Wide-Field Astrophotos

Orion Breaking Through the Clouds

Orion breaking through the clouds from the backyard. This has been the typical sky conditions here for almost a month now.
Tech Specs: Canon 6D, Canon EF17-40mm f/4L USM lens, tripod mounted, ISO 3200, 20 seconds, f/4, 17mm. Image date: November 4, 2020. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA.

California Nebula and the Pleiades Star Cluster

Here is a wide field view of the California Nebula and the Pleiades Star Cluster. Continued testing of the Canon 70-200 f/2.8 lens with a ZWO ASI071mc-Pro camera.
Tech Specs: Canon EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM lens set at 70mm, Sky-Watcher EQ6R-Pro mount, ZWO ASI071mc-Pro camera, 1 hour and 50 minutes total exposure (calibrated with darks from the library and flats the next morning) using 300 second subs, guided using a ZWO 30mm f/4 mini guide scope and ZWO 120 Mini, controlled with a ZWO ASIAir Pro running v1.5 Beta software, processed in PixInsight. Image date: January 11, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA.

Barnard's Loop - Sharpless 276

This is another test shot using my Canon 70-200mm lens with the ZWO ASI071mc-Pro camera. Here I set the lens at 70mm and captured Barnard's Loop (also known as Sharpless 276) in the constellation Orion. You can also make out the Horsehead Nebula and Orion Nebula in this view.
Tech Specs: Canon EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM lens set at 70mm, Sky-Watcher EQ6R-Pro mount, ZWO ASI071mc-Pro camera (at -20C), Optolong L-eNhance filter, 1 hour and 30 minutes total exposure (calibrated with darks from the library and flats the next morning) using 300 second subs, guided using a ZWO 30mm f/4 mini guide scope and ZWO 120 Mini, controlled with a ZWO ASIAir Pro running v1.5 Beta software, processed in PixInsight. Image date: January 11, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA.

Jupiter and Saturn 2020 Conjunction

Jupiter (the brighter object) and Saturn in my Western skies this evening, December 8, 2020 - getting closer to there closest approach on December 21, 2020.
Tech Specs: Canon 6D, Canon EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM lens, tripod mounted, ISO 1250, 6 seconds at 70mm and f/2.8. Halo and spikes added with StarSpikes Pro v4. Image date: December 8, 2020. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA.

The Great Conjunction

The great conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn was almost missed because of passing rain and snow showers, but I managed to grab a quick image in the southwestern skies before they disappeared below the tree line.
Tech Specs: Canon 6D, Canon EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM lens, tripod mounted, ISO 1250, 2.5 seconds at 90mm and f/2.8. Image date: December 21, 2020. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA.

Lunar Halo - December 29, 2020

While not conducive to astrophotography, they are sure nice to image when you see them. This is a lunar halo, or winter halo, taken last evening, December 29, 2020. These halos are formed by ice crystals high in the atmosphere reflecting moonlight.
Tech Specs: Canon 6D, tripod mounted, Canon EF17-40mm f/4L USM lens, ISO 1000, 1.6 second exposure at f/4 and 19mm. Image date: December 29, 2020. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA.

Star Fields of Ruchbah

Here is a wide field view of the star field around the star Ruchbah (about 45 light years from the Earth) in the constellation Cassiopeia. The view includes a number of open clusters, including M103 (from the Messier Catalog) and a number of NGC (New General Catalogue) clusters, both from catalogs you have probably heard of. You’ll also note the designation “Cz” and “Tr” for two small, dim open clusters that are also in this view.
The “Cz” designation is for work done by Polish astronomer Mieczyslaw Czernik in the 1960’s. His catalog consists of 45 open clusters he discovered while examining Palomar Sky survey plates. The “Tr” designation is for work done by Swiss astronomer Robert Trumpler in the 1930’s, and his catalog contains 37 open clusters and is now known as the Trumpler catalog. Several of the Trumpler clusters are also designated in the NGC catalog. Trumpler is also noted for creating a classification system for open clusters that is still in use today.
Tech Specs: Tech Specs: Williams Optics Redcat 51 APO, Celestron CGEM-DX mount, Canon 6D stock camera, ISO 3200, 10 x 300 second exposures with dark/bias frames, guided using a ZWO ASI290MC and Orion 60mm guide scope. Image date: September 25, 2019. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA.

