Beyond the terminus...

Submitted by jimwcoleman

Wow, after months of soggy weather or just plain snow, I finally got the new Atlas EQ-G mount out at 2 a.m. this morning. Didn't do much as I'm still not very familiar with the mount, having crossed over from Celestron mounts, but I did get a rough polar alignment and snapped a single shot of the moon, using an Astrotech AT72ED refractor and a Canon 60D. The interesting part of this photo is what you can see over the dark side of the terminator ... caught it at just the right moment to illuminate some taller peaks and crater walls.

Setting up EQMod, ASCOM and gamepad for Atlas mount

Submitted by jimwcoleman

Yes, I'm taking the plunge ... going 100 percent computerized. In my last post, I wrote about my new mount, the Orion Atlas EQ-G. I wrote how, because of the winter weather in the Pacific Northwest, this mount has never seen first light. And now, months later, it still hasn't. But Spring is coming, so I'm getting ready by doing something I've been wanting to do for a long time - set it up from the start so that I can control the mount from my PC using a Gamepad. To me, it just makes sense as I'm controlling my cameras, autoguiding, etc.

New Orion Atlas Mount - Cure for those rainy day blues

Submitted by jimwcoleman

Well, I haven't posted to this site in months ... but it been about that long since I've had good astrophotography nights in Seattle.  This winter is brutal with the rain and the clouds, and the calendar conspires against me in that most good clear nights seem to fall on a work night - and it's early to bed, early to rise.

Unremarkable shot of Venus

Submitted by jimwcoleman

And most of them are ... unless it is in a crescent phase.

We can learn something here, though. When viewing Saturn, Jupiter, Mars and all the other 'outer' planets, we always see them as round objects - spheres in space. One face is always illuminated by the sun because they are further from the sun than we are.  The Earth is between the sun and those planets, so we always see them as fully illuminated.

Moon and Earthshine

Submitted by jimwcoleman

I grabbed a few quickie shots of the moon this morning, using my AT72ED AstroTech refractor with Canon 60D at prime focus. One shot  shows the crescent moon and the other shows earthshine - the light on the moon that is reflected back from Earth!

Widefield view of Sadr

Submitted by jimwcoleman

Here are some wide-field views of my favorite star, Sadr. Located in the constellation of Cygnus, Sadr is high overhead in the late evening this time of year. Deep in the heart of the Milky Way, Sadr is surrounded to all sides by nebulosity. Significant nebulae like the North American and Pelican Nebula are in the region. Photos were taken with an AstroTech AT72ED refractor, using a Canon 60D at prime focus, 13x2 min subs, ISO 1600.