Getting ready for the August eclipse!

Submitted by jimwcoleman

It's time to start honing your skills and preparing your equipment for the August, 2017 total solar eclipse. Even though it won't be TOTAL where I live (Seattle area), a significant portion of the sun will be eclipsed by the moon. Here is a trial run I did today. Not a lot of sunspot activity, but I did see one. :) 

I am using the Thousand Oaks solar filter that arrived in the mail last week. Not a problem with it - highly recommended... And they are in Kingman, Arizona! Another plus for them, with me being an Arizona native. :)

M51 - Whirlpool Galaxy

Submitted by jimwcoleman

Here is a quick shot of M51 - The Whirlpool Galaxy. This is easy - you can do it, too...

This photo was taken using the smallest scope in my collection, the AT72ED AstroTech refractor. I love this little scope. Yes, it's little. But it's just perfect for this type of photographic adventure.

This is a stack of 19 x 1 min subs, ISO 1600, Canon 60D, AstroTech AT72ED. Stacked with MaximDL.

I'm sure I could do a lot better if I did this in the morning after sleep ... but you know how it goes ... :)

A few quick pics

Submitted by swingin

These pics are from my backyard in Gig Harbor WA. Not all that great but I'm working on that, for the rest of my life! :) First one is the Black Eye Galaxy, 2nd is the Cigar Galaxy, 3rd is the Ring Nebula in Lyra. These were all taken with my Nikon D5200 and Backyard Nikon at prime focus. I need to learn how to stack these pictures, these are all a single shot with different time lengths, ISO settings and so on.

C2015 V2 (Johnson) - Wide field view of comet

Submitted by jimwcoleman

Here is a widefield view (positive and negative images) of comet C/2015 V2 (Johnson) in Bootes. Tonight, the comet was at magnitude 6.9, fainter than last night. This is a stack of 40x20sec subs. The images were acquired at prime focus using a modded Canon T3i at ISO 1600 with an AstroTech AT72ED refractor on a Celestron AVX mount.

C/2015 V2 Johnson - A spectacular comet

Submitted by jimwcoleman

While most people in my home town of Port Orchard, Washington slept, a couple of amazing comets crossed the sky overhead. One of them, comet C/2015 V2 Johnson, is pictured here in all its glory.

This was photographed with an 8" Meade LX200R with a Canon 60D at prime focus. No filters or reducers were used. 90x65 second subs, stacked with manual 1-star alignment using Maxim DL software.

Orion at dusk

Submitted by jimwcoleman

Here is a quick shot I got of Orion as it skimmed the tops of the trees in my Port Orchard, Washington back yard. I used the Star Adventurer sidereal drive atop a sturdy camera tripod with a Canon 60D to get the shot. It's one of only two shots I've been able to get all winter long - the last few months were very wet, always overcast and unusually dreary in the Seattle area. I'm so ready for the skies to clear but looking at the forecast, I think this photo is going to have to hold me for a while ...

Orion in the Seattle skyglow

Submitted by jimwcoleman

This is a 4.5 minute (9 30-second subs, stacked, ISO 1600, f5.6) exposure of Orion. You can clearly see the Flame Nebula and M42, the Great Orion Nebula. The fir trees in the foreground are blurred as the camera was tracking the sidereal motion of the stars. The ghastly, icky green color you see is Seattle light pollution reflected from high clouds.