Lunar Terminator 2015-02-25

The moon is always a very regarding target. Even though the slow frame rate of the QHY5 (3FPS!) and the missing IR-Cut Filter do degrade the quality of the final image, some nice detail is visible in this mosaic of three individual avi files. 100 frames out of 400 were used for every frame.


The trio of Theophilus, Cyrillus und Catharina craters at upper left and the Ariadaeus Rille at lower right are prominent features visible in this image. On the floor of the Mare tranquillitatis at lower left some subtle mare ridges are vsible.

M81, M82 and Jupiter


At first I had to wait for about two hours until the floodlights on the adjacent soccer field were turned off, then I had trouble locating the galaxies as the 6×30 finder is not really adequate in a light polluted sky, then came problems with the connection from BackyardNikon to the camera, and when everything was set up correctly, the guiding was not working properly, resulting in trailed images… so quite a lot of effort went into this picture, but of course a lot has been learned.


Bild mit den eingebetteten Einstellungen speichern. Read More

M42 & Lovejoy

At last the sky was reasonably clear to try out my new toy. In fact the Astro-Physics 127mm f/8 refractor is not exactly new, as it was manufactured in 1989, so I was even more curious as how it would perform.

The Super Polaris mount is definitely overwhelmed with the weight of the big, long refractor, but on a windstill evening it works tolerably well. As this was basically a test, and I didn’t want to make matters even more complicated, I didn’t use any autoguiding, and therefore limited the individual exposure times to 30s. I had to throw away about half of the epxosures due to tracking errors, but 14 exposures looked good enough to use. Transparency was pretty bad, a slight haze due to the freezing cold air and smoke from wood-powered heating combined with the light pollution of the rhine valley made the sky very bright. In the color version, the sky looks quite murky, I like the black and white rendition better:


14x30s Nikon D7000 ISO 1600, Astro-Physics 127mm f/8

M42, 14x30s Nikon D7000 ISO 1600, Astro-Physics 127mm f/8

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The Moon 2015-02-06

With temperatures below freezing and a strong cold wind biting into the flesh of my hands I retreated to the warm inside of the house after only a few minutes, this is a stack of 6 shots using Autostakkert.


AP 127mm f/8, Nikon D7000, ISO 1000, 1/400s

Comet C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy

Another bright Comet Lovejoy with the designation C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy is grazing our skies these days.

The comet’s path takes it north next to the constellation of Orion, making it conveniently placed for nothern hemisphere observers.


Yesterday’s sky was a bit hazy as the temperature dropped quickly and humidity condensed in the air, additionally light pollution creates a bad gradient in the west of my home.

C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy and M45 - the Plejades

33x30s, 200mm, f/4, Nikon AF Nikkor 70-200 f/4, Nikon D7000, Polarie, processed in Lightroom (Clarity & Saturation), Photoshop (Levels and Curves), Deep-Sky Stacker (dark, flat, registration and stacking) and Regim (Gradient removal)

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13.1.2015 Mercury and Venus conjunction

After work I rode my bicycle towards Liechtenstein (a very small country next to Vorarlberg, the Austrian province where I live in), to catch the Mercury/Venus conjunction next to the Egelsee. As I only had my RX100 compact camera with me, the focal length was rather limited. To pass the time for the sky to darken I took some shots of the pond.

Mercury and Venus conjunction, Iridescent Clouds

On January 10th 2015 bright iridescent clouds were visible the whole day. At sunset the colors became even more intense and many people became about this rare atmospheric phenomena. Neighbours asked what those colors in the sky actually were.

At sunset I was able to take some images of the nice Venus and Mercury conjunction.

All cloud images are straight out of camera (SOOC) with no color, brightness or contrast changes. The conjunction images were slightly processed in Adobe lightroom to make the planets stand out more prominent.