Morning Conjunction - February 1, 2019

Only -1F this morning at the observatory with a light fog preventing any detailed view of this old crescent moon. Here is the last in the series for this conjunction of the moon, Venus and Jupiter, enjoy if you missed it!
Tech Specs: Canon 6D, Canon EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM lens, single 1/3 second exposure, tripod mounted, ISO 1250. Location: Weatherly, PA Image Date: February 1, 2019.

Colorful Orion Behind High Clouds

Beautiful Orion peaking out from the clouds last evening.
Tech Specs: Canon 6D, Canon EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM, tripod, ISO 3200, 8 seconds, f/2.8, 70mm. Date: February 5, 2019. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA.

Six Hour Star Trail Composite Image

What do you do with hundreds of images after looking for meteors, easy, string them into a composite image showing star trails! This is a composite image consisting of over 600 single 30-second images, check out those arcs. That little star on the top, with the very small arc, is the Northern Star, Polaris. It is also a circumpolar star, a star that never touches the horizon when it makes a complete loop.
Tech Specs: Canon 6D, Lensbaby Circular Fisheye 5.8mm f/3.5 (set at f/4), each image was 30 seconds at ISO 3200 using Backyard EOS software. A hair dryer on second tripod was pointed at the lens to prevent dew formation.

Sirius and Messier 41 - January 28, 2019

A quick capture of Sirius (in the constellation Canis Major) and the open cluster Messier 41 (that grouping of stars right below Sirius), a light wispy cloud cover adds to the view. The image was taken at 10:00 PM local time when Sirius was at it's highest point in the sky, look for it by looking south in the evening, it will be the brightest star visible.
Tech Specs: Canon 6D, Canon EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM lens, single 8 second exposure, tripod mounted, ISO 3200. Location: Weatherly, PA Image Date: January 28, 2019.

Morning Planets and Crescent Moon - January 30, 2019

A chilly morning in the backyard after 6-8 inches of snow, but here is a view of the morning planets Venus and Jupiter along with the crescent moon with Earthshine. Venus is the brighter of the two planets.
Tech Specs: Canon 6D, Canon EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM lens, single 1/25 second exposure, tripod mounted, ISO 3200. Location: Weatherly, PA Image Date: January 30, 2019.

Morning Conjunction - January 31, 2019

A chilly -6F this morning without the windchill! Here is a view of this mornings conjunction of Venus, the crescent moon and Jupiter. If you can zoom in on Jupiter and can also spot two of Jupiter's moons, Ganymede and Callisto.
Tech Specs: Canon 6D, Canon EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM lens, single 1.6 second exposure, tripod mounted, ISO 250. Location: Weatherly, PA Image Date: January 31, 2019.

Winter is Coming - August 23, 2018

A view of the winter stars entering the Northern Hemisphere early in the morning - winter is coming.
Tech Specs: Canon 6D, Canon EF17-40mm USM lens, tripod mounted, ISO 3200, 25 seconds, f/5.6, 19mm. Date: 23 August 2018. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, Pennsylvania, USA.

Orion and Taurus in the Early Morning

A morning view of Orion and Taurus rising in the early morning hours - I love this time of year!
Tech Specs: Canon 6D, Canon EF17-40mm USM lens, tripod mounted, ISO 3200, 25 seconds, f/5.6, 40mm. Date: 23 August 2018. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, Pennsylvania, USA.

Venus and Jupiter - January 22, 2019

What a pleasant sight to wake up to a day after the lunar eclipse! The planets Venus and Jupiter rising in the Eastern skies over my leafless winter trees. Currently, a balmy 6 degrees Fahrenheit (-14 Celsius), still not cold enough to prevent me from getting this shot.
Tech Specs: Canon 6D, Canon EF17-40mm f/4L USM lens (my work horse lens), tripod mounted, ISO 1600, 1/3 second, f/5.6, 40mm. Date: January 22, 2019. Location: Weatherly, Pennsylvania USA.