Trying out the new Orion StarShoot

The following two photos of Jupiter and four photos of the Moon were taken from the sidewalk in front of my house in Crofton, MD. I used my Celestron 130 SLT, a 2X Barlow (except for one of the moon photos), a MacBook Pro (courtesy of APL) and the club’s new Orion StarShoot Solar System Color Imaging Camera IV to take these photos. The hardest part of acquiring the images was focusing, since the image bounces all over the place when you touch the focuser (or any part of the telescope, really). Adjusting the gamma level before recording was also critical for the shots of Jupiter. I used the WebCam Monitor software that came with the camera to capture movies and stills. I used the open source Lynkeos software (which also came with the camera) to stack the movie frames into a single image. The whole process was a little frustrating at first. A little patience yielded some reasonable results. Here they are.

Moon
Mare and craters on the moon. Taken through my Celestron 130 SLT with an Orion StarShoot Solar System Color Imaging Camera IV (no Barlow). Made from a stacked set of images from a movie.
Moon
More Moon mare. Taken through my Celestron 130 SLT with an Orion StarShoot Solar System Color Imaging Camera IV using 2x Barlow. One frame. No post-processing.
Moon
Highlands and a bit of mare. Taken through my Celestron 130 SLT with an Orion StarShoot Solar System Color Imaging Camera IV using 2x Barlow. One frame. No post-processing.
Moon
Craters in the mare. Taken through my Celestron 130 SLT with an Orion StarShoot Solar System Color Imaging Camera IV using 2x Barlow. Made from a stacked set of images from a movie.
Jupiter
An attempt at Jupiter through the Celestron 130 SLT using the 2X barlow and the Orion StarShoot. This is several frames of a movie stacked together plus some post-processing. My focus could have been better and Jupiter was low, so I was looking through a lot of atmosphere. This image is double the size of the original frame images.
Jupiter
Another attempt at Jupiter through the Celestron 130 SLT using the 2X barlow and the Orion StarShoot. Frames stacked, post-processed. Original size.

Quick and dirty time-lapse of Comet PanSTARRS

[quicktime width=”600″ height=”350″ autoplay=”0″ loop=”1″]https://aplastronomy.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/C2011-L4-PanSTARRS-basic.mov[/quicktime]

Here is a quick and dirty time-lapse movie of Comet PanSTARRS over the course of three evenings (March 12, 14, and 19). Details varied on exposures and lens from 1-2 seconds, 210-400mm, ISOs from 400-3200. If you look closely, you’ll notice that the angle of the comet tail changes over the course of these short clips.

The entire thing is about 40 seconds long. The first two sequences were from March 12. The last sequence from March 19. The rest from March 14.

Comet PanSTARRS and the Crescent Moon

Last week during the first opportunity for us to even see C/2011 L4 PanSTARRS, the barely 1-day old crescent moon was a few degrees away. I managed to do a very very short time-lapse of the two together as the clouds streamed by. Here is a still from that sequence of images.

Nikon D7000, 2 second exposure, 240mm lens, f/5.3, ISO 400

Comet Pan-STARRS and the thin, thin crescent moon at sunset
Comet PanSTARRS and the crescent Moon

Meeting Mar. 20, 2013

APL ACWhat: APL Astronomy Club monthly meeting
Where: Gibson Library room L-2
When: Wednesday, March 20, noon to 1:00 pm
This month’s topic: Webmaster Radha Venkat will show us some features the club’s website, and take suggestions to make it more useful. Also club business and members’ observing reports.

Open to anyone with an interest in astronomy.

Other club events coming soon:
April 17: monthly meeting; “The Cassini Magnetospheric Imager”, Don Mitchell (APL)
April 19: Friends & Family Star Party at APL
October 11: Friends & Family Star Party at APL