CA and other parts of the US.

The sun looked like a planet hanging in an overcast sky due to all the smoke.
If there had been any sun spots they may have been naked eye visible without a sun filter!
The sky was clear yet the blue wasn’t quite able to break through the hazy smoke.
Frank in the Astro Tent
This is what dealing with the public usually looks like 🙂
LDN 1235 – The Dark Shark
FSQ-106ED with SX-46 CCD on AP900GTO Mount
Only salvaged image during the few smoke free nights
Cherry Springs Time Lapse

Dec 012019
 

IC 1805 / Sharpless 190, more commonly known as the Heart Nebula, lies approximately 7,500 light years from Earth. This data set was comprised of 43x20min Ha, 23x20min O[III], and 24x20min S[II] for a total exposure time of 30 hours over several nights in November 2019.

Melotte 15 – The open star cluster that lies at the center of IC 1805 and provides the radiation that gives the nebula it’s soft glow.
NGC 896 – The brightest part of the Heart Nebula; it was cataloged separately because it was the first part of the Heart Nebula to be discovered.
The Heart Nebula – This image spans almost 2.6 degrees x 2.6 degrees. For scale, it would take 27 full moons to fill this field of view.
Sep 302019
 

We had some great weather for the annual star party at Pickett State Park, TN last new moon. This star party is still young and looking to grow. The park rangers are doing a great job, it’s a great venue for presentations and a great field for observing / photography. I’m not sure why it still remains a hidden gem of sorts.

Overall sky quality, other than some early clouds, was excellent. With SQM measurements around 21.77 mag/arcsec^2 this was the darkest I’ve seen Pickett. I would note too that of the other dark sky sites I routinely visit, this quality of night is nothing to complain about.

Presentation Space
Setup on the field
Dusk; waiting for the thin stuff to clear
Last few clouds clearing with the MW shinning through!
The rig is facing N,NE towards the Constellation Cepheus imaging Sharpless Object SH2-154
SH2-154: AP900GTO, FSQ-106ED with SX-46 CCD. Image scale of 2.33 arcsec/pixel. Exposure time ~13.5 hours. Also plainly visible on the right edge of the frame is SH2-155 The Cave Nebula. Sometimes the faint objects like 154 don’t get a lot of love because they’re not much to look at. At least it’s got a nice tight open cluster NGC 7419 nearby to draw some attention.
Annotated

Jul 282019
 

We had a great clear spell 7/23 through 7/27 with only moderate lunar interference in the early hours of the morning. This is 14 hours of exposure divided equally across Hydrogen-alpha, Oxygen [III], and Sulfur[II] emission lines. Scope was an AP130GTX with Apogee U16 CCD on an AP1200GTO mount. Located outside Clinton, TN. The following are crops from the main image.

Finally, here is the nearly full frame image encompassing the whole area.

Jul 072019
 

With weather looking wet and wild for the 2019 Cherry Springs Star Party and things looking slightly less soggy at Calhoun we decided to cancel on Cherry Springs and gamble on Calhoun. Good thing we were setup on the top of a ridge so we never had to deal with muddy conditions considering all the rain we didn’t know was coming.

The first couple days were all clouded out.
Night time conditions were very soupy
Couple nights later things were improving but still very humid and hazy. The Milky Way was at least starting to pull out of the haze.
Cloudy rainy days
Equipment setup and hoping for clearing
Frank and the Astro Tent
Finally some stars poking through the clouds. Look at that new bright light in the East / NE; it’s really projecting up!
M101 – LRGB with FSQ-106ED and SX-46 CCD on AP900GTO Mount. 6 hours total exposure in hazy conditions. Best SQM 21.8 mag/arcsec^2.
M101 Annotated – Check out all those background galaxies!
Widefield of Scutum, Serpens, Sagittarius, and Ophiucus. Canon 6D with Rokinon 85mm f/4 tracking on an Atlas EQ-G. 14x3min shots stacked, no calibration.
Widefield of Scutum, Serpens, Sagittarius, and Ophiucus annotated. You can see this very busy area is really a crossroads of constellations.
Some VERY ominous clouds started moving in…
Hail Storm
M17 LRGB – FSQ-106ED with SX-46 CCD on AP900GTO Mount. Total Exposure almost 2 hours of hazy low to the horizon 5 minute subs.
From Jupiter to the Rho Ophiuchi cloud complex. Canon 6D with Rokinon 85mm @f4. 6x3min frames stacked, no calibration.