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Saturday, August 05, 2017

Eclipse photography practice.

The August 21st Solar Eclipse is just 16 days away so it's time to practice some setup and photography of the Sun.  In this case, I used my Canon 6D with its full frame sensor on my Celestron EdgeHD 8 inch telescope and a white light solar filter.  For the eclipse, I'll use a 0.7x focal reducer to get a bigger field of view for the phenomena around the Sun and Moon.
This is the full image with some sharpening and contrast stretching.  The C8 is an f/10 telescope with 2032mm focal length.  You an see some sunspots a little left and below the center of the Sun.  You can also see lots of granulation on the Sun in general and I was hoping to see a little more activity.  The eclipse is on August 21st, 16 days after this image, so given that the synodic rotation period of the Sun is about 27 days, this sunspot group will be on the other side of the Sun, at least a few days from coming around the edge.  This exposure was 1/1000 seconds at ISO 200 using my Canon 6D.

This is a closeup of the image above to get a better look at the small sunspot group.  You can see at least three sunspots in the group and maybe a couple more small ones if you use your imagination a little.  The Sun was getting a bit low in the sky, so there is some atmospheric color dispersion - the top of the spot looks a little red while the bottom looks a little blue.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Monsoon Storm from Kitt Peak

Last night while between local storms on Kitt Peak, I watched some storms around the area.  This one to the northwest of Kitt Peak was quite pretty and spectacular at the same time.  I took a series of five exposures in an HDR sequence and this is the middle exposure at ISO 400, f/8, 1/400 seconds at a focal length of 17mm on my Canon 70D.

This is a combination of 5 frames from 1/1000 second to 1/160 second exposures which shows the range of activity from the rays from the sun behind the clouds to the mountains and valley in the foreground.  Note the area in between the anvil and the local mountains which is covered in water from rainfall in that area.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Summer Milky Way from Kitt Peak

The Summer Milky Way sets over the little Tohono O'Odham town of Sells as viewed from Kitt Peak.  The exposure was made with my Canon 70D using a 17-70mm Sigma lens at 17mm focal length with an exposure of 30 seconds at f/2.8, ISO 1600.

International Space Station and the Milky Way in twilight

While taking a timelapse of the summer Milky Way my sequence caught the International Space Station flying over in the morning twilight.  Some clouds are moving in from the left and the Milky Way with the Tea Kettle of Sagittarius at the bottom, just about to set.  The Tohono O'Odham town of Sells is just below the Milky Way in this view from the 90 inch Bok Telescope's Bok Walk on Kitt Peak.  This image was taken with my 17-70mm Sigma lens at 17mm focal length and an exposure of 30 seconds at f/2.8, ISO 1600.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

The Crescent Moon

Last Saturday night I set up my Celestron 8 inch EdgeHD telescope in my back yard.  I attached my Canon 70D with a 0.7x focal reducer (so I could fit the entire Moon on my APS-C sensor) and took some photos of the Moon.  Here are a couple, processed somewhat.

This first image used an exposure of 1/50 seconds at ISO 400.  I used an unsharp mask to sharpen the image.

This image was obtained with an exposure of 1 second at ISO 400.  Along with an unsharp mask, I stretched the image quite a bit to bring out the Earth-shine lit dark side of the Moon.  You can see some mountains over the southern limb of the Moon as well as a few stars in the sky around the Moon.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

A colorful Kitt Peak sunset

The view of sunset from Kitt Peak can be quite spectacular.  Of course, a pretty cloud filled sunset does not normally bode well for the nights observing program....

 This Sun Dog was visible at about the same time as the first image.

Just after sunset, this deep red glow was quite spectacular.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Downtown Tucson at night.

Exposure 1 second at f/2.8, ISO 1600, 17mm f.l.
While in downtown Tucson one evening, I couldn't help but admire this scene with the tallest building in town lit nicely by the city lights.

Exposure 1/20 second at f/2.8, ISO 1600, 17mm f.l.
A statue near the Pima County Courthouse commemorating early Tucson settlers.

Monday, August 08, 2016

Lightning from Kitt Peak

Saturday night featured some impressive lightning storms in the distance as I was preparing to observe from Kitt Peak.  Most of the lightning storms were probably at least 30 miles away.  Here are a few of my favorite shots from the evening.
Here is the storm around sunset when it was south of Tucson.  You can see precipitation and there was plenty of lightning.  Lightning is hard to capture with short daytime exposures and the only bolt I got before sunset is blurred by camera motion.....  This image was taken with my 18-250mm telephoto at 18mm focal length on my Canon 70D with an exposure of 1/15 seconds at f/8, ISO 100.

These 2 shots are looking southeast past the McMath Solar Telescope with the Spacewatch 1.8-meter telescope dome at the far right.  The images were taken with my 18-250mm lens at 18mm focal length with an exposure of 15 seconds at f/5.6, ISO 1600.

This final image is looking back towards Tucson where the storm moved over the western half of the city.  This bolt is hitting near Ajo Road just right (southeast) of Cat Mountain and there is lots of rain falling left (north) of the lightning strike.  This image was taken with my 18-250mm lens at 87mm focal length and an exposure of 25 seconds at f/8, ISO 1600.