Astrophotography is kewl!

I waz ther!

I waz ther!

So yesterday evening it was absolutely cloudless – how often does that happen hah? I took a load of kit (both my cameras, the 50mm and 70-300mm lenses, the remote control for my DSLR, Sky at Night magazine [thanks again So-so!], binoculars, red LED headtorch… oh and of course my tripod) to the Hove seafront and just shot a load of pictures! It was great!

I learned a lot!

For instance, that Brighton makes a lot of noise – light noise. Creeps. Everything that wasn’t straight over sea was nigh invisible – including the comet Lulin, which I was vaguely hoping to catch.

Nice kit, but focusing issues?

Nice kit, but focusing issues?

I also learned that my telezoom wasn’t focused perfectly :( so many of these pictures are a bit fuzzy – I need to check that better next time. Apart from that it is a pretty good lens for this kind of work. Gets up quite close.

However funnily enough my 50mm may be better still, despite the massive difference in power. It turns out that aperture 1.7 really makes a great deal of difference from 4.5 (see the Orion image, taken with the 50mm).

(I also learned that if you stare long enough at any photo you’ve taken you notice all of its flaws more than any of its assets. Shame on me for being so critical!)

Finally, I learned that my idea of taking stacks of low-exposure images with little noise (ISO 400) and let these be sorted out by stacking software is also maybe not the best :(. Apparently these programs much prefer noisy pictures with hundreds of stars over clean pictures with only a handful.

What did you shoot then!?

Anyway yes here’s a small selection of images I took:

(as WordPress totally f***ed up my gallery I repost them as normal images, below the fold. Good grief Wordpress is absolutely crap at handling images :((! I need to find out some easy way around it… costing me hours just to get some images posted, then one mistake and pfoom! they’re gone! Madness.

They appear rather dark as previews, so do please open them in a new window (and again) to make them bigger. I made some star maps to show what part of the sky the image is from. All these are made by capturing a screenshot with Stellarium, a literally heavenly program!

orion-stacked1

Orion (from stack)

 

Orion star map

Orion star map

Orion's sword

Orion's sword

 

Orion's sword star map

Orion's sword star map

 

Aldebaran (top left) & part of Taurus

Aldebaran (top left) & part of Taurus

 

Aldebaran & Taurus star map

Aldebaran & Taurus star map

 

Beehive cluster (M44) in Cancer

Beehive cluster (M44) in Cancer

 

Beehive cluster star map

Beehive cluster star map

 

the head of Hydra

the head of Hydra

 

Hydra's head star map

Hydra's head star map

2 thoughts on “Astrophotography is kewl!

  1. Yeah tell me about the focus… that old telezoom is a bit cranky :(. Well better to find out now and know about it for when something important needs to be shot!

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