Saturday, April 28, 2012

You can put lipstick on an Sbig...

Last night, Jim, Randy and I decided it was high time to break out the SBIG ST2000XCM and get some real photography going.  We spent a good hour or more precision aligning and tweaking the scope.  Mostly I stood in the way watching and at best was a pair of sharp eyes to sight guide stars for alignment while the guys twisted various knobs and timed star movements.

Then, hungrily rubbing our hands together, we hunkered down for the next 4+ hours in front of the computer screen searching for guide stars and refocusing and searching for guide stars and refocusing and...  Now I know this sounds like the epitome of tedium but when spiked coffee and a bit of tequila are involved it becomes an all out astrogeek party.  It really was a blast and we learned a few things even if we don't have photos, the next clear night we'll definitely have something to show.  I believe the biggest problem we had was the sky, seeing was below average making good astrophotography near impossible even if we had all the kinks worked out.

While all this was going on I had my camera aimed at the observatory (with Polaris directly above) for 245, 1 min exposures the entire time.  Hours of star (and astronomer) movement were captured and turned into this timelapse video.


All the frames combined using Startrails for this photo.
245 frames @ 59sec f4 ISO500


And at around 2am as I was about to head home the inner Milky Way made it's grand appearance with the summer triangle riding high in the east.  The observatory is on the left.
Good things to come as summer is truly on it's way.

10 vertical frames @ 18mm 44sec f3.5