Tuesday, February 8, 2011

First attempts

So I've been an amateur astronomer for about 3 years (not including the time I spent in asia where the hobby was effectively mothballed). At first I found it rather difficult to navigate my way around the sky but now that I've more or less figured that out I'm starting to try my hand at astrophotography. And for those of you who don't know, its unbelievably difficult. Well, I guess its not. Its quite easy to take really bad pictures but really hard to take decent photos.
So here are my first few attempts. Bear in mind this is really a first go at it from the few clear days I've had since September.

This is obviously Jupiter. The red spot in the bottom left corner is a hurricane that's been spinning on Jupiter for over 400 years. The rest of the coloured bands are clouds similar to the ones on Earth but made of methane, helium and sulphuric acid.

Solar flare coming off the sun. Don't try this at home unless you have a Hydrogen alpha filter! Solar flares occur in the sun's coronasphere (basically the atmosphere of the sun). Usually we can't see it because the disk of the sun is too bright and washes it all out. But I have a special filter that blocks the majority of the disk's light. Very cool.

A first glance at the orion nebula! This was my first attempt at shooting a deep sky object (nebulas, star clusters, galaxies ect). Its not great but given the fact that it was taken from the park across from my building, in the middle of the city its not that bad.

Star trails at Seymour mountain. This is actually about 40 pictures I took over a period of about 90 minutes all stacked together. The lights on the bottom are passing cars. The star trailing is actually an artifact of the Earth's rotation. What you actually see here is the motion of the Earth.

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