Polarie first test

In preparation for an upcoming trip I am doing some equipment tests to prepare for the opportunity to observe from a dark sky.

It turns out even with the very rough polar alignment that is possible with the built-in peephole of the Polaire tracking mount 30 second exposures are possible with 180mm focal length on an APS-C camera:

3 x 30s – f/4 – ISO 1600, no darks, no flats, stacked with DeepSky Stacker, Nikon AF Nikkor 180mm f/2.8, Nikon D7000

This is the ful frame:

  

detail of the image above: Read More

Trying to catch ISON, got Lovejoy instead

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On November 17th I decided at 1:00 to try to take some pictures of comet ISON before it’s rendezvous with the sun.

To get above the fog in the Rhine valley I drove up a still-open (normally closed in winter) mountain pass.

I arrived early at the Furkajoch (a mountain pass in Vorarlberg), so I had the chance to take some pictures of the alpine landscape and of comet Lovejoy.

The full moon and a thin layer of high cirrus cloud made the process of locating and imaging the comet difficult.
Read More

A Ring around the Moon

An incoming layer of high cirrus clouds announces a change in the high-pressure weather pattern. The ice crystals in the clouds create a highly visible 22° ring of light, also known as a halo around the first-quarter moon.

Lens: Tokina AT-X 12-24 f/f
Camera: Nikon D200
Exposure: f/4 15s ISO 200
Date: 12th February 2011

 

The Milky Way

Lens: Tokina AT-X 12-24 f/f
Camera: Nikon D200
Exposure: f/4 15s ISO 1600 – 5 images, stacked in IRIS
Date: 7th August 2010

Recently I spent a night in the Alps at 2000m height. I slept outside in a bivouac bag and enjoyed a very dark sky.
I took the picture above with the camera on a small tripod, and made 5 exposures which I later combined into a single picture using IRIS.

A Moon Halo

A 22° Halo like this is visible when thin cirrus clouds made of ice cover the sky and the ice-crystals in the clouds are oriented properly.
To the lower left of the Halo you can see the constellation Orion.

Camera Nikon D200
Lens Tokina 12-24 /4 at 12mm
Exposure 15sec. at f/4 ISO 360
Date: 21 February 2010