Comet 41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresák, 25.3.2017

The Comet 41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresák is passing through the constellation Ursa Major these nights.

66×30″, ISO1600, 300mm f/4, Nikon D750, Skywatcher Star Adventurer, Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom.

66×30″, ISO1600, 300mm f/4, Nikon D750, Skywatcher Star Adventurer, Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom. Crop from the image above.

This animation created from the individual frames used for the image above, shows the movement of Comet 41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresák against the starry Background. The time-span of the animation is 36 minutes between 19:09 and 19:45 UT on the evening of March, 25th.

Venus at 4%

Today Venus was a very delicate crescent, with only about 4% of it’s visible disc illuminated by the sun. I used the 127mm f/8 refractor with a 1.4x teleconverter and took a number of images using the Nikon D750. 20% of 46 individual images were used to create this image using the software Autostakkert:

127mm f/8 Astro-Physics, Nikon D750, TC-E14II

Read More

The sun 2017-01-28

The sun shows only few spots when near solar minimum. Today the Spots AR2629 and 2628 were clearly visible.

Astrophysics 127mm f/8 with Nkon TC-14EII and Nikon D750 Baader solar film (photographic density).

Taurus Molecular Cloud

Inspite of all the beautiful stars, I have a fascination for the dark stuff lurking between them Today I managed to get almost an hour of exposures of the Taurus molecular cloud,

The dust cloud between the Pleiades and Auriga is called the Taurus molecular cloud, 27x120s (54m), AF-D Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 at f/2.8, Nikon D750, ISO 800.

Read More

Giant Sunspot AR2456

These days the large sunspot AR2456 is very prominent on the sun’s disc:

M13, M5, M57

In spite of bad seeing and strong gusts of wind I did set up the big refractor to do some astrophotography. I spent quite some time to get things running – in the end the spring galaxies were already too far west in the glare of the train station, so I switched my targets to two globulars and a planetary nebula. Here is a list of what went wrong:

  • I wasn’t aware that the D750 uses a non-standard USB port on the camera, I had to search for half an hour to find the original cable
  • the laptop I usually use has been upgraded to Windows 10, installing the drivers for the guiding camera did not work
  • on the backup laptop guiding with PHD worked, but Backyard Nikon crashed and/or got no connection to the camera, I tried many combinations of USB extension cables, USB ports, removing the SD card, formatting the SD card, upgrading to BackyardNikon 1.0.5, in the end I focused using live view of the camera and used the built-in interval timer of the camera to shoot 30 second exposures…
  • the seeing was really terrible, making focusing difficult, and bloating the stars during the exposure
  • for reasons unkown (user error?) the quality setting on the camera was changed to FINE, so I only took JPEG images instead of NEF( Raw)

Read More