December 28, 2012

The Night The Moon Stood Still!

Yes, I made the moon still for a while and let the stars move!! Nope, this is just a result of my imagination and a trick of blending photographs taken at same time. Below is the details of camera settings and software used for this photo...
For Moon:
Camera: Canon EOS 550D
Lens: Canon EF-S 55-250mm IS, was set to 250mm
Exposure: 1/400 seconds
F-stop: 7.1 and ISO Speed: 100
For Stars:
Camera: Canon EOS 550D
Lens: Canon 18-55 Kit set to 18mm
Exposure: 100 x 20 seconds
F-stop: 5 and ISO Speed: 200
Softwares: StarStax 0.52 and Photoshop CS6

December 17, 2012

Geminids 2012 Observing Report!

the only meteor I could capture!

We observed the Geminids during December 11-12 and December 12-13 and this time the meteor shower left a mark in my life as this was the most fertile shower I have ever witnessed! This time two amateurs Ambarish Gawande and Vivek Wadekar from Pune and Mumbai respectively joined us who were visiting Kutch (in fact Gujarat!) for the first time and were very eager to observe and photograph meteor shower from one of the darkest places in India. 

The first day we went to Dhosa-Mahadev, our regular stargazing spot near Bhuj and spent most of the time in photographing the meteors. Though we spotted more than 80 meteors during the session. Other friends from Bhuj also joined us and brought my 10-inch Dobsonian telescope. 

Star trails in the northern sky

Eastern star trails

The south-west

Cameras on their target!

The next day, four of us went to Vekariya Rann, exactly where the Tropic of Cancer passes through. It rained that afternoon but the sky became clear around 8 pm. From there we had the most clear sky for the Geminids! We had 6 cameras covering different directions of the sky. Our president Mr. Narendra Gor counted more than 500 meteors overall the session! The average was 2-3 meteors per minute and I must say we missed most of them. Most were faint and the camera didn't record most of them. However I was lucky to capture one along with Orion and its surrounding during the first day session. 

December 10, 2012

The Great Orion Nebula, NGC 1977 & NGC 1981

Yesterday on a very clear night I decided to take photograph of Messier 42, The Great Orion Nebula. I used my Sky-watcher short-tube achromatic refractor for the first time to photograph this object. I used my unmodified Canon EOS 550D and took 10 JPEG images, each lasting for three minutes at ISO 1600. When stacked this morning the final image that came wasn’t very promising and there was lot of noise.

I then deleted four images having little trails and processed rest of the images in Photoshop before I stack in Deep Sky Stacker. I adjusted levels and reduced the noise in each six images and then stacked them in deep sky stacker. Finally after post processing in Photoshop CS6 this is what I got! Below is the detail of my set up and camera settings…

Date: December 10th
Location: Bhuj, Gujarat -India
Telescope: Sky-watcher st102 f/5 Achromatic Refractor
Camera: Canon EOS 550D
Exposure: 6 x 180 seconds (unguided), no darks and no flats
Mount: Sky-watcher EQ5 with single axis motor tracking

December 8, 2012

Asteroid Vesta to visit NGC 1647 on 31st December!!

On the evening of 31st December, bright asteroid Vesta will pass close to an open cluster NGC 1647 in Taurus. The asteroid will be barely half degree away from the center of the cluster. Asteroid Vesta currently shines at magnitude 6.25 in Taurus and is easily spotted through binoculars if we know where it is in the sky!

December 6, 2012

Messier 35 In Wide Field

Messier 35 is an Open Star Cluster located in the constellation of Gemini. The cluster is 2800 light years away from earth. The cluster appears as a misty patch of light when observed through the naked eye under dark skies!

Date: 6th December 2012
Camera: Canon EOS 550D
Lens: Canon 55-250mm set at 250mm
Exposure: 20 subs of 30 seconds + 10 darks
Stacked in Deep Sky Stacker and processed in photoshop CS6