The Phases of the Moon

The phases of the Moon

Combination of 8 images taken during January and March 2019 showing different phases of the Moon.

These images, with many more not shown here, are part of a educational exercise conducted with my son, Luke, who was 6 years old then (Year 1), and who actually took all the photos.

Each image combines ~150 frames, all taken with my Skywatcher Black Diamond 80mm, f/7.5, using my CANON EOS 5D Mark III at primary focus, from Freshwater, Sydney.

The data were stacked using the free Lynkeos software, and then processed with Photoshop to increase the shadows/highlights, correct colour, smart sharpen for getting a better contrast of the craters, and luminosity.

One of these images has been used in the article published in ABC Science today discussing the discovery of water in the surface of the Moon by the SOFIA observatory.

Credit: Luke López Planells (Year 1, Manly West Primary School) & Ángel R. López-Sánchez (Australian Astronomical Optics, Macquarie University).

Full resolution image in my Flickr.

Wide field view around the Lagoon and the Trifid nebulae

2017_09_19_M20+M8_cboost_trim_small

The Trifid Nebula (M20), with its pink (left) and blue (right) colours, is at the center. The Lagoon Nebula (M 8) is at its left. Very close to M20 is the open cluster M21, almost in the very center of the image. The faint nebula IC 4685 is also seen over M 8. The open cluster M23 is located at the bottom right corner (this cluster has a similar size to the full moon in the sky). The diffuse nebula IC 1283 is located at the top right, in the middle of a dark cloud.

CANON EOS 5D Mark III with a Tamrom 200mm lens, 15 x 5 minutes exposure at f/2.8 and ISO 800.

Piggyback using my old mount, battery powered but very well polar-aligned, no autoguiding.

Full processed with Photoshop.

Siding Spring Observatory, Coonabarabran (NSW, Australia), 19 September 2017.

Full resolution image in my Flickr.

Credit: Ángel R. López-Sánchez (AAO-MQ).

Fire in the Cat’s Paw Nebula

Deep H-alpha image of the Cat’s Paw Nebula (NGC 6334) in Scorpius obtained from my backyard, 15 km from Sydney’s city centre.

This image combines 40 frames I got during some few nights during late September and early October 2020 using the ZWO ASI1600MM Pro and the H-alpha Baader 3.5nm ultra-narrow filter.

All frames had an exposition time of 900s (15 minutes), hence this image combines a total of 10 hours of telescope time!

Telescope: Skywatcher Black Diamond 80, f=600mm (f/7.5)

Equipment: I used the ZWO ASIAir to control the camera, the mount (Skywatcher AZ-EQ6) and the guiding system (ASI120MM + Orion 50mm finderscope). The H-alpha filter was in the ZWO filter drawer.

Processing: Data processed with Siril software. FITS converted on TIFF using NASA’s Fits Liberator considering a logarithmic function. Color / saturation / levels / contrast / smart sharpen with Photoshop.

For this image I decided to give some false colour instead of just the greyscale image, I used Photoshop to get the kind of “fire” aspect to the gas in the nebulae.

I would love to get some data in broad-band filters to get the colours, but I’m afraid this will have to wait till next year, as Scorpius is already a bit too low over the western horizon, and some palm tress block the view from my backyard.

Full resolution image in my Flickr.

Credit: Ángel R. López-Sánchez (AAO-MQ).

Webinar: “A (very brief) introduction to Astrophotography”

The other day I uploaded to my YouTube channel the full recording of the webinar “A (very brief) introduction to Astrophotography“, that I gave on the 3rd October 2020 for the online events for “StarFest 2020”, Siding Spring Observatory, NSW, Australia.

The abstract of the talk is:

The sky is open to everybody. Thanks to the advance of the technology, amateur astronomers are obtaining outstanding images of the sky, even from their backyards, using DSLR cameras and small telescopes. In this webinar I provided a very broad introduction to the basics of Astrophotography, from the best settings for getting the images using DSLRs and telescopes to how to process the data.

Please, note that I couldn’t go in deep in almost any aspect of Astrophotography, just providing some very global ideas, enumerating the techniques, providing some key tricks (focusing, stacking images, use RAW) and show some of my best astrophotos.

I want to thank Brad Tucker (RSAA, ANU) for the invitation to give this webinar, also thanks for being the MC for this.

Credit: Ángel R. López-Sánchez (AAO-MQ).

Image

Helix Nebula in H-alpha from Sydney

Deep H-alpha image of the Helix Nebula obtained from my backyard, 15 km from Sydney’s city centre.

This image combines the best 40 frames of the 82 frames I got the nights of 24-30 August, 7, 12 and 15 September 2020 using the ZWO ASI1600MM Pro and the H-alpha Baader 3.5nm ultra-narrow filter.

All frames had an exposition time of 900s (15 minutes), hence this image combines a total of 10 hours of telescope time!

Telescope: Skywatcher Black Diamond 80, f=600mm (f/7.5)

Equipment: I used the ZWO ASIAir to control the camera, the mount (Skywatcher AZ-EQ6) and the guiding system (ASI120MM + Orion 50mm finderscope). The H-alpha filter was in the ZWO filter drawer.

Processing: Data processed with Siril software. FITS converted on TIFF using NASA’s Fits Liberator considering a logarithmic function. Color / saturation / levels / contrast / smart sharpen with Photoshop.

I hope to get soon some data in broad-band filters to get the colours!

Full resolution image in my Flickr.

Credit: Ángel R. López-Sánchez (AAO-MQ).