Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Moon and Pleiades

[Last night] It was a great moonlit night at the observatory, thanks Randy.
If you have never seen the Moon through a large telescope, go find someone with one and ask them to point it at that big bright round thing in the night sky for you.          

...go ahead, I'll be here when you get back.

You're back?  Wasn't that amazing?!  I know!  So, as you were looking across the 235,000ish miles of space to the Moon, peering into all the many craters and gliding over the different surface features, you undoubtedly began to feel a strange impending excitement.  You felt like if you could only look long enough you would see one of those massive impacts first hand.  This excitement is, although not impossible, extremely (seriously) unlikely.  Nonetheless, a wonderful feeling, wouldn't you say?   Feel free to go look again.    ...I'll wait.

Now, to the photography.  I took 136 frames of the moon with my camera mounted on top of a Meade RCX 400, and using RegiStax 6, I attempted to stack them.  Then I attempted again.  Then again.  I'm sure I'm doing something wrong and in no way is this a slight on Registax.   It's obviously going to take a few tries and tutorials to get things rolling there.  
Here's an old-fashioned single frame image.  Not too shabby.
300mm, 1/125 sec, f11, ISO100
[EDIT - 04/08/12]  This is what the above image looks like processed in Registax6.

More eye candy last night was Venus nestled just under the open cluster of Pleiades (M45) like a lone egg in a nest.  Now DeepSkyStacker was much more first-time user friendly.  This is 9 frames stacked and noise perfectly removed.   Could have used longer exposure or wider aperture or higher ISO (one or all) to better resolve the background stars but it's quite pretty.  It's difficult to shoot a bright object like Venus and expose long enough to resolve fainter objects like Pleiades.  With my budget 300mm lens, that star[planet]burst just gets bigger and bigger.  The lens aberrations are a bit annoying but kind of appealing when you're going for something frame worthy or "artsy".

9 frames @ 300mm, 30 seconds f7.1 ISO 800