Astrophoto Bucket List

After the eclipse on August 21st, I took a deep breath.  I spent a year focussed on photographing the eclipse, and with that goal complete, what was next?  I was in the plateau of the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, a couple dozen miles from Yellowstone, and had three days to enjoy with my fiancee.  As luck would have it, those days were absent of any clouds, giving me two perfect evenings in clear, dark, dry skies to do some of the best astrophotography of my life.  Here’s what I shot. The milky way shot for me is a...

Astrophotography: First go at Luna

The Spring has been a bit slower than I would have liked in terms of astrophotography.  I have seen a lot of fantastically clear evenings, but have been plagued by a lack of time and a few technical issues that have kept me from getting the many hours of practice needed to become competent.  I did manage to purchase an inexpensive adapter to use my camera with my telescope, giving me a ton of new options for photography, as well as a ton of new challenges. The two main problems I had, and need to address in the future, are...

Relative Time: Photography Year 2

Last year after getting a Canon DSLR camera, I spent as much time as I could doing some basic astrophotography.  I took photos of stars, planets, the Moon, and even did some star trails.  One thing I quickly realized is that there are limitations if you don’t have a tracking mount or a telescope adaptor.  The tracking gives you a method for taking longer exposures, and the telescope adaptor as expected gives you the ability to zoom in on distant objects. Even with these temporary limitations (I hope to invest in them someday) there are still a lot of options...

A Comet Tale (Tail)

As we rang in the new year, we were treated to a special astronomical appearance of Comet C/2013 US10 Catalina, close to the bright star Arcturus in the image below.  Also visible near the top is the faint Comet P/19 Borrelly, and between the two comets is a bright meteor that swept through the scene. It’s remarkable to notice the clearly visible tales of Catalina, the blue ion tail sweeping directly away from the Sun due to solar wind pressure, and the dusty white tail marking the path of the comet.  The dust is too heavy to be swept away...

‘Tis the Season..For the Orion Nebula

It’s that wonderful time of year again, when Halloween passes, and Christmas commercials dictate the airwaves.  I’m still in the tolerant stages of hearing bells ringing in commercials, where they remind me that the northern hemisphere is once again treated to a familiar sight.  The return of the Orion nebula! In reality, it didn’t go anywhere.  Earth’s predictable motion around the Sun means that Northern Hemisphere observers see the sky gradually appear to move a bit further West each night.  This is the time of year when Orion rises around 9pm, making it easily visible by midnight.  I consider midnight...

365 Days and 365 Posts – My Year of Blogging

Today is the day that one year ago that I sat down and decided I wanted to improve my writing skills.  I decided I wanted to keep up with the latest news in the world of astronomy and space science.  I decided I wanted to learn astrophotography and renew my passion for astronomy, a passion I have had since I was 6 years old.  I decided I would write an article every day, or at least post something. And even though I didn’t write a post every 24 hours, due to vacations, family events, and life getting in the way,...

Thanksgiving Astrophotography

In the midst of cooked turkey and a plethora of sides, I have been reaping the benefits of clear skies and doing my best to learn the skills of astrophotography.  I spent a good 6 hours from sunset to just past midnight this past Sunday to see what kinds of shots I could get, and document the latest photos and tricks I’ve learned. I’ll start with my latest time lapse video, since that is what I took first.  I started as the sun was about to set, and kept the exposure time very low, along with the ISO.  I also...

Astrophotography in 2015

I made a big purchase this year, one that I have wanted to make for a long time.  I bought a digital single lens reflex camera (DSLR) – A Canon Rebel T3i.  The only reason I did this was for astrophotography.  I like photography in general – the idea of getting the perfect shot, cleaning up an image, enhancing details that were not there before. But after a trip to Europe where I felt I took too many photos, I decided that I didn’t want to experience my life through the lens of a camera, especially in an age where...

Autumn Colours / Stellar Camping

This weekend will be a great chance for me to enjoy the change in season.  I’ll be up north in Ontario’s Algonquin Park, to do some photography of the autumn leaves.  If weather permits, I’ll definitely be aiming to do astrophotography as well. I grew up an hour north of Toronto, in the farm country outside of Barrie, Ontario.  Every time I go home for thanksgiving in early October I am amazed at the changes that can happen only an hour north.  Algonquin park is a good 3.5 hour drive, and will provide a stunning look at the seasonal change...

The Daily Double: ISS Transits the Sun Twice

The International Space Station is orbiting the Earth at an altitude of 400 Km, give or take.  This gives it an orbital period of about 90 minutes.  Keen observers on Earth can track these movements and look for the ISS in the sky as it passes overhead.  Some of the keenest observers even take photos, and plan for incredible transits.  In the case below, we can see the ISS transit the Sun, twice in one day. A carefully chosen time and place on Earth by the photographer Hartwig Luethen, this photo was taken on August 22nd, during two successive transits....